"Bedoctored And Bedoctored"
Jesus expressed the thought in these words: "But be not ye called Rabbi; for one is your teacher, and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father on the earth: for one is your Father, even he who is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your master, even the Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be humbled; and whosoever shall humble himself shall be exalted." (Matt. 23:8-12)
We have no qualms against any man or woman earning any degree. We have always believed in the attainment of a proper education. But for any person to use his degree (or allow others to use it) in a religious connotation (or as a religious designation), we believe to be a clear violation of the plain teaching of Christ.
More and more we are observing the title "doctor" used by members of the church in reference to members of the church in a religious sense, and I suppose it is employed in order to impress the world with "our educated image."
"What then is Apollos? and what is Paul? (And what is any preacher today?) Ministers through whom ye believed; and each as the Lord gave to him. I planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase." (I Cor. 3:5-7) This humility is absent in some quarters today.
The following interesting and humorous quotation expresses our point very well. This was written by one who signed his name simply: "Anti-Doctor," and it appeared in "The Christian Baptist" of August, 1826. We quote:
"Sir, I beg leave to call your attention to a subject which belongs to a religious newspaper and which is gradually drawing the attention of the public. I refer to the practice of conferring the degree of Doctor of Divinity. The intention of this degree is to mark out those of the profession who have become eminent in it. Now I doubt the wisdom of this contrivance, even on the supposition of its original object being adhered to, for eminent men mark themselves out, and I know of no person in the community fit to be trusted with the office of putting the seal of merit on their contemporaries...Let the doctor insert his D.D. into the title page of his published sermons, or of his body or corpse of divinity; but let him not be doctored in common discourse. Ministers, though bound to singular simplicity and unostentatiousness, are the only men in the community addressed by a title implying superiority. This ought not to be. We have other men addressed as judges, captains and generals; but these titles express offices which, the individuals bear, and carry no intimation of eminence in his profession. But doctor, when applied to a minister, means that he is a wiser man than his brethren. Now I hold this to be inconsistent with the modesty of religion and the courtesy of refined life: the fundamental law of politeness is to waive distinctions and to relieve others from a sense of inferiority.
The custom of bedoctoring men in common conversation is, in some circumstances, very offensive. It has been my lot to see a minister, with the glossy cheek of youth, sitting next to an apostolic man, who was fighting the battles of religion, while the youth by his side, was riding sticks in the nursery, and I have heard the young divine bedoctored and bedoctored till I was tired of the sound, whilst the white headed veteran was accosted the plain mister. Now this is not in harmony in our boasted refinement and civility. If we must have the doctorship let it be reserved for the college catalogue and for books, and I suspect that the honour, like other pageantry, will be worth more by being kept more out of sight... The usage, though not bad enough to shake our nerves, is one of which we shall do well to rid ourselves. It does no good — it does some harm. It is not very consistent with the spirit of Christianity or politeness. Let it go down with other Gothic usages. We have weaknesses enough of our own, without perpetuating those of our fathers.-
ANTI-DOCTOR — ("The Christian Baptist," Vollv,Aug,1826,pp.20-22)
I thought the following sentence was especially humorous and very well said: "It has been my lot to see a minister, with the glossy cheek of youth, sitting next to an apostolic man, who was fighting the battles of religion, while the youth by his side, was riding sticks in the nursery, and I have heard the young divine bedoctored and bedoctored till I was tired of the sound, whilst the white headed veteran was accosted the plain mister."
How we need more of the "plain misters!" Study II Cor. 10:12-17.
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