Once again Damian Thompson highlights an Anglican detail that reveals all: He quotes the Bishop of Rossdale (who he??)
“We have been a Church which has been held together by belief, as contained in the historic creeds, and not by agreeing to particular statements about that faith.”
This is such a classic piece of Anglican theological sleight of hand that it ought to be preserved forever not just as a definition of Anglicanism, but a definition of that fuzzy, polite and muddled way of speaking that Anglicans have. I can remember how they would gather together and say stuff like, “I think that in some sort of way I would like to say that in one manner of speaking it could be possible to assert that one might perhaps see that from one perspective (realizing of course that there are other opinions and not wanting in any way to denigrate the views of others) while still holding that it is perhaps not inconceivable to believe (whatever ‘belief’ might actually mean) that is it could be said that perhaps the sky might be seen to be blue.”
Anyway, look at the actual statement. Notice the bishop doesn’t say he believes the creed, or that the creed is part of divine revelation to the church or that one must believe the creed to be a good Anglican. He doesn’t even say he thinks the creed is true or even that it ‘contains’ truth. Instead he says his church is ‘held together by belief as contained in the creeds. How is belief contained in the creeds? Belief isn’t contained in the creeds. Nothing is contained in the creeds. The creed is not a container.Furthermore, and this is the classic bit: they think agreeing to the creed is enough, but they don’t need to agree on what the creed actually means.
Therefore we can all say, “He became incarnate of the Virgin Mary”. How nice. You are allowed to believe that this means that God’s Son supernaturally became man through the co operation of a spotless virgin. However, you may also believe that this means that ‘in some way the God-ness of the human race was fully realized in the birth of an extraordinary man called Jesus who was given birth by a nice young girl who was really very good–perhaps more good than any other young girls…”
Or you can believe that it really means that God is fond of chili con carne and flies on Virgin Airlines while singing ‘How do you solve a problem like Maria’.