Marriage, Polygamy, and the Slippery Slope

The fight for the biblical definition of marriage is one that isn’t ending any time soon, and it’s not going to be limited to homosexual marriage much longer. In the last week a U.S. District Judge made a ruling that struck down parts of long-standing federal laws against polygamy. The case involved the fundamentalist Mormon family from a reality TV show that centers on a man and his four wives, called “Sister Wives.” The judge’s ruling found that the Bill of Rights’ guarantee of the free practice of religion means that if polygamy is a part of your religion, you’re free to engage in it (which may get rather interesting with the spread of Islam, but that’s another article for another day). While the decision wasn’t a full endorsement of legalized polygamy, we know from watching the development of “civil unions” in the last 10-15 years that all it takes for another strike against marriage is a foot in the door.

The first thing that comes to mind is the “slippery slope” argument that Bible believers have used since the beginning of the homosexual marriage debate. Basically, if we give in on homosexual marriage then the door is opened for all kinds of wrong interpretations of marriage. While I agree with the idea of the slippery slope, our interpretation and application of it has been completely wrong.

The slippery slope doesn’t start with homosexual marriage. The slippery slope starts with our first departure from God’s design for the family that goes back to creation (Gen. 2:24). Forget the homosexual debate – this goes back to the rise of no-fault divorce and the problem of divorce and remarriage (Matt. 19), or beyond that to the idea that premarital sex was okay as long as nobody gets pregnant (at which point abortion became a part of the equation), or even further back to the point where dating and relationships began to be engaged in for fun rather than with the intention of marriage. We’ve let one of God’s most sacred institutions be pushed aside and stepped on for at least 70 years and we said nothing because we were participating it, or our family members were, or our friends were, or the people in the pews were. Now that homosexuality and polygamy threaten marriage (issues that don’t often affect people in the church), we’re suddenly bold enough to speak out about the sanctity of marriage? No, the slippery slope doesn’t start here.

This should be a lesson to us with regards to far more than just marriage. Any time we are given a biblical standard and we make compromises for ourselves or don’t hold to it and teach it strictly as the text says, we end up in a mess of man’s interpretations and sins (and our children and grandchildren get dragged even further into it). We aren’t called to take a stand where we’re comfortable; we’re called to take a stand exactly where God’s Word has spoken. “Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart!” (Psalm 119:2).

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