SAINTS AND SORCERERS IN CHURCH (PT2)
Was Jesus called His Holiness, Bishop, Reverend ,Apostle Jesus Joseph?
Was he?There is no record of Jesus – my Jesus – bearing any title what so ever on earth. Jesus didn’t even call his disciples by any title nor did he conduct ANY enthronement services.Jesus didn’t organize any consecration service or ordination service.Isn’t IT strange that 21st century practice this today?
Out of respect, he was called ‘rabonni’ meaning teacher.It wasn’t a title that was attached to his name.Paul was an apostle by calling; he didn’t have to carry it as a title; it was his assignment.The term Apostle is from the Greek Word ‘apostolos’ meaning ‘sent one’. We know Paul was sent to the Gentiles
An emphasis of title hails from the Roman Catholic era.The use of ‘Reverend’, ‘sister’, ‘holy mother’, ‘Reverend Father’, ‘Bishop’, ‘Arch Bishop’, ‘pope’, ‘saint’, ‘his holiness’. ‘his lordship’, ‘his grace’ was and is still common today.
But the protestant showed up and DE-emphasised titles.Yet 100 years after founders like Martin Luther of Lutheran Church, John Wesley of the Methodist Church died and organized setting emerged, the protestant churches saw a need to distinguish between people,titles developed again.
In Azusa Street in 1906, the Petecostal revival was born.Some of our pentecostal churches stem from that revival…churches like Assemblies of God, Foursquare and a few others were birthed from the experience.There was also a deemphasized on titles.But as year rolled by and Pentecostals also became institutionalized, the old emphasis of title crept in again.One wonders what the likes of Kathryn Khulmann, Maria Etter and Smith Wigglesworth bore as titles.
These days some ministers organize ‘enthronement services’ especially if they want to become bishops.They dole out a lot of money for other bishops to be around to enthrone them.Excuse me, where is that in the bible?
In reality bishops are elders.A church can have more than one bishop.There is no office of a bishop in the ministry gifts.’And He gave some apostles; and some , prophets; and some, evangelist; and some pastors and teachers; for the profiting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the saints’ To be a pastor, teacher, prophet, evangelist or apostle is higher than any office.
When you study 1 Timothy 3:1-13, you will notice that Paul talks about two sets of persons.The first being bishops or senior elders and the second being deacons.Most people have misused this scripture to magnify the office of the bishop
The way the early Christians operated was such that each church had several elders who governed the church, and they included bishops(senior elders). From amongst them was appointed an overseer or pastor, usually one of the bishops.
In the the above scripture you will notice that Paul was careful to say ‘if a man DESIRES the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work’ The office of a bishop is usually desired, and with the qualifications mentioned in the subsequent verses, he had to have certain character traits before he could be chosen or appointed. But in the case of ministry gifts, Paul said that Jesus ‘GAVE some apostles…prophets…evangelists…pastors and teachers’ Theirs had nothing to do with character or qualification.It was a gift; a call.
So bishops are actually senior elders in a church.One of them may be chosen to be the pastor of the church.The office of a bishop is an office, not a title one should attach to his or her name.
I believe that an overemphasis on title is a subtle expression of insecurity.You don’t have to call your self Apostle to be one.Your works and ministry will speak for you. Taking titles inspires self-inflation, the result of which is pride.Have you not noticed that prior to the time some of these ministers had titles, they did very well.The moment they started to bask in it, they lose their initial drive.Very few continue with their initial vigour.
My simple admonition is that we should redirect our focus.Let us put things in perspective.Our business is not acquiring titles.Jesus didn’t have all of that.Yet we know him as the ‘bishop of our soul’ and ‘the apostle of our calling’
A fresh inspiration will spring forth if we focus on our job on earth, not the titles that many times belie our true effectiveness and efficiency