We live in a world where people often seek titles for various reasons. Sometimes the reasons might be for recognition, status, or control; though these may not always be motivating factors.
When it comes to Christ’s teachings on the subject matter of titles as they relate to his church we need to determine from scripture what he desires. Let’s take a look at the following passage taken from Matthew 23: 8-10 (NKJV): “But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9“Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10“Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ.
The context of the passage above pertains to Christ speaking to a crowd regarding the hypocritical religious leaders (scribes & pharisees) of the day who used their positions for wrong reasons. For example, Matthew 23: 5-7 states: 5“But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments. 6“They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, 7and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men.
In contrast to the practices of the scribes and pharisees, Christ advised his followers not to be called by titles shown in the example above. The reason why Christ advised his followers not to take accept these titles is for the purpose of equality among all of Christ’s followers. In fact, no one is greater than anyone in Christ’s church; he being the head. Unfortunately, many denominational churches are in disobedience to Christ’s clear instructions here; ascribing higher value and titles to certain individuals.
Of course, there are specific roles taken when members of the church assemble. However, taking a specific role, function or job within the church is not the same as being a titled. For example, when you say “John Smith, a deacon of the church” it is different than saying “Deacon John Smith”.
The title “Reverend” is used in many denominational churches as well. However, Psalms 111:9 (KJV) states: “He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.” This is clearly a title that should reference God. No man should be honored in this way on earth as God will honor all of his servants in heaven.
The truth of the matter is that Christ is the only head of the church and mediator between God and man: (I Timothy 2:5). People who serve in various functions of the church are simply that: “servants.” They provide assistance in the congregational assembly and in preaching God’s word. We are all equal in the eyes of God.