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Vol.  10  No. 7 July 2008  Page 20
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Since You Asked By Louis Rushmore

Names may be included at the discretion of the Editor unless querists request their names be withheld. Please check our Archive for the answer to your question before submitting it; there are over 1,000 articles in the Archive addressing numerous biblical topics. Submit a Question to GGO.

Louis Rushmore

How Can a Polygamist
Become a Christian?

How Can a Polygamist Become a Christian?

How can this problem be solved in a case of a Christian involved in a polygamous union before coming to know God? ~ Femi Temilola

    Christians and non-Christians are amenable to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, whether they realize it or not (Mark 16:15-16; Romans 1:15). The reason Jesus Christ came into the world was because mankind was already lost in sin; “Son of man came to seek and save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10 ASV; Romans 3:10, 23 ).

    Since all people are bound by the Gospel or New Testament even before they become Christians, part of the Gospel plan of salvation calls for repentance prior to forgiveness of one’s past sins; “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:28).

    The New Testament allows a man or a woman one spouse (monogamy, not polygamy). “Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband” (1 Corinthians 7:1-2). A second spouse under Christianity constitutes adultery (Matthew 5:32; 19:9). Apostolic instruction for the selection of elders emphasized monogamy rather than polygamy, since previously under Judaism and among non-Jews as well, polygamy was sometimes practiced (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6).

   Therefore, a polygamist who wants to become a Christian must abide by the New Testament teaching respecting marriage. Among other things for which he or she must repent (which involves stop doing) before becoming a Christian is to repent for or stop being a polygamist. Whereas especially a man may have moral and financial responsibilities toward a wife to which God says he has no right (and any children as a result there from), he cannot continue as a polygamist with divine approval. Irrespective of personal feelings or emotional investment, God’s Word must be obeyed, even if it involves wives and children that must be put away (Ezra 10:3).

Hebrew Calendar and Sacred Names

How true is the claim that the Hebrew Calendar/use of the Sacred Names of God is a must for Christians today ? ~ Femi Temilola

    A “claim” is merely an assertion without a biblical prescription, for us today, in the New Testament or Gospel of Jesus Christ; Judaism as a law is no longer applicable as it has been nailed to the cross of Christ (Colossians 2:14), done away (2 Corinthians 3:11), abolished (Ephesians 2:15), and we have been delivered from it (Romans 7:6-7). The Hebrew calendar has no special significance in the Christian Age (Colossians 2:16-17). In addition, any of the several designations or names for deity in the New Testament are suitable as the New Testament is inspired of God, as was the Old  Testament likewise inspired of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Contributors to the Growth of Christianity

Hi good day, I am college student doing religious education course in my field. I was given these questions and think maybe you could help. How did the following contribute to the growth of Christianity? (1) The Roman Influence, (2) The Jewish Influence, (3) Persecution. ~ Godfrey Bailey

    Each of the world powers that not only preceded but also controlled the part of the earth where Christianity began and from which it spread made indirect contributions to the growth of Christianity. For instance, the ancient Persians (today, Iran) contributed advances in communication from one extent of the vast empire to its furthest reaches through the introduction of a sort of pony express; the Persians gave the world in which Christianity later flourished a postal system. When the Greeks dominated the lands into which Christianity would eventually spread, that civilization contributed a universal language by which all the nation partners to the empire could communicate; the Greeks gave the world ringing the Mediterranean Sea and extending far eastward the language in which the New Testament was originally written. When that form of the Greek was no longer used, the Greek language in which the New Testament was written became changeless, and the New Testament itself was equally changeless, definitive and certain in its expression. The Roman Empire provided a system of roads for their day comparable to the Interstates throughout the United States; secondly, the Romans provide stability throughout their vast empire through a universal system of enforced law.

    Christianity especially benefited respecting its growth from a language that all nations could understand through which the Gospel of Christ was proclaimed, as well as from imperial highways throughout the empire by which Christians could circulate their faith more widely with a degree of ease and from widespread civil obedience held in check by the iron-fisted Roman government. Christianity was introduced into the world and subsequently spread widely at precisely the perfect time in history, because over the preceding centuries circumstances developed that made the introduction and growth of Christianity not only possible, but also less problematic.

    The Jewish influence on Christianity was crucial, forasmuch as Christianity was merely God’s next phase in a divinely implemented regimen of religion that began with Patriarchy, grew into Judaism and finally blossomed into Christianity. Regarding the transformation from Judaism to Christianity, the apostle Paul observed the role of Judaism as essentially a bus driver to transport the faithful to Christianity. “But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal 3:23-27). Further, among those to whom the apostle Paul preached the Gospel among the Jewish community, who accepted that preaching, the apostle indicated that their obedience to the Gospel of Christ was the continuation of what they had begun under Judaism (Acts 13:43). The very organization of local congregations of the church resembled the organization and function of the Jewish synagogues. For a number of years (until Acts 8 and 10), the early church was comprised exclusively of Jews (and Gentiles who had converted to Judaism). The contribution of Judaism to Christianity was prophesied and crucial, without which contribution there would not have been any Christianity.

    Finally, persecution became the catalyst for the rapid spread of early Christianity. The Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16) commanded the spread of Christianity through taking the Gospel to all mankind. However, even ordinary Christians began taking the Gospel throughout the Roman Empire as they moved about trying, first, to avoid Jewish persecutions. “And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. … Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word” (Acts 8:1, 4). Later, Roman persecution strengthened Christianity by weeding out those with less conviction about and dedication to the Christian faith. In addition, Roman persecution toward Christians heightened sympathy toward them, having the unintended consequences of encouraging more people to adopt a system of faith for which souls were willing to suffer torture and death. A common expression was coined because of severe persecution in the Roman Empire against Christians, which expression reflected the unintended consequences of the persecution. “The blood of martyrs is the seed of Christianity.” Consequently, eventually, the Romans legalized Christianity and compelled people to embrace it (even rewarding them for doing so), which did much more to harm true Christianity than all the persecution previously.

Works Cited
Schaff, Philip. The History of the Christian Church. CD-ROM. Eerdman’s, 1996.

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