Seeking of proud titles should be anathema to the servants of Christ.  He warns us not to appropriate grand titles to ourselves.  The elders in His churches should not seek to be called “Rabbi,” for they are not the masters.  We have only one master, one head of the church, and that is the Lord Himself.  Nor should we hail any man as “father” upon this earth, in a religious sense, for the only Father we recognize is our Father in heaven.  These words invoke a serious rebuke against many branches of professing Christianity.  The entire Roman system is built around their one supreme master, the Pontiff before whom all nations must bow, whom when one approaches he must kiss the holy toe or ring.  Does such adoration look anything like what Christ enjoins upon His people here?  Moreover, does not He expressly condemn their practices by forbidding us to entitle any man as “father” in a religious vein?  Every Roman priest is hailed as “father,” the Pope as “holy father.”  It is for this reason that I and many others consider the Roman church to be the spiritual descendants of the scribes and Pharisees.  But I fear that many Protestant and Baptist Christians are not much better, with the overweening adoration that they ascribe to their ministers.  The title “Reverend” which so many appropriate seems to me to be flatly contradictory to the spirit of this passage.  I question also those ministers who zealously seek out the title of “Doctor,” as if their education gave them some major leg up over the laymen in the pews.  I do not think it safe for the Christian minister to go beyond “Pastor” or “Elder,” in regards to the titles by which he might be addressed.  Pride and personal aggrandizement should be the furthest thing from his mind as a servant to Christ.

The great men in Christ’s church are not those who can wear bright robes and tall hats, wave a scepter and demand that others kiss their toes.  The very greatest of Christ’s servants are those like the apostles, who were willing to be made the offscouring of the earth, to labor and suffer reproach, to be willing to labor outside the church to provide for ourselves if need be in addition to our labors in the church.  Those who seek to exalt themselves, to gain fame and fortune by the ministry, are no true servants of Christ’s, but live for their own bellies.  It is those who humble themselves, and dedicate heart and soul to the service of Jesus, who in due time shall be exalted.  May we not be of that multitude who seek their own, and not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.

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