I am quite unrepentant about urging conservatives to support the Covenant even though a number of important criticisms have come back to me in comments on yesterday's post.
I quite agree that in a number of ways the Communion and its current arrangements (and my own church ACANZP and its current arrangements) have not served conservative Anglicans well, at least in the sense of often appearing to curry favour with the agressive progressive elements in our life, rather than being firm and disciplinarian with those elements.
But Anglican life is not simply divisible into "conservatives" and "progressives". There is a great middle ground in which people have a mix of conservative and progressive views, attitudes and commitments. It is unlikely that a proposal such as the Anglican Covenant will garner much support if it is solely satisfying to only one set of views. If conservative Anglicans would be happy with a Covenant whose text and whose application sorted the Communion out in a conservative manner, what proportion of the Communion would sign up? Just before replying that the vast majority of individual Anglicans are conservatives (true!), we should recall that we are talking about a proposal for member churches to sign to. Again, one could rightly say that the majority of member churches of the Communion are conservative. But in saying that one could and should acknowledge that a substantial minority of member churches are not conservative in outlook but rather a 'mixed bag'. In this category I place (at least) the churches of Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Southern Africa, Canada, the USA and related places, Japan, Brazil and Mexico. None of these churches would sign to a conservatives-are-happy-with-it Covenant. We know that, in fact, several of the above churches are likely not to sign the Covenant because it is more conservative than they want to be a signatory to.
In short, if we want something like the present Communion to sign up to something which is a marker in the ground about doctrine and practice and mutual accountability, it is going to be the Covenant or something like it. But if we conservatives are happy to have a Communion shorn of most of the above named countries then by all means (a) do not sign the Covenant (b) work on other arrangements more satisfying to conservatives.
I for one as a conservative am interested in Anglican arrangements which keep my moderate, progressive and progressive-and-conservative colleagues and friends on board (as far as possible - some progressives are liable to fall outside the limits to diversity!). I say this not because I think opposing points of view can all be true but because I have learnt much from those who are not like me and do not think like me.
One of those things I have learned is that I may be wrong, that not all conservatism is as faithful to the gospel as it thinks it is, or as 'biblical' as it claims to be. It is humbling to realise that one may have been wrong, that one has lots to learn, and that people one thought had jettisoned the Bible in fact have kept reading it, but that has been my experience as a conservative moving in the mixed economy of local and global Anglicanism.