Category Archives: Ex Homosexual

June 24, 2011

Romans 1

God’s Wrath Against Sinful Humanity

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

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Prostitute in the Mirror!

 

Image by Nirrimi

I wanted to share one of the most amazing stories in the Bible. It’s the story of Hosea and his wife Gomer. It’s interesting how many of us never really read about this or even realized what it was about. I just found out a few years ago from a friend of mine. Let me post the story for you guys and then I’ll discuss it so it makes more sense.

Hosea 1

2 When the LORD began to speak through Hosea, the LORD said to him, “Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the LORD.” 3 So he married Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.

4 Then the LORD said to Hosea, “Call him Jezreel, because I will soon punish the house of Jehu for the massacre at Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of Israel. 5 In that day I will break Israel’s bow in the Valley of Jezreel.”

6 Gomer conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. Then the LORD said to Hosea, “Call her Lo-Ruhamah (which means “not loved”), for I will no longer show love to Israel, that I should at all forgive them. 7 Yet I will show love to Judah; and I will save them—not by bow, sword or battle, or by horses and horsemen, but I, the LORD their God, will save them.”

8 After she had weaned Lo-Ruhamah, Gomer had another son. 9 Then the LORD said, “Call him Lo-Ammi (which means “not my people”), for you are not my people, and I am not your God.

10 “Yet the Israelites will be like the sand on the seashore, which cannot be measured or counted. In the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be called ‘children of the living God.’ 11 The people of Judah and the people of Israel will come together; they will appoint one leader and will come up out of the land, for great will be the day of Jezreel.

Hosea 3

1 The LORD said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.”

2 So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley. 3 Then I told her, “You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will behave the same way toward you.”

4 For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or household gods. 5 Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the LORD and to his blessings in the last days.

I hope you guys are seeing what this real life story is symbolic for. God told Hosea to marry a prostitute… that’s right, a prostitute, knowing that she would continue to run back to other men. Well that’s exactly what happened. She did and guess what you see ended up happening. She went back to prostitution and ended up being sold into slavery. Hosea went to find her and PAID for her freedom again, simply asking her to not go back to that life again. Now there is a huge part that people miss here. To understand this one MUST understand some of the Mosaic laws. Some of the laws declared that if a woman cheats on her husband he has the right to put her to death. That is NOT what Hosea did though… he PAID for her freedom and that is what blew her mind. That is what caused her to not go back to prostitution. She most likely was thinking when she saw Hosea that it’s over for her… “he is about to have me killed”… but to her surprise he freed her and asked her not to go back to the other men. That’s Insane!

I hope you guys are getting the reference here. It’s amazing how God worked out these events to happen to keep Israel aware of what God was going to do. It is just as amazing how God worked out those events to show US believers what he did and is doing for us now. This story is not about Gomer guys, IT IS ABOUT YOU. As harsh as it sounds, YOU ARE THE PROSTITUTE, WE ARE THE PROSTITUTE. We are the ones that continue to run back to our old lovers (sin). Although we deserve death, God did exactly what Hosea did. He got us out of slavery to sin through Christ (Himself). What did Jesus say to the woman? (Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. John 8:11)   Now Jesus saying that is a whole other story I’ll explain another time being that he knows we deal with this sinful nature but I wanted to share this story with you guys.

I wanted you to understand what Jesus did for us and how to use stories of Israel. See many of us don’t understand how the OLD TESTAMENT works with the New Testament. Some of us are so confused that we try to fit in what we can into our lives with the old testament. The rest that doesn’t make sense to us or works for us we leave it alone. This post is not about living Mosaic Law as many of us think we still need to do (with some of them like tithing). No need to wonder why God would allow women to be killed if they cheated on their men, no need to wonder if God wants us to live the mosaic law from this story, no need to wonder any of the things the sinful nature wants us to get into… the things that confuse us.

Praise Jesus!!!


Do I HATE the “CHURCH”?

So by now I’ve learned that there a few spectrum of views on my blog; we have the ones that are part of the system of the institutionalized church (Traditions), those who are thinking about leaving, those have left and learned to become the church and LOVE, and other. Recently I was asked the question as to who is my page targeting? Is it targeting the unbelievers? How about the youth? Is it the sinners? My answer was that I am targeting whoever happens to come across my page. That person felt I only focus on the “CHURCH” and homosexuality. While I do focus on both of those but not as much as one may say. Out of 47 articles on this blog about three of them are about homosexuality and as for the CHURCH thing, of course my blog is about the church. Everything I post will have scripture from God’s word. I don’t value my opinion or anyone else’s. Only the word of God. (Also I might add that the articles on homosexuality are usually about myself. I’ve gotten great responses from practicing homosexuals saying they really appreciate how I put myself out their like that, some even say I’ve taken their excuses away. Praise God)

The question was then asked, DO I HATE THE CHURCH? I responded, “No I do not hate the church because the Church is the body of Christ, the bride of Christ.” With that said, I LOVE THE CHURCH, I LOVE BEING PART OF THE CHURCH. The thing is I have had to redefine what the word Church means to fit the definition of the word of God. When we think of Church today we think of building with people in it. When I think of Church I think of each person who choose to deny themselves to follow the Christ. I don’t think of the 10 “church” buildings on one block as the church anymore. THIS BLOG IS ABOUT BREAKING THE DIVISION WE HAVE ESTABLISHED AS THE CHURCH. Let me say that again, THIS BLOG IS ABOUT BREAKING THE DIVISION WE HAVE ESTABLISHED AS THE CHURCH. I am interested in becoming one again and loving one another as we read in the book of Acts.

Acts 4

The Believers Share Their Possessions

32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.

36 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), 37sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.

As we know divisions always tried to set themselves up in the body of Christ and in Israel. Let’s look at Paul when he found out people began creating divisions based on who they choose to FOLLOW. The first signs of divisional churches.

1 Cor 1 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so no one can say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

We have completely ignored this and decided we wanted our own leaders to follow anyway. Today we live in a world where the minute you tell someone your Christian, They want to know what CHURCH do you belong to? Which really means who do you follow, what man do you follow? This is NOT what God intended for the body of Christ. If you remember in Acts, the Church was so unified that they got rid of the idea of need in the body.

So now for those who judge this blog harshly because it challenges what you already believe about the Church, I ask that you read them first. It is easy for us to generalize a person based on our disagreements. Offense is what we humans hold on to not LOVE. So if my post about homosexuality offends someone it’s what they will generalize this blog about. If another person is offended by my articles about tithing, they will generalize that my blog is about tithing. You begin to realize that the viewer will interpret something the way they please. There are 47 articles on this blog at this time and they are all a broad range of topics. The most popular ones are about the traditions of today’s church and reading God’s word to find out if those traditions are biblically acceptable. So do I hate the church? ABSOLUTELY NOT but I do hate many of the traditions that nullify the word of God. Does this mean that those who go to institutionalized churches are condemned? Let it not be, meaning no. God be the judge of the hearts. I have many friends who still choose to attend them and I love them and they love me. I am one with them as the church. One then asks how do I fellowship? I meet in homes, hang out with homeless, and am usually out with believers, learning from and with them. See we have be en trained to believe that you must be in a pew Sunday or Saturday morning. Usually you aren’t really followshipping. Yes your sitting next to one another but you can’t really get to know your brother or sister. You hold hands during prayer and you leave in a few hours. I was in that type of setting for most of my life and honestly I can’t recall most of the people I’ve sat next to unless friends already. Now I learn from other believers and know who they are intimately as part of the bride.

I love you all!

Praise Jesus!


Homophobia: A Word about Hate to Promote Hate

There is a word that a Christian is accused of just by carrying the Christian “title” The word is homophobic; a word that is about hatred but what exactly does this word produce? Webster says it is an irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals. The way the word is used today has pretty much become a word to produce more hatred. What happens now is when a person does not agree or appreciate the practice of the  homosexual lifestyle based on their own values they become someone who is full of hatred. There are absolutely many people who do hate homosexuals but there are also people who just don’t believe in any other sexual relationship except for that of a man and a woman. I’m talking about people who are Christians (and Jews) that understand that the word of God is God’s words to and about us. Those who follow the scripture because they know that is what Christ wants from us.

First lets talk about the false Christians that do sow hatred.

1 Cor 6:9-1 6:9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, passive homosexual partners, 5 practicing homosexuals, 6 6:10 thieves, the greedy, drunkards, the verbally abusive, 7 and swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God. 6:11 Some of you once lived this way. 8 But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ 9 and by the Spirit of our God.

We have a scripture here that tells us types of sins that will not be able to enter into the Kingdom of God and one of them is the practice of homosexuality. Many people have taking the title of Christian, yet continue to show hatred. Leave it to media which controls most of populations to only show these type of people.

Then we actually do have those who don’t have the love from God and do hate people. Of course the media wants to focus on people like this which they know WILL shape how we identify Christians. They focus on groups like West Baptist Church and let them stand for all Christians. Two things happen here… Either people no longer want to be identified with the Christian title OR they create a false Christianity that agrees with only what they want God to say. That money is good, homosexuality is great, in fact some even create their god to be gay.

What is not told by media and people who condemn Christians is that true loving Christians like myself will actually give their live for a homosexual person. As much hate as people try to spit at us, that truth will never be focused on unless that person agrees with sin. They would never understand how a person could give their life for someone they don’t agree with. Clearly they don’t understand Jesus’s love. Who died for the world whom He disagreed with. The understanding of Christian love is not about agreeing with everyone out there… it’s to love everyone regardless of who they are. Even if you hate their lifestyles. There are Christians that go to prisons with murderers and love them, yet we somehow can’t love homosexuals; there are Christians out there who minister to prostitutes, yet somehow we are still portrayed as hating homosexuals.

Please understand Mark 13:13

And everyone will hate you because you are my followers. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. The world will find every reason to hate us guys. Even if the hate is not warranted. What is Satan doing now? He is making the world feel they have the right to hate us. Everyday we have more highly esteemed homosexuals in the spotlight which helps more people identify with homosexuals. It makes us think, God must be wrong… how can someone so nice and relate-able be living in sin. Thus we have a crisis with ourselves that can lead to us either as I said before… leave Christ or following a false Christ that agrees with what we want Him to agree with.

Now we have billboards like from http://www.wouldjesusdiscriminate.org pronouncing that being born gay is a gift from God. RUN…RUN FAST!!!

Remember my article from earlier… the one about Alice bailey? Most of her ideas were to remove Christianity from our culture. One of the ways to do this was to make Christians accept other ideas other than God’s. (BABYLON) I remember at my last job a “Christian” woman no longer was sure God was right about homosexuality. She had so many friends who were and couldn’t stand to believe they were going against God with their practices. Thus that conflict started within herself. See we don’t understand we don’t have to treat them like dirt and hate them because we don’t appreciate the practice. Continue to love!!!

I say this to you to close it off:

HE WHO ENDURES UNTIL THE END SHALL BE SAVED!

Praise Jesus!


MEDIA: Tools of Babylon (Conditioning Hatred of Christians)

Hopefully you guys have read my article about getting a new world order. (http://goo.gl/yW9T) I’m not the type of person to really focus on that type of conspiracy type thinking which is why there aren’t many post about it on my blog. What I have noticed from that blog is that there  is a serious attack on Christianity by the Media (world). It is to be expected and it absolutely will get worse. As we hide in our building (insto churches) we are missing what is really going on out there. Many of us Christians enjoy the news because we feel we need to know what is going on out there. As if the news is covering what is really going on out there. I remember in college I had a professor who was suppose to be teaching us psychology but used his classes as a platform to educate us on what is really going on. He showed us a documentary about the media (namely the news) and how they work. Many of the people in that documentary have disappeared after doing it. (consequence, I think not). We this article is about the attack on Christianity. As most of us know there is a movement to “equal rights” for homosexuals. Thats fine and dandy but the strategy that the media is taking absolutely appears to be from the teachings of Alice Bailey.

2. Break the Traditional Judaeo-Christian Family Concept. Break communication between parents and children so that parents can’t pass on spiritual values to their children. Do this by pushing excessive child rights.

4. Since sex is the greatest expression of man’s enjoyment of life, man must be free to express sex in ALL its forms. Homosexuality, orgies, even bestiality are desirable so long as no one is being abused or harmed.

As you see, her teaching is to get rid of the Christian idea that follows God’s word but create a new version of Christianity. This is absolutely happening. I remember at work when I was accused of being a homophobe because I posted a scripture about homosexuality on my facebook wall. This one girl said she doesn’t know if God is right about homosexuality. This is a “Christian” now. Christians are just as confused as ever because of media.

Lately the media has been focusing on suicide of homosexual youth. Labeling it hate crimes when so far none of them were because of hate crimes on homosexuality but more of stupidness of other youth. Now some youth that were acting stupid will be labeled as bigots for the rest of their lives.

Now I go on youtube and they are promoting a channel to gay youth called “It’s Going To Get Better”. Which is fine as well but why is it they do things so drastic for homosexuals but not for other types of issues in this world. How about the homeless, where is the “Its Going to Get Better For Them”? What about the people in Iraq, mentally challenged children, and I can continue. Media only focuses on what they want for reasons beyond what we are told.

For the past few years the main false Christian movement media has focused on is that of Westboro Baptist Church. They will continue to focus on them because it paints the picture of Christians that they want to show. This will and is creating a prejudice that many people will think is warranted.  Now when I comment on any video on youtube I get hate messages from people. I can simply say I love this song and I get thinks like get out of here you homophobe. Why? because my name is OCHRISTFOLLOWER.

So two things are happening… The world is being conditioned to HATE Christians and those who want to be accepted by the world and keep the Christian name are conditioned to think God is wrong about certain things. That brings us to another one of Alice Bailey’s teachings.

10.Get the church to endorse every one of these nine strategies. Get the church to accept these principles and to say they’re OK (then legal ground is given for these values to get a foothold).

Now we will soon truly understand what Babylon is. Why God has to tell us to COME OUT OF BABYLON. It’s either you accept God’s truth or you accept the false church beliefs. Eventually it will become law to accept Babylon’s teachings opposed to Christ teachings. Although they will say its Christ teachings. I was just in Texas and they have billboards saying things like Jesus was OK with the homosexual lifestyle.

Media is powerful and can change the views of people. I limit my viewing of it and I never watch the news. I can see whats going on every time I see it. For those who do watch it, I want you guys to recognize what you see happening.

Mark 13:13 All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.

John 15:21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me.

So true Christians will be hated if they stand firm on Christ teachings. If the bible says homosexuality is not the way of God then we are to stand firm on it no matter what. Those who accept another teaching about the subject that isn’t from the word of God is not of God. Doesn’t mean we throw hate at people …we are to love but we are to stand firm.

Praise Jesus

OC



Accept Who You Are – Babylon’s wisdom

Today’s society is teaching this idea of acceptance of one self. Right now the movement is pushing for the homosexual lifestyle which will support the notion of practicing it. Even today’s Christians are beginning to be conflicted with this concept because of how vast the media induces this idea. Well this article is not about the world’s view, they can do what they like. If they want to support being whatever a person wants to do then OK… it’s the nature of the world (As long as its socially acceptable for them). This article is about Jesus teachings, does Jesus teach us to Accept Who We Are in the sinful aspect of it. If the area of the sinful nature you are facing is homosexuality, lying, fornication or anything else that is becoming socially normal in today’s age; are we to accept that as being who we are?

We lets start with Jesus words and exactly what it means:

Mark 8:34-35 (NIV) Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.”

 
  • Bible Knowledge Commentary: “When the Roman Empire crucified a criminal or captive, the victim was often forced to carry his cross part of the way to the crucifixion site, carrying his cross through the heart of the city.”


Luke 9:23-24 (NIV) Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lost it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.”

 
  • NIV Study Notes: “The picture is of a man, already condemned, required to carry the beam of his own cross to the place of execution. Disciples from Galilee knew what this meant, for hundreds of men had been executed by this means in their region.”


Mat 10:38 (NIV) … anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

By no surprise, Jesus teachings are exactly contrary to what is being influenced today. Jesus tells us to DENY OURSELVES. That means the goals we have for ourselves in this life, the sin in our lives that we enjoy and feel is apart of us. For example, if a person deals with the sin of being attracted to the same-sex and have practiced it to the point they decide to follow Christ. Christ makes the difficult request that that person denies that part of himself to follow him. (Personal example)  Another example because I don’t want those who practice that lifestyle think this is targeting them. I’ll go even more personal with this one. A person wants to be a singer and make lots of money doing it. Once that person finds Christ, the same request is asked of them, to lay down your life (goals and dreams) and follow Him. Doesn’t sound so intriguing to our sinful natures does it? For so long we ignored these words of Christ and supported the idea that we can focus on our dreams and follow Christ. Many times we attempt to make a bargain with God and follow after the same dream but try to make it Christian oriented. (Pop Singer to Gospel Singer) If this gospel, which is the gospel of Jesus Christ was taught today by more people, it definitely wouldn’t make Christianity seem as appealing as it does, but this is how it is guys. You can continue in this life and think you are living a life after Christ while following your own self but you will be up for a real surprise. This is a lie from Babylon… the great whore. (Excuse my French)

This was a revelation that I too had a hard time understanding. I really thought I was following Christ but realized later I was actually depending on my own dreams and trying to make it Christian oriented. I wanted to be a singer and then gospel singer after finding Christ. I felt I could now turn MY DREAM into God’s dream for me. At the same time I saw the wealth that came from that dream, I saw the recognition that came from that dream. I hadn’t truly denied myself yet. This same concept goes for sin guys because it is the sinful nature that controls our desires for those dreams. It’s all the same. So we have the world tells us to BE WHO YOU ARE, ACCEPT WHO YOU ARE, BE PROUD OF WHO YOU ARE, and even if your Christian the world would only say BE PROUD OF WHO YOU ARE IF YOU ACCEPT WHAT WE SAY IS RIGHT. I remember having a conversation with a co-worker because she didn’t like that I post teachings for the bible about homosexuality. It wasn’t exactly a problem with her but she just wasn’t sure anymore if God was right about it. This is how Babylon’s wisdom gets imprinted into our heads. Now even those who claim to follow Christ don’t believe in Christ wisdom (which is God’s wisdom).

So now, what happens when a Christian says they are DENYING the sinful nature (like homosexuality), the world calls that person a homophobe (hateful words about hate – Contradiction) and causes everyone to mock and snare at them. They say things like, “He’s being fake” or “He’s living a lie”, when the real lie is a person who thinks they can practice sin and be a Christian. It only shows that the mindset is based on a SELF mindset. Self meaning, This is my life and I’m going to do what I please. (The goal of a Satanist)

What happens when something that is not socially acceptable relies on Babylon’s wisdom? This mindset of accept who you are? What happens when a person who has had murderous thoughts finally accepts who they are? What happens when that fornicator accepts who they are and finds out news that destroys their lives? What happens when that person who is attracted to children accepts who they are or that person attracted to animals? We stone them!!! See the world has a mindset that is set up for failure. It’s a contradiction and hypocrisy and they know it is. This is why the rebuttal has been created saying ACCEPT WHO YOU ARE AS LONG AS IT DOESN’T HURT ANYONE ELSE. Please do not be deceived by Babylon’s wisdom guys. I’ve told you this before from the word of God… it is NOT easy to follow Christ resulting in salvation. (1 Peter 4:18a And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved…) You will never have a relationship with Christ until you DENY WHO YOU ARE. Who are we? We are human beings that understand sin and not the ways of God. (Ephesians 2:3 Among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.)

So I’ll be more personal. Me? I’m denying homosexuality, lying, masturbation, fornication, disrespect, idolatry (money); the Holy Spirit continues to show me more sins from the sinful nature that I must recognize and denied. He who endures until the END shall be saved.

Be free guys… come out of her and be free. Christians, come out of her so that you do not share in the same destruction. (Rev 18:4 Then I heard another voice from heaven say: “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues;)

Praise Jesus!

OC

Related Article: Homosexual Birth! Possible or Impossible?


Church Leaders and The Use of Honorific Titles

“But you, are you seeking great things for yourself? Do not seek them” (Jeremiah 45:5)

by Darryl M. Erkel

The Lord Jesus, in His condemnation of the Pharisees recorded in Matthew 23, plainly forbids His followers from either giving or receiving honorific titles. Whereas the religious hypocrites love “respectful greetings in the market places, and being called by men Rabbi” (v.7), this is not to be the mark of Christ’s disciples: “But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. But the greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted (vv. 8-12).

Jesus is not denying functional differences and roles within the church; nor is He suggesting that it is wrong to term one’s biological parent “father.” Rather, He is prohibiting the use of self-exalting and honorific titles of distinction among those who have chosen to follow Christ. While conferring honorific titles upon prominent religious authorities may be the way of the world, it is not the path that Christ has called us to pursue.

Yet, in spite of the clarity of Jesus’ command, Christians have historically ignored His words. We continue, for example, to address our church shepherds as “Reverend,” “Doctor,” or “Minister” and, unfortunately, far too many of them are glad to receive such flattery and even love to have it so! Commenting on the words of our Lord in Matthew 23, the noted New Testament scholar, R.T. France, has perceptively written:

These verses, while still commenting on the practice of the scribes and Pharisees, are addressed directly to Jesus’ disciples, warning them against adopting this status-seeking attitude. “Rabbi” (v.8) and “Master” (v.10) probably act here as synonyms. They are titles appropriate only to the One Teacher (v.8), the Christ (v.10), in relation to whom all His followers stand on an equal footing as “brothers”… Over against that unique authority His disciples must avoid the use of honorific titles for one another (“Christian rabbinism,” Bonnard)–an exhortation which today’s church could profitably taken more seriously, not only in relation to formal ecclesiastical titles (“Most Rev.”, “my Lord Bishop,” etc.), but more significantly in its excessive deference to academic qualifications or to authoritative status in the churches (Tyndale New Testament Commentaries: Matthew [Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1985] p.325).

Christian magazines are filled with advertisements for books or products recommended by “Doctor” so-and-so; and churches continue to promote their ministries led by “Reverend” so-and-so. The Christian world, it seems, is consumed with exalted and honorific titles for those in positions of leadership or influence. Some pastors, in fact, are rather offended when their congregational members address them by their first name or simply as “brother.” It is thought by many to be disrespectful or unbecoming to address a Christian theologian in any other way than “Doctor” or “Professor.”

But we must ask, are such titles necessary for church leaders? Have evangelicals genuinely honored the words of Christ in Matthew 23:8-12 by prefacing the names of their leaders with such flattering titles as “Reverend” or “Senior Pastor”? Church history, according to J.C. Ryle, has all too clearly demonstrated that we have missed the true meaning of Jesus’ words:

Happy would it have been for the Church of Christ, if this passage had been more deeply pondered, and the spirit of it more implicitly obeyed. The Pharisees are not the only people who have imposed austerities on others, and affected a sanctity of apparel, and loved the praise of man. The annals of church history show that only too many Christians have walked closely in their steps (Ryle’s Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, Vol. 1 [Grand Rapids: Baker Book House Reprint, 1977] p.299).

Greg Ogden, a writer and church shepherd in Saratoga (CA), states:

I mourn for the church because we seem to display so many of the characteristics that Jesus said, “Not so among you” (Mark 10:43). Shameful arrogance and haughtiness have reached epidemic proportions among church leaders… A direct implication of Jesus’ servant stance was His obliteration of titles… We have refused to take Jesus’ words at face value. Jesus’ obvious intent was to remove any basis for “lording it over” others by dispensing with titles that give people an elevated place in the “pecking order.” We all occupy the same level ground at the foot of the one Teacher, Jesus Christ. We are not “great ones” or “lords”… Finally, do not accept the designation “master” or “leader.” No human can usurp the position of the head of the body, Christ. Our tendency seems always toward idolatry, to make someone larger than life. Never forget: Jesus alone is Lord (The New Reformation: Returning the Ministry to the People of God [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990] p.172,174).

The Son of God “made Himself of no reputation” (Philippians 2:7), yet His servants seem bent on following an opposite course. Christ bids us to learn of Him who was “meek and lowly” (Matthew 11:29), yet His representatives continue to exalt themselves with self-glorifying titles. But someone may ask, what real harm is there in such titles of prominence? Perhaps the following points will help to explain their danger and assist Christians in avoiding them.

1. The New Testament simply provides no warrant for giving congregational leaders priestly or honorific titles. Thus, any man who seeks or permits such titles to be given to him violates the express commands of Christ (Matthew 23:8-10) as well as apostolic practice. Alexander Strauch, a writer and shepherd in Littleton (CO), has stated:

The modern array of ecclesiastical titles accompanying the names of Christian leaders–reverend, archbishop, cardinal, pope, primate, metropolitan, canon, curate–is completely missing from the New Testament and would have appalled the apostles and early believers. Although both the Greeks and Jews employed a wealth of titles for their political and religious leaders in order to express their power and authority, the early Christians avoided such titles. The early Christians used common and functional terms to describe themselves and their relationships. Some of these terms are “brother,” “beloved,” “fellow-worker,” “laborer,” “slave,” “servant,” “prisoner,” “fellow-soldier,” and “steward.” Of course there were prophets, teachers, apostles, evangelists, leaders, elders, and deacons within the first churches, but these were not used as formal titles for individuals. All Christians are saints, but there was no “Saint John.” All are priests, but there was no “Priest Philip.” Some are elders, but there was no “Elder Paul.” Some are overseers, but there was no “Overseer John.” Some are pastors, but there was not “Pastor James.” Some are deacons, but there was no “Deacon Peter.” Some are apostles, but there was no “Apostle Andrew.” Rather than gaining honor through titles and position, New Testament believers received honor primarily for their service and work (Acts 15:26: Romans 16:1,2,4,12; 1 Corinthians 16:15,16,18; 2 Corinthians 8:18; Philippians 2:29,30; Colossians 1:7; 4:12,13; 1 Thessalonians 5:12; 1 Timothy 3:1). The early Christians referred to each other by personal names (Timothy, Paul, Titus), the terms “brother” or “sister,” or by describing an individual’s spiritual character or work: “Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:5); “Barnabas, a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith” (Acts 11:24); “Philip the evangelist” (Acts 21:8); “Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus” (Romans 16:3); “Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you” (Romans 16:6) (Biblical Eldership [Littleton, CO: Lewis & Roth Publishers/Revised, 1995] pp. 302-303).

Frank A. Viola has, likewise, written:

In keeping with our Lord’s command, biblical elders did not permit themselves to be addressed by honorific titles such as “Pastor Bill,” “Elder Tom,” “Bishop Jake,” or “Reverend Sam” (Matthew 23:7-12). Such titles naturally elevate church leaders to a plane above the other brethren in the assembly. Thus, congregations and clergy alike are responsible for creating the current “Christian guruism” that is rampant in the church today wherein religious leaders are recast into spiritual celebrities and lauded with fan club status. By contrast, New Testament leaders were viewed as ordinary brethren and were just as approachable and accessible to the saints as any other believer in the church. For this reason, 1 Thessalonians 5:12,13 exhorts the saints to intimately know their leaders (a near impossible mandate to fulfill in most contemporary churches where the pastor is trained to keep his distance from the people lest he lose his authority). In this regard, the common image of church leaders as “sacred men of the cloth” is utterly foreign to the biblical concept (Rethinking the Wineskin [Brandon, FL: Present Testimony Ministry, 1997] p.63).

2. The apostles of Christ employed lowly and unofficial terms when describing themselves or others. Notice the expressions which Paul, Peter, and John repeatedly chose to use–which tends to argue against any notion of honorific titles:

Acts 15:23, “The apostles and elders, your brothers.”

1 Corinthians 4:1, “Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.”

2 Corinthians 12:11, “I have become foolish; you yourselves compelled me. Actually I should have been commended by you, for in no respect was I inferior to the most eminent apostles, even though I am a nobody.”

Ephesians 3:8, “To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given…”

1 Thessalonians 3:2, “And we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s fellow worker in the Gospel of Christ…”

1 Timothy 1:15-16, “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. And yet for this reason I found mercy, in order that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience…”

1 Peter 5:1, “Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder…”

2 Peter 3:15, “And regard the patience of our Lord to be salvation; just as our beloved brother Paul…”

Revelation 1:9, “I, John, your brother and fellow partaker…”

In light of these clear passages, should we not, then, heed the practice of our Lord’s apostles? “Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us” (Philippians 3:17).

Acts 15:23 (“The apostles and elders, your brothers”) is particularly interesting since, in an official decree that was to be sent to all the churches, the apostles and elders simply referred to themselves as “your brothers.” It contained no honorific titles or hierarchical expressions; only the phrase, “your brothers.” Thus, the apostles and elders are brethren writing to fellow brethren. The Lutheran Bible commentator, R.C.H. Lenski, writes: “‘The apostles and the elders’ write for themselves and for the entire church but as ‘brethren.’ Some texts have ‘and the brethren,’ referring to the congregation, but this reading lacks attestation. The apposition ‘brethren’ is highly significant in this communication. The apostles and the elders of Jerusalem speak to the Gentile Christians only as brethren and not as superiors… Brethren salute brethren. The communication is fraternal and asks to be accepted as such and as such alone” (The Interpretation of the Acts of the Apostles [Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House, 1961] p.621).

Another significant passage is 1 Peter 5:1 (“Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder”). Here was Peter’s great opportunity to use an exalted title for himself (e.g., “Senior Pastor,” “Chief Elder,” “Bishop of Rome”), but chooses not to. Instead, he simply refers to himself as “your fellow elder.” Such terminology, as Peter H. Davids points out, is “consistent with the tendency among the early leaders to avoid the use of exalted titles such as were used about them in the second century” (The New International Commentary on the New Testament: The First Epistle of Peter [Grand Rapids: Wm.B. Eerdmans, 1990] p.176).

It is important to emphasize that such terms as “elder,” “overseer,” and “pastor” are functional terms, and were never intended to serve as formal titles. In other words, the terminology is descriptive of one’s task; they help to picture a church leader’s function or may even denote one’s spiritual maturity as in the term “elder.” Thus, it is just as foolish and unnecessary to speak of “Pastor Bob” as it is to speak of one who possesses the gift or function of hospitality as “Hospitality Harry”; or one who has the gift of mercy as “Mercy Mary”; or one who has the gift of giving as “Giving George.”

3. Honorific titles feed the pride of men. It tends to inflate one’s ego, thus provoking church leaders to think more highly of themselves than they should (Romans 12:3). Let’s face it: we all struggle with sin and pride; but why compound that struggle by exalting oneself with special titles which have no basis in the New Testament? While seeing nothing inherently wrong with titles per se, even Craig L. Blomberg, associate professor of New Testament at Denver Seminary, is compelled to recognize its dangers:

But one wonders how often these titles are used without implying unbiblical ideas about a greater worth or value of the individuals to whom they are assigned. One similarly wonders for how long the recipients of such forms of address can resist an unbiblical pride from all the plaudits. It is probably best to abolish most uses of such titles and look for equalizing terms that show that we are all related as family to one Heavenly Father (God) and one teacher (Christ)… In American Christian circles perhaps the best goal is to strive for the intimacy that simply makes addressing one another on a first-name basis natural (The New American Commentary: Matthew, Vol. 22 [Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1992] p.343).

4. Honorific titles, contrary to what many ecclesiastical authorities would assert, are a form of self-promotion. In fact, some men employ the title “Doctor” for the express purpose of making their opinions or books carry greater authority than they actually do. We tend to assume that the man with an earned doctorate is an “expert,” whose words are beyond question. But no man’s opinions should be accepted merely because he has a Th.D. or Ph.D. behind his name. Every doctrine or human opinion is to be tested by the rule of Scripture (Acts 17:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:21; Revelation 2:2), not one’s educational achievements.

If we were to look at degrees only, we might also conclude that the apostles of our Lord were not particularly trustworthy, since none of them (except Paul) had any recognizable formal training: “Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John, and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were marveling, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). Moreover, “teachers amongst the Lord’s people do not need titles granted by men as a sign of theological authority to teach; authority and ability to teach in spiritual things come from the Lord through the Holy Spirit, and not through the schools of men. Such titles, both then and now, distract from the preeminence of Christ over all those who are brethren in the family of God… We are all brethren and we are all servants (diakonos); this excludes self-exaltation. God reverses what man would esteem” (J. Heading, Ritchie New Testament Commentaries: Matthew [Scotland: John Ritchie, LTD., 1984] pp. 307-308).

Perhaps one reason why some pastors feel compelled to preface their names with a degree or honorific title, is because they have an inferiority complex or are ineffective in gaining respect in ways that are more servant-oriented. It’s also important to note that many clergymen have pursued a career in pastoral ministry for reasons less than the glory of God. Far too many are seeking the honor and recognition of men, rather than the honor of Christ (John 5:44; Galatians 1:10). The use of self-glorifying titles only helps to attract such kind.

One common argument used to support honorific titles is that the man who has earned a doctorate in theology worked hard for it and, thus, is entitled to display his accomplishments. But so has the man who has earned a Master of Divinity degree or even a Bachelor of Arts! Should we, then, continually refer to such persons as “Master of Divinity Dave” or “Bachelor of Arts Bill”? If not, why should we continue to employ the title “Doctor” before one’s name?

We remind the reader as well that Jesus clearly forbid such titles of distinction among His followers in Matthew 23:8-12. Any person, therefore, who seeks to justify the use of honorific titles must ultimately answer to Jesus Himself. It might also be interesting to note that “Rabbi,” as used during the time of Jesus, was employed “much as ‘Doctor’ is today. In fact, the Latin equivalent of rabbi comes from docere, which means to teach and is the term from which the English word doctor is derived” (The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Matthew 16-23 [Chicago: Moody Press, 1988] p.366).

Another argument used to justify honorific titles is that they are a means of expressing respect to church leaders. The early Christians, however, were still able to express their esteem toward each other without having to resort to special titles (Philippians 2:25-30; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; 1 Timothy 5:17).

5. Honorific titles draw unnecessary attention to oneself. The man who uses them is subtly telling others that he is someone important and worthy of their respect. Although he may never admit to it, the great day of judgment promises to disclose his true motivation and inner-secrets (Romans 2:16; 1 Corinthians 4:5).

6. Honorific titles detract from the glory that rightfully belongs to Christ alone. Such titles of distinction as “Reverend” (meaning, “he who is to be revered”) not only esteem persons higher than is humanly permissible, but it intrudes in a realm that is not rightfully theirs. We would be wise to listen to the counsel of J.C. Ryle:

But still we must be very careful that we do not insensibly give to ministers a place and an honor which do not belong to them. We must never allow them to come between ourselves and Christ. The very best are not infallible. They are not priests who can atone for us. They are not mediators who can undertake to manage our soul’s affairs with God. They are men of like passions with ourselves, needing the same cleansing blood, and the same renewing Spirit, set apart to a high and holy calling, but still after all only men. Let us never forget these things. Such cautions are always useful. Human nature would always rather lean on a visible minister, than an invisible Christ (Ryle’s Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, Vol. 1, pp. 299-300).

Many churches in our day refer to their most gifted or experienced leader as “Senior Pastor.” However, the only “Senior Pastor” that the New Testament speaks of is Jesus Christ (1 Peter 5:3). He alone is “the great Shepherd of the sheep” (Hebrews 13:20; cf. John 10:11,14,16; Ephesians 5:23). Those who serve in a leadership function within the local church are undershepherds. They are called to be humble servants of the sheep (1 Corinthians 3:5; 4:1; 2 Corinthians 4:5), not lords who reign over their fiefdom (1 Peter 5:3). Thus, it is quite arrogant to take on the lofty title of “Senior Pastor” when Scripture reserves this for Christ alone! Even the apostle Peter merely referred to himself as a “fellow elder” (1 Peter 5:1). The Christian apologist, J.P. Moreland, has said it well:

The local church in the New Testament contained a plurality of elders (see Acts 14:23, 20:28; Philippians 1:1; Hebrews 13:17). The New Testament knows nothing about a senior pastor. In my opinion, the emergence of the senior pastor in the local church is one of the factors that has most significantly undermined the development of healthy churches… Given these facts, the senior pastor model actually produces a codependence that often feeds the egos of senior pastors while allowing the parishioners to remain passive. None of this is intentional, but the effects are still real. The senior pastor model tends to create a situation in which we identify the church as “Pastor Smith’s church” and parishioners come to support his ministry. If a visitor asks where the minister is, instead of pointing to the entire congregation (as the New Testament would indicate, since we are all ministers of the New Covenant), we actually point to Pastor Smith… The local church should be led and taught by a plurality of voices called elders, and these voices should be equal… No one person has enough gifts, perspective, and maturity to be given the opportunity disproportionately to shape the personality and texture of a local church. If Christ is actually the head of the church, our church structures ought to reflect that fact, and a group of undershepherds, not a senior pastor, should collectively seek His guidance in leading the congregation (Love Your God With All Your Mind [Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress Publishing, 1997] pp. 190-191).

7. Honorific titles tend to attract carnal and power-seeking men to positions of church leadership. As pointed out earlier, if our churches continue to give to their leaders lofty and self-glorifying titles of distinction, we will continue to attract a large percentage of men seeking prestige, recognition, and power. This is not meant to suggest that every church leader who employs an honorific title is necessarily seeking to have his ego stroked or possesses less than genuine motives, but only that far too many fall into this category. Some are simply naive as to the dangers and implications of their lofty titles.

Let’s face it: if you set up a religious clerical system that promotes power, prestige, and self-exaltation (as opposed to the humble servant-model of Jesus presented in Mark 10:35-45 and John 13:3-17), such a system will repeatedly attract men seeking such power and prestige. This is one of the major reasons why our churches have historically had the wrong kind of men in positions of leadership. But, we must ask, what kind of men would be attracted to church leadership if they were told they will be servants, not lords; not titled; probably not salaried (Acts 20:33-35); not the sole preacher/teacher (Acts 13:1; 1 Timothy 5:17); an equipper, not a shining superstar; and only one amongst a plurality of other leaders (Acts 14:23; Hebrews 13:17)? Only the most dedicated, humble, and self-sacrificing would be desirous of such a noble task! And, yet, these are the very kind of men that Christ wants to shepherd His sheep–and who are often most lacking in our churches. Greg Ogden writes:

We get the kind of leaders we deserve. It often seems that the world’s view of greatness is the standard we use when we select our leaders. We have allowed arrogant, unaccountable, and self-professed channels of the Spirit to shoot off like loose cannon. We sometimes have a penchant in the Christian community for holding up the proud and arrogant as our ideal because “they get the job done.” Using the world’s view of power, we want leaders to exercise influence, work their way into positions of power, and throw their weight around. We therefore get what we ourselves honor–Christian leaders who act like potentates rather than self-sacrificing servants of Jesus Christ. Our actions show that we do not believe that real power is expressed through servanthood that leads to a cross. The Church Growth Movement has identified strong pastoral leadership as a key ingredient in the growth of a congregation. I will grant that leaders must lead. But what gets passed off as leadership often has no resemblance to servant leadership as modeled and taught by our Lord… Our natural tendency is to concentrate power at the top, but Jesus modeled and taught a different way of life (The New Reformation, pp. 172-173).

8. Honorific titles tend to promote an elitist attitude and authoritarian forms of church leadership. Even the best of men can find self-glorifying titles intoxicating and begin to form lofty opinions of themselves. Within time, they begin to look upon their congregational members as mere “common folks”; an ignorant mass of “laity” who desperately need their wisdom and insight (John 7:49; 9:34).

Church leaders, however, must never give themselves the airs of stuffy, official, and fussy “ministers” as is common among many claiming to be pastors in our day. Instead, their behavior and attitude should conform to the words of Paul in Romans 12:16, “Do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly” and in Philippians 2:3-4, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” The 19th century Baptist preacher, C.H. Spurgeon, warned his pastoral students of the danger of ministerial pride:

My brethren, be not priests yourselves. It is very possible to give yourselves the airs of hierarchs, even though you are avowedly nothing more than Nonconformist pastors. There is a style of dress–the affectation of it is not praiseworthy. There is a style of language–the imitation of it is not commendable. There is an assumption of superiority, looking down upon the common people as mere laity; this piece of pompousness is ridiculous. Avoid the way of certain clerics who seem intent on making their people feel that a minister is a dignified individual, and that the rest of the members of the church should hardly venture to differ from him. Say what we like about all believers in Christ being a generation of priests, we still find vain fellows among us who would be thought of as possessors of a mystic specialty. Our office, as pastors, deserves to be respected, and will be if properly carried out; but I have observed that some who are very anxious to magnify their office, really try to magnify themselves (An All-Round Ministry [Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1960] pp. 371-372).

9. Honorific titles help to perpetuate the “clergy-laity” division. While it is common for people to speak of church leaders as the “clergy” and the rest of God’s people as the “laity,” the New Testament never divides the body of Christ into two classes known as “clergy” and “laity.”

The root meaning of kleros, from which we get our word “clergy,” is “inheritance” or “lot” and refers to the believer’s inheritance in Christ, not to a special class of ministers. The word laos, from which we get our word “laity,” refers to all of a group; in some cases, it specifically denotes the people of God. Thus, all believers in Christ are part of the laos (or “laity”), including pastors! Every believer is a minister and priest before God with authority to do the work of ministry (1 Corinthians 14:26; Ephesians 4:11-16; 1 Peter 2:5,9; Revelation 1:6). The New Testament never confines “ministry” to a select few.

Clericalism has done much to harm and weaken the body of Christ. It clearly divides the Christian brotherhood; it hinders the saints from behaving like the ministers they are; it obscures, if not annuls, the essential oneness of the people of God; and it exalts the pride of church leaders by conferring upon them special titles and privileges. Howard Snyder, a prolific author on the subject of church renewal, has stated:

The New Testament simply does not speak of two classes of Christians–“minister” and “laymen”–as we do today. According to the Bible, the people (laos, “laity”) of God comprise all Christians, and all Christians through the exercise of spiritual gifts have some “work of ministry.” So if we wish to be biblical, we will have to say that all Christians are laymen (God’s people) and all are ministers. The clergy-laity dichotomy is unbiblical and therefore invalid. It grew up as an accident of church history and actually marked a drift away from biblical faithfulness. A professional, distinct priesthood did exist in Old Testament days. But in the New Testament this priesthood is replaced by two truths: Jesus Christ is our great high priest, and the Church is a kingdom of priests (Hebrews 4:14; 8:1; 1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:6). The New Testament doctrine of ministry rests therefore not on the clergy-laity distinction but on the twin and complementary pillars of the priesthood of all believers and the gifts of the Spirit. Today, four centuries after the Reformation, the full implications of this Protestant affirmation have yet to be worked out. The clergy-laity dichotomy is a direct carry-over from pre-Reformation Roman Catholicism and a throwback to the Old Testament priesthood. It is one of the principle obstacles to the Church effectively being God’s agent of the Kingdom today because it creates the false idea that only “holy men,” namely, ordained ministers, are really qualified and responsible for leadership and significant ministry. In the New Testament there are functional distinctions between various kinds of ministries but no hierarchical division between clergy and laity (The Community of the King [Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1977] pp. 94-95).

What Can Church Leaders Do to Help Correct This Problem?

1. They must humble themselves and begin to view their ministry in terms of servanthood, not lordship (Mark 10:35-45; 1 Peter 5:3).

2. They must remove all clerical titles and gowns (Matthew 23:8-12). The saints must be taught to refer to their leader(s) as “brother” or by one’s first name.

3. They must return ministry to the people of God, seeing them as full partners in the task of building up the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:4-14; 14:12,26; Ephesians 4:11-16; 1 Peter 4:10-11).

4. We are in dire need of language reform. The terms that we use for ourselves (“layman”) and those used to describe our leaders (“Reverend,” “Minister”) are very important since, not only do they convey our thinking on such fundamental issues as the nature of the church and how local church leadership should be structured, but the use of unbiblical or improper terms may help to stunt the growth of Christ’s body. As Alexander Strauch has wisely stated:

It is critically important for Christians today to understand that the language we use to describe our church leaders has the power to accurately reflect biblical thinking and practice or, conversely, to lead us far away from the true Church of Jesus Christ and into the false church… In the end, every local church is responsible to teach its people the meaning of the terms it uses to describe its spiritual leaders, whether it be elders, overseers, ministers, preachers, or pastors. Biblically sensitive church leaders will insist that the terminology they use represents, as accurately as possible, the original biblical terms and concepts of a New Testament eldership. False teachers have had their greatest triumphs when they redefine biblical words in a way that is contrary to the original meaning… Much of our church vocabulary is unscriptural and terribly misleading. Words such as clergyman, layman, reverend, minister, priest, bishop, ordained, and ministerial convey ideas contrary to what Jesus Christ and His apostles taught. Such terminology misrepresents the true nature of apostolic Christianity and makes it difficult, if not impossible, to recapture it. As a result, most of our churches are in desperate need of language reform (Biblical Eldership, pp. 32-34).

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Praise Jesus!