I just participated in a very interesting conversation on Facebook posed by a pastor inquiring as to why it is that a particular ethnicity of women tend to refer to him by his first name as opposed to his god-given title. He was not offended. He was not in attack-mode. He was simply asking a question.
The response he got was overwhelming in number, but what shocked me the most was the disrespect he encountered. Some of it even directed at people like me, who merely agreed with the man of God. Now, I understand that many would argue most black ministers are stuck on their titles because that is the only place they feel they have or can achieve anything. Many [men] of the cloth could also rely on their titles because they are arrogant. However, you could tell that this was not the heart of this particular pastor.
Now my question to the “saints” is why do we not fear to disrespect the men and women of God? I was personally happy not to be standing next to some of the commentators because I did not want to be struck by lightening, lol. The Bible says, “Touch not mine anointed and do my prophets no harm,” (I Chronicles 16:22; Psalm 105:15). This includes “touching” them with your mouth. Travel back to the Old Testament and notice that everyone who spoke against Moses was severely punished. Korah and his followers were literally swallowed up by the earth (Numbers 16:1-35). Miriam, Moses’ sister, spoke against his new, black [Ethiopian] wife and she was struck with Leprosy for 7 days (Numbers 12: 1-15). Jezebel spoke against Elijah and the other prophets [among other things] and was thrown from a window by her own servants for the dogs to eat her flesh leaving only her skull, the palms of her hands, and her feet (II Kings 9:30-37). Thank God we live under the grace of the New Testament instead of the law of the Old Testament!
My point in writing this is not to scare anyone; only to cause them to ponder the error of their ways. Some ministers are not ordained by God, true. But I would dare to say that the vast majority of the ones who have fruit to show for their god-given call are authentic. Therefore, I encourage you to honour these men and women of God. Give them gifts, pray for them, assist them in anyway you can. And yes, we should even address them by their titles out of pure respect—if not for them, then for the God who called them into ministry.
Again, I do not promote the self-righteous, egotistical [men] of the cloth who are stuck on their titles, but I do support ministries backed by fruit. Furthermore, the Bible admonishes us, “Render therefore to all their due...honor to whom honor," (Romans 13:7). Therefore we are to honour our men and women of God. Not speak against them, lash out at them, correct them, and certainly not blast them even if they are wrong about a particular thing. That is for God and those they are accountable to discuss and deal with. Not us.
I realise that there has been a serious lack of spiritual fathers and mothers in the Church, but now we’ve recognized that and many are trying to rectify that and re-implement sound teaching to the saints in all matters, including the matter of respect and honour. Is it so hard to honour the men and women God bless to be our pastors and overseers? I think not.