In a post below, Part Four of my "Way Forward" series, Malcolm Falloon responds to my proposal with some important criticisms, which I will respond to here in a series of comments. My attempt here is to respond constructively because I think some issues are finely balanced in terms of what is the right/wrong/helpful/unhelpful way to move forward, so I am less interested in rebutting what Malcolm has to say and more interested in furthering discussion, to which other commenters may like to contribute ... my comments are in italics.
From Malcolm Falloon:
I disagree with you on the viability of using the recent changes to how services are authorised to bring about the compromise you propose. Among other things, it would be destructive of good order to bypass Part G, section 4 of the constitution on what has proven such a controversial issue.
Comment: it would be destructive of good order if a resolution of our church fostered the controversy rather than settled it. The point of what I am proposing (or indeed of any proposal that GS on all our behalfs might agree to) is to settle the controversy rather than deepen it. So my question would be whether in this specific, distinctive, even unique matter of controversy, might it be a good thing to "bypass Part G, section 4"?
Your proposal also seems to hinge on a distinction between doctrine-as-enshrined-in-the-formularies and doctrine-as-expressed-in-the-church's-worship: formulaic doctrine as opposed to permissive doctrine. That is too subtle for me.
Whether General Synod changes its doctrine of marriage (which it seems reluctant to do at present) or redefines the church's understanding of chastity (as you propose in your clause 3), both involve changes to the doctrine expressed in the fundamental provisions of the constitution.
(1) On the distinction between "doctrine-as-enshrined-in-the-formularies and doctrine-as-expressed-in-the-church's-worship: formulaic doctrine as opposed to permissive doctrine." My point here is that I consistently hear the anxiety of colleagues concerned that they may, in accepting a licence to minister, be required to sign to believing doctrine they do not agree with. Avoiding the doctrine/formulary route is, in my view, a way round this particular difficulty. A related point is that already our church grants "permissive doctrine" in the sense that it permits military chaplains to bless warships, clergy on St Francis' Day to bless pets, as well as giving clergy the option of blessing the remarriage of a divorced person or not. In principle and in practice, there is a distinction of the kind Malcolm describes as "too subtle" already at work in our church.
(2) There is indeed an issue about whether any change to which GS might agree on these matters is, or is not, a change to "the doctrine expressed in the fundamental provisions of the constitution." On this matter I suspect Malcolm and I would agree that no commission/working group/chancellors' advice to date has given a satisfactory response!
As an aside: I consider these two alternatives to be mutually exclusive: if you extend the doctrine of marriage (as proposed by the Working Group), you don't need to change the definition of chastity; if you change the definition of chastity, you can not but diminish the doctrine of marriage. If the church effected both changes at once, the church would be left with a nominal doctrine of marriage that was only a matter of personal preference.
You ask me for a better pathway. The only viable pathway, in my view, involves structural change and constitutional revision. We should not be under any allusion that accommodating such a compromise will involve far-reaching changes. I am less certain, however, that we have the collective will to pursue such a course.
Comment: in which case, for those who disagree with me, and especially from a conservative perspective, could we please have, whether from an individual theologian such as Malcolm, or from the Latimer Fellowship or from the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, a proposal or proposals to consider, digest, improve through discussion and then submitted by 1 October 2016!