Titles For Preachers?
Concerning the scribes and Pharisees, Jesus said: "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." (Matthew 23:5-10). The scribes and Pharisees loved to wear titles of distinction and honor, much like men today. The reason they (the scribes and Pharisees) desired these titles was because they were sorely lacking in humility. Jesus continued: " 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." (vss 11,12) In view of these verses we may conclude that those today in the religious world who love to wear titles of honor and distinction are also lacking in humility.
In our day and time there are those who pride themselves in being called "Doctor". Some preachers are shamefully advertised as "Dr.-------- of the Church of Christ". In the academic world they may be doctors or professors, but as preachers of the New Testament, they are not! Such is comparable to one in the first century desiring to wear the title of "Rabbi," and falls under the same condemnation. The wearing of titles in the religious world is utterly foreign to the spirit of Christ and is a clear violation of the principle discussed in Matthew 23:1-12.
Preachers of the Gospel must ever keep in mind that our purposes in preaching is not to call attention to ourselves, but to Christ Jesus the Lord. We are just fortunate to be His servants (2 Corinthians 4:5). It is said of John the Baptist that when the people heard him, they followed Jesus (John 1:36-37). This must be the aim/purpose of every preacher- to get the people to follow Jesus and not self!
By Tim Arthur
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