Moderator: I found this brief article and felt strongly that I should share it. The scriptures talk about people who have spiritual gifts (see I Cor. 12 for example) that define classes of servants such as apostles, evangelists based upon spiritual gifts. Yet, no where does it say we are to call ourselves those things. We are called servants and brothers and sisters of Christ. That is it. Seek to serve God and don’t worry about your title. That is reserved unto Jesus Christ to give out (Rev. 2:17, 3:12).

-extracts by J. Lee Grady.

Jesus just wasn’t into titles. We shouldn’t be either.

I am often asked if I have a title, and my answer doesn’t satisfy
some people. I travel a lot, so I don’t consider myself a pastor. All
kinds of labels have been pinned on me: Reverend, prophet,
apostle … even bishop. Once I was introduced to a church as “Dr.
Grady” and I almost crawled under my seat. I only have a college
degree. There are no letters after my name.

I tell people: “You can call me Lee. Or if you want to sound formal,
you can say, ‘Brother Grady.’”

Today it seems we’ve developed a title fetish. For a while everyone
in charismatic circles was becoming a bishop (and some were
installed into this office with rings, robes and funny-looking hats).
Then the same guys with the pointy hats started calling
themselves apostles. Then the prophets got jealous and started
calling themselves apostles too! I knew one lady who, not to be
outdone, required people to call her “Exalted Prophetess.”

Now the latest fad is requiring church folks to address certain
people as apostles. (As in, “When Apostle Holy Moly arrives,
please only address him as, ‘Apostle,’ and then make sure he is
seated in a private room while his two adjutants, wearing dark
glasses, guard his door.”) They’ve even invented an elaborate
theology to go along with this ridiculous rule. It suggests that you
can’t receive the true anointing from a man of God if you don’t
honor him with the right title.

Sounds so very ooo-ooh spiritual to the naive. But it’s garbage.

Jesus didn’t play this religious game, especially when he was
around the Grand Poobahs of His day—the long-robed scribes and
Pharisees. After accusing them of loving the best seats in the
synagogues, He pointed out that they loved to be called “Rabbi” by
men (see Matt. 23:7).

Then He warned them: “But do not be called Rabbi; for One is
your Teacher, and you are all brothers. … the greatest among you
shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled;
and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted” (v. 8-12, NASB).

People have quibbled over these words for centuries, insisting that
ecclesiastical titles are not the problem; pride is what Jesus was
rebuking. I would agree that Jesus was going to the root sin. But
He was also asking these title-crazy guys if they’d be willing to
ditch their labels and act like normal people.

When I was in China several years ago, I met some amazing
leaders who had planted thousands of congregations. They had
also spent a lot of time in jail for their faith, and they’d been beaten
with iron rods for preaching the gospel. They were the bravest
apostles I’ve ever met. But when I asked them if they used
“apostle” as a title, one guy said: “We believe in those roles in the
church. But we prefer to call each other ‘brother’ or ‘sister.’”

That settled it for me. A few years later I met Iftakhar, a Pakistani
apostle who has oversight of 900 churches. He also has two scars
on his arm from gunshots fired by Muslim extremists who have put
a price on his head. When I asked him how I should address him,
he smiled and said, “Iftakhar.”

If these two giants of the faith—and true apostles—don’t require to
be addressed with titles, then Your Worshipful Grand Master Rev.
Dr. Bishop Jones (who claims oversight of maybe four churches)
shouldn’t wear his ministry role around his neck like a tacky neon
name badge.

If people can’t see the anointing on your life through your character,
then don’t cheapen the gospel by wearing a title you don’t deserve…

Jesus is the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Son of David, the
Prince of Peace and the Apostle of our Confession. Yet when He
came into this world He laid aside His heavenly glory and took on
the lowly name of Jesus. He wore no fancy robes. He demanded
no titles. He did not come to be ministered to, but to minister. If
we want to serve Him honorably, we must forsake our need for
fame and cast our crowns at His feet.

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