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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Alisdair Smith (Guest) 24/11/2011 17:22
Tartan paint, (Peter, I believe) - please weigh away. :-)
Zip 24/11/2011 17:33
Like Philip I am a COS elder. This fight is not over so why should we be the ones who are leaving. Those who leave before the fight is over weaken the ranks of the faithful who remain.

In Ephesians 6 we are told to "stand, stand, stand and after you have done everything, to stand." It's just a fact of life that in any fight you have to be in it to win it. How many times in scripture do we see that God comes through for the believer just before the end, when things look bleakest. If we give up then we may miss what He is wanting to achieve.
We are told to expect opposition and trouble, so why are we surprised when it happens? Instead this should be grasped as an opportunity to engage all and sundry with the truths of scriptures. (Ezekiel 3)
Better to be thrown out still standing than for us to be throwing the rattle out of the pram before time is up.

BTW I have no love for the institution of the COS, but I will stand and fight for the local church. Like Tartan I have a 'screen name' but I am known here.
Peter Carr 24/11/2011 17:57
Alasdair Smith said, "Tartan paint, (Peter, I believe) - please weigh away. :-)"

I am sure that you will appreciate that there is a difference between prophecy and simply conveying biblical truth!!
Alisdair Smith (Guest) 24/11/2011 18:19
I do appreciate the difference, Peter. I also fully understand the importance and the significance of the phrase I used. Believe me when I say this was not used lightly, or in jest, or even on my own authority.
Morag Macdonald 24/11/2011 23:09
I have looked at all the comments on this page.
and i have to say that i am realy disgusted by the comments that have benn made to each other. you all are very judgemental towards your own sisters and brothers in christ.and you all will be judged. this is why the country is in such a state and its because of the way we are towards oneanother.and everyone of you should be ashamed of yourselfs. we are supposed to encourage other people to turn to christ. but when people see the way we treat each other they do not want to have anything to do with us
william (Guest) 25/11/2011 07:28
well said Morag.
I suppose it's also in the spirit of this age of instant communication that we hardly ever deal in substance. But even so we must always be seeking to do good to everyone; taking them on into Chrust - as I think you are suggesting, Morag
Roy MacBean (Guest) 25/11/2011 08:24
Morag has point. However we are dealing with a religious system which is ditcched God's word anod authority. We can read in our Bibles what Jesus said to the religious leaders of his day. It doens't make for comfortable reading.
Seumas, Tobermory (Guest) 25/11/2011 08:53
What is interesting is the way that certain ministers and elders go on about being "biblical" but what they really mean is "the bits of the bible that I like"

I'll give 2 examples.

Most ministers, and I suspect that the majority of "evangelicals" fit it into this do not believe in the concept of hell. If they did they would mention it a lot more . They dont.

Take an analogy. Imagine a massive hole had opened up in the road, just round a bend. Any driver falling into it faces certain death. If you knew about this hole, you would do everything in your power to stop people driving into it.

According to Christian orthodoxy (ie being "biblical") there is a massive hole of eternal conscious torment that huge numbers of the people of this country are heading for. How many ministers HONESTLY warn their congregations about what is, after all, the most horrible thing that can happen to anyone?

OK, they might say, "hell is eternal separation from God" or "heaven to be gained , hell to be avoided" (I've heard that one) like it was some sort of slightly nasty thing...

I challenge these so called "bible believers" You dont actually believe in it at all. You are liars.

Another point that many "bible believers" seem to want to avoid is Adams rib. I challenged a certain famous evangelical a few years ago on this. I asked if he really believed that there was a time when there was only one man on the planet called Adam and that the first woman called Eve was created from his rib. Fair question isnt it? After all its what the bible states, so if you are going to be a "bible believer" then you need to believe that.

His answer; "probably not"

I will challenge any so called "bible believers" here with the same question. And before you answer on this forum, tell me, are your parishoners clear about where you stand on such issues? If not, why not?
Robert Cleland (Guest) 25/11/2011 08:58
Our Prayers are with Paul and we know this has been a very painful decision for Him our hearts go out to Him and His family. We also are aware that this is no easey run for the congregation as they are being forced to wrestle with Gods revealed will in the bible our prayers are with them. The bible is very clear on this subject of marriage and relationships. My one regret is that it is this that ministers should hold fire and not demit yet God I beleive will be making a way for His servants to continue to serve Him. What is needed is concerted oneness that the nation and the denomination sits up and takes note.What is needed more than anything else is for all the little evangelical groups that have met in Inverness Perth Aberdeen Glasgow to get together and see if there is a one way they can all take together. It is my own personal beliefe that God has a door for His people it will be a door of goodness grace blessing and bounty untill he shares his secret lans with His prophets we will have to wait for the Lord Isaiah 50v10-11 may Paul and the folks at Tain hear the voice of the great shepherd. may God be with you all
John Parker (Guest) 25/11/2011 09:22
The unity that true believers all seek can only be found in the Truth. And what we are seeing is a battle royal for God's Truth.
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