The clip above while humorous is illustrative of one of the major problems with Anglicanism. It is so bad and has been for some time that the Church of England has de facto ceased to be a professing Christian body. I ask friends of mine who hold out hope, what makes the CofE Christian?
I used to be Anglican. I was raised as one and I was deeply committed to it. It had much to offer and I still fancy myself something of an Anglo-phile. I don’t write much about the goings-on in Anglicanism, particularly with respect its continuing splits. I do not think that this will end any time soon. In any case, I don’t much concern myself with it for the simple reason that I converted to Orthodoxy. Knowing what I know now about Orthodox teaching, I would have become Orthodox even if Anglicanism had remained de facto Christian in profession. To be sure the change would have been more emotionally difficult, but I still would have converted nonetheless. I am not an Anglican in exile.
Some seem to think that this or that new provision will solve the problems of the past. GAFCON is the latest offering. But since it does not address the fundamental issue of women’s ordination, I can’t see how it will do anything but set the stage for more schisms. Make no mistake, the fundamental issue is whether sex constitutes the human person or not. If it doesn’t then my sex or my use of it can’t function as a bar to ordination. The fundamental thesis is that “I am not my body.” For the record I simply don’t think there is something called “gender.” The distinction as I take it is supposed to be the difference between my plumbing and my psychological disposition or how I view myself. Taking reality as a cue, psychology is irrlevant. Cut and reshape what you like, but a man is a man is a man, even if he is a psychologically errant one.
Further, if women’s ordination is heterodox then open communion with professing heretics is inescusable. If it is not heresy, then there is no substantial basis to break communion or require alternative bishops. If the former, following Athanasius, to be in communion with an open heretic is to be heretical. Communion is like sex, ironically enough. When you commune with others it is like sleeping with someone. You don’t just sleep with them, but with everyone they have ever slept with. It matters not what your local bishop or priest says, since he is “sleeping” with Spong or Williams.
This is not to say that in Orthodoxy there aren’t errant clerics, both morally and theologically. Surely there are, but there is nothing comparable to the frankly open and institutionalized heterodoxy. There does not exist a state of open and undisciplined heresy. Contrary to popular belief this is one of the benefits of not having a centralized authority. You have a whole legion of heresy sniffers such that the threat of being outed functions in a way similar to mutually and interdependent relations that reinforce professed orthodoxy.
Others hold out hope for this or that part of the Anglican tradition, whether the Anglo-Catholic variety or the more Calvinistic/Lutheran variety of the low church tradition. I have seen this before. Deployed are various arguments of the most intricate detail that Anglicanism really was such and so. Even if true, they are irrelevant since whatever vision is being argued for is now and ever more quickly becoming a piece of historical trivia. That Anglicanism is a peice of the past and not a feature of the present and certainly not to be part of the future.
This is not to dance on the grave of Anglicanism or rejoice in the demise of a fiction. It is a cautionary tale for the Orthodox (and Catholics too). Don’t be so smug. The “this can’t happen here” has been said all to often in other places. And history affords us sufficient examples that the papacy is no protection. Plenty of popes have been bad popes and not a view are good candidates at the least for being private heretics if not formal and open advocates of it. Further still there have been papal schisms and development of doctrine or not, there is no reason why such things can’t happen again.
If it gets to the point that the pagans can tell that your church is not a professing Christian body, that your TV representatives are in it for the cash, and that your worship has become a modernistic wax nose for left wing political causes, then you are on the Titanic.