“They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men. But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. But the greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.

Matthew 23:6-12 NASB

Is this passage about not taking exalting titles to be recognized as being spiritually superior to others, or is it about what you can or can’t call somebody? What we miss when looking too simply! Ephesians says there is an office of Teacher, so can we not call a teacher a teacher, or a leader a leader, or a spiritual father a spiritual father (like Paul saying he was their spiritual father in 1 Corinthians 4:15).

In Matthew 23 Jesus condemned the spiritual leaders for their spiritual pride. That’s the point of the text! We should drop all exalting titles! You can say “this is Jim and he’s one of our pastors” instead of giving the title of Pastor Jim. This is especially true of the title Reverend. (Psalms 111:9 – “He sent redemption unto his people:

he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.)That’s a title belonging to God alone!

Yet have any of us heard a sermon about never calling anyone Leader, Teacher, or Rabbi? Thankfully I have heard teaching about not using the title of Reverend for a man.

If we are going to not call a man “father”, then be consistent and drop all titles that cause any to be exalted above another!

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