(Courtesy Premier Christian Radio)
By Spencer D Gear PhD
How would you respond to this comment? ‘I’ve never heard of any Christian teacher teaching people it’s just perfectly fine to go on sinning all you want. Everyone teaches repentance. And I’ve never met anyone, much less a Christian, who was a thief or an adulterer and didn’t know it was wrong’.
My comeback was: What about this story from Ohio reported in the Brisbane Courier-Mail (1 December 2015), ‘Pastor, 60, marries his pregnant teenage girlfriend — and his wife doesn’t mind‘? This article told how pastor
Thom Miller, 60, is now building a massive home for his two brides — 44-year-old Belinda Miller and 19-year-old Reba Kerfootruba — in the US state of Ohio.
Thom splits his time between the women, although the trio plans to raise Thom and Reba’s child together as a family.
“I don’t preach about polygamy but I feel it is a very Christian lifestyle,” Thom told Barcroft TV. “I have no problem with homosexuals but I think it’s wrong that their marriage is now recognised by the state, but my second marriage is not. I’m going to try and fight the bigotry of that. This is America and my wives and I have the right to live anyway we please, providing we’re not hurting anybody.”
Bigamy by pastor in Mansfield, Ohio
Another article in the British newspaper, The Independent, stated, ‘Having discussed polygamy after Mrs Miller suggested finding another woman to be part of the family, the pair from Mansfield, Ohio, decided to welcome 19-year-old Reba Kerfootruba into their relationship’ (Henderson 2015).
The Mansfield News Journal in Ohio reported that
Miller is a licensed minister with United Christian Ministries International at 840 Koogle Road in Mansfield, according to records from the Ohio Secretary of State. He also is affiliated with Special Visit Ministry, which lists its address at 287 N. Diamond St. He told the News Journal earlier this year he is affiliated with Hope Ohio, which he called an outreach of the Restoration Network.
Richland County Probate Court records show Thomas Nicholas Miller is married to 44-year-old, Belinda Miller, but the records neither confirm nor disprove his marriage to 19-year-old Reba Kerfoot, who the video states is pregnant with Miller’s child….
Though polygamy is illegal in Ohio and Richland County has not issued a marriage license to Thom Miller and Kerfoot, probate court staff say it is possible the pair were issued a marriage license by another county or in another state.
Miller did not respond to calls from the News Journal Monday and Tuesday (Day 2015).
What kind of denomination is United Christian Ministries International? Premier Christian Radio reported that
the 60-year-old pastor at United Christian Ministries International has married Reba, 19, but he says his congregation do not support his decision.
He runs a ministry which visits prisons and also has his own church in Mansfield.
Revd Miller admits that he does not have the full support of his congregation in Mansfield, but makes no secret of his alternative lifestyle….
The pair married at his church seven years after Thom married Belinda.
The pastor is now fighting for the state to acknowledge his marriage.
The trio have decided to raise the baby as a three (Tooley 2015).
I emailed the Pastor of the United Christian Ministries International, Rev. Kwasi Alex Adu-Boffour, at the email address on the website, email@example.com, but it timed out over a few days, so I was unable to contact him by email. Since I live overseas I was unable to complete the online form at its website as it would not accept my phone number. Therefore, I was unable to receive an explanation of the acceptance of a bigamist pastor by that denomination. This is what I wrote to Pastor Adu-Boffour:
I’m an Australian living in Brisbane, Qld., and I write to you out of deep concern over what your minister in Mansfield, OH, Thom Miller, has done to darken the name of Jesus and the reputation of Pentecostal-charismatic Christianity with the story that was published in the Brisbane Courier-Mail, ‘Pastor, 60, marries his pregnant teenage girlfriend — and his wife doesn’t mind‘, December 1.
This story has gone around the world. See also:
- Day, C 2015. Reports: Mansfield pastor claims he’s polygamous. Mansfield News Journal (online), 1 December. Available at: http://www.mansfieldnewsjournal.com/story/news/local/2015/12/01/media-outlets-mansfield-pastor-polygamous/76620202/ (Accessed 3 December 2015).
- Henderson, E 2015. Thom Miller: Pastor marries pregnant girlfriend with consent of his wife. The Independent (online), 2 December. Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/thom-miller-the-man-who-married-his-pregnant-girlfriend-with-the-consent-of-his-wife-ohio-america-a6755536.html (Accessed 3 December 2015).
- Tooley, H 2015. Former mafia pastor marries girlfriend with blessing of wife. Premier Christian Radio, 2 December. Available at: https://www.premierchristianradio.com/News/World/Former-mafia-pastor-marries-girlfriend-with-blessing-of-wife (Accessed 3 December 2015).
I have read your Statement of Faith online, with which I agree. I find it impossible to harmonise what Pastor Thom Miller has done in Mansfield OH with orthodox, charismatic Christianity. His witness is a blight on the name of Christ and I’m embarrassed that he is allowed to continue as a bigamist with your denomination.
Would you please let me know what you are doing to deal with the sin of Pastor Thom and what he has done? ‘Alternative lifestyle’ is not an example, in this case, of biblical Christianity.
Sincerely in Christ.
Rev Spencer Gear
How is it possible for a man to be married to two women in the USA when none of the 50 USA states allows polygamy/bigamy? Lawyers.com explained:
Polygamy and bigamy are illegal in the US, but as the Utah “sister wives” show, it goes on anyway. Essentially they mean the same thing – someone has more than one spouse. More often than not, it’s when a man has more than one wife. In some states, the law uses the terms interchangeably. There are some legal differences, though:
- Bigamy is when someone legally marries more than one person. That means they go through the hoops set out by state law, such as getting a marriage license, etc. It may happen on purpose, or by mistake, like not having a proper, legal divorce before getting remarried
- Polygamy is when someone has one legal spouse and one or more co-spouses he married through some sort of spiritual marriage that’s not legally recognized by the state….
Often, polygamists are left alone by the police, and the few states that have anti-cohabitation laws generally don’t enforce them. There are a few reasons for this, such as the respect for freedom of choice – the freedom to choose your own lifestyle. Freedom of religion also plays a role. Polygamy is acceptable in some religions, from the mainstream, like Islam, to the not-so-mainstream, like certain cults. (‘I do, I do, I do: Is polygamy legal?’ Lawyers.com, 2015, emphasis in original).
Theology of The United Christian Ministries International
The denomination’s headquarters are in Bronx, NY and its Statement of Faith is orthodox Pentecostal-charismatic with a high view of the Trinitarian God and the Scriptures. Its ministries include:
We are the church that thrives to reach out to the dying world with the full gospel of our Lord Jesus to minister to the needs of our community, individuals and the family. Our ministries in the church are tailored to educate our members and the community to develop strong relationships with the Lord Jesus (About Us).
The founder and international director of the denomination is Rev. Kwasi Alex Adu-Boffour. In discussing ‘our pastor’, the homepage stated: ‘He has endured many trials in his life and has come out victorious by the power of God. He has an incredible testimony of the dynamic redeeming work of Jesus Christ. He believe and teaches that regardless of a person’s background or past mistakes, God can restore them to the right place and can help and lead them to enjoying every day life’.
What is this denomination going to do to deal with a pastor who commits adultery in his bigamy? It does not matter if he has his wife’s permission. Fornication or adultery is sin. See 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (ESV).
Why didn’t Scripture condemn polygamy/bigamy?
In response to my post with the link to this 60-year-old pastor committing bigamy, there was this comeback on the Christian Forum. Part of it read:
If he is guilty of adultery or bigamy in God’s eyes, why in scripture didn’t God condemn people of the Bible who did the same thing, but in fact supported those people as if they were doing nothing wrong? I know there is a lot of speculation as to why this is true. But what are the cold facts from in context scripture to prove these people of the Bible were committing adultery and/or bigamy?
And just to be clear, I’m not supporting or recommending things like polygamy, but I’m trying to point out how different people from different backgrounds can have different ideas of what scripture says is sin and doesn’t say is sin.
This is a tough issue because there are a number of instances in the OT where leading men of God had multiple marriages and partners/concubines. Was God putting his stamp of approval on polygamy and so endorsing what Pastor Thom Miller has done in Mansfield, Ohio?
There is some clear biblical evidence that we must not ignore.
God did not approve of polygamy
[Azim Azimzade painting criticizing polygyny in Muslim communities. (Old wife and a new one in 1935). Wikipedia 2015. S v Polygyny in Islam]
How do I respond to this challenge? For an excellent exposition, see William Luck Sr’s article, ‘On the Morality of Biblical Polygyny‘.
Bigamy refers to having two spouses;
polygamy is having multiple marriages;
polygny is having multiple wives;
polyandry means to have more than one husband;
polyamory is the practice where a ‘committed’ couple openly engage in dating and having a sexual relationship with others.
How do we deal with some of these dimensions? Is it a widespread opinion that God approved polygamy in the OT? This is not the case. We know that ‘the Bible does speak strongly against polygamy in both the Old and New Testaments’ (Geisler 1989:281). We know this from direct statements in Scripture and precedent in the OT. These are some examples:
Adam had only one wife, thus this was a pattern for the entire human race (Gen 2:7, 20-24).
In the moral law taught in Ex 20:17, we are told, ‘You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife’, where ‘wife’ is singular. This is suggestive of monogamy but not definitive because in context, the verse continues, ‘Or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbour’s’. One could not assume that the neighbour only has one servant, ox, donkey or anything else. One unit is given as an example, but it may not be absolutely one in all of these examples.
In the laws concerning each of Israel’s kings, Deut 17:17 states, ‘And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away’ (ESV).
If we look at the proportion of women vs. men in the world’s population, they are approximately equal in numbers. If polygamy was God’s design for marriage, there should be many more women than men in a population. According to the World Bank figures for 2011-2015, the percentage of females in each of the countries listed hovers around 50% (deviating from, say, 46.3% in Bhutan to 53.5% in Belarus). In my home country of Australia it is 50% female population. Notice the countries with lower female population: (1) Oman 34.2%; (2) United Arab Emirates 26.3%; (3) Saudi Arabia 43.4%; (4) Bahrain 37.9%; (5) Kuwait 43.8%; (6) Qatar 26.8% (World Bank, Population, female (% of total), 2015).
(Prince Manga Bell and favorite wives, courtesy Wikipedia). Prince Manga Bell (1873-1941)was a Duala king and resistance leader in the African nation of Cameroon when it was a German colony. He was hanged for alleged high treason in 1914 (Wikipedia 2015. S v Rudolf Duala Manga Bell).
China is a clear example of what happens when a nation tries to manipulate the male vs female balance with its forced one-child policy. In 2015, it was reported that this will change to a 2-child policy from 2016.
The reason China is doing this right now is because they have too many men, too many old people, and too few young people. They have this huge crushing demographic crisis as a result of the one-child policy. And if people don’t start having more children, they’re going to have a vastly diminished workforce to support a huge aging population. Right now the ratio is about five working adults supporting one retiree. That’s why they have ended a policy that should actually never have been started in the first place….
One of the results of the policy is that there is a dramatic gender imbalance with millions of men predicted to never find wives…. The lack of women in rural China resurrected the old, feudal practice of a bride price, or cai li. In the ’90s, cai li prices shot up to the point where it was the equivalent of a decade’s worth of farming income. If a man wanted to marry someone, his whole family had to beg and borrow from all the relatives. And that created a whole scam market (Worrall 2015).
These verses from the Book of Proverbs seem to be driven by a presupposition of monogamy:
Proverbs 5:15-20 (ESV),
Drink water from your own cistern,
flowing water from your own well.
16 Should your springs be scattered abroad,
streams of water in the streets?
17 Let them be for yourself alone,
and not for strangers with you.
18 Let your fountain be blessed,
and rejoice in the wife of your youth,
19 a lovely deer, a graceful doe.
Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight;
be intoxicated always in her love.
20 Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with a forbidden woman
and embrace the bosom of an adulteress?
Here the evidence states she is the wife, singular, of his youth. One should not be ‘intoxicated’ with a forbidden woman or embrace an adulteress. So, the statement is that another woman’s embrace is that of an adulteress.
Proverbs 18:22 (ESV), ‘He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favour from the Lord’.
It is important to understand that this teaches that the one (a man) who finds a wife (singular) obtains the Lord’s favour. This is not an endorsement of polygamy or polyandry.
Proverbs 31:10-31 (ESV):
An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
15 She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.
Throughout this proverb, the emphasis is on the one (singular) wife and her one husband (singular). Note especially, ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all’ (v. 29). This one wife is compared to the rest of the excellent women but she goes beyond all of the others. She is a woman, a singular wife, who fears the Lord. There is no hint of polygamy here.
Dr Norman Geisler has provided this summary evidence of God’s view of polygamy:
There is ample evidence, even within the Old Testament, that polygamy was not God’s ideal for man. That monogamy was His ideal for man is obvious from several perspectives.
(1) God made only one wife for Adam, thus setting the ideal precedent for the race.
(2) Polygamy is first mentioned as part of the wicked Cainite civilization (Gen. 4:23).
(3) God clearly forbade the kings of Israel (leaders were the persons who became polygamists) saying, ‘And he shall not multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away again’ (Deut. 17:17).
(4) The saints who became polygamists paid for their sins. 1 Kings 11:1, 3 says, ‘Now King Solomon loved many foreign women . . . and his wives turned away his heart’….
(5) Polygamy is usually situated in the context of sin in the O.T. Abraham’s marriage of Hagar was clearly a carnal act of unbelief (Gen. 16:1-16). David was not at a spiritual peak when he added Abigail and Ahinoam as his wives (1 Sam. 25:42-43), nor was Jacob when he married Leah and Rachel (Gen. 29:23, 28).
(6) The polygamous relation was less than ideal. It was one of jealousy among wives. Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah (Gen. 29:31). Elkanah’s one wife was considered a ‘rival’ or adversary by the other, who ‘used to provoke her sorely, to irritate her….’ (1 Sam. 1:6).
(7) When polygamy is referred to, the conditional, not the imperative, is used. ‘If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, or her marital rights’ (Ex. 21:10). ‘Polygamy is not the moral ideal, but the polygamist must be moral’ (Geisler 1971:204-205).?
In another edition of this publication, Geisler gave this perceptive insight: ‘The fact that God permitted polygamy no more proves he prescribed it than the fact God permitted divorce indicates that he desired it. What Jesus said of divorce is true also of polygamy; it was “permitted … because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning”’ (Matt. 19:8)’ (Geisler 1989:281).
Polygamy allowed but within boundaries
While monogamy was God’s best arrangement for marriage and the family, polygamy was permitted as an inferior option in a sinful world. We see this:
1. When men took concubines who had fewer rights than a wife, concubines were treated as little better than slaves. See Exodus 21:7-11.
2. Some of the Hebrew leaders who practised polygamy included: Jacob (Gen 29); David (2 Sam 5:13-16); Solomon (1 Kings 11), and Rehoboam (2 Chron 11:21).
It is of note that some of the above biblical emphases have influenced the contemporary organisation, BiblicalPolygamy.com, which has the slogan: ‘Polygamy really is Biblical’. On this website it provides links to polygamists in the Bible (by direct statement or inference). Copyright restrictions prevent my incorporating the table of biblical polygamists. You can locate the table HERE.
Peter Toon observed that
Deuteronomy 21:10-14 protects the rights of a female captive in war who is taken as wife (second wife?), and the inheritance law (vv. 15-17) recognizes that the primary moral criticism of bigamy is that one man cannot love two women equally. Hence this law protects an unloved wife and her son. The story of Elkanah and his wives is a comment on the moral dangers of polygamy (1 Sam. 1) (Toon 1987:314).
Those Mormon promoters of polygamy
(Brigham Young’s 12 widows lament. Caricature in a newspaper about Mormon polygamy. Text:” In memoriam Brigham Young. And the place which knew him once shall know him no more”. It references the apocryphal “long bed” story (and illustration) found in chapter 15 of Mark Twain‘s 1872 book Roughing It, courtesy Wikimedia Commons).
John Turner, as Brigham Young’s biographer, discovered that Young, who was Joseph Smith’s successor as president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, had ‘55 well-documented marriages’.
“He married – was sealed to, in Mormon parlance – young (Clarissa Decker, 15) and old (Hannah Tapfield King, 65). He married single women and widows. Perhaps most unusually, he was sealed to his first two mothers-in-law. Perhaps most controversially, he married women who were already married, some to Mormon men in good standing’ (Turner 2012).
Why did Young pursue polygamy? Turner discovered that ‘Young sought a second wife because Joseph Smith instructed him that plural marriage was a divine commandment that would bring a select number of righteous men tremendous blessings for eternity’ (Turner 2012).
However, plural marriages ceased in late nineteenth century Mormonism. lds.org explains that both the Bible and the Book of Mormon teach monogamy as God’s standard, ‘except at specific periods when He has declared otherwise’. This online document affirms that plural marriages came through a revelation to Joseph Smith recorded in Doctrine and Covenants (Section 132) and was instituted among the LDS people in the early 1840s and only the Church President could authorise the performing of new plural marriages.
In 1890, the Lord inspired Church President Wilford Woodruff to issue a statement that led to the end of the practice of plural marriage in the Church. In this statement, known as the Manifesto, President Woodruff declared his intention to abide by U.S. law forbidding plural marriage and to use his influence to convince members of the Church to do likewise.3
After the Manifesto, monogamy was advocated in the Church both over the pulpit and through the press. On an exceptional basis, some new plural marriages were performed between 1890 and 1904, especially in Mexico and Canada, outside the jurisdiction of U.S. law; a small number of plural marriages were performed within the United States during those years. In 1904, the Church strictly prohibited new plural marriages. Today, any person who practices plural marriage cannot become or remain a member of the Church (‘Plural Marriage and Families in Early Utah’, lds.org 2015).
(Mormon family – Russell’s polygamy in low life, courtesy Wikimedia Commons)
Christian missionaries and converted polygamists
What does a church leader or missionary do when a polygamist in a polygamous-friendly nation becomes a Christian? Some of us have read of sad stories like that raised in this Christianity Today article:
Earlier Western missionaries felt a need to confront polygamy at the point of conversion. During colonial days in mission churches, Christians in good standing would give up the status symbol and send away all but one wife…. Such a painful decision often meant that men would choose family or social standing over church. Medical missionary David Livingstone’s single convert abandoned the faith to return to polygamy.
Many African church leaders regret zero-tolerance policies for polygamous families of converts, saying that treating those marriages as invalid raises a number of problems. Besides absolving fathers of their responsibilities and leaving many economically dependent women out in the cold, it’s theologically questionable to force new converts to divorce, said Sunday Agang, an ethics professor at Jos ecwa Theological Seminary in Nigeria and a John Stott Ministries scholar (Wunderink 2009).
It is my considered view that, since polygamy is in a similar league to divorce (Matt 19:8) in terms of biblical understanding (because of the hardness of people’s hearts), it needs to be allowed to continue when a polygamous man or woman comes to know Christ in a polygamous-friendly nation. He should not be forced to renounce polygamy. Instead, he should be supported in maintaining his present situation with husband, wives and family. The husband should not be encouraged to get rid of all his wives except one, as that leaves the other wives with negative consequences financially, socially and in the family.
In a polygamous culture, such as in many nations in Africa, it should be taught that a Christian should not seek to become a polygamist. However, the convert who is already in a polygamous relationship at the time of conversion should choose the lesser evil – continue as a polygamist, supporting the wives, and he should not be sending away the wives and children. Way too much heartache has been caused by well-meaning missionaries with a narrow view of dealing with existing polygamous relationships. It could be that missionaries will be church planting in areas where there will be a number of polygamous families, newly converted, in the congregation.
For church leaders in a polygamous society, the standards are higher than for general membership in a congregation. This is the biblical standard, whether an elder/overseer is in Australia, Kenya, Germany or Qatar : ‘Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach’ (1 Tim 3:2 ESV, emphasis added). The same standard applies to deacons (see 1 Tim 3:12 ESV).
Which countries accept or have legalised polygamy? Oliver Wheaton for Metro.co.uk, 22 June 2015, ‘Where exactly is polygamy legal?’ has provided a helpful diagram to explain this on an international basis:
Pastor Thom Miller’s bigamous situation in Mansfield OH has hit the news headlines around the world. This has caused me to examine the biblical position on polygamy and other multiple marriage situations. I have discovered that:
1. The theology of the denomination of which Thom Miller is a bigamist and pastor does not support polygamy.
2. From the beginning of creation, God’s design has been monogamy. However, with the introduction of sin into the world, there are examples of leaders in the OT who committed the sin of polygamy and concubinage . God had stated that he did not approve of polygamy and there were dangers inherent in this sinful practice. For those OT leaders, their wives sometimes turned their hearts away from following the Lord.
3. God did place parameters around the practice of polygamy for the protection of the polygamists, particularly the wives. It was suggested that polygamy is like divorce; God permitted it because of the hardness of people’s hearts.
4. One unashamed example of the promotion of polygamy was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons), that originated through a ‘revelation’ to Joseph Smith in the early 1940s. It was practised by Brigham Young and others until the Manifesto to cease it in 1890. Mormons today forbid the practice of polygamy.
5. Some recent and contemporary Christian missionaries have created additional problems on the mission fields when they have required polygamists who became Christians to put away all wives except one. It was suggested by me that this is an unwise strategy and that polygamist relationships should be allowed to continue in the church – but not in leadership positions as elders and deacons.
6. How is a person like Thom Miller and his two wives allowed to practise bigamy in the USA which forbids polygamy? Lawyers have indicated that this is allowed because legal authorities turn a blind eye to it.
7. To answer the question posed at the beginning of this article: Is polygamy promoted by the Bible? No, it isn’t. Examples are given of its practice, even by leaders of Israel and Judah, but God’s design is monogamy. Polygamy is an example of sinful practice which God allowed and did not promote. Because of the hardness of people’s hearts, God permitted it, but did not endorse or promote it.
Day, C 2015. Reports: Mansfield pastor claims he’s polygamous. Mansfield News Journal (online), 1 December. Available at: http://www.mansfieldnewsjournal.com/story/news/local/2015/12/01/media-outlets-mansfield-pastor-polygamous/76620202/ (Accessed 3 December 2015).
Geisler, N L 1971. Ethics: Alternatives and Issues. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House.
Geisler, N L 1989. Christian Ethics: Options and Issues. Leicester, England: Apollos (an imprint of Inter-Varsity Press).
Henderson, E 2015. Thom Miller: Pastor marries pregnant girlfriend with consent of his wife. The Independent (online), 2 December. Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/thom-miller-the-man-who-married-his-pregnant-girlfriend-with-the-consent-of-his-wife-ohio-america-a6755536.html (Accessed 3 December 2015).
Tooley, H 2015. Former mafia pastor marries girlfriend with blessing of wife. Premier Christian Radio, 2 December. Available at: https://www.premierchristianradio.com/News/World/Former-mafia-pastor-marries-girlfriend-with-blessing-of-wife (Accessed 3 December 2015).
Toon, P 1987. Polygamy. In R K Harrison (gen ed), Encyclopedia of Biblical and Christian Ethics, 314. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
Turner, J G 2012. Polygamy, Brigham Young and His 55 Wives. Huffington Post Australia (online), 27 August. Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-g-turner/brigham-young-and-polygamy_b_1792555.html?ir=Australia (Accessed 4 December 2015).
Worrall, S 2015. How China’s One-Child Policy Backfired Disastrously. National Geographic (online), 30 October. Available at: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/10/151030-china-one-child-policy-mei-fong/ (Accessed 4 December 2015).
Wunderink, S 2009. What to Do about Unbiblical Unions. Christianity Today (online), 25 June. Available at: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2009/july/12.17.html (Accessed 4 December 2015).
 Christian Forums.net, Christian Talk & Advice, ‘Can a homosexual go to heaven?’, Obadiah#114. Available at: http://christianforums.net/Fellowship/index.php?threads/can-a-homosexual-go-to-heaven.62014/page-6http://christianforums.net/Fellowship/index.php?threads/can-a-homosexual-go-to-heaven.62014/page-6 (Accessed 3 December 2015).
 Christian Forums.net, ibid., Obadiah#163.
 Concubinage is ‘the enduring state or practice of sexual intercourse between a man and a woman not bound to each other by legitimate marriage’ (encyclopedia.com 2015. S v concubinage). There are many examples of concubinage in the OT Scriptures.
 The following dot points were suggested by Geisler (1989:281).
 Here the ESV footnote stated, ‘Hebrew be led astray; also verse 20’.
 The ESV footnote at this point stated, ‘Hebrew a foreign woman’.
 The ESV footnote here was, ‘Verses 10-31 are an acrostic poem, each verse beginning with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet’.
 The ESV footnote is, ‘Hebrew She girds her loins’.
 The ESV footnote stated, ‘Or in double thickness’.
 Some of these emphases were suggested by Toon (1987:314).
 For an Islamic response to Deut 21:10-14, see the article, ‘Biblical Law Permits Rape of Female Captives’, Answering-Christianity. Available at: http://www.answering-christianity.com/karim/Karim_-_articles_islamic_answers_-_part_3/Biblical%20law%20permits%20rape%20of%20female%20captives.pdf (Accessed 4 December 2015).
 John G Turner is the author of Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet. Cambridge, MA / London: Harvard University Press, 2012.
 The footnote at this point was, ‘Jacob 2:27, 30. For instances of plural marriage in the Bible, see Genesis 16:3; 25:1; 29:21-30; 30:3-4, 9. See also D&C 132:34-35’.
 The NIV UK version translates this phrase as ‘faithful to his wife’ (1 Tim 3:2 NIVUK, and NLT). The NRSV translates it as ‘married only once’.
Copyright © 2015 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 7 December 2015.