By Ron Halbrook
For The Truth’s Sake, the clergy-laity system should be abolished among all people claiming to be Christians. In Matt. 23:5-12, Christ forbad the spirit that leads to such distinctions, and forbade the use of titles, peculiar dress, and honors which attend such distinctions. “To be seen of men,” the so-called clergy wear special “garments,” seek “the chief seats,” and expect “greetings” which honor their titles of distinction. Christ said, “But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven” (Matt. 23:8-9).
“All Ye Are Brethren,” Christ said! The people of God share an equality of spiritual standing before God, like children in a family. Once we obey the gospel of Christ by faith, we are all children in one family with one Father without titles, honors, and positions of elevation. “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one an Christ Jesus . . . and heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:26-29).
“One is your Master, even Christ.” We have no glory of elevation because the Holy Spirit said through Paul, “Christ is all” (Col. 3:11). God intended for Christ “that in all things he might have the preeminence” (1:18). All glory, honor, praise, reverence, and adoration belongs to Deity, and none to man in the presence of Almighty God! God made Christ our “wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (1 Cor. 1:30-31).
The elevation of the so-called clergy with their titles of honor is a rebellion against the authority of Christ. He does not authorize such elevations but positively forbids them. We should not be ashamed to withhold religious titles of honor and reverence from men, but should be ashamed and afraid before God to give such titles to men. We are to “serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire” (Heb. 12:2829), but are not to speak awe and reverence toward men. Current religious titles include Pope, Patriarch, President, Bishop, Archbishop, Cardinal, Reverend, Right Reverend, Very Reverend, Doctor, Reverend Doctor, Most Worshipful, Worshipful Master (Masonic), Holy, Most Holy, Very Holy, ad infinitum ad nauseam. Even though Christ specifically forbade honoring men with the religious title “Father,” that very title is prominently used in Roman Catholicism.
Forsaking all titles of religious elevation, let us be not Catholics, Protestants, or Jews, but Christians only (Acts 11:26).
Truth Magazine XXI: 34, p. 533
September 1, 1977