"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
2 Peter 3:9
Why Are Christians Respecting Persons?
Christopher J. E. Johnson
Published: April, 2012
Updated: Nov 10, 2015
CLICK HERE to follow along this article with our audio Bible study on this topic.

Outside of lying, respecting persons is possibly one of the most destructive sins within the Body of Christ, very commonly committed by Christians, but it is so rarely acknowledged or talked about in churches, due to ignorance of how it is defined in Scripture. The average Christian believes he/she doesn't commit this sin because the only preaching we ever hear about it from the pulpit is concerning the way someone dresses, but respecting persons applies to much more than that.

My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.
-James 2:1

The first thing we need to recognize is that respecting persons is SIN, not just something frowned upon, and is directly related to faith in Jesus Christ. The great commandment of loving God, and thy neighbor as thyself (Mat 22:36-40), cannot be kept if Christians are respecting persons.

If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
-James 2:8-10

I've known many Christians who have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, but do so with respect of persons, and even though they will argue with me to say that they don't judge a man by the way he dresses, they so often turn around and judge a man by his title, or by the way he speaks. There are many more Scriptures that describe the various styles of respecting persons, and not only do those who do the respecting sin, but those who receive the respecting sin in deception and pride.
(The Apostles and early Christians did NOT use titles of any kind. Read "Reverend is an Unbiblical Title" here at creationliberty.com for more details.)

Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.
-Acts 10:34-35

According to this verse, those who transgress as givers or receivers of this sinful respect do not have the fear of God working in them properly. They might say that they do, but in their hearts they do not.

This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
-Matthew 15:9

This is obviously not a small, side-matter in the Bible. God takes this very seriously.

For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward:
-Deuteronomy 10:17

For there is no respect of persons with God.
-Romans 2:11

The Pharisees were men who desired respect to their personage. They loved their social status more than the truth.

Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets.
-Luke 11:43

pharisee (n): One of a sect among the Jews, whose religion consisted in a strict observance of rites and ceremonies and of the traditions of the elders, and whose pretended holiness led them to separate themselves as a sect
(See 'pharisee', American Dictionary of the English Language, Noah Webster, 1828, retrieved Jan 27, 2014 [webstersdictionary1828.com])

When the Pharisees would walk through town, they loved to be respected for their status. It's similar to when a Catholic priest walks around in his black suit and secretly loves for people to call him "father." (even though the Bible says call no man father in the spiritual sense -- Mat 23:9) They love to have their grand seats in the most honorable and respected positions within their places of worship (synagogues) because they feed off of the respect and adoration people give to their elevated status, and sadly, this deceptive and prideful habit of respecting persons is replicated by pastors and ministers all across America.
(Read "Corruptions of Christianity: Catholicism" here at creationliberty.com for more details.

(Hagee teaches bilions of years of evolution in his ministry.)

I've seen a number of Christians rush to Hagee's defense, claiming that they're just giving them positions of honor, and they'll quote from Romans 13:

Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.
-Romans 13:7

This verse is not talking about pastors and ministers; it's talking about government leaders and judges who are put in place for the punishment of evil-doers. But many so-called "Christians" are forced to take this verse out of its context to attempt justifying their sin.
(Read "Should Christians Submit to Government?" here at creationliberty.com for more details.)

And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
-Luke 16:15

I am not aware of one Christian who has not been guilty of giving (or receiving) respect of persons. For example, when a man is called the "pastor" of a church building, immediately, a certain level of awe is granted to him, demonstrated by the attitudes of those around him. It is a form of worship and fear of man, rather than God.

Christians are typically unwilling to admit the infallibility they attribute to the men they respect (pastors, doctors, etc), and many preachers and evangelists have fallen into the lust - to their love of the respect that increases their fame and fortune.

And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow... And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them... He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.
-Matthew 13:3-22

Many of those who lead in church buildings today are seeds among the thorns, false converts who choke the word, abusing it among believers to make merchandise of them.

And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
-2 Peter 2:3

And the crazy part about this is that the lukewarm Laodecian no-backbone "Christians" today not only allow these wicked men to make merchandise of them, but they are so brainwashed in the fear of man, that they DEMAND to pay someone a paycheck to rule over them in the church. As we documented in our article "Is Tithing a Christian Requirement?," over 70% of pastors of evangelical churches polled said that they didn't study the Bible on a regular basis, and at least 50% said they would leave ministry, but they have no other way of making a living. The same respect of persons the people gave to the Pharisees is the same respect of persons we now have in the typical church building today, and our Lord Jesus warned us about them:

Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
-Matthew 16:12

I've personally seen far too many churches today in which a preacher is more or less putting on a show for an audience, but the Bible gives us sufficient warning not to be deceived by performances.

Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts; Which devour widows' houses, and for a shew make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation.
-Luke 20:46

(Mark Henton making a show of prayer to a church congregation.)

I guarantee the pastor in the video does NOT perform like that when he's alone in his closet. He's making a show for men, and the men of the church dare not question him because he's got a title called "pastor."

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
-Matthew 6:5-7

The people in that church pay no attention to the warnings of God's Word on these matters because they fear men more than God.

The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.
-Proverbs 29:25

These people claim they love the Lord Jesus Christ, but they ignore his word to pay tribute to a man that puts on a long entertaining charismatic show to earn a paycheck.

To have respect of persons is not good: for for a piece of bread that man will transgress.
-Proverbs 28:21

They attempt to justify themselves by the "feelings" they get in their heart for what is being said and sung, but my Bible says those who trust in their hearts are fools.

He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.
-Proverbs 28:26

Christians comment on the above video, giving thanks to the pastor for his show of prayer, and anyone who dares to question him is shunned as a "negative" person, because in their minds, there's no way a pastor could be wrong. To them, the pastor cannot be rebuked because he's such a "nice guy." If he has an official church title, and is a really nice guy, then it doesn't matter what the Bible says about what he's doing because modern-day church-goers typically respect him based on his personage, and care nothing for what God's Word says; the cost of following the Bible is too high to dare risk upsetting such a prestigious individual.

Let me not, I pray you, accept any man's person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man.
-Job 32:21

These things also belong to the wise. It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment.
-Proverbs 24:23

For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
-Romans 16:18

Despite the warnings in the Word of God, concerning the leaven and deception that will sneak its way into the Body of Christ, these self-proclaimed "Christians" believe that their pastor can do no wrong. They'll never say that out loud, but they believe it in their hearts, evidenced by how they act around and towards him. It's the corruption that arises in the flesh when they submit themselves to the sin of respecting persons, being blinded to the fact that they are wretched, poor, and miserable, but they think they're in need of nothing.

Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
-Revelation 3:17

Most Christians are outraged when you dare to say that their pastor is leading the church for the sake of riches, but I ask: Does he earn a paycheck from that church? If he earns a living from that church, then he is susceptible to corruption. To claim that a man in the flesh is not subject to sin is to be ingnorant huge portions of Scripture. According to the Bible, most of these mens' prayers are nothing more than entertainment for those who provide the funding for their salary.

In my personal experience in ministry, I've received numerous letters that have begun with statements like the following: Every one of these people are respecters of persons, and most of them don't care. They think because someone has an official title, therefore, the person with the title is without error. In logical terms, this is called a fallacy of appealing to authority, in which the Christian does not discuss the facts of the Bible, but they instead turn to a man who has a respected authority in the church (or educational title) to give a final answer. In reality, they are putting their faith first in men, instead of in the Word of God, and it is not the Bible that is their final authority; it is the titles of men that are their final authority, putting men in the place of God.

Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.
-Jeremiah 17:5

For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered.
-Jeremiah 10:21

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
-Colossians 2:8

rudiment (n): A first principle or element; that which is to be first learnt; as the rudiments of learning or science; the original of any thing in its first form
(See 'rudiment', American Dictionary of the English Language, Noah Webster, 1828, retrieved Jan 28, 2014 [webstersdictionary1828.com])

It is the first teaching (rudiment) of the world to treat an ordained pastor as a holy entity that is perfect in all his ways, which is why modern-day churches often call them "reverend." It is the rudiment of the world to look upon a man with a PhD as right in all his ways, but the average Christian gives him more respect than the other man sitting across from him, and this is exactly the kind of thing the Bible teaches us not to do:

Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous.
-Deuteronomy 16:19

My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?
-James 2:1-4

The average Christian thinks he/she has never done this, but consider the dedicated church-goer has a common friend over for dinner, and how they typically act and respond, but when the pastor comes over for dinner, they roll out the red-carpet for him, the food must be perfect, the house must be pristine, and everyone is on their best behavior, as if the pastor is Jesus Christ Himself. There would normally be nothing wrong with this behavior, if that was done to everyone equally, but they specifically go out of their way to make everything pefect for the pastor because they repsect his person. (And secretly, most of them love it in their hearts.)

Many years ago after I was saved, I was working as a cashier in a fast food restaurant, and a guy came in and didn't have much money, so I pulled money out of my wallet and bought him a sandwich because he looked hungry. He was very surprised that I did that. He immediately pulled a card out of his wallet, and it was a license that he was a "certified" pastor, and for years that instance bothered me because I kept asking myself, "Why was that his response?"

How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah.
-Psalm 82:2

He will surely reprove you, if ye do secretly accept persons.
-Job 13:10

The reason that man pulled out his wicked pastoral license from some leaven 501c3 corporation was because he wanted me to feel good that I helped a "man of God." He assumed I was a respecter of persons, and I could have cared less what title he held. I tell this story to help others understand the warped mentality of those who do not study the Word of God.

But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
-Matthew 20:25-28

It is the pastors of today's church buildings that are supposed to be in service of everyone else, not the other way around.

Respecting persons is best summed up as treating one man with higher esteem due to his station, than we treat another without that station. This is commonly done with Hollywood movie stars, music singers and bands, religious leaders (The Pope, The Dalai Lama, etc), political leaders, and so much more.

Respecting persons falls under the category of idolatry because it is a form worship by respecting a person's dress, ability, education, and/or title, instead of the truth.

Some of us think we have not been guilty of it, but look at the way many Christians act when the famous speaker, "Dr. So-n-so," comes to town. In our society, anyone who has any kind of advanced degree from a college is given special places of honor, respect, and privilage over everyone else. Let's say this "Dr. So-n-so" says something about Topic A, and the average church layman says something about Topic A, the weight of words is automatically given to the PhD because of his title; this is respecting persons, and it is incredibly common in today's societies.

Take, for example, men like Dr. Hugh Ross, who teaches billions of years of evolution and tries to apply it to the Bible, and watch as his followers give respect to his person (his PhD), even though many of them don't even understand some of the words and complex mathematical calculations he spouts. They just think, "He's got a PhD, and he's really smart, so he must be right." Truth is not determined based on titles of "pastor" or "doctor," but on the basis of knowledge by the Word of God, which any average layman can pick up, read, and understand.

The problem not only lies in the people respecting the person, but also in the man himself, because when a pastor or PhD allows so many people to respect his personage, he finds himself starting to love the feeling of pleasure he gets from the respect and honor he receives everywhere he goes. If he's not careful, and does not examine himself, he can eventually blind himself, teach false doctrines, and those who follow his authoritative title will blindly believe every word he says because they put an invisible cloak of infallibility on his shoulders.

Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
-Proverbs 16:18

But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
-James 4:6

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
-2 Corinthians 13:5

Charles Spurgeon used to preach the following about respecting persons:
"They used very grand phrases in those days, and doctors of divinity were very common, almost as common as they are now; and the crowd of doctors and rabbis helped to keep each other in countenance by repeating one another's fine names till they believed they meant something. Dear friends, it is very difficult to receive honor and to expect it, and yet to keep your eyesight; for men's eyes gradually grow dull through the smoke of the incense which is burned before them;"
-Charles Spurgeon, quoted in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Sermons Preached by Spurgeon in 1875, p. 413

Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.
-Matthew 23:26

And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?
-Luke 6:39

I've received countless letters from Christians who have started waking up to how bad it's gotten with church-goers respecting persons, as they are shunned out of churches for even daring to question the pastor. (It's sort of an "unofficial excommunication.") It gets bad enough that, eventually, it doesn't matter what the Bible says, they will follow first what the pastor says as their final authority in all matters of faith and practice, and if that is the case, how are we different from Catholics?
(Read "Corruptions of Christianity: Catholicism" here at creationliberty.com for more details.)

Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.
-Leviticus 19:15

Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God's: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it.
-Deuteronomy 1:17

As the Body of Christ, if we refuse to respect a man's person, and treat all equally, we become a peculiar people in the eyes of man. It doesn't matter how smart they are, it doesn't matter how famous they are, it doesn't matter what title or authority they carry, we treat them equally. It's something this world is not used to because the world judges in the unrighteousness of respecting persons all the time, every day, everywhere we go.

Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
-Titus 2:13-14

There is no person alive today who is immune to the temptations of pride, and just as every other Christian, this author has, at times, been both guilty of respecting persons, and allowing myself to be respected in personage. I pray our Lord Jesus Christ would remove the pride from our hearts, so we can see clearly to guard against all forms of respecting persons, and thereby become a peculiar people that will glorify Him.

Wherefore now let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts.
-2 Chronicles 19:7

But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man's person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me:
-Galatians 2:6

And they asked him, saying, Master, we know that thou sayest and teachest rightly, neither acceptest thou the person of any, but teachest the way of God truly:
-Luke 20:21

It is not good to accept the person of the wicked, to overthrow the righteous in judgment.
-Proverbs 18:5

These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage. But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.
-Jude 1:16-18

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