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View Poll Results: Which is most biblical

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  • Bishop Graceandpeace

    6 9.23%
  • Reverend Graceandpeace

    7 10.77%
  • Pastor Graceandpeace

    45 69.23%
  • Just good ol' Mister Graceandpeace

    7 10.77%
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Church Office discuss Reverend vs. Pastor in the The Church forums; Many of my Presbyterian friends go by 'pastor' (the ones that are pastors, of course). Many of my Dutch Reformed friends go by Reverend. Of ...

  1. #1
    N. Eshelman's Avatar
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    Reverend vs. Pastor

    Many of my Presbyterian friends go by 'pastor' (the ones that are pastors, of course). Many of my Dutch Reformed friends go by Reverend. Of course, there is some cross-over.

    My question:

    Is the term 'reverend' biblical to call a man- even an ordained man? Or is pastor more in line with the Scriptures?

    (For the record: My Presbyterian minister goes by Reverend, not Pastor... so it is not a preference question, but a serious one.)

  2. #2
    Grace Alone's Avatar
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    I refer to our pastor as pastor, but when addressing an envelope to him, his title would be Reverend.
    Janis
    Christ Church ARP, NC
    "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved." Eph. 1:3-6 ESV

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    Pastor for me, dont care for anyone other than God to be called Reverend
    David
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    Janis' point is well stated. Reverend is more of a title. Most folks address me as "pastor", but I sign things with "Rev."

    The framers of the WCF were referred to as "Divines." That troubled me at first, but I got over it. Reverend doesn't sound nearly so bad next to "divine"!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marrow Man View Post

    The framers of the WCF were referred to as "Divines." That troubled me at first, but I got over it. Reverend doesn't sound nearly so bad next to "divine"!
    That is for sure. I was discussing the Dutch 'dominae' (or however the Dutch spell it) with a friend saying how it makes me a little vomit-ish when people use that title, but then they stopped me dead in my tracks by reminding me that the Divines surely did not have trouble taking deity titles in their names!

    The traditions of men are hard to shake loose, huh?

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    Contra_Mundum's Avatar
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    There's not a thing wrong with the term "divine" for a theologian, its only a modern linguistic quirk that makes some uncomfortable.

    A person dealing with wood is a carpenter.
    A person dealing in drugs (pharmacology) is a pharmacist.
    A person dealing with history is a historian.
    A person dealing in chemicals is a chemist.
    A person dealing with electricity is an electrician.
    A person dealing with law is a lawyer.
    A person dealing in divinity (theology) is a divine.

    As for "Rev.", its origins probably go back to the fact that officers of the church were "men of religion," that is they were not men to BE "revered" (worshiped) but were themselves "reverent" (allegedly) as in: "professionally reverent." Just as the farmer was professionally spade-handy, and the scholar professionally bookish. And so the hierarchy added terms like "very Rev." and "most Rev." etc. for their grades of prelacy.

    That might not be the best beginning, however, we don't get to write our own history. And so "Rev." is the professional title for ministers today.

    By the way, if you are going to write it out, instead of using the abbreviation (which abbr. I recommend), then it is proper to write it "The Reverend" with the definite article. Pretty pretentious, I must say.

    The word "Rev." (as I take it today) is simply a designator, a title, for licensed and ordained minister. It lets people who don't know anything about you know what you are, and especially if you are a minister in an established church, it once again alleges "I am actually trained and skilled in the office in which I am lodged; I was called to this position, and I didn't start up a church by posting a shingle." That the title is abused is more a strike against the populace, which runs after the self-anointed, than it is against the profession which has no guild or association to chase off charlatans. That's Christ's job, outside our denominational self-police.

    I use/have used "Rev" "Pastor" and "VDM" (Verbum Dei Minister) in various circumstances.
    Rev. Bruce G. Buchanan
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    When I was a working pastor, I always prefered to have people refer to me as "His Holiness, the Most Rev. Dr. Pooh Bah" before kissing my ring. But, maybe that was just me?

    Actually, "pastor" was fine (I HATED Rev.).
    Dennis E. McFadden, Ex Mainline Baptist (in Remission)
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    Pastor for me.

    Sometimes in SBC circles you hear members of the church call their pastor "brother" and/or "preacher". Of course, "brother" is a more general term used for all men of the church. Rarely do we use Reverend.

    I have one member that likes to call me "Herr Pastor".
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan View Post
    I have one member that likes to call me "Herr Pastor".
    And that's Baptists for ya'.

    I didn't vote because I'm honestly ignorant. I found Rev. Buchanan's post to be quite instructive however.
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  11. #11
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    Fragments of Popery among Nonconformists

    Here is Spurgeon's take on the situation, entitled 'Fragments of POPERY among nonconformists'.
    Jonathan Hunt

    Pastor, Morton Baptist Church Thornbury, South Gloucestershire, United Kingdom since 2012

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    Call me anabaptist but I like the term "Brother" myself.
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    Here they call me "Servant of the Lord" - which has a nice ring too. Servant might be the most Biblical from Paul's example.
    Pergamum


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  14. #14
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    I concur with Rev. Buchanan. One of the issues we have in the Church today is the informality many Pastors take to their work. Just like dressing to "fit in" and be "hip" some of the clergy have gotten rid of these "outdated" titles in order to be more "relevant" to their congregation when in fact I believe that this being a symptom of the greater problem of the loss of the "dignity" of the Office of Overseer. There is a dire and real seriousness with being called to be an undershepherd in the Church of Christ, which many expect their Pastor to take seriously (not saying that anyone here does not) and the effort to be tragically hip does not help but I believe hinders one's ministry. This is one of the reasons why we see young people going to Rome, Constantinople, and Canterbury.
    Rev. Benjamin P. Glaser, M. Div, ARP
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    ‎‎"Ministers of the Gospel, when dispensing the truths of God, must preach home to their own souls, as well as unto others. Sir's, we do not deliver truths or doctrines to you, wherein we ourselves have no manner of concern. No, our own souls are at the stake, and shall either perish or be saved eternally, as we receive or reject these precious truths which we deliver unto you. And truly, it can never be expected that we will apply the truths of God with any warmth or liveliness unto others, unless we first make a warm application thereof to our own souls. And if we do not feed upon these doctrines, and practise these duties, which we deliver to and inculcate upon you, though we preach unto others, we ourselves are but castaways." -- Ebenezer Erskine, "The Assurance of Faith", pg. 8

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    Wannabee's Avatar
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    Good question.
    I find "reverend" to be pretentious, so ignore it and won't use it in regard to anyone else.
    The term "pastor" means shepherd, and is, in my opinion, the greatest compliment I can be paid. A shepherd cares for the sheep. He is the tool of the Master-shepherd. His life is focused on ministering God's Word to His people. In light of this, he either is a true shepherd, or he is not. If he is, call him "pastor" out of love for him. If he is not then don't denigrate the true shepherd by calling a hireling "pastor." Let him be reverend - he can have it.
    In light of this understanding, I do not call myself pastor. I answer to it. If someone asks if I'm the pastor then I say I am. But I do not present myself, nor sign my name, "Pastor Joe." As far as I'm concerned self-given titles are self-promoting titles, as are letters after one's name. Give honor where honor is due, sure, but that doesn't mean we seek it for ourselves... we might find ourselves relegated to the back seats in the synagogues. Men who seek the respect of men will get their reward. True shepherds have a greater reward as "good and faithful slaves."
    Once in a while someone comes along calling me "father." But they always want something, usually money.
    What it comes down to: If you write me a letter, call me by my given name. If you introduce me, introduce me by my given name. If I shepherd you, or you can with confidence call me a true shepherd, then feel free to call me "pastor." It's humbling, thrilling and convicting while conveying honor and respect; as long as one remembers the nature of the calling.

    Blessings
    Just plain old "Joe," a slave of Christ
    For the Glory of our King,
    Joe Johnson
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    LawrenceU's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanHunt View Post
    Fragments of Popery among Nonconformists

    Here is Spurgeon's take on the situation, entitled 'Fragments of POPERY among nonconformists'.

    Thumbs Up all the way through!!
    'There's nae jouking in the cause of Christ' - James Guthrie

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    Why not use the term Presbyter?
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    I was invited to preach at a Lutheran church and they asked if I wanted to be listed as Pastor or Reverend. I told them that not being an ordained man, why don't they just list me as Brother Bob. They said, "But then people will think you are a monk."

    I told them that Mr. would be perfectly appropriate. (I ruined my vows of chastity and obedience long ago but I'm holding the line on poverty pretty well.)

    For Pastors I prefer..... pastor. The other titles seem way too pretentious.
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    Quote Originally Posted by yeutter View Post
    Why not use the term Presbyter?
    Because no-one will understand what you mean!!
    Jonathan Hunt

    Pastor, Morton Baptist Church Thornbury, South Gloucestershire, United Kingdom since 2012

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    What's wrong with Teaching Elder?

    Rev. is good, so is Pastor. Besides the questionable affect on the membership that a casual or egalitarian view of Church Office can have, I think it may also tend to cause the officeholders themselves to take their positions less seriously than they should. I'm all for titles, especially since I don't have any.
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  21. #21
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    Some may not like terms such as "Reverend" or "Divine" but how many refer to their ordained fathers as "Angels?" The Holy Scriptures go that far do they not?
    Christopher Reeder
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobVigneault View Post
    I was invited to preach at a Lutheran church and they asked if I wanted to be listed as Pastor or Reverend. I told them that not being an ordained man, why don't they just list me as Brother Bob. They said, "But then people will think you are a monk."
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    I think a certain amount of informality is good. Nothing worse than stuffy formalism...maybe even worse than "hip" youth pastors saying dude and man.
    Pergamum


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    Quote Originally Posted by Pergamum View Post
    I think a certain amount of informality is good. Nothing worse than stuffy formalism...maybe even worse than "hip" youth pastors saying dude and man.
    True but I think there is a difference between being formal and stuffy.
    Rev. Benjamin P. Glaser, M. Div, ARP
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    Ellisville, Mississippi

    ‎‎"Ministers of the Gospel, when dispensing the truths of God, must preach home to their own souls, as well as unto others. Sir's, we do not deliver truths or doctrines to you, wherein we ourselves have no manner of concern. No, our own souls are at the stake, and shall either perish or be saved eternally, as we receive or reject these precious truths which we deliver unto you. And truly, it can never be expected that we will apply the truths of God with any warmth or liveliness unto others, unless we first make a warm application thereof to our own souls. And if we do not feed upon these doctrines, and practise these duties, which we deliver to and inculcate upon you, though we preach unto others, we ourselves are but castaways." -- Ebenezer Erskine, "The Assurance of Faith", pg. 8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Backwoods Presbyterian View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Pergamum View Post
    I think a certain amount of informality is good. Nothing worse than stuffy formalism...maybe even worse than "hip" youth pastors saying dude and man.
    True but I think there is a difference between being formal and stuffy.
    ... and pride.


    I strongly recommend reading "The Minister as Shepherd." It's very helpful in regard to this, and challenging for any minister of God's Word.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Contra_Mundum View Post
    . . . As for "Rev.", its origins probably go back to the fact that officers of the church were "men of religion," that is they were not men to BE "revered" (worshiped) but were themselves "reverent" (allegedly) as in: "professionally reverent." . . .
    From the online Etymology dictionary:
    Rverend: 1428, "worthy of respect," from M.Fr. reverend, from L. reverendus "(he who is) to be respected."

    The etymolgy does not suggest reference to "one who himself is reverent" but one who is to be revered (respected).

    Last edited by Jimmy the Greek; 08-29-2008 at 09:59 AM. Reason: add quote I am responding to
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wannabee View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Backwoods Presbyterian View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Pergamum View Post
    I think a certain amount of informality is good. Nothing worse than stuffy formalism...maybe even worse than "hip" youth pastors saying dude and man.
    True but I think there is a difference between being formal and stuffy.
    ... and pride.


    I strongly recommend reading "The Minister as Shepherd." It's very helpful in regard to this, and challenging for any minister of God's Word.
    Right.

    I think this is an issue that really shows one of the differences between Presbyterians/Continentals and the independents/congregationalists in the Reformed world.
    Rev. Benjamin P. Glaser, M. Div, ARP
    Pastor, Ellisville Presbyterian Church, ARP
    Ellisville, Mississippi

    ‎‎"Ministers of the Gospel, when dispensing the truths of God, must preach home to their own souls, as well as unto others. Sir's, we do not deliver truths or doctrines to you, wherein we ourselves have no manner of concern. No, our own souls are at the stake, and shall either perish or be saved eternally, as we receive or reject these precious truths which we deliver unto you. And truly, it can never be expected that we will apply the truths of God with any warmth or liveliness unto others, unless we first make a warm application thereof to our own souls. And if we do not feed upon these doctrines, and practise these duties, which we deliver to and inculcate upon you, though we preach unto others, we ourselves are but castaways." -- Ebenezer Erskine, "The Assurance of Faith", pg. 8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zenas View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan View Post
    I have one member that likes to call me "Herr Pastor".
    And that's Baptists for ya'.
    He's a former Lutheran.
    [FONT=Book Antiqua][SIZE=2][COLOR=black]Ivan Schoen ~ [/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=Book Antiqua][SIZE=2][COLOR=black]The Church in [/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=Book Antiqua][SIZE=2][COLOR=black]Poplar Grove, IL[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]
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    [LEFT][SIZE=2][FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=black][SIZE=2][FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=black]"As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives." ~ Henry David Thoreau[/COLOR][/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/FONT][/SIZE][SIZE=2][FONT=Book Antiqua][COLOR=black][/LEFT]
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gomarus View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Contra_Mundum View Post
    . . . As for "Rev.", its origins probably go back to the fact that officers of the church were "men of religion," that is they were not men to BE "revered" (worshiped) but were themselves "reverent" (allegedly) as in: "professionally reverent." . . .
    From the online Etymology dictionary:
    Rverend: 1428, "worthy of respect," from M.Fr. reverend, from L. reverendus "(he who is) to be respected."

    The etymolgy does not suggest reference to "one who himself is reverent" but one who is to be revered (respected).

    ˇOˇ (that's my emoticon for a shrug) I still wonder whether the word was originally adopted as a means of accruing honors to the person so designated.

    Did clerics need to remind people to respect them back then? Maybe so. But it seems odd in a stratified, feudal society where the pecking order was "fixed", and churchmen were already elevated. But I suppose, as a person went "up the ladder" as regards the hierarchy, they might be "getting closer to God", hence: Bishop "the MOST Rev."?

    It would be nice if today, the title had more to do with the object of their profession than the men wearing it. But I think worrying about where the word came from in our own time is just a way to frustration. I guarantee, no one wants to try to be "consistent" as far as that goes. Imagine trying to watch all our words, and picking and choosing them based on how they were coined, and judging them by their history.

    Can't use the word "nice" because that's a bad word.
    Call everyone who lives in a detached dwelling a "villain".
    Etc.

    Use or abandon "Rev." as you will. As far as I'm concerned, its not much different than "Esq."
    Rev. Bruce G. Buchanan
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    LawrenceU's Avatar
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    What's wrong with Biblical titles? I just don't get this seeming need to classify it any other way.
    'There's nae jouking in the cause of Christ' - James Guthrie

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    Jimmy the Greek's Avatar
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    I see no scriptural basis for religious titles. Besides, pastor-teacher is a gift not an office. (Eph. 4:11)
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    ADKing is offline. Puritanboard Junior
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gomarus View Post
    Besides, pastor-teacher is a gift not an office.
    I Timothy 3.1 This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.

    The idea in Ephesians 4 is that the risen Christ has given gifts to his church i.e. men who are pastors and teachers.
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    I agree Jim. That's my point. Biblically I see no warrant for titles. If someone wants to describe me as a pastor that is fine.
    'There's nae jouking in the cause of Christ' - James Guthrie

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    Quote Originally Posted by ADKing View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Gomarus View Post
    Besides, pastor-teacher is a gift not an office.
    I Timothy 3.1 This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.

    The idea in Ephesians 4 is that the risen Christ has given gifts to his church i.e. men who are pastors and teachers.
    I agree. My point was that even though we see Elder as an office, there is no example religious titles used -- and even so, pastor-teacher is not an office, but a gift. It is a gift we should expect in our Elders, if not a qualification. But there is no biblical warrant for designating one as the Pastor of a church.

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    Beside 1 Tim.3:1, I can say this: I have been "installed" in an office. The office exists, regardless of me. It belongs to the church. I am not "significant" enough to "create" this office or "own" this position. It is a privilege to be in this office. King Jesus has commissioned me an officer in his service.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gomarus View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ADKing View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Gomarus View Post
    Besides, pastor-teacher is a gift not an office.
    I Timothy 3.1 This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.

    The idea in Ephesians 4 is that the risen Christ has given gifts to his church i.e. men who are pastors and teachers.
    I agree. My point was that even though we see Elder as an office, there is no example religious titles used -- and even so, pastor-teacher is not an office, but a gift. It is a gift we should expect in our Elders, if not a qualification. But there is no biblical warrant for designating one as the Pastor of a church.

    The bolded statement is simply wrong, factually. Whatever you think of the extraordinary office of Apostle, versus the lesser ones, Paul, etc., certainly DID use the designation as a title.
    Rev. Bruce G. Buchanan
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    To see ourselves as others see us.
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    The word "Rev." (as I take it today) is simply a designator, a title, for licensed and ordained minister. It lets people who don't know anything about you know what you are, and especially if you are a minister in an established church, it once again alleges "I am actually trained and skilled in the office in which I am lodged; I was called to this position, and I didn't start up a church by posting a shingle." That the title is abused is more a strike against the populace, which runs after the self-anointed, than it is against the profession which has no guild or association to chase off charlatans. That's Christ's job, outside our denominational self-police.
    Frankly, after having moved about in numerous religious circles over the years (everything from RCC to Reformed and almost everything in between), I have found that the title Rev. more often than not is used to put a person higher than everyone else, and this fosters an idea of class which I do not find biblical. While I don't mind a person using Rev. as a title. I refuse to call someone Rev. unless I am using the title in a formal sense.

    Pastor is good, but I don't find that in the Scriptures either. I call my pastor by his first name, but when speaking of him to others, I call him Pastor Ron.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBaldwin View Post
    The word "Rev." (as I take it today) is simply a designator, a title, for licensed and ordained minister. It lets people who don't know anything about you know what you are, and especially if you are a minister in an established church, it once again alleges "I am actually trained and skilled in the office in which I am lodged; I was called to this position, and I didn't start up a church by posting a shingle." That the title is abused is more a strike against the populace, which runs after the self-anointed, than it is against the profession which has no guild or association to chase off charlatans. That's Christ's job, outside our denominational self-police.
    Frankly, after having moved about in numerous religious circles over the years (everything from RCC to Reformed and almost everything in between), I have found that the title Rev. more often than not is used to put a person higher than everyone else, and this fosters an idea of class which I do not find biblical. While I don't mind a person using Rev. as a title. I refuse to call someone Rev. unless I am using the title in a formal sense.

    Pastor is good, but I don't find that in the Scriptures either. I call my pastor by his first name, but when speaking of him to others, I call him Pastor Ron.
    Pastor is quite biblical:
    Ephesians 4:11-16 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JBaldwin View Post
    The word "Rev." (as I take it today) is simply a designator, a title, for licensed and ordained minister. It lets people who don't know anything about you know what you are, and especially if you are a minister in an established church, it once again alleges "I am actually trained and skilled in the office in which I am lodged; I was called to this position, and I didn't start up a church by posting a shingle." That the title is abused is more a strike against the populace, which runs after the self-anointed, than it is against the profession which has no guild or association to chase off charlatans. That's Christ's job, outside our denominational self-police.
    Frankly, after having moved about in numerous religious circles over the years (everything from RCC to Reformed and almost everything in between), I have found that the title Rev. more often than not is used to put a person higher than everyone else, and this fosters an idea of class which I do not find biblical. While I don't mind a person using Rev. as a title. I refuse to call someone Rev. unless I am using the title in a formal sense.

    Pastor is good, but I don't find that in the Scriptures either. I call my pastor by his first name, but when speaking of him to others, I call him Pastor Ron.
    Just because Rome and others have misused it does not mean it is unbiblical or incorrect to use the term.
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  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Backwoods Presbyterian View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by JBaldwin View Post
    The word "Rev." (as I take it today) is simply a designator, a title, for licensed and ordained minister. It lets people who don't know anything about you know what you are, and especially if you are a minister in an established church, it once again alleges "I am actually trained and skilled in the office in which I am lodged; I was called to this position, and I didn't start up a church by posting a shingle." That the title is abused is more a strike against the populace, which runs after the self-anointed, than it is against the profession which has no guild or association to chase off charlatans. That's Christ's job, outside our denominational self-police.
    Frankly, after having moved about in numerous religious circles over the years (everything from RCC to Reformed and almost everything in between), I have found that the title Rev. more often than not is used to put a person higher than everyone else, and this fosters an idea of class which I do not find biblical. While I don't mind a person using Rev. as a title. I refuse to call someone Rev. unless I am using the title in a formal sense.

    Pastor is good, but I don't find that in the Scriptures either. I call my pastor by his first name, but when speaking of him to others, I call him Pastor Ron.
    Just because Rome and others have misused it does not mean it is unbiblical or incorrect to use the term.
    The question in the OP is the title Rev. biblical. As it is used most often in many religious circles, I don't believe it is. Most of the time when it is used, especially in non-reformed circles, the title is used with the words "the" or "the most" as if this person was more right or more holy than the rest of us. While that is not the meaning of the word, that is how it is used.


    If someone has earned that title by study, I will use it in correspondence or when writing their name in a formal setting to show recognition for what they have achieved, but I will not call someone that intentionally as it is too often misunderstood.
    J Baldwin
    Keowee Presbyterian Church, PCA
    Pickens, SC
    “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27

    Check Out My Blog: http://reflectjoy.blogspot.com/

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