I just read "Husband of One Wife" by George Hutto. It has to do with men having only one wife. While I agree with most of what is written, I have a problem with the intent. Since most men, of any measure of success, in the Old Testament had wives known as maid servants, they also had a first wife. The maid servants were women who were betrothed to the man. He could keep them as virgins or make them to be known as a wife. He could also have children by them without marrying them. A good example is found in the story of Jacob. He has two wives, and he also has children by two maid servants. As a matter of fact, a man having more than one wife is written in the law. Please, refer to Exodus 21:1-11. Specifically, read Exodus 21:10-11. Then, go to Deuteronomy 21:15. You will also find Paul teaching about a man and his virgin maid servant in I Corinthians 7:36. King David was a man of God's heart. Why is it that so many people attempt to discredit him? Anyway, I give you all of this information in order to ask a question. Why do you tell the truth with a slant toward a personal doctrine? Why not tell the whole truth so that the other individual can make his own choice based upon the truth as it is written? After all, a good teacher can only teach the facts. The student has to study and make choices. God will judge the student for his errors. However, when we teach falsely, we become responsible for the consequences. I truly believe that the downfall of the church organization is due to preachers teaching their own concepts of the Word instead of what is written.
In addition to what I have already written, I must tell you that I agree with you completely about the great responsibility of the husband concerning his wife. Even if a husband were to catch his wife in the act of adultery, if his wife repented of her sins and asked forgiveness, then the husband, loving her as Christ loves the church, would have to forgive her. Concerning divorce, there is no scripture, no not one, that allows for a woman to divorce her husband. Additionally, the wife is bound to her husband so long as he lives. It seems that most of the churches are so concerned with membership numbers and money that they are subverting the truth in order to build membership and bank accounts. After all, more women attend church than men. So, many preachers are patting the divorced women on the back and telling them that it is okay for them to remarry or that Christ has forgiven them for their past marriage. What a damnable lie from Hell! Those women should have been taught as children to be very careful about the man that they would choose to be their husband. I truly have empathy for them. However, I refuse to lie to them. They must either return to the first husband or remain single and celibate. If a husband causes a wife to leave him, and she marries another man, he will not go unpunished. The husband is responsible for his wife as much as Christ is for his church. The husband's wife's adultery will be on his head. A husband is responsible for teaching, guiding, nurturing, and providing for his wife. The wife is only to submit unto her husband as if he were the Lord. After all, when she married her husband, she gave up all of her rights or will to her husband. The husband took on all responsibility for the actions and behavior of his wife. In either case, there is a great sacrifice made.
I hope that I don't sound harsh. I am very passionate about this subject because I believe that marriage is the foundation of society as a whole. If we allow just a small deviation from the truth to occur, then sin enters into the church. Men become tyrants, and women become adulteresses. Even though I stand firm on the truth about men being able to have more than one wife, I have had only one wife for almost 39 years. Since my wife truly can't accept the thought of my having another wife, I answer her prayer by continuing with only one wife. I truly attempt to love her as Christ loves the church. Even so, it causes me to have more of a struggle with temptation than I would if I had more wives. When men, who have an extremely high sex drive, have to be content with only one wife, they suffer much more temptation and are more apt to have sex outside of marriage. Denying these men the knowledge that they can have more than one wife, is a powerful tool for Satan. After all, when these men have sex outside of marriage, they are guilty of fornication. They also are prone to self-condemnation. As long as Satan can keep them in that state of poor spirit, he will win. Why is it so hard for us to respect a man who is successful and respectable with five wives? It seems that we are driven to love and respect the man with one wife who cheats and never gets caught. Then, we have a deacon who cheats on his wife and lies about it. Now, that is insanity. I remember the days when grandmas remained single and cooked fantastic cakes. They always had great advice, and they would give freely of their time. Today, women of the same age are chasing men half their age to have sex. Something is terribly wrong.
The Old Testament does record the fact that having multiple wives was a prevalent practice, but it doesn't glorify the practice nor use it as a measure of success. The examples given show that polygamy created many problems. Abraham's wife, Sarah, and his concubine, Hagar, constantly fought (Genesis 16:4-6; 21:9-10). Jacob had to deal with jealousy and rivalry between two of his wives who were sisters (Genesis 29:32; 30:16-18). In addition, Jacob did not treat his wives equally (Genesis 29:30-31). Solomon's wives led him away from serving God (I Kings 11:1-6).
Mankind often practices things of which God disapproves. God regulates the practices, but it would be a mistake to say that God approves of them. For example, Malachi states, "For the LORD God of Israel says that He hates divorce, for it covers one's garment with violence" (Malachi 2:16). Still, God permitted it despite His hatred of it. "Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so" (Matthew 19:8).
From the beginning of time, marriage has been described as a union between a man and a woman. "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24). The use of singular terms for the both the husband and the wife implies that marriage was intended for one man and one woman. Our Lord confirms this: "Have you not read that He who made them at 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 then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate" (Matthew 19:4-6). Notice that Jesus not only uses the singular for the husband and wife, but he specifically states that the two become one -- two, and not three, four, or five. The implication of one man for one woman is continued in the apostle's writings (Ephesians 5:31). The one-to-one relationship is clearly seen in Paul's instruction: "Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband" (I Corinthians 7:2).
The qualifications for elders and deacons found in I Timothy 3 and Titus 1 are not requirements unique to these men alone. Each quality is something that every Christian ought to display. The only difference is that if a man is going to serve as an elder or a deacon, he must possess the quality. For example, an elder is not to be violent (I Timothy 3:3). If a society allows violence does this then allow a Christian can be violent so long as he doesn't plan to be an elder or deacon? Of course not, such an argument is absurd. An elder and a deacon are to be "the husband of one wife" (I Timothy 3:2, 12; Titus 1:6). Only widows who are "wives of one husband" are allowed to be cared for by the church (I Timothy 5:9). The New Testament is clear that the expectation in marriage is one man married to one woman. Any man who marries a second wife is an adulterer.
What is strange is that you claim that if a man divorces his wife for any reason other than fornication on her part he becomes an adulterer (Matthew 19:9; Mark 10:11; Luke 16:18), but if he remains married to his wife that this isn't adultery even though he is still marrying another woman. Your position would be funny if it wasn't so sadly twisted.
The Bible declares that it contains all that is good for man (II Timothy 3:16-17; II Peter 1:3), but it doesn't necessarily imply that everything bad for man is spelled out. In order to prove your point that Christians are allowed to practice polygamy, you must show a command, example, or necessary inference that polygamy was approved of by God in the New Testament. As I pointed out above, there are many passages that clearly state that marriage is between one man and one woman. Most of your arguments are that it existed in the Old Testament, even though that is not the law Christians live under (see Why We Don't Follow the Old Testament). In each case it is a record of history that it happened, but it doesn't prove that this is what God wanted.
You did reference I Corinthians 7:36-38: "But if any man thinks he is behaving improperly toward his virgin, if she is past the flower of youth, and thus it must be, let him do what he wishes. He does not sin; let them marry. Nevertheless he who stands steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but has power over his own will, and has so determined in his heart that he will keep his virgin, does well. So then he who gives her in marriage does well, but he who does not give her in marriage does better." There are three possible interpretations. The most popular and the one with the best evidence is that of a father deciding whether to allow his daughter to marry. A second possibility is a man who is engaged to be married, deciding whether to go through with the marriage. A third possibility is a master deciding whether to allow a female slave to marry either to himself or to another. The later is by far the weakest case as there is nothing in the passage that indicates the woman is a slave. But in your argument you made an even greater blunder: you assume the man is already married. That assumption does not appear in this text and, thus, your point is not proven.
You claim that there is no passage indicating a wife may divorce her husband.
"Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife" (I Corinthians 7:10-11).
I know of the argument that chorizo (leave or depart) is not the same as aphiemi (put away or divorce). But notice that a woman who leaves her husband enters the state of being unmarried. Thus, chorizo and aphiemi are synonyms talking about the same thing, but saying who retains possession of the household.
"So He said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery" (Mark 10:11-12).
Both verses prove that wives divorcing their husbands was possible. The exception clause in Matthew 5:32 and Matthew 19:9 applies equally to both a husband or a wife since Mark 10:11-12 is the parallel account of Matthew 19:9.
There is no passage that claims a woman who marries a man gives up all her rights and her will.
That you permit a man who is committing adultery to be a member of the church and a deacon is a condemnation of your congregation and not proof of your case. "But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner -- not even to eat with such a person" (I Corinthians 5:11).