Is It Just Me, But I Call Them "DR." Anyway.

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by TCGreek, Jun 24, 2007.

  1. TCGreek

    TCGreek
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    Whether a person has an honorary doctorate, a unaccredited doctorate or an accredited doctorate, I call them doctor anyway.

    But I have read where some questioned whether someone with an honorary doctorate should be called "Dr."
     
  2. John of Japan

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    I'm with you, TC--that is, if the holder of the honorary doctorate is worthy of the honor.

    "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine" (1 Tim. 5:17). I think we've all known Ph. D.'s not worthy of honor, and humble pastors worthy of honor.

    I tend to think that we IFB's get a bad rap here sometimes. I've known far more IFB pastors with honorary doctorates who didn't "use them" or didn't make a big deal of them, than I've known men with honorary doctorates who insisted on being called "Dr."

    Having said that, I have been corresponding with a seminary prof recently about my son's wish to get his Ph. D. at their seminary, and the entrance requirements there are very stringent. I have high respect for anyone who has a genuine earned doctorate, just as I have high respect for someone awarded an honorary doctorate who deserves honor after decades of faithful ministry.
     
  3. EdSutton

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    I do not always call one with a Doctorate, either honorary or earned, "Dr." especially when I know them as close personal friends, where I call them usually, by their first names, or the title I've always known them by. However, I would usually introduce them to another as "Dr." so and so. This is not intended slight on my part, at all. I am probably one of only two or three members of my own local church who addresses my own pastor, Dr. Jerry Browning (yes, the Doctorate is earned) as "Jerry", or occasionally as "Preacher", as he and I are friends and schoolmates from high school days forty years ago. He is usually addressed by the majority of the members as "Bro. Jerry" and I am not aware of any who address him in conversation or speak of him as "Dr. Jerry" or "Dr. Browning", except maybe in formal persentations. And the church marquee and the bulletins both list him as 'Pastor, Dr. Jerry Browning'.

    (The same for another half-dozen individuals I have been schoolmates of and known for some forty plus years, including a couple in the academic world.) I've even said, jokingly, "We've known each other since you were just plain 'Jerry'." To me, the giving over to the title, is far less important than to acknowledge the continuing friendship and brother or sister hood. But maybe that is just me. I would not be offended in any way, regardless, were it me. And if one of them ever requested that they be addressed by some title they had, I would do it, out of respect. But so far, none ever have. Addressing a large audience, I would use the title, since I would not know everyone in the audience, again, out of respect.

    And as John of Japan has said, I have never personally met anyone who 'demanded' that they be addressed as Doctor, or seen one that was offended if not addressed that way. I'm sure there are some, but fortunately I guess, I've never had the displeasure of meeting any of them. :laugh: :laugh:

    And I don't differentiate between one earned, honorary, or "unaccredited", either in this, or even whether or not I personally think someone is 'worthy'. For there, I could be wrong, in my judgment.

    Ed
     
    #3 EdSutton, Jun 25, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 25, 2007
  4. Squire Robertsson

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    I believe the "Dr." problem arises from a hole in some Baptist dialects of the English language.

    Let me walk you through the problem.

    A pastor is away from his church for many and various good reasons. How is he to be styled?

    Brother . . . sounds RCC.

    Reverend Surname sounds clerical and Protestant.

    Pastor Surname especially in another church sounds to some as presumptous. Traditionally, when army, marine and air force "captains" are embarked on naval vessals, they get an honorary promtion to "major." Why? Because, on a naval vessal there is only one Captain.

    So, many use the title "Doctor" as a workaround.
     
  5. John of Japan

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    Interesting point of view, Squire! So the obvious solution is to give the Dr. title at ordination! :thumbs: :smilewinkgrin:
     
  6. mcdirector

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    Didn't we used to call them Brother? When I was a kid, calling them Brother Paul, Brother Bob, Brother Bill was much more prevalent than it is today.
     
  7. Martin

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    ==I will call someone "Dr" if they have an honorary degree as long as the honorary is from an accredited university. I use the same principle with those folks who have earned doctorates from non-accredited schools. If their doctorate is from a respectable school yes, if it is from a obvious degree-mill then no.

    As for people with earned doctorates (from accredited schools). Since I work at a university and attend graduate school at that same university I am around PhDs all day. Many of them are great people who I have no trouble calling "Dr.....". There are a few of them, however, that I would like to call some other name. The term lazy comes to mind for some of them, others are just beyond understanding. One lady professor I have come to know is as sweet as she can be. However they need to take her computer away from her, pass a law forbiding her from coming within ten feet of a computer, and force her to write with paper/pencil for the rest of her life. Microsoft Word and email causes this lady problems you would not believe. I could understand it if she was an older lady but she is not that old. This woman has two master degrees and a doctorate. How she did it I will never know. I call all of them "Dr" at work. Away from work/school however things are much less formal with most of them.
     
  8. mcdirector

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    My post was in response to Squires. I forgot to use the quote.
     
  9. TCGreek

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    That's a reasonable approach. Good principle to adopt. Yes, I will have a problem calling some "Drs" from unethical diploma mills/degree mills. I remember reading somewhere, where LBU award the then attorney general Ashcrott an honorary doctorate. From what I have read about LBU, I don't think I will have a problem with that.

    Schools like Liberty or Southern seminary, there's no questioning what they award. But good principle, all together:thumbs:
     
    #9 TCGreek, Jun 26, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 26, 2007
  10. mcdirector

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    Wouldn't we already be wondering about pastors and collegues who accepted "degrees" from obvious degree mills anyway?
     
  11. TCGreek

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    True! True! We will.
     
  12. Ed Edwards

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    There are two ways to get a Dr. Degree:

    1. Work for it for 20 years or so (including Grammar
    School, Common School, College, University/Seminary, etc.)

    2. Earn millions of dollars, establish a College, University,
    or Seminary, etc. and have them give you an honorary
    degree.

    IMHO either should be honored with the title "Doctor".
     
    #12 Ed Edwards, Jun 26, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 26, 2007
  13. rbell

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    guess I'll never get to that point.

    I prefer folks calling me by my first name. Our whole staff does.

    Great story:

    One of my former pastors, who had a D.Min, overheard his then 5 year-old daughter talking with a friend, whose dad was a pharmacist:

    Friend: My daddy's a pharmacist. He helps people get better.
    Daughter: My daddy's a pastor. He's a doctor, too! But he's not the kind of doctor that helps anybody.

    That took care of any self-importance that the degree would've got him! :laugh:
     
  14. Squire Robertsson

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    It's a matter of local custom and dialect. To me a San Franciscan, Brother Paul sounds like the man works for the Archbishop.
     
  15. mcdirector

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    In the South, I used to hear it a lot. When I was a kid, I called all my pastors Bro. so-n-so (nicely of course). I don't hardly hear it at all anymore. But we do toss it around some here on the BB.
     
  16. TCGreek

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    Sure thing! But what about the unethical approach? Unless, we have settled that.
     
  17. Ed Edwards

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    There ain't nothin' unethical about donating $Millions to
    educational charity(ies).
     
  18. TomVols

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    Remember that not all unaccredited work is necessarily illegitimate. There are some good unaccredited seminaries out there, and I have no problem calling their grads Dr because they did the work.
     
  19. TCGreek

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    I didn't mean that it was unethical to donate money to a school. I was referring to obvious degree mills, which are designed to scam or something of that nature. Sorry you misunderstood me.

    One of the schools I went to, a graduate donate $4 Million to aid in the building of a business wing. I am not against that at all.
     

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