Basic Truth #35 - Clergy Class And Titles Improper

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Basic Truth #35 - Clergy Class And Titles Improper

Post by bejay » Sat Nov 10, 2007 6:25 pm

Basic Truth # 35 – Clergy Class and Titles Improper for Christians

The English word ‘minister’ is derived from the Hebrew word, meshareth, and the Greek word, diakonos. Both of these words carry the sense of one who reaches out to render a service in behalf of others. In the Bible, angels in heaven are spoken of as ‘ministers’ of Jehovah; Joshua was called Moses’ minister and Jesus stated that his role was ‘to minister to others.’ (Psalms 104:4; Numbers 11:28; Matthew 20:28)

Many men today who consider themselves to be ‘ministers’ in a religious sense are honored and given titles that they believe puts them in a superior position among their fellowman. But this is not the attitude that Jesus advocated. Jesus’ disciples had several arguments concerning which of them was the greatest among the disciples. But Jesus always admonished them that the one who would be greatest among them would be the one who would serve others. His words are recorded at Matthew 20:25-27, which reads: “But Jesus, calling them to him, said: ‘You know that the rulers of the nations lord it over them and the great men wield authority over them. This is not the way among you; but whoever wants to become great among you must be your minister, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave.’”

Jesus wanted his disciples to recognize that their service to Jehovah would not be one where they would be honored or looked up to by men who would bestow high sounding titles upon them but they would serve as slaves, that is, slaves of Jehovah. The religious leaders in Jesus’ day believed themselves to be worthy of being looked up to and so accepted titles from men. In seeking honor from men, Jesus stated that these men had ‘already received their reward.’ (Matthew 6:5)

This was not the attitude that Jesus instilled in his disciples. He warned them at Matthew 23:8-11 not to follow the example of these leaders. He said: “But you, do not you be called Rabbi, for one is your teacher, whereas all you are brothers. Moreover, do not call anyone your father on earth, for one is your Father, the heavenly One. Neither be called ‘leaders,’ for your Leader is one, the Christ. But the greatest among you must be your minister.”

Jehovah has not given humans the capability to judge his fellowman such that he can bestow a title upon him. He is the only one who can do this. Elihu, when speaking to Job, recognized the folly of this action. He said: “Let me not, please, show partiality to a man; and on an earthling man I shall not bestow a title; for I certainly do not know how I can bestow a title; easily my Maker would carry me away.” – Job 32:21, 22

Yes, Jehovah is the ultimate Judge of who deserves to be given a title as this is an exaltation and He is the only One who can exalt a human. The scriptures are clear that Jesus did not desire honor or titles from men but waited humbly for Jehovah to exalt him and this is exactly what happened. Philippians 2:9 clearly states that “God exalted him to a superior position and kindly gave him the name that is above every other name.” This is the attitude that all Christians should adhere to today, to wait as Paul wrote ‘and have his praise come to him from God.’ (1 Corinthians 4:5)

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