Reverend vs. Pastor

Discussion in 'Church Office' started by N. Eshelman, Aug 28, 2008.

  1. Bishop Graceandpeace

    6 vote(s)
  2. Reverend Graceandpeace

    7 vote(s)
  3. Pastor Graceandpeace

    45 vote(s)
  4. Just good ol' Mister Graceandpeace

    7 vote(s)
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  1. N. Eshelman

    N. Eshelman Puritan Board Senior

    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. Grace Alone

    Grace Alone Puritan Board Senior

    I refer to our pastor as pastor, but when addressing an envelope to him, his title would be Reverend.
  3. PastorSBC

    PastorSBC Puritan Board Freshman

    Pastor for me, dont care for anyone other than God to be called Reverend
  4. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    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"! ;)
  5. N. Eshelman

    N. Eshelman Puritan Board Senior

    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 :eek: 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? :judge:
  6. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    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.
  7. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritan Board Doctor

    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.).
  8. Ivan

    Ivan Pastor

    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".
  9. Zenas

    Zenas Snow Miser

    And that's Baptists for ya'. :p

    I didn't vote because I'm honestly ignorant. I found Rev. Buchanan's post to be quite instructive however.
  10. JonathanHunt

    JonathanHunt Puritan Board Senior

  11. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Call me anabaptist but I like the term "Brother" myself.
  12. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Here they call me "Servant of the Lord" - which has a nice ring too. Servant might be the most Biblical from Paul's example.
  13. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor

    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.
  14. Wannabee

    Wannabee Obi Wan Kenobi

    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.

    Just plain old "Joe," a slave of Christ
  15. LawrenceU

    LawrenceU Puritan Board Doctor

  16. yeutter

    yeutter Puritan Board Senior

    Why not use the term Presbyter?
  17. BobVigneault

    BobVigneault Bawberator

    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.
  18. JonathanHunt

    JonathanHunt Puritan Board Senior

    Because no-one will understand what you mean!! :lol:
  19. Mushroom

    Mushroom Puritan Board Doctor

    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.
  20. ChristopherPaul

    ChristopherPaul Puritan Board Senior

    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?
  21. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

  22. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    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.
  23. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor

    True but I think there is a difference between being formal and stuffy.
  24. Wannabee

    Wannabee Obi Wan Kenobi

    ... 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.
  25. Jimmy the Greek

    Jimmy the Greek Puritan Board Senior

    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: Aug 29, 2008
  26. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor


    I think this is an issue that really shows one of the differences between Presbyterians/Continentals and the independents/congregationalists in the Reformed world.
  27. Ivan

    Ivan Pastor

    He's a former Lutheran.
  28. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    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".

    Use or abandon "Rev." as you will. As far as I'm concerned, its not much different than "Esq."
  29. LawrenceU

    LawrenceU Puritan Board Doctor

    What's wrong with Biblical titles? I just don't get this seeming need to classify it any other way.
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