Theological Examining Committee

Chairman, Rev. Chris Powell
North Shore Fellowship
423-653-9099
chris@nsfellowship.org

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.

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

IMPORTANT DATES

Fall

August 2, 2021: Views Statement due date
August 15, 2021: Paperwork (including Exams) due date
September 13, 2021: TEC Meeting | North Shore Fellowship, Chattanooga, TN
October 19, 2021: TVP Meeting | Christ Covenant, Knoxville, TN  (This is a change from our regular schedule of TVP meetings.)

Winter

October 25, 2021: Views Statement due date
November 8, 2021: Paperwork (including Exams) due date
December 6, 2021: TEC Meeting | North Shore Fellowship, Chattanooga, TN
January 8, 2022: TVP Meeting | Covenant Presbyterian Church, Chattanooga, TN

CHOOSE THE SECTION BELOW THAT FITS YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES

See the sections on transfer, licensure, and ordination for links to forms and lists of all requirements.

TEACHING ELDER TRANSFERS from inside the PCA

Teaching Elders seeking transfer into the TVP are required to follow BCO 13-6 and 20-9,10. They also, in accordance with BCO 21-1, “ordinarily shall not move on to the field” to which they are called until they have “been examined and received by Presbytery.”

Please send the following to the TEC Chairman:

  1. Candidate Information Form. (Please fill out electronically, save, and email to the TEC Chairman).
  2. TVP Views Statement with differences noted. 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.
  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.

When you meet with the Committee:

In accordance with BCO 13-6 you shall be examined on Christian experience, and also touching your views in theology, the Sacraments, and church government.

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

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

PASTORS TRANSFERRING from outside the PCA

Pastors who are seeking to transfer into the TVP from a denomination other than the Presbyterian Church in America should contact the TEC Chairman.

LICENSURE

Those interested in Licensure and/or Ordination should contact the TEC Chairman. 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 a summary of the process, see Licensure-Ordination Process

First, please send to the TEC Chairman:

  1. Candidate Information Form. (Please fill out electronically, save, and email to the TEC Chairman).
  2. TVP Views Statement with differences noted. 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.

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

  1. English Bible written exam
  2. Theology written exam
  3. Book of Church Order (BCO) written exam

The Theological Examining Committee of the Tennessee Valley Presbytery has a Study Guide for Licensure.

You will also need to provide a written sermon before the paperwork deadline: Before submitting your sermon, please check with the TEC Chairman about the passage you would like to use. In accordance with BCO 19-2, this sermon should embody “both explanation and application.” 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:

In accordance with BCO 19 you shall be examined on Christian experience and inward call to preach the Gospel, and also on English Bible, Theology, and the Book of Church Order.

Once your sermon has been accepted by the committee, you will preach this sermon either before the committee or before the entire Presbytery.

ORDINATION

Those interested in Licensure and/or Ordination should contact the TEC Chairman. 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 a summary of the process, see Licensure-Ordination Process

First, please send the following to the TEC Chairman:

  1. Candidate Information Form. (Please fill out electronically, save, and email to the TEC Chairman).
  2. TVP Views Statement with differences noted. 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.

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

  1. Church History
  2. History of the PCA
  3. Sacraments
  4. 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 before the paperwork deadline:

  • 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.
  • An official transcript (not a copy) from an approved seminary
  • 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.
  • A completed internship notebook with the materials required by our TVP Internship Plan.

When you meet with the Committee:

In accordance with BCO 21 you shall be examined on Church History, History of the PCA, and Sacraments.  We do not ordinarily orally exam candidates on the Languages.

CANDIDATES for the GOSPEL MINISTRY ("coming under care")

PLEASE NOTE: The Theological Examining Committee no longer processes applications for coming under care.

Please see the Pastoral Care Committee page or contact the PCC chairman, TE Sam Brown, sam@trinityprescleveland.com.

RESOURCES and DOCUMENTS

  1. Candidate Information Form. (Please fill out electronically, save, and email to the TEC Chairman).
  2. TVP Views Statement with differences noted. 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.
  3. TVP Licensure Exam Study Guide
  4. TVP Internship Plan
  5. A Brief History of the PCA (The TVP also recommends familiarity with Sean Michael Lucas’ For a Continuing Church: The Roots of the Presbyterian Church in America.)
  6. TVP Church History Exam Study Guide

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, TE Chris Powell (chris@nsfellowship.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 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