A minister has quit the Church of Scotland over the issue of gay clergy.

39-year-old Reverend Paul Gibson told the Scotsman newspaper that many others are likely to follow suit.

“I was baptised in the Church of Scotland, I grew up in the Kirk and continue to have many dear friends who remain in the church, so I think I speak for those who have left in recent years that it is with great pain and upset that we’ve felt the need to withdraw and move on,” Reverend Gibson said.

He also cites the church’s “erroneous liberal agenda” and of the “systematic dismantling of the true gospel”.

Reverend Gibson will now take up worship in Scotland’s Free Church.

The issue of gay church ministers continues to split Presbyterians and Anglicans.

On Monday, a gay vicar in East Sussex was told that he could resume work at his local parish after officials tried to ban him over his refusal to confirm if he was in a celibate relationship.

Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, spoke earlier in the week of how the Anglican Church’s approach to homosexuality had caused mental hardship for LGBT people during his 10-year term in office.

Changing Attitude Ireland, the Church of Ireland’s pro-gay group, who welcomed the appointment of Reverend Richard Clarke as the new primate of All-Ireland earlier today, has also called on the Church of England to have an honest dialogue about gay clergy and laity if they are to avoid reaching “a tipping point where it is too morally discredited to be respected on any issue”.

The COE is currently reviewing a 2005 statement that said clergy should enter into civil partnerships only if they were in a celibate relationship.

The dean of St Albans, Dr Jeffrey John – a gay man in a celibate civil partnership – has been twice in line to become a bishop only to see his appointment repeatedly rejected amid outrage from social conservatives.

In July of this year, Dr John talked of his sadness in an Out4Marriage video at the COE’s refusal to support the government’s position on civil marriage equality.