Article 5 — Eligibility for the ministry
Only those shall be called to the office of minister of the Word who
(1) have been declared eligible for call by the churches; or
(2) are already serving in that capacity in one of the churches; or
(3) have been declared eligible or are serving in one of the churches with which The Free
Reformed Churches of Australia maintain a sister relationship. The churches shall observe the general ecclesiastical ordinances for the eligibility of those ministers who have served in these sister-churches.
B. Declared eligible
Only those shall be declared eligible for call within the churches who
(1) have passed a preparatory examination by the classis in which they live, which examination shall not take place unless those presenting themselves for it submit the necessary documents to prove that they are members in good standing of one of the churches and have successfully completed a course of study as required by the churches; or
(2) have satisfied the requirements of Article 8; or
(3) have satisfied the requirements of Article 9.
This section of the article states that in three different cases someone is eligible for call within our churches:
1. those who have been declared eligible by our churches;
2. those who are already serving in our churches;
3. ministers serving in sister-churches.
Section B of his article mentions three possibilities:
1. that a candidate to the ministry is called;
2. that someone with exceptional gifts, but without a theological training, is called;
3. that a minister who has served a non-sister-church and has recently joined one of our churches, is called.
Our Church Order restricts the candidates for such a first call to those who have been examined preparatorily by the classis in which they reside.
This ‘preparatory exam’ consists of:
1. a talk between a number of delegates, appointed by the classis for
this purpose, and the candidate, concerning the motives that have led him to seek admission to the ministry of the Word; and the acceptance of their report by the classis;
2. delivering a draft sermon on a prescribed text from Scripture. The candidate is informed about this text three weeks prior to the exam;
3. an examination of the knowledge of holy Scripture;
4. an examination of the candidate’s ability regarding the exegesis of the Old Testament;
5. the same regarding the exegesis of the New Testament.
At least a fortnight prior to the exam the examiners concerned indicate the chapters from the Scripture, on which the candidate will be examined, one from the Old, and one from the New Testament.
6. an examination in the doctrine of the churches.
In addition to all this having a favourable result, the candidate must formally subscribe to the Three Forms of Unity. He is then declared as being eligible to be called by one of our churches.
It may be hardly necessary to mention that, prior to this examination, the candidate must be able to show proof of having successfully completed his theological training, as well as a declaration of membership in full rights, issued by the consistory of the congregation to which he has belonged during the previous twelve months or more.
Article 8 will deal with the procedure followed when a person with exceptional gifts, but not having pursued the regular course of theological study, presents himself for the ministry.
Article 9 will deal with ministers who have recently joined one of our churches.