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Too Many "Doctors"?

Discussion in 'Fundamental Baptist Forum' started by Ps104_33, Jul 7, 2008.

  1. ktn4eg

    ktn4eg New Member

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    What my brother AresMan posted reminded me of an incident that occurred way back in 1981 when I was privileged to attend a week's-long seminar/workshop in history at TN Temple Univ. that was led by Dr. Lexie Wiggins.

    At the conclusion, Dr. Wiggins opened it up for a Q&A period, and one of my fellow attendees posed this question to Dr. Wiggins:

    "What exactly is the difference between an 'earned' Dr's degree and an 'honorary' Dr's degree?"

    Before Dr. Wiggins could reply, this attendee went on to add: "I mean, one time I was at this Bible Conference, and it was 'Dr. This' and 'Dr. That'.....More doctors there than at a hospital, and, honestly, I wouldn't have trusted any of them to put a band aid on my finger!!!"

    I don't totally recall what Dr. [an "earned" Dr.!] Wiggins' reply was because I [along w/ all the other attendees] was still visualizing the image that this brother had conjured up for us!!!
     
  2. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K) Well-Known Member

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    Wow! I remember Dr Wiggins. Really enjoyed his classes.

    Okay - back to the topic at hand :)
     
    #22 NaasPreacher (C4K), Aug 9, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 9, 2008
  3. Squire Robertsson

    Squire Robertsson Administrator
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    Ecclesiastical Issues

    On the first page, I mentioned ecclesiastical issues are involved with this problem. The following thoughts are in no-particular order.
    • After dealing with Russians for the last 18 years, I've come to realize how egalitarian Americans are in their thinking. When it comes to church life, many Baptists are not Nicolaitans, rather they're rabid anti-Nicolaitans.
    • On naval ships, there is only one captain (what ever his\her rank on the List), the commanding officer. However, from time to time Army, Air Force, Marine, or other naval (or CG/PHS) captions might be embarked as passengers. The traditional work around is to give them one courtesy bump up in rank. The land\air captains are addressed as Major and the naval captains as Commodore.

      Okay, now what does this have to do with the local Baptist church? :confused:

      To my way of thinking just as there can be only one Capitan of a ship, there can be only one Pastor of a NT assembly. No, I'm not saying there can't be other men with that title in a congregation. I am only saying that their titles are commonly modified by adjectives such as assistant, associate, youth, etc..

      I think using doctor for visiting Pastors, as a courtesy, is a viable alternative. Also, referring to an Evangelist or a Missionary as Evangelist Smith or Missionary Wisnewski sounds like lead to the English speaker ear.
    • Yeah, okay, but why can't why just call them Brother Smith or Brother Wisnewski? To my ear, that construction sounds very Roman\EO Catholic. Is the man a Baptist evangelist or a teacher at Saint Ignatius?
    Properly used, I have no problems with the use of doctor to show respect to one of God's servants. However, problems do arise
    • from puffed up pride by those who demand the title's use.
    • from those who use it as fawning toadies.
    In all, Your Mileage May Vary from mine. The above comes under CAT3 if not CAT truth (please see this Forum's stickies for an explanation of the Categories of Truth).
     
    #23 Squire Robertsson, Aug 9, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 10, 2008
  4. AresMan

    AresMan Active Member
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    I think honorary doctorates should be treated much differently than earned doctorates. An honorary doctorate should not change someone's proper title (unless perhaps if the person is in a convention or a setting in the area of study in which the person's honorary degree applies). When written, there should be a clear distinction between the earned and the honorary:

    Earned:
    Dr. John Smith, D.Min.

    Honorary:
    Mr. John Smith, Hon. D. Div.

    or something like that.

    This is just my opinion. I just don't think that some "bubba" who's given a piece of paper by a small unaccredited Christian "kawledge" should expect the rest of the secular world to address him as "Dr." Maybe he can be called "Dr." in the Christian colleges and churches, but he should not expect to call himself "Dr." at the the doctor's offices, airports, and everywhere else.
     
  5. rdwhite

    rdwhite New Member

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    In a preachers' conference full of doctors, a preacher introduced himself as "intern". When questioned about this he explained, interns go around cleaning up the messes that doctors make.:laugh:

    I also have an issue with the title reverend. I my opinion, "The Lord he is reverend" means that title belongs to him. Besides, I've met many men who use the title and are not.
     
  6. bapmom

    bapmom New Member

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    I haven't read every single one of the posts in the thread, so forgive me if I'm repeating a sentiment already spoken,

    but I believe every one of us ought to have no problem calling any man "doctor" if he has earned the title, either through study or honorable faithful service in the ministry............I also believe any man who has the title "doctor" should be able to handle it if someone does not use his title when addressing him.


    humility and respect
     
  7. rdwhite

    rdwhite New Member

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    Amen, Amen, Amen.:applause:
     
  8. tinytim

    tinytim <img src =/tim2.jpg>

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    Spoken like a true expert...

    Dr. Bapmom!
     
  9. rdwhite

    rdwhite New Member

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    I believe this same sentiment is found among many who work with or in cultures from around the world. American Christians, who have not ministered outside their cultural realm, have become very narrow in their thinking, viewing everything through a filtered and biased mindset, not only in practice but also in theology.
     
  10. Squire Robertsson

    Squire Robertsson Administrator
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    Actually this should read
    many Baptists are not Nicolaitans, they're rabid anti-Nicolaitans.
     
  11. dh1948

    dh1948 Member
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    Inbreeding

    I have particularly noticed that honorary doctorates are passed out pretty often among some Baptist groups. The institutions giving the honorary degrees are usually unaccredited Bible colleges/seminaries. An example would be that of a church that has a Bible "college/seminary" and has maybe 40-50 students or even more. The pastor is awarded an honorary doctorate so he can be the president of the institution. A few of his local pastor peers are invited to server on the staff and/or faculty. The next thing you know, the school is conferring honorary doctorates on all of them. It looks good in the school catalog.

    Sometime it is a buddy system. "If you preach at my college's commencement this year we will give you an honorary doctorate if you will let me preach at your college next year and give me an honorary degree." Those words are not spoken, but I think they are understood.

    I use to read The Church Bus News. Often a few pages were ads from churches. It was rare to find one that did not have a "Doctor" as a pastor. Some of the pastors appeared to be in their early 20's. I always found it comical.

    It would be interesting to conduct a survey among Baptists of all stripes to determine how many pastors have honorary doctorates.

    I might add that many of the earned doctorates that are conferred by some of the Baptist schools are a sham. Recently I received a resume from a pastor who had such a degree. He was seeking to change pastorates. The resume was filled with grammatical errors...I don't mean just typos, but gross mistakes. I edited it and sent it back to him. He reluctantly changed some of the sentence structures to make it readable.

    Just my two-cents worth.
     
  12. Gregory Perry Sr.

    Gregory Perry Sr. Active Member

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    Dr.Onion...lol

    I sat under the ministry of the late Bro.Lester Roloff (wonderful man of God)back in the early 80's as a participant in his City of Refuge home in Corpus Christi,Texas and was there during the time frame that BJU conferred an honorary doctorate on him(which he graciously accepted). In honor of that the girls in the Rebekah Home prepared a banner that they hung in the church prior to his return from that trip that read"Welcome Home Dr. Roloff". That night in church he strode into the building,looked up and read the banner,stepped up to the pulpit,shook his head slightly,chuckled mildly,and said....as close as I can remember..."calling ME Dr. is a bit like putting whipped cream ON AN ONION"....the place fell apart! :laugh: He was either Brother Roloff...or Uncle Rollie...but he was special and he was much loved. The man had a heart to help all those that he could and while he was wrong(I believe) on the dietary stuff he believed all should practice(it WAS good for him),he was otherwise a man of exceptional faith. I still love hearing his preaching on the "Family Altar" broadcasts on our local Christian radio stations. It was there that I came to an unshakable faith in the perfection of the Word of God...and the God of the Word.

    Blessings In Christ,:godisgood: Greg Perry Sr.
     
  13. bapmom

    bapmom New Member

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    Gregory, what a neat story about Brother Roloff! :) I have always wished that I could have heard him speak or met him at least once before he went to Heaven.


    As to what others have said, it seems that there are so many who have a prejudice against anything "unaccredited"....as if we need or should be getting the state's approval for what we are teaching in our Bible colleges. Yes I know there are Christian accreditation boards, but those are controversial too, and I suppose if a college isn't accredited by the particular board that a person approves of then that'll be a complaint as well. We don't need the world's approval in order to provide a quality education and produce men and women who are prepared to go into the ministry. I thank God for all the little Bible colleges and institutions that are starting up across our country! Amen for them! The more there are then the more men there will be going out and starting new churches in our country.

    If they feel like conferring an honorary doctorate on various men they admire, good for them in showing honor to men to whom it is due. I'm not going to sit here and just assume that it's a "buddy system", or go around trying to figure out who is "honorary" versus who got their doctorate through a college course. I believe we spend too much time here worrying about other people's business, fretting over whether that man ought to call himself a doctor or not, or whether they 'really' deserved it. Mind your own tasks...........God gave those to you to mind.......let other men deal with the issues on their own rug...you deal with your rug.
     
  14. Pipedude

    Pipedude Active Member

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    If someone is a great patriot and lover of the military, can we call him a veteran? No, because he isn't. It's a great honor to be called a veteran, but it is nonsense to bestow the title on those who are not such.

    "Doctor" doesn't mean "great guy." It is an academic rank. There are plenty of great guys who are brilliant and faithful, but who never served in the military and who never climbed in the ranks of academe. You don't call them veterans or doctors or kings or electricians unless they are such.

    An honorary doctorate is good for as long as the ceremony and surrounding events last. When the party's over, so is the title. The exception is when the title is needed for one's job, the most common instance being that of a college president.

    I remember reading long ago that Ann Landers had been given piles of honorary doctorates throughout her long career, but she said she would never think of using such a title in day-to-day life. It's just honorary.

    If somebody confers an Honorary Letter Carrier degree on me because "When you give Pipedude a task, he delivers!," I'm not going to go around expecting people to call me "Mailman Harry" (or whatever my real name is).

    I have seen some instances where laymen with earned doctorates were addressed as "doctor" within the church without them desiring it. Since they were not acting as doctors in the church, the term seemd a little out of place to me, and I got the distinct impression that the pastor was calling them such in order to give the church a bit of prestige. "We have PhDs in our little church." That's one danger to watch out for.

    --
    Rev. Dr. Pipedude
     
  15. Havensdad

    Havensdad New Member

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    What if a U.S. citizen, who was not "officially" in the military, took up a gun overseas and saved a bunch of marines? And he got shot in the head, and lost his eyesight in the process? Would the fact that he is "officially" not part of the military, disqualify him?

    Many times, honorary degrees are given to people who have, in effect, earned them, but were not doing their research and writing as part of an official "class".
     
  16. DHK

    DHK <b>Moderator</b>

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    usually unaccredited Bible college/Seminary...

    I think you assume too much here.
    Need I remind you that for years BJU was unaccredited for years. Just very recently did it accept accreditation.
    The same holds true for MBBC in Wisconsin.
    Unaccreditation doesn't hold a lot of water when it comes to the quality of education. There may be good reasons why a school may choose to be unaccredited. There was a time that choice was made simply out of a conviction that the church must be separate from the state, and that held true for the Bible college as well.

    The acceptance of an honorary degree from an unaccredited Bible College may be just as valid, if not more, than from one that is accredited.
     
  17. StefanM

    StefanM Well-Known Member
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    Yes. He would be a hero, but not a veteran of the US Military. He would not qualify for the Silver Star or the Purple Heart.
     
  18. StefanM

    StefanM Well-Known Member
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    I just think if we're going to be called by our degree titles, we should go all the way.

    Call your pastor with an MDiv "Master!"
     
  19. Don

    Don Well-Known Member
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    There was a group of men who took up arms against an enemy; they stated that enemy encroached upon their people, against their very way of life. By killing the enemy, they saved their people.

    Because they were members of Al Qaeda, or Hamas, we call them terrorists, not veterans.
     
  20. exscentric

    exscentric Well-Known Member
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    "Call your pastor with an MDiv "Master!""

    Or better yet, divine :thumbs:

    Always amazes me how many without a lot of education look up their nose and how many with lots of education look down theirs, one in disgust at the much and the other in disgust at the less when we all stand as individuals before the same Lord. Really!
     
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