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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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Alan Keely 05/12/2011 19:04
william said "indeed CoS has many problems, but with a range of perspectives within its GA and Assembly Committees it is unfair, at least 'not proven' to call its leadership [however that is defined within Presbyterianism]corrupt.
George makes a good response - and where is this church [local/national/global] that is preserving the truth and representing Christ? "
I can tell you this, the Local/national/global Church that is preserving the Truth and representing Christ is NOT the Church of Scotland, otherwise they would not have a gay minister living in a manse in Aberdeenshire, committing sodomy? Would you say a Church that condones this is NOT corrupt?
David Boomer - Elder (Guest) 05/12/2011 20:26
Folks, This is a great discussion and it is wonderful to read the many thoughts on the subject of what constitutes a faithful church or even, dare I say a faithful denomination. The reality is that there is nothing inherently wrong with a denomination. There is nothing wrong with groups of churches of (as Paul says in 1Cor) the same mind and judgement working together for the honour of Christ. The problem is with denominationalism - the servant becomes the master. Or, as some would say the tail wagging the dog. The issue with the CoS is the birds coming home to roost of what is their mantra of a broad church. Their view of a broad church is one without biblical based standards. This is not to be legalistic but as Jesus says "the lawless one" is present in the church - excuse the paraphrase but I am just "firing off". I am all for unity in diversity but the issues are what basis for unity? Or, whose biblical standard. However, re the CoS as a denomination is well clear of anyones mark except the broadest liberal who is "without law", even the law of Christ.
william (Guest) 05/12/2011 20:33
Alan, have you read CoS response to Government's Consultation?
That illustrates the range of perspectives; and shows why CoS, per se, should not be accused of 'condoning' it?
Do you think the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has a hierarchy of sins? What about all the sins which in the NT are always paralleled with homosexual sinfulness eg Rom 1, 1 Cor 6, Gal 5....
Surely the attitude of the true child of God is to see oneself as the chief of sinners [yet we never read of Paul being engaged in homosexual activity!], but in Christ being wrapped around with His righteousness.
It is such companies of God's people who form local manifesations of the Church of JC, who worship the Triune God and "enjoy His Word", as you were able to do yesterday, Alan.
Alan Keely 05/12/2011 20:54
William
Of course they are condoning it, and their response to the Governments consultation was in fact laughable, as they were saying homosexuality is ok as long as you live in sin, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!!
Alan Keely 05/12/2011 21:07
William
Are you positive the Lord will not judge on severity of sins, that it's remotely possible that He just might. Yes, I am a sinner William, very much so, well every bit a sinner as you are. Do you have friends that are gay William? I only ask as you seem to be taking it very personal, what are you hiding from us William? Do you have some kind of cos agenda at heart?
David Wilkerson site (Guest) 05/12/2011 22:02
The Great and Final Apostasy
David Wilkerson
1.1.2007

There are some denominations that have forgotten their roots and forsaken the old paths adopting even the homosexual agenda. They preach a polluted and diluted gospel that no longer deals with the blood of Jesus and the Cross.

Many Christians are given over to spiritual harlotry and sit comfortable in their sin without any desire to be convicted or corrected but rather prefer to hear smooth messages.

In the midst of this wickedness God is going to move supernaturally by His Spirit and cause us to cease from this apostasy and harlotry. In these last days God will remember His covenant and pour out His grace and mercy and redeem a people unto Himself.
william (Guest) 05/12/2011 22:42
Alan - as we speak on this site do we see one another as brothers in Christ, love one another in Christ, and seek to be conformed and being conforming one another into the likeness of Christ? - even when we find ourselves not seeing eye to eye.
If not, ultimately, why do we engage at all?
We should all remember the words of Oliver Cromwell to the General Assembly of CoS, interestingly! -"I beseech you in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken"
I have 2 questions re a previous comment -
"Of course they are condoning it, and their response to the Governments consultation was in fact laughable"
i) who are 'they'?
ii) Can you tell me honestly that you have completely read through the CoS Response to Government's Consultation Paper and only then say what you have said here?
Alan Keely 05/12/2011 23:32
William
i)cos at 121
ii)yes
You know who I am william, but at this moment on this site as we "speak on this site" as you put it, I do not know the name of my "brother in Christ", and I would love to meet you "eye to eye", reveal yourself and then perhaps we can be on an equal as "Brothers in Christ", or are you going to hide from me and the other, many "True brothers in Christ" reading this?
I think I have hit a bit of a nerve william, are you going to answer my questions from previous post, or are you going to continue to answer all my questions with questions?
At the risk of repeating myself, the Church of Scotland, tail wagging, hierarchy, at 121 George street, of whom you are so proudly a member, are condoning a homosexual minister living in a manse in Aberdeenshire to commit sodomy with his gay partner, then to add insult to injury come out with a half baked political statement which is to try and get some support to appease the crumbling establishment in which "they" (121 again william, I know you are finding it hard to follow), are Lord and master of. Don't go throwing any more homosexual biblical comparisons at me again please, it is a well know cos ploy to bring these up when the argument is week. It saves you really getting to the bare bones of the issue, the cos is about to implode, and only God Himself can prevent this, and I wonder if He will? what do you think william?
Alan Keely 05/12/2011 23:41
William
I joined facebook with the only reason to look at the reaction from cos members on the official cos page. There is this sad story of a young gay man who is resigning from the cos because of their statement regarding same sex marriage, it seems people from both sides are running for the door!!!
william (Guest) 06/12/2011 08:18
"Are you positive the Lord will not judge on severity of sins"?
Yes!
Remember Jesus' answer about the most important sins?
Not to love our neighbour is right up there - below that we have no grounds at all for setting up a hierarchy of sins.
So we all fall at that top level.
But because of His great love for us, in Christ, our Heavenly Father who is rich in mercy, made us alive,[ie all who believe John 1.12,13] that by His Spirit we might gladly live in obedience to His commandments [Eph 2.3-5, Rom 8.3,4]
Now here's another question [!!] Alan - do your words and how you put them, show your love for your neighbour wherever you meet him/her? Selah!
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