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Tain minister to leave Church of Scotland charge

The minister in Tain Parish Church of Scotland has written to his congregation to say that he can no longer continue with them in the context of both local and national issues in relation to Kirk's stance on sexuality.

 




Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honour the one who serves me. John 12:26

Tain Parish Church
Tain parish churchRev. Paul Gibson having been inducted just eight months ago into the pastoral charge of Tain Parish Church is now finding himself having to leave over the stances — both local and national – within the denomination in relation to sexuality.
Inasmuch as a minister is in effect 'self-employed' a demission – without good reasons that the Church would understand and agree with – is a de facto resignation.

This tragic situation is a reflection of the turmoil throughout the denomination since last May's General Assembly when the Church of Scotland effectively set itself upon a 'trajectory' which departs from the Word of God.

At a pastoral level no minister worthy of the name 'cuts the pastoral tie' lightly. Invariably there is much prayer, heart-searching and pain. However ministers can find themselves caught between personal conviction and professional responsibilities. Others can find that they do not have the support of a sufficient number of  those (elders and church members) around them. Still others can find that they are faced with 'legacy issues' – problems in a congregation which have 'carried over'. Very often a combination of these stresses can be at work. And that's without the very serious problem of their denomination 'jumping the tracks' of biblical orthodoxy.

Having come into the pastoral ministry very recently from a background in journalism and the business world, the Tain minister recently gave the following statement to his congregation:

Rev. Paul Gibson
Rev Paul GibsonDear friends,

It is with great sadness that I hereby announce my demission from the charge of Tain Parish Church. I have informed Ross Presbytery of this decision and I will formally leave the Church, God willing, in four weeks’ time.

I want to express my gratitude to the congregation of Tain Parish Church, as well as those within the Free Church and the APC, for the brief time of fellowship that God has allowed us to share with one another and I remain deeply thankful to those who have shared my own conviction and desire to do all things, by God’s Grace, in a manner worthy of the gospel.

However, in recent months it has become evident that, in light of both the local and denominational contexts, it is not possible for me to fully perform the role of ministry within this church with true integrity and in a manner, which I believe, is in line with biblical teaching and therefore honouring to Christ.

As you know we have had some very difficult and painful issues to grapple with in recent months, issues which have been challenging and upsetting for all concerned and which recently raised a matter of church discipline.

Whilst the bible’s teaching on this is very clear, it is sadly the case that, despite the efforts and support of some of the elders, the Kirk Session as a whole is not united in handling this matter in accordance with Scripture. This, coupled with the serious fracture of fellowship caused by the so-called “revisionist“ decisions of this year’s General Assembly, leads me to the conclusion that I no longer have the liberty and support within this context to exercise a biblically faithful ministry.

I never would have dreamt that my tenure within Tain Parish Church would be so relatively short. However, in God’s providence, we can only respond to situations that fall before us as faithfully as we are able to and it seems that the last of these for me in the current context is sadly, to depart.

I thank you for the privilege of being able to serve Christ and His gospel in this place and I pray that each one of you will know the eternal riches of His Grace, through repentance and faith in His Son Jesus Christ, in whose name I came and in whose name I now go

Rev. Paul Gibson

 

It will most likely be the case that there are rock-solid faithful believers in most Church of Scotland congregations; and the congregation in Tain is no exception. Pray for all those who, like Rev. Gibson,  will "having done all things, stand" (Eph 6:13).

 

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General Comment:

 

What is certain in all of this is that God is at work amongst the Church of Scotland (and other denominations beyond) in identifying those individuals and congregations prepared to live in obedience to the declared Word of God which – as everyone who holds the Bible in any regard will agree – is quite clear on what God has ordained marriage to be.

 

What is also clear is that the euphemistically termed 'broad church' – the denomination's proud boast – is seen now to be more of a 'mixed bag' of belief and unbelief; some living in obedience to God's Word with others in outright rebellion.

 

In all the upset no single 'template' has emerged regarding how individuals and/or congregations have responded, are responding and – for some – are yet to respond. The very sad situation in Tain is almost certainly not going to be the last one. However pruning, refining and purifying are all (painful) means to an end; used by God in terms of building a faithful church and preparing a spotless bride.

 

 


Christians Together, 23/11/2011

Feedback:
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william (Guest) 24/11/2011 09:29
"What is certain in all of this is that God is at work amongst the Church of Scotland (and other denominations beyond) in identifying those individuals and congregations prepared to live in obedience to the declared Word of God"
Is there an underlying assumption that obedience to the declared Word of God would not leave God's people within CoS?
Remember the status of God's people in the days of Eli's sons, or the Church at Corinth. God's spokesmen, both prophets and apostles, remained within the local manifestations of His people, summoning them to walk with Him.
Editor 24/11/2011 09:34
Q. "Is there an underlying assumption that obedience to the declared Word of God would not leave God's people within CoS?"

A. See above: "It will most likely be the case that there are rock-solid faithful believers in most Church of Scotland congregations; and the congregation in Tain is no exception."

The 'assumption' is that whether faithful believers remain within a denomination or leave, they will - and are increasingly - operating in a hostile environment; in society and in the church.

What all is doing is exposing the 'enemy within the gates'.
Alan (Guest) 24/11/2011 10:03
We are led to believe that 80% of Cos members elders and Ministers are against same sex relationships in the Church leadership within the Cos, this figure cannot be accurate, otherwise the tail would not be wagging the dog.

The Cos businessmen at 121 George street in Edinburgh, are really just Factors of a collection of Churches throughout Scotland, and have long departed from the Word of God, otherwise they would applaud this young Ministers actions to see God's word alive and lived out in Tain Parish Church rather than just watch him leave his post without there intervention to correct the situation, indeed made it worse, is my take on it.

They are spineless individuals who are bending in the winds of deceit and worldly sin. Those of us who believe in the sanctity of marriage, a gift to men and women from God himself, are called homophobic! Let me just say, I don't have a phobia about any homosexual, Indeed they are sinners like us all, but I won't have my children sit under a pulpit where a practising homosexual can come into any given Cos Church and preach to them. This is why I resigned as a member and Elder within Cos.

This young Minister is a shining example of what is required from the “Majority” of Cos Ministers. Stop giving money to the factors and let them all resign, their hunger for the Word of God is now a hunger for money and power. This is supposed to be our national Church, what a disgrace they all are. Judgement will be swift!
Mary Fennell 24/11/2011 10:23
I strongly disagree with you Alan their are some very strong Christians within the C of S. I believe sometimes we can't see the wood for the trees. Scotland has sinned against God on many issues and not just over the sexual sin and also not just the C of S theirs to much focus on this issue when we should have our eyes on Christ. The nation needs to get on its knees. (National Call To Prayer And Repentance)
Alan (Guest) 24/11/2011 10:53
That will be all the strong Christians that are fighting from within Mary? I don't hear much noise! Whether you agree with me or not, what I am saying is true. I don't doubt for a minute that there are many good Christians within the Cos, but you have to make a stand sometime or other, you can either live with it, or not, I can't, so I left to go where the word is preached AND lived out. If your happy where you are, each to there own, that is the new Cos motto after all!
Alisdair Smith (Guest) 24/11/2011 11:24
Mary Fennell said, "Scotland has sinned against God on many issues and not just over the sexual sin and also not just the C of S theirs to much focus on this issue when we should have our eyes on Christ."

And yet one can't help wondering which "Christ" some of the "Christians" in the Church of Scotland have their eyes on?

Have we fallen so far in Scotland that we need to be reminded that there is only one, that he is revealed through the pages of scripture, (all the pages of scripture) not conjured up by someones vain and profane imaginings. It's not as if the scriptures are unclear on the matter and it's not as if the bible has failed. The Word of God is a sword that divides families, including church families. This national dispute is not about what scripture says. No, this dispute is about what scripture IS! At it's heart, this is a foundational difference that cannot simply be moved on from without resolution.

People on both sides are asking what Christ thinks. Let me tell you exactly what he thinks.

To the Church in Scotland,

When you conduct yourselves in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, He expects you to uphold what he teaches. He expects you to embody His Word. He insists that you follow his commands and His example and woe to any of you that do not. He is furious at the nonsense that He sees being done in His name by ministers within the Church of Scotland. He screams "Hypocrites" at the lot of you and reminds you that the only reason he has not passed furious judgement on your house is that it is not yet His time to come. He reminds you that we are still in the last days and that His time is coming soon.

He is offended at the blasphemy he hears being uttered in His name in the Church of Scotland (on all sides). He is offended at the squabbling He sees going on across the land of Scotland.

To the ministers of the Kirk. He sees your deeds and is not impressed. The eyes of the world are upon you. Let your actions shine a light into an ever darkening world. You are commanded to repent and believe and place yourself back under scriptural authority. If you will not, you are commanded to resolve this dispute in a manner befitting the actions of a Christian, with generosity and with love. If you will not agree, you will divide with generosity and with love. No matter which side you are on in this dispute, if you do not demonstrate this generosity then let your actions bear testimony to the whole world that you are not a Christian for you will have publically demonstrated that you are not of His flock.

That is exactly what the Lord says to the land of Scotland today.

I for one applaud the actions of this bold brother and fellow worker of the gospel who stands on the word of truth, who proclaims boldly the one gospel that saves. Brother Paul, I stand at your side.

Heavenly Father, if it be your will, please glorify yourself and your name through the actions of your faithful servant, Paul Gibson. Please bless his future ministry and please use him to bring many more Scottish sons and daughters to glory, in the name of your son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Peter Carr 24/11/2011 11:32
"That is exactly what the Lord says to the land of Scotland today."

Prophecy?

Alisdair Smith (Guest) 24/11/2011 11:48
To be frank, yes! But if you're a cessasionist, please feel free to regard it as merely consistent exegesis.
Alan Keely (Guest) 24/11/2011 11:51
Well said Brother Alisdair, yes Brother Paul, I will stand shoulder to shoulder with you to fight the good fight against Satin, I hope this goes National press, lets out these weak hypocrites that hide in 121 George Street, lets hear your view on this, or, are you like the Tartan Paint reader, ashamed to use your name, beware, the good Lord knows what lies in you very heart and soul, Lord Jesus, my constant prayer to you is to use this situation to bring the glory back to your word, Like brother Paul Gibson Lord, have us all stand on the Word and not to be ashamed of it.
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