Greg discusses numerous problems with "Approaching the Heart of Faith," including the document's affirmation that "the cross is not part of God's plan," as well it's rejection of the idea that "the death of Christ has any intrinsic connection to the salvation God has wrought in Christ."
But I think the deeper value of Greg's insightful analysis is that he pinpoints the heart of the problem in this particular case (which, to my mind, represents the heart of the problem of Anomic Anglicanism more generally). Here's what Greg writes:
In his vision of what it means to be a bishop, here I think he again falls off the rails of what might have been a good track. He says he agrees that a bishop is called to be a guardian of the faith. But, he interprets that to mean that the faith received is no more worthy of protection than the faith yet to be received.
In this he reveals his signature move. Since in his view the content of the faith is always unfolding, as a priest (and as a bishop) he would see his leadership in protecting that unfolding. In light of his previous arguments that there are can be no boundaries at all to what "we may know," Thew Forrester appears believe that all aspects of the Church's doctrine and practice are therefore open to change, and not only change, but deep change, and not only deep change, but dismissal and discarding.
This latter point of view undergirds what appears to be his primary modus operandi. His m.o. appears to be that of one singularly focused on innovation (as well as the redaction of doctrine and discipline as seems good to him). He seems to be quite proud to lead a parish which as he says is the diocesan leader in liturgical exploration and innovation. And while that can be a perfectly fine congregational vocation - it does depend on some key specifics. If one goes to the heart of the essential proclamation of the faith as bound up with the church's liturgical expression, and significantly discards or dismisses it, (as we have already mentioned above,) then I think one has gone too far. One can imagine, for example, that if a parish used "Rite III" every week -- in addition to be outside of the canons -- they could pretty much do anything they wanted. We all already know of parishes which do not regularly say the confession or Nicene Creed, and which openly invite the unbaptised to receive the elements. What if an entire diocese largely decided to come up with its own normative forms of baptism, eucharist, etc.? How is this anything but going too far?
Read it all.
Forrester's construal of the bishop's role as a guardian who protects "the unfolding" or "changing" or "evolution" or "revision" of the faith of the Church departs from the understanding of this role as one in which there is a substantive truth content - a dogmatic core - of the Church's faith to be protected and proclaimed. To be sure, our understanding of that core content can and does change over time. But that's a different thing entirely from changing or rejecting the core content itself. And ultimately, a new or different understanding of the core content is subject to reception and review by the larger Church. It's not merely a matter of the individual Christian's decisions, even if he/she is a bishop. Again, I think Greg Jones offers a helpful perspective:
... while I agree that God's revelation is unfolding, for that unfolding to be realized in the normal practice and proclamation of a very small group of people -- which is losing membership at a frightful rate -- in very short order - so as to lead to a form and message quite unrecognizable to so many Episcopalians in various places and contexts -- one might rightly ask the question: "Is it God's will that is unfolding here?"
Discerning the answer to that question is a communal endeavor rather than the individual's privilege.
And in a comment responding to Greg's piece, Christopher (who blogs at "Thanksgiving In All Things") makes this crucial point:
The unfolding of God's revelation in our time, let's call it "dependent revelation" in VII [Vatican II] lingo, cannot be dissonant with God's "foundational revelation" in Jesus Christ as sufficiently expressed by the Councils and articulated in our formularies.
By contrast, Forrester's theology and practice underscore an understanding of the bishop's role of guarding "the unfolding" that equates liberty with license, thereby shifting the locus of authority away from scripture, tradition, and reason to the individual's preferences (likes and dislikes) with respect to doctrine and liturgy. Opening that Pandora's box is a sure-fire way to undermine any basis for genuinely common prayer, and thus, by extension, undermines the conception of the Church as a Body in favor of affirming it as an aggregate sum of (more or less) like-minded individuals.
In short, the Forrester case offers a good illustration of what I've earlier characterized as the Over-Personalized Church:
The Over-Personalized Church embodies a model of authority we can term 'subjective autonomy.' Members are free to think, believe, and act as they individually please. Based largely on their personal preferences (likes versus dislikes), members choose whether or not to abide by Church norms and teachings. This Church embraces epistemic and ethical relativism. There is no such thing as Absolute Truth, only varieties of personal or subjective truths. Private judgment based upon individual reason and/or individual feelings is considered a virtue. Because the requirements for membership are so minimal, the Over-Personalized Church requires only a tangential consensus to maintain some semblance of a common life (e.g., 'we choose to be together because we individually like to do so').
It is a hopeful sign that, in response to this vision of the Church as articulated in Forrester's theology and practice, even many "progressive" Episcopalians appear to be saying "no."