Donatism was a movement, occasioned by the end of the persecutions of the church. During the last great persecutions, there were churches and pastors, as well as members who, when faced with the threat of death, either renounced the faith or took out a state license, and became a part of the officially-approved cults of Rome. When the persecution ended, the church split over the issue as to whether or not these apostasyzing churches, pastors, and members could be received back into communion again. The Donatists said no. The main body of the church said yes, upon repentance.