Glen Young writing a comment on my Church of England Empowering Act says,
"If the aspirations of the proponents of blessing same-gendered relationships ,cannot be legitimately accommodated within the Doctrine of Clause 1 then it does not fit into the ACANZP - period.
I feel, if such is the case, those who have been advocating and promulgating doctrine which is inconsistent with the Doctrine of Clause 1 have never been under genuine adherence and submission to the authority of General Synod.
The Church cannot be split into a lawful and a unlawful factions. In actuality, we could finish up with 9 tikanga."
Let's unpack this a bit.
As an Anglican church within the Communion (i.e. since the Anglo-Catholic and Modernist controversies of the mid nineteenth century) we have lived our life as a broad church which has given considerable latitude to its preachers to enunciate from the pulpits interpretations of the 'doctrine of Christ' which, strictly speaking, if ever tested before a doctrinal tribune, might not be consistent with our constitution's definition of the doctrine of Christ as that expressed through the BCP, the 39A and the Ordinal.
But, and here is the thing, none of our latitudinal, broad minded preachers have ever succeeded in the synodical process of our church in (say) changing the creeds or removing the BCP as part of our fundamentals. Put another way, all the St Matthew's-in-the-City billboards, and all the times our newspapers have printed an interview with clergy about not taking the Bible literally, Mary may not have been a Virgin and did Jesus really rise from the dead? amount to diddly squat in terms of our constitution. Those statements whistle in the wind doctrinally because they change nothing about what our church formally believes. (Pastorally they likely have mattered in a different way: how many people have been misled by such statements as to what the Anglican church stands for, what Christians believe and what the Bible teaches?)
The difficulty with where we have evolved to as a broad church is that we have lulled ourselves into thinking that we can accommodate any reasonable change proposed by sincere members of our church. That is true only to the extent that a reasonable change is a canonical or constitutional change to church order and belief consistent with the constitution or is a change which does not touch the canons and constitution.
Potentially where our church is going in the light of Motion 30 is towards a place where we cannot accommodate the change we seek. Glen Young's comment highlights this possibility because he is properly focused on what our constitutional understanding of doctrine is and raises the questions whether
(1) a change to incorporate blessings of same sex partnerships (let alone same sex marriages) is consistent with that doctrine; and
(2) any attempt to get around an agreed inconsistency by promulgating some other structure would effectively be a structure consisting of a 'lawful' and an 'unlawful' church (or set of churches).
There is a kicker in the comment above because Glen is highlighting the possibility that for decades 'liberal' or 'progressive' members of our church have actually been tacitly rebelling against the lawful authority of the General Synod. If so, then our lax discipline has fostered a situation in which we have high hopes that will be constitutionally dashed. Such hopes would not have arisen if we had taken a firmer hand on discipline concerning the authority of General Synod and the true submission required of licensed ministers (lay and ordained) in our church.
Are Anglican chickens coming home to roost at this time in our history?
Is God challenging this church to wake up out of its theological slumbers to address the question of belief?