n Missionalia : Southern African Journal of Mission Studies - Critical reflections on polygamy in the African Christian context




Polygamy is a phenomenon often associated with African people. In almost all African societies, polygamy is an acceptable and valid form of marriage - in fact, monogamy has been associated with people of lower social status. Proponents of polygamy have claimed that the more wives a man has, the more children he is likely to have, and the more children, the greater the chances that the family will enjoy immortality. This is indicative of the high regard in which the tradition is held by some African people (men in particular). The theological thinking of various Christian denominations is divided on the subject of polygamy. The intention of this article is to investigate the way in which African people have conceptualised polygamy, and how the Christian church has dealt with it. In particular, I will explore and present and argument on whether polygamy can still be regarded as acceptable in contemporary Christian communities.


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