Although I am never surprised by the enterprising nature of fallen human nature I am always disappointed when the label 'Christian' is attached to it, but I can live with that since we are all susceptible to Adamic impulses from time to time. We must be charitable and merciful. Where I am less tolerant, however, is where a small section of the Christian Community gets it into their heads that they, and they alone, are the only 'Christians' (sounds a bit like the Mormons, me thinks), and make one or two extra-biblical creeds and doctrinal interpretations as an absolulute test of faith.
A. Sam Chapman
Until recently, Sam Chapman and his site, polygamypage.info, presumably stung by the remarks and exposé of the way in which he, GFMW and TB had deliberately omitted HEM (then known as FICP) from their Links pages whilst including links to Hindu, Muslim, Mormon, Jewish and pagan polygamy sites, decided to go one stage further and add a link with quite a lengthy 'explanation', not to HEM, but to our host page, NCCG.ORG, and to attack us indirectly by association. This is the link and the splurge that followed it:
When people mangle your official name and then put your real name in 'inverted commas' you know immedidiately that they are mocking you and that it is an undisguised attack, especially as they don't take the trouble to heap approbium on other non-Christian sites. Surely something even more hostile is merited by an Orthodox Jewish Polygamy site link which views Jesus as the bastard son of a Roman soldier called Pantera and the virgin Mary? Obviously not ... but then I never could follow the rules of political (um, religious) correctness.
"New Covenant Religious site - the "New Covenant Church of God" practices a very limited version of polygamy, and represents itself as Christian, but suggests a version of eternal marriage and has its own set of books it treats as Scripture, rather than the historic Christian faith as represented in the Bible alone. It is therefore not a purely Biblical faith. It views polygamypage.com as 'hostile' as, for these reasons, we do not accept their claim to be a Christian site. There is, however, plenty of information on the site."
1. "New Covenant Religious Site": there is no such thing on the Web. Calling a Christian Church or Messianic Assembly a 'religion' is a favourite tactic not only by cults like the Jehovah's Witnesses who like to call all other Christian Churches a 'religious racket' but some evangelical Churches who label those who don't agree with their form of Christianity as 'religions' or 'religious'. This verbage is used in a bid to separate 'religious works' from 'true faith in Christ'. Thus a Church which claimed that salvation was through works would be called by them a 'religion', or one that seeks salvation through 'religion' or 'religious works', whereas they, who rely on no works for salvation, are the true 'Christians' because they are 'saved by grace'. The numerous oxymorons aside, we need only to remind ourselves that the word 'religious' has a far wider meaning than the limited one co-opted by these evangelicals, and is even applied to Christians in the Bible (James 1:26-27). Perhaps I should create a link to Chapman's site and call it the "Polygamy 'Thing' Site"?
As the word 'religious' appears only once in the Bible in connection with a non-Christian body when Paul addresses the Athenian phisosophers in the Areopagus, one may with some confidence suppose that the writer, who is biblically minded, had these pagans in mind in some way by simple word association.
Without wishing to get into a debate about 'grace' and 'works' (ironically we probably mostly agree with Sam Chapman on this issue), the point I wish to make is that the label 'New Covenant Religious Site' is so obviously contrived with this mental slurr in mind, for painting NCCG.ORG as a 'religion' it sends a false signal to certain evangelicals that NCCG.ORG believes in salvation by works or by 'religion', which is does not. Why didn't he call his Mormon Church website link the 'Mormon Religious Site' too?
2. "Limited Version of Polygamy: Quite what the author means by this I have no idea. What is a 'limited version of polygamy'? 1½ wives per man? How many 'versions' of polygamy are there? The word 'version' is clearly intended to convey a negative meaning without any sort of explanation as to what is actually meant.
3. "Represents itself as Christian": The arrogance of the man is almost past belief. What is his definition of 'Christian'? What sort of comparisons did he have in mind? The Jehovah's Witnesses, perhaps? We are, of course, left to guess, but with three negative statements in quick succession the author is clearly trying to repesent NCCG.ORG (and therefore by inferece, HEM) as a 'cult'. We are clearly dealing with a polemical or propagandistic exercise.
4. "A Version of Eternal Marriage: This is the first of Chapman's concrete 'beefs' about HEM though again he doesn't explain by 'version' what he means exactly. An article on his site examines this question and was written in response to a rebuttal of mine to an earlier article of his. An even earlier article on this subject no doubt gave him the collywobbles. The problem with Chapman's treatment of the subject of marriage beyond the grave is that he does not understand my position at all and assumes that it contradicts the teachings of Yah'shua (Jesus) to the Sadducees over the Leivate Law incident, which it doesn't, because I'm not talking about that sort of marriage at all. Had I propounded a Mormon doctrine of eternal marriage (which I don't) then he might have had some cause for concern.
5. "Its Own Sets of Books it Treats as Scripture ... rather than the Bible alone": This really is dishonest. NCCG.ORG, like HEM, bases its faith on the Bible alone as its sole rule of faith. See my article, Sola Scriptura?.
Our differences lie in what constitutes 'inspiration' which Chapman does not bother to qualify, probably because he isn't interested to. NCCG.ORG accepts a lot of secondary scriptures which, though it views them as being 'inspired' in a lesser sense to the Bible, does not view them as being infallible. For example, I often come across anti-polygamist Protestants citing the Apocryphal Book of Tobit as an inspired representation of the monoganous ideal in marriage, though without viewing it as canonical or as being verbally inerrant. That is precisely our view. We view the original Hebrew/Aramaic autographs of the Protestant Canon as being verbally inerrant and infallible but all other scriptures of an inspirational content as being conceptually inspired only, to varying degrees.
Yes, we accept other 'writings' other than the Bible (that is what the word 'Scripture' means) but then so does Chapman and every other evangelical Christian when they make the CATHOLIC CREEDS a test of faith. These are extra-biblical statements but if you don't accept them as inspired like the Bible you are automatically marked down as a heretic. The fruits of this evil practice are no more evident than in the tortures and murders throughout the centuries that have been carried out in the name of these extra-biblical credal 'Scriptures'. Not content to let the Bible speak for itself as NCCG.ORG and HEM do, they "add" to the Bible (Revelation 22:18) by mandating acceptance of various Papal creeds. This surely constitutes a gross example of religious hypocrisy.
6. "The Historic Christian Faith": And what on earth is that? And who's history of it? The sects that triumphed historically by political and military might? And if so, which ones? The Catholic Church? The Eastern Orthodox Church? The Armenian Church? The Coptic Church? The Protestant 'Church'? What is "historic" Christianity? And where is this term "historic Christianity" to be found in the Bible?
These are just words churned out of a propaganda machine. The context of them is the Bible. But which Bible? The Protestant Canon? The Catholic Canon (with Apocrypha)? The Ethiopian Coptic Canon? The Eastern Orthodox Canon? What of the Muratorian Canon and all the other Canons that evolved and changed over time?
Please do not misundersand me, I accept the Protestant Canon myself, but I do take exception to people talking about "historic Christianity" as though there was only 'one history'. What Chapman means, of course, is his version of history which just happens to be 'true Christianity' because he and some others believe it to be so.
I suppose it is no accident that Messianic Jewish and Hebraic Christian Polygamy sites are largely absent from his lists ... Ironically, they have the best claim of all to "historic Christianity" for theirs is the closest to New Testament Christianity which the self-acclaimed 'historic Christians' purport to represent. Since both NCCG.ORG and HEM are both Messianic/Hebraic, then perhaps I should turn the tables and substitute Chapman's "Religion" for "New Covenant Religious Site". Fortunately I do not have such tunnel vision of what a 'Christian' is and count anyone who accepts Yah'shua (Jesus Christ) as Lord and Saviour, and who accepts the Protestant Canon as the Word of Elohim (God), as a 'Christian'. A pity that Chapman can't do the same. Don't I remember somewhere Christ saying that the forgiveness of our sins was conditional upon our forgiving the sins of others? And something about beams in eyes and religious hypocrisy? Perhaps I imagined it. Personally I'd rather let Christ make the fine definitions of what a 'Christian' is and get on with my spiritual life.
7. "It is not therefore a purely Biblical faith": I'm not sure what most mathematicians would think of such a summary quad erat demonstrandum but it is an incredibly myopic view of faith. The faith that saves is that which trusts in the salvation of Christ and His teachings. I know plenty of Christians of Chapman's ilk who trust in the teachings of various preachers like Calvin, Luther, Spurgeon, and others, whom they rely on to define their Bible doctrine. Indeed, anyone whom we exercise faith in contributes to the overall scheme of faith that we have. And I freely acknowledge that I have been influenced by all these great men and others besides. The minutae of my faith are coloured by many things, but these aren't the things that save me. Indeed, if we are brutally honest, the 'Bible' doesn't save me at all. It's Who it points me to who saves me. Thus I don't believe that 1 Chronicles 2:42 contributes to my salvation very much, if at all. In truth, it has probably played no part whatsoever in anyone's salvation. And since salvation is what defines whether a person is a Christian/Messianic or not as far as God is concerned, why should anybody be bound up, judged and condemned by a man-made parcel called 'Biblical faith', whatever that means (and every sect and denomination will tell you differently).
All of this is, in the end, useless, pedantic, unspiritual and childish word-fencing. It is denominational egotism, a kind of popery all of its own. Who am I to say whether a person is saved or not because he doesn't lick John Knox's boots or doesn't accept the incomprehensible, unbiblical mumbo-jumbo of a neoplatonic creed cooked up by Catholic bishops whose prime intent was to create politico-religious uniformity (as it happens, Catholic), at all costs (blood cost frequently)?
I hope Mr. Chapman has the courage to defend these words "pure Biblical faith" when he stands before the Judgment Bar, because he is implying that he has it but others don't. And the 'don'ts' are outside the pale of salvation. They're merely 'religionists' going through the motions of salvation, in his eyes. Even the leader of GFMW had the grace to conceed that I was a saved born-again Christian. Perhaps Chapman should take a page out of the book of his mentor.
8. "It views polygamypage.com as 'hostile'": Now there's a revelation for you! Who wouldn't regard such an arrogant summary of NCCG.ORG or HEM as 'hostile'! How would he feel if I declared him outside the pale of "historic Christianity" because he accepts the "once saved, always saved" claptrap? But we mustn't forget the 'historic compromise', must we? Let's not let the Chapmans and others of the Baptist ilk who feign a 'consensus' which such people as Pentecostals tell us that they don't really believe these 'historic Christian brethren' to be 'backslidden' or that they don't secretly fume when Pentecostals imply that they aren't born again because they have not manifested the sign of babbling? Indeed, is one who is not "born again" actually "saved"? But such are politically incorrect questions for those of the "pure Biblical faith" and who follow the correct "history". We must smile hypocritically and pretend these serious issues do not exist which split them. Let us just keep on patching over the old and splitting wineskins of the "one Body".
9. "We do not accept their claim to be a Christian Site": And I don't accept Chapman's claim to be a 'polygamy site' by the same token because he happens not to agree with my 'version' of polygamy. As the Americans would say colloquially, 'Get real!' Frankly I couldn't care less whether he accepts me as a human being or not either since his view of religion is so sectarian and myopic that I wouldn't want anyone to go in his direction for indoctrination.
But I still accept him as a Christian brother even if chooses to fling the title in my face like a wet fish. We should really be pitying him and those of his clan.
10. "There is, however, plenty of information on the site": Well, my goodness me, a word of truth ... and a concession! I suppose there's a lot of material on his site too. So if you like a lot of material, then I most heartily recommend Mr.Chapman's site! And if your lucky, you may be able to print out the mandatory 25 yards of A4 paper that qualifies all web sites as bonda fide 'web pages'. Or so it is rumoured in certain circles ... I think.
Mr. Chapman's website actually has many excellent materials. Indeed, I will go so far as to compliment him for 99% of it and endorse it with my hearty pagan, unchristian, unhistorical and non-biblical 'Amen' (or isn't that allowed either?). I just wish I could endorse the religious tripe that emerged from the body of the same name when it penned the junk about NCCG.ORG ... HEM, and me on his links page. Yah help the Body of Christ.
(1 October 2001)
HEM, and indeed our parent body, has always maintained the position that Yahweh's Word should always be available to mankind free. Of course, printing books can be expensive and in a ministry like ours which has little or no money, distributing books free is not practical, much as we would like to. For these reason we have always, when time and resources have allowed us to do the work, provided all of our materials free on the Internet. We feel it wrong when, for example, one is in desperate need for information for the ministry one is taken to a site where that information is only available at a price - usually by purchasing a book. The materials in these books are without a doubt often quite excellent and I have often read them later and have wished: 'If only I had had that back then!' Accordingly, it has always been the policy of HEM and all the other ministries associated with our parent body - New Covenant Ministries - to make our many thousands of Gospel items free on the net.
Our philosophy has always been that whatever Yahweh gives to us should be made available free so that those who need it can know they can obtain it without having to bring out their checkbooks/chequebooks. Experience with the Third World has brought home the reality of how unfair it is, for example, for a minister in Africa or India, to be expected to fork out many dollars to buy a book, when such a sum would probably feed his family for several months. But then most people in the West who are insulated by the reality of their own surroundings from the outside world simply have no idea what it is to eek out an existence, often with pain in your belly because of hunger, because there is no wealth. I even had a minister tell me that he was close to having to adopt away his children because he could no longer afford to feed them. How can not making life-saving material available free be justified on this basis? I know it arouses righteous indignation in me every time I think about it. Dealing as I do every day with the poverty of Third World countries (HEM once had several polygamous congregations in Africa consisting of 200 souls so we know what we are talking about), the indifferece to the First World to their crying needs breaks my heart. It was for this reason we have always ensured that all our materials are available free at least at one location, and one which the whole world can easily access - the Worldwide Web - whether through personal PCs, libraries, schools or friends.
I accept that printing books is another matter and I personally have no objection to people selling books to make a living if they are in the ministry full-time and have families to support provided that information is available free somewhere. That, at any rate, is the policy of HEM and NCCG.ORG as a whole.
Because we want the information we provide to be disseminated as widely as possible we are also very generous in allowing others to make use of our materials on their own websites. We expect people to write in and ask and in 99.9% of cases we allow them to post ... provided they observe our copyright rules which includes putting in credits and linking to the page(s) used. Because many sites close down or change their URLs regularly (to find the best server deals) it's understandable why many people don't always just want a link - at one time you could go to our original FECPP website and go to the Links section, you would discover that nearly all the links there no longer worked. And sometimes it is very difficult to trace the new URLs, if they are still on-line. I know one of the most frustrating and time-wasting exercises I have had to do - and which in reality I don't have time for - is trying to find the updated links. And sometimes some superb sites are taken down completely and some fantastic material is permanently lost.
B. Imustdecrease's Website
About two years ago I came across a superb polygamy website that systematically dealt with the scripturality of this principle. At that time I was championing another polygamy ministry alongside my own until I discovered that it had cultic tendencies and began to increasingly abuse not only myself but others who were supporting it but who nevertheless did not agree with all its policies and doctrinal interpretations. I wrote a parable in the form of a dream I had about its method to explain why I and many others stopped supporting it. A member of this ministry even tried to prove that my website was a money-making scam, that I was a liar, that the congregation I pastor was a myth, and that I was not even living polygamously. He started probing into my personal life, contacting government agencies, banks, etc., with a view to doing an 'exposé'. Needless to say nothing came of his supposedly 'benign investigation' but the experience was unpleasant to say the least. Worse, the man claimed to be a 'Christian' and did not even bother to ask me first. He simply accepted the gossip and rumour-mongering from the ministry he supports ... and no doubt, especially planted false information ... in faith. Unfortunately for him and the ministry he supports, many have visited our home and my congregation from around the world, and indeed know about my international ministry and family life first-hand.
Of course, exposing cultism is bound to excite some wrath and I make no apology for that. Some of the many articles I have written on the subject can be found on the Cults Page. It is a serious problem that is undermining the cause of biblical patriarchal marriage but which few have dared to tackle for fear of being 'marginalised' by the cultic leaders and their sycophants who are hell-bent on maintaining their squeaky-clean public images.
At the time, 'Imustdecrease' (who asked me a few days ago to take her real name down and substitute a nic) supported the same ministry (whilst maintaining our own ministries and/or webpages) and so nothing happend for nearly two years. Until recently she had her website at www.crosswinds.net/~morality/ppolygamy1.html containing one of the best summaries of the biblical position of polygyny. When I saw that the copyright information encouraged the copying of the material either on hardcopy or electronically provided credits and links were included I realised that this would be an excellent collection of apologist materials both for HEM which as you know has a large readership. The original copyright material read:
Dec. 20, 1999
© 1999 RAM Designs/(name of author);
Permission to use and copy granted,
as long as this copyright remains on the document.
If copying electronically, please link back to this site.
You will notice the wording, "Permission to use and copy granted" which, though not very common, is to be found on some websites, including one other polygamy-accepting ministry based in London, England. I have since asked people to tell me what they understand this copyright statement means and they have all unanimously said that it means anyone seeing this site on-line is automatically, without reference to the author, given permission to copy the material by either printing it out hardcopy or electronically (either on a private PC or on the internet) for either personal use or distribution. This is the unambiguous meaning of the copyright.
On that basis, I copied it over to a sub-site called Krolewice Wives and integrated it into some other materials that had been especially arranging in a format to make the material quickly available to polygamy apologists in chat rooms. Because the author used the KJV and I do not, it was particularly helpful in witnessing to the KJV-Only crowd. I enhanced the presentation and included numerous links to nearly each and every paragraph so that they could be instantly referenced in a chat room by having a copy of the page available on-line. It proved to be a roaring success, stimying the anti-polygamy brow-beaters by giving them unanswerble information almost instantly. And I know the supporters of all the major polygamy ministries used it. It was well used and was instrumental in spreading the word in chat rooms. In the end, it silenced the anti-polygamy rabble-rousers.
Much work was, of course, put into this, and as I type in HTML code directly - not using fancy HTML programs - it took me about a week to arrange the format (links, typeface colours, etc.) the way I wanted. I kept 'Imustdecreas's text separately from my own, and apart from adding a footnote at the end of the material to explain a slightly different historical interpretation, did not modify the words save to put in a footnote number  although no such restriction was stipulated. The material was proceeded by the copyright information on the original homepage and a button (the one which may have brought you here from the Krolewiec Wives apologetics page) with a link to the original site. The author was clearly credited with the material, and that same material was used on the basis of the qualified permission given on the site itself.
I therefore used much time and effort utilising the author's excellent information and work based on her word, never dreaming that a Christian claiming to be a Bible-believer would ever go back on her word.
A few days ago I was asked to remove her name and replace it with a nic, and change the URL and embolden it, which I did. She then changed her mind saying that she wanted all the material removed and simply a link put there. I reminded her of a Christian's obligation to be true to one's word, of all the work I had put into it, the good that had come of it for the Kingdom's sake, and as a matter of courtesy asked if she would honour her original committment by formally granting me permission to retain the material from a legal standpoint, even though I did not need to biblically. For by now she had changed the copyright information to the following:
This Woman Says...; 2000-2003 © 2000-2003 imustdecrease;
Permission to use articles granted for personal use,
as long as this copyright remains on the document.
NOT TO BE REPOSTED TO ANY OTHER SITE without permission.
Now legally she is, of course, entitled to do whatever she wants with her materials, even to breaking her word and changing the rules, for the pagan governments who rule us today, and who make copyright laws, do not care much for honour. When I wrote back and respectfully told her that I was addressing her, as a Bible-believing Christian who fears Yahweh-Elohim and obeys His commandments, that I was holding her to her word and would retain her information on the basis of her original site agreement, I received verbal abuse and threats first by email, and then on her website. Though I subsequently removed the material, having made my point that she was not, in truth, either an honourable or Scripture-respecting Christian, a public statement attacking myself and our parent ministry appeared on her website. Had it not been for that, this response would not be here now. This is what she wrote on her site:
This statement is full of lies and distortions. Never did I either 'take' or 'claim' her material - ever. The agenda becomes clear when she referenced the ministry she supports, with whom I had a similar dispute but which was for the most part resolved. I did not, moreoevr, ever edit her site with the exception of putting in a footnote and correcting some spelling mistakes, something I would hope others using my materials would be kind enough to do too.
A Word of Warning: There is a site 'nc**.org', that has taken this outline, edited the material slightly, against my wishes. Please note that this is my original work and I am shocked that someone would take it and claim it even after I gently asked them not to. The same site also has lifted copyrighted articles (cut-and-paste, even with the same typos!) from TruthBearer.org, and most likely other sites as well. The views and opinions at that site are not necessarily shared by me, nor do I have any affiliation with them -- and for this and other instances of hostility towards practically all honest to goodness Christian polygamy site owners out there -- I am not alone in considering nc**.org a hostile site. Please be wary of him. I've heard this is an epidemic anymore (online - everything is copyrighted unless called 'uncopyrighted' - as a rule!), but many don't obey the rules, and most persons don't have the monetary resources to stop it -- It is stealing!!
She is, of course, perfectly correct about the worldly rules of copyright, which is why I have taken the material down, and for no other reason. But in view of what she said originally, I cannot be accused of being a thief ... neither on the basis of her original copyright (which she changed in 2003) nor on the basis of the biblical revelation of keeping ones word ... nor, incidentally, from the point-of-view of the secular establishment whose rules I have obeyed too.
She actually gave me 24-28 hours notice to take the material down after which she threated to "expose" me on her site (as well as threatening to sue, though later recinding that). Though I took the material down her 'exposé' appeared on her site.
Am I a hostile site? I suppose to many I am. I am sure every Christian/Messianic site is viewed as 'hostile' by those whom they stand up against. Though I don't deny that I call a spade a spade (and reject all the snake-oil talking that some polygamy ministries indulge in), I am fair.
If the writer officially gives me permission based on her 'new' rules to put the material up again - as it was on the original site and without her current updates, with all the appropriate credits - then I will take this article down and the matter will be considered to have been resolved honourably and scripturally. Until then I can only conclude that she is dishonest and doubleminded, about which the New Testament has much to say.
(15 January 2003)
Postscript (2016) - In the end I just wrote a book of my own which goes into far more detail that the material I was asked to take down. This incident serves as an illustration of the mixed morals of the 'polygamy community' in the 1990's and 2000's with its snake-oil merchants and general riffraff. This is why HEM stopped having anything to do with them in 2003 and why, in 2016, we still don't want anything to do with them.