Peter Jensen responds to the canard that Gafcon is a stalking horse for schism
The suggestion that Gafcon is a divisive movement, and in particular aimed at breaking up the Anglican Communion, is one I hear from time to time.
It’s heartbreaking to hear it because it is untrue and it is an indication of the power of gossip.
I never tire of telling the story of the meeting of Primates at the end of the Jerusalem Conference 2008. I was asked by the chairman to become the secretary to the movement.
Before answering, I asked the Primates, ‘Is it the aim of Gafcon to break away from the Anglican Communion? Are we setting up and new Communion?’
The reply was an instant, unanimous and resounding ‘No!’ Just as well, as I would not have had any further role in Gafcon had the answer been anything else.
We are committed to the Anglican Communion, we are committed to its spiritual vitality, to its commitment to the word of God and the preaching of the gospel and the sheer goodness of our fellowship in the Lord.
It is for that very reason, however, that we have taken the steps, scripturally mandated, to call those who have separated themselves from us by false teaching back to repentance and back into fellowship with us.
The problem is that fellowship is catching. You can catch goodness from fellowship – a good model of holiness, a shared concern, the deep prayers for each other, material help. But we can also catch spiritual diseases from each other – pride, idolatry, false teaching, for example. Fellowship is powerful.
When we knowingly have fellowship with those whose teaching endangers the gospel itself, we are in danger of catching the same disease and at the least endorsing it and putting others at risk.
They may choose to move away from us, but our task is to call them to repentance and to renewed fellowship in the truth of God’s Word.
To label this ‘divisive’, bearing in mind that it is a response to a deeply divisive prior action, is tragically misleading. Gafcon’s motivation is not to divide or to ‘grab power’, but to help ensure that the Church is preaching the truth for the sake of souls.
Be assured: Gafcon is not divisive. It stands for the renewal of our Communion according to the word of God and for the glory of Christ.