Church Order

Article 9

Preachers without fixed charge, or others who have left some sect, shall not be admitted to the ministry of the church until they have been declared eligible, after careful examination by the classis, with the approval of synod.

Decision pertaining to Article 9

Procedure for admission of ministers from other denominations:

  1. A minister from another denomination desiring entrance into the ministry of the Protestant Reformed Churches under Article 9 of the Church Order shall apply to the Protestant Reformed classis nearest to which he resides.
    1. The minister making application shall have publicly resigned his ministry and his membership in his former congregation and denomination and become a member of a local Protestant Reformed Church.
    2. The minister making application shall meet with and seek the advice of a nearby Protestant Reformed consistory.
      1. The consistory shall interview the minister sufficiently to make recommendations to the classis concerning the applicant’s qualifications for the ministry in the Protestant Reformed Churches and to determine whether they would be willing to hold his ministerial credentials until he accepts a call, should classis approve his examination and declare him eligible for a call.
      2. The advice of the consistory shall be forwarded to the Classical Committee along with the applicant’s formal request for entrance into the ministry of the Protestant Reformed Churches.
    3. The minister making application shall furnish the following documentation:
      1. A declaration of his reasons for desiring entrance into the ministry of the Protestant Reformed Churches and an account of his background in the ministry.
      2. A testimonial from the consistory or session under which he previously labored concerning his purity of doctrine and sanctity of life. If this is not possible because his leaving makes him a persona non grata, the classis shall make investigation of the applicant’s previous labors.
      3. A diploma, or statement of credits, from an accredited college and recognized seminary, to show the scholastic attainment of the applicant.
      4. A statement of health from a physician.
  2. Classis shall act upon the applicant’s request, with the concurring advice of the Synodical Deputies, taking into consideration the following:
    1. All the documents listed under A, 3 above are found to be in good order.
    2. The need for ministers in the Protestant Reformed denomination at the time of the application.
  3. If the applicant’s request is approved, classis shall set a date for convening another classis for the purpose of examining the applicant, and shall instruct the Classical Committee to draw up an examination schedule. The examination shall commence with a specimen sermon, which sermon must be approved by classis and the Synodical Deputies before classis shall proceed to the rest of the examination. The examination shall follow the regular adopted schedule for the classical examination of candidates for the ministry (cf. Article 4) with two additions: Protestant Reformed distinctives, and Knowledge of the Church Order of the Protestant Reformed Churches. In addition, the applicant must express a willingness to abide by any past decisions of the Protestant Reformed synods concerning doctrine and practice.
  4. After classis approves his examination, with the concurrence of the Synodical Deputies, the classis shall declare the applicant eligible to receive a call into the ministry of the Word and sacraments in the Protestant Reformed Churches, without further need of examination.
  5. The newly accepted minister shall be required to sign the Formula of Subscription before the meeting of classis adjourns and shall be presented with a classical diploma.
  6. His eligibility for a call shall be announced to the churches.
  7. Until the newly approved minister accepts a call, his ministerial credentials shall be held by a Protestant Reformed consistory appointed by classis.
    1. This consistory shall supervise the interim labors of the minister and shall see to the needs of his financial support. Financial assistance may be sought from sister congregations, if this is deemed necessary.
    2. If the minister does not receive a call after three years, he, with the advice of his consistory, shall request Classis to renew his eligibility.

(Adopted by Synod of 1993, Art. 36; amended by Synod of 1994, Art. 55.)

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