The biblical vision of marriage is astoundingly rich and important. God established marriage as the life-long union of a man and a woman in covenantal faithfulness, integrity, and monogamy. As the Scripture makes clear, marriage is a deeply moral institution, touching the most intimate and spiritual dimensions of our lives. Of course, it is also the metaphor for the relationship of Christ and the Church, Bridegroom and Bride.
The integrity and credibility of the Christian ministry is also related to marriage and the honoring of the institution. The Apostle Paul makes this point clear in 1 Timothy 3.
So, what is any church to make of this development — reported by Jennifer Garza of The Sacramento Bee?
He is an unlikely troublemaker. With a voice for radio and eyes that brighten when talking about Scripture, the Rev. Barry Beisner seems as if he should be leading Sunday morning worship service, not making waves within the church.
But he is. An Episcopal priest who has served in the Sacramento area for 17 years, Beisner has been married three times, something many in the diocese have known for years. Now, clergy and lay leaders have elected Beisner bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern California.
Beisner’s election must be approved at a national meeting of church leaders that begins June 13. If that approval is given, many believe Beisner will be the first bishop in the church to have been divorced twice and married three times.
Well, the Episcopal Church, USA has approved the election of an openly-gay bishop who had divorced his wife and was living with another man — so what is to stop the election of a man who has married three times and divorced twice?