How Declared Eligible?
 The second part of this article describes the manner in which one is declared eligible for call.
There is in the first place the preparatory examination. The meaning of the word "preparatory," although it also comes from the Latin, will be clear. This examination is to be done by the churches in whose midst the brother lives who aspires to the office of a minister of the Gospel.
At a classis of these churches it is ascertained first of all that the brother has a right to be examined. Not just anyone is permitted to present himself for such an examination. One has to meet certain conditions to be allowed to come and be examined.
The first requirement is that he is a member in good standing of one of the churches. It was not necessary to add here the word "communicant," since the previous article already contained the provision that one is not eligible for any office unless he has made profession of faith. The candidate has to present an attestation to show that he is such a member and has been one for at least three years. If he has been a member of the same church for more than three years, an attestation from this one church will suffice; if he moved during the last three years, an attestation is required from each church to which he belonged during this period.
Further he has to show proof that he has completed the required course of study. The churches do not demand of someone presenting himself for the preparatory examination that he has followed the courses and passed the examinations at the churches' own Theological Seminary, although this is the normal procedure. They have left open the possibility that someone is admitted to the preparatory examination who obtained his theological degree elsewhere. Yet he cannot be admitted without any further assurance that he has "mastered" the Reformed doctrine and polity. For this reason the General Synod of Orangeville 1968 decided:
To be admitted to the ecclesiastical examinations candidates shall submit proof that they have completed their studies at our own Theological College. Candidates who took their theological training at other institutions shall present a certificate issued by the Staff of the Theological College of the Canadian Reformed Churches stating that they have followed and/or completed a course of studies conforming with the training provided by the Theological College of the Canadian Reformed Churches. (Acts Synod Orangeville 1968, Art. 171)
Once the documents have been found in order, the examination can take place.
The character of this examination must be kept in view, and it should be realized that it is an ecclesiastical examination which is to ascertain that this brother has indeed such a knowledge and understanding of the Scriptures and of the Reformed doctrine based on them that the members of that classis are convinced that he is able to serve as a true minister of the Gospel. Sometimes examiners ask a candidate to read from the Hebrew or from
 the Greek text of Scripture. Whether this is to demonstrate the knowledge and skill of the examiner or of the candidate we shall leave undecided. What is certain is that it is wrong to do so, and this for more than one reason.
In the first place, the certificate from the faculty of our College is sufficient guarantee that the candidate has acquired the necessary knowledge of the languages in which God's Word came to us. This does not have to be investigated or demonstrated again.
In the second place, an ecclesiastical examination should be conducted in such a manner that each and every member of that classis not only can follow it but also is able to judge and evaluate it. Any member of that classis who has not studied Hebrew or Greek cannot judge whether the text is read properly or whether a grammatical form was explained correctly.
What should be kept in view all the time is the character and purpose of the examination: Can we wholeheartedly and without hesitation declare of this brother: insofar as we are able to ascertain this brother's motives are pure, he is thoroughly Reformed in his understanding of the Scriptures and is able to expound them as well as the Reformed doctrine based on them; we, therefore, are happy and thankful that we can open the way for him to be called to the office of minister of the Gospel?
There is still the misunderstanding that the "screening" of candidates for the ministry is to be done at the Theological College and that, when after some years in the parsonage someone proves that he is not fit to be a minister, the faculty of the College is responsible for not having stopped him and prevented him from continuing his studies.
This is what we called it: a misunderstanding. The faculty of our Theological College definitely pays attention to the question whether, in their view, a brother lacks the gifts necessary for serving in the ministry, and they will undoubtedly discuss it with the brother, dissuading him from continuing, but this is all they can do. If a student lives as a child of God, studies faithfully and passes his courses with the required weighted average, he will graduate and receive his degree. No one can prevent him from presenting himself for the preparatory examination.
It is not the faculty of our College that declares one eligible for call but the classis that examines the brother and investigates whether he has the gifts required for the office. That is the place where the decision is made and where one is to be stopped, if this appears necessary. This places a heavy responsibility upon the brothers at that classis. They will hesitate to refuse a brother's request to be declared eligible for call; but it is better to disappoint a brother than to risk the well-being of the churches.Also for this reason every one should be able to follow and understand in all respects what is dealt with during the examination.