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The Promotion of Professional Religious Titles in the Church System

Updated on September 21, 2017
PlanksandNails profile image

PlanksandNails' goal is to be a catalyst in encouraging the followers of Christ to pursue Biblical truth for themselves.

The modern church system is full of men with professional titles. In fact, when you greet them within the church building or see them around town, they like to be called, 'Doctor,' 'Pastor,' 'Rabbi,' 'Father,' 'Reverend,' 'Bishop,' 'Apostle,' etc. These vocational titles are used as distinctions amongst those who are deemed to be more prominent or more spiritual pertaining to the matters of God. Many who have these esteemed and exalted ecclesiastical titles would be offended if you called them by their first name without having their title before it.

Many of these esteemed men and women promote and market their religious wares with their titles placed before their names. Without their titles on their religious products, they would not be rightly given the validation that is needed to sell their Gospel wares.

Unfortunately, most do not realize that these people in ordained positions of leadership have failed in being an example of Christ in walking in Kingdom principles.

Are Titles a Necessity?

They do all their deeds to BE SEEN BY OTHERS. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the PLACE OF HONOR at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others. But you are NOT TO BE CALLED RABBI, for you have one teacher, and YOU ARE ALL BROTHERS.

And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. NEITHER BE CALLED INSTRUCTORS, for you have one instructor, the Christ. The greatest among you shall be your servant. – Matthew 23:5-11

Have you ever really taken to heart Christ's words?

They are many who desire to seek special status among their brethren in Christ because they are deluded into believing that their academic status on a piece of paper from a seminary gives them the right to have authority over God’s people.

The churches of men are in direct disobedience by dishonouring the words of Christ.

What you will soon discover is that religious titles are unbiblical, but are also unnecessary among the ekklesia.

And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. BUT IT SHALL NOT BE SO AMONG YOU. – Mark 10:42-43

This passage clearly explains the state of the church system today where the supposed 'great ones' exercise authority over the people.

There are men within churches who have become lords over the people. It is a tragic epidemic that has led most into deception.

What many fail to understand is that there is no pecking order among the brethren of Christ. No one is of elevated status over others. There is only one Teacher who is Christ and we are all at the same level at his feet. No person can usurp the Headship of the ekklesia that has been given only to Christ from his Father.

When Christ ministered on the earth, he made himself of no reputation, but men are doing the opposite. They peacock around in their arrogance and haughtiness in their self-glorifying demeanours deluded that they have attained more importance than others. However, God is not a respecter of persons.

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility COUNT OTHERS MORE SIGNIFICANT THAN YOURSELVES. – Philippians 2:3

There is absolutely no warrant for special priestly titles of honour. Any man who calls himself 'Senior Pastor' or one of the many other religious titles has exalted himself and defied the words of Christ. We are all called to be meek and lowly among our brethren.

Titles vs. Function

By simply perusing through the New Testament, any notion of modern titles will be dispelled immediately with the evidence of Scripture. This is found by discovering the clear distinction between the titles given to the religious leaders in the institutional church system and the descriptive names given among the ekklesia.

The Titles of Eminence among the Clergy Class in the Church System

  • Reverend
  • Senior Pastor
  • Bishop
  • Pope
  • Cardinal
  • Rabbi
  • Father
  • Apostle
  • Pastor
  • Doctor
  • Professor
  • Preacher

The Functional Terms of the Follower Christ among the Ekklesia

  • Laborer
  • Brother
  • Fellow-Worker
  • Beloved
  • Slave
  • Fellow-Servant
  • Prisoner
  • Fellow-Soldier
  • Steward

You may ask, what about the title of 'Pastor,' 'Prophet,' 'Elder,' 'Overseer,' 'Deacon,' 'Saint,' etc?

Scriptural Evidence

When we read the New Testament through the lens of the Holy Spirit, the truth should become obvious.

It has seemed good to us, having come to one accord, to choose men and send them to you with our BELOVED Barnabas and Paul – Acts 15:25

I commend to you our SISTER Phoebe, a SERVANT of the church at Cenchreae – Romans 16:1

Greet Prisca and Aquila, my FELLOW WORKERS in Christ Jesus – Romans 16:3

Luke the BELOVED physician greets you – Colossians 4:14

Now I urge you, BROTHERS — you know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints— be subject to such as these, and to every FELLOW WORKER AND LABORER. – 1 Corinthians 16:15-16

I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and FELLOW SOLDIER – Philippians 2:25

Just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved FELLOW SERVANT. – Colossians 1:7

And we urge you, BROTHERS – 1 Thessalonians 5:14

None of the New Testament believers held any honorary vocational titles. They had no special title before their names, but were referred to by their personal names accompanying their function, character or spiritual work.

And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose STEPHEN, A MAN FULL OF FAITH and of the Holy Spirit – Acts 6:5

For he was a GOOD MAN, FULL OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AND OF FAITH. And a great many people were added to the Lord. – Acts 11:24

On the next day we departed and came to Caesarea, and we entered the house of PHILIP THE EVANGELIST, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. – Acts 21:8

What About the Leaders?

Honorary titles were not even given to the leaders among the early ekklesia. They did not allow themselves to be addressed in a manner that would elevate themselves among their brethren. There were no spiritual celebrities parading around with their special fan clubs ogling over their every move. All the leaders in the New Testament were ordinary people working together proclaiming the work of Christ. Everyone had equal approachability and access to one another. There were no VIP lounges with sacred men of the cloth within them.

The apostles in the New Testament were described without officiality, but were expressed in their function of humility.

THE BROTHERS, both the apostles and the elders, to the brothers – Acts 15:23

To me, though I am THE VERY LEAST OF ALL THE SAINTS, this grace was given – Ephesians 3:8

And we sent TIMOTHY, our BROTHER and God’s COWORKER in the gospel of Christ - 1 Thessalonians 3:2

So I exhort the elders among you, as a FELLOW ELDER and a witness of the sufferings of Christ – 1 Peter 5:1

And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our BELOVED BROTHER PAUL also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him – 2 Peter 3:15

I, JOHN, YOUR BROTHER AND PARTNER in the tribulation and the kingdom – Revelation 1:9

Can you see what is happening in these verses?

Can you see what is obviously happening in the institutional church system today?

Can you see the differentiating pattern of the ekklesia?

BROTHERS, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who WALK ACCORDING TO THE EXAMPLE you have in us. – Philippians 3:17

We should all consider ourselves brothers and sisters in Christ. There is no hierarchical expressions of titles, but expressions of function. We are all fellow brethren. There are no superiors with titles and salaries.

In 1 Peter 5:1, Peter did not use an exalted title. He could have allowed himself to be called, 'Bishop,' 'Chief Elder,' 'Senior Pastor' or some other name of distinction, but he understood the principles of the Kingdom of God. He was not seeking after a great opportunity with a salary and benefits, but chose to acknowledge himself as a fellow elder because he knew his function pertaining to the gift God had given him. His gift was not a formal title, but a task God had given to him.

If someone wants to call himself 'Pastor Joe' then he must be consistent with giving everyone else an honorary church title too. That means there is also a Tither Terry, Giving Gary, Charity Charlie, Board Member Mike, Greeter George and Musician Manny. The list could go on and on.

Can you see the foolishness in doing this?

Yet, the sainted sages tassels will get ruffled if anyone was to compete with their distinctions.

Who is it that you give all the glorify to?
Who is it that you give all the glorify to?

Senior Pastor, or Chief Shepherd?

Our spirituality in the Kingdom of God is not about our titles given by men to inflate egos and make people think more highly of themselves. God has not assigned anyone in His Kingdom who thinks that they have greater value and worth over another.

The self-promoters in the church system believe that they have greater authority and higher calling because they are considered experts in their field with the certificates they like to hang on their walls. With titles like, Th.D. or Ph.D., men and women will falsely believe that certain people have achieved greater status in God’s Kingdom. The fact is, they are not of His Kingdom at all, but are of the religious kingdoms that they have created for themselves.

All the apostles with the exception of Paul were not formally trained in a seminary, but they were confident in what they had learned from the Holy Spirit. By man’s standards, they would be considered uneducated an untrained because they had not attained any formal titles or theological authority in a form of a certificate.

In contrast, the fellow brethren in Christ are not taught in the schools of men because their authority and abilities come from the Holy Spirit. Any religious title that is attached to any man’s name is a distraction from the pre-eminence of our King, Christ our Saviour. We are all called to be servants and that excludes any self-exaltation.

Get away from the modern 'Pastor' who is deluded and compelled to gain respect with a clerical title. Move these vain people aside who have made careers of using the Gospel as a means of gain by bilking others and making a living off of their backs. These people desire and want the honour and recognition of men. Unfortunately, their deceived minions give it to them.

Let's let God's word ask some questions.

For am I now seeking THE APPROVAL OF MAN, or of God? Or am I trying to PLEASE MAN? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. – Galatians 1:10

How can you believe, when YOU RECEIVE GLORY FROM ONE ANOTHER and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? - John 5:44

It is time to stop making titles and elitist distinctions among ourselves.

It is time to stop drawing attention to ourselves and others.

It is time to stop taking the glory and honour that belongs only to the Father through Christ.

The who are gifted leaders in the Kingdom of God are servants, not religious vocational titles.

And when the CHIEF SHEPHERD appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. – 1 Peter 5

I hope it is clear to see that that this verse is not about 'Senior Pastor Joe' in a denominational church building who wears his title like a king with a crown of glory.

All leaders among the brethren (ekklesia) are undershepherds. They are humble servants, not lords.

It may come as a shock to some, but there is no such thing as a 'Senior Pastor' in Scripture. It is non-existent.

Can You tell the Difference?

Among the ekklesia, if someone asks where the minister is, all we have to do is point to each other as we are all priests and ministers in the body of Christ. A reflection of Christ as Head of the ekklesia is a group of people serving one another and collectively seeking the Holy Spirit for guidance in all things.

The churches of men seek prestige by hiring salaried officials to run things. They do not understand that titles before someone's name is self-seeking.

What the most of the religious world sees as 'greatness,' God sees as arrogant and prideful. What God sees as power in His Kingdom are self-sacrificing servants, just as His Son was. The world sees power at the top, but among the true ekklesia, it is at the bottom.

Do you promote or have a title before your name in the man-driven church system?

The ekklesia are not made up of two classes of people. Every believer is priest and minister before God. Christ is our High Priest and the ekklesia are in the Kingdom as priests with distinct ministries of function with no hierarchical titles.

God’s wrath is coming for the lords of the church buildings, but blessing and rewards are coming for those who truly serve in their gifts.

Don’t be duped in believing the false terms and definitions that the church clergy defiantly defend as being 'God's will.' The true meaning of 'leader' in the modern church system is used out of context and is a complete misrepresentation of what Christ and the apostles taught.

Those in religious church systems will abuse Scriptural terms by twisting them for their own agendas to control others.

Let us be vigilant in representing Christ, not church officials.

What many fail to understand is that without humility, we cannot enter into God's Kingdom. Those who were humble were attracted to Christ, but those who were proud despised him. The modern church template in their behaviours despise the true Christ because there is no humility in anything they do. It is all about profit to expand their temporal kingdoms in order to create converts to one of their many brands they call the 'Gospel.'

Does your Church have a professional titled leader?

See results

© 2014 PlanksandNails

Comments Appreciated

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    • PlanksandNails profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago


      Yes, those are the very words of Jesus, but men continue to ignore them.

    • profile image

      Neil Braithwaite 

      4 years ago

      Great post! These hirelings who love the adoration of man often believe they will have a special place in heaven for all their "service" to the Kingdom. Sad to say but Jesus had this to say about about their kind:

      “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. ...Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full." Matthew 6: 1,5

    • PlanksandNails profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago


      On one hand you have Joel Olsteen who skirts around pure Scriptural doctrine, and on the other you have these collared guys selling their sacramental "salvation" of man's works. I'm glad we have Scripture to find the real truth for ourselves.

    • PlanksandNails profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago


      What many fail to understand is that without humility you cannot enter into God's Kingdom. Those who were humble were attracted to Jesus and vice versa, but those who were proud despised Him. The modern "church" despises the true Jesus Christ because there is no humility in anything they do. It is all about profit to expand their temporal kingdoms in order to create converts to a temporal "Jesus."

    • PlanksandNails profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago


      I'm glad it resonated with you.

    • PlanksandNails profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago


      After leaving the churches of men, I have never felt more freedom in Jesus Christ. My heart is that more people would seriously weigh and test what they are being fed, but also will learn to feed themselves. Too many are pursuing things that are profitable in the temporal instead of the eternal.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      4 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      " There were no spiritual celebrities parading around with their special fan club ogling over their every move." - well, so much for the Joel Osteen "ministry" and a bunch of others. Thanks for nailing it down.

    • profile image


      4 years ago from those of the Ekklesia

      If there was anyone who ever had the right to promote His authority and wear His titles in a ministry it was Jesus Christ. He was during His ministry the following. The Son of God, King, Lord, Prophet, Master and few others. But in all His ministery HE never once referred to Himself as any of these. Although He knew. As a humble servent of His Father in heaven He did His Fathers will without imposing His authority or titles. He managed to reveal to the world the nature of the Kingdom of God without He Himself directly revealing what and who He was. The greatest and most humble man to ever walk this earth left a mark on those who would follow Him for the next 2000 plus years. And what is most amazing is He, the most humble, is the head of the true church.

      Only men ( and some women) are concerned with titles in churches that they feel was earned. That through their own efforts and accomplishments they believe they have the right to wear title of authority and then use it. To be called something they believe they have earned a right to. And to invent position of clergy that are not biblical.

      So, I ask each of those who wear their titles; Are you humble enough to be like Christ?

      PandN- you have written another fantastic Hub which, again, I agree 100%.

      God Bless you as always.

    • freeradicalsteve profile image


      4 years ago

      This hub hits the mark.

    • celafoe profile image


      4 years ago from From Kingdom of God living on Planet earth in between the oceans

      as you know I am in complete agreement with this scripturally correct article. It is so good to others putting it into writing also as these truths have been stolen from so many by the hirelings of the churches of men. ANother HOME RUN, brother. What a series you have going, I just pray that many will read and understand by checking the scriptures for themselves and moving out from under the bondage of the churches of men.


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