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C of S minister quits Kirk to form new church

An Inverness minister is to leave the Church of Scotland earlier than originally planned and hopes to set up a new church in the city linked to a separate presbyterian denomination.

 






Rev. Peter Humphris

Peter HumphrisFollowing the Church of Scotland's failure to adhere to Biblical standards on sexuality at the Kirk's General Assembly last May, Rev. Peter Humphris has brought forward his retirement from the pastoral ministry at Kinmylies Church Inverness and now plans to establish a new congregation in a city-centre location.

In his letter to Inverness Church of Scotland Presbytery last Tuesday, Peter effectively resigned from the Kirk into which he was ordained as a minister thirty-six years ago in Nairn Old Church. Since then he served in Dundee for a period of twenty-four years before returning to the Highlands in 2001.

The Christian preacher and a fellow minister Rev. Dr. James Torrens are now pioneering a new Highland International Church in Inverness with the first service scheduled for Palm Sunday in a local hotel.

Rev. Dr. James Torrens and family
James TorrensJames served at Kinmylies Church during a summer placement in 2002 and at a later date took up his first charge in St. Rollox (Glasgow). He resigned that charge at the end of last year for the same reasons as his friend Peter.
Initially he will be leading the work of establishing the new congregation on a part-time basis, but will serve in a full-time capacity in due course along with fellow elders once these have been identified.

He hopes to move as a family with his wife Jane and their son and daughter to the Highland capital at the end of the current school year.

Any move to establish a new congregation is always an encouraging sign of 'life' and opens up fresh opportunities for the spread of the Gospel message. Speaking of the development Dr. Torrens states the new church in Inverness "will seek, with God’s help, to be an outward looking, disciple-making, kingdom-growing fellowship in this rapidly growing city."

A changed Church


In his address to the Presbytery ealier this week, Rev. Humphris affirmed his theological position regarding the uniqueness of Christ and the final authority of the Bible as being 'unchanged' since becoming a Christian forty-five years ago. Yet concerning the Church of Scotland, he continued:
 
"My conviction is that the denomination of which I have been a member for forty years, has moved (and is continuing to move) away from the standards and convictions it held when I first joined. Because of this, and with deep sadness, tonight’s Presbytery meeting will be my last, as I find myself no longer able to retain my membership of the Church of Scotland as a denomination.

The new 'church plant' in the city is to be linked with the International Presbyterian Church which has English- and Korean-speaking churches in England; and also one congregation in Romania. Additionally, the denomination – with American and Swiss roots – has church planters working in France, Italy, Belgium and Azerbaijan, with a view to establishing congregations in these countries.
It is highly probable that the new congregation will comprise some of those church members who have already left the Church of Scotland since last year's Assembly.

If as this current develoment suggests, new and vibrant fellowships develop outside of the Church of Scotland it will come as a welcome 'reverse' regarding the tragic deterioration in biblical standards within Scotland's national church.
Elsewhere a  'new work' in Aberdeen has now been established with a Trinity Church congregation formed by the minister and many of the elders and congregation who once comprised the 'granite' city's High Hilton Church of Scotland

The first service of the Highland International Church in Inverness is scheduled as follows:

The Castle Room Suite, Palace Hotel, Inverness
Palm Sunday 1 April 2012
11.00am to 12.30pm


Footnotes:
1. Click here for a summary report of the position within the Church of Scotland following the General Assembly in May 2011.
2. Since the 2011 General Assembly a growing number of clergy and congregations have been leaving the Church of Scotland, including ministers in Skye, Lochalsh, Tain and Aberdeen. Others in Aberdeen and Glasgow are actively planning to leave. (See side column for links.)
3. Normally when a Church of Scotland minister retires he 'stays on the books' and becomes part of whichever Presbytery he moves to in retirement. However in quitting the Church of Scotland, Rev. Humphris will now be free to develop the new congregation within the boundaries of an existing Church of Scotland parish. (Every location in Scotland is part of one parish kirk or another.)
4. Rev. Humphris can be seen in the following video welcoming Christians from across the Highlands on the occasion of a visit by former HTC lecturer Rev. Dr. Noel Due in 2010. (Click on 'arrow' to play.)



Christians Together, 09/02/2012

Feedback:
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Peter Carr 10/02/2012 18:26
"Peter, the problem is not 'Clergy' its 'Clericalism' which produces all sorts of problems; for 'clergy' and 'laity'. If we (in our churches) get back to ever-member ministry in the priesthood of all believers we will be a lot better off."

But that does not include a priesthood of all leaders!! I do not think that your every-member ministry is workable in a post-modern context (some of the reasons are listed above). Leaders are given by The Lord, let them lead.

It seems to me that the C of S fallout re 'Clericalism' is being applied across the board, and that is a pity because the problems in the national church are not being duplicated in other smaller denominations. Maybe time you started thinking beyond the C of S to the wider body of Christ which although not faultless, is not experiencing the problems that you are applying to all and sundry!!


Editor 10/02/2012 18:47
"I do not think that your every-member ministry is workable in a post-modern context".

Not at all. It's a biblical model which is for every age and culture. In fact it is more relevant today than in an age when only a few could read Scripture.

"But that does not include a priesthood of all leaders!!"

True leadership is servanthood. And leaderships should ultimately be male and plural.
As I've said before any church which has a one-man-band running the show (whether due to circumstance, the individual or a congregation) is highly vulnerable.

"Maybe time you started thinking beyond the C of S to the wider body of Christ which although not faultless, is not experiencing the problems that you are applying to all and sundry!!"

This present article is about the C of S (which is after all the national church; and by far the biggest denomination in Scotland). Many other articles range across denominations and continents.

But please excuse me, I just don't have the time to engage in a running conversation. And (assuming that you are a busy pastor) I don't suppose you do either.
GM (Guest) 10/02/2012 22:58
Editor,

Here's where we are going to have to part ways. I don't have the time for a long running conversation either...

You say "We are living in a time of great flux. I do believe that God is dismantling the status quo. God's people in the desert had to move in obedience to the pillars of cloud and fire; it's no different today. And a friend who is a revival historian tells me that often the greatest opposition to any new move of God emanates from the product of the previous one."

That is such a loaded statement. God has given us the Bible, which contains pretty much all we need to put together Biblical structures of church governement. My fear is that this might be forgotten.

And don't forget, thorughout the whole of the 20th Century, and for a part of the 19th Century, and this far into the 21st Century, the UK and Scotland in particular has not seen a wide-spread revival of Christ-following. Yet, throughout this time we've been told (by people saying the sort of thing you say here) that the new move of the spirit is ushering in something that will be be resisted by the dying embers of the last wave of his move.

I just don't buy into that. It's an arguement that constantly puts style before doctrine, and frankly style before fellowship. It allows us to break up into ever smaller units, rather than gather together in unity. It allows us to exercise proud judgement over others (like you comment that assumes large or establish congregations can't get past superficial relitionships) rather than hubly pressing on for the good of the whole church.

so I'll leave it where I started - it's a shame that men like Peter or James (evidently) can't (for whatever reason) find ways to work with existing felowship who will preach the same thing, and aspire to be the same sort of Christ-centred, God loving, evangelism focused Christians. It's just a shame. (And if people like me are an obstacle to that, I need to repent, but so do people like you who seem to refuse to confront these issues.)

Anyway, hope you are blessed in your service of the master.
Peter Carr 11/02/2012 08:52
Ed,

It would appear that my post in response to your post timed 18.47 has been deleted, is this a 'top down' approach that you accuse clergy of? I would have thought that if you really do hold to the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers, that you would let a fellow believer have his or her say? Or maybe it is a selective doctrine that you ascribe to? ;-)
Peter Carr 11/02/2012 22:01
Attempt no 2...

Point 1. The culture that we are currently living in is informing the church more thsn the reverese. So, on that basis alone the priesthood of all believers won't work simply because it is not convenient!! A quick survey around the broader church will confirm this.

Point 2. Leadership yes should be based on Jesus and His servant heart, but that also applies to all Christians, not only leaders. However, when you look at how leadership is excercised in the NT, it is servanthood but not doormathood! Leadership is about leading in a Christlike manner, but being strong and without compromise when it comes to God's Word and the application of it. Tit 2: 15
"These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you".

Point 3. This article seems to me to be about the body of Christ beyond The National Church.

Point 4. Despite being a busy pastor I do endevour to enjoy time off, some of which I spend in debate with others :-)

Donald Boyd 11/02/2012 22:10
Colin,

It is interesting that you say that “What to look for in a church” “has become one of the most accessed articles on the site”.

The doctrine of the church, and its misrule, is back on the agenda. One needs to distinguish between congregations and denominations.

There are good biblical reasons for different congregations and denominations, and GM 10/2/2012 13:48 correctly points out that “Church services are first and foremost about worship”. The 16th century Reformers addressed these issues and drew attention to the Regulative Principle as the biblical principle to allow Christians to worship together without offending each other’s conscience. When this principle was abandoned in the 19th century, Presbyterian churches in Scotland began and continued to split.

The problem with most denominations, as well as Christians, is that they behave as if they do not need each other: “the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of thee” 1Cor 12:21. Whether the denomination is large or small, they behave like this.

Further, few preachers will preach the doctrine of the apostle Paul in 1Cor 3:21-22 “all things are yours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, all are yours.” The Lord’s people are to make use of all God-given preachers. They need them, and we need each other.

Editor 12/02/2012 09:19
Peter: "It would appear that my post in response to your post timed 18.47 has been deleted, is this a 'top down' approach that you accuse clergy of?"

Sorry that you had to wait for a response Peter: I was away at a meeting all day yesterday (and I see your patience has run out). If I could remind you also that 'logged-on' site members can also delete comments (which I then have to deal with whenever I am able).

But basically I don't have too much time to play 'ping-pong' (or give explanations of every administrative action) ..... and it is better to keep threads 'on topic' if it is possible.
Editor 12/02/2012 09:29
Donald,

Would you like to start a discussion on worship?

But the term 'church' would then need to be defined. Meantime while the differentiated view on 'church' worship and (say) 'family' worship is deeply entrenched it has no bibical foundation. And the 'Regulative Principle' is, as you know merely one amongst others (e.g. Normative principle).

I am glad however that you have not made reference to the Westminster Confession of Faith (which is so often quoted and which is wholely inadequate in its description(s) of 'worship and a matter over which the Free Church has been of divided opinion). (I have an article coming very soon on that document.)

But having said that, I would rather any discussion on 'worship' be conducted elsewhere on the site; and I am quite willing to create a 'Debate' thread.
Editor 14/02/2012 18:49
For a response and a new article relating to this story see -
http://www.christianstogether.net/Articles/300134/Christians_Together_in/Christian_Life/Another_presbyterian_church.aspx
Donald Boyd 14/02/2012 23:28
Colin,

Thank you for your invitation, and as you say, worship should be on another discussion thread.

There is a lot can be said about worship, but you want to begin with the church, and this thread is about the church.

In your commonly accessed page "What to look for in a church", you begin by acknowledging "The following list is non-exhaustive, incomplete and (no-doubt) flawed." Acknowledging this admission, you give an interesting list, which includes the Word of God, preaching, prayer, government, discipling, etc., but nowhere in your long list does the concept of worship even appear! It is not even hinted, far less discussed.

Although unbiblical government is the primary reason why people leave congregations and denominations, different ideas about worship is one of the main reasons why they do not join them in the first place.

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Christians Together in the Highlands and Islands > Christian Life > Current News > Inverness minister quits Kirk to form new church