It is great to get robust responses to posts. So my excursion towards Anglican theological coherency has provoked various responses. Here are some reflections:
- 'catholic' seems to me to mean different things to different folks: some lean towards it as valuing 'tradition' with openness to development of the tradition rather than maintaining it in a foxed form; actually change 'some' to 'everyone' commenting here; it seems to be just me who thinks that 'catholic' is about the common life of the church and its value lies in commitment to securing that common life around any development of the tradition.
- a way forward, attractive to me, is for Anglicans to refind and recommit to classical Anglicanism, at least in the sense of renewing our understanding of Anglican coherency at the time of the English Reformation and its aftermath, the coherency which is reflected in the theology of the Book of Common Prayer and the Thirty Nine Articles, embedded as they are in Scripture while yet valuing some rules of faith which shape our understanding of Scripture.
Meanwhile, I promised a post on liberalism as a possible way forward for a coherent Anglican theology. I think liberalism is a wonderful way of being coherent theologically. The essence of the liberal approach to theology is to take nothing received for granted and to be open to all new possibilities. That offers great possibilities for a consistent theology as well as all the coherency of liberalism in general, for instance, the coherency of placing humanity at the centre of God's purposes and understanding God as essentially committed to human flourishing.
There is just the slight problem of the word 'Anglican' in the phrase 'liberal Anglican theology' because 'Anglican' begs questions about whether the coherency of a genuine liberal theology fits with implied commitments on the part of Anglicans to taking some received things for granted (Scripture, creeds, liturgies) and to not being open to all new possibilities (as some are bound to clash with what is already agreed).