All members must subscribe annually to the Doctrinal Basis of the Society. Initially, this is done by completing the application process and affirming the ETS Doctrinal Basis.
For the purpose of advising members regarding the intent and meaning of the reference to biblical inerrancy in the ETS Doctrinal Basis, the Society refers members to the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy (1978). The case for biblical inerrancy rests on the absolute trustworthiness of God and Scripture's testimony to itself. A proper understanding of inerrancy takes into account the language, genres, and intent of Scripture. We reject approaches to Scripture that deny that biblical truth claims are grounded in reality.
ETS memberships are valid for one year from the date of initial membership or renewal. Annual dues are $30 for full and associate members ($15, if retired), and $15 for student members. A subscription to JETS is included as a membership benefit.
Full members must have earned a Th.M. degree or its equivalent. This educational requirement has two components: level of degree (ThM or higher), and academic discipline (biblical studies, theology, or related disciplines). Only full members have voting privileges.
The ETS constitution (article 4) allows for exceptions to the educational requirements for membership based on significant contributions in the realm of theology through writing, administration, or teaching in evangelical educational institutions. Significant contributions through years of teaching or serving in administration are relatively easy to assess. What is more difficult is assessing an applicant's writing. In general, for a body of publications to warrant full membership it must:
Publications that are self-published, of a strictly pastoral nature, written for a non-academic audience, or not primarily based on biblical or theological research are not sufficient to support a case for full membership.
These guidelines do not diminish the value of contributions that fall outside these criteria. Rather, these guidelines seek to delimit the type of writings that might serve as a substitute for the academic study and competency represented by a Th.M. or Ph.D in biblical or theological studies.
Associate members do not need to hold a Th.M. degree, but must be in sympathy with the scholarly and theological purposes of the society. Associate members are subject to the same fees as full members. Typically, associate members do not present papers at the annual meeting. Associate members are non-voting members.
Student members must be enrolled in undergraduate or graduate school. They are subject to the same requirements as full members. Only students enrolled in a doctoral program may submit a proposal for a paper to be read at the annual meeting. All student proposals must be accompanied by the recommendation of a professor familiar with the research to be presented. Students at all levels are encouraged to participate in the regional student paper competitions. Student members are non-voting members.
Associate and student members must receive the recommendation of a current full member of the Society on their initial application form.