Anglicanism's Conceptual Space: A Sketch, Part II (Wright's Fallacy)
I. The Truth is Out There
The historical norm for Anglicanism, I have argued, defines a conceptual space according to the notion:
(~1) There are Christians, and the church lacks infallible knowledge.
That is to say, it is the norm for Anglicans to admit that there is no office, no council, and no group of Scripture readers that possesses infallible, saving propositional knowledge. It may be that most Anglicans, especially now, think otherwise or would loathe to assent to (~1) if it were put to them. And it may well be, as I suspect, that Anglican theologians from the Reformation forward only reluctantly backed into accepting (~1) and did so with a rather low profile.
For they recognized from the beginning that the church in order to survive as such at all would have to take stands on a wide variety of matters, ecclesial and otherwise, regardless of the fact it lacked infallible knowledge. That is to say, it would have to take these stands understanding that it could err presently as it had in the past.
Indeed, infallible propositional knowledge is hard to come by; critique and controversy are much easier. But we should not be overly surprised or dismayed about its inaccessibility. For the most part, the church has not relied on such knowledge here below for its continuing identity and growth. Rather, Anglicans have relied on
(A) A continuing form of life,
(B) An ongoing relationship with God the Father.
The refrain "Come worship with us!" encapsulates a typical Anglican answer to skeptics. Is Christianity true? Well, you won't know unless you try, unless you come worship. In other words, the actuality of worship praxis implies (A) and (B), with the emphasis on (B). And once you have a relationship with the Father in the midst of the common life of the church, the praxis of skeptical questioning is otiose. One may indeed have many questions: Who is the Father? Who is this Jesus guy through whom we are constantly approaching the Father? Why do I need to approach him in the first place? But questioning can be sustained from within the common life of the church in worship even without answers, and ipso facto, the right answers or infallible answers to the questions.
That is why we should hesitate mightily before requiring orthodoxy around the Trinity and Incarnation, much less other lesser matters, of laity and ordained. Even though a requirement of submission to propositional text setting out defined orthodox contect--say like the 39 Articles--is perfectly consistent with a lack of infallible knowledge, such required submission threatens to cut off the process of questioning at the heart of a lively faith ("lively" here in the 16th century sense). Questioning involving, say, works from Bishop Spong and Carter Heywood may turn some ecclesail hair grey prematurely, but it may, and should be made to, contribute to the life of the church.
Why so? The Truth is one; there is not one truth for religion, another for science, one for straights and another for gays. Even though we might be able to approach the Truth for the most part only asymtotically, it is still there to be approached. We are hard-wired to approach it, and debate is an essential part of the questioning through which the Truth which is the Logos through whom we are privileged to approach the Father may be grasped in part.
II. How Wright is Wrong
Consider N.T. Wright's recent interview with Ruth Gledhill in contrast. There he said,
Part of the difficulty is that  there is a myth about in some circles that historic Anglicanism has no particular doctrine and is just a matter of worshipping together and believing what you like.  If you go back to the 16th and 17th centuries who will find them arguing in great detail over the Articles of Religion which became the Thirty-Nine Articles. They were hugely important.  The idea of doctrinal indifferentism is a very recent idea which has sprung up in some parts of America.
I have added some brackets in order to better keep track of Bishop Wright's claims. This is an interesting bit, I think, because Wright here addresses the core of our current difficulties. Whence the authority for doctrinal assent? And with what force ought it to be regarded? It may seem to some that he has, in his  above, nailed my position on the head: Anglicanism consists of no particular doctrine, and is just a matter of worshipping together while believing whatever--laissez faire. But that it decidedly not my position at all, and is hardly what TEC attributes to historic Anglicanism. Seeing the difference is very important.
I have said, and I think this is TEC's position, that Anglicanism must take doctrinal stands, that its practice must consist in definite doctrines. The point is not to avoid commitment to propositional content. As of this hour, TEC is committed to a large body of propositional content abouot the Faith: go read the Catechism, the Chalcedonian Definition, et al. So I think TEC's leadership would of course not be surprised at Wright's  above: that Reformation theologians in England and Caroline divines heatedly debated the truth of certain propositions. Of course; so we continue to do so today. Wright's charge of Doctrinal Indifferentism in , the doctrine he alludes to in , is lucidly false. It is a straw man, and the fact he makes the charge shows he is ignorant of what is truly at stake.
III. Righting Wright's Wrongs
It seems to me that Wright holds some form of Doctrinal Homogeneity:
(DH) All church doctrine should be held with equal force.
I presume he thinks the church possesses core doctrine that is necessary to its continuing identity--even TEC admits such in the findings of the Righter trial in 1995. But then, by (DH), it follows that:
(5) All church doctrine is necessary to the identity of the church.
But (5) is patently false--as is implied even in the 39 Articles which Wright cites, as these articles admit, inter alia, that church councils can err. There is something self-defeating, even self-referentially incoherent, in Wright's strident posturing throughout the interview. His thinking there is muddled--perhaps he does not really wish his audience to examine what he says there too closely. Perhaps: I cannot tell.
My point is that Doctrinal Homogeneity is false. Everyone should agree that it is in fact false, left and right, even Wright, I think. But admitting the falsity of (DH) poses an existential question (EQ): Will the question of what doctrine is necessary for the identity of the church and what is not affect your relationship with God, your worship? If the question does not affect worship, something is wrong: primary and secondary theology are being artificially separated.
But what would it mean to pose the existential question (EQ)? One could opt for holding that the church has infallible knowledge in some particular way, and then go on to build that option into the liturgy. Having infallible knowledge, the church sure could settle exactly what is and is not necessary doctrine. However, I think that option is the wrong way to go, at least for an Anglican. But then bereft of infallible knowledge, we are faced with the problem of how to live well with each other in Christian community; after all, the church must make definite doctrinal stands, as GC and others have done again and again, whatever Wright may claim to the contrary. It seems to me the best policy will include conscious adoption of epistemic humlity about exactly where the boundary between necessary and unnecessary is. That is, we should not pretend to be more sure than we really are about what doctrine is necessary to being church; to so pretend is not a matter of moral indifference, but positive vice.