If there isn't one problem in a new movement such as Patriarchal Polygamy (or any other movement of the Spirit for that matter) there's another. Indeed, as we have seen in the restoration of Patriarchy, the movement has already split along three major lines. And one of them has all but fallen, as I predicted it would, and is covering up its failure by supposedly 'acting on a revelation' to 'change direction'. (It is today, in 2016, completely extinct).
Whether in churches or ministries, there is (sadly) constant warfare between the Ruach (Spirit), on the one hand, and the devil and fallen human nature on the other. To this never ending list of spiritual opposition we must add yet another one: CLANNISHNESS.
We have noticed (2001), with some sadness, even within our circle of associates, friends and acquaintances, that there is most definitely a rise in clannishness. To be sure, it is present in the other wings of patriarchy but it really ought not to exist amongst us. One of the recurring comments people used to make to us when they came to our chat rooms, bulletin boards, and email services is how open and welcoming we were. It was therefore a real pleasure to hear people say time and time again how friendly they found our old Chat Rooms.
It is our policy - and indeed it is the recurrent Christian/Messianic theme - that those who are born of the Ruach (Spirit) should include within their love-embrace all people but not all ideas, sentiments and practices. The word 'clannish' means a close and tight association of people within a group (which is wonderful) to the exclusion of outsiders (which is most definitely not). Another word to describe this would be 'cliquish'.
Christ always had time and compassion for all kinds of people. He did not limit His ministry to certain strata or sub-strata of society but reached out to everyone. To whoever was willing to listen to Him He extended a warm welcome even if they may have held views, and did things, out of harmony with the Gospel message which He brought.
There is no doubt that when you sometimes go into various polygamy chats and clubs that you are often politely ignored or frozen out because you aren't a part of the chat/club 'clan' or 'clique'. Many of our people have noticed this treatment. Groups of the clan are so occupied with themselves and their own particular interests that they have no time for 'outsiders'. Needless to say, this is not the Spirit of Christ. I have, furthermore, noticed that this clannish spirit particularly creeps in when the chat or club has, as its defined goal, a non-religious ecumenicism, even if the chat or club founders are themselves Christian/Messianic. Without probably even noticing it, their spirit subtly realligns itself from being Christ-centred to being person-centred.
I seriously wonder if anything can be usefully achieved in Yahweh's eyes when people fall for this neo-humanist trap. Though words like 'God' and certain standards of morality may well persist, the fact is that the Spirit of Christ is not ecumenical. The Spirit of Christ is only for Christ, because Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. The moment you start compromising that narrow and strait path, you are before long walking another road entirely which does not offer eternal life and without a doubt compromises the Truth.
One would have thought Bible-believing Christians/Messianics would have learned the disasterous consequences of the ecumenicism of the 1950's and onwards which has created a movement which at its heart is a kind of religious humanism where all the essential tenets of the faith have been diluted out. The Way of Christ is not the lowest common spiritual denominator of those from many religious traditions ehich is certainly not the path of love. There may be a warm and cosy human 'feel' about such fellowship, and indeed such may have some limited value, but when a Christian/Messianic becomes all-absorbed in such things there cannot be the slightest doubt that in the end the Spirit of Christ will withdraw.
Unless the Spirit of Christ is in control, and unless His Light is displayed in a high place and not hidden under a table as Yah'shua (Jesus) warned us against (Matthew 5:14-16), you will end up with worldliness. Of the two types of problem, we have noticed that groups run by men often go in the direction of #1 and those by women of #2.
- 1. We have watched with alarm a number of such ministries who resemble us. We watched one 'dialogue' with satanists and occultists with the aim of witnessing only to observe the whole spiritual tenor of that ministry drop. The ministry openly compromised with bisexual lesbianism.
- 2. Another, which was a trans-religious (embracing Christians, Messianics, Moslems, Mormons, and others) whilst not compromising in the realm of sexual morality, became discernably clannish. The initial formative group, which was the 'core', became rather exclusive, and whilst new people were always welcomed, it is clear they occupied another - less important to them - fellowship stratum.
The fleshy part of man is very clannish by nature. It feels most comfortable with a small ring of friends because it is only able to control a small number. The spiritual part of man has no such problem since it is controlled by the Spirit of Christ which itself is an allegorical Bridegroom to millions. Thus those of this same Ruach (Spirit) may meet and become the deepest of friends because they share the same Union with Christ. It is an instant thing.
Not so with the flesh. In the fleshy type of friendship you have to tread carefully, taking especial care not to jolt anyone's idols. As a result, you develop a cautious attitude, wear different masks for different people, and compromise the more important aspects of fellowship simply to maintain the 'ecumenical bond'.
In Christ, one does not need to walk in such fear because idols are, by definition, not a part of the Christian's/Messianic's life. And it is the moral duty of every Christian/Messianic to gently and lovingly point out idols in one another and to help them deal with them. Because they are united by the same Ruach (Spirit), this is not a burdensome thing but rather a joy, because they know - or should know - that in dealing with such idols they only serve to deepen the bonds of friendship. That is how the Spirit of Christ is.
But imagine yourself for a moment in a trans-religious fellowship. You can't talk about Christ to a Moslem without fear of offending him for to him the idea that 'God' has a Son is blasphemous. You can't talk about the equality of all believers to a Mormon because of their Priestcraft idol - they are, in any case, looking down on you for your 'apostacy' and are likely only tolerating you because you don't expose this priesthood idol of theirs. You can't talk about the Unity of 'God' to a Hindu who is polytheistic and is in any case an idol-worshipper. So if you have a polygamous fellowship based on such groups you are, inevitably, going to compromise somewhere down the line and, worse, lose the Ruach (Spirit). I have seen it happen.
I have fellowshipped with all kinds of people, including those from the various religious groups mentioned above, and others too. I have treated them as human brothers and sisters. But I have never treated them as saved, nor am I willing to compromise my beliefs, nor (I underline especially) am I willing to be quiet about them 'for the sake of dialogue'. Dialogue between religions is worse than useless - it leads to ecumenicism and to a watering down of the faith. Always. Beware.
I do not believe that any Christian/Messianic who has, as his primary ministry, something of an ecumenical nature can avoid not compromising his faith. Simple logic ought to tell you so. Were I to have a forum for people from different religions or no religion at all talking about polygamy (and there's nothing wrong in this) it would always be a MINOR ministry and subtended to a pure Christian/Messianic witness. Were I to find my time being consumed in the minor ministry to the increasing exclusion of the Christian/Messianic one, I would be alarmed.
I can talk about this quite unashamedly because I discovered some years ago ago that I was spending a disproportionate amount of time on this ministry. And even though this ministry is Christian/Messianic, polygamy is not the Gospel and not even an important facet of it! Hence my article on Gospel Hobbyhorses. As a result I drastically cut back and refocussed on my witness of Christ generally. Another Patriarch, who likewise had a polygamy ministry, realised the same thing and actually decided to close his polygamy ministry down altogether and go and evangelise. At the time I complimented him on his wisdom but I later discovered that the reason he had thus acted was because one of his marriages had failed and he had simply dumped his wife rather than resolve the problem, which had caused some concern in the Christian/Messianic polygamy community. Since then three of the four wives of the leader of a major polygamy ministry were abandoned by him, he having been very public about it (to the point of giving TV interviews and writing books boasting about his success). This was followed by an 'announcement' that he was closing the ministry - not because his own marriages had been a total failure (nothing of which was ever spoken) - but because 'God' had led him to do 'something else' ... which all along had been the 'plan'. He proceeded to deflect attention away from his own failure by attacking the 'polygamy meat-market', using the 'good cop, bad cop' ploy.
How much more dangerous, therefore, if you are involved in, say, promoting polygamy without a specifically Christian/Messianic thrust, and that occupies your time completely! Do you see the enormous potential dangers there? I have seen this happen to one ministry but I don't think they have yet seen it themselves. In fact, I am pretty sure they haven't - hence this friendly warning.
Actually, I have come close, more than once, to shutting down this ministry altogether because of the unhealthy interest that people were showing in polygamy (the majority are into it for all the wrong reasons), and the only reason I was persuaded to keep it going was because it would otherwise leave the polygamy field to the macho-patriarchs and the matri-patriarchs. But if the truth be known, I would rather be evangelising for Christ without reference to polygamy at all. (I did, in the end, close the ministry down in 2003 for many reasons, this one included).
For those with other ministries, clubs, bulletin boards, and the like, I hope this article will come as a gentle reminder to you to get your priorities focussed. If you are focussed in the wrong way, you will be neglecting important stewardships - your primary witness of Christ, your family, your friends in Christ, and doubtless other things too. Look carefully - you may be unpleasantly surprised by what you find.
Finally, a warning to husbands who, because they love their wives and the freedom which comes in Christ, may have given their wives too much freedom to the point that they are coming from under your patriarchal mantle: the female spirit has a tendency to wander off if not carefully and lovingly guided. That is why man has been given headship. And this is particularly dangerous in polygamy where women can band together and, perhaps without even realising, exploit that freedom to the point of weakening the bond that gives them that freedom in the first place. I have seen it happen, even with my own wives, and have had to 'reel them in' every once in a while.
I end with a timely reminder of just what wives are for. They are to be a help-meet to the man in his ministry and were not called to start ministrues of their own unless he is supervising and guiding. And if he is doing the latter, he must make sure that what they are doing is in line with the Gospel witness.
Women - especially the unspiritual ones - are talkers and gossippers by nature, and are expert time-wasters. Every patriarch is not only the head of his own home, but the head of his own ministry. He is a witness of Christ, and his wives are his co-witnesses. If wives are running off managing social clubs and gossipping their lives away, they are not only failing to do what Christ called to them to do but the ultimate responsibility is the husband's, for it is he who will ultimately be brought to account.
I have particularly noticed how susceptible women are to the Internet where whole lives can be consumed in cyberspace. (And I am not saying the men don't waste time on this medium either, because they do). But I have noticed how it can so very often become an escape from the real world.
Be honest - do you really believe that the Internet is going to be an essential social ingredient in the Millennial World? I am not saying it does not have its uses now, but what I am saying is that it can so very easily take over our lives if we aren't careful. As a medium it allows us to avoid the kind of intimate social contact that comes in gace-to-face Christian/Messianic fellowship because we are able to hide away from people we don't want to talk to, especially those who may have a Word from Yahweh about a wayward condition that is destroying them. We can put them on 'Ignore' or change our ID and email address if they bother us. Clearly this is not how the local fellowship works where people are meeting face-to-face on a daily basis and where real life issues have to be confronted honestly and dealt with. Cyberspace is NOT a substitute for the Church of God / Assembly of Yahweh. Indeed, it is very uneconomical. Whereas, for example, women in a work cooperative can labour together and often socialise simultaneously, when you are stuck in front of a screen and a keyboard you are pretty much restricted from doing anything else.
The other day I told my wives that we as a family were wasting too much valuable time on-line and needed to reassess our priorities. I saved some of their chats to show them the hours of drivvel that they were mostly talking, the waste of money that it was (in those days we used expensive dial-up modems), and how other domestic responsibilities were being neglected. And I noticed how much valuable sleep I was losing because of this medium and its adverse effect on my health.
It is time for us to stop-check and find out what we are really doing. For some, I know, the Internet is the only contact they have with the outside world, but I would like to suggest that maybe what is happening sometimes is that it is stopping us from meeting with the outside world of real flesh-and-blood people. And though we may well bring people to Christ thorough it (as I and others have done) you cannot build the Church (Messianic Community) with it. It is a powerful tool but with a very, very limited end.
My wives and I started a couple of Internet Clubs a few weeks ago (2001) and noticed what a drain of time and energy they were, especially with the club members seemingly expecting us to do most of the work. We have begun to cut back on them and to reprioritise our time. We are realising just how far behind we have fallen in almost every area of our lives. (We permanently closed them all down in 2003).
So watch out, brethren and sisters!