I want to congratulate my good friend and contributor to Hamilton’s Flame, Jesse Pickett (read more about Jesse under the about tab), who was licensed to preach the Gospel Saturday in the North Florida Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America. This was a long and rather stressful process, but Jesse worked very hard and was approved by the presbyters of North Florida. The process included a written exam, an oral exam by the Candidates and Credentials Committee of the presbytery, and being approved in both of these Jesse stood on the floor of presbytery to be examined by the teaching and ruling elders representing the churches of North Florida.
Jesse was examined in his knowledge of Bible content, the PCA’s Book of Church Order, and theology based upon the Westminster Confession of Faith together with the Larger and Shorter Catechisms. He also preached a sermon in the opening worship service of the meeting of presbytery from Habakkuk chapter one entitled “Astounding News.” Jesse will not appreciate me noting this but one comment from David Burke, the pastor of Ortega PCA where the meeting of presbytery was held, was that Jesse’s sermon was the best he had heard from a candidate for licensure in the PCA. I will just add (myself being present) that the sermon was excellent. Thank you Jesse, for faithfully and passionately giving us the “astounding news” of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesse will now begin seminary training next month at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and will continue to serve as a pastoral intern at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Jacksonville, Florida as he pursues ordained ministry in the PCA. Congratulations Jesse….and his wife Kristen, IKNOW she is glad this part of the process is over!
The following is from the PCA Book of Church Order on Licensure:
Licensure and Internship
19-1. To preserve the purity of the preaching of the Gospel, no man is
permitted to preach in the pulpits of the Presbyterian Church in America on a
regular basis without proper licensure from the Presbytery having jurisdiction
where he will preach. An ordained teaching elder who is a member in good
standing of another Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America may
be licensed after being examined as to his views, according to the provision
of BCO 13-6. This license shall immediately become void if the minister’s
own Presbytery administers against him a censure of suspension from office
or the sacraments, or deposition from office, or of excommunication (in the
event of such censures, the Presbytery with jurisdiction shall always notify
the licensing Presbytery). A ruling elder, a candidate for the ministry, a
minister from some other denomination, or some other man may be licensed
for the purpose of regularly providing the preaching of the Word upon his
giving satisfaction to the Presbytery of his gifts and passing the licensure
examination. (See also BCO 22-5 and 22-6.)
19-2. Examination for Licensure.
The examination for licensure shall be as follows:
a. Give a statement of his Christian experience and inward call to
preach the Gospel in written form and/or orally before the
Presbytery (at the discretion of the Presbytery):
b. Be tested with a written and/or oral examination by the
Presbytery (at the discretion of the Presbytery) for his:
1. basic knowledge of Biblical doctrine as outlined in the
Confession of Faith and Larger and Shorter Catechisms of
the Presbyterian Church in America.
2. practical knowledge of Bible content.
3. basic knowledge of the government of the Presbyterian
Church in America as defined in The Book of Church Order.
c. Be examined orally before Presbytery for his views in the areas
outlined in part b above.
d. Provide his written sermon on an assigned passage of Scripture
embodying both explanation and application, and present orally
his sermon or exhortation before Presbytery or before a
committee of Presbytery.
19-2 THE BOOK OF CHURCH ORDER
No Presbytery shall omit any of these parts of examination except in
extraordinary cases; and whenever a Presbytery shall omit any of these parts,
it shall always make a record of the reasons therefor, and of the trial parts
19-3. Questions for Licensure.
If the Presbytery be satisfied with the trials of the applicant, it shall
then proceed to license him in the following manner:
The moderator shall propose to him the following questions, namely:
1. Do you believe the Scriptures of the Old and New
Testaments, as originally given, to be the inerrant Word of
God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice?
2. Do you sincerely receive and adopt the Confession of Faith
and the Catechisms of this Church as containing the system
of doctrine taught in the Holy Scripture?
3. Do you promise to strive for the purity, peace, unity and
edification of the Church?
4. Do you promise to submit yourself, in the Lord, to the
government of this Presbytery, or of any other into the
bounds of which you may be called?
19-4. The applicant having answered these questions in the affirmative, the
moderator shall offer a prayer suitable for the occasion, and shall address the
applicant as follows:
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by that authority
which He has given to the Church for its edification, we do
license you to preach the Gospel in this Presbytery wherever
God in His providence may call you; and for this purpose may
the blessing of God rest upon you, and the Spirit of Christ fill
your heart. Amen.
Record shall be made of the licensure in the following or like form:
At_____________, the __________day of_______________, the
____________________Presbytery, having received
testimonials commending _________________________,
proceeded to submit him to the prescribed examination for
licensure, which was met to the approval of the Presbytery.
Having satisfactorily answered the questions for licensure,
_____________________ was licensed by the Presbytery to
preach the Gospel within the bounds of this Presbytery.
FORM OF GOVERNMENT 19-5
19-5. When any licentiate shall have occasion to remove from the bounds
of his Presbytery into those of another, the latter Presbytery may, at its
discretion, on his producing proper testimonials from the former, repeat any
portion of the previous Presbytery’s examination it desires. The Presbytery
into whose bounds the licentiate is moving, however, must at least examine
the man concerning:
a. his Christian experience,
b. his call to preach the Gospel,
c. his views in theology,
d. Bible content,
e. church government.
This Presbytery then may license him to preach within its bounds.
19-6. The license to preach the Gospel shall expire at the end of four years.
The Presbytery may, if it thinks proper, renew it without further examination.
The licentiate must apply for renewal prior to expiration. If the license
expires, the stated clerk shall report the expiration to the Presbytery and to
the individual’s Session, and such action shall be recorded in the minutes.
The procedures of BCO 19-2 must be followed for re-licensure and such fact
shall be recorded in the minutes. The license may be terminated at any time
by a simple majority vote of the issuing Presbytery. The Presbytery shall
always record its reasons for this action in its minutes.