Alan D. Strange
Ordained Servant: October 2021
Also in this issue
by Gregory E. Reynolds
by Richard B. Gaffin, Jr.
by Gregory E. Reynolds
by Danny E. Olinger
by Meredith G. Kline
by Joseph A. Tipton
by Ryan M. McGraw
by Stuart Jones
by Phillis Wheatley (1753?–1784)
1. A minister or licentiate may be called to ministerial service by a congregation; he may also be called by a presbytery or the general assembly, either directly or through their agencies, for work not related to any one particular congregation. Only ministers and licentiates may be called.
Comment: One who has previously been ordained as a minister, or who is a licentiate and thus qualified to receive a call, may be called to particular ministerial service either by a congregation or other body. In the former case, such a call would be by a local congregation to serve as a pastor or teacher in that church or to serve in some outside agency, like a teacher in a seminary. In the latter case, a call may be issued by a higher judicatory (presbytery or GA) for service, perhaps as a home or foreign missionary, a seminary professor, a general secretary of a denominational program committee, etc. With respect to the latter, the call may come either through the higher judicatories themselves or its agencies (like the Committee on Foreign Missions, an agency of the General Assembly). Only a minister or licentiate is competent to receive a call.
2. All calls shall be presented to the person called only by consent of presbytery. No minister shall be transferred to other service without his consent.
Comment: Any call given to a minister or licentiate must be presented to said person only by consent of the presbytery in which the call is being issued, coordinated with the consent of any presbytery of which he may be a current member. No call issued may be effectuated without the consent of the person called. There must therefore be a dual agreement of the governing body of the regional church (the presbytery) of which a minster is a member, together with the approval of the calling presbytery, and the consent of the prospective candidate. No man may be “drafted”: called to another venue of service without his consent.
3. When a congregation desires to call a pastor it shall ordinarily choose a special committee from its own membership to assist it in selecting him. If the committee is not identical with the session, invitations to preach to the congregation shall be issued only with the approval of the session. No person shall be called by the congregation without the prior approval of the session, except that any ten members entitled to vote or one-fifth of all those entitled to vote, which ever be the larger number, may present a nomination to the congregation, such nomination having been previously submitted to the special committee for its consideration.
Comment: When a congregation wishes to call a pastor, it should, ordinarily, choose a special committee from its own membership to assist it in selecting said pastor. The first two sentences of this section, taken together, make it clear that it is common for the session to serve as pulpit search committee. Some churches, however, prefer to have this committee to be more variegated than that and to consist also of non-elder members of the congregation. Invitations to preach to the congregation, whether the session has declared a person a candidate or not, may transpire only with the approval of the session. In fact, no person shall be called by the congregation without the prior approval of the session, which must endorse any such candidates and call the congregational meeting to consider them.
Provision is then made in this section for a rather odd procedure: if the session refuses to approve someone nominated for pastor and will not thus call a congregational meeting to consider calling him as pastor, a portion of the congregation may act to present the nomination to the congregation. The portion of the congregation that may do so is either twenty percent of those entitled to vote or ten members, which ever number is larger. This unusual procedure shows how important the congregation is in the whole process of calling a pastor: it is ultimately the decision of the congregation.
It may be noted that calls to pastors in this section are assumed to be a call to be a solo pastor. For many years, OP congregations enjoyed only one pastor, not commonly being of a size to warrant more. In more recent years, larger churches have wanted more than one pastor, serving either as a co-pastor or an associate pastor. Technically, there is no provision here (or elsewhere) for an associate pastor; rather, any additional pastor would be considered simply pastors. There certainly is not provision for an assistant pastor as the PCA employs (a man not called by the congregation but serving at the pleasure of the session). The use of a pulpit search committee pertains in the case of a congregation seeking a single or senior pastor. It may not apply in the same way if the congregation calls an associate pastor, especially if one is a seminary professor, e.g., and receives no or little salary from the church.
4. When the special committee is prepared to make its report it shall inform the session and present to it a copy of its proposed report so that the session may consider such nominations as may be contemplated in the proposed report. The session shall then, if it deems it advisable, convene a meeting of the congregation for the purpose of hearing the report of the committee and acting on it; it shall, however, always be the duty of the session to convene the congregation in accordance with Chapter XVI, Section 1, and to conduct the meeting in accordance with that chapter.
Comment: The pulpit search committee, when it is prepared to make recommendation(s) of candidates, reports to the session so that the session may give due consideration to any nominations offered by the committee. The session, if it thinks it best, shall call a congregational meeting for the purpose of hearing the report of the committee and acting on it. It remains solely the responsibility of the session to call such a congregational meeting, as provided for in FG 16.1, even in the light of section 3, above.
5. When the meeting has been convened and the call of the meeting has been found in order, it is expedient that the moderator give an exhortation to the congregation suited to the purpose of its coming together. The special committee, or the session, shall then present its report, after which the congregation shall determine whether it wishes to proceed to call a pastor.
Comment: When the congregational meeting to consider the report of the pulpit search committee has been convened and the call of the meeting has been found in order, it is ordinary and helpful for the moderator to exhort the congregation in a manner that befits the occasion: the calling of a pastor is one of the most important duties of a congregation, and all present should be duly impressed with the honor and duty that is theirs. Either the session, or the special committee, as the session deems best, shall report to the congregation. The congregation shall then determine whether it wishes to proceed at that point to call a pastor.
6. If the congregation decides to vote to call a pastor the moderator shall conduct the election. The voting shall be by ballot, a majority being required for election.
If the vote is unanimous a call shall be drawn in due form. If there is a majority and a minority the moderator shall address the congregation seeking to persuade the minority to concur in the call. A ballot shall then be taken to determine the number concurring in the call. If there is still a minority unwilling to concur, the moderator shall advise the majority and the minority concerning their mutual responsibilities. A final ballot shall then be taken to determine the number desiring to prosecute the call in the circumstances. If a majority decides to prosecute the call it shall be drawn in due form and the presbytery shall be informed of the proceedings.
If at any point in the meeting the congregation decides not to call a pastor it may refer the matter back to the special committee, or to the session, as the case may be, for report to a later meeting, or take such other action as may be appropriate.
Comment: If the recommendation for a fitting pastoral candidate forwarded by the session/pulpit search committee commends itself to the congregation then meeting, a vote shall then be taken with the moderator of the meeting conducting the election. The vote is taken by secret ballot, with a simple majority required for election. If such a majority does not transpire, then there is no election. In the case of a majority, which would ordinarily be a sizeable majority in the calling of a pastor, events proceed in the meeting. If the first ballot has yielded a unanimous vote, a call to the pastor elect is to be drawn up in due form. The proper form for such is found in section 9, below, of this chapter.
If, however, the first vote is not unanimous, then a second ballot is to be taken. The purpose of this second ballot is to ask the minority to concur with the majority. It should be noted, as it is above, that if the first ballot were, say, fifty-five percent voting to call with forty-five percent voting not to call, there may be mutual agreement not to prosecute the call process any further. However, as would be more usual, say that the first ballot yields a 75–80% positive vote, then the second ballot is to secure concurrence. The moderator should make it clear to the congregation that he is not asking anyone to change their first vote; rather, he is asking all who voted not to call to consider concurring with their brothers and sisters in Christ in their desire to call this candidate. All who voted not to call the candidate on the first ballot should vote to concur on the next ballot(s) unless they have some principled reason for continuing to believe that the candidate under review would prove to be unfit for the pastoral position in that congregation.
If the second ballot still reveals those who do not wish to concur, the moderator should then “advise the majority and minority concerning their mutual responsibilities.” This means that he shall advise the majority that perhaps a rather large minority exists, and they may not wish to proceed with a call. Likewise, he may make a last plea for unity to a small minority, making it clear that his call here is not to negate previous votes but to ask the remaining holdouts if they will join their brothers and sisters in issuing the call. The results of this third and final ballot are conclusive, and this is what will be reported to the candidate and to the presbytery as the final ballot, along with the results of the two previous ballots. The numbers for such should be included in the minutes as this is the only proper way for the presbytery and the candidate to know what the respective totals for each ballot were.
7. When the congregation has determined to issue a call it shall by vote determine the terms of the call, and shall order it subscribed either by the electors, or by the session or other representatives of its choice. The session shall then draw up the call in proper form and see to its signing by the proper signatories.
After the congregation has determined the signatories of the call it may appoint commissioners to represent it at the next meeting of the presbytery to which the congregation belongs for the purpose of having the call found in order and its terms approved. The clerk of the session shall present the call to the clerk of the presbytery, who shall present it to a meeting of the presbytery at the earliest practicable time.
Comment: When the congregation has determined to issue a call, it shall proceed by further vote to determine the terms of the call: salary, housing, vacation, insurance provision, etc. for the pastor elect. The call with all its terms is to be signed by those designated by the congregation for such a purpose, often including the session and other representatives of the congregation. It is the responsibility of the session to draw up the call in proper form (as set forth in section 9 of this chapter, below) and make sure that it is signed by the designated signatories. In addition to determining signatories, the congregation may also appoint commissioners, customarily ruling elders, sometimes joined by others (say, members of the pulpit search committee), to represent it at the next meeting of the presbytery to which the congregation belongs; the purpose of that meeting of presbytery would be to have the call found in order (e.g., the man called was eligible to receive it, and it was from a duly authorized body) and its terms approved (the salary and housing, e.g., were adequate). The clerk of the session of the calling church presents calls issued by that congregation to the clerk of the presbytery of which that session and its congregation is a part. The presbytery shall meet at the earliest practicable time to consider such a call (finding it in order, approving its terms and placing it in the hands of the candidate called to ministerial office).
8. If the congregation has chosen to subscribe its call by representatives the moderator shall certify to the presbytery that the persons signing have been appointed for that purpose by a vote of the congregation.
The moderator shall also certify as to the validity of the meeting of the congregation and that the call as presented has been prepared in all respects as directed by vote of the congregation.
Comment: The moderator needs to be able to certify to the presbytery that the call before it is in every respect a valid call from a body authorized to extend such (a congregation of the OPC): he needs to be able to validate the meeting of the congregation to issue the call and to assert that the call presented to the presbytery is the one that has been prepared “in all respects” as directed by the vote of the congregation. He also needs to certify to the presbytery that representatives of the congregation chosen to subscribe the call were indeed chosen for that purpose by the congregation. Finally, the moderator needs to be able to assure the presbytery that in this matter the will of the congregation is being duly executed.
9. A call from a congregation shall be in the following or like form:
The congregation of _____________________ Church being, on sufficient grounds, well satisfied with the ministerial qualifications of you _______________________, and having good hopes that your ministrations in the gospel will be profitable to our spiritual interests, do earnestly call and desire you to undertake the pastoral office in said congregation; promising you in the discharge of your duty all proper support, encouragement, and obedience in the Lord. And that you may be free from worldly care and employment, we promise and oblige ourselves to pay you the sum of _____________ in regular ____________ payments during the time of your being and continuing the regular pastor of this church, together with free use of a house and _______________ vacation each year.
A call from a presbytery or the general assembly or an agency thereof shall be in appropriately similar form.
Comment: Little needs to be said by way of the form that a call from a congregation takes other than that it should track with the form provided in this section. Some presbyteries provide in the standing rules (or by-laws) of the presbytery a more detailed example of a call based on this form in section 9. Such a fuller template might include specifics for hospitalization, pensions, car allowance, book allowance, etc. In recent decades, e.g., there has been a denominational insistence that hospitalization be provided, that the pension is adequate, and the like. We have now established a Committee on Ministerial Care that also addresses many of the needs of a pastor that are relevant to the process of calling and providing for (and continuing to provide for) a pastor. Resources that it provides should also be consulted. A call may also be issued by the Committee on Foreign Missions, e.g. It should be cast in a similar form to the call template in this section, mutatis mutandis. Such a fuller template might include specifics for housing allowance (commonly needed today in the absence of the provision of a manse) hospitalization, pensions, car allowance, book allowance, etc.
10. When a call from a congregation has been presented to its presbytery for approval the presbytery may find the call in order, approve its terms, and determine to place it in the hands of the person called, whether or not he be of the same presbytery; may refer the call back to the congregation with recommendations either to amend or desist from the call; or may, for reasons which it shall communicate to the congregation, decline to place the call in the person's hands.
If the call is to a minister or licentiate who is under the jurisdiction of another presbytery of this Church the clerk of the presbytery which has jurisdiction over the calling congregation shall, if that presbytery approves the call, forward the call to the person called and a copy to the clerk of his presbytery. The calling congregation's presbytery may, before acting on the call, require the person called to be interviewed by the presbytery or a committee of the presbytery in order to judge of his fitness in the circumstances. If the person resides at an inconvenient distance from the presbytery's area such an interview may be arranged, if agreeable to all parties, at the time of his visiting the congregation prior to the issuance of a call.
Comment: When a congregation issues a call to a man to serve as its pastor (or one of its pastors), the call is presented to its presbytery for approval in three aspects: the presbytery needs to determine whether the call is in order (i.e., it is for legitimate service to a legitimate candidate from a legitimate body), approve its terms (ascertaining that the terms cover everything needing to be covered and that they are adequate, including the compensation), and then the presbytery may determine to place it in the hands of the candidate. At this point, the candidate customarily indicates his intention to accept or to refuse the call. All of this occurs by the presbytery processing the call, whether or not the candidate is a member of that presbytery or of another. If of another, that presbytery will have to give its permission, either before or after, granting him permission to accept the call.
11. When a call is issued by a presbytery or the general assembly, or an agency thereof, a person designated by the calling body shall sign the call, forward it to the person called, send a copy to the presbytery that has jurisdiction over him, and certify to that presbytery as to the validity of the meeting at which the call was issued and that the call has been prepared in all respects as determined at that meeting.
Comment: This section describes the issuance of a call to a candidate from a presbytery or the general assembly. A call is considered issued when the presbytery, or general assembly (or one its agencies, like the Committee on Foreign Missions), designates a person to sign the call and to forward it to the candidate, sending a copy to the presbytery that has jurisdiction over him and certifying to that presbytery that the meeting of the calling body was a valid one and that the call issued is precisely (“in all respects”) what the calling body intended. A presbytery may issue such a call to a man to teach in a college or seminary, be a chaplain in a prison ministry, plant a church in that presbytery, etc. The general assembly may call a man to serve as executive for one of the program committees (foreign or home missions; Christian education) or one of its agencies (foreign or home missions) may call a man to serve as a home or foreign missionary.
12. The procedures to be followed in response to a call from within the Church shall be:
a. When the call is to the pastor of a congregation, and he is disposed to accept the call, he shall inform the congregation of his desire and ask them to concur with him in requesting their presbytery to dissolve the pastoral relationship; such request shall be voted on by the congregation at a regularly called meeting of the congregation.
If the congregation concurs in his request the pastor shall request their presbytery to approve the call and to dissolve the pastoral relationship. If the congregation declines to concur in his request he may, if he is still disposed to accept the call, request the presbytery to dissolve the pastoral relationship; in such a case the congregation shall be given the opportunity to be represented at the meeting of presbytery to plead its cause.
When the presbytery has received a request to approve a call and to dissolve a pastoral relationship it may grant the request, require the pastor and congregation to give the matter further consideration, or require the continuance of the relationship.
If a pastoral relationship is dissolved, the presbytery shall declare the pulpit vacant as of a specified date and record the facts in its records. If the call is to work under the jurisdiction of another presbytery, the minister shall be dismissed to that presbytery as of a convenient date and the clerk of the dismissing presbytery shall so inform the presbytery to which the minister is being dismissed.
b. When the call is to a minister serving a presbytery or the general assembly, or an agency thereof, a procedure parallel to that for a pastor shall be followed.
c. When the call is to a minister without a charge, or if his charge is not under the jurisdiction of the Church, he shall, if he is disposed to accept the call, request the presbytery to approve the call and grant him permission to accept it.
d. When the call is to a licentiate and he is disposed to accept the call he shall request his presbytery to approve the call and grant him permission to accept it. Before the presbytery considers his request it shall have determined that he has satisfactorily completed his probation for the gospel ministry.
e. If the person called decides to decline the call he shall promptly inform the calling body and the presbytery through which the call was issued, and return the call to the calling body.
f. No minister may leave his charge without the prior approval of the presbytery.
Comment: Various scenarios are set forth here in section 12 respecting a call to a man who is already within the OPC to be a minister in some new service in some particular situation. Under a. we see perhaps the most common scenario: a man is pastoring a church and another church calls him to be its pastor. If the candidate welcomes the call (and is intent on answering it in the affirmative), the candidate notifies both his own presbytery and the congregation he is currently serving of such a call. He asks his presbytery to dissolve his current pastoral relationship and seeks the concurrence of the congregation in his desire. The congregation has opportunity to express such concurrence in a congregational meeting called for that purpose.
If the congregation concurs, the candidate for the new position asks his current presbytery to approve the new call and to dissolve the current pastoral relationship at a date mutually agreed upon by him and the congregation. If the congregation does not concur, their pastor, who is also the candidate with a new call, may, if he still wishes to accept the call, ask the presbytery to go forward with its processing of the call, including dissolving his current pastoral relationship. The congregation of which he is pastor may send representatives to the presbytery to plead their cause as to why the pastor should not be released from his current call and enabled to accept the new call.
Upon reception of a request from one pastoring a local church to process a new call, the presbytery may do one of three things: grant the request of the candidate to dissolve his current pastoral relationship and approve the call to a new post; require him and the congregation further to consider the matter (especially if the congregation does not want their pastor to respond positively to the new call); finally, the presbytery may require the continuance of the pastor’s current pastoral relationship, refusing to permit its dissolution or to approve the new call.
If the presbytery agrees to dissolve the pastoral relationship in this situation, it shall declare the pulpit vacant as of a certain date (usually a mutually agreed-upon date) and shall record such actions in the minutes. If the call is to a church under the jurisdiction of another presbytery, the minister receiving the call shall be dismissed to his new presbytery at a convenient date, with the clerk of the dismissing presbytery properly informing the clerk of the receiving presbytery of the actions of the dismissing presbytery. Section b. notes that when the call is to a minister serving a presbytery (instead of a particular congregation), as may be the case with a seminary professor or minister serving the GA or an agency of it (like one of the program committees of the OPC), a procedure that parallels the one in the case of a call being issued to a serving pastor (as in section a.) is to be followed.
The scenario pictured by section c. is that of a minister without charge or a minister whose charge is not under the jurisdiction of the church (perhaps he is a teacher or an editor with an extra-ecclesiastical agency). In such a case as this, if he receives a call that he wishes to accept, he is to ask his current presbytery to approve the call and to grant him permission to accept it. Section d. details a call to a licentiate: if he wishes to accept it, he asks his current presbytery to approve the call and grant him permission to accept it. Since licensure involves a probationary period during which test is made of the gifts and graces of the candidate, before granting the licentiate’s request to approve the call and so forth, the presbytery must have determined that he had successfully completed the test that the licensure process involves, i.e., he must have satisfactorily completed his probation for the gospel ministry.
Anyone issued a call customarily has three weeks to determine whether to accept it. A man who receives a call but does not intend to take it should notify the body that issued the call to him as soon as he concludes that he will not accept the call. This permits the body to proceed to other candidates. In any case, no minister should leave his charge without the prior approval of his presbytery. This means that a minister cannot simply up and leave a church or other charge without the explicit consent of the presbytery whose permission he must seek.
13. a. When a call to a minister of another denomination is contemplated the person presiding at the meeting of the calling body shall, before a vote is taken, inform it of the provisions of this section.
b. When the calling body has voted to issue a call to such a minister it shall present it to the appropriate presbytery for approval; if the presbytery approves the call it shall place it in his hands contingent upon his reception into the presbytery.
c. If the minister desires to accept the call the presbytery shall require him to give evidence of possessing the qualifications in regard to piety, faith, and learning that are required of candidates for ordination as given in Chapter XXIII. This evidence shall include written testimonials from qualified persons of his satisfactory exercise of the requisite gifts for the ministry of the Word.
In no case shall an examination on the floor of presbytery be waived. If one-fourth of the presbyters present are dissatisfied with the examination in theology the minister shall be required to undergo an examination in the subject again at a future meeting of the presbytery. If at the outset of such subsequent meeting one-fourth of the presbyters so request, a clear recording of this examination shall be made and filed with the presbytery.
The presbytery shall require him to answer affirmatively the following questions:
(1) Do you believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice?
(2) Do you sincerely receive and adopt the Confession of Faith and Catechisms of this Church, as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures?
(3) Do you approve of the government, discipline, and worship of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church?
(4) Do you promise subjection to your brethren in the Lord?
(5) Have you been induced, as far as you know your own heart, to seek the office of the holy ministry from love to God and a sincere desire to promote his glory in the gospel of his Son?
(6) Do you promise to be zealous and faithful in maintaining the truths of the gospel, and the purity, the peace, and the unity of the church, whatever persecution or opposition may arise unto you on that account?
(7) Do you promise to be faithful and diligent in the exercise of all private and personal duties which become you as a Christian and a minister of the gospel, as well as in all the duties of your office, endeavoring to adorn the profession of the gospel by your life, and walking with exemplary piety before the flock over which God shall make you overseer?
d. Under no circumstances shall such a person be permitted to undertake any of the duties contemplated in the call nor to occupy living quarters that are to be provided by the calling body, and he shall be strongly advised not to change his residence in any case, until after the call has been approved and his reception by the presbytery has been completed.
Comment: Section 13 details how a call is to be handled with respect to a minister from another denomination, from outside the OPC. Section a. requires the one presiding at the meeting of a calling body (congregation, presbytery, general assembly, or one of its agencies) to inform those in that body of all the rest of the provisions of this section before any vote is taken. Section b. indicates that the calling body, in issuing a call, shall take it to the appropriate presbytery for approval. This means that if a church in presbytery x issued a call to a PCA minister, e.g., the call would need to go before presbytery x for its approval. If presbytery x approves the call, it shall place such in the hands of the one called, contingent upon all that follows in the succeeding sections, i.e., contingent upon his being received into the presbytery.
What follows in section 13 is what is required in the following chapter of this FG (23) that occurs in the ordination (and subsequent installation) of any ministerial candidate. The comments on that chapter at the appropriate places should be consulted, though these items may be noted here. The graces and the gifts of the ministerial candidate must be ascertained, including ministerial testimonials. Presbyterial examination is an important part of ascertaining such graces and gifts as well; in any case, whatever examinations may be waived (it may not be thought necessary to require a PCA or a URCNA minister, e.g., to sustain exams in biblical languages, English Bible, general church history, etc.), an examination on the floor of presbytery may not be waived. One quarter of presbyters voting in the negative can require further examination and request the recording of any such further exams. If one quarter persists in the negative, the ministerial candidate will not successfully sustain examination.
Section d., forbidding the candidate to move onto the field of service (e.g., into a church’s manse or to otherwise take up residence) until the candidate sustains what the section addresses is here for good reason and should always be observed to avoid the undesirable situation of having a man from another denomination, in this case, move to the manse and to have the presbytery not approve him. The rest of section c., the key questions to ministerial candidates (1–7), also called ministerial vows, are of the utmost importance and are treated in the commentary on them as they occur in FG 23.
14. A person receiving a call shall respond to it ordinarily within three weeks unless otherwise agreed to by the calling body.
Comment: As noted above, a call, unless otherwise detailed, requires a response in three weeks. The calling body, in consultation with the candidate, can extend the period for his response to the call (there are reasons for wanting more time, due sometimes, e.g., to personal illness or family tragedy). Unless a call specifies more time than three weeks, no person called should take more time than that to notify the calling body.
15. The acceptance of a call shall be regarded as a request for installation in the case of a minister, and for ordination and installation in the case of a licentiate, and the presbytery shall proceed as soon as convenient to act upon the request in terms of Chapter XXIII, Sections 4ff.
Comment: When a call is accepted, this is a request on the part of the calling body and the candidate called for all that comprises ordination and installation if the man is not ordained, i.e., he is only licensed, which he must be to be eligible to receive a call. If he is already an ordained minister, the acceptance of a call is a request for installation. In any case, the presbytery shall proceed as soon as it is convenient to act upon the request in keeping with the section specified in this section (FG 23, sections 4 and following).
16. Within the terms of this chapter the phrase “find the call in order” shall mean to determine that the call has been properly drawn and issued, and that its terms conform to the constitution of the Church; and the phrase “approve its terms” or “approve the call” shall mean to sanction the terms specified in the call.
Comment: This chapter of the FG employs the phrase “find the call in order” to mean that the presbytery in which a call to one of its members or licentiates is being considered—from a church of that presbytery or from the presbytery, general assembly, or one its agencies—shall make certain determinations. Namely, a presbytery, in finding a call in order, determines that the call is properly drawn and issued by a lawful judicatory or agency of the OPC, and that the terms of the call conform to the secondary and tertiary standards. That last part means that the terms are legitimate for a minister of the gospel (who may be called as a pastor, teacher, missionary, military chaplain, religious editor, etc.). Further the phrase “approve its terms” or “approve the call” mean that the presbytery specifically approves the terms specified in the call: the salary and housing is adequate, the hospitalization meets the needs, etc. The custom tends to be that the presbytery in which the new call places the man is the one that attends most minutely to the specifics respecting the terms of the call. The presbytery from which he comes in “approving the call” does so in a more general way, relying on the presbytery whence the call is issued to be most attentive to all the specifics of the call.
 Here is one example of such from the Presbytery of the Midwest, containing a much fuller and quite helpful discussion on policies and guidelines on pastors’ salaries: https://pmwopc.org/home/standards-and-polices/policies-guidelines-on-pastors-salaries/#CallTemplate.
Alan D. Strange is a minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and serves as professor of church history and theological librarian at Mid-America Reformed Seminary in Dyer, Indiana, and is associate pastor of New Covenant Community Church (OPC) in Joliet, Illinois. Ordained Servant Online, October 2021. A list of available installments in this series appears here.
Contact the Editor: Gregory Edward Reynolds
Editorial address: Dr. Gregory Edward Reynolds,
827 Chestnut St.
Manchester, NH 03104-2522
Electronic mail: email@example.com
Ordained Servant: October 2021
Also in this issue
by Gregory E. Reynolds
by Richard B. Gaffin, Jr.
by Gregory E. Reynolds
by Danny E. Olinger
by Meredith G. Kline
by Joseph A. Tipton
by Ryan M. McGraw
by Stuart Jones
by Phillis Wheatley (1753?–1784)
© 2023 The Orthodox Presbyterian Church