Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 4, 1963

The Spirit Of Elihu

Lew Weldon Meeks

The spirit of Elihu should be the spirit of every servant of God. His was the spirit of humility. His only pride was in his Maker. Hear his solemn prayer: 'Let me not, I pray you, respect any man's person; neither will I give flattering titles unto any man. For I know not to give flattering titles; else would my Maker soon take me away.' Would that all professed followers of Christ had this same feeling today!

Evidently the giving and accepting of flattering titles is a very old practice. It was prevalent several thousand years ago when the above statement was spoken to Job and his three friends. It was prevalent among the 'teaching class' of the Jews in the days of our Lord, when the scribes and Pharisees 'loved the chief place at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and the salutations in the marketplaces, and to be called of men 'Rabbi.'

The word 'rabbi' was the Jewish word for teacher.' The Latin form of the same word, 'doctor,' has persisted to the present day. Till today, the men with the 'proper training' among Jews is called Rabbi'; among the Catholics he is called 'Father'; among us he is called 'Doctor.' The title 'Reverend' is one of a color with the above. Those and any other flattering titles stand or fall together, and they fall before the truth of God's word.

We are all familiar with the Catholic argument 'justifying' their use of the title 'Father.' Have we any better reasoning to justify our use of the term 'Doctor'? We may reason that they use the title in a religious sense, while we use the term 'Doctor' in an educational sense. Brethren, the line thus drawn is very indistinct, especially when we use the term to denote 'religious' speakers, speaking on 'religious' subjects at 'religious' gatherings. Can we deny that when we use the title in referring to our preachers, at least, it has a religious tint?

Of course we realize that we can even use the word 'Brother' as a title, when we use it discriminately; however, when the term is used indiscriminately, to apply equally to every Christian, it will not classify as a flattering title.

Lest we be considered too radical and 'out-of-step' with the times we hasten to offer an illustration and come to a conclusion. Alexander Campbell, whose education and enlightenment, in our opinion, will stand equal to any mere mortal of any age of this world, was never, to our knowledge, called 'Doctor.'

Conclusion: In our religious periodicals and, above all, in the congregations of the Master, may we refer to one another only as brothers and sisters in Christ If we deserve any other title, let us leave it to God to bestow in the world to come, if He so desires.

— Rt. 1, Box 169, Daingerfield, Texas