Titles for Pastors

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Calvin and his Genevan colleagues’ rejection of the medieval Catholic priesthood expressed itself in a number of ways, such as the redefinition of the roles and duties of the pastor and the rejection of false sacraments.

However, one of my favourite expressions of this reformation is the titles that they used to address pastors, among which are ‘servants’, ‘elders’, ‘supervisors’, ‘messengers’, ‘heralds’, ‘ambassadors’, ‘shepherds’, and ‘men of God’ as opposed to ‘priest’ or ‘clergy’. There were others less common to us, such as ‘friends of the bridegroom’, ‘dispensers of the secrets of God’, and my personal favourite ‘officers of the king’.

The last one is my favourite not only because it sounds awesome, but also because it reminds me (and all believers) that the pastor’s authority is always derivative, that is, it comes not from us (be it our intelligence, charisma, or leadership skills) but from God. As such, pastors are purely spokespersons and ambassadors, and are worthy insofar as they are obedient and faithful to their king.


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