Theological Examining Committee

Chairman, Rev. Frank A. Hitchings III
Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church, 423-821-4528, frank@lmpc.org

RESPONSIBILITIES

The Theological Examining Committee is responsible:
(Standing Rules of TVP, chapter 5-2.3.D)

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

  • To examine and present to Presbytery prospective candidates coming under care and to oversee their preparation for the Gospel Ministry through periodic communication and annual reports to Presbytery;

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

MEETING with the COMMITTEE

The committee meets once a quarter, normally on the first or second Monday of the month immediately prior to the TVP’s stated meeting. Therefore, the committee meets in March, June, September, and December. Always contact the committee chairman to confirm the date and place. You must get permission from the committee chairman before coming to the committee meeting, and you must have permission from the committee before going to the floor of presbytery.The meetings of the committee are always held at Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church. Click here for directions.

UPCOMING IMPORTANT DATES

Fall

August 13: Paperwork due
September 10: TEC Meeting | Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church
October 16: TVP Meeting | Christ Covenant, Knoxville

Winter

November 5: Paperwork due
December 3: TEC Meeting  | Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church
January 2019: TVP Meeting | TBD

Spring

February 4, 2019: Paperwork due
March 4: TEC Meeting | Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church
April 2019: TVP Meeting | TBD

Summer

May 6, 2019: Paperwork due
June 3, 2019: TEC Meeting | Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church
July 2019: TVP Meeting | TBD

Contact the committee chairman at least six weeks before the committee meeting in order to make sure you have enough time to complete all forms and exams. All paperwork must be received by the committee chair 30 days prior to the committee meeting. The required paperwork includes all forms, written exams, your letter of good standing, terms of your call, etc., (see the two candidate sections on this website to determine exactly what is required, depending on whether you are coming before the committee in order to be taken under care, or for licensure, ordination, or transfer). If all of the paperwork is not received 30 days prior to the committee meeting, it is very likely that you will need to wait until the next quarterly meeting to come before the committee.

If you need to take exams (licensure and ordination) please know that most candidates need to spend one to six months working through the study guides for each set of exams. In addition, paperwork for ordination can take longer than other paperwork.

TEACHING ELDER TRANSFERS

Teaching Elders seeking transfer into TVP are required to follow BCO 20-9, 20-10, and 13-6.

All Teaching Elders seeking transfer to TVP should contact the TEC Chairman TE Frank Hitchings.

You will need to provide:

(1) a completed Candidate Information Form

(2) a TVP-format Views Statement with exceptions noted

(3) proof of good standing in your current presbytery

(4) an official, signed copy of your new call

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.

CANDIDATES for the GOSPEL MINISTRY (coming under care)

To become a Candidate for the Gospel Ministry, an applicant must follow BCO 18, which requires membership in a local TVP church for at least six months before being recommended to the presbytery.

In addition to appearing before the Theological Examining Committee, applicants for Candidacy must also appear before TVP to give their testimony, their call to the ministry, and answer any questions the Elders put to them.

Those interested in becoming candidates should contact the TEC Chairman TE Frank Hitchings.

You will need to provide:

(1) a completed Candidate Information Form

(2) a completed Session Recommendation Form, endorsed and signed by the moderator of the session at the church where you have been a member for at least six months.

CANDIDATES for LICENSURE and ORDINATION

No matter what the seminary background of a candidate, the Theological Examining Committee is eager to work with you in assessing and rounding out your preparation for the Gospel Ministry. Those interested in Licensure and/or Ordination should contact the TEC Chairman, TE Frank Hitchings. Our goal is to present you before TVP as a man ready to gain the respect and confidence of presbytery as one suitable for Gospel ministry.

For BOTH LICENSURE AND ORDINATION you will need to provide:

(1) a completed Candidate Information Form

(2) a completed Views Statement with exceptions noted

For LICENSURE, you will need to complete exams on the following subjects:

(1) English Bible

(2) Theology

(3) Book of Church Order (BCO)

You will also need to provide a written sermon prior to a committee meeting and present that sermon orally at a committee meeting on the day that you are presented to presbytery.

For ORDINATION (in addition to the requirements for licensure), you will need to complete exams on the following subjects:

(1) Church History (including history of the PCA)

(2) Sacraments

(3) Languages (Greek and Hebrew) For information on our language standards for both the language exams and the exegetical papers, click here.

You will also need to provide the following:

(1) an official transcript (not a copy) from an approved seminary

(2) three papers: one theological, two exegetical (Greek and Hebrew)

(3) an official, signed copy of your call. 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.

Finally, you will need to have completed an internship and present a notebook with the materials required by our internship plan.

Our guides for what is expected from candidates for licensure and ordination are provided by the PCA Book of Church Order, chapters 18-22, which specify particular areas of examination.  For ordination, a candidate must also complete educational requirements which meet “the Assembly’s approved curriculum” (BCO 21-4), carefully defined in the PCA’s Uniform Curriculum (see Minutes of the Sixth General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America, June 19-23, 1978, pages 86-87 & 214-217).

The Theological Examining Committee of the Tennessee Valley Presbytery has a study guide for licensure. See the Resources and Documents section.

With all this in mind, it is wisest for a man to make contact with the Theological Examining Committee as early as possible and not to presume that he will be recommended to the floor of presbytery for examination after only one meeting with the Committee.

QUESTIONS FREQUENTLY ASKED by SEARCH COMMITTEES

WHAT REQUIREMENTS DOES THE TVP HAVE FOR TRANSFER CANDIDATES?

Answer:  The Tennessee Valley Presbytery follows the Book of Church Order (13-6, 20-9, 20-10) in its requirements for transfer candidates. The list of required forms may be found on this website as well as the dates by which all paperwork must be submitted.

SHOULD OUR SEARCH COMMITTEE ASK POTENTIAL TRANSFER CANDIDATES FOR A TVP-FORMAT VIEWS STATEMENT EARLY IN THE SEARCH PROCESS?

Answer: Absolutely! The Theological Examining Committee recommends that every search committee ask a potential transfer candidate for a TVP-format views statement as early in the search process as possible. Not only will the information obtained in a views statement be extremely helpful to a search committee, but the candidate will also be more likely to be able to meet the TEC paperwork deadline if a call is extended.

ARE THE DEADLINES FOR PAPERWORK HARD AND FAST?

Answer: For the most part, yes. Exceptions to the deadlines will be considered on a case-by-case basis only when there are special circumstances. Every effort should be made to submit all required paperwork by the deadline.

WHAT SHOULD OUR SEARCH COMMITTEE DO IF WE ARE CLOSE TO BEING READY TO CALL A CANDIDATE AND THE DEADLINE FOR PAPERWORK IS NEARING?

Answer: First, get in touch with the chairman of the Theological Examining Committee immediately to let him know of the possibility of a call. Secondly, the search committee is encouraged to ask a potential candidate to go ahead and submit a candidate information form and views statement to the chairman of the Theological Examining Committee by the deadline, even when a call package has not been finalized and the congregation or Session has not yet voted. The committee can then be notified of a potential transfer candidate, and the views statement can be sent out to committee members with the name redacted. This will allow sufficient time for the committee to read and consider the views statement.

IS IT POSSIBLE FOR THE THEOLOGICAL EXAMINING COMMITTEE TO MEET WITH A CANDIDATE AT A DIFFERENT TIME THAN THE REGULARLY SCHEDULED MEETING?

Answer: It’s possible, but very difficult. Because members of the Theological Examining Committee do not all live in the same city, it is quite challenging to work out the scheduling of an additional meeting.

IF OUR SEARCH COMMITTEE IS UNABLE TO MEET THE DEADLINE FOR AN UPCOMING MEETING, WILL WE NEED TO WAIT UNTIL THE NEXT REGULARLY SCHEDULED MEETING?

Answer: Most likely, yes, though occasionally an exception can be made. Please contact the chairman of the Theological Examining Committee, Frank Hitchings, at frank@lmpc.org if you believe there are special circumstances that would give grounds for making an exception.

IS IT POSSIBLE FOR OUR SEARCH COMMITTEE TO GET SOME IDEA OF THE REACTION THE TVP MIGHT HAVE TO CERTAIN VIEWS?

Answer: Yes, search committees are welcome to submit questions they may have about a candidate’s views on a particular subject to the TEC committee chairman. He will then be able to share the past history of the TVP in regards to that view, or he may choose to submit the question regarding a particular view to the entire Theological Examining Committee. After the committee’s input, the chairman can then give feedback to the search committee as to whether there might be some concerns regarding a particular view.

Tennessee Valley Presbytery (Presbyterian Church in America)
C/O Covenant Presbyterian Church
8451 E. Brainerd Road
Chattanooga, TN 37421

tel: 423-899-5377
email: tvpclerk@gmail.com