Titles for people, that is.
Thomas Hudgins makes some important points on this issue in a post on the Energion Discussion Network. I tend not to be radical (well at least I think so), but on this it seems like Jesus was pushing us pretty strongly away from hierarchies and spiritual authority.
There’s a great—and quite sarcastic—line in Herold Weiss’s book Meditations on According to John, p. 152:
The sacraments were established toward the end of the first century when Christianity was becoming institutionalized and starting to create official channels through which the Holy Spirit could flow under ecclesiastical control. (emphasis mine)
I’m thinking that often we consider the people we put in leadership to be such official channels. Isn’t that what we mean when we want the pastor, rather than some “ordinary” member to pray for us?
We are all ministers. “To each of us was given grace according to Christ’s gift” (Ephesians 4:7).