Tonight I begin teaching a new Anglican Studies course for Christchurch, Introduction to Anglican Theology.
On the face of it, the theology of the Anglican church is Anglican theology so we should have a course on it.
But digging a bit deeper - yes, I have done a bit of prep for the course - things are not quite that simple. A lot of theology within our church is 'just theology'. We are as happy with reading Barth as with reading Benedict. We draw on Augustine and Aquinas. We even read the same Bible as other Christians! There is not distinct Anglican way of understanding the Trinity or the Incarnation.
Nor can we claim a distinctive Anglican contribution to the history of theology. That lots of superb Anglicans have been superb theologians and made superb contributions to that history doesn't make for 'Anglican theology.' When Rowan Williams wrote his masterpiece on Arian it was accidental to what he wrote that he was an Anglican.
We can claim, however, that some Anglican theologians have contributed mightily to specific Anglican debates over the sense and sensibility of the Anglican church. Par excellent here is Richard Hooker. At a crossroads for the newish Church of England in the late 16th century, Richard Hooker took on Puritan opponents who wished for a different character to the church they were presently dissatisfied with. In batting away their bowling attack, Hooker both set out theologies of sacraments, orders and such, sharpened up the lines and contours of Anglican emphases such as we find in the Thirty Nine Articles.
All to the good, but is this as good as 'Anglican theology' gets?
I'll let you know, and you can let me know, if you discover more going on than meets the eye!