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GAFCON plays Big Brother

GAFCON plays Big Brother

GAFCON, a conservative movement within global Anglicanism, has been reaching out to clergy members of the Anglican Church in North America urging them to “assent” to the Jerusalem Declaration.  The email is troubling on several levels and should be a concern to even the most ardent supporters of ACNA.  It shows a desire for the centralization of power and authority that describes so much of GAFCON’s efforts, but also suggests that individual church members are the subject of a level of scrutiny and surveillance reminiscent of the novel 1984.

One also might wonder why GAFCON, and presumably the leadership of ACNA, would require assent to this confessional formula.  Does assenting give GAFCON power to discipline individuals over and above the local church’s authority?  Is this somehow part of ACNA’s legal strategy to wrest properties from the Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of Canada?

This campaign is another piece of evidence that the leaders of GAFCON have a very different and radical authoritarian notion of what Anglicanism is or should be.


The email message is below:

Dear _____

As a subscriber of Gafcon we do hope you find the various communications you receive from us helpful.

We notice that you haven’t assented to the Jerusalem Declaration, our statement of faith, and are therefore not registered as a ‘Supporter’.  We’d love you to officially ‘join’ the movement if you are ready.  All you need do is read the Declaration here and reply to this email saying ‘I assent to the Jerusalem Declaration’.  It’s as simple as that!  You will be joining thousands of others worldwide committed to guarding and proclaiming the unchanging truth of the gospel in a changing world.

With best wishes for Christmas,

Peter Jensen

General Secretary, GAFCON


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JC Fisher

I’d love to be disinterested in ACNA, but as long as they seek to replace TEC in the Anglican Communion, I’m afraid I have to cast a wary eye in their direction. That is, keeping a view *on* ACNA.

But I am completely distinterested in views *from* ACNA—and wish their adherents and/or defenders would go find, say, the “ACNA Cafe”.

Janet Rudd Nicholson

Why is this even on this site? The ACNA and the Episcopal Church are separate bodies. Let’s move on. ACNA is doing good work and we should be in some form of communication as a church with them. We also need to be real about problems in our own theology before casting stones upon others. If we view faith from the lens of Jack Spong (which I and countless other Episcopalians do) then why does this even matter. Why does the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrelateral matter? Why does a prayer book matter? Why do bishops and priests matter? No wonder we are in decline. Let’s be honest with our cannons instead of pretending we all believe things which many of us do not.

William (Bill) Paul

Seriously? “We’d love you to officially join the movement if you are ready” is what the email says. It is beyond me how this is troubling on *any* level, newsworthy, or comparable to Big Brother kind of…dear Lord…spying. It is an appeal to show a like-minded approach to the faith in a time of contention. It is hardly diffeent than signing on to a petition at one’s front door with no real effect other than to state a viewpoint. The alarmist tone of this post is, really, laughable.

If you want to discuss what seems to be a general sociological truth that power is sought or concentration of it is sought during times of discord or crisis, fine. But seeking support by ‘signing on’ is hardly a power move, or if so is so attenuated to be insignificant.
If you want to talk about TEC and power concentrated beyond the canons in the last ten years, that would be interesting, more interesting.
Or, if you want to really step up, explain how a church with a content and confessionally rich liturgy from beginning to end has so many in it that shout the mantra reflexively “we’re not a confessional church” (which is true comparing us to a certain kind of church) without noticing, so it seems, just how confessional we are implicitly and explicitly week by week.

This comes from someone who wouldn’t BTW give the Jerusalem Declaration an A+. But troubling, shivers down the spine? C’mon, you’re joking.

Paul Powers

I don’t think it’s likely that this is related to any of the property disputes. As far as I know, a parish’s or diocese’s status with GAFCON or the Anglican Communion hasn’t been an issue in any of the property lawsuits. Actually, the ACNA itself is not a party to any of these lawsuits because it claims no interest in diocesan or parish property.

That said, to the extent that this email may be part of a move to impose greater conformity on ACNA clergy, it is troubling.

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