|My Datooga friend, Danieli, drinking honey beer out of a cow's horn|
With that in mind, I returned the next day to speak with Pastor Israeli about his particular situation. I thought it most beneficial to rehearse Bible principles first; thus, we discussed passages like Matthew 19 and 1 Corinthians 7, in order to clarify what both Paul and the Lord wrote concerning the marriage issue. After this, it was fairly simple to answer the following two questions. Just how does a polygamous family serve in the church? If they have repented of their sin and have done what is required of him from the Scriptures so that they have a conscience void of offense both before God and man, then there is nothing to keep them from serving the Lord in any capacity in the church, except as an ordained minister or deacon (having fallen short of some of the qualifications listed in 1 Timothy 3).
|Two of Danieli's three wives|
Therefore, the lone question which remained was whether or not the husband should come to church with both wives. My question to him was, "If there was a man in your church who had divorced and remarried before getting his life right with God, would it be appropriate for him to leave his wife at home?" He agreed that that would not be appropriate. "In light of that", I continued, "you have three people in a very difficult situation who need, more than anything, to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). What else would you have them do if not sit under your teaching at your church?" He agreed that church was the best place for people to be in order to grow in both grace and knowledge.
"What about participation in the Lord's supper?" he inquisitively asked?
"What about it?" I retorted.
"Should he participate, or not?" he continued.
"What does 1 Corinthians 11 say? Does he have unconfessed sin in his life?" I responded
"I suppose not." he concluded
|I was getting a pic with one of Danieli's kids when another lady jumped in|
We reached the end of our discussion. I could tell he was thankful to walk away with renewed confidence in the Bible. I was thankful that he had indeed placed that confidence in God's Word and not in mine! For the truth is, missionaries come and go, but two things will always be there--polygamy in the Church and solutions in God's Word.
[For a more extensive reading of my thoughts on this particular polygamous situation, please read the follow-up post entitled: Polygamy--Strange and Estranged}