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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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Robert J. Macdonald / Elder (Guest) 30/11/2011 11:34
I have just said a very sad and emotional farewell to my minister, brother, and dear friend Paul Gibson. As a member of the nomination committee I truely believe that Paul Gibson was called by God to Tain. As a committee we met regularly for no other reason but to pray for a man of God's choosing to be sent to us and we were delighted and greatly blessed by the arrival of Paul. As a congregation we stood at his ordination in witness to and in support of his call,how sad it is that so quickly a people can change. As the writer above says we are unlikely to find another preacher with the qualities that Paul has. Can we dare go back to God again after rejecting His man. If we believe as I do that God sent Paul have we not in rejecting Paul, also rejected God?
John Miller (Guest) 30/11/2011 14:04
It is very encouraging to note the posts of some in Tain Parish who valued the ministry of Paul Gibson. This gives a ray of hope in a dark place. The fact remains however that God's Word, manifestly given in the power of His Spirit was ultimately rejected. What does the scripture say? Joshua 24:15/1 Cor.5:13/Rev.3:1-6. The Apostle John tells us, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us." Only by repentance and obedience to the Holy Scriptures of Truth will those who seek to be faithful to their heavenly calling find a way to seperate themselves from the evil that is abhorrent to God. Many are praying, not only for Paul Gibson, his wife and family, but also for the believers in Tain whose desire is to walk in the pathway of the will of God. God's word and His will are always in agreement.
John Miller (Guest) 30/11/2011 15:01
Peter (aka Tartan Paint), sorry, I got the chapter wrong. Should have been 9 not 10. Just my strange sense of humour, no offence intended. Your remarks about the Kingdom of God as distinct from the church are interesting. Many look upon them as two names for the same thing, but scripture does not teach this. As far as I know we do not read anywhere in scripture that Christ is King to the church. He is Head of the church. He has been made Head over all things to the church. The church is both His body and His brde. The Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of heaven speak of God's power and government and His sovereign rights over all. They do not involve the same precious relationship, as far as I can see, that scripture describes between Christ and His church. Individuals may claim to belong to the church, referring to their membership of the Church of Scotland or some other Christian denomination. No one is a member of Christ's church unless he or she has been born again by receiving Christ through repentance and faith, and thereby being sealed by Holy Spirit of God to await the rapture. That is my understanding.
Peter Carr 30/11/2011 15:47
Thanks John, presumably The Kingdom is bigger than our narrow understanding of church?
A Greiving Member of TPC (Guest) 30/11/2011 18:06
This is a sad day for the believing Congregation of Tain Parish Church as Rev Paul Gibson leaves his flock in Tain. How blessed we were indeed to sit under the ministry of this faithful preacher of the true Word of God - also a gifted teacher and caring pastor; a humble man who loves our Lord with all his heart and with a passion and joy to share his faith. The problems started just 3 months into his 8 month ministry yet he continued to preach so powerfully – drawing many to the Lord and greatly increasing the number attending the Wednesday Prayer Fellowship. We prayed for God to send a man over to Tain to help us – and God answered this prayer. I believe God’s searchlight is on Tain Parish Church – we are on our knees. We pray for Paul and his family that the Lord will make His way clear for his future ministry.
2 Chronicles 7:14
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Gerry, guest. (Guest) 30/11/2011 22:54
Having been with Paul during his time of Probation, I soon realised this was a true man of God. His preaching was straight down the line never deviating from the truth of Scripture and was a very humble and sincere young man who had the future of peoples souls at the forefront of his ministry. I am deeply saddened at the decision he has been forced to take, but I know it will be in the Will of God. I also believe God has great plans for Paul and for his wife and family for they come as a package. Wherever he goes I know he will never let his Lord down in the preaching of His Word. Tain's loss is somewhere else's gain. Paul knows my prayers have always been with him daily since he first started his Probation and will continue to be with him. May God continue to richly bless you and your's, Paul.
Member of tpc (Guest) 30/11/2011 22:55
There is a black cloud hanging over our church .how blessed we were to sit Sunday after Sunday hearing the true word of God being preachedby Paul Gibson.I believe as RobertMacdonald in rejecting Paul we are also rejecting God.
Peter Carr 01/12/2011 08:40
Ed, what purpose is being served with the way that this thread is now going?
George Orr 01/12/2011 09:12
'Can we dare go back to God again after rejecting His man. If we believe as I do that God sent Paul have we not in rejecting Paul, also rejected God?'

Was he rejected or did he resign?
member of tpc (Guest) 01/12/2011 09:18
Tartan Paint, the purpose is that you can pray for our situation. Give thanks for Paul and his family, and join our prayers that we will repent and the Lord's name and His word will be upheld and honoured. Thank you.
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