There are few Christians/Messianics who are conscious of the way standards have been eroded over the last century who would dispute that there is a need to teach standards of behaviour along with the simple message of salvation. Good behaviour should, of course, be part and parcel of the program of church (assembly) discipling though as we know it is sorely lacking in many quarters.
As the West descends more and more into paganism, so the end-time church (messianic community) is going to be confronted with very similar problems to those of the New Testament Church (Messianic Community) in its work amongst the gentiles. There will always be converts who have not left their pagan ways behind them and who believe they can simply put on the clothes of Christianity without making any substantial effort to change their behaviour from within. Speaking of the last days, the apostle Paul warned us what to expect of end-time man:
To change such a person coming from such a cultural background takes time. Repentance does not simply consist of making a general confession of sin and accepting Christ as Lord and Saviour, but in working on a daily basis on every aspect of fallen carnal nature. We cannot make the same assumptions about people coming to Christ in the 21st century as we did in the middle of the last - people are no longer brought up with the kind of standards that are expected of the biblical Christian/Messianic. Secularised though the 1950's were, there was still a very strong Christian ethic in the mentality of the people. That is now no longer the case. Whereas half a century ago might have been said to be neo-Christian, today it is unquestionably neo-pagan. The world has changed enormously.
"... all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of Elohim (God), violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of Elohim (God), that those who practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them" (Romans 1:29-32, NKJV)
Today we are meeting Christians/Messianics who are still walking in a pagan mindset. Worse, they are coming to Christian/Messianic Patriarchy and Polygamy, which in most cases demands high standards, and presenting themselves as candidates for this lifestyle. That in itself is troubling enough. But what is more troubling still is seeing the rise of polygamy ministries whose standards are decidely lower than ours and who compromise, to differing extents, with worldly values. And let us remember also that there will always be "haters of Yahweh (who) would pretend submission to Him" (Psalm 81:15, NKJV) in order to enter the polygamous lifestyle, people who will, as a result, not only sow much misery in a lifestyle they are totally unfitted for, but who will at the same time bring a bad reputation to Christian/Messianic polygamy generally.
There are people of all kinds who come to this ministry asking for help in entering this lifestyle and my answer to them is that unless they are of leadership material or who are already Christian or Messianic Pastors or Elders of known good standing that we cannot help them. For Yahweh's very clear revelation to me is that at this time (2001) the only ones called into polygamy are Pastors and Elders. The Deacons will be called later, and then finally it will be open to the lay membership. (Obviously this excludes those already living polygamy, as in our African congregations, who then convert to Christ and embrace this mission). And the reason for this pattern is to ensure that the spiritually strongest pathfind the way to live this lifestyle which brings glory and honour to Christ. It does not exist for ourselves. (This restriction principally applies to those cultures like the West where there is no tradition of polygamy).
Unfortunately many polygamy ministries have just swung the doors widely open and invited all and sundry, including the spiritual riff-raff, to help themselves irrespective of their lack of spiritual qualifications. The result has been a wild scramble by unredeemed men to grab all the women they can find, often riding roughshod over all the basic principles and truths of the Gospel. For many, polygamy has become just another fad to engage the carnal appetites ... another means to acquire possessions. And as a result, one of the most holiest principles there is has become degraded into little more than a low standard meat-market.
It is written: "Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people's sins; keep yourself pure" (1 Timothy 5:22-23, NKJV). A call to polygamy is a also call to the ministry, and no-one is to be called to the ministry hasitily or presumptuously (by the laying on of hands). Moreover, no-one is called to the ministry by themselves, but by Yahweh. And if Yahweh has called them, they will bring forth the fruits of that calling. And one of the fruits of such a calling is that everyone - ministers included - is to make themselves accountable.
The first sign of priestcraft and unrighteous dominion occurs when a person places themselves above accountability. Nobody, no matter how 'high' or 'entitled' (as they suppose), can say that they are accountable to Yahweh, and to Yahweh alone. True, we may find ourselves in extraordinary circumstances where we are completely alone and must trust in Yahweh alone to measure us, but where there are other believers, and in particular, other believers who have the same or similar office as we do, then no matter who we may think we are we are to place ourselves under accountability. I recently wrote an article about this.
An ugly trend has set in amoungst some patriarchs outside this ministry, reflecting a spirit of worldliness and dishonour, which needs to be exposed and corrected. For there are some who believe that a woman, who has become engaged or dedicated to be married, is 'fair game' until she has actually slept with and consummated her marriage to her husband-to-be. Such a spirit is both reprehensible and disrespectful. When a woman has made a committment, that is what she has done, and she does not want other suitors pursuing her. If she subsequently breaks off an engagement or dedication, that is a different matter. There are many who do not think that betrothal is binding marriage either and who still feel free to pursue - such is the spirit of adultery and is to be vigorously condemned in no uncertain terms. Though such persons may argue that this is not their belief (per pro the teachings of some other polygamy ministries), I hereby give notice than anyone pursuing an engaged/dedicated or betrothed Chavurat Bekorot bride will be instantaneously disfellowshipped and turned over to the buffertings of Satan (1 Peter 2:20, KJV).
Anybody walking with the Spirit of Christ should know of these things but evidently there are those who do not. As a minister I consider it my duty and calling to protect any woman who has been dedicated or betrothed against such wolves and will rebuke and take action against such dishonourable rogues without compunction. Sadly, there are those naming the Name of Christ and within the patriarchy movement who have no such conscience, living in defilement of the spirits, with whom we at this ministry can have no fellowship. When a woman places herself under a man's protection, no matter at what stage (dedication, betrothal, or full marriage), she is sending a clear signal that she no longer wishes to be pursued by other men. By pursuing her, these men are intimating that her dedication is insincere and shallow, and are indirectly challenging her moral integrity. Shame on them! Furthermore, if a single woman says she does not want to be courted by an individual Christian or generally, it should be a matter of decency and honour that they desist forthwith. But to purse a Christian/Messianic woman already committed to marriage is to reveal nothing less than a devil at work.
We do not welcome immoral suitors in this ministry
There are different standards of behaviour within the Christian/Messianic Patriarchal Movement. This essay serves notice of such to those who may be examining it and have perhaps been baffled or disappointed by some of the lower standards of other ministries. I can only speak for the standards of this ministry which we try to maintain on a high plateau. There are many who view the laws of marriage through Mosaic eyes when, under the normative if somewhat primitive conditions that obtained two or more thousand years ago, a man could take a woman of a captive nation by force to wife. The New Covenant of Christ operates on a far superior level, completing and bringing to fulfilment both the shadows and types of the Old Covenant as well as superceeding some of the compromises made with fallen nature (e.g. in the area of divorce, the laws of which Christ tightened up considerably).
The whole of the thinking and practice of this ministry revolves around one central paradigm, viz. the mystical marriage of Christ to His Bride, the Church (Messianic Community). This means that all marriage is viewed by us through this lens, the lens which concludes the Bible and points us to the Grand Consummation of mortality and the hope of the better world to come. The deficiencies of the Law of Moses do not concern us. We are not held in our relationship to Christ by a whip but by the attraction of divine love. Evidently this is something many would-be patriarchs have still not learned.
The spirit of adultery for me is one of the most obnoxious and evil spirits that I know, next only in its seriousness to the spirit of murder, and one which I oppose with fierce indignation. It is viewed by Yahweh as punishable by death, and whilst we no longer execute adulterers in the New Covenant, we most certainly throw them out of our assemblies or disfellowship them from our ministries without hesitation:
"Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers Elohim (God) will judge. Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have" (Hebrews 13:4-5, NKJV)