The Presbyterian Church (USA) reports some incredibly alarming statistics on those seeking ordination:

A total of 127 individuals took the BCE, and the average score was 63.5%, which is about 10-15% lower than historical trends. However, since that average score fell below the minimum requirement, only 36 people (28.3%) scored high enough to receive a “Satisfactory” evaluation on the exam. By way of comparison, for the 12 previous BCE administrations since the exam was moved online in Fall 2009 the average percentage of individuals who scored 70% or higher in a testing cycle was 81.7%.


If I’m reading this correctly, over the last twelve exams more than 81.7% of examinees passed (i.e., they met the requirement of a 70% or higher grade on the exam). This year, however, less than 30% on the latest version of the exam.

I don’t know what accounts for the variation. When I took the exam in 2008 it was pretty easy to pass–especially compared with the English Bible exam I took while in the ordination process for another Presbyterian denomination. The latter required the student to be able to outline books of the Bible, identify quotes to chapter and verse and complete fill-in-the-blank questions.

I fear that across the board–regardless of our theological identity–we are becoming biblically illiterate.