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For the past two years, more candidates for the office of minister of the Word have come from other seminaries than from CTS. The candidates who come from other seminaries are required to take classes to orient them to the denomination, and their candidacy is carefully shepherded by the denomination Candidacy Committee, but this represents a significant change in how the denomination trains its pastors.

The change goes back to Synod 2004. A committee to study “alternative routes to ministry” brought a long report to that synod with many proposals to dramatically change how the CRC would train its pastors. These proposals were opposed at the time by both the Board of Trustees of CTS and the Board of Trustees of the denomination.

At the synod, a compromise was worked out. A route was opened for persons trained at other seminaries to become credentialed in the CRC. Responsibility for managing this was moved from the CTS Board, which was always ecclesiastically strange, to a new synodical committee that eventually became known as the Candidacy Committee.

Calvin Seminary retained a role in this new way of credentialing pastors in offering what has become the Ecclesiastical Program for Ministerial Candidacy, a program that serves to acclimate to the CRC candidates trained elsewhere.

At the time, some doubted that many students would choose to come to the CRC through seminaries other than CTS. Others were afraid the new system would undermine the denomination’s own seminary. Neither has happened. More pastors are trained now in places like Western Seminary (Holland, Mich.), Regent College (Vancouver, B.C.), and Fuller Seminary (Pasadena, Calif.).

Synod 2019 is meeting at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., from June 14-20. For continuous coverage from our award-winning news team, download the Banner app on your mobile device or follow The Banner Magazine on Facebook or @crcbanner on Twitter. You can find more tweeting by following hashtag #crcsynod. News stories will be posted on The Banner’s dedicated Synod web page several times daily. Unless noted otherwise, all photographs are by Karen Huttenga.

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