In the absence of news from GAFCON on Monday (Kenya time) - reasonable since this site tells us it is registration day - actually there was one bit of news, a Tweet from a Kiwi participant said the ANZAC brigade were all going out for dinner together - so let's talk revisionism.
[UPDATE: Here is David Ould's report on Day One].
An exchange or two yesterday here saw that old Anglican blogging canard of 'revisionism' tossed about like a hand grenade from trench to trench in WW1 warfare.
The nice thing about claiming that this or that lot of Anglicans are revisionist is that it is always true!! When I write a draft of an essay or sermon and then seek to improve it by correcting some errors or finding a better way to say something I am, even as (I award the title to myself) the Most Orthodox Preacher in the Whole Wide World, engaging in revisionism.
Guess what? Anglicanism has always been in draft mode. Whether we think of the dear King James Bible and its many improvements before a settled version in seventeen hundred and something which turned out to be a prelude to the Revised Version and many subsequent English translations, or Cranmer writing the Book of Common Prayer in 1549, wait, improved in 1552, whoops there were further corrections to get to the 1662 version which most (non-Americans) mean by invoking the BCP, or the Thirty Nine Articles which were preceded by the Forty Two Articles, a serious amount of Anglican drafting was going on from the time of the Reformation.
More recently we could talk about various Puritan, Dissenting and Methodist attempts to rewrite the Anglican draft which failed, except not completely since somehow the Evangelical Revival of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth crept into the Establishment and, shock, horror, revived elements of Puritan, Methodist and Dissenting emphasis on Bible teaching, personal holiness and general zeal for discipleship.
Naturally there was a bit of reaction to that piece of revisionism and Newman, Pusey and company got the Oxford Anglo-Catholic Revival Moving from the hothouse of a university city to the industrial heartlands of burgeoning Britain. To the charge that this was a New Revisionism, the Tracts of the Time, all 90 (?) of them, argued strenuously that this was just the meaning of Anglicanism as hidden in the Thirty-Nine Articles. At least Newman had the integrity to see that he was involved in writing tosh and recognised that the Thirty-Nine Articles meant his newly minted It's Not Actually Revised Anglicanism actually meant buying a pair of swimming togs and plunging across the Tiber.
Meanwhile in a far off country Colenso was anticipating bog standard aspects of Twentieth Century Anglican liberalism which ticked our very own George Selwyn off and set in train Lambeth Conferences which could be accurately renamed Half-Hearted Attempts to Define Anglicanism Every Ten Years.
Selwyn incidentally was a master Anglican Revisionist of the First Class. Dissatisfied with the Missionary Church he came to be bishop of, he set about excluding Maori from its governance and founded a Settler Version of Kiwi Anglicanism (which later would be revised again, radically, in 1990). In the process, however, he did do at least one good thing which was to toss his English patrician heritage of episcopal and parliamentary control of Anglicanism out the window in favour of synodical governance in which laity play a determining role.
Of course while all these eighteenth and nineteenth century moves in the British realm of Anglicanism were going on, the Americans were engaged in their own revisionism. Fair enough too. It is hard to pray a collect for the Sovereign if you have ditched the Sovereign.
Through the twentieth century revisionism of things Anglican spread like a virus throughout the globe. Infrequent communion was like a sandcastle before the tide of Parish Communionism. The BCPs' [intentional plural] antiquated versions of the vernacular gave way, both in America and in the Commonwealth, to new versions of liturgy. Neither Hymns Ancient and Modern nor the Book of Common Praise could hold the line on new songs beloved by Anglicans. Trends in robing changed (for good and for ill: are robes meant to be Wearable Art?). Requirements for ordination changed. In a shocking move the Church of England conceded that a theological degree might be as good as a degree in Classics or Mathematics as preparation for ministry. Male DNA as another requirement was hung on to for a lot longer!
Do I expect GAFCON this week to be revisionist? You bet. The draft paper called Anglicanism is always being revised. Do I expect some GAFCONites to charge that those not attending are revisionist? You bet. The latest draft or 'our current draft' always calls in question other versions of the draft.
Why, I even expect some commenters here to charge me with a revisionist view of Anglican history, as outlined with breathtaking speed above :).