Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

From the Theological Committee

Written by Rev. Jack Schoeman
The following is in response to a question to Rev. L.W. Bilkes, Chairman of the Theological Education Committee, about the work of this committee - Editor.

1. Examining Applicants For The Ministry
The Theological Education Committee examines applicants who feel called to the ministry of the Word in the Free Reformed Churches of North America. Applicants should be in possession of a B.A. degree or equivalent and should obtain a written testimony from their consistory.

The committee tests the applicants in these three areas:

(1) With regard to his knowledge of the fear of the Lord. Those who desire to guide others spiritually need to fear and know the Lord. They should be able to tell what God has done for their soul. They should be Òfull of the Holy Spirit and of faith" (Acts 6:3-5).

(2) With reference to the call to the ministry. They need to have the conviction that the Lord is calling them to the ministry and is setting them apart. Without this call, the ministry will be a burden too heavy to bear, and there will be no joy in the ministry.

(3) With reference to the ability to study and to be able to apply these studies in an edifying way to the ministry.

Before the applicants meet with the Theological Education Committee, they are required to first speak with their respective consistory in regard to the aspects mentioned above. After that, the consistory supplies the committee with a written testimony. It is on the basis of this written testimony and the examination of the applicant himself, that the Theological Education Committee decides whether or not to admit the applicant to prepare himself for the ministry of the Word in the Free Reformed Churches of North America.

2. Oversight Of The Theological Training Program
The synodical Theological Education Committee oversees the theological training program as spelled out in the ÒHandbook for the Theological Training Program of the Free Reformed Churches of North America.Ó The aim of this program is threefold:

(1) To nurture the student to have a thorough knowledge and understanding of the Scriptures and Reformed theology.

(2) To promote practical godliness including personal piety and Christian conduct in the life of the student.

(3) To facilitate an understanding of spiritual experience and human relationships in order to equip the student to become a sound, sensitive and edifying servant of the Word in his preaching and pastoral ministry.

In overseeing this program, we focus on biblical studies and Reformation theology. This theology is theocentric, Trinitarian and practical. We take special note of the close relationship between Word and theology, church and theology, the Confessions and theology, as well as faith and theology. In brief, we emphasize that Scripture is to have the central place in theological training, and not just formally. On the contrary, the central message of the Word of God, rediscovered by the Reformers and enlarged upon by the men of the Second Reformation, must be the central content of theological training.

3. Annual Interviews
The committee conducts an annual interview with each student, assigns Bible texts to them for practice preaching to be presented to the committee members and works with each student in personal planning for studies. The committee also arranges summer assignments for each student and an internship program after the third year of studies.

4. Oversight Of The Seminary Instruction
The committee oversees the work of the instructors at the seminary, particularly that of Dr. G. M. Bilkes and other Free Reformed instructors.

5. Annual Retreats
The committee organizes an annual ministersÕ retreat

6. Church Day East
The committee makes arrangements for the annual Church Days held in the ÒEast.Ó

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