Friday, July 14, 2006

Speaking of Biblical Issues ...

AP reporter Richard Ostling has an interesting piece outlining what ELSE we did at General Convention:

People were so riveted on the homosexual issue at the Episcopal Church's June convention that other actions involving biblical teachings got little attention.The most dramatic was approval of Barry Beisner as bishop of the Sacramento-based Diocese of Northern California. A minority of six on the committee handling nominations commended Beisner's ministry, but objected because he's twice divorced and in a third marriage.

Thus, his consecration Sept. 30 will be precedent-setting. One delegate noted that in some dioceses Beisner would be ineligible to be a priest, much less a bishop.

Until recently, Episcopalians, like fellow Anglicans in other nations, opposed remarriage while the original spouse is living, based on Jesus' strict teaching (Matthew 5:31-32, 19:3-9; Mark 10:2-12; Luke 16:18), reaffirmed by Paul (1 Corinthians 7:10-11).The committee minority quoted 1 Timothy 3:2, that a bishop must be "above reproach," but delicately dropped the succeeding phrase saying he must be "the husband of one wife."

The minority warned that Beisner's elevation would appear to weaken the church's "commitment to the lifelong sanctity of marriage" and cause Anglicans overseas to question the Americans' commitment to biblical teaching.

Episcopalians only liberalized on divorce in recent times.In the mother Church of England, even with relaxed rules, Prince Charles (the church's future supreme governor) couldn't marry Camilla Parker Bowles in church while her first husband is living. After a civil wedding, the Archbishop of Canterbury merely led a prayer service for the couple. In 1936, King Edward VIII famously had to surrender his throne to wed twice-divorced American Wallis Simpson.

Read it all here.

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