This former Dutch Mennonite term proefdienaar was used in two different senses: (a) When a member of a congregation was chosen as preacher or deacon he was frequently "beproeft" (examined) by the elder(s) who were present concerning his views on the basic principles and doctrines of the church, and asked whether he was willing to accept the call. If the examination was satisfactory, he was called a "proefdienaar" and after a longer or shorter interval he preached his installation sermon. This practice existed, for example, on the island of Ameland until the middle of the 19th century. (b) In a somewhat different sense the word is found in the congregation of Leiden and other Dutch congregations, where a chosen candidate had to "in de proeve staan," that is, he was obliged to deliver two or three or even more sermons to show his capacities in speaking and expounding the Scriptures, and was during this period called a "proefdienaar."
Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1889): 28-30.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 221. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: van der Zijpp, Nanne. "Proefdienaar." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 18 June 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/proefdienaar.
APA style: van der Zijpp, Nanne. (1959). Proefdienaar. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 18 June 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/proefdienaar.