authority, marriage, monogamy No Comments

“Monogamy in the widest sense of the term is that understanding and organization of marriage which defines the married state as consisting of one man and one woman at any given time. Christians and many other peoples add to this the understanding that the one man and one woman enter into the married state intending and promising a life-long union of mutual trust, service, and love. It is a Christian conviction that marriage so understood is the true understanding of marriage which corresponds to the intention of the Creator and which alone will meet the needs of human society” (John H. Rogers Jr., Wycliffe Dictionary of Christian Ethics, p. 430).
Monogamy was taught by Jesus Christ
Jesus’ reply to the Pharisees gives an unequivocal answer to the question, “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?” Jesus stated, “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matt. 19:4-6). Jesus referred to Genesis 2:24. He firmly establishes God’s creative order and design for marriage between one man and one woman for a life-long union (see also Romans 7:1-3). Later, in Matthew 19:9, Jesus would give one ground for divorce, i.e. fornication. But, He firmly establishes the definition of marriage as monogamy.
Monogamy was taught by the Apostle Paul
In Ephesians 5:23-33, Paul writing by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, compares the relationship between Christ and the church using the analogy of marriage. The husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church (v. 23). The church is subject unto Christ even as wives are subject unto their own husbands (v. 24). Christ loved the church and gave himself for it. Husbands are to love their wives with the same intensity and willingness to sacrifice. The Lord nourishes and cherishes the church. Husbands are to nourish and cherish their wives as they would their own bodies. The church is one with Christ. Husbands and wives share a special oneness (v. 31). Monogamy is the only marriage arrangement that fits this analogy.
The Challenge to Monogamy
Whenever a group or nation of people reject the authority of Jesus Christ and the authority of Scripture concerning God’s marriage law, they pervert the sanctity of marriage and introduce forms which God never intended. Some of these forms of marriage that violate God’s authority are: homosexual marriages, polygamous marriages, polyamory (an arrangement in which three or more persons of either sex agree to share one another’s lives, including sexual relationships of various kinds, and bigamy. By destroying the God-ordained design of marriage, these other forms of marriage introduce corruption, instability, peril to children, poverty and liscentiousness. The challenges to monogamy must be resisted for these reasons.
Monogamy is Still the Norm
For most people in this modern world, monogamy is still the norm. This is a testimony to the influence of the authority of Scripture. N.T. Wright argues for monogamy in his book, Scripture and the Authority of God. He does so on the basis that in Jesus Christ, God is working to bring about a new creation. He states, “And within that renewal, the renewal of monogamy, and the invitation to celebrate life-long marriage not only in itself but also as one of the clearest signpost to the creator’s intention for the whole world, stands out clear and sharp” (pp. 194-195). Monogamy stands as a sign of God’s redemption of mankind. Aberrant forms of marriage must give way to God’s design for marriage and the home. God’s authority must be respected and heeded by all people in order to enjoy the fullness of the blessings Christ brings to the world. Jesus came to seek and save that which is lost (Luke 19:10). Redemption involves transformation to a new life guided by the Lord Jesus Christ. All who call Him, Lord, are obligated to obey His commands (Luke 6:46). Monogamy is one of His commands!