An interview with Peter Jensen
Philip Robinson: An old friend of Emmanuel Dr. Peter Jensen, former Archbishop of Sydney, visited Emmanuel this week. I asked him what he has been up to since he retired and what he has been doing here in the UK.
Peter Jensen: Since 2008 I have been General Secretary of GAFCON, and that keeps me busy. GAFCON is a worldwide movement renewing the Anglican Communion for the service of Christ. Since I retired in 2013 I have been spending most of my time on that. People in the GAFCON movement are united by a confessional togetherness in that we believe that our shared life as Anglicans must not be based merely on historic Institutional structures but first and foremost on a shared confession of the Lordship of Christ. While in the UK and Ireland on this trip, as well as coming to Emmanuel, I have been talking to different gatherings of faithful Anglican pastors who want to know more about GAFCON.
Philip: You are General Secretary, does that mean you are personally in charge of GAFCON?
Peter: Not really, GAFCON is led by a Council of eight Archbishops, who represent some 45 million of the 80 million or so people who regularly attend the Anglican Churches which make up the Anglican Communion. They meet annually and earlier this year they approved our strategic plan which sets out what they want to achieve which is to restore the Anglican commitment to Biblical Truth, unite faithful Anglicans under the Lordship of Christ and revitalise Anglican gospel mission.
Philip: What does that mean for you and your team?
Peter: They have asked the GAFCON secretariat, which I lead, to work with theological educators around the world to establish a renewed theological education programme for pastors and a training programme for Bishops and other church leaders from around the Communion that equips them to be the biblical pastors, teachers and overseers the Communion needs. United by our common confession of the Christian truths in set out in the Jerusalem Declaration of 2008 (Insert this hyperlink http://fca.net/resources/the-complete-jerusalem-statement), the GAFCON movement is working to ensure the Biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ is taught and preached faithfully within the Anglican Communion worldwide.
Philip: Why is this important to us in Emmanuel?
Peter: Christ himself called his Church to fulfil the Great Commission, to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28 v18-20). Having Christ ruling the Church’s life and witness through His word rather than having the Church ruled by the culture of the world is essential. Thereby Anglicans everywhere are equipped by God’s word and empowered by His Spirit to live under the Lordship of Christ and defend and proclaim His transforming Gospel. While a national church remains orthodox in official teachings and policies, supporting GAFCON can appear optional. However, as the Church of England drifts away from orthodox teaching, GAFCON becomes essential. This may seem distant, but just reflect that both the Scottish Episcopal Church, and the American Episcopal Church (both current institutional members of the Anglican Communion) have only in the last two weeks opened the doors to same sex marriage in church, by removing the requirement for marriage to be between a man and a woman, contrary to Scripture. Through GAFCON, and the Anglican Mission in England, its mission society, Emmanuel Church can remain confessionally Anglican if it decides that it cannot remain, with integrity, within the historic institutional structure of the Church of England.
Philip: What can we do to help?
Peter: You can keep informed, Pray for us, and the Anglican Communion, and, if you wish, you can partner with us financially. You can become a supporter and receive updates on what we are doing in the Communion by signing up online here (insert hyperlink http://www.globalfca.org/newrego).
Philip: Thank you, have a safe trip home