Since the Lambeth Conference of 1998, there have been two basic reactions to radical revisionism in the West. The theological response, focused by GAFCON, is recovering the confessing Anglicanism of our Reformation title deeds, whereas the Lambeth based ‘Instruments of Unity’ have succumbed to the pragmatic attraction of an illusory middle ground where biblical truth is relativized to culture.
Whereas in Thomas Cranmer we find hermeneutic confidence and ecclesiological pessimism, in Rowan Williams we find the reverse - hermeneutic pessimism and ecclesiological optimism. While the former, as developed by his successors such as Jewel and Hooker, offers a stable paradigm of what it is to be both Catholic and Reformed, the latter is neither Catholic nor Reformed and is irretrievably unstable.
The great sign of hope among the chaos is that there is a consciousness within the Communion that it must define itself by the history of God as revealed in Holy Scripture rather than the history of England. Paradoxically, it seems that what I believe to be my country’s greatest contribution to the world, the English Reformation, will only come to its full fruition in the Anglican Communion when England is no longer at its centre.