Religious titles, which exalt mere men, are commonly used throughout the contemporary Christian Church. Why is this a concern?
In Matthew 23:8-12, Jesus said that men are not to take upon themselves “religious titles”, which only serve to exalt themselves. He stated that men are not to be called such titles as Rabbi, Father or Teacher. Yet messianic Jewish “Christian leaders” call themselves Rabbi, Catholic priests call themselves Father, and numerous Christian leaders throughout many denominations take upon themselves the “religious title” of Teacher; all of this in blatant defiance of Jesus’ command in Matthew chapter 23. Furthermore, thousands of Christian ministers have the audacity to call themselves “Reverend”, although Psalm 111:9 states that “Reverend” (KJV) is His (God’s) name. According to the “Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance”, the original Hebrew word translated as “Reverend” in this passage in the King James Translation, literally means to “be afraid”, “stand in awe”, “fear”, “reverence” etc. These solemn descriptive terms apply to our appropriate response to a Holy God, not to mere men. And, it is reasonable to assume that other contemporary titles used to exalt today’s religious leaders, such as “Doctor”, “Master of Divinity” and “best-selling author”, would fall into the same category as the Rabbi, Father and Teacher titles which were forbidden by Jesus. He said that those who exalt themselves with these titles will be humbled (Matthew 23:12).
Contemporary Christian churches and ministries are not only exalting their leaders with religious titles that were forbidden by Jesus, but are also printing “study Bibles” with their ministers’ names on them. What “puny men” would dare to place their names on the Holy Bible? Yet, many of them have done just that; they will answer to God. And, unfortunately, this exaltation of mere men within the Christian Church goes beyond religious titles and men’s personal names being placed on the Holy Bible.
The Church has now degenerated to the point of actually building a “statue”, which is a graven image, to a human preacher, such as was recently done with the Billy Graham statue. Although the Catholic Church has been guilty of making and revering graven images for many centuries, the Protestant Evangelical Church has now made the unfortunate decision to also compromise on this issue. The second commandment of the Ten Commandments forbids the building of “graven images” (Exodus 20:4-5), but the modern Church has degenerated to such an extent that it defies the word of God and tramples on His commandments in order to exalt mere men. Those who have made this compromise regarding the “Graham statue”, may try to excuse their sin by saying that this commandment only applies to worshipping graven images, but such an assertion is false. There are two parts to this commandment; the first part, in verse four, forbids “making” graven images; the second part, in verse five, forbids “worshipping” the images.
Would the Apostle Paul, who God used to write half of the New Testament, have condoned the building of a graven image/statue to honor him? Absolutely not! Paul is the one who rebuked the Corinthian Christians for exalting men such as Apollos, Peter and himself, in 1st Corinthians 1:12-15. Paul is also the one who said that the Corinthians were behaving in a carnal manner when they were exalting Apollos and himself; moreover, he stated that he and Apollos, who were apostles of Jesus Christ, “were not anything”, but that God is the one who is something (1st Corinthians 3:4-7). Furthermore, Paul is the one who tore his clothes when the people at Lystra were going to offer sacrifices to him and Barnabas (Acts 14:11-19). And, you can be sure that Paul would have acted similarly if anyone tried to erect a statue/graven image in order to honor him. Billy Graham was a dedicated gospel preacher for many years, and I commend and respect him, but he is not worthy to be compared to the Apostle Paul, who was repeatedly beaten, imprisoned, whipped, shipwrecked, stoned and finally martyred for His faith; and, therefore, Mr. Graham also should not have a graven image/statue built in his honor.
I have only begun to scratch the surface of the unbiblical practices being endorsed within modern Christianity in this article. For a detailed presentation of the many compromises, sins and abominations currently being embraced within the contemporary Christian Church, I encourage you to read my article titled, “Babylon is Fallen”.