Use of Honourifics for ministers

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Kevin

Puritan Board Doctor
What is the practice with your denomination reguarding the use of honourifics by ministers. Do you use "Rev." at all or only in correspondence or on formal occasions?

Do you use "pastor" or "brother" as is common with many Baptists?

I recently noticed that some in the C of S use "Rt. Rev." (Right Reverend) to refer to moderators and past moderators of the GA. Does anyone else style a moderator or charman as "Rt. Rev."?

What about the use of "Doctor", do you use it only if an earned degree or for DD's as well?
 

R. Scott Clark

Puritan Board Senior
This previous thread may be of interest.

"Reverend" is an honorific, not a title. It modifies "Mr." The correct usage, I think, is "The Reverend Mr. So and So."

The OED says:

1. Of persons: Worthy of deep respect or reverence on account of (
dag.gif
rank,) age, or character;
dag.gif
commanding respect by personal ability or great learning.

b. As a courteous or respectful form of address.

2. a. As a respectful epithet applied to members of the clergy. Also Very Reverend (of deans), Right Reverend (of bishops), and Most Reverend (of archbishops).

b. Used in addressing a member of the clergy. Also absol., as a form of address.

c. Prefixed to the name (and designation) of the person, and frequently abbreviated as REV., REVD. Pl. Reverends. In early and some recent use without the.



d. n. A clergyman; a cleric or divine. Also Right Reverend, a bishop.
colloq.
3. a. Of things, places, etc.: Worthy of, or inspiring, reverence; deserving to be revered.
There are other definitions given but this gives the sense.

In my experience this tends to happen more among Presbyterians. The tradition at WTS/WSC has been to speak of Mr. So and So in faculty minutes and the like.

Among the Dutch (and German Reformed) in the USA the usage has been "Rev. van So and So." I've been told that to say "Rev. Mr. van So and So" is an insult. As Bruce said, the Dutch have used the honorific "Dominie," though I think that usage is fading. I was rebuked sternly by a senior minister for using it of him. Younger men in the URC have shied away from it as it connotes a strongly centralized (read: Episcopal) approach to ministry.

It was used in the 16th century. I see the abbreviation "Dom" occasionally used of protestant ministers and theologians. Acc. to the OED:

2. As a shortened form of L. dominus, prefixed to the names of R.C. ecclesiastical and monastic dignitaries, esp. to Benedictine and Carthusian monks, whether priests or in minor orders.
rsc
 

Kevin

Puritan Board Doctor
I had occasion to have lunch one day with Al Knight when I worked in DC. He was a Scientist working for the US Army. While on duty he had continued with seminary courses leading to an MDiv and ordination in his church (one of the smaller anglican bodies). After retirement he served the chuch and ultimately became a bishop.

So his titles and honourifics were in order (as I recall) Rt. Rev. Dr. (PhD) Gen. (brig) Albion Knight!

He was a vary gracious and kind man and he told me that the only title that mattered to him was "christian".

Some might remember him for his outspoken opposition to the Panama treaty of Jimmy Carter or his VP nomination from the old US taxpayers party.
 

polemic_turtle

Puritan Board Freshman
That's even worse than Rev. Prof. Dr. F. N. Lee, unless you include all the PhD's and Litt. D's et al with it. I really think listing them all is over the top; I prefer Dr. Lee. No, wait, make that "General Lee"! :)
 
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Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
"Reverend" is an honorific, not a title. It modifies "Mr." The correct usage, I think, is "The Reverend Mr. So and So."

The OED says:

There are other definitions given but this gives the sense.

In my experience this tends to happen more among Presbyterians. The tradition at WTS/WSC has been to speak of Mr. So and So in faculty minutes and the like.

Among the Dutch (and German Reformed) in the USA the usage has been "Rev. van So and So." I've been told that to say "Rev. Mr. van So and So" is an insult. As Bruce said, the Dutch have used the honorific "Dominie," though I think that usage is fading. I was rebuked sternly by a senior minister for using it of him. Younger men in the URC have shied away from it as it connotes a strongly centralized (read: Episcopal) approach to ministry.

It was used in the 16th century. I see the abbreviation "Dom" occasionally used of protestant ministers and theologians. Acc. to the OED:

rsc


My pastor's first pastorate was in New Zealand in a Dutch congregation, about 20 years ago. He happened to mention yesterday that the older people called him "Dominie" and the younger people just called him by his first name.
 
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