With many thanks to Pastor Daniel Eshun and his excellent book, How Did Polygamy Become a Sin?, I need a new highlighter!
As my journey of research and discovery continues, I am finding more and more articulate voices crying from the wilderness pleading for any who claim the Bible as their guide for faith and practice to reevaluate the Western Greco-Roman influenced understanding of marriage. Daniel Eshun, lecturer and pastor in Ghana, Africa, is one such exceptionally articulate voice.
Eshun’s research of the topic of polygamy (technically, polygyny, a man with more than one woman) began because if his desire to understand the reasons why Western Christian missionaries to Africa demanded that polygynous men cast out all but their first wives in order to be baptized when Scripture praised multiple polygynous patriarchs.
Once he began to dig the overwhelming evidence, both from Scripture and history, is that ‘traditional marriage’ as taught by Eurocentric Christianity is actually rooted in Roman law and paganism. He further reveals and exposes the great damage to men, women, families, and society (particularly the African continent and culture) caused by the false monogamy-only doctrine.
Eshun’s book and research are valuable particularly in understanding how cultural interpretations of Scripture can be faulty and can cause great damage, particularly when applied with a heavy hand as was done by Western missionaries in Africa. His citation of many pastors and bishops from both sides of the issue as well as both native African and Western missionary voices clearly demonstrate the cultural nature of the monogamy-only doctrine. Especially refreshing were the cases cited of very successful and Spirit-filled African Bishops and pastors who had multiple wives. In some cases, those Bishops were far more successful and representative of the Gospel than counterparts who advocated for or even enforced monogamy-only.
While a very fast read at 172 pages, I have highlights and notes on nearly every page!! Eshun’s style is quite dense with more meat than can be processed in a single sitting. I’ll be going back to this book again and again, particularly as a means of how to construct and assemble many details and relevant facts. His greatest contribution to the growing body of books exploring and calling for open discussion of what Scripture actually says about marriage is the very detailed accounting of African history and the devastating effects of Western Roman marriage had on the continent.
I strongly recommend reading How Did Polygamy Become a Sin? and processing the implications of his research, particularly the fact that monogamy-only is not a Biblical concept, but rather a Greco-Roman concept extrapolated from their law and paganism and imported into Christianity by the ‘church fathers.’