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Priesthood, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III

110- Why Address The Clergy my lord


Question (2)

Why Address The Clergy my lord

Why do we address some clergy as Rabbi My lord? While we have one Lord God. Who said:

(Mat 23:8) "But you, do not be called 'Rabbi'; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren.



[1] The Lord Jesus Uttered These Words to Criticise The Pride of the Pharisees And The Scribes.

(Mat 23:6-8) "They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, {7} "greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, 'Rabbi, Rabbi.' {8} "But you, do not be called 'Rabbi'; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren.

He said this to abolish the leadership and control of the Scribes and Pharisees, who were focused on self-glory in preparation for the new church leadership, as we have discussed this issue before here on in other sections.

[2] This He said to His Disciples only and not to the general public.

(Mat 23:8-10) "But you, do not be called 'Rabbi'; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. {9} "Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. {10} "And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. Image: An icon of Saint Timothy the Bishop. صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: أيقونة القديس تيموثاوس الأسقف. Image: An icon of Saint Timothy the Bishop.

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: أيقونة القديس تيموثاوس الأسقف.

Here He commanded His disciples not to call anyone father or teacher since the disciples and their successors were to become the fathers and teachers of all.

[3] The title of lordship was Granted to Man since the beginning since man was crated in the image and likeness of God.

(Gen 1:28) Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."

God even said before the creation of Man:

(Gen 1:26) Let Us make man in Our image, according to

Our likeness; let them have dominion

Man being in the image of God, is a lord and master. He is Gods vicar on earth. Mans lordship does not contradict Gods Lordship or sovereignty.

It is a God given gift, and never in contention with God, but it must be exercised in humility.

[4] Here We Have The Clear Example Of Joseph

God granted Joseph the title of lordship, superiority and fatherhood all at once. But Josephs humility was evident in all his dealings.

(Gen 45:8) "So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.

There are many other examples, where God made His children lords and masters, without them losing their humility and modesty.

[5] Is It not Wonderful how God Made Joseph lord Over Egypt? What About Moses

(Exo 7:1) So the LORD said to Moses: "See, I have made you as God to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet.

(Exo 4:16) "So he shall be your spokesman to the people. And he himself shall be as a mouth for you, and you shall be to him as God.

Naturally Moses was not divine, as divinity is Gods alone. But Moses was made superior in great splendour and glory. This is the same Moses whom God described in great detail.

(Num 12:6-8) Then He said, "Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream. {7} Not so with My servant Moses; He is faithful in all My house. {8} I speak with him face to face, Even plainly, and not in dark sayings; And he sees the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid To speak against My servant Moses?"

[6] Also We Learn From The Lordship And Superiority Granted To Jacob

(Gen 27:29) Let peoples serve you, And nations bow down to you. Be master over your brethren, And let your mother's sons bow down to you. Cursed be everyone who curses you, And blessed be those who bless you!"

This is a great display of lordship and superiority, but it was always mixed with humility. The bowing (prostration) to Jacob, was not to worship, but rather as a sign of respect and awe.

Here we see Jacobs humility when he met his brother:

(Gen 33:3) Then he crossed over before them and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.

[7] Hence, The Lordship And Superiority Of The Priesthood Does Not Obstruct Humility

Yes the bishop is Gods vicar.

(Titus 1:7) For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money,

So all respect is offered to the bishop for his office and his standing. Especially by laying on of hands, he grants the Holy Spirit.

Hence the lordship is for the purpose of order in the church and it not a form of suppression of others as was the case with the scribes and the Pharisees.

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