4. ANSWER 2 (from North India)
Thank you for your mail and I understand the matter very well. I am responding to the Question here:
This is the same case as our brother Sahid Alam, who came to the Lord in 1994 through our ministry in Delhi. During that time he was already married and had two wives. His first wife had 8 children and the second wife had 2 children. They all lived in the same house. Through our regular Bible studies and Sunday Church Services brother Alam with his two wives believed in Jesus Christ and were also baptized together in October 1995.
After baptism, I counseled brother Alam and his two wives about the Christian family life. I said to them that you all are believers and followers of Jesus Christ. According to the Bible you should have only one wife instead of two wives. Brother Alam took decision after prayer and talked with his first wife regarding this important matter. His first wife was separated from him and had no physical relationship with Alam anymore. He only had physical relationship with his second wife. His two wives were happy with this decision, because they wanted to obey Christ.
One day brother Alam came to me and shared with me his vision that the Lord is calling him for ministry. He joined our Bible Training program for 3 years and started his ministry with us. Later on we ordained brother Alam for conducting Church services, Holy communion, Baptism, Bible studies etc. In 2010, he dedicated his son named Habibul Rehman (from his first wife) for ministry and sent him to Bible school for two years course. Now, he is working with us as a pioneer Church planter. Brother Alam leads our pastor's fellowship during their monthly meetings, seminars, report collection activities and in sharing the Word of God. All the family members are growing in the Lord and participate in church activities.
My practical suggestion is this:
- We may give him the advice to stay separated from his first wife instead of divorcing her. He should stay with his second wife and should have a physical relationship only with the second one for a better family. Because his wife has not done anything wrong by marrying him, she should not be divorced. Through counseling, one wife has to make the sacrifice so that he and his other wife would be blameless.
- I hope this will make a good rapport among local Christians and there will be no more objection for him to do ministry. Then he can give a testimony by sharing that he did have two wives before coming to Christ, but that now he has one wife and only has a relationship with her.
- Here we apply what the Word of God says in 1 Timothy 3:2 and 12: "Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach" and "Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well."
We are praying for the Nigerian brother that he will have a strong faith in the Lord and we hope that the church concerned will understand and accept him.