Thursday and Friday saw presbytery come and go somewhat quickly. We did good work, I believe; most exciting was the work of the presbytery at planting a church in Atlanta. This is certainly a matter of prayer. Other important work was gauging men's readiness for pastoral ministry through tests. Each "student under care" must undergo ten tests before he's licensed to receive a call, then three more tests before he is ordained. The tests range from theology to personal godliness to history to sermons.
I thought I'd jot down the major questions asked a student last week during a test on theology to give you an idea of what these guys ought to know, what the presbyters (elders) think is important for your pastors to know. It could be a fun way to test yourself. Don't get down if you don't know many - even the students don't answer every question well or at all.
1. What classes in systematic theology have you taken?
2. If someone called the church and asked, "What do Reformed Presbyterians believe?" how would you answer?
3. How would you explain the doctrine of the Trinity to an 8 year old?
4. What are the five solas of the Reformation and can you support each with Scripture?
5. How is the idea of covenant foundational to God's Word and what are the covenants of Scripture?
6. What is sanctification?
7. What is double predestination and is it biblical?
8. What is the correct ordo salutis (order of salvation) and why is it important?
9. Is Jesus unique among world leaders and how?
10. What offices does Christ execute as our Redeemer?
11. For whom did Christ die and what did his death accomplish?
12. Can a person lose his or her salvation - why or why not?
13. Which point in TULIP do you find hardest to defend and why?
14. How would you defend the RPCNA practice of having women deacons?
15. What's the value/importance of being a confessional church?
16. How is an understanding of genre important to a proper understanding of the Bible?
17. How would you explain the importance of the church to a leader in a para-church organization who hasn't been in church for a few years?
18. What doctrine is under-emphasized by the RPCNA and why did you pick it?
19. Someone wants to treat you to see The Da Vinci code - what would you tell that person?
20. Literal 6-day creation?
21. Effects of the fall?
22. Speaking in tongues today?
23. Work of the Spirit?
24. Marks of the true church?
25. Biblical reasons for divorce?
26. Man - 2 or 3 part?
27. Yes or no - dispensationalism? Perfectionism? Reality of hell? Open Theism? Regulative Principle of worship? Voting for the lesser of two evils?
28. What are the distinctives of the RPCNA?
29. Why should we sing the Psalms in worship?
30. Why should we sing a capella?
31. What is foreswearing and why is it wrong? (I had to look that up. Foreswearing means to break an oath.)
32. What's our position on secret societies?
33. How would you defend infant baptism to a baptist friend?
34. What happens in the Lord's Supper?
35. How do you and yours keep the Lord's Day?
36. Do you agree with the RPCNA's theology and principles? Any major disagreements?
Questions from the floor (one elder gives the student the majority of the questions, then the rest of the elders have ten minutes to question him further - many times, the questions from the floor seek clarification or greater depth on the questions above):
1. How does the Old Testament inform our worship?
2. What is adoption?
3. What are the privileges of adoption into God's family?
4. Why is the church necessary - how would you defend that to a person in a para-church ministry?
5. What is the Federal Vision and how do you respond to it?
6. What is your eschatology and how did you come to it? What are the other views, along with their strength & weaknesses?
Not very many could answer all these questions. It's a very trying thing, to be examined by so many men you really respect. But in the end I believe it is an important work, the presbytery ensuring (to the best of its ability) that the congregations we oversee are taken good care of.
Would you add any questions to list above? What question would you want every pastor to be able to answer?