"Form of Government XXIII:6. Trials for ordination shall consist of the following: (1) the evaluation of written and oral testimonials as to the candidate's satisfactory exercise of the gifts for the gospel ministry; (2) an examination as to the candidate's Christian faith and life; as to his knowledge of the Bible, theology, apologetics, ecclesiastical history, the Greek and Hebrew languages, and such other branches of learning as to the presbytery may appear requisite; and as to his knowledge of the confession, government, discipline, and worship of the Church; this examination may include such written discourses, founded on the Word of God, as shall seem proper to the presbytery."
Sometimes candidates are asked to do work over and above the bare requirements of the Form of Government. This is usually to remediate a weakness in the candidate's preparation. It is importantant for the candidate to recognize that the committee is not interested in "busy-work" but rather has every hope and expectation that the work will help the candidate and prepare him to be a better minister. To give two examples:
In the past, a candidate who had trouble with the requirement for an exegetical paper was asked to write a report interacting with a commentary on a given passage of Scripture. This paper allowed the candidate to understand the requirements of the exegetical paper better, and helped the committee to work with the candidate in order for him to meet the requirements.
Candidates who have had difficulties with certain areas of the Westminster Standards have occasionally been asked to write papers regarding those areas. This allows for clarification of the areas of difficulty and is helpful for both the candidate and committee.
The assignment of "additional work" should be seen as an encouragement for growth in the gifts which God has given the candidate.
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