Pal, you ain't God's anointed.
For starters, since I believe that a vast majority of people in Christendom with titles and "uniforms"are not even true believers (let alone someone with a calling from God) I really couldn't care less about their titles or degrees.
Paul called himself "the least of the apostles," "less than the least of all the saints," and "the chief of sinners." This was the man who was sent to us Gentiles. If any man could take a title it would be Paul, but he did not. We need a little more of that attitude in our pulpits and pews.
And Paul's apostleship was conferred by God. None can claim that today. And although we may call him "the Apostle Paul," he preferred "Paul, an apostle" (used 8x by my count). He also calls himself a "servant" of Christ. Neither is a title. And no man or seminary or council or denomination or board conferred it on him.
Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead)...
All through the Book of Acts, Luke refers to him simply as "Paul." No title. No privilege. Just Paul. Peter calls him "our beloved brother Paul." Not a title, but a relationship.
When Paul had to use his status as a chosen vessel (a status none can claim today), he did it grudgingly and humbly and for the Lord's sake, not his own. God always got the glory.
For while one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not worldly? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom you believed, even as the Lord gave to each one? I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.
-1 Cor 3:4-6
Charles Welch (who had no degree) became E.W. Bullinger's closest confidante as he worked to complete "The Companion Bible." He chose Welch, not because of any religious or educational pedigree, but because in some ways Welch had a better grip on scripture than the world-renowned Greek and Hebrew textual scholar.
- Paul had a religious pedigree.
- EW Bullinger had a pedigree.
- John Darby had a pedigree.
- Charles Chiniquy had a pedigree.
- William Tyndale had a pedigree.
As I note often, show me 10 people with seminary degrees, I'll show you 10 people who can't agree on mode of baptism or the structure of leadership or even on the very question of Christ's finished work.
Titles and degrees mean nothing and they have wreaked more havoc than almost anything else in Christendom. And the worst thing the titles and degrees do is rob men and women (including those with the trinkets) of their responsibility to rightly divide the Word of Truth or to even answer for their crimes.
On that day, no denomination, no church, no board, no council, no catechism, no creed, no pastor, no teacher, no seminary... no one will stand in your stead. There are 7 billion theologies in the world and you are responsible for ONE... your own.... and you will answer for it.
If Paul, a chosen apostle of the risen Christ, took no title and sought no privilege and expected his listeners to test his doctrines (Acts 17:11), then none of us should take a title and we should all take responsibility for our own beliefs before God.
Are titles themselves evil? Of course not. And in terms of order, they may have a place... but in terms of authority, truth, responsibility or trustworthiness? Meaningless and dangerous. The scripture is the final arbiter of truth, not a title or a degree or a backward collar.
"They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’ But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’ [teacher]; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren."