Ministers from Non-Sister Churches
What happens when a minister from a church with which the Canadian Reformed Churches do not maintain a sister-church relationship comes and asks to be declared eligible for call? He is not eligible as such even though he is a minister.
It may not happen all that often that a minister alone comes with such a request. Most likely he will take care of a congregation and will have tried to take his congregation along in the way he has learned to be the way of obedience. Whether he comes with a flock or not, the case remains basically the same: his being received into the federation must follow the regular procedure.
What is this procedure? In the first place he will have to submit proof that he has been lawfully called to the ministry. No self-styled adventurers need to come with a request. This condition does not imply that we recognize the legitimacy of his position or approve of the community from which he comes. It only means that we want to make sure that everything was done in an orderly way and that we can be reasonably sure that this man has not made himself what he is.
Secondly, he has to submit a written exposition of the reasons which led him to his request to be declared eligible for call within the Canadian Reformed Churches. Merely making an oral declaration is not sufficient for such a serious step and decision. When he has to give a written account, the brother himself is compelled to realize full well what he is doing, and why he came to such a request and what the consequences of it are or may be for himself, for his family, and for the congregation which he takes along, if he has succeeded in convincing others of the correctness of the course he is following.
The churches, on the other hand, have the opportunity to see everything in writing and to consider the question what the consequences may be of acceding to this request. It must be realized that receiving the brother into the federation as a man eligible for call and, if he receives one, as a minister of the Gospel may have far-reaching implications for the federation as such.
 It is a step which must be weighed and considered thoroughly by both parties involved.
In the third place a good testimonial concerning his conduct is required. Everyone will understand that we do not ask for an attestation regarding his doctrine. This would be worthless if it came from a body which itself does not uphold the Scriptural truths. In other instances it might be a testimony coming from a body that maintains doctrines which deviate from Scripture and differ greatly from what we confess.
A testimony concerning his daily conduct is a different matter. The Lord tells us in His Word that we should live in such a manner that an unbeliever, too, may see our godly walk and praise our heavenly Father for it. Of an office-bearer it is required that he has a good reputation among outsiders, and so we learn from God's own Word that even the testimony of an unbeliever would not be worthless. However, when the brother submits testimonials concerning his daily conduct, he will in all likelihood not ask pure unbelievers and haters of the Lord to provide him with a document of that nature.
We gladly hear what others have to say about his way of life. Besides, if he comes alone or with his family, it may be expected that he has already joined one of the churches before he comes with his request. In that case members can testify about his conduct.
Finally, an examination is required which shall be on no lower level than the preparatory and peremptory examinations to which our own candidates for the ministry have to submit. We did speak about the preparatory examination above; the peremptory examination will be discussed in connection with the following article.
Because of the far-reaching consequences which possible admission of such a brother may have for the whole federation, this examination has to be attended also by regional-synodical deputies, or, in short, Deputies ad Art. 48. They represent the federation as such and have to have their input. In the discussion of Article 48 we shall deal with their position and task further.
When everything is favourable, there follows the signing of the Subscription Form for ministers and admission into the federation as a minister in case a congregation comes along. If the brother does not bring a flock along, he will simply be declared eligible for call, after having promised that he will not teach anything contrary to or deviating from Holy Scripture as the churches have summarized the doctrine of it in their confessional formulas.