I. The Offices of the Church
B. The Ministers of the Word
Rules of Procedure Related to Candidates
1. The letter of call to a candidate must indicate the provisional nature of this call until the classical examination has been sustained.
2. The date of ordination shall be officially announced only after the candidate has passed the examination.
3. The candidate shall preach a sermon on a text assigned by classis, in an official worship service in the presence of classical representatives, preferably on the Sunday preceding the meeting of classis, and in the calling church.
4. A copy of the candidate’s sermon shall be provided by classis to the synodical deputies and to the delegates to classis.
5. In addition to the required sermon on an assigned text, the candidate shall submit to each of the sermon critics of classis copies of two other sermons which were preached as a student, one based on a Scripture text and the other on a Lord’s Day of the Heidelberg Catechism. The combination of Scripture texts should include both the Old and the New Testament. These sermons shall not include those which have been used in practice preaching, or for academic evaluation, in the seminary.
(Acts of Synod 1975, p. 90)
6. Synod advises the classes, with reference to the credentials required by classes, that synod’s declaration of candidacy may be taken to certify that the candidates have met the requirements for candidacy. No further inquiry into these matters need ordinarily be made by a classis at the examination for ordination.
(Acts of Synod 1978, p. 24)
(Amended Acts of Synod 2009, p. 583)
7. Four classical delegates shall be appointed as the official examiners, two to function as sermon critics and to be present at the worship service in which the total sermon is being preached, and two to conduct the actual examination at the time classis meets.
8. Synod adopted the following schedule for classical examination:
a. Introduction: a classical examiner shall introduce the candidate to the classis.
b. The examination proper shall consist of inquiry into three main areas as follows:
1) Practica (no time limit)
a) The classical examiner shall inquire into the candidate’s relationship to God and commitment to the ministry, the candidate’s understanding of the meaning and relevance of the ministry for our times, loyalty to the church, and related matters.
b) The synodical deputies and delegates shall have opportunity to ask additional questions.
c) Before proceeding to the next area of inquiry, a motion to proceed shall carry.
2) Sermon Evaluation
a) In the presence of the candidate, the written sermon shall be evaluated, and attention shall be given to the candidate’s manner of conducting a worship service.
b) Additional questions with reference to the sermon and its delivery shall be allowed.
c) Before proceeding to the next area, a motion to proceed shall carry with the concurrence of the synodical deputies.
3) Biblical and Theological Position (minimum, thirty minutes per candidate)
a) The examiner shall inquire into the candidate’s biblical and theological judgment, competence, and soundness.
b) Opportunity shall be provided for additional questions (no specific time limit).
c. Procedure for admitting to the ministry:
1) A motion to admit shall be received and given preliminary consideration in executive session.
2) Prayer for the guidance of the Holy Spirit shall be offered.
3) The synodical deputies shall leave the floor to prepare their recommendation.
4) The classis shall vote by ballot.
5) The synodical deputies shall offer their written statement, from which it will become evident whether or not they can concur with the decision of classis.
6) In the event they do not concur, the classis and the synodical deputies may try to reach a unified decision.
7) In the event that agreement cannot be reached between them, the matter is automatically referred to the synod for final adjudication.
(Acts of Synod 1972, pp. 44-46)