Clarity on ‘Pastor Doctor’
THE EDITOR, Sir:
I am writing in response to an article that was written by Daraine Luton and published by this newspaper on February 2. In this piece, the author used the title 'Pastor Doctor' to make reference to a pastor with a doctorate. The usage of 'Pastor Doctor' is not the correct manner to introduce or reference a pastor with a doctorate.
If we were to apply this makeshift title to clergy consistently across religions, we would have to develop other makeshift titles such as: 'Rabbi Doctor', 'Imam Doctor', and 'Father Doctor', etc. There is only one instance where the usage of 'Pastor Doctor' is correct, and that is when the pastor's surname is Doctor.
The credentials of a pastor with a doctorate may be represented on business cards or websites as follows: Dr John Doe; Pastor John Doe, PhD; Pastor John Doe, DMin; or Pastor John Doe, PsyD. When introducing a minister with a doctorate, you may simply introduce the minister as:
Dr John Doe, pastor of Hallelujah Temple, or Pastor John Doe.
When you introduce a pastor with a doctorate on a health programme, you will want to make a clear distinction between the pastor's credentials and the MD designation if the pastor's doctorate is not in medicine. For these programmes, you may introduce the minister as: Dr John Doe, pastor of Hallelujah Temple, or, simply, Pastor John Doe. You may also introduce a minister for these programmes as: I am speaking with Dr John Doe, educator and pastor of Hallelujah Temple, or I am speaking with Dr John Doe, family-life educator or psychologist and pastor of Hallelujah Temple.
MARLON C. ROBINSON
San Antonio, Texas