Teasing out the issues on Anglican identity is coming along very nicely in comments being made to my first post on the question of who is an Anglican these days. Thank you.
Certainly a pretty tight definition of 'Anglican' (and therefore of who is not Anglican) requires belonging to the Anglican Communion. There is then just the small, but actually rather large question of how people self-identifying as Anglicans who do not belong to the Anglican Communion are to be called. Such people, after all, are clearly and particularly not identifying themselves as Presbyterians or Baptists or Roman Catholics etc!
Frankly, in my book, calling them 'wannabe Anglicans' is less than gracious as well as, I suggest, less than accurate (because 'wannabe' implies a grasping ambition to be something one cannot be, whereas some signs suggest that civil, careful, progressing discussion has been engaged in between ACNA and Canterbury). More helpful is the suggestion that the Anglican Communion (quickly) develops a form of 'associate membership' for the likes of ACNA. Anglicans would then be 'full' and 'associate' members of the Communion. Such an approach would be in keeping with the spirit of 21st century Anglicanism which we are constantly assured is 'inclusive'!
Also helpful is the suggestion that people may appropriately identify themselves as Anglican where the theology to which they hold can broadly be identified as 'Anglican theology.'
Another comment uses the phrase 'truly Anglican' and that is a matter to consider also: are there 'Anglicans' and 'true Anglicans' (and, some might want to add, 'false Anglicans')? Associated questions would then be the grounds by which one designated an Anglican claimant as a 'true Anglican.' Would that include communion with the See of Canterbury? Adherence to formularies of a member church of the Communion? Commitment to Anglican theology? (One particular challenge these days is that some Anglicans think other Anglicans-communing with Canterbury-adhering to relevant formularies have nevertheless lost the Anglican theological plot: are these true or false, orthodox or heterodox or heretical Anglicans?)
Also into the mix of threads of issues - not drawn into conclusions here yet - is the nature of idenfication language: some words play dual roles when it comes to identification. 'Kiwi', for instance, can apply to someone born and bred in NZ; but it is also used by people who emigrated here just a few years ago but who now identify themselves fully with this land and its culture. Also, in my experience, denominational identifications are flexible in various ways. There is many a Presbyterian spouse who has worshipped with their Baptist spouse in Baptist churches for many years of married life who nevertheless understand themselves to be Presbyterian and not Baptist. Ditto Methodists who move to a rural area with only an Anglican or Roman Catholic church to choose from: although fully immersed in the life of the church they participate in, in their hearts they remain Methodist. Conversely there are those Christians who will say 'I am an Anglican these days' (because they have been worshipping in the local Anglican church for a few months) but when they move towns and find the local Baptist church to their liking, cheerfully say 'I am a Baptist these days' (even though the 'full members' of that congregation might look sideways at them because they know they have not been fully immersed!).
Any more issues, questions, nuances to ponder?
ADDED LATER: Of course there are a few more things to think about, like (a) Anglicans who have some tenuous connection with a local parish church, virtually never actually go to church for Sunday worship ... are they more or less Anglican than a member of ACNA? (b) Anglicans who leave (say) TEC for ACNA but do not renounce in any way their Anglican-ness: have they ceased to be Anglican because they left one Communion-associated form of Anglicanism for another?
I will attempt some conclusions in my next post.