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The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 19 : The Licensure of Candidates for the Gospel Ministry and Internship

Paragraph 4 :

19-4. The applicant having answered these questions in the affirmative, the moderator shall offer a prayer suitable for the occasion, and shall address the applicant as follows:
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by that authority which He has given to the Church for its edification, we do license you to preach the Gospel in this Presbytery wherever God in His providence may call you; and for this purpose may the blessing of God rest upon you, and the Spirit of Christ fill your heart. Amen.
Record shall be made of the licensure in the following or like form:
At_____________, the __________day of_______________, the ____________________Presbytery, having received testimonials commending _________________________, proceeded to submit him to the prescribed examination for licensure, which was met to the approval of the Presbytery. Having satisfactorily answered the questions for licensure, _____________________ was licensed by the Presbytery to preach the Gospel within the bounds of this Presbytery.

[Historical Summary : .]

Background and Comparison :
PCA 1973, 20-10, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, pp. 138-139
and
Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, 20-9, Proposed text, p. 25
The candidate having answered these questions in the affirmative, the Moderator shall offer a prayer suitable for the occasion, and shall address the candidate to the following purpose: "In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by that authority which He has given to the Church for its edification, we do license you to preach the Gospel as a probationer for the holy ministry, wherever God in His providence may call you; and for this purpose may the blessing of God rest upon you, and the Spirit of Christ fill your heart. Amen."
And record shall be made of the licensure in the following or like form, namely : At _____________, the _________day of ______________, the Presbytery of ____________, having received testimonials commending _________________________, and evidence of his being a communicant of the church, of his good moral character, and of his having pursued suitable course of study proceeded to submit him to the prescribed tests for licensure, which were met to the approval of the Presbytery. On his satisfactorily answering the questions appointed to be put to applicants for licensure, Mr. ________________ was licensed by the Presbytery to preach the Gospel within the bounds of this Presbytery, or wherever he shall in an orderly way be invited to preach.


PCUS 1933, XXII, § 116
and
PCUS 1925, XXII, § 116
The candidate having answered these questions in the affirmative, the Moderator shall offer a prayer suitable for the occasion, and shall address the candidate to the following purpose: "In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by that authority which He has given to the Church for its edification, we do license you to preach the Gospel as a probationer for the holy ministry, wherever God in His providence may call you; and for this purpose may the blessing of God rest upon you, and the Spirit of Christ fill your heart. Amen."
And record shall be made of the licensure in the following or like form, namely : At _____________, the _________day of ______________, the Presbytery of ____________, having received testimonials commending _________________________, and evidence of his being a communicant of the church, of his good moral character, and of his having pursued suitable courses of study, proceeded to submit him to the prescribed tests for licensure, which were met to the approval of the Presbytery. On his satisfactorily answering the questions appointed to be put to applicants for licensure, Mr. ________________ was licensed by the Presbytery to preach the Gospel as a probationer for the ministry within the bounds of this Presbytery, or wherever he shall in an orderly way be invited to preach.


PCUS 1879, VI-6-8

The candidate having answered these questions in the affirmative, and the Moderator having offered up a prayer suitable to the occasion, he shall address the candidate to the following purpose: "In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by that authority which He has given to the Church for its edification, we do license you to preach the gospel as a probationer for the holy ministry, wherever God in His providence may call you; and for this purpose may the blessing of God rest upon you, and the Spirit of Christ fill your heart. Amen."
And record shall be made of the licensure in the following or like form, viz. : At _____________, the _________day of ______________, the Presbytery of ____________, having received testimonials in favor of _________________________, of his having gone through a regular course of literature, of his good moral character, and of his being in the communion of the Church, proceeded to take the usual parts of trial for his licensure. And he having given satisfaction as to his experimental acquaintance with religion, and as to his proficiency in divinity and other studies, the Presbytery did, and hereby does, express its approbation of all these parts of trial. And he having adopted the Confession of Faith and the Catechisms of this Church, and satisfactorily answered the questions appointed to be put to candidates to be licensed, the Presbytery did, and hereby does, license him, the said ________________, to preach the gospel of Christ, as a probationer for the holy ministry, within the bounds of this Presbytery, or wherever else he shall be orderly called.


PCUS 1869 draft, VI-6-8

The candidate having answered these questions in the affirmative, and the Moderator having offered up a prayer suitable to the occasion, he shall address the candidate to the following purpose: “In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by that authority which He hath given to the Church for its edification, we do license you to preach the gospel as a probationer for the holy ministry, wherever God in His providence may call you; and for this purpose, may the blessing of God rest upon you, and the Spirit of Christ fill your heart. Amen.” And record shall be made of the license in the following or like form, viz:
At ____________, the _________day of ___________, the Presbytery of _______________ having received testimonials in favour of _______________; of his having gone through a regular course of literature; of his good moral character: and of his being in the communion of the Church; proceeded to take the usual parts of trial for his licensure. And he having given satisfaction as to his accomplishments in literature; as to his experimental acquaintance with religion; and as to his proficiency in divinity and other studies; the Presbytery did, and hereby does, express its approbation of all these parts of trial. And he having adopted the Confession of Faith of this Church, and satisfactorily answered the questions appointed to be put to candidates to be licensed; the Presbytery did, and hereby does, license him, the said , to preach the gospel of Christ, as a probationer for the holy ministry, within the bounds of this Presbytery, or wherever else he shall be orderly called.

PCUS 1867 draft, VI-6-8
The candidate having answered these questions in the affirmative, and the moderator having offered up a prayer suitable to the occasion, he shall address the candidate to the following purpose: “In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by that authority which He hath given to the church for its edification, we do license you to preach the gospel as a probationer for the holy ministry, wherever God in his providence may call you; and for this purpose, may the blessing of God rest upon you, and the Spirit of Christ fill your heart. Amen.” And record shall be made of the license in the following or like form, viz:
At ____________, the _________ day of __________ the presbytery of _______________ having received testimonials in favour of ________________, of his having gone through a regular course of literature; of his good moral character: and of his being in the communion of the church; proceeded to take the usual parts of trial for his licensure. And he having given satisfaction as to his accomplishments in literature; as to his experimental acquaintance with religion; and as to his proficiency in divinity and other studies; the presbytery did, and hereby does, express its approbation of all these parts of trial. And he having adopted the Confession of Faith of this church, and satisfactorily answered the questions appointed to be put to candidates to be licensed; the Presbytery did, and hereby does, license him, the said , to preach the gospel of Christ, as a probationer for the holy ministry, within the bounds of this presbytery, or wherever else he shall be orderly called.

PCUSA 1789, XIII-6

The candidate having answered these questions in the affirmative, and the Moderator having offered up a prayer suitable to the occasion, he shall address himself to the candidate, to the following purpose: "In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by that authority, which he hath given to his Church for its edification, we do license you, to preach the gospel, wherever God in his providence may call you: and for this purpose, may the blessing of God rest upon you, and the Spirit of Christ fill your heart. Amen." And record shall be made of the licensure, in the following form : viz. At _____________, the _________day of ______________, the presbytery of ____________ having sufficient testimonials, in favour of ________________ of his having gone through a regular course of literature ; of his good moral character ; and of his being in the communion of the church ; proceeded to take the usual parts of trial for his licensure : And he having given satisfaction, as to his accomplishments in literature ; as to his experimental acquaintance with religion ; and as to his proficiency in divinity, and other studies ; the presbytery did, and hereby do express their approbation of all these parts of trial : and he having adopted the confession of faith of this church ; and satisfactorily answered the questions, appointed to be put to candidates to be licensed ; the presbytery did, and hereby do license him, the said ________________ to preach the gospel of Christ ; as a probationer for the holy ministry ; within the bounds of this presbytery, or wherever he shall be orderly called.

COMMENTARY :
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order
(1898, pp. 164-165), on VI-6-8:
136.--VIII. The candidate having answered these questions in the affirmative, and the moderator having offered up a prayer suitable to the occasion, he shall address the candidate to the following purpose: “In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by that authority which He hath given to the church for its edification, we do license you to preach the gospel as a probationer for the holy ministry, wherever God in his providence may call you; and for this purpose, may the blessing of God rest upon you, and the Spirit of Christ fill your heart. Amen.” And record shall be made of the license in the following or like form, viz:
At ____________, the _________ day of __________ the presbytery of _______________ having received testimonials in favour of ________________, of his having gone through a regular course of literature; of his good moral character: and of his being in the communion of the church; proceeded to take the usual parts of trial for his licensure. And he having given satisfaction as to his accomplishments in literature; as to his experimental acquaintance with religion; and as to his proficiency in divinity and other studies; the presbytery did, and hereby does, express its approbation of all these parts of trial. And he having adopted the Confession of Faith of this church, and satisfactorily answered the questions appointed to be put to candidates to be licensed; the Presbytery did, and hereby does, license him, the said , to preach the gospel of Christ, as a probationer for the holy ministry, within the bounds of this presbytery, or wherever else he shall be orderly called.
This form represents that the Presbytery proceeded to take the usual parts of trial and passed the formal act of licensure on the same date; and for this reason it will be necessary, in many cases, to change it. This might be done by omitting the date at the beginning, and inserting it before the word "license."



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