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Article 4

The lawful calling of those who have not been previously in office consists:

First, in the ELECTION by the consistory and the deacons, after preceding prayers, with due observance of the regulations established by the consistory for this purpose, and of the ecclesiastical ordinance that only those can for the first time be called to the ministry of the Word who have been declared eligible by the churches according to the rule in this matter; and furthermore with the advice of classis or of the counselor appointed for this purpose by the classis.

Secondly, in the EXAMINATION both of doctrine and life, which shall be conducted by the classis to which the call must be submitted for approval, and which shall take place in the presence of three delegates of synod from the nearest classis.

Thirdly, in the APPROBATION by the members of the calling church, when, the name of the minister having been announced for two successive Sundays, no lawful objection arises; which approbation, however, is not required in case the election takes place with the cooperation of the congregation by choosing out of a nomination previously made.

Finally, in the public ORDINATION in the presence of the congregation, which shall take place with appropriate stipulations and interrogations, admonitions and prayers, and imposition of hands by the officiating minister (and by other ministers who are present) agreeably to the form for that purpose.

Decisions pertaining to Article 4

  1. The election of a minister of the Word shall be conducted in the following manner:
    1. The consistory shall make a nomination consisting usually of a trio of eligible ministers or candidates.
    2. The nomination shall be submitted to the approbation of the congregation and unto that end publicly announced to her on two successive Sundays.
    3. From the nomination the male members assembled on a congregational meeting which has been announced on two successive Sundays shall elect by secret ballot. The majority of votes cast shall be decisive. No members under censure nor adult baptized members have the right to vote. Blank votes must be subtracted from the total votes cast in order to determine how many votes a candidate must receive to have the majority which is required to his election.
  2. Advice to classis and counselor. The following usage obtains:
    1. That a counselor shall be designated for a vacant congregation to serve her with advice in case of difficulty, and to represent the classis in the process of the election.
    2. That the nomination made by the consistory be submitted to the counselor for approval, who must see to it that the nomination does not conflict with the ecclesiastical regulations pertaining thereto. Further, that without this approbation being obtained the election cannot proceed.
    3. That the congregational meeting upon which the election takes place shall be presided over, if at all possible, by the counselor. Likewise, the calling issued by the consistory, the composition of the call-letter, and the signing thereof by all the consistory members shall be under his supervision.
    4. That also the counselor himself shall sign the call-letter as token of his approbation in the name of the classis.
  3. Peremptoir examination of candidates:
    1. Examination shall be conducted in:
      1. Dogmatics.
      2. Practical qualifications, among which the following:
        1. Personal spirituality.
        2. Motives for seeking the office of minister.
        3. Evidence of insight into pastoral practical labors.
      3. Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, treating specifically of:
        1. The nature of Holy Scripture.
        2. The contents of Holy Scripture.
      4. Knowledge of the confessions:
        1. Meaning and purpose of the confessions.
        2. The contents of the confessions.
        3. The application of the confessions to our life.
      5. Controversy.
      6. Specimen of preaching:
        1. Preaching before the congregation in the presence of classis.
        2. Critical discussion of the sermon preached.
    2. Further usage prevailing is as follows:
      1. Voting by secret ballot regarding his admittance.
      2. In case of a favorable outcome the applicant shall sign the formula of subscription.
      3. Finally, that he be provided with written proof signed by president and clerk, wherein classis declares that it judges him qualified for the ministry of the Word.
  4. Candidates:
    1. To the final theological school examination there has been added a praeparatoir examination, which is conducted by the synod.
    2. Candidates may not be called within one month after this praeparatoir examination.
    3. For the consideration of calls received, the candidate is allowed the time of six weeks.
    4. In case the candidate should not give satisfaction in the peremptoir examination, and the congregation nevertheless continues to desire him, he shall at the following classis be given opportunity for reexamination in those branches in which he appeared unsatisfactory.

(Adopted by Classis of June 6, 7, 1934; Synod of 1944, Arts. 66, 67.)