Since the fall of humanity in the Garden of Eden, man has been continually searching for things to fill the vacuum created by his fall.
This crave for satisfaction has made man to seek fulfillment from mundane things, and one of the areas man has ventured into for fulfillment is polygamy.
This is a situation where a man marries more than one wife.
Many have observed that polygamy is common in most African churches and is even practiced among the clergies.
This practice, they said, have wrecked many as peace and tranquility at homes have been sacrificed on the altar of unhealthy rivalries and jealousy, leading to loss of lives, even as destinies have also been altered in the process.
Sunday Independent had a chat with an octogenarian, a husband to many wives, who commands a lot of influence both in the Nigerian political space and in his church (names withheld).
He attends one of the orthodox churches that frown at polygamy.
According to him, he never intended to marry more than one wife, but the crave for more sexual satisfaction made him to have many wives.
But his church recognised only his first wife. He added that his only regret in life was marrying more than one wife.
“I have lived my life the way I wanted it, but my only regret is marrying more than one wife, and my church does not allow a man to marry more than one wife; you can imagine the burden of guilt I have to carry every day.
“Marrying many wives has denied me good positions and I would have achieved more if I had married only one wife,” he stated.
In an unrelated scenario, a polygamist who simply gave his name as Sam said he is married to two wives, and it does not make him a sinner. He maintained that he never intended to marry more than one wife.
“I never knew I would marry more than one wife; I and my first wife got married as virgins but few years into the marriage, we started having issues, and we finally divorced.
“Today I am married to another woman and I am not regretting my decision; I am a born again Christian, I have good relationship with my God which is more important to me,” he asserted.
In a recent interview with Sunday INDEPENDENT, Elder (Dr.) Napo Emuchay, President of African Instituted Church (OAIC), stated that the culture of polygamy in the African churches would no longer be allowed.
In his word, “Some members of the OAIC are polygamists particularly the African Church. We are saying going forward, the younger generation should not embrace the culture of polygamy.
“Going further, it is no longer acceptable; we won’t appoint you to hold any administrative position. In the community of Christians, you cannot represent us.”
He continued, “I cannot see a polygamist coming to stand in the election as the president of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
“You can’t be the number one Christian in Nigeria as a polygamist. The World Council of Churches goes against it.
“If you are a priest, the Bible is clear on it. If you are a priest, you should be the husband of one wife, simple. It is going to be part of our byelaws,” he stated.
Responding to a question on what would become of members who are polygamists already, he said, “They can run their churches but they cannot represent us. They won’t hold any administrative office.
“They can be members, in fact some of them are founding members of OAIC, but we are saying that going by the current wave within the Christendom, they cannot hold any administrative position.
“They can stay as members but they can’t represent us. We cannot make you elder in charge or provincial chairman.”
Emuchay noted that though the directive would be hard on some members, nobody was asking those with more than one wife to send their wives out.
“The issue is that we know it is going to work hardship on some people. We are not saying people who have two or three wives should send their wives away but they have to live with the burden.
“Going further any young man or the younger generation who steps into polygamy should know he stands no chance within the priesthood, but you can be a member.”
The elder stated further that it is an anomaly within the Christendom to be a polygamist.
“It is an anomaly within the Christendom to be a polygamist. Of course we cannot accept that anomaly.
“If you say okay, let us be operating like that, it becomes an accepted anomaly. We have to draw the line at some point. We are not saying it is a sin,” he said.
He added, “What we are saying is that if you want to be a priest, you will not have two wives. If as a member you have two wives or more then you know your growth is limited. Like in Eternal Scared Order of Cherubim and Seraphim Church (ESOCS), there is a rank you cannot exceed.”
Rev (Dr.) Paul Ndeobi, Senior Pastor, Straightgate Church Lagos, while contributing, noted that polygamy started from the descendants of Cain, which was caused by the fall of man.
He said, “Polygamy started from the descendants of Cain in the Bible. After creation, man started having cravings to marry more than one wife.
“But from the beginning, God’s intention was for man to have one wife. But when man lost his divine nature, he began to crave for things to satisfy himself and to fill the vacuum caused by his fall.”
He continued, “Man began to crave for multiple sexual relationships, he began to look for how to build cities, beautiful gardens and create happiness and joy.
“This has continued to elude man because the only thing that can give man joy is God.”
Ndeobi noted that one’s marital status does not determine whether one will make heaven or not.
“It is not marriage that connects a man to heaven, what qualifies a man is by accepting Jesus as his Lord and personal saviour, not the number of wives you have.
“If somebody is born again and as a child of God marries one wife and doing the will of God, he will inherit the kingdom of God,” he said.
He added, “The scripture gave us a recommendation on how a man can live as husband and do the duties of a husband to his wife, the scripture did not call it wives but wife.
“There is no marriage in heaven; marriage is for procreation here on earth and I don’t believe being a polygamist will make you a lesser or higher Christian.”
Apostle S. Williams Muel, Senior Pastor of Fellowcitizens International Centre, Ekiti State, in his view, argued that if one says that being a polygamist makes a person lesser Christian, it would mean that biblical fathers of faith who married more than one wife were guilty of same.
“When you say been a polygamist makes a man a lesser Christian, what do you have to say about Solomon, Abraham and Jacob?
“Would you say these people are lesser Christians? What of David that married many wives, yet God said ‘he is the man after my own heart’?
“The New Testament is trying to set back the original order of marriage set by God. I believe strongly that God’s intention for man is to marry one woman,” he stated.
He continued, “This is because when God created Adam, he made Eve and not ‘Eves’. And here is what God intends to deal with in human beings, especially men; God wants men to be contented and satisfied with one woman.
“Looking at polygamy, you will discover that the disadvantage is greater than the advantage.
“Also in a polygamous setting, it will be hard for you not to witness an atmosphere of strife and jealousy. You can’t satisfy the women the same, you are going to like one more than the other.
“Let’s assume you can manage it as a man, the women might not manage it; if any of these women is not born again, she might start to consult other spiritual mediums.”
The cleric stated further that most of African problems could be traced to polygamy.
“Some of the problems we are having in Africa originated from polygamy whereby a lot of mothers have to use charms to protect their children.
“Looking at the disadvantages of polygamous family, why will somebody want to bring his unborn children to such family?
“When you marry more than one wife, there is the possibility of falling into errors that can take you to hell and also affect your Christian life. I want men to be disciplined in the area of marriage,” he concluded.
Baba Israel Akinadewo, Supreme Head of Motailatu Church Cherubim and Seraphim Church (MCCSW), during the regional meeting of Organisation of African Instituted Churches, delivered a paper entitled ‘Celibacy, Marriage and the Future of the Organisation of the African Instituted Churches in the Contemporary Nigerian Church’.
He said the common practice of polygamy among leaders of African churches makes them despised by leaders of other denominations. He noted that polygamy will no longer be welcomed.
“Polygamy is one of the issues in Christianity that can bring one’s image down. The fact remains that there are lots of leaders within the fold that are still practicing polygamy.
“The truth of the matter is that polygamy will no longer be welcomed in OAIC.
You can’t be a polygamist and have peace at home or be spiritually concentrated, which will in turn affect the effectiveness of church administration.
“The Bible insists that Christians, particularly a leader, be good husband of one wife. I appreciate President Emuchay and other leaders for having the courage to proscribe polygamy,” Akinadewo said.
Credits: Daily Independent