When Joseph was raised from imprisoned slave to second in command in Egypt, what credentials did he claim to Pharaoh?  None, actually.  As the story is told, he did not even apply for the job.  The Pharaoh saw that he had the wisdom and integrity to do the job and so gave it to him.

It seems to me that exhibiting traits like wisdom and integrity are much more important than any credentials one might claim. I have educational degrees and titles given to me by my church, but I hope that people see some wisdom and integrity also.  Who I am is more important than the framed proclamations on my study walls.

With this in mind, I have become very skeptical of those who claim titles like apostle or prophet, who claim to represent Jesus although they act nothing like the man who claimed only the title Son of Man.

Jesus was addressed as Rabbi and Master because he fulfilled those roles well.  They were titles given to him.  He did not have to tell people to address him as such.

When someone has to remind people often of their “apostleship” and uses that self-proclaimed status as a basis for having a greater authority than others, then those who hear need to be wary.

The writer of the book of James in Christian Scripture says “the wisdom that comes from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy.” (Jas. 3:17)  These are the traits that should be in the person who claims the wisdom, not just in what that person admonishes others to be.

“Without a trace of partiality” means that the “apostle” should not be telling people to love only a certain group but hate others.  If I find an apostle that truly exhibits the wisdom from above, then I’d be willing to listen.  Until then, don’t tell me your credentials, show me the image of God in you, for my God is loving to all.

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