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Theological Examining Committee

Chairman, TE Chuck Barrett
864-640-3076
tec@tnvalleypres.org

Important Dates

 
Spring

March 28, 2023: Views Statement due
April 11, 2023: Paperwork due (including Exams)
April 25, 2023: TEC Meeting | First Presbyterian Church, Chattanooga, TN
May 13, 2023: TVP Meeting | Covenant Presbyterian Church, Oak Ridge, TN

 
Summer

June 27, 2023: Views Statement due
July 11, 2023: Paperwork due (including Exams) 
July 25, 2023: TEC Meeting | First Presbyterian Church, Chattanooga, TN
August 8, 2023: TVP Meeting | First Presbyterian Church, Chattanooga, TN

 
Fall

September 19, 2023: Views Statement due
October 10, 2023: Paperwork due (including Exams) 
October 24, 2023: TEC Meeting | First Presbyterian Church,
Chattanooga, TN
November 7 (probably moving to the 14th), 2023: TVP Meeting | Christ Covenant Presbyterian Church (Knoxville)

 
Winter

December 26, 2023: Views Statement due
January 9, 2024: Paperwork due (including Exams) 
January 23, 2024: TEC Meeting | First Presbyterian Church,
Chattanooga, TN
February 10, 2024: TVP Meeting | Covenant Presbyterian Church, Chattanooga, TN

Licensure

Before Beginning the Licensure Process:

To be eligible for licensure, you must first be a Candidate for Gospel Ministry (also called being "under care").  If you are not already a candidate, please begin with the Pastoral Care Committee (PCC).  The Chairman of the PCC is TE Sam Brown (sam@trinityprescleveland.com).  Note: it is possible to become a candidate and be licensed at the same meeting of presbytery.  But, the usual course is to become a candidate first and be licensed later.

First Steps with the TEC:

  1. Contact the TEC Chairman to establish connection and make sure you understand the process.

  2. Send the Chairman this Candidate Information Form

  3. Send a completed TVP Views Statement to the Chairman.  This is a very important document for your examination process.  Please make sure it is carefully proofed for content, grammar, and spelling. This views statement will be sent not only to the members of the Theological Examining Committee, but also (eventually) to every member of the Tennessee Valley Presbytery.  Please limit your views statement to 4 pages and send the Word Doc, not a PDF.  Your Views Statement must be approved by the TEC Chairman before you take written exams.

Before you Meet with the Committee:

 

The Chairman will help you complete the following before the paperwork deadline:

  1. Written English Bible Exam

  2. Written Theology Exam

  3. Written Church Government / Book of Church Order (BCO) Exam

  4. Written Sermon (Before submitting your sermon, please check with the TEC Chairman about the passage you would like to use. When delivered orally, the sermon should last no longer than 10 to 15 minutes. The sermon must be in a format that the committee can read and understand. If you are referring to an illustration that you are going to use, please give enough details that your use of the illustration can be understood.)

When you meet with the Committee:

 

If you have submitted all of your paperwork and it meets the requirements, you will meet with the committee for the following:

  1. Oral examination of on your Christian experience and inward call to preach the Gospel

  2. Oral English Bible Exam

  3. Oral Theology Exam

  4. Oral Church Government (BCO) Exam

  5. Preach your Sermon (we may accept a video of your preaching an actual sermon, if it is submitted with your paperwork)

  6. Review any Differences with the Westminster Standards that you may have.  The committee will help you decide if your differences are actually exceptions or not.

 

The committee will vote on whether to recommend you for licensure to the Presbytery. 

 

When you Come Before Presbytery:

 

If you are recommended, you will be invited to attend the next Presbytery meeting, where you will do the following:

  1. Shorter Oral examination of on your Christian experience and inward call to preach the Gospel

  2. Shorter Oral English Bible Exam

  3. Shorter Oral Theology Exam

  4. Shorter Oral Church Government (BCO) Exam

  5. Review any Differences with the Westminster Standards that you may have.  Please be aware that your stated differences are only exceptions if the Presbytery votes that they are.  Any differences are then recorded in your own words in the official minutes of the Presbytery meeting and are shared with the General Assembly for review.

The Presbytery will vote on whether to license you or not. If the vote is affirmative, you will take your vows at that Presbytery meeting and be immediately licensed to preach in the TVP.

Ordination

Before Beginning the Ordination Process:

To be eligible for ordination, you must first be Licensed to Preach in the TVP.  If you are licensed in another Presbytery or another denomination, please contact the Chairman to see what process you need to follow.

First Steps with the TEC:

  1. Contact the TEC Chairman to establish connection and make sure you understand the process.

  2. Send the Chairman this Candidate Information Form (not necessary if we already have it from Licensure)

  3. Send a completed TVP Views Statement to the Chairman (not necessary if we already have it from Licensure).  This is a very important document for your examination process.  Please make sure it is carefully proofed for content, grammar, and spelling. This views statement will be sent not only to the members of the Theological Examining Committee, but also (eventually) to every member of the Tennessee Valley Presbytery.  Please limit your views statement to 4 pages and send the Word Doc, not a PDF.  Your Views Statement must be approved by the TEC Chairman before you take written exams.

Before you Meet with the Committee:

 

The Chairman will help you complete the following before the paperwork deadline:

  1. Written Church History Exam

  2. Written History of the PCA Exam

  3. Written Sacraments Exam

  4. Written Languages (Greek and Hebrew) Exams

  5. Official, Signed Call Letter. This call should be formatted with the correct language from the BCO (Appendix J) and include details regarding yearly vacation and study leave, in addition to salary and benefits being offered.

  6. Official Transcript (not a copy) from an approved seminary or authentic testimonials of having completed a regular course of theological studies (BCO 21-4.a.) 

  7. Three Papers: one theological, two exegetical (Greek and Hebrew). These papers may be ones you wrote in seminary. These papers should follow the appropriate format for scholarly papers with footnotes (or endnotes) and bibliography included.

  8. Completed Internship (approved by the Pastoral Care Committee).

When you meet with the Committee:

 

If you have submitted all of your paperwork and it meets the requirements, you will meet with the committee for the following:

  1. Oral Church History Exam

  2. Oral History of the PCA Exam

  3. Oral Sacraments Exam

  4. Note: we do not usually orally exam candidates for ordination on the languages.

  5. Review any Differences with the Westminster Standards that you may have (not necessary if we already did this for Licensure).  The committee will help you decide if your differences are actually exceptions or not.

 

The committee will vote on whether to recommend you for ordination to the Presbytery. 

 

When you Come Before Presbytery:

 

If you are recommended, you will be invited to attend the next Presbytery meeting, where you will do the following:

  1. Shorter Oral Church History Exam

  2. Shorter Oral History of the PCA Exam

  3. Shorter Oral Sacraments Exam

  4. Review any Differences with the Westminster Standards that you may have (not necessary if we already did this for Licensure).  Please be aware that your stated differences are only exceptions if the Presbytery votes that they are.  Any differences are then recorded in your own words in the official minutes of the Presbytery meeting and are shared with the General Assembly for review.

The Presbytery will vote on whether to ordain you or not.

 

Ordination Service:

 

If the vote is affirmative, you will begin working with your church to arrange for an ordination service.  You will need a TVP commission of at least 2 TEs and 2 REs appointed for that service, as the service is actually a called meeting of the Presbytery.  It's a good idea of have 3 of each, in case someone drops out.  The TEC is empowered to appoint that commission.

Transfer (from within the PCA)

Before Beginning the Transfer Process:

To be eligible for transfer, you must ordained in the PCA.  If you are ordained in another denomination, please click here to jump to the process for transferring to the PCA.

First Steps with the TEC:

  1. Contact the TEC Chairman to establish connection and make sure you understand the process.

  2. Send the Chairman this Candidate Information Form

  3. Send a completed TVP Views Statement to the Chairman.  This is a very important document for your examination process.  Please make sure it is carefully proofed for content, grammar, and spelling. This views statement will be sent not only to the members of the Theological Examining Committee, but also (eventually) to every member of the Tennessee Valley Presbytery.  Please limit your views statement to 4 pages and send the Word Doc, not a PDF.  Your Views Statement must be approved by the TEC Chairman before you take written exams.

Before you Meet with the Committee:

 

The Chairman will help you submit the following before the paperwork deadline:​

  1. Official, Signed Call Letter. This call should be formatted with the correct language from the BCO (Appendix J) and include details regarding yearly vacation and study leave, in addition to salary and benefits being offered.

  2. Proof of Good Standing in your current presbytery.  The candidate should request that this be sent to the TEC Chairman.

When you meet with the Committee:

 

If you have submitted all of your paperwork and it meets the requirements, you will meet with the committee for the following:

  1. Oral ("touching" your views on) Theology Exam

  2. Oral ("touching" your views on) Sacraments Exam

  3. Oral ("touching" your views on) Government (BCO) Exam

  4. Review any Differences with the Westminster Standards that you may have.  The committee will help you decide if your differences are actually exceptions or not.

 

We will also ask if your views have changed and review your exceptions to the Westminster standards.

We may choose to act as a commission and finalize your transfer at the TEC meeting (pending your release from your current Presbytery) or to refer you to the next TVP meeting, depending on whether we have all of your paperwork or not.

 

When you Come Before Presbytery:

 

If we acted as a commission and finalized your transfer, you will simply introduce yourself to the body at the next Presbytery meeting you can attend.

Installation Service:

 

If the vote is affirmative, you will begin working with your church to arrange for an installation service.  You will need a TVP commission of at least 2 TEs and 2 REs appointed for that service, as the service is actually a called meeting of the Presbytery.  It's a good idea of have 3 of each, in case someone drops out.  The TEC is empowered to appoint that commission.

Transfer (from another denomination)

Before Beginning the Transfer Process:

To be eligible for transfer process, you must ordained in some denomination other than the PCA.

BCO 13-6.  If applicants come from other denominations, the Presbytery shall examine them thoroughly in knowledge and views as required by BCO 21-4 and require them to answer in the affirmative the questions put to candidates at their ordination.

First Steps with the TEC:

  1. Contact the TEC Chairman to establish connection and make sure you understand the process.

  2. Send the Chairman this Candidate Information Form

  3. Send a completed TVP Views Statement to the Chairman.  This is a very important document for your examination process.  Please make sure it is carefully proofed for content, grammar, and spelling. This views statement will be sent not only to the members of the Theological Examining Committee, but also (eventually) to every member of the Tennessee Valley Presbytery.  Please limit your views statement to 4 pages and send the Word Doc, not a PDF.  Your Views Statement must be approved by the TEC Chairman before you take written exams.

Before you Meet with the Committee:

 

The Chairman will help you complete the following before the paperwork deadline:

  1. Written English Bible Exam

  2. Written Theology Exam

  3. Written Church Government / Book of Church Order (BCO) Exam

  4. Written Church History Exam

  5. Written History of the PCA Exam

  6. Written Sacraments Exam

  7. Written Languages (Greek and Hebrew) Exams

  8. Written Sermon (Before submitting your sermon, please check with the TEC Chairman about the passage you would like to use. When delivered orally, the sermon should last no longer than 10 to 15 minutes. The sermon must be in a format that the committee can read and understand. If you are referring to an illustration that you are going to use, please give enough details that your use of the illustration can be understood.)

  9. Official Transcript (not a copy) from an approved seminary or authentic testimonials of having completed a regular course of theological studies (BCO 21-4.a.) 

  10. Official, Signed Call Letter. This call should be formatted with the correct language from the BCO (Appendix J) and include details regarding yearly vacation and study leave, in addition to salary and benefits being offered.

  11. Proof of Good Standing in your current presbytery.  The candidate should request that this be sent to the TEC Chairman.

When you meet with the Committee:

 

If you have submitted all of your paperwork and it meets the requirements, you will meet with the committee for the following:

  1. Oral examination of on your Christian experience and inward call to preach the Gospel

  2. Oral English Bible Exam

  3. Oral Theology Exam

  4. Oral Church Government (BCO) Exam

  5. Oral Church History Exam

  6. Oral History of the PCA Exam

  7. Oral Sacraments Exam

  8. Preach your Sermon (we may accept a video of your preaching an actual sermon, if it is submitted with your paperwork)

  9. Review any Differences with the Westminster Standards that you may have.  The committee will help you decide if your differences are actually exceptions or not.

 

We will also ask if your views have changed and review your exceptions to the Westminster standards.

The committee will vote on whether to recommend you for transfer to the Presbytery. 

When you Come Before Presbytery:

 

If you are recommended, you will be invited to attend the next Presbytery meeting, where you will do the following:

  1. Shorter Oral examination of on your Christian experience and inward call to preach the Gospel

  2. Shorter Oral English Bible Exam

  3. Shorter Oral Theology Exam

  4. Shorter Oral Church Government (BCO) Exam

  5. Shorter Oral Church History Exam

  6. Shorter Oral History of the PCA Exam

  7. Shorter Oral Sacraments Exam

  8. Review any Differences with the Westminster Standards that you may have.  Please be aware that your stated differences are only exceptions if the Presbytery votes that they are.  Any differences are then recorded in your own words in the official minutes of the Presbytery meeting and are shared with the General Assembly for review.

Installation Service:

 

If the vote is affirmative, you will begin working with your church to arrange for an installation service.  You will need a TVP commission of at least 2 TEs and 2 REs appointed for that service, as the service is actually a called meeting of the Presbytery.  It's a good idea of have 3 of each, in case someone drops out.  The TEC is empowered to appoint that commission.

TVP Standing Rules Concerning the TEC

The Theological Examining Committee is responsible:

  • To examine and present to Presbytery Teaching Elders seeking transfer into the TVP.

  • To examine candidates for licensure and ordination, or to dismiss them, at their request, to the care of another Presbytery.

  • To act as a commission to approve the transfer of currently ordained PCA Teaching Elder candidates who are in good standing with their Presbyteries into the TVP and have those individuals provide a verbal introduction to the Presbytery at the following stated meeting.

  • To act as a commission at its discretion to approve candidates’ call letters, educational requirements, internships, papers, and sermons.

  • To act as a commission to appoint installation commissions.

(Standing Rules of TVP, chapter 5-2.3.D)

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