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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Peter Carr 28/11/2011 16:15
Alasdair Smith said, "This is something that at least one elder per congregation should have responsibility for."

Not easy to implement in these days of private religion where accountability, and willingness to accept authority of leadership is almost as rare as hens teeth in so many congregations! There seems to be prevailing attitude of 'I'll do as I please, not as you say (even if it is God's word that you are speaking from)!

Part of the problem (correct me if I am wrong) is that the C of S threw out the authority of Scripture some time ago. So, now it is 'open season' for some of those in the pews as well as well as some pulpits.

John E Miller (Guest) 28/11/2011 21:46
I became aware of Paul Gibson and his ministry fairly recently. I listened to his sermons on the Tain Parish Church website and was greatly impressed with the simple yet powerful way he was able to bring God's word to his congregation. His interpretation and application of the written word was in every respect true to Scripture's own explanation of its truth.

The comments about "jumping from a sinking ship" and other expressions of disaproval show a failure to grasp the fundamental principle that must govern the actions of every born again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is surely that we must be obedient to God's Word. Liberal theology gives professing Christians the option of choosing preference over principle. Mere profession will grasp such a choice. Possession is something far greater.

Christ and Christ alone must be the standard. He is God's divinely appointed standard and God's Word will accept no less, nor should we. It is to be expected that many will be offended. Scripture teaches this. When a true believer finds himself in a fellowship that refuses to judge evil, eventually he has no choice but to withdraw. It matters not whether he or she is in a postion of prominence or otherwise.

To cling to the title of a "national church" is not wise. Scripture does not endorse such a notion. There is only one church according to the teaching of God's Word. It is the entire body of Christian believers whether local or universal. No building today can biblically be described as God's house.

Church buildings are convenient gathering places for local church fellowships but if every single such building in Scotland was destroyed tonight God's dwelling place would be intact. Far too much emphasis is placed on the place of gathering and far too little importance given to the state of the "gatherers".

If more godly souls were to be prepared to seperate from evil the true church would prosper here in Scotland as it is doing in countries where persecution is a far greater reality of Christian life.
Alan Keely (Guest) 29/11/2011 01:26
I need to say sorry to God and myself for posting again, as thought I had said enough on this matter, but I am "Lord Driven" compelled to.

A nameless "concerned observer" (yawn, by the way, don't tell me your name, the good Lord knows your heart, we on this site don't really matter, He will judge!),said this "'Christians Together' "would do well to assertain the true facts as to why some of the elders disagreed with the actions of the minister. These are men of equal integrity to those who supported the minister."

Ok,gloves off, give us some examples of this meeting where objections from these "men of equal integrity" were put forward in response to "God's Minister's" statement,(in God's Minister I mean - the chosen Minister, whom you will accept the Kirk Session must have been in agreement with in the discerning and choosing, I would like to think!!!), that would detail any actually objection to? Was this on any given Scripture reading interpretation? I thought we might actually have some Biblical input from you with some real Christian concerns? We are " Christian Together" after all? Not that I'm a member, but I think I will apply, if nonsense like this keeps coming up! Like the posting from John E Miller ( ah, a man not in hiding, shalom!).

John said this about the Minister, " I listened to his sermons on the Tain Parish Church website and was greatly impressed with the simple yet powerful way he was able to bring God's word to his congregation." Would you agree with this "concerned observer"?, before the meeting that you must have been in to start with, well, you must have been there, or had someone in there explaining what happened? does that make you an Elder from old, or a Minister of old? the mind boggles with you people, how do you know all this and not detail it. Yawn (prod prod "concerned objector") reveal yourself and shame satin!

Like John E Miller, I have been enjoying this ministers online mp3's, my reaction to this comes from an old statement from a long lost friend and brother "This is how the Gospel should be preached" and I say to you "Concerned observer" seek the Lord with all your heart......alan.
Peter Carr 29/11/2011 07:53
John E Miller said, "Far too much emphasis is placed on the place of gathering and far too little importance given to the state of the "gatherers"."

I agree. There are over 170 references to 'God's Kingdom' in the Bible, but only a dozen or so to 'church', yet too many of us behave as if it were just the opposite!

Zip 29/11/2011 10:36
John Miller: I agree heartily with the vast majority of what you are saying regarding church. However when it comes to opposing evil we are told to stand, stand, stand not run,run,run.....
Titus 1:9 'He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.'

Elders are those who are in a position of responsibility and authority. The most important thing for an elder to remember is: that those who are elders will be judged more severely on the discharge of their responsibilities. Hebrews 13:17

There can come a time for the saints to depart, but that is not in the middle of the fight.
John E Miller (Guest) 29/11/2011 10:41
Having explored this forum in a little more detail, I must say that I'm uncomfortable about the practise of anonymous contributions. Stand up for Jesus!
Zip 29/11/2011 10:47
'If' there is a need for a subordinate standard then the 'Nicene Creed' was the original and I would dare to say the best. If a Christian can wholeheartedly sign up to this then they believe the big picture of the bible.

It seems that those who are in full time paid Christian leadership seem to be the ones who have the biggest trouble with the plain truths detailed within it. Let them depart..
John E Miller (Guest) 29/11/2011 11:26
"Zip": You were not the specific object of my last post since I was in the process of producing it when you made yours. There is nothing personal at all in my observation, since I do not know any of the contributors whether they identify themselves by name or choose to hide their identities.

You quote Titus 1:9. "..holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict". Is not this exactly what Paul Gibson was seeking to do? I freely admit that I am not in possession of the facts that led to his decision to leave Tain, but I would draw your attention to the fact that he felt able to go as he had come, "in the name of the Lord Jesus".

Let me direct you to Paul's final letter. I quote from 2 Tim.3-4. "The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires, and will turn their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths." In the next verse he counsels Timothy ending with the exhortation, "..fulfil your ministry."

Paul Gibson must have felt that he had done this. It is now for those members of the Church of Scotland in Tain who are born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ to decide who they serve and what membership has priority in their lives. Do they serve the Eternal Triune God who has revealed His will in His Eternal Word? Is their membership of the body of Christ here on earth more important to them than their membership of their "national church"?

As for Paul Gibson, let me quote from the Apostle Paul again, this time in Romans 14:4. "Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own Master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand."
John E Miller (Guest) 29/11/2011 12:25
If I may, I would like to make a further observation relating to the understanding of what the bible means when it talks about churches or the church.

There are at least 109 references to a church, churches or the church in the New Testament. Not one of these refers to a building made by the hands of man. The Greek word used is "eklesia" meaning "called out". This shows clearly that we must disabuse ourselves of any belief that a building has any significance in what scripture teaches about the church of God.

All these scriptures clearly refer to a gathering or body of God's people. Significantly there is one reference by the Town Clerk of Ephesus, an ungodly man, to such a building (Acts 19:37) which some translations render as churches (Gr: hierosulos). Those who have no relationship with God through Jesus Christ think that the building is the church and by extension the house of God.
Bonkers (Guest) 29/11/2011 16:37
How many people have been saved, prayed for or reached through the amount energy expounded through these arguments?
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