Bible Topics In The Christian Library

    It is rather frequent that a Church of Christ preacher is asked his title.  People often like to refer to preachers of the Gospel as Reverend, Father, Rabbi or Pastor.  It is often that my phone will ring at home and the person on the other line will ask to speak to the Pastor.  It is often that I must explain that I am not an elder.  This article is going to examine the names that are biblical for a preacher of the Gospel.  Also, you may take note of the title of this article that points out two things, first man meaning that a preacher is not someone that is above all members, and second man as in male.  The Bible no wear gives permission for a woman to take the pulpit and preach to a mixed audience.  Actually the Bible says the complete opposite. 

    First let us examine the three main names that are not biblical titles for Gospel preachers.  The first is the ever-famous incorrect name Reverend.  If you will study this word in your concordance you will find that it occurs once.  (Psalms 111:9) “He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.”  If you will look at verses one and two of this chapter it is the Lord that is holy and his name that is reverend.  This does not allow for one to misuse and wear the title that in the written word applies to the Lord!

    The second is along the same lines as in calling a man Father in the religious sense of the word.  (Matthew 5:45)  “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”  (Matthew 23:8-9) “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.”  These passages clearly state that we should not be referring to men as our spiritual fathers.  There are those that use this and say then you cannot say that you father of birth is you father either.  This argument is a non-argument.  Let us again look to the Bible.  (Matthew 15:4) “For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.”  Why would God tell us to honor our (lower case/earthly) father of this earht and title him as our father and not want us to refer in the same?  The problem here stems from the Pharisees using titles and seeking glory and goes throughout history with the aid of the Catholic Church and its breakaways.

    The last term to be discussed is the term Pastor.  The term “pastor” appears only once in the New Testament.  (Ephesians 4:11) “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers.”  The term “pastor” is translated from the Greek word “poimen”.  W.E. Vine’s Dictionary and Strong’s Concordance as define pastor: a shepherd – one who tends herds or a flock.  The Old Testament even more clarifies this term in the warning given to not scatter the sheep.  (Jeremiah 23:1) ”Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the Lord.”  A pastor is an elder by definition of (Acts 20:17-30).  We all know that the word elder suggest maturity in age.  We know that wisdom must accompany this man.  Just look at the qualifications of elders (Titus 1:5-9 and I Timothy 3:1-9).  Many that bear that name do not meet the requirements of the Bible authorized elders.  This name is one that is given by denominations to promote a man to a higher office.  Yet such in the Lord’s Church need not be permitted, as the Bible teaches it not.

    The true name for a Gospel Preacher is just that.  A Preacher, Evangelist, Minister, Teacher of the Gospel (Ephesians 4:11, II Peter 2:5, and Ephesians 6:21) but not an elder lest he meets all qualifications and is a true holder of that office.  The term elder and its age definition eliminates myself as I am a young man and does so many others.  Let us not allow the denominational world teach us titles, let us teach the world as we are commanded the Gospel and all be simply preachers of the truth (Mark 16:15-16 and Matthew 28:19).

Copyright 2000 by Brian Yeager may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.

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