View Poll Results: What do you think about using the honorific "Reverend"?

56. You may not vote on this poll
  • The practice is biblical (1 Tim. 5:17; Rom. 13:7)

    19 33.93%
  • The practice is unbiblical (Matt. 23:8-10)

    8 14.29%
  • It's just a matter of preference

    29 51.79%
Results 1 to 24 of 24

Thread: Using the Honorific "Reverend"

  1. #1

    Using the Honorific "Reverend"

    The term "Reverend" is a style or honorific used by many protestant denominations and churches in reference to their ministers and pastors. It is not, as many mistakenly think, a title. It is an honorific. Another example of this is referring to civic officials as "The Honorable" John Doe. So just calling a minister "Reverend" makes as much sense as addressing a judge with "Hey Honorable!" But I digress.

    Is the use of this honorific unbiblical or immoral? And if so, then is it also wrong to use one when addressing Judges or other secular civic officials?
    Christopher Sheffield, Pastor
    Grace Reformed Baptist Church
    Rocky Mount, North Carolina
    Baptist Confession of 1689

  2. #2
    My Grandpa hated to be called reverend. He was called Brother Joe, or Brother Capps, or pastor, or even preacher. His friends just called him Joe.

    I've never called anyone a reverend either. If they are a Dr. I usually call them Dr. whatever or pastor whatever.

    What ever happened to Vicar?! Would you guys like to be called vicar?
    David Doss
    First Baptist Church of Colleyville Texas (SBC)
    LBCF 1689

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    It's a matter of respect IMHO.
    My former SBC pastors perferred the be called Brother So and So.
    My PCA pastors prefer to be called Pastor So and So or just no title at all.
    BUT in all church bulletins for both of the denoms here I mentioned....they are titled Rev. So and So.

    It seems in a lot of churches the title of Reverend is a secular way to address an ordained [teaching]minister.

    Presbyterian Church in America
    1st Presbyterian Church, somewhere in Alabama

  4. #4
    Bishop would be more Biblical...

    Don't you agree, Bishop Bob?
    Reformed Baptist Church
    Louisville, KY

    "I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant" (Gen. 32:10)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Is not Reverend a name for God in the Psalms? I remember reading Spurgeon and he said it was unbiblical and a practice that Roman Catholics use.

    I like to call my pastor pastor. Same with other pastors.
    John Komenda
    Attending: Refreshing Springs Church
    Buffalo, New York

    Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear. Is.65:24 ESV

    The Scriptures teach us the best way of living, the noblest way of suffering, and the most comfortable way of dying. John Flavel.

  6. #6
    Our pastor desires being call by his nickname when he talks with people -- it is what he wants, and it is what I do. My respect is never greater, but lessened, for those that prefer a title.
    Brian Withnell
    Deacon, OPC
    Leesburg, Virginia

    You cannot train for war in the midst of a battle. Prepare before the battle starts; if the battle is long and hard, you will wish you had.

  7. #7
    When I have arrived at new pastorates (which I hope never to do again!), I usually address this in the first worship service or gathering. I tell them (the adults) that they can address me in whatever manner is comfortable for them. For some this may mean Reverend, or Pastor, for others Doctor. I do let them know that I have a first name and they are free to use it.
    Curt Lovelace
    Director, Lifework Forum
    Somewhere in New England, USA

    Attending Limington OPC, Limington ME

    webpage at
    Author: Children in Church: Nurturing Hearts of Worship

  8. #8
    Personally, I would rather be called 'Divine'. "Hey, look over there! It's the Divine, Mr. Klein!"

    It has a certain ring to it.

    Village Church of Rosena Ranch

    Transformation Ministries

    "Preparing a sermon is like cooking a meal. You need pots and pans and utensils, but you don't bring them out to the table where people are eating." Derek Thomas

    Click to get: Board Rules -- Signature Requirements -- Suggestions?

  9. #9
    Tim uses it to other ministers when addressing postal mail. He does as Curt does, and assures people that whatever they prefer is fine. It's usually strangers who use the formal title, while most congregants (both in MS and KY) use Pastor Tim, and our closer friends within the congregation simply call him Tim.
    Wife of Tim/Marrow Man
    Mother of Grace Cameron
    Louisville, KY
    Member of Midlane Park Presbyterian (Associate Reformed Presbyterian)

    He who does not hate the false does not love the true ~ Spurgeon

    Updates on Gracie:

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    I only use it in writing or through email. In person it's Pastor or my pastor's first name, which he goes by with everyone. I'm fine with "Reverend" from a Biblical standpoint.

  11. #11
    My congregation calls me pastor. Some, being immigrant Dutch, call me Dominai (sp?).
    Pastor Jerrold H. Lewis. (Dipl. IT; Assc. A; B.Th; M.Th Candidate, PRTS)
    Pompton Plains NJ, Free Reformed Church
    "A hot iron, though blunt, will pierce sooner than a cold one, though sharper."


    Free Reformed Church of Pompton Plains HERE
    The Puritans on Google+

  12. #12
    I hated Rev./reverand and agree that it is now mostly the secular way to denominate a clergyman, much as we often call the chief of police or fire chief in our Rotary club, "Chief." I have noticed that newsreporters often address the "attorney general" of the state or country as "General."

    My congregation members usually called me "Dennis," "Pastor Dennis," or "Pastor." The mortuary folks called me "Reverand" or "Doctor McFadden," and my foes used "&*^%$""!"!!*(%$#@#."

    I almost liked the title for about 10 minutes after my ordination in '78 but gave it up along with "All Knowing Master of the Universe." On the PB, those below the station of moderator are permitted to refer to me as "His Holiness, the Most Reverand Doctor . . ." since I am much more humble than the other guys who REALLY insist on ALL of the available honorifics and initials (e.g., Bob Vigneault C.O.L, L.E., G.E, Dr.O.P., O.U.T.).
    Dennis E. McFadden, Ex Mainline Baptist (in Remission)
    Atherton Baptist Homes, Alhambra, CA, President/CEO, Retired
    Emmanuel Lutheran Church (LCMS), Fort Wayne, IN

    Click to get: Board Rules -- Signature Requirements -- Suggestions?

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by JOwen View Post
    My congregation calls me pastor. Some, being immigrant Dutch, call me Dominai (sp?).
    I have had some Dutch folks in a former congregation call me 'Dominee' and refer to my office as the 'Predikant'. They were very sweet and very serious folks.
    'There's nae jouking in the cause of Christ' - James Guthrie

    We shall not adjust our Bible to the age; but before we have done with it, by God's grace, we shall adjust the age to the Bible. - Charles Haddon Spurgeon

    Lawrence Underwood, Jr.
    Pastor - Providence Family Fellowship / Mobile, Alabama
    My Blog - Imprimis

    Deo Vindice

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Blog Entries
    I couldn't vote. There was no "rat brains" option on this poll.
    Rich Koster
    Browns Mills NJ USA
    Member of Covenant Baptist, Lumberton NJ (1689ers)

    Thankful that I'm not saved by merit badges
    Romans 7:14-25

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Blog Entries
    Having left office does A MINISTER RETAIN HIS TITLE? We had a visiting preacher who was a rev. but was apparently employed as a teacher in Glasgow?

    On another occassion I watched a "teaching DVD" that managed to teach without a direct biblical text. When I checked up he was minister of his own church which appeared to not be affiliated to a denomination. Can you call yourself reverend? Or do you need someone to do that for you?
    attending Wick Baptist Church

    specialist subject: Creationist Genetics (Bottleneck effect of the Ark)
    interests: holiness (practical theology)
    member of Biblical Creation Society (available as a guest speaker in the far north of Scotland)

  16. #16
    One who is ordained as a Pastor, I believe would be given the titles of 'Pastor' and 'Reverend'.
    Elder Andrew Barnes (PCA)
    Christ Presbyterian Church (Kansas City, MO)
    Sermon Audio

  17. #17
    Some folks reject the title of Reverend purely because they see it as a mark of piety to do so. In my experience they tended to be the "no creed but Christ no book but the Bible types". Very much of an anabaptist or restorationist tradition.
    Some reject the title for other reasons and I certainly respect that. I myself have no problem with the title.
    Vicar Willie Grills
    Lutheran Church Missouri Synod
    Fort Wayne, IN

  18. #18
    I never intentionally use the title “reverend,” and prefer to be addressed as pastor, mister, or by my name. However, if one is going to use “reverend,” they should use it correctly.

    Properly, it is like the honorific for a judge. One does not address the latter as “Honorable John Jones.” But, one may refer to him as “The Honorable. John Jones.” Ministers may be referred to as “The Reverend Samuel Smith,” but should be directly addressed as Pastor, Doctor, or Mister Smith.

    Americans misuse the word “Reverend” the way many British misuse “Vicar.” All Anglican parish clergymen are not “vicars.” A vicar is one who exercises authority in the place of one who appointed him, such as one having oversight over a mission congregation under the authority of another. One holding authority in a parish in his own right is a “rector.” An assistant to a rector or vicar is a curate.

    Likewise, all ordained ministers are not “Pastors.” Only if they currently exercise pastoral authority over a congregation are they pastors.
    Glenn Ferrell
    Member of Presbytery of the Northern California and Nevada (OPC)
    Pastor, First Orthodox Presbyterian Church of San Francisco

    Nec Tamen Consumebatur

    The duty of magistrates...extends to both tables of the law, ... those laws are absurd which disregard the rights of God, and consult only for men.
    - Calvin, Institutes, IV:20:9

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Withnell View Post
    Our pastor desires being call by his nickname when he talks with people -- it is what he wants, and it is what I do. My respect is never greater, but lessened, for those that prefer a title.
    I would be careful about this. It is my intention to become a pastor, and though I would prefer to be called "Mitch", I believe that it may be more appropriate in that office to have the majority of the congregants call me "Pastor Mitch" or "Pastor". I don't say this because I desire a title, but it may be useful to keep proper decorum so that the person being addressed keeps his role in sight (he is an undershepherd of Christ and must conduct himself as such), and the congregant also realize to whom he is speaking. I consider my pastor my friend, but I never lose sight that he is my elder spiritually and physically.

    Having said that, I don't have any desire to be called "Reverend" or "Doctor".

    Grace OPC, Vienna, VA

  20. #20
    What about "Most Reverend"?

    "Once in a while you can get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right."

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    GA delegates should be called "Divines."

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Quote Originally Posted by Amazing Grace View Post
    What about "Most Reverend"?
    That's Bawb, isn't it?

    Our fair morning is at hand, the daystar is near the rising, and we are not many miles from home; what matters the ill entertainment in the smoky inns of this miserable life? We are not to stay here, and we will be dearly welcome to Him whom we go to. --The Loveliness of Christ, Samuel Rutherford

  23. #23
    this is purely personal- but I normally call my pastor by his first name when in his presence and speaking familially
    if i were to introduce him in a formal sense I would introduce him as Reverend ... .... (right reverend if he is moderator of presbytery)
    when i speak about him to others who are not necessarily on friendly terms with him (new people, students I disciple, people from other congregations) I refer to him as pastor ...

    I do this because I feel there's a level of honor we give our pastors (as they are in an honorable and dignified position)- and obviously the more formal the more honor.

    I do also feel that all our pastors should be on familial relations with their congregants (as we are a family- christ the head, and pastor is closer to an older brother)

    for children it is probably proper to say pastor ... at all times, but once you become a communicant member- it is probably legitimate to address personally

    Pastors do have honor due to them, but in light of Christ (all being equal) they should not insist upon it (as christ did not), but we should freely offer it at the same time.

    The apostles always referred to Jesus as 'Rabbi' or 'Lord'.

  24. #24
    I find this whole debate to be very interesting ... not because I see conservative Reformed people arguing for or against using "Rev." so-and-so as a title (the biblical arguments for both sides are well-known, and both are legitimate, IMHO) but rather because it looks like the large majority of people are personally opposed to using the title even if they consider it to be matter of personal preference. And yes, I know that the term originated as an honorific adjective, not a title, but the English language changes with time and in the minds of most people except grammarians, "the Rev." is now a title just as much as "Mayor John Smith," "Col. John Smith," or "Judge John Smith."

    Is this perhaps less due to the quite valid concerns of Spurgeon and other Reformed luminaries about Romanism and more due to the influence of broad evangelicalism?

    I could not care less whether members of a congregation call their pastor "the Rev. John Smith," "Pastor John Smith," "TE John Smith," "Moksanim John Kim" (the Korean word for "pastor" literally translates as honorable shepherd -- "moksa" plus the respectful suffix "-nim") or some other title by which his ordained office is made clear. I care deeply whether members of the congregation are respecting the pastoral office, and also the offices of ruling elder and deacon.

    We live in an egalitarian age which is anti-ecclesiastical and anti-authoritarian. We need to make sure our people clearly understand that those trends are contrary to the Bible and that our people respect the offices which God has appointed.


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