Using the Honorific "Reverend"

Discussion in 'Church Office' started by C. M. Sheffield, Nov 14, 2009.

  1. The practice is biblical (1 Tim. 5:17; Rom. 13:7)

  2. The practice is unbiblical (Matt. 23:8-10)

  3. It's just a matter of preference

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  1. C. M. Sheffield

    C. M. Sheffield Puritan Board Junior

    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?
  2. Osage Bluestem

    Osage Bluestem Puritan Board Junior

    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. :D

    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? :gpl:
  3. NRB

    NRB Puritan Board Freshman

    It's a matter of respect In my humble opinion.
    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.

  4. MarieP

    MarieP Puritan Board Senior

    Bishop would be more Biblical... ;)

    Don't you agree, Bishop Bob?
  5. baron

    baron Puritan Board Graduate

    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.
  6. Brian Withnell

    Brian Withnell Puritan Board Junior

    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.
  7. Curt

    Curt Puritan Board Graduate

    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.
  8. KMK

    KMK Moderator Staff Member

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

    It has a certain ring to it.
  9. Scottish Lass

    Scottish Lass Puritan Board Doctor

    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.
  10. au5t1n

    au5t1n Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    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. JOwen

    JOwen Puritan Board Junior

    My congregation calls me pastor. Some, being immigrant Dutch, call me Dominai (sp?).
  12. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritan Board Doctor

    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.).
  13. LawrenceU

    LawrenceU Puritan Board Doctor

    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.
  14. Rich Koster

    Rich Koster Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I couldn't vote. There was no "rat brains" option on this poll.:lol:
  15. Eoghan

    Eoghan Puritan Board Junior

    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?
  16. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    One who is ordained as a Pastor, I believe would be given the titles of 'Pastor' and 'Reverend'.
  17. Grillsy

    Grillsy Puritan Board Junior

    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.
  18. Glenn Ferrell

    Glenn Ferrell Puritan Board Junior

    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.
  19. PointingToChrist

    PointingToChrist Puritan Board Freshman

    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".

  20. Amazing Grace

    Amazing Grace Puritan Board Junior

    What about "Most Reverend"?
  21. au5t1n

    au5t1n Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    GA delegates should be called "Divines." :lol:
  22. Berean

    Berean Puritan Board Doctor

    That's Bawb, isn't it? :D
  23. DouglasGregory418

    DouglasGregory418 Puritan Board Freshman

    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. darrellmaurina

    darrellmaurina Puritan Board Freshman

    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, In my humble opinion) 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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