What is the task of the Professors of Theology? Their task is to instruct the students of theology and to guide these students to the completion of their courses. Once a student has completed the course of study as required, he will receive a certificate attesting to this accomplishment. With this certificate the graduate may present himself to a classis to be declared eligible for call, as laid down in Art. 4 CO.
Although the College is completely under the control of the churches, it is an institution for higher learning in its own right. The churches do finance the College by means of an annual assessment per communicant member, but they do not meddle in the material taught at the College or the scholarly level of the instruction. The Board of Governors is the body that guards both the level and the Scriptural character of the instruction given.
The degrees that are granted by the College are, therefore, academic degrees, not ecclesiastical attestations. A degree from the College does not give access to the pulpit; it only permits the graduate to present himself to the relevant ecclesiastical assembly for examination and opens the way which ultimately may lead to the pulpit. Such an ecclesiastical examination is essentially different in character from the academic examinations at the College. We already mentioned this difference when dealing with Article 4.
Although the College has been established and is being maintained by the churches, this does not mean that only members of the churches would be allowed to study at it or obtain a degree from it. If the blessings, bestowed upon the churches by the Lord, are recognized by others, too, and when the College can be of benefit and blessing to others, too, it can only be a reason for humble gratitude that we may be instrumental in spreading these blessings to an even wider circle.
The fact that the College is an institution for higher learning and that the teaching at it is at the scholarly level does not mean that the ministry of the Gospel should be left out of the picture. On the contrary, it should be the dominating and guiding principle. The whole teaching as well as the subjects taught have to have as their goal that the students be trained for the office to which they are aspiring.