The forbidden usage of religious titles
What you’re about to read is a scriptural examination of the forbidden practice of people using religious titles.
For starters, have you ever encountered someone who uses the title of “reverend?”
Well I’ve encountered that too, and do you know what? Anyone who identifies their self as “reverend,” is actually committing a blasphemous sin against God. The reason why that’s so, is because the word “reverend” is used only once in the bible, and it’s referencing God!
Look for yourself:
“He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.”
(The people who use the title of “reverend” certainly aren’t God).
Sinful man craves admiration doesn’t he? But that sinful attitude is a manifestation of the same wicked pride that got Lucifer kicked out of heaven, (because he too wanted to be admired).
11 “Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee.
12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.”
So then what about using other religious words as titles to address people by? Words like “bishop,” “pastor,” “apostle,” “elder,” (and such).
The fact is, we shouldn’t use any religious titles to address people by.
Those words describe functions within the body of Christ, they aren’t titles to address people by. And anyone who expects others to use religious titles to address them by are sinning, being full of wicked pride.
Therefore when you hear someone say:
I’m “bishop ___ ”
I’m “pastor ___ ”
I’m “apostle ___ ”
Beware, you’re seeing a major sin occur right before your very eyes.
You won’t find anywhere in scripture that even remotely indicates that we should use religious titles to address people by, (just the opposite is true).
If a man is a pastor somewhere and he needs to communicate that information, then he should communicate it like this: “Hi, I’m Joe, and I’m also one of the pastors over at ___.” Do you see how that’s more deferential to God than sticking a religious title in front of his name?
And if you’ll read Matthew 23.5-12 below, you’ll see the Lord Jesus Christ Himself forbidding people to religious titles.
5 “But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
6 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,
7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.
8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.
9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.
11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.
12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.“
The bottom-line is, you won’t find anywhere in scripture where adding a religious title in front of a mortal man’s name is permitted.
Did Paul (the man who penned most of the new testament), expect people to address him as “apostle” Paul? No, he didn’t.
And even when Paul communicated that he was a apostle, (to communicate his legitimacy in writing epistles at the direction of God), he referenced that he was an apostle after he presented his name didn’t he?
2 Timothy 1.1
“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,”
I submit to you that Job 32.21-22 reinforces & settles this whole topic perfectly and concisely for us, it says this:
21 “Let me not, I pray you, accept any man’s person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man.
22 For I know not to give flattering titles; in so doing my maker would soon take me away.“
All glory to the risen Lord Jesus Christ! And no glory to us whatsoever!