Puritan Board Post-Graduate
All I'm asking for is a clear explanation of Matt. 23 without using common practice in today's churches to explain the meaning of the text. I don't advocate disrespect to anyone but honor can be demonstrated without the use of titles. I knew people in the USAF who would use the right title when addressing a superior but whose words and actions otherwise showed great disrespect.
Matthew 23:8 does not forbid the use of titles anymore than Matthew 5:3ff. forbids the taking of oaths (which by the way is an Anabaptist distinctive) We see from the text that 'Rabbi', 'Teacher' and 'Father' are titles being given in place of our one Rabbi, Teacher (Christ) and Father God.
In comparison oaths made by swearing by heaven or earth are wrong because they are specifically cited in order to get away from having one's yes be yes and their no be no. When one swears or takes an oath their oath is lawful only by using God's name.
Similarly the titles of "Minister' 'Pastor' 'Elder' 'Deacon' etc. are not made/created by man but given to us by God in His Word. These words indicate the servant posture and giving of those offices, yet nevertheless identify those who have been chosen to the office and who, by the Spirit, possess real authority as representatives of Christ.