Nazarene Space

Rabbi Rob Miller’s New Polygamy Doctrine (A Follow Up)



Rabbi Rob Miller’s New Polygamy Doctrine (A Follow Up)
James Scott Trimm


Rob Miller recently wrote a follow up to his “Echad” pro-polygamy article (Echad Part 2) which is largely a very weak response to my Rebuttal.  Here is my quick, itemized counter response:


1.  Rob seems to imply that if we do not accept his new doctrine (that polygamy is acceptable), we are to blame for a lack of unity, but if he rejects our doctrine that monogamy is only intent for us, we are once again the ones to blame for disunity. 

Basically it is his way or the highway.  This is exactly the strategy Rob’s doctrine gives to wives in previously monogamous marriages whose husbands want to practice polygamy, they must either accept the husband's decision or be "not echad" and

deemed as a rebellious wife.  Anyone who disagrees with his new doctrine is labeled guilty of Lashon HaRa.  


2.  It is not Lashon HaRa to publicly disagree with a doctrine that has been publicly taught.  It surprises me the degree to which those who teach polygamy seem to think they are immune to being questioned, and any honest doctrinal disagreement with them results in cries of Lashon HaRa and Slander (these words have meanings, and they do not refer to honest doctrinal disagreement with doctrines that have been publicly pronounced).  If someone told me privately that they have no problem with polygamy, and I called them out in public, that would be Lashon HaRa.  But if someone publishes an article supporting polygamy under their own name, in a public forum, it is not Lashon HaRa to publicly disagree with them.


3.  After ten years of working together in the ministry, now that I disagree with Rob's new doctrine, I am suddenly classed as "a man that sets himself up as a Netzarim authority".


4.  Rob says "The article was not about 'polygamy'..."  The Echad article talks about the word "Echad" for about the first 33% and then about 2/3 down the article the subject turns to marriage and polygamy and the article continues with that subject for the last 2/3.  The majority of the article is an apologetic for polygamy, whereas in the past Rob Miller has written against polygamy, so I think it is very fair to refer to Echad as "Rob's New Polygamy Doctrine."


5.  Rob’s "Part 2" ignores what my rebuttal says about 2Samuel 12:7-8 and simply repeats his original claims about that verse as if they had not been dispelled already.


6.  Rob’s identification of Hasidim with Sadducees is totally off.  The "Sadducees" were Tzadokim (followers of Tzadok).


7.  Rob states "if a woman's husband dies, and she didn't have any children from him, then she must marry his brother regardless whether he had a wife or not."  This is simply not true.  In fact the brother has a choice, he may marry the widow, or he may perform the halizah ceremony.  The halizah ceremony is performed routinely in Rabbinic Judaism today.  The Torah does not require anyone to practice polygamy.  For Rob to cite the Sadducees who questioned Yeshua as his authority misses the point that Yeshua says of these very men that they did "not know the Scriptures". 


8.  While taking issue with what the Essenes say in the Damscus Document says about polygamy, Rob ignores the point that Yeshua's statement in Matthew 19 is clearly repeating the Essene halacha as contained in that document.  The parallels are far too strong to ignore.


9.  Most authorities understand "husband of one wife" to mean husband of one wife at a time.  The application to divorced men is unique to such groups as the Assemblies of God.  It is a non issue for the vast majority of interpreters, yet Rob implies that such an obscure interpretation is our only alterative to his rather fanciful interpretation.


10. Rob says: "The writer of 'A Rebuttal to Rabbi Rob Miller’s New Polygamy Doctrine,' outright lies when he says: 'Rob Miller’s new Polygamy doctrine has an especially destructive side. It allows a man to force his wife to accept a polygamous marriage, or divorce her as a 'rebellious wife' who is 'not echad'. 'Again this is not my doctrine but the Torah’s command..." 

Wow... just wow...

By the way, at a 2010 wedding ceremony which Rob officiated, he said in his brief sermon: "Because of this the bride is to be prepared with purity, having eyes only to please her groom. Likewise the groom comes to the bride sacrificing His own life for her, and forsaking all others in order to love her only."


11.  Rob simply ignores the fact that my article shows that 1Tim. 3:2 must be understood as “husband of one wife” as there are no words meaning “with” or “his” in the Aramaic or the Greek.  Instead he continues to add these words to the text and simply repeats his error. 


12.  Rob says: “It is so sad when we cannot come together because someone sees an opportunity to amass disciples unto themselves from another man’s ministry.” 


Rob seems to imply that I have a dishonest agenda in standing opposed to his new polygamy doctrine.  The implication is that I have suddenly come out against polygamy simply because I have seen “an opportunity to amass disciples” unto myself from his ministry by capitalizing on the issue.  This is simply false.


To begin with my public stand against polygamy goes back more than ten years.  I gave my interpretation of Matthew 19 in connection with the Damascus Document as teaching monogamy as early as 2002 with the first publication of my Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew.  I stood by Rabbi Rob Miller when he published his 2007 anti-polygamy article “What Does the Word Say About Polygamy?”.  Rob and I stood together against polygamy when the International Nazarene Beit Din passed an anti-polygamy halacha in 2008 (which Rob voted for at the time).  On August 6th 2008 Rob voted with me in favor of disfellowshipment of six leaders including Rabbi Moshe Koniuchowsky for teaching polygamy, in a proclamation from the INBD labeling these men as “wolves” and labeling YATI and BYSW as “an obscure polygamist cult, and not part of the true Nazarene movement.”  Yet now Rob Miller and his Agudat Bris and Original Truth ministries are listed as members of YATI and BYSW.  And his pro-polygamy articles are now featured on YATI’s website.  It is not I who has broken ranks.  I did not suddenly see a vulnerability and attack.  I am on record as speaking out against polygamy repeatedly over a period of more than ten years!  Moreover the vast majority of those affiliated with Rob Miller’s ministry in the past have chosen not to follow him in this direction.  I do not believe this is because James Trimm has them bamboozled!  I give those affiliated with Rob’s ministry in the past far more credit than that.  They are smart enough and discerning enough to see that Rob’s new doctrine is not only false but also a major departure from his past teaching on the subject.  They are not mindless automatons whom I have brainwashed, they can clearly see that it is Rob Miller who has broken ranks with them.  They did not leave Agudat Bris, Agudat Bris left them, and I will not be made to feel guilty for doing my best to pick up the pieces from the mess that has been left behind.  


13.  Finally in response not to Rob, but to a third party who claimed that Rob’s new polygamy doctrine makes it harder to justify polygamy than before…. How can permitting polygamy make it harder to justify polygamy than had prohibiting polygamy?



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Views: 822

Comment by Rick on January 7, 2015 at 7:31pm

 how does the saying go , oh what a web we weave when once we try and deceive . Great Job James on your position and standing in for the congregation in Temple Texas


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