The Eastern Orthodox churches can attach positive meaning to the word "orthodox". It refers to a distinct body of scriptures, canons, liturgical texts and traditions. Today the Western churches, by contrast, use the word "orthodox" mainly in a negative sense. "Orthodoxy" is not identified primarily by what it affirms or accepts. Even when it is, there is always an implied contrast with that which it rejects. The word "orthodox" is used very much like the word "conservative".
Among Anglicans the word has diverse and contradictory meanings. When "orthodox" means Anglo-Catholic, it often means that one rejects women in the priesthood and episcopate. Or else one emphasizes a supernatural doctrine of the sacraments in marked contrast with the "protestant" tendency to view them as mere signs. Some orthodox Anglicans are like "born again" evangelicals in their strong commitment to the inspiration of the Bible -- but always in ready contrast with "liberals" or "revisionists" who treat the Bible as a human document of limited value.
Many orthodox Anglicans question the orthodoxy of others. As mentioned above, the rejection of female clerics is sometimes taken as the mark of orthodoxy. And yet there are female clerics who are biblically conservative or who hold a "high" view of the sacraments, and these are quick to distance themselves from the "single issue" feminists who have flooded the ranks of ordinands in recent decades. ...
Perhaps the word "preference" is what most defines the crisis of contemporary Anglicanism and that of all the churches of the Reformation. It is a crisis of authority. Rome has its magisterium, presided over by the Pope. The Reformation churches have the Bible and the enthroned individual. Hence all the references by orthodox bloggers to what they personally "like", "accept", or "feel", along with their thunderbolt condemnations of liberals and other orthodox who stray past a point they have personally certified for the orthodox interpretion of the scriptures. Protestants (and here I include all Anglicans) are much too comfortable in making magisterial pronouncements regarding divine truth. That is the heart of the authority issue. That very impulse is the antithesis of Christian orthodoxy.
Anglicanism is the most elegantly appointed buffet table in Christendom. This is its greatness but also its despair. There is no authority that supersedes the individual and his preferences and choices. If truth comes down to a matter of individual discretion, then call it what you like, but it is not orthodox. This is the heart of the crisis of Anglican identity. ...
If orthodoxy comes down to a matter of personal preference or taste, then the liberals were right all along. There is room at the table for Christ and Belial after all.
Canon L'Hommedieu is right: if there is no authority above individual preferences and choices, and if truth is nothing more than a matter of private judgment, there can be no orthodoxy. This once again raises the question, "What is orthodox Anglicanism?" And by extension: how do we know that our response to that question isn't anything more than an expression of personal preference and taste, and thus the antithesis of orthodoxy?