NOT A "HOLY FATHER,"
"DOCTOR" IN ALL THEIR
IT IS INTERESTING to read
the writings of the apostles and other men of inspiration in the New Testament.
Of course the basic content of their documents is most important. But other
incidental truths are apparent and very relevant. Unlike the way we write
letters today, the writerís name and identity comes first. The unimposing
way in which they identified themselves is most impressive. In Paulís earliest
epistles, he doesnít even call himself an apostle (I & II Thessalonians).
Later in dealings with church problems, etc., it was proper for others
to be aware of his God-given authority. The term "apostle" was simply supplied.
But this was not in arrogancy, as he humbly equates this with grace (unmerited
favor) that has been bestowed upon him (Romans 1:5; 15:15; I Corinthians
15:9,10). "Servant" was not an expression foreign to his use (Romans 1:1;
Philippians 1:1). Even though James and Jude in the flesh were half-brothers
of the Lord, they called themselves "servants [douloi, slaves] of
God and of the Lord Jesus Christ" (James 1:1; Jude 1). Peter, although
chief among the apostles, simply called himself, "Simon Peter, a servant
[doulos, slave] and an apostle of Jesus Christ" (II Peter 1:1).
And in his speaking of Paul, he called him "our beloved brother Paul" (II
Peter 3:15). The apostle John in Revelation 1:1 makes reference to himself
as "his [Christís] servant [doulos, slave] John." Conspicuous in
its absence in all of these writings of these Spirit-inspired men is the
term "Reverend." There was not a "Holy Father," or "Doctor" in all of their
They wrote by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and those who had
been with the Lord could well remember how he came down heavy on the scribes
and Pharisees in Matthew 23. Here Jesus said: "Ö[They] love the uppermost
rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in
the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called
Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye 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."
The word "Rabbi" comes from "rab," which means great. "Rabbi" means
"My Great One." "Rabonni" was a Galilean version of "Rabbi." But the Jews
even had a more extended use of the word in "Rabban," which signified the
greatest ones (reserved for Gamaliel, and limited numbers like him). All
of this runs against the grain of what Jesus said. We are all brothers
(and sisters). There are no big "Iís" or little "youís." Even as he taught
that we should let our "yea" be "yea," and "Nay, nay" (Matthew 5:37), our
names should not be embellished with such pretentious titles, religious
or otherwise, in the ranks of the saints. The whole clergy concept coming
out of the apostasy of the Dark Ages is foreign to the teachings of the
And as far as the term "Reverend" is concerned, Psalms 111:9 says
that "holy and reverend" (KJV) is Godís name, not ours. This word "reverend"
here is translated from a Hebrew word that means awesome. Is that what
clergymen think of themselves? Something is strangely amiss.
Remember. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ in a priesthood
of believers (I Peter 2:5,9), as we humbly serve the Lord and one another.