Various Items 

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).




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

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Andrew (guest). (Guest) 24/11/2011 11:51
For any person to sense God's call upon their lives, to set aside their careers and accept the discipline of university study for three or four years, along with the extra work schedule of ministry training. Also to live during this study period on a very low financial bidget, is as anyone can imagine no small thing. My heart goes out prayerfully for Paul and his family as he makes what can only be a very difficult and painful choice. This is not to ignore the confusion amongst many long standing faithfull worshipping people in that situation. I believe Mary is right in that we the Church need to examine ourselves as to the values that have been encouraged through out society, the time for prayer and repentance is now! We desperately need leaders who will fearlessly proclaim truth, demonstrating integrity through the balance of love, compassion and judgement. An impossible task in this generation without support.
Jenny 24/11/2011 11:57
Mary said:
"I strongly disagree ...[there] 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)".

The nation does need to get on its knees, but it's not happening. Humanly speaking, I don't think it's going to happen either, any time soon. The prayer group at my church musters 6 on a good day, when it ought to be the entire congregation.
I believe Alan's right. I'm working out my notice (only as organist, not an office-bearer, God forbid)
Peter Carr 24/11/2011 12:29
Alisdair Smith said, "To be frank, yes! But if you're a cessasionist, please feel free to regard it as merely consistent exegesis."

You won't mind then that the biblical principle of weighing is applied?
Alisdair Smith (Guest) 24/11/2011 12:31
Surely that would have to depend on who is doing the weighing?
Alisdair Smith (Guest) 24/11/2011 12:45
By all means test it against scripture. We are, after all, supposed to be a Church that holds to the Westminster Confession of Faith. I

suggest we start with 1 Corinthians 3,4,5 and 6. Particularly I recommend that the ministers in the Church of Scotland re-read chapter 6 v1-8.

"If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people? Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, do you ask for a ruling from those whose way of life is scorned in the church? I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? But instead, one brother takes another to court—and this in front of unbelievers! The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters."

Stick to those good Christian principles and huge costly lawuits over buildings and pensions rights will be avoided - that's what I'm talking about when I say be generous in division. The side that takes this to the courts and does not divide the assets fairly and generously in any division is proving they are no Christian.

I'd also recommend waiting to see if the biblical test for prophecy is met (i.e. 100% accuracy) For that, only time will tell whose future ministry God will choose to bless.
Alan Keely (Guest) 24/11/2011 12:54
To Tartan Paint, I am so pleased you chose a mythical name to hide behind, you see I think you are a Cos Minister afraid to reveal yourself, anyway, lets get down to the truth my man of Myth, there are obviously lots of Cos Ministers who are afraid to bite the hand that feeds them, and to them I say this, is the Bible full of God's Word to be used as a blueprint to live our lives, or is it like the Pick 'N' mix at the sweetie shop, take what you like and leave the rest for someone else to have, as it leaves a bitter taste, also, when you felt God calling you into the Cos Ministry, did you feel it was to deliver His word to us hopeless sinners that we might believe and be saved by the good Lord Jesus, or was it the money and the pension? Just ask yourselves that question and if the answer is to stand on God's Word, what are you doing now by letting these people at 121 George Street, dictate what scripture is relevant and what is not?
Peter Carr 24/11/2011 13:21

You are right that I am a minister, but not C of S. I am not hiding behind a mythical name, merely enjoying a new facility. Regulars on the site know who I am.
Alisdair Smith (Guest) 24/11/2011 13:30
Tartan, I'm sure we can all understand Alan's sense of frustration. There will be many brothers in the Church feeling the same way, I'm sure. Lots of people are hurting.

I'm genuinely interested in knowing what you were meaning about "weighing."

Mere sinner (Guest) 24/11/2011 13:54
The anger and hatered in some of the comments are so ungodly and judgemental. I shudder to think what Jesus thinks about the bile being spewed out in his name. The self martyrdom by some on this issue is baffling. Why do some fall on their sword for this issue and not something like the resurrection or virgin birth. Check out all the sins on the Pauline lists. They are of equal disdain in God's eyes but sadly not in the eyes of some Christians. Lord have mercy!
Alan Keely (Guest) 24/11/2011 14:08
The ungodly and judgemental are running the Cos 'mere sinner', don't shudder to think what Jesus thinks, you are allowed to pray to Him, in fact He wants the relationship with you! I am sure you will get an answer when the curtain is torn from the temple a second time.
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