(Please note the piece to which Dr. Turner is responding may be found here).
Bagshaw envisions regional groupings of autonomous provinces committed to ongoing conversation and where possible cooperation. These groupings need not, however, be committed to mutually recognized forms of belief and practice. In his future, there need no longer be “eagerness to maintain unity in the bond of peace.” There need be only occasional meetings that might prove mutually advantageous or serve to further regional and local self-interest. What Bagshaw sketches as the future of Anglicanism more closely resembles the British Commonwealth of Nations than the body of Christ. In Bagshaw’s world adjustments to division are perfectly acceptable. As in all free trade zones, divisions simply become opportunities for regional cooperation and mutual benefit on the one hand or self-assertion on the other
I am profoundly troubled by all this first because Bagshaw’s view of an Anglican future gives the lie to all that God is up to; namely, to unite all peoples in Christ so that all people worship the one true God as God truly is. I am also troubled because the free trade zone of autonomous churches that may well lie in our future is to be ordered by centers of bureaucratic or local power rather than by Bishops whose particular charism is to maintain unity of faith, holiness of life, and peace within the church. If one thing the recent meeting in Dublin makes clear, it is that the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates there assembled have abdicated the responsibility of Bishops to maintain catholic belief and practice not only within but also beyond the borders of their particular dioceses or provinces. I am troubled, in short, because Dublin spells the end of catholic order within the Anglican future he foresees. Bagshaw is quite comfortable with this eventuality. Indeed, in one place he makes the amazing statement that the discussion of the Primates present in Dublin about the differences in their roles in their various provinces was not about theology but how “to work better in the new Anglican Communion.” Just imagine a communion where theology and polity have nothing to do one with another! Bagshaw can do so with no difficulty at all. I can only say, I have a great deal of difficulty!