Why reverence man?

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Can someone explain to me why most Christians reverence their ministers? It seems to me that we should only reverence Jehovah and his son Jesus (Hebrews 12:9 - Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?).

Also, why do ministers use Rev. before their name? Are they saying that all other people should reverence them? By definition, reverend should be use as an adjective to describe someone that is deserving of reverence, wouldn't that make reverend a subjective term?

-- Anonymous, December 31, 2003


The title simply indicates that a person holds a position for which reverence is to be shown (as he has chosen to devote his full time to ministry in serving God), whether or not he is a worthy occupant of that position.

Scripture requires us to show reverence for validly ordained ministers (e.g., 1 Thess. 5:12-13, Heb. 13:17; cf. Exodus 28:2), and since they are to be shown reverence, it is thus perfectly appropriate to call them "Reverend."

People will always have reverence for their ministers. Didn't Christ's followers reverence him? Consider the following scriptures:

2 Samuel 9:6 (Mephibosheth does reverence to King David)
1 Kings 1:31 (Bathsheba's turn)
Hebrews 12:9 (children are said to revere their fathers)
Ephesians 5:33 (wives and husbands)
What is being shown there? Reverence........

-- Anonymous, December 31, 2003


My last post should read "He or SHE". Forgive me, sisters!

Happy New Year to all of you!!

-- Anonymous, December 31, 2003

I'll go one better than that. Why do some black churches venerate black secular heroes in the form of pictures, displays, and studies? It breaks my heart to see the house of God used to pay homage to politicians actors, athletes, and musicians whose only claim to fame is celebrity in the black community.


-- Anonymous, December 31, 2003

Before I answer that, which secular celebrities do you refer to?

-- Anonymous, December 31, 2003


Not being smart, but don't break your heart on the black community. Pray also for the white Christian community which is in dire need of prayer, afflicted heavily with the very same information you posted about the black community. I forget the TV Evangelist's full name, but he appears on Sunday morning and his last name is Kennedy. He is pitiful, sad, and I must say from the propaganda placed on his show, a deceit and a liar. I do not mean to be harsh, but he is a deceiver. So when you pray, and your heart breaks, expand your sensibilities and sentiments to the full community of Christ. God bless.

-- Anonymous, December 31, 2003


Although I am not sure what you really mean, we are not under Old Testament (Levitical)Law. If we were that white picture of Jesus you hang in your church and even the cross on the wall would have to be burned or destroyed because they are graven images and against the Law.

"So Christ has really set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don't get tied up again in slavery to the law" - Galatians 5:1 (NLT).

Now, Have a great New Year in Jesus' Name and in His freedom, joy and love.

-- Anonymous, December 31, 2003

I recently watched a video from Potter's House. T.D. Jakes preached a great word.

But behind him on the platform were pictures of Jackie Robinson, Jesse Jackson (ugh!), Dizzie Gilespie (I think...trumpet player), track stars, basketball players, Abraham Lincoln, MLK, and numerous other figures from the civil rights era and history. It was a display of black American heroes that had nothing to do with the subject of the sermon. So why was it there?

On another occasion I visited a black Baptist church with many of the same pictures, but also including such people as Bill Cosby (a funny guy, but he sometimes uses profanity in his acts), and Louis Armstrong (good music, but identified with the bar scene of New Orleans).

The subject of this post is reverencing man in the church. I have no problem with using a religious title such as Reverend or Elder. To me it's the same as addressing someone as Doctor, Sergeant, or Governor. It's a title they bear that's commonly used in association with their name.

At the same time I see no reason to venerate figures of a particular culture in the House of God, especially when some of them are unGodly. When that happens the Tabernacle has been transformed into an ethnic club. There are lots of those around and their ok as long as they don't cross into hate activities, but God's House is not the place for ethnic celebrations.

Jesus must be the focus, and Him alone. This activity is a distraction from the Mission, and is idolatry.

-- Anonymous, January 01, 2004

RP one of the great things about this country is that there are millions of churches where one can feel comfortable, your post above has been stated many times in the 2 years you have been on this board. And I do encourage you to find a church that is comfortable for you to visit. It is obvious that you do not want to see black people on murals or saints. By the way Richard Allen the founder of the A.M.E. Church is a saint in the Episcopal Church and has his own saint day.

There are many aspects of the black church that bother you. Though traditionally lack churches have welcomed everyone.

Rob you are white and have been accepted on this board, which does not discriminate, I am sure you were treated with kindness when you have gone to the black churches.

Now let me answer your question regarding "secular figures" on murals in the black church. When one studies the history of black churches in america, you will see that racism was the common factor that caused the creation of our churches. We did not form separate churches because we hated white people. We formed separate churches because we were hated. Please go the official web page of the A.M.E. Church website to read our history. www.ame-church.com

The worldview of the black church has always been in the "total power" of God. God can and will deliver the oppressed, he will reward the faithful, everything is in his control. The black church has always taught that the "sinner" has the right to be in the church for Christ died for us all. To think that people who were taken from their families and countries in Africa and brought to america against their will, beaten, lynched, denied recognition as a human being could believe and trust in God is a testimony to God and working of the Holy Spirit and the power of faith that Africans had when they arrived in america. Religion was also used as a way to keep us enslaved by preaching a false doctrine.

There have been many before us who through faith and the power of God have opened many doors for african-americans, some may have sinners, made mistakes, but God used them for his purpose to help "people" who were oppressed. Some of these wonderful, powerful people are Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Langston Hughes, Thurman Marshall, Louis Armstrong etc. These individuals were pioneers in their field. You spoke of Louis Armstrong. He was known as one of the greatest ambassadors for the U.S in promoting understanding. Jazz music is a medium that was started by African- Americans. Lousis Armstrong, met with heads of states, he helped the world understand each other. It is only fitting that he be in a mural. He was someone who God used to glorify God. Rob, please take the time to study black church history it is fascinating. Below is a few paragraphs about satchmo taken from his website.

By virtue of the role he played in its evolution during the first quarter of the 20th century, Louis Armstrong is regarded as the most influential jazz musician in history. This distinction is coupled with his stewardship of jazz around the world over the next five decades as the earliest and greatest ambassador of America's first true musical art form. With the liberating effects of the Jazz Age reverberating on world culture since the 1930s, Satchmo's contributions to society are now measured alongside those of the greatest artists, philosophers and statesmen of the modern era. In the year 2000, we celebrate the centennial of his birth on July 4, 1900 - a date that Louis took with him throughout his life. While historical evidence discovered nearly two decades after his 1971 death suggested a different birth date, there has never been any conclusive reason to dispute Pops' own c.v. Vital and productive from the 1920s to the 1960s, Louis Armstrong provided jazz with its quantum leap forward - his Hot Five and Hot Seven group recordings for the OKeh Records label between 1925 and 1928. They were the culmination of all he had accomplished in music to that point. Born in abject poverty in the worst black slum in turn-of-the-century New Orleans, his father was a workman and his mother a maid and prostitute. Louis and his younger sister roamed the red light district of Storyville, until his delinquency landed him in the Colored Waifs Home around age 12. In the institution's band he learned several instruments, eventually settling on cornet.

-- Anonymous, January 01, 2004

Nothing like starting the New Year with a controversial topic! Before folks start "piling on" RP, let me ask a question. Did not Jesus state that His House was to be called a House of Prayer? That being the case, why is it offensive for RP to suggest that certain murials, paintings or pictures that do not fit a theological motiff is sacrilegeous or inappropriate? More importantly, where do we draw the line? I would find it equally inappropriate for a picutre of either former President Clinton or President George Bush in God's House. Malcolm X and Marcus Garvey were indeed significant figures in American History (note I do not use the ethnic adjective black). Yet, their theological priniciples were not Christian. Is it OK to prominently display their pictures in the vestibule of our black churches while our members remain ignorant about Biblical personalities and church leaders like Bishop R.C. Ransom, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Samuel Dewitt Proctor or Harvey Cox? Satchmo was indeed the closest thing to artistic perfection during the 20th century but the only horn I'm ultimatley interested in hearing is the angelic trumpet sound made by Gabriel signalling the start of the resurrection. The basic problem with prominently displaying pictures of black personalites of minimal theological importance is the practice smacks of arbitrary and capricious motives. We proudly display Thurgood Marshall but we refuse to have a picture of Clarence Thomas. Irrespective of your non-legal views of American jurisprudence, the fact remains Justice Thomas is the most influential black American today (slightly more so than Powell or Condi Rice) because of his status as a Supreme Court Justice. We are eager to "embrace" Malcolm X and Minister Louis Farrakhan yet Wallace Dee Muhammad did more in the area of articulating the purity of Islam than both of the above "Muslim celebrities". I do not attend church to be "educated" about American history since I have taken upon that responsibility outside of my church obligations. I don't object to reminders about the importance of history. Most black churches will rightfully participate in Black History Month activities next month. What I do object to is selective contributors and contributions which carry the subtle message about who and what is important and legitimate. If Christ-centered worship is indeed our focus we should eschew images, pictures and other distortions which move us away from this primary activity. QED

-- Anonymous, January 01, 2004

Professor Dickens, my response to Rob was to answer his question, which I did using a historical and theological perspective. Rob has stated several times that make him uncomforatable in the Black church, those are his feelings and he has the right to have them, but he also has the right to attend churches where murals are not painted on the wall if it will make him more comfortable.

And in terms of Judge Thomas he is not in the category of Thurgood Marshall in tersm of advocacy and judicial impact. It is because of Thurgood Marshall that Judge Thomas can even be on the bench.

Dr. Condeleeza Rice is a brilliant woman, though I do not agree with her politics as a scholar and politician she is a powerful force. I will be discussing Dr. Rice and Colin Powell in my Martin Luther King address.

Most of the murals that Rob saw have already been done. The focus should ALWAYS be on God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit without question.

But if churches deside that a mural that depicts african american heroes should be on their church wall as a demonstration of God's unlimited power and as a reminder of how far we have come and as a reminder to those struggling that God can transform the lives of those whose ancestors were born in slavery and raise them to greatness. I believe that is theology.

Professor Dickens, Rob is blessed to have a friend like you and I do hope the two of you get to meet face to face.

I have been called a lot of things subtle is not one of them. I do look forward to spirited discussions Professor dickens, and the intent will always be to uphold the power God and our response to him.

-- Anonymous, January 01, 2004

Ah Bill, let 'em pile on. I've had my salvation questioned and been called racist more than once on this board. That comes with the territory. At least being white no one could call me Uncle Tom, which has happened to some of you out there.

Who's to define what's racist, and who's to say who's saved? God. His is the only view I worry about.

Yes Sis Denise, there are numerous things I've observed in black churches that disturb me, but that's not unique to the black church. There are also many things that bother me about white churches including my own, so I raise issues in both places.

One thing that I've found curious involves something I used to write about on this board: Spiritual subjects. I used to initiate many of them. I got a lot of e-mails, but they generated very little discussion on the board. Those same essays generated much discussion on other boards.

Oh well, I guess I'll just stick to politics. I have nothing to say about Michael Jackson except his behavior is bizzare, even if he is found innocent. The entertainment industry makes some people weird.

-- Anonymous, January 01, 2004

Amen Rev. Rodgers

-- Anonymous, January 02, 2004

There are many old congregations here in the city of Philadelphia, dating back before the revolutionary war. In many of the churches they display pictures of American Revolutionary war generals, presidents, etc. on their walls. Their congregations take great pride in the fact that these individuals were members of their congregation. When visiting the churches, I look at the pictures, and I understand the pride (and I do not mean the negative pumped up pride)of the congregation and am respectful of their beliefs. Although the picture is a source of pride to that church it may be offensive to me. Somehow, they neglect the negative side of the historical figure (the not so Christian side which had great negative impact on America).

Interesting to note, on many occasions I may be the single African American person in attendance. In trying to keep with being the "good Negro girl" my mother taught me to be I sit quietly and listen to the speaker, even when historical data is distorted tremendously. (You would not believe some of the so-called historians.) The best one was a young lady who told the story of some cloth African American dolls that were sent by 18th Century Quakers to England so that the English would know what Africans looked like when they arrived on their shores. I'm sorry...but on that one... I just laughted out loud. People are funny!

-- Anonymous, January 02, 2004

Havent' we all been dialoguing on this board long enough to be just a little less formal?


-- Anonymous, January 02, 2004

You know this is really a big ugly joke. And it's not very funny. Personally I don't care much about what RP thinks about African American people, African American churches or the people African Americans choose as their role models because of their achievements. It only reflects his extraordinary ignorance of African American history and culture and his high degree of insensitivity to it. Furthermore, and it just may be me, but isn't this the same RP who deifies George W Bush ( the selected president, who by the way smoked marijuana but I am sure he has repented of it by now.) Enough is enough.

-- Anonymous, January 04, 2004

I'll run into Bro Harold in Heaven, and he'll wonder how I got there. FUNNY!

-- Anonymous, January 05, 2004

You know your dialogue reminds me of some of the old slave narratives I've read. On many occasion the master would say to the slave, "Won't it be wonderful when we get to heaven and see each other there?" The slave would respond in many instances, "If there is a heaven, and I believe there is one, the Lord will not allow me to meet you there."

Another bye and bye question and answer. God bless us all in our differences, stupidity and short sightedness. God alone knows our hearts and removes our ills.

-- Anonymous, January 05, 2004

WOW! Great commentary, however, I think I'll stick to reverencing Jehovah and his son Jesus (haven't ONLY!

RP, you are an interesting individual. I was under the impression that I was the only person to feel the way that you do.

I have a simple rule, the sanctuary is for the worship of our Heavenly Father, exclusively!


-- Anonymous, January 06, 2004

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