Christian/Messianic polygynists who have tried to share the simple truths of what they believe and practice do, at some time, encounter fellow Christians of the monogamy-only camp who behave in what to them is a most unchristian way. We all bear our scars from such encounters.
Yesterday I was talking to a 23-year youth pastor from a charismatic church who is on fire for the Lord and has a heart for lost people. He was counselling a young married man who, though he still loved his wife, had fallen in love with another woman as well and was having a major guilt-trip. As the youth pastor was, in fact, misrepresenting the Scriptures, I felt duty-bound to point out that the young man had, from a Scriptural point-of-view, not sinned since the second woman in question was not married.
You can, I am sure, picture what followed next. For the next ten minutes a very angry youth pastor questioned whether I actually believed in the Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), whether I had heard of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit), and if I knew what spiritual rebirth was all about. As I answered in the affirmative to all questions, he became more and more agitated, and asked if I knew about Satan and demons. Having once again answered calmly and politely in the affirmative, I then pointed out that I was twice his age, a Pastor, and a deliverance minister, so I knew a lot about Satan and his dark forces. Finally, when I told him I had three wives, he went completely crazy.
I urged him to calm down and to discuss the matter soberly with me, and reminded him that he had accused me of some pretty awful sins and that I had a right to give a defence of myself. I presented a number of scriptures from the New Testament and from the Old that show that Yahweh's marriage laws never change. But instead of listening to me, he started praying hard, asking the Lord to drive Satan out of me, to keep him unspotted from blasphemy and heresy, so that he could not hear my words. He commanded the Lord to bind my tongue in Jesus' Name but when nothing happened, I gently pointed out that what he was doing was blaspheming the Word and so his prayer would not be answered. I waited patiently whilst he went into what he believed to be praise but which was, in actual fact, merely the cry of a desperately confused and blind person who did not wish to even remotely consider whether he was right or wrong.
An older and calmer evangelist who was with him pointed out one or two passages in Scripture which had nothing to do with the subject (the usual "one flesh" argument) which I patiently explained in their proper context. When the evangelist failed to move me in his brief moment of collected calm, he also began to launch out into an outright attack, joining the youth pastor in commanding the demons out of me. Needless to say, nothing happened to me, but the two men became progressively more hysterical until the youth pastor, unable to deal with the contradiction in terms of spiritual realities that lay in front of him, turned around and fled out of the room, to be followed by the evangelist.
The young man whom he had been counselling looked thoroughly shocked to see two Christian ministers seized by paranoia and one polygamist minister sitting down calmly holding his Bible open. Since this was their meeting place I did not feel it right to impose on the counsellee but waited for the two men to return.
The two men eventually returned and were clearly trying to repress their by now totally disordered feelings. They tried, first, to ignore me, but when they found me politely chatting to the counsellee they grew concerned about his welfare at the hands of a lusty, demon-filled polygamist and so felt bound to step in. The counsellee was not now much in the mood for discussing his own problem and so remained silent. I once again pointed out the relevent scriptures and asked them if they believed that God was 'lusty and demon-filled' for associating Himself with polygamy as the allegorical husband of Jerusalem and Samaria. The youth pastor's face flushed with anger but he did not speak this time. Finally, he said that he had the Holy Spirit and could discern truth from error as his last defence. My reply completely unseated him:
The youth pastor stared at me blankly with his mouth wide open - it was simply too much for him to handle. I left him the address of my homepage, and asked him, when he was a bit calmer, to take a look at the biblical evidence in more detail sometime. He asked me why he should bother to look at some cultic page and I replied that it was purely biblical. He did not answer. And since the conversation dried up, and there was no longer any possibility of building a bridge (since I was the 'demonised luster'), I decided to leave, thanking them for their time and attention.
"If the Holy Spirit in you is making you teach doctrines and practices that contradict the Word of God, then it cannot be the "Holy Spirit" - and if it isn't the Holy Spirit, it must either be your own flesh or demons, mustn't it?"
We do, of course, have happier experiences with monogamy-only Christians, but alas such encounters with this youth pastor are all too common. Many fellow polygamists ask me in exasperation what they need to do since no amount of love, consideration, or calm biblical exposition seems to make the least bit of difference.
We, of course, have to first pray for them and keep being gentle, respectful, and loving whilst standing firmly on what the Bible teaches. There are basically three areas in which those of the monogamy-only camp lack:
That a born-again Christian who is alive in Christ and on fire for the Word should have a demon problem is unthinkable for most Christians. It is well-known, of course, that Christians are under constant attack and temptations from Satan and demons, but the thought that Christians may be under the influence of deceiving spirits themselves some find preposterous. And yet the Word contradicts such vain-confidence - e.g. 2 Timothy 4:1-4:
And what is perhaps even more shocking for the monogamy-only camp is that their doctrine is actually demon-inspired! (see The Fate of the Anti-Polygamist for further details).
"In the presence of Elohim (God) and of Messiah Yah'shua (Christ Jesus), who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage-with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths" (2 Timothy 4:1-4, NIV).
When you are dealing with a demonic block, then there are recognisable symptoms as any deliverance minister will tell you. Many monogamy-only Christians will sit quietly with you and look at Scripture. They may be sceptical and even a little emotional at times but basically they are able to look at the issue calmly. Such a person is not to be compared with the youth pastor described above who without a doubt had a major demon problem without actually knowing it. You will find that such is more common amongst those who rely more on what the 'Spirit' is saying to them than the Bible, for such persons are immediately setting themselves up for counterfeit spiritual manifestations. The Ruach Elohim or Spirit of God never contradicts the Word of Elohim (God). Ever! The trouble with such a Christian approach is that it is usually rooted in other false doctrines not related to the polygamy debate at all, namely, that a person, upon profession of faith is immediately Spirit-filled and therefore constantly under Yahweh's guidance. Clearly such passages as 2 Timothy 4:1-4 contradict such a notion. I have met many so-called "spirit-filled" persons who teach absolute nonsense because they trust in their feelings (which they mistake for the Ruach haQodesh/Holy Spirit) more than they do the Scriptures. It is for this reason that the Scriptures were given, to prevent us from wandering off the path of truth and into the realms of biblically disjunctive speculation and fantasy.
To say that the teaching of a man who marries more than one woman simultaneously is a doctrine of demons with all that that implies, is false, because forbidding someone to marry (i.e. insisting on celibacy) means, in biblical terminology, denying not only monogamy but also polygamy, since no difference between the two is ever maintained in Scripture. The issue, then, is not just one of ignorance because of a lack of proper biblical education or inherited false 'Christian' traditions, but one of the invisible powers of evil. Yahweh and Yah'shua (Jesus) would never associate themselves allegorically with a sinful practice. To say that they would is tantamount to blasphemy.
The blindness of the Churches regarding the truth of polygamy is as much to do with ignorance as it is with demonic powers. There is no escaping from that. The degree of demonic oppression will vary from individual to individual, but it is nonetheless there:
"Now the Spirit expressly says that in the latter times some will depart from the faith by giving head to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, through the pretensions of liars whose consciences are seared, who FORBID MARRIAGE and enjoin abstinence from certain foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if its is received with thanksgiving; for then it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer" (1 Timothy 4:1-4).
Polygamy, because it is biblical marriage, is good, because it is ordained of Yahweh for those called into it. But for someone from the monogamy-only camp to understand this does require patient biblical instruction by someone at peace with his own soul who knows his way around the Scriptures and knows what the receptor languages actually say. Our English-language translations inevitably reflect the biases of the translators especially when several possible meanings can be given to a word. This is one reason why members of the King James-Only Version Cult, who believe that the KJV Bible is the only correct and infallible version will almost never come to the truth of biblical polygyny. They are under the control of a cultic, demonic spirit which wishes to blind them from the truth by making them believe in the word of translators (who never claimed to make a perfect translation) rather than the original writers in their native Hebrew or Aramaic.
Another blockage to the truth of polygamy is denominationalism which often binds its members to man-made articles of faith that deny polygamy. This is even worse in those cultic churches which claim to be the "one and only true church" teaching the infallible truth through their leaders. The Catholic institution and the Jehovah's Witnesses, who are rabidly monogamy-only, spring immediately to mind. Denominations can, and do, change, though very rarely, and for the most part you will find that those who are converted to the biblical truth about polygamy are forced out of their denominational churches and into independent, non-denominational congregations or house churches where the true spirit of the early Reformers may be found. Any church or organisation that makes the Word of Elohim (God) out to be untruthful by synodical pronouncement binding on their people is itself demonically-led to some degree and which, through its membership covenants, places the same curse on its people unless the church itself repents and repeals the demonically-inspired clause(s) in its constitution, manifesto, confession, or articles of faith.
It is no accident, therefore, that I believe Patriarchal Christianity is being restored at this time when, according to my belief, the very universal Church of God or Assembly of Yahweh is itself being purged preparatory to the final division of the wheat from the tares. I believe that division is in the process and that polygyny, along with a number of other vitally important doctrines and practices (see, for example, the Ephraimite Page and the Pagan Infiltration of Christianity), is a part of that winnowing process.
I will say, quite frankly, that what we face when it comes to monogamy-only adherence, is outright spiritual warfare. What is important, however, is the way in which we conduct that warfare. For if we do not exhibit charity, patience, and long-suffering as commanded by the Master in our attempts to break down these demonic strongholds, we will end up pushing fellow believers more into the enemy camp than ever before. Needless to say, a heavy responsbility falls upon the shoulders of Patriarchal Christians, for we are reminded in scripture, are we not, of the fateful consequences of putting stumbling blocks before our Heavenly Father's children. Though polygamy per se is in no sense a stumbling block, it may become such to those not called into it who feel pressured into it by careless witnessing on our part, and also if it is presented in an uncharitable, forceful spirit. Like all truth, it must be obtained by attraction, not compulsion. And those who would try to force polygamy on the monogamy-only people are only exacerbating the problem by making them more defensive and resistant. Unpleasant though it may be, we must be prepared to become punching bags until those under bondage realise that their hostility is often empowered by the enemy they themselves are ironically at war with. Then, when the moment of truth and liberation comes, they will thank and bless you.
To do this successfully requires tact, skill, diplomacy and knowing when to withdraw. Never view withdrawl as admission of defeat - you can always come back again to prove that you have not fled! But when you are dealing with an enraged and confused person as I was with the youth pastor, withdrawl is absolutely necessary. The Ruach (Spirit) must guide in this instance. "A person convinced against his will remains unconvinced still". Once you have sown the scriptural seeds, it is up to Yahweh to do the rest. You may have to replant if the seed is choked out by a stubborn and rebellious heart, but the actual sprouting and growth of the truth is under divine and not human mediation. Demonic strongholds often take time to dismantle. Sometimes you can easily blast holes in their walls, sometimes you must dismantle brick by brick, sometimes you must chizzel, and at other times you must use sandpaper! It is the Ruach (Spirit) which will guide you as to which tool to use, and when.