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The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 18 : Candidates for the Gospel Ministry

Paragraph 2 : Of Coming Under Care

18-2. Every applicant for the ministry must put himself under the care of Presbytery, which should ordinarily be the Presbytery that has jurisdiction of the church of which he is a member. The endorsement of his Session must be given to the Presbytery, consisting of testimonials regarding his Christian character and promise of usefulness in the ministry. The endorsement should also describe the activities of ministry the applicant has participated in with brief evaluation.
Every applicant for care shall be a member of the congregation whose Session provides an endorsement for at least six months before filing his application, except in those cases deemed extraordinary by the Presbytery.
Every applicant must file his application with the clerk of the Presbytery at least one month before the meeting of the Presbytery. An applicant for care must not be received under care and examined for ordination at the same meeting of the Presbytery, since he must serve a period of at least one year of internship prior to ordination (see BCO 19-7 and 21-4). An applicant for internship is obliged to be under care and may be licensed to preach the Gospel; further, one who is not already under care may be taken under care, be licensed to preach the Gospel, and become an intern at the same meeting of Presbytery.


[DIGEST: Amendments to this paragraph have been adopted in 1981 [M9GA, 9-65, Item 5, p. 132]; 1986 [M14GA, 14-19, Item 7, p. 91] and 1989 [M17GA, 17-6, Item 11, p. 53]

ANTECEDENT TEXTS:
P
CA 1973, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly,
It is recommended that every candidate for the ministry should put himself under the care of Presbytery, which should ordinarily be the Presbytery that has jurisdiction of the Church of which he is a member. Every applicant seeking to be taken under the care of a Presbytery as a Candidate for the ministry shall file his application at least two months before the meeting of the Presbytery. Upon receipt of the application it shall be the duty of the Presbytery to inquire diligently into the Christian character, the personality, the vocational fitness, and the physical, mental and spiritual qualifications of the applicant, and to make a careful report to the Presbytery upon these and other points which would have a bearing upon his qualifications for the ministry. The report should also contain the recommendation of the Committee as to whether the applicant should or should not be received under the care of the Presbytery.

Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, 19-2, Proposed text, p. 21
It is recommended that every candidate for the ministry should put himself under the care of Presbytery, which should ordinarily be the Presbytery that has jurisdiction of the Church of which he is a member. Every applicant seeking to be taken under the care of a Presbytery as a candidate for the ministry shall file his application at least two months before the meeting of the Presbytery. Upon receipt of the application it shall be the duty of the Presbytery to inquire diligently into the Christian character, the personality, the vocational fitness, and the physical, mental and spiritual qualifications of the applicant, and to make a careful report to the Presbytery upon these and other points which would have a bearing upon his qualifications for the ministry. The report should also contain the recommendation of the Committee as to whether the applicant should or should not be received under the care of the Presbytery.

PCUS 1933, XXI, § 103
and
PCUS 1925, XXI, § 103
It is recommended that every candidate for the ministry should put himself under the care of Presbytery, which should ordinarily be the Presbytery that has jurisdiction of the church of which he is a member. He should be encouraged by the Session to do this; and upon his request, the Session should furnish him with a certificate of his membership, and with testimonials of its judgment regarding his Christian character and promise of usefulness in the ministry, to be laid before the Presbytery.

PCUS 1879

[no comparable text]

PCUS 1869 draft
[no comparable text]

PCUS 1867 draft

[no comparable text]

COMMENTARY:
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order
, on Chapter 2, section 1 :
[no comparable text]


OVERTURES AND AMENDMENTS:
1981 [M9GA, 9-65, Item 5, p. 132]

1986 [M14GA, 14-19, Item 7, p. 91]

1989 [M17GA, 17-6, Item 11, p. 53]

CONSTITUTIONAL INQUIRY:
1996 - 24-23, Reference #3, p. 160:
Question -
In our Presbytery, a minister shepherds a non-PCA church. From time to time men come forward from that congregation desiring to become candidates for the ministry. How may a Presbytery require the fulfillment of the six-month PCA membership and sessional endorsement requirements (BCO 18-2) for a man who desires to become a candidate but is a member of a non-PCA church?
Answer - It is the advice of the CCB that the BCO 18-2 probably indicates, but does not specify that a prospective candidate must be a member of a PCA congregation for at least six months before filing his application for candidacy. Some PCA presbyteries, however, have interpreted BCO 18-2 to allow them to accept the endorsement of a prospective candidate from a non-PCA congregation, understanding that the candidate must "submit himself to the care and guidance of the Presbytery in his course of study and of practical training to prepare himself for this office" (BCO 18-1). Through the General Assembly's review of presbytery minutes, this procedure has been affirmed, in that some presbyteries, in the past, have accepted a candidate's endorsement from non-PCA congregations.
It is the advice of the CCB that an Overture should be submitted clearly specifying that a candidate could be endorsed by the ruling body of a non-PCA church.



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