Question Box
Good News Magazine
August 1972
Volume: Vol XXI, No. 5
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Question Box
Good News Staff  

   Should a minister be called "Reverend"?

   In Psalm 111:9 we read: "... He [God] hath commanded his covenant forever: holy and REVEREND is His name." Other translations of this verse describe God's name as "glorious," "awesome," "inspiring awe," "majestic" and "terrible." The Jewish Publication Society, translation renders it: "Holy and awful [that is, full of awe, worthy of worship] is his name." According to A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament, by Brown, Driver and Briggs, the original Hebrew word which is translated "reverend" means to "inspire reverence, godly fear and awe: as an attribute of God... (the) great and awful (God)...." In this sense, it becomes obvious that the word "reverend" cannot be properly applied to any man. It can only apply to God! No mere man has a name which is worthy of reverence, a respect so profound it borders on or actually includes worship. Until born again at the resurrection, no man can claim to be "glorious," "awesome," or "majestic." For a man to assume such a title is to claim attributes which only belong to God. Although society has the custom of using "reverend" to apply to a minister, the Bible nowhere sanctions this usage. Therefore, we are not to call any minister "reverend" — the Church of God has no such custom! Proper titles given in the New Testament for God's ministers are "elder," "pastor," "evangelist." or even "apostle" — depending on the office to which God has called each man. In no place in the Bible are Paul, Peter, James or John — or any of God's ministers — ever addressed as "reverend." If we follow the Bible example, then we ought not ever use the title "reverend" for my minister.

   Should Christian brethren close personal letters to one another "In Jesus' name"?

   To Almighty God in heaven a name has a great deal of meaning. It is so very important, in fact, that one of the Ten Commandments warns, "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain" (Ex. 20:7). Jesus Christ's name identifies Him as our Savior. It conveys to our minds His reputation, and responsibilities. Yes, a name is important in God's sight! But just what does the phrase "in Jesus' name" signify? Do you know? God's ministers — when performing the duties of their office — close their letters with this phrase. Mr. Armstrong closes his letters to co-workers and members of God's Church this way. The phrase "in Jesus' name" is just another way of saying, "by Jesus Christ's authority," or "as the direct representative of Jesus Christ." When closing a letter, God's ministers use this phrase to signify that they are acting as representatives of Jesus Christ, doing the work of Christ and His true Church as His called and chosen ministers. It also shows that Jesus Christ — the living Head of this Church — backs up what they have written in the body of their letters. Since, when you are writing a personal letter to someone else in God's Church, you are NOT acting as Christ's representative, it would be wrong to sign your letter "in Jesus Christ's name." Doing so could actually be taking Christ's name in vain! For the phrase "in vain" (Ex. 20:7) means "to no useful purpose." However, it would not be wrong to close a letter to a friend with a phrase like, "in Christian fellowship" or "in Christian love." Using this type of closing to a personal letter is perfectly acceptable in God's sight. It conveys that close, truly deep relationship we have together in and through Jesus Christ, as members of His Church.

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Good News MagazineAugust 1972Vol XXI, No. 5