We are often asked at this ministry how we as European polygamists differ from the various groups now to be found in the United States and the Far East. Many Christians who have received a witness of biblical polygyny are suprised to find that there are almost as many different ways of looking at polygyny, as well as spreading the word about it, as there are denominations.
A Short History of the Modern
Patriarchal Christian Movement
To begin with, most of the promotion of evangelical Christian polygamy today is being done by private individuals and/or their families, and ministries. Of the latter, there are those working inter-denominationally like Truth Bearer whose purpose is simply to get the message of biblical plural marriage into all denominations so that it becomes mainstream. We ourselves were originally closely linked with, and supportative of, this initiative. At the other extreme there is ex-Jehovah's Witness Steven Butt's God's Free Men and Women (GFWM, also known as BFree) ministry which once organised organised a polygamous church called The Patriarchal Christian Church which, whilst open to monogamists and singles, was mainly in the business of promoting his version of polygamy. One might say that he started a new denomination like the Baptists but with patriarchy and polygamy as the main core around which he is based. It had its own statement of beliefs and was, to all intents and purposes, a new American church. Both church and ministry collapsed, along with his polygamous family.
In between these two positions are the various independent house fellowships, families and individuals all promoting the principle such as Sam Chapman in England. To this we might add Israel C.M.Lim's church in Singapore which, until Lim's abandonment of polygamy and Christianity, was polygamy-accepting pentecostal church, a number of Messianic Jewish bodies who have embraced polygyny as well as the 'Yahshuans' in Australia.
Unlike Truth Bearer which does its utmost to stear clear of denominational differences and has successfully united those with sometimes radically different backgrounds, there can be little doubt that those few patriarchal Christians who are now organising churches are as divided as denominational Christendom in general especially over such things as tongue-speaking and the ordination of women ministers. Some are strictly Trinitarian (most of the American groups) and others hold simper Godhead positions (such as some Patriarchal Messianic Jews and ourselves). Some are neo-Calvinist Puritans and, unlike us and most other patriarchal Christians, despise marital romance (reminding me of the early Mormon polygamists - their influence on Patriarchal Christianity has, not surprisingly, been minimal). Most of these groups, ministries and churches have maintained the traditional perestroika between evangelical Churches though one or two have tried to assert their muscle over the others by disfellowshipping those who do not tread their narrow way. There will always be those who try to gain a special authority over the whole patriarchal Christian movement and which show cultic tendencies. Though this is to be regretted it is hardly surprising. We ourselves have been silently made persona non grata by some of these more radical groups and you will not find us listed on their Links pages even though there are a plethora of non-Christian polygamous sites on them like those of Moslems, Hindus, New Agers, orthodox Jews, and the like.
It has always been the case that those jealous of other ministries will try to exclude and even denigrate others who do not agree with them. One of the better known polygamous groups with cultic tendencies was at one time publically denouncing us as 'cultic' which forced our parent body to defend itself in a rather lengthy article. Wisely, our antagonist eventually removed his hostile articles about us as this was giving us publicity rather than him (reminding me of the way Jehovah's Witnesses mock other Christians) and eventually contented himself in just ignoring what we were doing (the Mormon approach). Many of those in his (now defunct) association were pressured to do the same also and left us off their links pages, a rather childish and sad state of affairs, since we had advertised all the patriarchy sites we knew of for the sake of disseminating information on the subject. To give you an idea of the paranoia and sometimes childishness of the bigger groups, the major cultic group asked not to be linked by its chief rival. Whilst I know the Patriarchal Christian Movement would like to present an image of unity to the world we would be less than honest were we to join in this pretence. And whilst we are not in the business of making the rifts wider than they already are, we owe it to Yahweh and our consciences to be truthful about reality.
Who Are We at HEM?
From the very beginning, HEM was simply a part of a polygyny-promoting ministry for our interests are far, far wider, about which I will speak later. Part of our problem with nearly all Patriarchal Christian ministries and churches is that they are:
Since the majority of Christian and Messianic polygynists are American, they inevitably promote many American cultural values. Though we have been accused of being European chauvanists and snobs by some of the American groups (not all), the truth is that whilst we are located geographically in Europe for the most part (though we have hundreds of friends in Africa, Asia and America) we have never promoted 'European' values (whatever they are) either which in the Western part (and now increasingly in the Eastern part too) are rapidly absorbing the American one-world culture which we believe will be the foundation of the coming antichrist tyranny. Whilst believing in absorbing the best of all cultures (and there is much which is praiseworthy in nearly every one, including American) we are essentially moving in the direction of a millennial theocratic Hebrew-roots culture. In the early days we shared similar ideas with another patriarchal Christian ministry run by Isaac Aluochier called Servants of Yahweh in London, England, but separated from him when he slipped into the Ebionite heresy and rejected Paul. Today the largest Messianic polygamous group, with which we had contact in the early days, has since slipped into serious apostacy in promoting not only several strange doctrines along with latterly accepting the Book of Mormon but also what we regard as a very carnal and vulgar view of marriage.
(a) Building upon already existing denominational structures (which we have sinced moved away from); and
(b) Are simply planting polygyny within their own cultural environments.
What this means in practice is that we are slowly changing our ways by re-examining the cultural expectations and norms of the cultures in which we live and are trying to create a new mini-culture. To some extent this has meant partially withdrawing from the world to allow these new thoughts and practices to take root. Whilst we are by no means trying to restore the kind of culture that existed in the times of the Old Testament patriarchs (which would, in any case, be impossible) we are certainly deriving most of our inspiration from the ancients, and in the case of polygyny, the way they lived domestically. This being our interest and impulse has led us to be richly blessed by Yahweh with modern revelation not only on what He expects of us but also what will be done in the Millennium to come when all nations and their cultures will be subject to the rule of Yah'shua (Jesus). We reject the notion popular with many that the present way of life will basically continue into the Millennium with just an enforcement of the Torah in the legal system. There is to be a complete shaking up of everything, including culture. Most of what we consider 'normal' and 'OK' is scheduled for erradication in the theocratic world to come.
I have therefore noticed, sadly, in many patriarchal Christian ministries, the tendency to see unrighteous patriarchy replace equally obnoxious feminism, and whilst the language of righteous patriarchy is present, the reality tends to be far different. Ignorant of the ancient Hebrew way, many of these men turn into petty tyrants and their women into mute chattels.
It is for this reason that Patriarchal Christianity needs more than a simple restoration of 'patriarchy' - it needs a complete revolution in the Church/Messianic Community itself. It is ultimately useless cleaning up one room in the House of Yahweh (such as restoring patriarchy and polygyny) without cleaning up all the others too. Age-old controversies need resolution on the true nature of the Godhead, the place of the charismatic gifts, women ministers, financial stewardship, the reunification of Judah with Ephraim, and so on. In short, what is actually needed is Yahweh's end-time Church or Messianic Community, for we are on the edge of a precipice right now which is going to see the true saints (set-apart ones) of Yahweh gathered out of all the existing Churches and Messianic Assemblies and into a new one - the end-time Bride of Messiah, with the rest fusing with the Whore Church, a blasphemous One World Religion in which the Roman Catholic Church plays a leading rôle before itself being destroyed by the occultic forces of Antichrist which have manipulated it for their own devilish ends since the beginning. So whilst we believe the work of some polygamy ministries to be vitally important in taking polygyny to the denominations we see this not as a means of converting the denominations (who will with few exceptions reject polygyny) but as a means to awakening Yahweh's true sons and daughters for the final gathering out.
Thus whilst my task here at this ministry is essentially the same as Truth Bearer and others, it is linked to a far wider ministry - more than evangelising for the Saviour (vitally important though that is too) but actually to gather the wheat from the tares, and the sheep from the goats. I belong to the Chavurat Bekorot, which is the ministerial/priesthood arm of New Covenant Assemblies of Yahweh. Which is probably why many patriarchal Christians have been so hostile to us, because we come with a message that is going to upset the 400 year-old status quo with demonstrable power.
Though the restoration of patriarchy and polygyny is a vital part of our work, it does, in many ways, subtend to a far greater calling. And perhaps one of the bitter ironies of our own calling is that the very practice (biblical polygyny) that was supposed to lead to this wider spiritual revolution will be used in the future by some fiercely denominational patriarchal Christians to persecute us! Indeed, we have already had a small taste of it. Once it is understood that the restoration of biblical polygyny is but one facet of our mission it will hopefully be possible that others in the patriarchal Christian movement will better understand us. And whilst we started in Europe for now, we have since become an international movement with congregations in Africa and Asia.
Because of the appalling moral and spiritual degeneracy of the Christian polyagmy movement in the late 1990's and early 2000's, this ministry, disgusted with what it saw, broke all ties and contacts with other polygamous ministries, churches and groups around 2004. This ministry retired, and its website went offline for over a decade, before becoming fully integrated with the Chavurat Bekorot and the nccg.org website in 2016. We now believe the time to be once again ripe to bring forth the true revelation of this principle for those called to it and seeking a holy and beautiful way to live it that will give glory to Christ.