In your Q&A on polygamy you state that if the laws of a country allow polygamy then we should obey it. How then can we not recognize homosexual marriage if it is allowed by the state? It has always been my understanding that marriage was only sanctioned by God as between a man and a woman (one man : one woman), and that the polygamous situations in the OT were allowed by God but not sanctioned. -- Brian (Ithaca, New York)

Good question. But my position is not that we should obey laws allowing polygamy, as though "obedience" were in order. The law allows us to give nothing to the poor, but its tolerance of something condemned by the Bible (e.g. Ezekiel 16:49) hardly means that we should lower our Christian standards. The fact is that in many nations men have multiple wives, and this is legal. The OT depicts the heartaches and headaches of polygamy in Technicolor—just read Genesis! Nowhere does the OT encourage polygamy. But then there is no law against it. In many modern states, polygamy is against the law, and we must not break any law of man unless it contradicts a biblical principle. In the same way, we must never obey a law of man that contradicts a biblical principle (e.g. the precept that no one might pray to any god but the king of Babylon, rejected by Daniel in Daniel 6).

Since homosexual sin is rejected in many biblical passages, in both testaments, what the state decides about the acceptability of homosexual "marriage" is in one sense irrelevant to me. When I became a follower of Christ I decided to follow his standards, not the world's. I am sure you did the same.

Disciples of Christ must take a firm stand against the world, resisting it. After all, our call is not to be conformed, but transformed (Romans 12:1-2). But as for marriage and the plan of God, it has always been, "One man, one wife, for life."

This article is copyrighted and is for private use and study only. © 2005. Reprints or public distribution is prohibited without the express consent of Douglas Jacoby.