Rev. Vincent Mulwa a pastor at Christ Pilgrim Restoration Centre, Kenya, has come out to challenge the Christian doctrine that men should only marry one wife to save a generation of women who are ageing without husbands.
In an interview with Kenya’s The Daily Nation, Rev. Mulwa says Africans bought the world views of European missionaries who brought Christianity into Africa and abandoned polygamy, a practice that was rife even among the people who lived during biblical times.
Rev Mulwa said he wants Christian leaders to review teachings on monogamous marriages, claiming there is no verse in the Bible supporting it.
He says this is necessary to “save a generation of women who are ageing in church without husbands”.
“I have been in the ministry for 38 years, preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ but now I have realised that we ministers of the gospel have lost our believers,” he said during the interview.
Rev Mulwa argues that many women are ending up unmarried and others are single and widows after they fail to get husbands.
“I have never seen anywhere in the Bible where prophets and preachers prayed for single ladies to get married. The Bible people were polygamous and everyone had a husband,”
He says, adding that widows were allowed to become concubines.
He says polygamy was commonly practised by many African traditional communities and the Jewish culture was also polygamous, adding that it only began to fade with the introduction of Christianity.
“As far as the Bible is concerned, the number of wives or concubines that one has does not matter and is not a standard of holiness. I have come out to tell Christians that we must preach the true gospel and allow our men in the church to marry as many wives as they want. Polygamy is not about men needing many wives but it’s about women needing husbands.”
According to the cleric, the Bible has only come out strongly to condemn adultery, which is taking another man’s wife.
The reverend argues that the fact that the missionaries, who mostly came from Rome, began to preach monogamy does not mean that this is what the Bible teaches.
“It is unfortunate for the Church that today, when our dear brothers and sisters attend theological schools, they are fed with so much gentile-tilted theology that upon graduation, they are well equipped to vigorously convince the world to buy into the Roman immigration of Christianity,” he says.
He says Christianity is not an American or European culture. Rather, it is God’s way of reaching and dealing with humankind.
Rev Mulwa, who says he is officially married to one wife, says he was preaching in a church he started 20 years ago but had to leave the church because his wife and members disagreed with his polygamy teaching.
“I told my wife that as much as she doesn’t want to agree with me, I will continue preaching the gospel of polygamy until the whole world hears of it because that is the true gospel,” he says.
When asked if he has secret wives to which he responds:
“The number of wives I have is not an issue. If I have one wife or more, I will not be holier than the other. That’s why I am saying Christian men should be allowed to marry many wives.”
His interpretation of the Bible is that it has not condemned polygamy. Rather, it was practised widely by men of God in the Bible.
“Polygamy is an acceptable practice. No lady should stay without a husband. Christianity remains the most holy faith, but when preached from the perspective of the European and American gentiles, then it is definitely the filthiest religion on earth.”
He gives the example of some of the men in the Bible like Abraham and David who married more than one wife and had concubines with whom they got children.
“The holiness was in how these men dealt with their many wives and concubines and God had no problem with them,” he says.
The reverend says it is wrong to imagine that God would have created two wives for Adam as “God created them so that they may fill the world”
He noted that in the Bible, some women seemed to have been in a complex situation such that remarrying was out of thought. They ended up being concubines.
But even for concubines, there was discipline, he says, and a man found with another man’s concubine was to be beaten.
“This was a lesser punishment compared to when you were found with someone’s wife where the sentence was death by stoning,” he adds.