this letter should have been titled
"Swaggart mistitled by media"

My letter to the editor of the Southwest Times Record cannot be changed as printed on 4 March 1988, but I can place this addition and clarification on the Web in 1998.

Please note the following two e-mail messages.

From: Michael S. Cole, M.D.
To: John Santiago
Date: 4/26/98 12:04 AM
RE: "Reverend"

Mr. Santiago,

Thanks for bringing this to my attention. That letter to our local editor was written so long ago, I completely had forgotten about it.

However, I continue to stand by my original statements. I was not meaning to attack anyone in particular. In 1988 when the letter was written, Mr. Swaggart and Mr. Bakker were "in the news." Today, I would mention someone else.

The letter was about the use of religious titles. I am of the opinion that Jesus Christ condemned the use of religious titles. If you think He was teaching something different in Matthew 23:1-12, I would appreciate your impression about His message there.

I am opposed to any man calling himself "Reverend." I am opposed to any one calling another person "Reverend." From my reading of Psalm 111:9, I don't think there is anyone worthy of that title except God Himself. I have 2 uncles and other relatives and many close friends who have worked and/or are working full time serving as ministers/preachers who are offended when they are called "Reverend."

"So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it." (Revelation 5:4) "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!" (Revelation 5:12) "You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created." (Revelation 4:11)

To God be the glory and honor and praise. I shall never speak in such exalted terms about anyone created. I encourage you to glorify God, not man.

Yours in Christian love,
Michael S. Cole, M.D.

From: John Santiago
To: Michael S. Cole, M.D.
Date: 4/26/98 9:39 PM
RE: "Reverend"

I thank you for your prompt response to my e-mail. I agree with your stand against people calling themselves "reverend." I work with Bro. Swaggart personally in his ministry and not once have I ever heard him refer to himself as a "reverend." Although he is referred to this in print and spoken about in this matter, I can tell you that he does not refer to himself in this manner. NO ONE here at the ministry calls him this EVER. We refer to him as simply Bro. Swaggart. Some even call him just plain 'ol "Jimmy" lol ["laughing out loud"].

God Bless,
John Santiago

This new information forces me to apologize to Mr. Swaggart for my insensitive remarks ten years ago. I failed to consider that it is the media which has been improperly labelling him "Reverend." I commend him for refusing to wear a title which is worthy of God alone.

I recognize that we are all sinners before God and none of us can stand before Him except by the grace and power bestowed through His Son Jesus Christ. If through repentance, the Lord can forgive me of my sins, then I must acknowledge that God can forgive the sins of Mr. Swaggart, who appears to have adequately repented before God and those to whom he ministers. May God be his judge, not me. I plead for God's mercy for us all.

Michael S. Cole, M.D.
26 April 1998

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