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Response to Rev. Jesse Gibson e-mail (Part III) on the Topic: “There Is No Partiality With God” (Part V)

Posted on January 13, 2015 at 2:59 PM Comments comments (0)
As I discussed in Parts I & II in my response to Rev. Jesse Gibson’s concern, I argued that because every culture has a flaw due to our sinful nature from Adam and Eve, God cares for every wedding, whether it be African or Western style. However, He does not approve the ones that do not represent His nature. In this Journal, I’ll summarize some of the marriages performed among the patriarchs,  King David and his son, Solomon, and a careful look at the Edenic marriage─the true standard of a Christian marriage.

An Overview of some of the Patriarchs and Kings’ Weddings

In my examination of the Scriptures, weddings in the days of the patriarchs were culturally-oriented.  Abraham paid Sarah's dowry (aka—"also known as") the bride price. Isaac’s wife's dowry was paid, and Jacob had two wives and two concubines.  He paid the dowries for his wives (Leah and Rachel) through servitude to their father, Laban, for many years (Gen 29:16-30). Furthermore, the kings of Israel used the dowry system. David had many wives. This was imitated by his son, Solomon, who had 700 wives and 300 concubines. These marriages were accepted within their culture. The truth is, marriage is done differently in every culture and is honored by the people. To conclude that one culture is the standard is unbiblical because every culture is contaminated with sin.

Because of sin, every culture adapted its own law as it relates to marriage. In most African cultures, polygamy is the accepted style of marriage and the man has the freedom to have other concubines. The Americo-Liberians, who introduced the Western marriage in Liberia, tend to imitate the Western standard – a man is allowed to marry one wife at a time legally. But the majority of the married men had other wives and concubines either on their farms or in the city.  Although they imitated the Scripture, we may ask, why multiple women?  So, what is the difference between a “native man” with five wives and his first wife as his “head wife,” and the Americo-Liberian marrying one woman legally and then five other women under his care as wives, but not recognized by law? In this case, who is being biblical?  No one!

In fact, as food for thoughts, I am concerned about what we normally term a Christian wedding. In America, each state has its own regulation: the certificate is purchased from the government, and the government authorizes ordained pastors, judges, etc., to perform such acts for the state. Some Christians can just get married in the court, and the church accepts them as married couples.  Other Christians would prefer coming before God, in the presence of witnesses, for the pastor to pronounce them husband and wife on behalf of the state. Some of these so-called Christian marriages are caught up with unfaithfulness either on the part of the man or the woman.  In such a case, is such a wedding Christian or culture? What constitutes a Christian marriage in this generation? 

In Liberia, the wedding that is cemented by the paying of a dowry and the one done in the church, which is also cemented by the certificate from government, are both honored by the government. I think too, one can pay a dowry for a woman and “walk in the aisle” of the church, like those who marry legally.  Also, it is required in Liberia for one who is married customarily to get a certificate from the Ministry of International Affairs for his “head wife” if he has multiple wives. The fact is, every Liberian knows after the wedding in a church, the couple would always say, “I married him/her legally.” To answer your question, Brother Gibson, there is no difference between Western marriages and tribal or customary weddings because of the sinful nature inherited from Adam and Eve in every culture.

Edenic Marriage: A Standard of Christian Wedding

I believe the true standard of a Christian marriage can be traced back to the Garden of Eden. There, we have God’s perfect wisdom and will for marriage – one man and one woman. If God intended polygamy in marriage, He would have two or three ribs from Adam to create multiple wives for him! A marriage can be Christian whether it is a Custom or Western, when the couple lives together in the fear of God and are faithful to each other. In this case, we can see the redemptive work of Christ, which includes cleansing of the couple from their cultural baggage of sin. Let me now address Gibson’s last question, “Is God still working within the families just as He works from Adam to Amran…”  

To be continued.

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