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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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Alisdair Smith 29/11/2011 17:02
How many souls will perish if the fundamental nature of this discussion is not realised?

Peter Carr 29/11/2011 17:44
John E Miller said, "There are at least 109 references to a church..."

I will take your word for it as we are not all Greek scholars, nonetheless there still seems to be an unhealthy balance when it comes to the understanding of too many when it comes to Kingdom v church!!
John E Miller (Guest) 29/11/2011 19:11
Tartan Painter (now that must take an inordinate amount of skill/2 Kings 10:30)) I am not a Greek scholar, but I do possess a good concordance. Every blessing.
Peter Carr 29/11/2011 21:12
Thanks John, it is Tartan Paint (Peter). Sorry, I do not see where 2 Kin 10: 30 fits into the equation. Also, I noticed that you haven't picked up on my Kingdom comparison/comment!!
Member of Tain Parish Church (Guest) 30/11/2011 00:00
I agree with everything that John Miller has written,I feel very strongly about what has happened.through Paul's preaching I feel as a congregation we have bee truly blessed having him for the last eight month.And will continue to pray for him and his family.god bless you Paul .
Another member of Tain Parish (Guest) 30/11/2011 00:49
I too feel we've been blessed through Paul's ministry. God has given him many gifts. He and his dear family will be greatly missed.He is faithful to our Lord and His word.Thank you to the many who are praying with us for this dear servant of God, his family and the whole situation.
adnaim (Guest) 30/11/2011 01:53
I would like to endorse what the previous contributor has said.
Paul Gibson came to Tain and preached the Gospel from day one: the full gospel with nothing added and nothing taken away. His message was always consistent from the sermon he preached as sole nominee onwards. He proclaimed God’s message to the people of Tain and in particular the people in Tain Parish Church, including me. I believe he is a man of God and a very gifted preacher who has a genuine love for people and a deep concern for their souls. That is why he preached so much about sin and hell. He was warning us all of the consequences of sin and of dying without having truly repented of our sins and turned from our wicked ways. He always finished by proclaiming God’s offer of free grace which we only have to accept to be saved through the precious blood of His Son.
I am told that some thought Paul to be arrogant in the way he preached. On the contrary my impression of him was that he was a humble person who was not ashamed to preach Christ crucified. Arrogance is rather thinking we know better than God and picking and choosing which parts of His word we want to accept and which to ignore. As a member of Tain Parish Church I am ashamed of the way Paul Gibson has been treated by our church and we can only pray for God’s forgiveness and that if it be His will He will send us another minister who will preach with the same clarity, truth and conviction. Whatever church Paul may be called to serve in now, I pray that he will be given the support that he deserves as a true preacher of God’s word and a caring pastor.
Alisdair Smith 30/11/2011 02:05
I think the Lord has plans for Mr Gibson.
a n other Tain member (Guest) 30/11/2011 10:28
I have just heard this morning a report of the meeting of the Kirk at Tain. God speed Paul Gibson you could do no more! It seems we have our Goliath. Stand up Kirk session stand up you elders. Are you to be taunted and goaded by a man who will stop at nothing to get his 'mates' back. Is TPC to be run like a local council public service, a gala Sunday event. We have our Goliath praise God we can find our David.
The war started at Queens Cross the battle rages at Queen Street God has a sense of humour and will not be sidelined by political correctness,but be sure God will not be mocked.
Alan Keely (Guest) 30/11/2011 10:48
I am just so happy to see the "True Christians" of Tain Parish Church to comment on how they were blessed by a very emotional and powerful witness from their Preacher and Brother, Paul Gibson. Paul, I really am praying for you brother, that God will continue to use you as a vessel in which to speak to the people you stand before.

I can say only this to the people of Tain Parish Church, if you ever find another preacher with the qualities that God has bestowed on this humble servant, it will surely be another miracle to add to the one He gave in taking Paul Gibson to you. Paul's mission is far from over. May the good Lord continue to pour out His blessings on you and your family brother.
Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
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