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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Flattering Titles, Sacred Cows, High Horses

Flattering Titles, Sacred Cows, High Horses
and by-passing sacred scripture

"Good morning and welcome everyone one, God bless you!
I am the the Senior Pastor, Dr. V.A. Nity.   We are honored and privileged today to have as our special guest speaker, Bishop C.M. Proud,  D.D./PhD, Chief Apostle and President of the Worldwide Association of Mainstream Ministries."  

-"Thank you Dr. Nity, it is a great honor to be with you, your staff, and the congregation today .... Your Music Pastor Ken Olie and Choral Director Bobbie-Jo, did a wonderful job in the Song Service and we want to compliment Deacon Jones who worked to provide us with such generous hospitality." 

What you just read takes place in an unlimited number of variations, depending upon who the players are, in pulpits around the world every Sunday morning.  How quickly and easily these typical flowery introductions go in one ear and out the other of the typical pew-sitter.
Incredibly, that nice introduction and response by-passed the very words of the Bible those eloquent men desire to represent.

We mind-numbed church goers just smiled, clapped, and nodded at smiling men in suits up there on the platform, some wishing deep inside they could be up there getting the accolades too.
We all watched with anticipation what stirring words of profound wisdom might be forthcoming from our Titled speaker. 

Little did we or anyone in the auditorium realize we had just steam-"roled" right over some admonishments of scripture!

1.  Job 32:21 Let me not, I pray you, accept any man's person,
                     neither let me give flattering titles unto man
2.  Job 32:22 For I know not to give flattering titles
                     in so doing my maker would soon take me away

Now that is a pretty stiff uppercut to the Doctor of Divinity Bible College mills, Para-Church Ministries, card-carrying "Apostles", and Denominational hierarchies. 

Do you think a man like the apostle Paul may have had those scripture verses in mind when he wrote in 1 Thess 2:5 

"For neither at any time used we flattering words,
as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness".  

As we searched for the meaning of "flattering", we found in the Hebrew, kânâh; to address by an additional name;
 hence, to eulogize: - give flattering titles, surname

According to scripture, in lauding and titling ourselves and others, we have brought harm and hurt to the Body of Christ. 
Prov. 29:5 says  A man that flatters his neighbor spreads a net for his steps. 

This simply means that the lifting up of men (and women) with titles(surnames and additions to their name) causes them to trip, i.e. stumble over God's Word.
Have you seen how Jesus taught on this same subject in Matt. 23?

Rather than seeking to please the crowds, inflate their own ego, or meet their own self-esteem needs, both Jesus and the disciples utterly forsook the ego-centric outward appearances of success so common in today's church world.

Not only did we toss honorific flattering titles and positions around our churches, but we had our  own well-paid prophets come around call forth great "visions" for our future to go with them. 

In prophesying to old Israel we find a repeating in our day in Christianity. There seems to be no shortage of Prosperity Prophets who envision bigger barns for the church folks and bigger ministries for the titled clergy.
We had ours too, and we recall the stirring prophecies foretelling us how we would soon be moving to a new building, bigger crowds, and destined for greatness.
Most of it was ear-tickling and flesh-pleasing that appealed to our sense of achievement and desire for success.

"But we must "HONOR" them that labor" among us, the Bible says...... "  
Are you ready once again to have your mind changed and your theology tweaked?

"Honor" is used in several forms often in the New Testament, none of which legitimatize the use of flattering titles which tend to puff up egos and enhance the perception carnal authority:

Here is a little word study from the Lexicon.
G1784    valued,: - dear, more honorable, precious, in reputation.
 fix the value 
 to honour, to have in honour, to revere, venerate

G5092    a value, that is, money paid, valuables; by analogy esteem (especially of the highest degree), or the dignity itself: - honour, precious, price, some. to prize, that is, fix a valuation upon;  by implication to revere: - honor, value

Now you can "plug-in" the actual meaning with the general term "honor" in the verses below.

 Eph 6:2  Honor g5091 thy father and mother (which is the first commandment with promise),
 Phil 2:29  Receive him therefore in the Lord with all joy; and hold such in honorg1784
 1Thes 4:4   that each one of you know how to possess himself of his own vessel in sanctification and honor, g5092
 1Timothy 1:17   Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor g5092 and glory forever and ever. Amen.
 1Tim 5:3   Honor  g5091 widows that are widows indeed.

To "honor"  has everything to do with "to prize, value, consider precious, dear", etc. in the context of Christian love, than it does to flattering titles and flowery speeches and financial reward! 

If your Bible is to be believed and followed, "flattering titles" have a role in causing God's people to stumble.The fact that New Testament writers and Jesus Himself never sought "glory from men", or had "respect of persons" testifies to yet another area where visible Christianity has fallen away from the humility of the Gospel. 

We are not making "sin" out of the wearing of church titles. We are pointing out some scriptures that address the Titles and the motives for them. Again, read what Jesus taught about them in Matthew 23 in addition to what is here, and you will understand why some have chosen not to take titles as we minister. 

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