Usage and ab-usage in the language of contemporary Anglicanism
It has long been the boast of Anglicans that theirs is a broad, open and accommodating Church. Anglicanism, it is said, has contained tensions which have caused other churches to divide. That was certainly, the case, until recently, over homosexuality . The nod and the wink, the charitable looking the other way, of which Robert Runcie has recently spoken, was a civilized compromise which allowed people of differing opinions to coexist m relative good humour. But as Otis Charles, ECUSA’s ‘only openly gay bishop’, has recently pointed out, that kind of compromise will no longer work. ‘…we’re no longer willing to remain silent and invisible …we’re going to live openly and honestly as the people we are’.
So ECUSA (forever in motion and forever inventive) has come up with a nest solution. Where doctrines are in dispute,_ why not simply deny that the exist at all’ The solution in the trial of alter Righter° (the bishop accused of ordaining a homosexual not pledged to celibacy) that the church has no doctrine about human sexuality, is in theory, infinitely extendable.
In the Righter case it required the identification to~ `core doctrine’ – the New Testament kerygma about Jesus (scholarly fellows, these Yanks!), and the Niceno–Constantinoplitan Creed. Nothing else, apparently, is to be taken as binding.
But of course there is no reason to stick at the kerygma (whatever the latest German theory takes that to be), or Nicea (whatever Jack Spong makes of that). The goal posts can now be moved every time the house of Bishops fails to reach a common mind. ECUSA is set to become the ultimate Anglican Church: the church in which the only dogma is that there can be no dogma.
Or will that, in the end, prove to be too dogmatic?