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Home The Light Articles from 2002 Tempted by Titles

Tempted by Titles

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Tempted by Titles

by Steve Watts

Throughout the ages, the desire to be "lifted up" has been the downfall of many. "You’ll be as gods" moved Eve to desire a higher position than the one God had placed her in, to be honoured and "lifted." Balaam was hurt by this same scheme of the devil when he wanted to be where he would be honoured as a great teacher with the ability to curse a nation. This of course lead him ultimately to destruction.

Mankind has wanted others to appreciate them in a way that is not approved by God. God knows how little we really are and is not interested in any of us being lifted in our own eyes or the eyes of others when at our best "we just have righteousness as filthy rags." Titles have been a snare the devil has successfully used to cause man to be elevated in his own eyes.

Numerous words separate a few from the rest or many and place them at the apex of heights gained by mankind. Often the catalyst is to gain the respect and honour of others, to be exalted.

Some of These Titles

The good Lord left no uncertain messages about the futile wearing of vain religious titles.

As in our day, the religious leaders of his day were proud. They wore special clothing to separate them from the norm as to gain an exalted position as to be honoured. They wanted to be "important" and chose the best seats. They wanted to be seen, and when seen of men, identified as important by a title few others could wear.

"But all their works they do to be seen of men…and love the uppermost rooms… and the chief seats…and greetings in the markets…and to be called of men, Rabbi-Rabbi (a great teacher). But be ye not called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ: and all of you are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth, for one is your Father, which is in Heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted" (Matt. 23:5-12).

Jesus condemned the proud scribes and Pharisees for the outward show and display of arrogance. Special clothing and names made and make the religious leaders above and separate from the average man. The titles of "Pastor," "Reverend," "Doctor," "Father," "Great or master teacher," are designed to lift up man above other believers and be someone important.

Pastor–This word is most often used in an unscriptural manner.

Eph.4:11-12, Paul states pastors were given "for perfecting of the saints, work of ministry, and edifying of the body."

There was a plurality spoken of here as in all other places as this word is a "shepard," and the pastors in a local congregation were to "shepard" the people of God. This is the same position of the eldership. There was a plurality of elders meeting the qualifications as outlined by the Spirit of God and written by Paul. Pastors or shepards over God’s flock as the church is often referred to. As shepards watch over the flock, the elders are called the "overseers of the church." There was no congregation in New Testament times with just one pastor or elder–always two or more. See Acts20:28, 1Pet.5:1-4, Eph.4:11, Phil.1:1, Acts14:23, 1Tim.3:1-7, Tit.1:5-9.

Father–"Call no man father" answers the use of this title. A father is the one from which the seed of life comes. In the flesh, we have but one true fleshly father. In the spirit, we also have but one father. Paul in Eph.4:6 proclaims factually, there is one father! All these men wearing the religious title of "father" do so in violation of Biblical teaching and also in truth as they or no other man can be the source of the "Word, (seed) of Life!" "One is your Father, he who is IN heaven!"

Reverend–This word is reserved only for God in the Bible. The Bible knows man does not deserve to be called this name as he is prone to sin and all have! He who wears this title is infringing on the position of God. Reverend describes one who is "highly exalted and worthy of great praise." Psalm 111:9: "Holy and reverend is his name." Men gradually became referred to as "reverend" because they were the teacher that came into the community and taught the people to read and write and also taught them the teachings of the Bible. Because they were of special help to the people, they came to respect them and refer to these men as reverend, though this was not and is not scriptural.

Doctor–Often today, religious people like to be referred to as "doctor." Why? This propels them above the rest. This brings them, not God or His Word, greater respect. The word meant "teacher." Jesus said "call no man teacher, (doctor, rabbi)."

When we want to know who we are when it comes to God’s estimation, just remember "ye are all brethren."

–582 Murray Kittrell Rd., Readyville, TN 37149



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