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  1. #1
    bing is offline Registered User
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    Dr title for pastoral types

    I was looking up John Hagee the other day and see/hear that he goes by "Dr. Hagee". When I looked him up I see that he has no earned doctorate. Instead, he has an honorary doctor degree from Oral Roberts, and another one from Netanya.

    Do pastoral people always use the doctor title, even if it is honorary? Maybe it is just this guy. The pastor of my church is a PhD from George Mason but I never even knew it until just recently. He just goes by Steve, or Pastor Steve.
    -Continual Learner-
    1 Jn 4:7

  2. #2
    Ted Heiks is offline Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member
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    Re: Dr title for pastoral types

    Originally posted by bing
    I was looking up John Hagee the other day and see/hear that he goes by "Dr. Hagee". When I looked him up I see that he has no earned doctorate. Instead, he has an honorary doctor degree from Oral Roberts, and another one from Netanya.

    Do pastoral people always use the doctor title, even if it is honorary? Maybe it is just this guy. The pastor of my church is a PhD from George Mason but I never even knew it until just recently. He just goes by Steve, or Pastor Steve.
    Sometimes, preachers style themselves as "doctor" regardless of whether they have the earned doctorate. This is used as a term of respect because "doctor" is Latin for "teacher " which is "rabbi" in Hebrew. This, I seem to remember being told, is particularly true of black churches.
    Referring to onesself as "doctor" because of an honorary doctorate is perfectly legitimate, so long as one notes the honorary nature of the degree on resumes or on flyleafs of one's book, etc.

    Examples:

    Resume:
    PhD (Hon.), Oral Roberts University

    Flyleaf:
    "Dr. So and So has an honorary doctorate from Such and Such Seminary."
    Theo the Educated Derelict
    BA, History/Political Science, Western State College of Colorado, 1984
    MBA, Entrepreneurship, City University of Seattle, 1992
    MBA, Marketing, City University of Seattle, 1993

    Politics is made from two words: "poly" meaning "many" and "ticks" meaning "blood-sucking insects."

  3. #3
    Howard is offline Registered User
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    I would probably faint if I heard a member of my church refer to me as "Dr." From the age of being able to communicate to the age of senility they call me Howard. In a meeting of presbytery one minister said to me "did that child just call you Howard?" to which I answered, "Yes, I have a really good relationship with our youth and they feel comfortable calling me Howard." He, to this day, insists that it is disrespectful and everyone in the church should refer to me either as "Dr., Rev., Pastor, or Bro.", none of which really appeal to me.

    About the only time I am referred to as Dr. is if the accrediting body for hospitals is present and I am introduced to a member of the committee or if I am introduced to a member of SACS when they visit the community college where I am adjunct faculty.
    Howard Rodgers
    BS/MBA Univ of Ala at Bham
    AA Faulkner Univ
    BA Univ of the State of NY (Excelsior)
    MA Liberty University
    PhD Capella Univ

  4. #4
    uncle janko is offline member
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    neither a jot nor a title

    Yeah. I'm with Howard (minus the doc). It cracks me up when clergy sit around playing catch with their own titles. Honorific self-abuse, IMHO.

    My parishioners mostly use title and last name with me. A few just call me Janko. For no particular reason, I just hate "Pastor Janko" (pietist-style) and dislike "Father Janko" (sehr alt altlutherisch style). Pastor or Father alone don't bug me at all. Go figure.

    I don't use titles in vocally addressing fellow WELS clergy.

    I do use them scrupulously with clergy and other notables from other religions. (Except Friends, of course.)

    Fraternal courtesy in the first case (except in jest, would you call your blood brother for example Brother Ovidiu or Brother Traian?); professional courtesy in the second (sociological respect is different from acceptance of truth claims or ecclesiastical legitimacy).

    One wonders what Doc Martin--or Finis Ewing--would think of these Titelfresser.
    No, actually, I think I pretty well know.

  5. #5
    boydston is offline Registered User
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    The first time someone introduced me as Dr Boydston was at Dallas Theological Seminary where I was doing a guest lecture -- and I totally cracked up because everyone pretty much simply refers to me as "Brad" (rarely "Pastor" -- hardly ever "Reverend") -- it caught me way off guard. It wouldn't throw me as much now but really I don't use it. It just seems inappropriate, unnecessary, and ostentatious.

    Occasionally the "Dr" appears in some literature we put out. That appeases the older generation which seems to be more into titles. Such was also the case in Texas where it seemed to matter to people a whole lot more. In their minds it somehow added credibility to the church (and when you're doing a church plant credibility can be a big thing). So there are probably regional and cultural differences to take into account.

    I believe it was Mark Twain who said something to the effect (anything clever gets attributed to him at some point), "an honorary doctorate is like silk underwear -- nice to wear but you wouldn't want to put it on display." I think that in most contexts that would apply to all doctorates -- or perhaps even college degrees in general. Sure, put it on the resume -- but if we're flaunting what we have we're taking ourselves way too seriously.

    There are places where it might be appropriate and might actually help the cause. But generally speaking to attribute a title to self -- earned or honorary -- seems tacky.
    Brad Boydston
    [URL=http://boydston.us]boydston.us[/URL]

  6. #6
    badproduce is offline Registered User
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    Re: neither a jot nor a title

    Originally posted by uncle janko
    Yeah. I'm with Howard (minus the doc). It cracks me up when clergy sit around playing catch with their own titles. Honorific self-abuse, IMHO.

    My parishioners mostly use title and last name with me. A few just call me Janko. For no particular reason, I just hate "Pastor Janko" (pietist-style) and dislike "Father Janko" (sehr alt altlutherisch style). Pastor or Father alone don't bug me at all. Go figure.

    I don't use titles in vocally addressing fellow WELS clergy.

    I do use them scrupulously with clergy and other notables from other religions. (Except Friends, of course.)

    Fraternal courtesy in the first case (except in jest, would you call your blood brother for example Brother Ovidiu or Brother Traian?); professional courtesy in the second (sociological respect is different from acceptance of truth claims or ecclesiastical legitimacy).

    One wonders what Doc Martin--or Finis Ewing--would think of these Titelfresser.
    No, actually, I think I pretty well know.
    I agree with your take. I myself have served as a minister/youth pastor in
    a small church plant.I wouldn't
    dream of anyone calling me anything
    but "Sean".(I can tolerate Pastor Sean,as I call my own Pastors Pastor
    Mark,Lawrence,or Phil as a sign of
    respect.)

    The only time I use my ordained title is
    when filling out official paperwork.

  7. #7
    SteveFoerster is offline Resident Gadfly
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    My sister is a Methodist minister, and senior pastor at her church. I've seen her referred to exclusively as "Pastor Abi" since she got out of seminary with her MDiv. I've never seen her referred to in print or person as "Doctor".

    -=Steve=-
    BS, Info Sys concentration, Charter Oak State College
    MA in Educational Tech, George Washington University
    PhD in Leadership, U. of the Cumberlands (in progress)
    More at http://stevefoerster.com

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  9. #8
    Guest
    When I function professionally as a clergyperson, I am referred to as "Chaplain" and occasionally as "Father". The only time someone uses "Dr." is when the refer to me in a letter/e-mail or on other correspondence. In my secular job, my superior began to call me "Dr." or "Doc" but it did not fit and I discouraged it. Using that title would have to be a formal setting where others were being called "Mr." or "Ms".

    As for honorary degrees, I dislike the use of the term "Dr." when they have a D.D (Doctor of Divinity). One Canon of the church jokily called the DD (he had been given one) Donated Dignity.

    It is a stylistic thing. Some denominations preach in their academic robes and use those titles. Also, frequently among mainline denominations (UMC, S. Baptists) in order to get the large churches you must have an earned doctorate (PhD, DMin). My opinion is that this is as much as desire of the local church boards to have the prestige of having a pastor who is "Dr. Smith". This is a case where I have seen the pastor referred to as "Dr." by members of the congregation and in written literature. In my expereince this is very common among S.Baptist (First Baptist) and UMC congregations. Frankly some people (not always the pastor) want the feeling that comes with knowing their pastor is a "Dr." and that they know him. Similar reason that Steve Levicoff's doorman refused to call him Steve. He wanted to know a "Dr.".

    North (just call me your emminence.......every year I get more so...pound by pound :-)

  10. #9
    Guest

    Re: Dr title for pastoral types

    Originally posted by bing
    Do pastoral people always use the doctor title, even if it is honorary?
    Using academic nomenclature in the parish setting is really a matter of preference. Although I earned the degrees, I never introduce myself as "Dr." or sign my name with the title, however, in professional correspondence, academic settings and church publications the title is included in the printed sig line and bio information. Nor do I use the title of "Reverend." Parishioners address me as either "Pastor," some use "Dr.," or Russell.

    IMHO, the use of the title "Dr." by those who hold honorary doctorates, without designating the "certificate of appreciation" as such is somewhat questionable--even unethical. Politicians, entertainers, sports figures, scientists, etc., receive honorary doctorates every year. None of these individuals begin to refer to themselves as "Dr." after being awarded this "certificate of appreciation." The same protocol should be followed among clergypersons.

    I received an award from the Governor of North Carolina several years ago for driving a school bus (fortunately it was only for one year) for the local elementary school. This was done to defray the cost of my doctoral studies. At the top of the paper it reads, "Certificate of Appreciation." IMHO, this honorary award is the equivalent of an honorary doctorate, i.e., both are honorary awards. Should I begin to include this in my sig line, church publications, etc., and refer to myself as "CoA Russell?" ;)

  11. #10
    Bill Grover is offline Registered User
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    Perhaps in a few years I will get over my vanity. But for now in some social circles which are ecclesiastical and/or educational I do not at all mind being called "Dr." --in fact, God forgive me, it sounds good.

    Of course, in contexts where the title is less meaningful , I see no need for it.

    I don't perceive why being called "Dr" because I have a Theological doctorate is inappropriate if we call those who have that qualification in other disciplines "Dr."
    www.otsweb.org/

    Assistant Professor of Theological Studies and Director of Distance Education, Faith Seminary, Salem.

    Doctor of Theology, The University of Zululand...Th.M. , M.Div. (Equivalency), Western Seminary...MA in Religion, Point Loma Nazarene University...ThB , BA, in Bible, Linda Vista Baptist...Teaching Credentials: The University of San Diego (English)... Oregon State University (Special Ed.).

  12. #11
    Guest
    Originally posted by North
    North (just call me your emminence.......
    But this sounds so much more dignified, North:

    Distuinguised Graduate with Highest Honors North. :D

  13. #12
    Guest
    Originally posted by Bill Grover
    I don't perceive why being called "Dr" because I have a Theological doctorate is inappropriate if we call those who have that qualification in other disciplines "Dr."
    Nor do I Bill, if the credential is earned.......

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