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:
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,
General Secretary, GAFCON