I was ordained into the ministry back in 1996, and I take my assignment very seriously.
Even though I was ordained in a Baptist church I prefer to be simply referred to as a Disciple of Christ (Yeshua the Messiah, Jesus).
There are many titles by which people address ministers, one of which is Reverend. Personally, I prefer NOT to be called by that title. Here are 5 reasons why.
1. HOLY AND REVEREND IS ‘HIS’ NAME
Psalm 111:9 (KJV)
9 He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name
Psalm number 119 in the King James Version states that God’s name is holy and ‘reverend’. The word reverend in the passage comes from the Hebrew word ‘Yare’, which means to fear, revere, be afraid, to stand in awe of, be awed. Neither I nor my name are not to be feared, revered, afraid or in awe of…that is reserved for God. I also know that one definition of blasphemy is putting oneself equal to God, of which is what the Pharisees often falsely accused the Lord. I prefer not for my name nor myself to be made in anyway imply equality to God…especially as a religious title.
2. GOD WARNED US ABOUT RELIGIOUS TITLES
Yeshua hurled a long list of rebukes and woes at the religious leaders in Matthew 23, one of which directly addressed religious titles…
Matthew 23:6-11 (NKJV)
6 They love the [a]best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, 7 greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’ 8 But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your [b]Teacher, [c]the Christ, and you are all brethren. 9 Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. 11 But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant.
The Lord clearly rebukes the religious leaders concerning being called RABBI, FATHER, or even TEACHER (which could be equated to Dr. today) however we know that even though REVEREND wasn’t a religious title of that day, but originated in the Catholic church that it is still within the context of that rebuke. I have heard some people contend, we call our male parents father, but that’s not a religious title. No matter how we may try to excuse or justify it, it’s still easier to just leave it alone.
3. THE APOSTLES ONLY REFERRED TO ONE ANOTHER BY NAME
When you read the letters of the Apostles, you will notice how they referred to themselves, one another and other elders and church leaders only by name. They didn’t refer to each other as Apostle, Rabbi, Father, Pope or any other title, but simply by name…
2 Peter 3:15 (NKJV)
15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you,
James 1:1 (NKJV)
James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad:
Timothy 1 (NKJV)
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope,
2 To Timothy, a true son in the faith:
Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.
Titus 1:4 (NKJV)
4 To Titus, a true son in our common faith:
Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and [a]the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.
Revelation 1:9 (NKJV)
9 I, John, [a]both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
I could go on and on, but I invite you to please go back and read through the epistles and notice how the apostles referred to one another and other church leaders…by name only, or brother.
4. THE APOSTLES REFUSED TO BE ‘WORSHIPED’
Acts 14:11-15 (NKJV)
11 Now when the people saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” 12 And Barnabas they called [a]Zeus, and Paul, [b]Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13 Then the priest of Zeus, whose temple was in front of their city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, intending to sacrifice with the multitudes.
14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out 15 and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them,
Acts 10:25-26 (NKJV)
25 As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. 26 But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I myself am also a man.”
Even though the bible says that honor should be given to those who are ministers of the Gospel, there is still a thin line between honor and worship. It’s very easy to allow people to ‘feed our egos’ if we aren’t careful. It’s easy for honor and respect to morph into worship.
5. THE ANGELS DIDN’T ALLOW MEN TO WORSHIP THEM
When John received The Revelation of Yeshua he was in such great awe of the angle that he attempted to bow down to him, but the angel quickly told him NO…
Revelation 19:10 (NKJV)
10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
Revelation 22:9 (NKJV)
9 Then he said to me, “See that you do not do that. [a]For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”
Yes, the bible says that elders are worthy of double honor, but that doesn’t mean that we should accept that what is reserved for God.
1 Timothy 5:17 (NKJV)
17 Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.
As I said earlier, as much as some leaders can justify being called REVEREND or being put on a pedestal…I would rather just leave it alone.
When you put preachers, pastors, or any leader on a pedestal, you can be discouraged when we prove prove how human we are…when we prove we don’t have it all together. EVEN THE MOST EFFECTIVE LEADERS DON’T ‘HAVE IT ALL TOGETHER’…
What do you think?