Bassam Zawadi, at the conclusion of this rebuttal (*), stated:
Its also ironic to mention that no where in the Bible is polygamy condemned. Readthis.
Zawadi links to Osama Abdallah's paper (*) regarding what the Holy Bible says about polygyny (having multiple wives).
We addressed most of Zawadi's points here: 1, 2, 3, 4.
Lord Jesus willing, we will address his specific paper in the near future. In the meantime, we thought it would be worth addressing the points raised by Osama Abdallah, especially when he challenged Jochen Katz to refute this paper (*). In this way, we will be able to expose some of Osama's blatant distortions.
As is his habit, Osama goes into his typical rant regarding the Bible being corrupt, Paul not being reliable etc., all of which we will simply ignore. We will try to address the main points of his paper that actually deal with the issue of polygyny.
Polygyny and the OT Scriptures
In the perfect environment, in a world free from sin and rebellion, God deliberately designed it so that a man would be united to one woman and that together they would become one flesh:
"Then the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him. So out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his WIFE, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed." Genesis 2:18-25
Polygyny wasnt introduced until after sin and rebellion entered the world, thereby destroying Gods perfect order of things:
" Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The LORD said to Cain, Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it. Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Then the LORD said to Cain, Where is Abel your brother? He said, I do not know; am I my brother's keeper? And the LORD said, What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying to me from the ground. And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth. Cain said to the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me. Then the LORD said to him, Not so! If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD put a mark on Cain, lest any who found him should attack him. Then Cain went away from the presence of the LORD and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. When he built a city, he called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch. To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad fathered Mehujael, and Mehujael fathered Methushael, and Methushael fathered Lamech. And Lamech took two wives. The name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. Adah bore Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. His brother's name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe. Zillah also bore Tubal-cain; he was the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron. The sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah. Lamech said to his wives: Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; you wives of Lamech, listen to what I say: I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for striking me. If Cain's revenge is sevenfold, then Lamech's is seventy-sevenfold." Genesis 4:2b-24
Note that it is the cursed line of Cain, specifically a murderer from his seed, that introduced polygyny! This in itself demonstrates that polygyny is not something which springs forth from the prescriptive will of God, but from the rebellious and sinful heart of man.
This fallen condition of man also explains why God permitted polygyny for a time being; in fact, it is the very reason why God also allowed for divorce:
"And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife? He answered them, What did Moses command you? They said, Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away. And Jesus said to them, Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment." Mark 10:2-5
God expressly proclaims his utter hatred for divorce:
"For I hate divorce, says the LORD, the God of Israel, and him who covers his garment with wrong, says the LORD of hosts. So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously." Malachi 2:16
Jesus comments reiterate the point that Gods intention from the beginning was for man to be united with one woman and that the two should live in perfect harmony without ever severing their intimate union. This was all destroyed as a result of the fall of man. Yet God who is in rich in mercy, love and patience, allowed man to continue violating his ideal standard for marriage until the advent of Christ and the New Testament dispensation. More on this in the next section.
Jesus and Polygyny
Osama boldly claims that:
There is not a single verse from the New Testament that prohibits polygamy. Christians usually mistakenly present the following verses from the Bible to prove that polygamy in the New Testament is not allowed:
After citing Matthew 19:1-9, Osama says:
In the above verses, we see that Jesus was approached with a question about whether or not it is allowed for a man to divorce his wife in Matthew 19:3. Jesus immediately referred to the Old Testament for the answer in Matthew 19:4. He referred to Adam and Eve, one man and one woman. The Old Testament does talk about the story of Adam and Eve as one husband and one wife. However, the Old Testament which Jesus had referred to in Matthew 19:3 does allow polygamy.
Also, when a man becomes a one flesh with his wife in Matthew 19:5-6, this doesn't mean that the man can't be one flesh with another woman. He can be one flesh with his first wife, and one flesh with his second wife, and one flesh with his third wife and so on....
We first quote the entire chapter so as to show the readers what Osama conveniently overlooked:
"Now when Jesus had finished these sayings, he went away from Galilee and entered the region of Judea beyond the Jordan; and large crowds followed him, and he healed them there. And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause? He answered, Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the TWO shall become ONE flesh"? So they are no longer TWO but ONE flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder. They said to him, Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away? He said to them, For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery." Matthew 19:1-9
Osama chooses not to see the plain meaning of Jesus words that marital union exists between two persons, male and female, not three or more.
Moreover, it is not a coincidence that Jesus deliberately appealed to the beginning of creation, specifically quoting Genesis 1:27 and 2:24, in order to demonstrate Gods original design and intention for marriage. What Christ was communicating through his appeal to these specific texts is that the pre-fallen world, where conditions were perfect, reveals that Gods purpose for man was that he should live with one wife in perfect and inseparable union.(1) As noted Bible expositor, the late John Gill, put it:
And he answered and said unto them
Not by replying directly to the question, but by referring them to the original creation of man, and to the first institution of marriage, previous to the law of Moses;
have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning, made
them male and female?
This may be read in (Genesis 1:27) and from thence this sense of things collected; that God, who in the beginning of time, or of the creation, as Mark expresses it, made all things, the heavens, and the earth, and all that is therein, and particularly "man", as the Vulgate Latin, and Munster's Hebrew Gospel supply it here, made the first parents of mankind, male and female; not male and females, but one male, and one female; first, one male, and then, of him one female, who, upon her creation, was brought and married to him; so that in this original constitution, no provision was made for divorce, or polygamy. Adam could not marry more wives than one, nor could he put away Eve for every cause, and marry another: now either the Pharisees had read this account, or they had not; if they had not, they were guilty of great negligence and sloth; if they had, they either understood it or not; if they did not understand it, it was greatly to their reproach, who pretended to great knowledge of the Scriptures, and to be able to explain them to others; and if they did understand it, there was no need for this question, which therefore must be put with an evil design. (Source; underline emphasis ours)
Jamieson, Fausset, Brown write:
5. And said, For this cause--to follow out this divine appointment.
shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?--Jesus here sends them back to the original constitution of man as one pair, a male and a female; to their marriage, as such, by divine appointment; and to the purpose of God, expressed by the sacred historian, that in all time one man and one woman should by marriage become one flesh--so to continue as long as both are in the flesh. This being God's constitution, let not man break it up by causeless divorces. (Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible; source)
Indeed, Christ came to restore these pre-fall conditions, being sent from heaven to regenerate man and the world to Gods ideal standard and design:
"And Jesus said to them, Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." Matthew 19:28
"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience." Romans 8:18-25
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." 2 Corinthians 5:17
In fact, the book of Revelation culminates with the restoration of Gods perfect garden on earth, the Paradise of Eden, which man lost due to the fall:
"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. And he who was seated on the throne said, Behold, I am making all things new. Also he said, Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." Revelation 21:1-5
"Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever." Revelation 22:1-5
What this basically demonstrates is that Christians who live under the teachings of Christ seek to conform themselves to Gods pre-fall standards, trying to implement the same perfect conditions all over the world as much as they can until Christ returns to transform creation. As such, Christians are supposed to model their marriage after the pattern set by God before the fall where one man marries one woman.(2)
The late Adam Clarke, another renowned Bible exegete, stated it best:
Made them male and female
Merely through the design of matrimonial union, that the earth might be thus peopled. To answer a case of conscience, a man should act as Christ does here; pay no regard to that which the corruption of manners has introduced into Divine ordinances, but go back to the original will, purpose, and institution of God. Christ will never accommodate his morality to the times, nor to the inclinations of men. What was done at the beginning is what God judged most worthy of his glory, most profitable for man, and most suitable to nature. (The Adam Clarke Commentary; source; underline emphasis ours)
In light of this, it should come as no surprise that Paul gives the following instructions to believers seeking to get married:
"Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman. But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have HIS OWN WIFE and each woman HER OWN HUSBAND. The husband should give to HIS WIFE her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to HER HUSBAND. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control." 1 Corinthians 7:1-5
This is a rather explicit statement which limits a man to only one spouse. Note the structure:
If Osama and company wish to say that Paul is not limiting a man to have only one wife then they must also reason that his statements do not limit a woman to marry only one husband either. If a man can have more than one wife according to this text, then by the same token a woman can have more than one spouse. Yet we know that Paul does not allow a woman to have more than one spouse at the same time:
"Or do you not know, brothers--for I am speaking to those who know the law--that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? Thus a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress." Romans 7:1-3
Thus, the grammatical structure of 1 Corinthians 7 clearly limits both the man and the woman to only one spouse at a time. There is no way to get around this exegetically.
Adam Clarke wrote:
Let every man have his own wife
Let every man have one woman, his own; and every woman one man, her own. Here, plurality of wives and husbands is most strictly forbidden; and they are commanded to marry for the purpose of procreating children.
In the Jewish constitutions there are some things not only curious, but useful, respecting marriage. "There are four causes which induce men to marry: 1. Impure desire; 2. To get riches; 3. To become honourable; 4. For the glory of God. Those who marry through the first motive beget wicked and rebellious children. Those who marry for the sake of riches have the curse of leaving them to others. Those who marry for the sake of aggrandizing their family, their families shall be diminished. Those who marry to promote the glory of God, their children shall be holy, and by them shall the true Church be increased." (The Adam Clarke Commentary; source; underline emphasis ours)
Another expositor says:
But because of fornications, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband.
Christianity is opposed to polygamy, concubinage, divorce and all related evils. Also, there is implicit in this verse a practical condemnation of celibacy. Celibacy being an absolutely unattainable state for the vast majority of mankind, marriage is required as the only practical alternative. (James Burton Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament; source)
The late Albert Barnes noted that:
Let every man, etc. Let the marriage vow be honoured by all.
Have his own wife. And one wife, to whom he shall be faithful. Polygamy is unlawful under the gospel; and divorce is unlawful. Let every man and woman, therefore, honour the institution of God, and avoid the evils of illicit indulgence. (Barnes' Notes on the New Testament; source)
Osama then cites Matthew 22:23-32 and claims that:
To further prove this point, let us look at the following from the New Testament:
In Matthew 22:24-28, the Jews referred to Deuteronomy 25:5 from the Old Testament where it states that if a woman's husband dies, and she didn't have any kids from him, then she must marry his brother regardless whether he had a wife or not. When the Jews brought this situation up to Jesus in Matthew 22:24-28, Jesus did not prohibit at all for the childless widow to marry her husband's brother (even if he were married). Instead, Jesus replied to them by saying that we do not marry in heaven, and we will be like angels in heaven (Matthew 22:30).
So in other words, if Jesus allowed for a widow to marry her former husband's brother even if he were married, then this negates the Christians' claim about the Bible prohibiting polygamy. A man can be one flesh with more than one woman. In the case of Matthew 22:24-28, the man can be one flesh with his wife, and one flesh with his deceased brother's wife. Also keep in mind that Exodus 21:10 allows a man to marry an infinite amount of women, and Deuteronomy 21:15 allows a man to marry more than one wife.
This is rather an intriguing argument, especially when the point of the text has nothing to do with whether a person who is married is permitted to marry his brothers widow if he dies childless. Rather, the context shows that the Sadducees were trying to use this Mosaic command to confound Jesus regarding the resurrection of the dead, something which they did not personally believe in:
"The same day Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection, and they asked him a question, saying, Teacher, Moses said, "If a man dies having no children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up children for his brother." Now there were seven brothers among us. The first married and died, and having no children left his wife to his brother. So too the second and third, down to the seventh. After them all, the woman died. In the resurrection, therefore, of the seven, whose wife will she be? For they all had her. But Jesus answered them, You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God: "I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob"? He is not God of the dead, but of the living. And when the crowd heard it, they were astonished at his teaching." Matthew 22:23-33
Second, it is true that during the Old Testament dispensation a person was required to marry his brothers widow in the case he died childless, even if he happened to be married, in order to procure a child for his deceased sibling.
In the NT dispensation, however, a person who is already married cannot espouse his brothers widow. According to NT teaching, a person is free to remarry after his/her spouse has died, since the union between a husband and a wife is severed upon the death of one or both spouses; and once in eternity those formerly married couples will relate to one another solely as brothers and sisters in the Lord:
"And Jesus said to them, The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection." Luke 20:34-36
In other words, God accepts death as a valid dissolution of the marital union (the other being marital unfaithfulness [cf. Matthew 5:31-32; 19:7-9]), allowing for the widowed to remarry so long as it is to a fellow believer:
"A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord." 1 Corinthians 7:39 cf. Romans 7:1-3
Jesus Parable and Osamas Perverted Mind
Osama takes one of Jesus parables and distorts it to mean something else entirely. He writes:
4- My interpretation in point #3 above is perfectly valid when one looks at the Bible's verses in both the New and Old Testaments that condone polygamy. The most suitable one I can give you here is the one where Jesus used the bridegroom (1 man) and his 10 virgins (5 became his wives and slept with him) parable! See section #4 below for the details. Now how is this parable supposed to prohibit polygamy if it's truly against GOD Almighty's Will?!
And then claims:
4-Jesus' parable allows polygamy between 1 man (the bridegroom) and 10 virgins (5 became his wives and slept with him)!
Before we begin, interestingly, Jesus said this parable (that contained polygamy in it) to a society that practiced polygamy. Jesus obviously saw no problem in their polygamy practice!
Let us look atMatthew 25:1-13 from the NIV Bible:
According to Jesus' parable, the bridegroom married 5 of the ten virgins! It seems also that Jesus in this parable really allowed for all women to be naked in one room with their one husband. THIS IS INDEED VERY SICK!!! Polygamy is allowed in Islam, but it is forbidden for the man to share the room with more than one wife at a time:
'Abd al-Rahman, the son of Abu Sa'id al-Khudri, reported from his father: The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said:"A man should not see the private parts of another man, and a woman should not see the private parts of another woman, and a man should not lie with another man under one covering, and a woman should not lie with another woman under one covering. (Translation of Sahih Muslim, The Book of Menstruation (Kitab Al-Haid), Book 003, Number 0667)"
But anyway, Jesus in his parable clearly and irrefutably allowed polygamy.
He then says:
5-Wouldn't Jesus' parable be absolutely pointless if polygamy was forbidden?
It truly takes a special person like Osama Abdallah to see sex in a parable which is focusing on a specific point, namely, a warning to Christians to always be prepared for Christs return lest he come and throw them out of his kingdom for failing to be spiritually ready for him! This is what is actually very sick and perverse, and only exposes how twisted and perverted Osama really is. The Holy Bible says of such a person:
"To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled." Titus 1:15
As a result of his sick, demented mind it doesnt surprise us that Osama actually thinks that the bridegroom married five of the ten virgins, and assumes from this that Jesus was permitting sexual orgies between a husband and his multiple wives!
Had Osama bothered consulting some commentaries he would have discovered that it was common in those days for a bridegroom to be greeted by the virgin maidens of the town as he prepared to meet his bride. Upon arriving, the bride would take his spouse and celebrate with their families and friends for at least seven days. Note what the commentaries say at this point:
Which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. The lamps used on such occasions were rather torches or flamebeaux. They were made by winding rags around pieces of iron or earthenware, sometimes hollowed so as to contain oil, and fastened to handles of wood. These torches were dipped in oil, and gave a large light. Marriage ceremonies in the East were conducted with great pomp and Solemnity. The ceremony of marriage was performed commonly in the open air, on the banks of a stream. Both the bridegroom and bride were attended by friends; they were escorted in a palanquin, carried by four or more persons. After the ceremony of marriage succeeded a feast of seven days if the bride was a virgin, or three days if she was a widow. This feast was celebrated in her father's house. At the end of that time the bridegroom conducted the bride, with great pomp and splendour, to his own home. This was done in the evening, or at night, Jeremiah 7:34; 25:10; 33:11. Many friends and relations attended them; and besides those who went with them from the house of the bride, there was another company that came out from the house of the bridegroom to meet them, and welcome them. These were probably female friends and relatives of the bridegroom, who went out to welcome him and his new companion to their home. These are the virgins mentioned in this parable. Not knowing precisely the time when the procession would come, they probably went out early, and waited by the way till they should see indications of its approach. In the celebration of marriages in the East at the present day, many of the peculiar customs of ancient times are observed. At a Hindoo marriage, says a modern missionary, "the procession of which I saw some years ago, the bridegroom came from a distance, and the bride lived at Serampore, to which place the bridegroom was to come by water. After waiting two or three hours, at length, near midnight, it was announced, in the very words of Scripture, 'Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.' All the persons employed now lighted their lamps, and ran with them in their hands to fill up their stations in the procession; some of them had lost their lights, and were unprepared, but it was then too late to seek them, and the cavalcade moved forward to the house of the bride; at which place the company entered a large and splendidly illuminated area, before the house, covered with an awning, where a great multitude of friends, dressed in their best apparel, were seated upon mats. The bridegroom was carried in the arms of a friend, and placed in a superb seat in the midst of the company, where he sat a short time, and then went into the house, the door of which was immediately shut, and guarded by sepoys. I and others expostulated with the door-keepers, but in vain. Never was I so struck with our Lord's beautiful parable as at this moment--'And the door was shut.'"
The journal of one of the American missionaries in Greece contains an account of an Armenian wedding which she attended; and, after describing the dresses and previous ceremonies, she says, that at twelve o'clock at night, precisely, the cry was made by some of the attendants, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; and immediately five or six men set off to meet him
Verse 10. Went in with him to the marriage. The marriage feast. The marriage ceremony took place before the bride left her father's house; but a feast was given at the house of her husband, and which was also called the marriage, or a part of the marriage solemnities. This part of the parable doubtless represents the entrance of those who are ready, or prepared, into the kingdom of God, when the Son of man shall come. They will be ready who repent of their sins; who believe on the Lord Jesus; who live a holy life; and who wait for his coming. See Mark 16:16; John 5:24; Acts 3:19; Revelation 22:11; 2 Peter 3:11,12; 1 Timothy 6:17-19; 2 Timothy 4:6-8.
The door was shut. No more could be admitted to the marriage feast. So, when the truly righteous shall all be received into heaven, it will be closed against all others. There will be no room for preparation afterwards, Revelation 22:11; Ecclesiastes 11:3; 9:10; Matthew 25:46. (Barnes' Notes on the New Testament; source)
1. (1) Ten virgins go out to meet a bridegroom at a wedding.
"Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom."
a. Then the kingdom of heaven: Matthew 24 ended with a parable meant to emphasize the idea of readiness for our master's return. Matthew 25 begins with another parable emphasizing the same principle.
b. To ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom: There were three stages to a Jewish wedding in that day. The first was engagement - a formal agreement made by the fathers. The second was betrothal - the ceremony where mutual promises are made. The third was marriage - approximately one year later when the bridegroom came at an unexpected time for his bride.
c. Went to meet the bridegroom: In this parable, the first two stages have already taken place. Now the wedding party (the ten virgins) await the coming of the bridegroom for his bride.
i. Why does Jesus describe ten virgins? Talmudic authorities affirm that there were usually ten lamps in a bridal procession.
(David Guzik's Commentaries on the Bible; source)
Thus, the parable has nothing to do with the groom sleeping with the virgins who greeted him but is merely relaying the point that the maidens had to be ready to attend the wedding celebration of the groom and his bride. Osama could have saved himself so much embarrassment had he bothered to take the time to consult some commentaries.
Pauls Instructions Regarding Bishops and Deacons
Osama responds to an email that cited 1 Timothy 3:2 and 12 where Paul commanded that those being considered for the offices of bishop and deacon must have only one wife. Osama admits that Paul is limiting a bishop and deacon to only one spouse but denies that this applies to everyone. In fact, he actually believes that this instruction proves his point that the NT allows for polygyny!
In fact if anything, they prove my point about polygamy being allowed in the Bible for the ordinary! Here we clearly see Paul indirectly addressing the practice of polygamy among the "believers", and he only prohibited it to the religious leaders so that perhaps they can have better time and dedication for the church. A man with 10 wives would be too busy for anything and everything.
Have polygamy been reallyprohibited by Jesus, Paul would not have told his religious leaders to not practice it!!
Paul would not have seen the need for it! It's like him telling them and only them: "Do not worship idols!" That would be a ridiculous request to make on an issue that is crystal clear among the believers. And it would be even more ridiculous if he requested it only from a select few.
The fact that Paul prohibited polygamyonly on a select few proves that it is allowed for the general public!
In order to expose Osamas logic (or lack thereof) all we need to do is simply quote the context:
"The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil. Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus." 1 Timothy 3:1-13
If Osamas reasoning were valid this would mean that the rest of Pauls instructions apply only to bishops and deacons, and that the rest of the Christians were free in these matters. Thus, not only does this suggest that Paul was permitting Christians to have more than one wife, he was also allowing them to engage or adopt the following practices and qualities:
The reader can see that Paul wasnt limiting these qualifications to the bishops and deacons. Rather, Pauls purpose in giving these instructions was to encourage the leaders of the Church to serve as examples and model in themselves the very qualities and characteristics that all Christians must have and seek to strive for. As Christian philosopher and apologist Glenn Miller puts it:
3. There is another, more general argument expressed in the New Testament, concerning the example of godly leaders.
It is clear (as the questioner notes) that those in Church government/leadership are to be monogamous (the 'husband of one wife' clause shows up in both statements of elder/deacon qualifications: 1 Tim 3.2 and Titus 1.6).
But these leaders are told to be examples to the flock, and the believers are told to follow the example of the apostles, disciples, and leaders. [Phil 3.17; 4.9; 1 Thess 1.6,7; 2 Thess 3.7,9; 1 Tim 4.12; Tit 2.7; 1 Pet 5.3; 1 Cor 4.6; 1 Cor 11.1]
Therefore, in the absence of other NT instruction, ALL believers are to emulate the purity and scripturally-mandated characteristics of our elders--including the monogamous one (2nd in each list!).
In fact, one measure of the 'godliness' of a widow, worthy of welfare support from scarce church funds, was that she be a "wife of one husband" (the exact same phrase turned around)--I Timothy 5.9. The reference to polyandry shows that monogamy was important for general believers as well. (Good question... Is polygamy allowed by the New Testament?; source)
In other words, the believers were to emulate the godliness of their leaders by striving to live in a similar manner to them, which means that they were to also follow their example in having only one spouse.
In fact, had Osama bothered to actually read this epistle he would have discovered the following instructions given to widows:
"Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband, and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work." 1 Timothy 5:9-10
One of the requirements that Paul says a widow must have in order for the Church to provide support for her is that she was married to one husband. This proves that Pauls demand for monogamy wasnt merely for the leaders of the Church. Hence, what Osama thought was an argument in his favor turns out to be one of the stronger refutations of his false allegations!
Besides, we already saw that Paul in 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 expressly commanded monogamy for all believers.
So much for Osamas article.
Osama also mentioned Matthew 5:17-18 to prove that Jesus confirmed the OT permissibility of polygyny. To see what this passage actually means, and how it provides absolutely no support for Osamas distortions, we recommend the following articles:
(1) The Quran agrees with this point since it expressly states that Allah created one spouse, not several spouses, for Adam:
And We said, 'Adam, dwell thou, and thy wife, in the Garden, and eat thereof easefully where you desire; but draw not nigh this tree, lest you be evildoers.' S. 2:34 Arberry
O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam), and from him (Adam) He created his wife [Hawwa (Eve)], and from them both He created many men and women and fear Allah through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship). Surely, Allah is Ever an All Watcher over you. S. 4:1 Hilali-Khan
O Adam, inherit, thou and thy wife, the Garden, and eat of where you will, but come not nigh this tree, lest you be of the evildoers.' S. 7:19 Arberry
It is He Who has created you from a single person (Adam), and (then) He has created from him his wife [Hawwa (Eve)], in order that he might enjoy the pleasure of living with her. When he had sexual relation with her, she became pregnant and she carried it about lightly. Then when it became heavy, they both invoked Allah, their Lord (saying): "If You give us a Salih (good in every aspect) child, we shall indeed be among the grateful." S. 7:189 Hilali-Khan
He created you (all) from a single person (Adam); then made from him his wife [Hawwa' (Eve)] S. 39:6 Hilali-Khan
Thus, even the author Quran could see that in the ideal environment Allahs will for a man was to have one wife.
(2) There will be one main difference, however, in the age to come. When Christ comes to restore the world there will no longer be any marriages between believers except for the marriage that takes place between Christ and his Church, which consists of all the redeemed of the Lord:
"I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him." 2 Corinthians 11:2
"'Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.' (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) Then the angel said to me, 'Write: "Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!"' And he added, 'These are the true words of God.'" Revelation 19:7-9
"One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, 'Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.' And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb." Revelation 21:9-14
In other words, the only one who will be marrying at this time is the Lord Jesus, as he marries the body of believers. Yet this marriage will not be sexual in nature, but purely spiritual, with the intimacy coming from the joy and love that believers will experience as they fellowship with their resurrected and immortal Lord:
"I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." Psalm 16:8-11
"For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit," Romans 14:17
"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.'" Revelation 21:1-4
This was forwarded to me via email by Bassam Zawadi. It can also be found in Osama Abdallah’s current “response” to my rebuttal: http://answering-christianity.com/bible_polygamy_rebuttal.htm
Zawadi claims that my response is rather weak:
I would have to say that Shamoun's argument regarding the deacons being with one wife and the rest should take them as examples is weak.
As we shall see here, the reason why Zawadi thought my response was weak is because he failed to understand my arguments since he has a very difficult time comprehending what he reads.
He goes on to say:
Read 1 Corinthians 7:7-8 in which Paul clearly states that he wishes men were single like him and that it is good to stay unmarried like him. Also in Philippians 4:9, Paul told his people to put into practice what ever they saw from him. So it’s also possible that this includes his celibacy since they saw that from him.
How convenient of Zawadi to ignore 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 where Paul clearly mentions that each man should have his own wife much like each woman should have her own husband.
As per Paul’s statement regarding celibacy here is what he actually says:
“Now as A CONCESSION, NOT A COMMAND, I say this. I WISH that all were as I myself am. But each has HIS OWN GIFT from God, one of one kind and one of another. To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” 1 Corinthians 7:6-9
Note that Zawadi also conveniently omitted verse 6 from his discussion which is crucial for understanding the context of Paul’s statement. Paul clearly stated that celibacy was a gift which God gave to some, not all, which explains why the blessed Apostle didn’t require everyone to be celibate. The Lord Jesus taught something similar since this is what he said regarding celibacy:
“The disciples said to him, ‘If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.’ But he said to them, ‘Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.’” Matthew 19:10-12
Jesus says that there will be individuals who will make themselves eunuchs, or celibate, for the sake of God, in perfect agreement with what Paul wrote. And, much like what Paul said, Jesus’ comments presuppose that not everyone will be able to receive this since not everyone is called to a life of celibacy.
Hence, the foregoing clearly shows that celibacy wasn’t one of his practices which Paul expected fellow believers to emulate.
We will now present the specific contexts where Paul exhorted believers to follow his example in order to get a better understating of what the blessed Apostle was really saying:
“‘All things are lawful, but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience. For ‘the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.’ If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience. But if someone says to you, ‘This has been offered in sacrifice,’ then do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience— I do not mean your conscience, but his. For why should my liberty be determined by someone else’s conscience? If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks? So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved. Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 10:23-33, 11:1
In this passage Paul was telling the Corinthians to follow his example of not seeking their own good, but the good of others. Paul was instructing the believers not to use the freedoms they have in Christ selfishly or in such a manner as to unnecessarily offend others, whether fellow Christians or unbelievers. Paul wanted them to live in such a way as to seek the benefit of others with the intention of winning unbelievers to Christ and/or strengthening the faith of those who were already in the faith.
Paul got this from the Lord Jesus:
when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John. And Jesus
called them to him and said to them,
“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:1-8
Paul was simply putting into practice the example and teachings of the risen Lord Jesus himself.
Here is the other passage that Zawadi alluded to:
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:4-13
Paul was encouraging fellow believers to adopt his attitude in facing trials and sufferings. What makes this rather amazing is that Paul wrote these instructions while he was imprisoned for the proclamation of the Gospel!
“It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel… I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of rivalry, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. Philippians 1:7, 12-20
Paul was once again practicing the very things he was preaching to others, namely, endure sufferings for the sake of Christ with gladness trusting that God will strengthen and comfort believers in their darkest moments.
As we can see, neither passage is commanding Christians to imitate Paul in every aspect and detail of his life, i.e. the way he dressed, the way he slept, the way he bathed, what he ate etc. Rather, this is the path of Muslims like Zawadi who try to imitate the pattern of their prophet even to very minute details.
Paul also says in 1 Cor 11:1 that we should follow his example just as he followed the example of Christ and both of them were unmarried. So this shows that remaining unmarried is a very big possibility as to what is meant here. Therefore he was asking people to take his example.
Correction. Jesus is not unmarried but engaged to his bride to be, the Church:
“Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, ‘Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.’” Matthew 9:14-15
Jesus identifies himself as the Bridegroom who would soon be taken away, i.e. he would return to heaven from where he came.
“John answered, ‘A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, “I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.” The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.’” John 3:27-30
Here, John is the friend and Jesus is the Bridegroom. Finally:
I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:2 – cf. Ephesians 5:22-33; Revelation 19:7-9; 21:1-2, 9-14
What makes this rather intriguing is that I even mentioned Jesus being married to his Church in my very rebuttal! This again proves that Zawadi really has a difficult time comprehending anything that he reads.
Finally, in his haste to prove that polygamy is permissible Zawadi overlooked the fact that these examples which he presents end up backfiring against him. Notice that Jesus and Paul both speak of monogamy and celibacy, but never once mention polygamy. It is rather strange that neither Jesus nor Paul ever spoke of the permissibility of polygamy when they had so much to say about marriage and sexual immorality. It is obvious why they never bothered mentioning it since they were clearly against this practice, as their explicit teachings on monogamy being God’s ideal for marriage emphatically attests.
Zawadi further says:
Now, no where is it said that it is compulsory to follow the example of the deacons in all regards just as Shamoun might argue that it is not meant to follow Paul and Jesus in all regards. This is Shamoun's personal exegesis in which he has offered no objective and strong proof for. Plus, if the person is forced to follow the deacon even in the way he is married then that means that it is compulsory for the person to be married. Since the deacon should be married to one wife. But then Shamoun is going to argue back that the marriage is optional and not compulsory even though the text makes it sound that way. It appears to me that Christians like Shamoun like to interpret the scripture as they please. Plus when I see Christians are being encouraged to be like over seers in 1 Peter 5, I see what is being emphasized is the fact that they shouldn’t be greedy and love to serve the lord. Nothing about marriage there.
For some strange reason, Zawadi chose to harp on deacons when my article focused on the qualifications that both the bishops and deacons are required to have in order to assume these specific offices.
Moreover, Zawadi is guilty of a false analogy since the characteristics which bishops and deacons must possess are qualities which all believers must share in common.
According to 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:5-14, bishops and deacons must have the following characteristics:
Able to teach.
Gentle not violent.
Not lovers of money.
Manage their households well and keep children submissive.
Now we ask the readers to bear with us as we cite various passages to see if whether these are qualities which all Christians are commanded to have:
“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:9-21
“I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.” 1 Corinthians 5:9-11
do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the
“But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” Ephesians 5:3-5
“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5:18-20
“Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” Colossians 3:18-21
“The women likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things.” 1 Timothy 3:11
“Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses… As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.” 1 Timothy 6:6-12, 17-19
“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth,” 2 Timothy 2:24-25
“But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands,(I) that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. Slaves are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.” Titus 2:1-10
“Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.” Titus 3:1-2
“Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:1-5
“The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.” 1 Peter 4:7-9
In light of all of these common characteristics that bishops-deacons share with their fellow believers Zawadi wants us to actually believe that monogamy is not one of them! Zawadi wants his readers to assume that the common believer can have multiple wives whereas those in leadership must have only one spouse. This is despite the fact that Paul clearly prescribes monogamy in 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 for both the men and women, irrespective of their position within the Church.
However, it should be pointed out that Paul was not demanding that bishops and deacons be married in order to take office. What Paul was saying is that if they are married then it must be to one spouse, yet a person who is given the gift of celibacy can also assume these positions if he is led by the Lord. This is the same situation with those who are not in a position of leadership, e.g. Christians can either choose celibacy or marriage. What Paul does not permit is for the leaders and the members of the Church to be espoused to more than one person at the same time.
To state this in another way, whereas a person can forego marriage if s/he so chooses, since this is an option given to believers by Christ and his beloved Apostle, one cannot have more than one spouse at the same time since this is expressly forbidden by both the Lord Jesus and the blessed Paul.
It seems like this website has refuted Shamoun's argument regarding the beacons. http://www.patriarchywebsite.com/polygamy/poly-obj-qa2.htm
Actually, these Christians refute almost all of the arguments against polygamy in the Bible http://www.patriarchywebsite.com/polygamy/
and so does this site http://www.biblicalpolygamy.com/exegesis/adultery/
For the responses to the arguments set forth in the above links we recommend the following articles:
Rebuttals to Answering-Christianity
Further articles by Sam Shamoun
Answering Islam Home Page