The recent quarantine has allowed me to read through several books that have been waiting on a valuable asset… namely, time! To the chagrin of many of some of my regular readers, I continue to read and research how Christianity violated Scripture, and especially the Torah, by embracing the Greco-Roman ideal of monogamy as the only viable and legitimate form of marriage. The evidence continues to pile up and I can firmly and unequivocally state that there is NO Biblical defense for monogamy-only as some Godly or Creation ‘ideal.’
Following are three very solid, well researched, and clearly articulated books that deal with the subject of marriage from three different perspectives. My hope is you will be brave enough to dig in to the topic and find out what God’s Word really says and what Christian history actually supports…
The Biblical Case Against Polygyny and a Biblical Response Kindle Edition
Dr. William Luck, Sr., well qualified professor of Church history, apologetics, and Christian ethics, has bravely distinguished himself as a voice of truth over tradition in the area of Biblical Law and marriage. His first book, Divorce and Re-marriage, Recovering a Biblical View, now in its 3rd Edition, was a proverbial shot across the bow of much Christian tradition, particularly in his 14th appendix titled, The Morality of Biblical Polygyny. In the Introduction, he famously states, “God didn’t ask me my opinion about the issue. He expected me to represent His. I’ve tried. If you can prove I’m mistaken, I’ll be the first to thank you. But I’m not holding my breath in the meanwhile.”
Once he recognized, embraced, and published what God’s Word actually says on the topic of marriage, he found himself to be the lightning rod at the center of a brewing debate regarding tradition v. truth. To his everlasting credit and no small amount of righteousness, he not only stood his ground, but doubled down by directly addressing and interacting with the works of other theologians who used misdirection, logical fallacies, inconsistent hermeneutics, and scholastic sleight of hand to defend the traditional Christian position.
This handy and meaty volume, The Biblical Case Against Polygyny and a Biblical Response is one of several well researched and articulated offers by Dr. Luck. In it, he addresses and refutes the arguments of such notables as Dr. Richard M. Davidson (Flame of Yahweh), Dr. Gordon P. Hugenberger (Marriage as a Covenant: Biblical Law and Ethics as Developed from Malachi), and Dr. David Instone-Brewer (Divorce and Remarriage in the Bible; The Social and Literary Context) as well as several chapters that address particular issues or unknown authors.
Having studied this topic for nearly six years, I found myself highlighting and taking notes in multiple places where Luck revealed yet another truth that I had missed in my studies.
Anyone who chooses to adhere to the traditional Christian position of monogamy-only must interact with and demonstrate error on the part of Dr. Luck, a very tall order. I highly recommend this book for anyone studying the topic of marriage, particularly if they are going to try to defend monogamy-only as their position. (As a side note, if you are really interested in what the Bible says regarding divorce and re-marriage, read Dr. Luck’s book on the topic linked above.)
A History and Philosophy of Marriage, Polygamy and Monogamy Compared
For some time, I have had a free pdf version of this excellent book by James Campbell, originally published in 1869, listed among the resources on my Biblical Marriage page. I was very excited when, at a recent marriage conference, I found that Patriarch Publishing House had decided to put the book back in print. A highlighted and searchable electronic copy is nice, but holding a hardcopy that can outlast a power outage is very nice.
Beautifully bound and presented, this volume is filled with quotable material from his thorough study into the census and statistical information of 1860’s Massachusetts, history of both polygyny and monogamy from both Greco-Romanism and Biblical perspectives, and his arguments from natural law. As with many scholars both before and after him in our Biblical Marriage resources, Campbell has done his homework and then dared to share the truth at risk of persecution and personal loss.
Much value to this volume, not the least of which is his position between 16th and 17th century revival of interest in polygyny and the various practitioners of the 20th and 21st centuries. Frankly, God always has a remnant of those who seek truth and Campbell was one valuable such person in his generation. I recommend you download the free copy and invest in a hardcopy.
After Polygamy Was Made A sin; The Social History of Christian Polygamy
British Intelligence Officer and college professor, John Cairncross, found an eighteenth-century treatise in defense of monogamy in a Paris bookstore in the 1950s. After a second reading his curiosity was piqued as to what precipitated the work. What he discovered over twenty years of detailed research into the history of Christian polygyny is that there has always been a remnant of practitioners and defenders, many paying with their lives (e.g., Ochino).
Originally published in 1974 and out of print for some time, this is a hard volume to acquire, but well worth the effort. Occasionally available from Patriarch Publishing House, Cairncross’ work is an in depth and insightful look into the history and practice of polygyny among various Christian groups and places through the 15th to 20th centuries. One value of his work is the very real picture he paints -good, bad, and ugly- of historical practice. Most importantly, he is clear as to the heavy handed persecution Christianity metes out to any who dare violate traditional marriage.
One valuable aspect of Cairncross’ work is the veritable goldmine of sources and information from the 16-18th centuries as the polygyny v monogamy debate raged in Christendom. He does not delve into the Biblical defense of polygyny leaving that to better qualified men, but his pursuit of historical perspective and honest evaluation of the events in different eras is unparalleled and reads in places like an abbreviated novel. I recommend this book as filler material and supporting documentation for the thread of polygyny through the course of Christian history. It is also valuable as a warning concerning what the Church may do when their cherished Golden Calves are torn down and ground to dust theologically.
All three books, among the many others in our resources page, are worthy of your consideration and study. I do recommend, foundationally, that you grapple with the theological works first to have a solid Biblical understanding of the issues and the supporting Scriptures before delving into natural law, philosophy or history.
Blessings on your journey to more and deeper truth!!