Must an Elder be a Polygynist?
Alright, I'll admit it: the title of this article feels a little click-baity. Truth be told, I did that intentionally. I also wasn't entirely sure which grouping to put this article under: it sort of belongs under Word Studies because it centers on the exegesis of a couple Greek words. However, it also belongs under somewhat of a cultural study. Yet then again, since I am writing a response against what I believe to be a dangerous and immoral practice, we could likely say it falls on Apologetics and Daily Life, as it has potential to impact people in numerous ways. But at the end of the day, I have filed this under Language and Word Studies for the aforementioned reason. I digress.
Recently, I was sent an article by a Mr. Charles Dowell, who operates the website StraitwayTruth and runs a church of the same name. A quick once-over of the many posts on both the website and the Facebook page demonstrated much material to me that is, sadly, reminiscent of my Messianic Cage Stage days. Much conspiracy and sensationalism dominate their materials.
The article in question - which I will link to below for honesty's sake - is essentially making the assertion that when 1 Timothy 3:2 states that an elder must be the "husband of one wife" it actually means the man must have at least one wife. The author claims it really should be understood as "a first wife" among many possible wives, not a restriction to a single wife.
Now normally, I would ignore such a site and move on. After all, it doesn’t really affect me, and honestly there isn’t enough time in a day for me to craft decent responses for some of these issues and teachings. However, a friend of mine reached out to inquire about an issue concerning the Greek text of 1 Timothy, as it is referred to by Mr. Dowell in his article. The article in question – if you wish to review it – can be found here. In short, it is a brief treatment of 1 Timothy 3 as it relates to polygyny, a practice which Mr. Dowell readily encourages. (Red Flags, anyone?)
J. A. Brown