There are further questions to consider when thinking about how many gospels are at work in the Communion today, but first some words about what the gospel is (as I understand it).
I like what Ron Smith, commenting here last week, says the gospel is, "there is only one Gospel. At the heart of it is this declaration: "Jesus Christ came into this world to SAVE SINNERS" - that's all of us - not just the good!"
I think we could go a wee bit further, taking a cue from Bishop Tom Wright who makes much of the gospel as the announcement of the coming of the Messiah, of Jesus as the alternate and greater Lord to Caesar, and say the gospel is the announcement that Jesus is Lord and Saviour. In rough terms "Jesus is Lord" sums up the four gospels in which Jesus acts and speaks as Lord of the world and King of the Kingdom of God, and "Jesus is Saviour" sums up the epistles in which Paul and others set out the case that the death of cross resolves all problems of sin, provides the one and only needed solution of righteousness being provided for all sinners, and ends the former sacrificial cult based in the Jerusalem temple.
Having, I hope, made a fair attempt at stating the gospel in terms both founded on Scripture, consistent with the teaching I have received as an evangelical Christian, and in terms coherent with what a leading catholic Anglican commenter here has said, I return to the question of 'two gospels' in the Anglican Communion!
Something I do not think we Anglicans are very good at seeing as a fault within ourselves is that when we engage with a theological issue like the question of what the gospel is and whether there is more than one gospel at work in the Communion we rarely talk about the related issue of authority: who decides what the gospel is, who decides what the gospel is not? We tend to act, and, to be blunt, I see signs of it here in our discussions, as though our own personal grasp of the gospel is the criterion by which to judge whether (say) TEC is faithful to the gospel, or whether two gospels are driving the deliberations of one of the Instruments of Communion. This is not to say that my grasp or your grasp of the gospel is wrong, but to note that even if 1000 of us agree on the gospel, we have a problem if another 1000 disagree with us. Who decides? That is a major problem which the Church of England derived Communion is grappling with to a degree not previously experienced (I would argue).
By 'Church of England derived' I mean that at the root of the Communion is, on the one hand, the rejection at the Reformation of a Magisterium based in Rome, and on the other hand, the installation at the Reformation of the 'magistrate' (i.e. civic authority via parliament) to be an (or 'the'?) authority in determining matters of doctrine and practice, specifically via approval of prayer books. Problem: 'civic authority' over the church does not translate well to other nations in which the planted version of the C of E is not a 'national church'. In practice member churches make their own decisions via a supra-diocesan authority bound by constitution such as General Synod or General Convention. For the Communion a problem potentially arises when one General Synod/Convention disputes the decision of another such body, and a complex problem arises when the body being disputed thinks its authority is indisputable!
So, in talking about the possibility that two gospels are at work in the Communion today, it is insufficient for me or you or even both of us together, dear reader, to make the claim. We need a means of determining whether the claim has merit or not, and if it does, what is to be done about it. Cue arguments for the Covenant. You did expect me to say that, didn't you?!
There is a further problem I think needs a mention. In Communion talk we worry about 'member churches' more than individual parishes or dioceses. We are tempted to say things like 'TEC follows another gospel'. But what is the basis for saying such things? How do we determine that a whole member church is oriented towards another gospel? And, who determines that such an orientation exists?
It is insufficient, in my view, to conclude from a few pronouncements of a few bishops, or the observable tendencies of some flagship institutions (cathedrals, theological colleges), that X is following another gospel. Yet that is what we observers from afar seem to do (yes, me in the first rank of culpability here). Even when the observers are within the member church, there are still questions about how knowledgeable the observer is. I notice, for instance, in my own church, that sometimes things are said about parts of our church which I find at variance with my own observations. When the variation exists between one who is not involved in those other parts and one who is, there is a real question of who is speaking authoritatively about the situation. Nevertheless potentially a clear situation could arise when a General Synod/Convention offers a belief by resolution which is open for scrutiny by other bodies. So far, however, I know of no Anglican General Synod/Convention that has acted as clearly as, say, denying one of the great creeds, or adding devotion to Buddha to its constitution.
Neither of the two concerns being advanced here means that there are not two gospels at work in the Communion, nor that there is an intrinsic problem in determining whether that is the case or not. But I am flagging that we should be suitably cautious about how we might proceed in a manner which involves proper authority, both authority in making judgement and authority which is universally recognised in our Communion.
POSTSCRIPT Interesting post from Cranmer which highlights that 'habemus papem' (we have a pope) does not necessarily solve the 'problem of authority' in the church.