Should Christians Use the Title "MISTER"?
exactly does the title "Mister" mean? Why do we use it? Didn't
Christ say, "Neither be ye called masters: for one is your master,
even Christ" (Matt.23:10)? Does "Mister" mean "Master"?
Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary, before even giving the three
different meanings of the word "mister," says: "mis'ter,
n. (alteration of MASTER)." The American Heritage Dictionary of the
English Language gives three definitions of the word "Mister"
and then adds this explanation at the end: "(Weakened form of MASTER)."
None of the Christians in the New Testament church are referred to using
titles before their names. They are simply called by their first names
or last names or a combinantion of both. Their last names were often just
their particular occupation or place of residence. For instance, "John
the Baptist," "Simon the Zealot," and "Judas of Kerioth."
There was no Rabbi Levine, Doctor Smith,
Father O'Reilly. or Most Holy Reverend Pope.
Job 32:21-22 says, "Let me not, I pray you, accept any man's person,
neither let me give flattering titles unto man. For I know not how to
give flattering titles; in so doing my maker would soon take me away."
Christ said, "But be not you called Rabbi; for one
is your Master, even Christ, and all ye are brethren. And call no man
your father (as a religious title) upon the earth; for
one is your Father, who is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters:
for one is your Master, even Christ" (Matt. 23:8-10). Also, Psalm
111:9 says, "Holy and reverend
is his name" -- not any man's.
To those who
were outside the church, titles were still used to avoid offending. We
have Paul referring to Agrippa as "King Agrippa"
in Acts 26:27 and Festus as "Most Noble Festus"
in Acts 26:25. Luke also refers to Theophilus as "Most Excellent
Theophilus" in Luke 1:3 but some two years later (A.D. 60-62) Luke
abandons it in Acts 1:1. While Theophilus was being converted, Luke made
every effort to avoid offending him, but once Theophilus had grown enough
spiritually, the title was dropped. The words "master " and
"father" were both used by the saints as nouns but not official
titles (2 Ki. 2:12; Eph. 6:9).
The first government in the world was parental, recognized in the fifth commandment. From it grew the patriarchal government, the parent becoming the head of a tribe of descendants bearing his name. These heads of families became rulers under the title of elders (Num. 11:16-17; Acts 15:2,6,23; 1 Pet. 5:1; 2 John 1; Titus 1:5-7; Acts 14:23). They were called bishops or overseers, the word in the original Greek being the same (cts 20:28; Phil. 1:1). The name has been a badge of honor and authority in all ages and in nearly all languages. Thus the word senior, senor, signor, seigneur, senator, expressing dignity and authority, come from the Latin word senior, or elder. So also the title alderman or elderman. Unhappily, in many places, the title, as well as the power associated with it, has been given to men unworthy of the name, and unfitted both by age and character to rule.
As Isaiah 42:8 says, "I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another". When Alexander wished to assume DIVINE honours, Callisthenes argued with those who were willing to go along with the idea. He said, "Even Alexander himself would be enraged if any private man should usurp a royal title in an unlawful manner. With how much more justice may the gods be enraged, if any mortal dares claim DIVINE honours, or accept them when offered by others?" (Arr. Exped. Alex. 4:11)
. "Tiberius would not accept the title of FATHER of his country, and sharply rebuked those who styled his doings DIVINE, and himself LORD." (Tacitus Annals 2:87)
|"From deceptive words the crowd he brings
To real estimates of men and things." -- Horace
|"True virtue can the crowd unteach
Their false mistaken forms of speech."
|Civil and religious liberty do not themselves make men free; men must be fit to be free. They must be God-fearing and responsible rather than infidel and corrupt. "For your iniquities have you sold yourselves" (Isa. 50:1)
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