Call No man Father and Titles


#1

So, I know there is the argument “call no man father” is a slap at the CC because we use the term Father for some of our Pastors… The purpose of this thread is NOT about that understanding, but the more accepted understanding (even by protestants) That it is talking about taking too much pride in a title, and your position is such a way that it places you above God.

So, I have a simple questions… I frequently see protestant titles like Dr Reverend bob, or Bishop paster dan Phd. In other words, there is such an emphasis in their title. Isn’t this in fact a violation of what Christ was talking about?

(as a note, it also seems like those with the extravagant titles, like to condemn those of us that use ‘Father’… Odd don’t you think???)

In Christ

(PS… Please do not turn this into a thread about Catholics using the title Father… UNLESS it is directly related…)


#2

It’s a reference of the use of the term “father” to refer to a biological parent. It’s very clearly hyperbole - children are going to use the word “Daddy” or some equivalent and Jesus wasn’t trying to change that. However He is saying that family relationships don’t matter when the kingdom is at stake. Often there is a choice between duty to God and duty to parents - a father might insist that we study law instead of entering a seminary, for instance - and then the needs of the faith must come first.


#3

The overall context of the passage in question was certainly regarding authority, particularly of religious leadership. I believe the overall message was something like this – [Jesus, speaking to the apostles] Don’t consider yourself higher than another. God’s the one who is higher. Honor him as fellow brothers.

Thus, I certainly agree that taking particular attention to show off one’s title is a sort of vanity in line with what the Pharisees were guilty of.


#4

Prots quote “Call no man father”–but they NEVER seem to know what the next verse says.

In the KJV, it reads, “Call no man master”–which means you can’t use Mr. or Mrs, as these are only variants of “master.”


#5

In Matt. 23:9, Jesus was discouraging His followers from elevating the scribes and Pharisees to the titles of “fathers” and “rabbis” because they were hypocrites. Jesus warns us not to elevate anyone to the level of our heavenly Father.


#6

I think many Protestant titles are definitely in violation of the spirit of our Lord’s command.

Now those titles, however, that are not indicative of spiritual stature in the church…those are irrelevant.

(as a note, it also seems like those with the extravagant titles, like to condemn those of us that use ‘Father’… Odd don’t you think???)

If Protestant spiritual titles are a violation of the spirit of Christ’s clear instruction, then Catholic spiritual titles are in violation of the spirit AND the letter of our Lord’s unambiguous command.

I think it odd that those that violate both the letter and the spirit of the instruction could seriously find fault with those who only violate the spirit.

We do not have the option to think our Father and our Master would forbid those very same titles to men merely by accident or coincidence. He knew what was coming so men are without excuse.


#7

So, I have a simple questions… I frequently see protestant titles like Dr Reverend bob, or Bishop paster dan Phd. In other words, there is such an emphasis in their title. Isn’t this in fact a violation of what Christ was talking about?

No, because educated Protestants don’t make that false charge. Their titles and degrees have nothing to do with confusing human authority with divine authority. The “call no man father” charge comes from cultists whose pride has led them into a kind of spiritual sadism. They have been taught to despise Catholicism from false teachers who are unaccountable for propagating hate, and are gulty of exploiting their followers fear and ignorance.

Interestingly, the root word for “reverend” is revere, which means to regard with awe, deference, and devotion. :shrug:


#8

It’s more than that. Let’s have a look at the passage in question…

Matthew 23:5-10 Amplified
5 They do all their works to be seen of men; for they make wide their phylacteries (small cases enclosing certain Scripture passages, worn during prayer on the left arm and forehead) and make long their fringes [worn by all male Israelites, according to the command].
6 And they take pleasure in and [thus] love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues,
7 And to be greeted with honor in the marketplaces and to have people call them rabbi.

Describing the scribes and Pharisees, Jesus shows that they actually have concern over power. They do things to be seen, not out of genuine devotion. This goes right in line with “vain repetitions”, and our Lord’s recommendation would seem to be that we should not be at all concerned with allowing people to see us in any position of prominence or apparent religious devotion, but instead do so almost secretly, as an act privately between ourselves and God.

The Pharisees were a great example of a religious hierarchy which had come to exist, and over time, drifted away from God’s intent. Jesus decided to clarify this to his followers, explaining how they should interact with one another. Bear in mind that the following verses were directed to the twelve, but I believe probably also have meaning for all believers.

8 But you are not to be called rabbi (teacher), for you have one Teacher and you are all brothers.
9 And do not call anyone on earth father, for you have one Father, Who is in heaven.
10 And you must not be called masters (leaders), for you have one Master (Leader), the Christ.

We see a set of three commands, all of which have the same meaning – to get us to understand that no man is greater than another. We are all servants under Christ. We are all children, brothers, with the one of authority being over us in heaven. We are not masters or leaders – God is our master, our teacher, and our father, the source from whom our revelation and authority must come (to each of us as individuals).

For those who would now quote Matthew 16, I would like to point out that this was spoken after that incident, and Peter was surely among the group to whom Christ spoke.

Any title which is used for the sake of the title is certainly in violation of this.

We do not have the option to think our Father and our Master would forbid those very same titles to men merely by accident or coincidence. He knew what was coming so men are without excuse.

Interesting point – God does indeed plan for the future.


#9

1 Cor. 4:15 - Paul writes, “I became your father in Christ Jesus.”

Acts 7:2; 22:1 and 1 John 2:13 - elders of the Church are called “fathers.”

Did Paul, Luke, and John not understand what Jesus was saying?


#10

Acts 7:2 is speaking to the high priest. Acts 22:1 is speaking to those who are his age, and who are older than he is among the people, not among religious leadership of any kind. 1 John 2:13 speaks of fathers, children, and boys. Again, we’re not talking about religious leaders.

Regarding 1 Corinthians, I’ll have to get to that one later, but by and large, your comparisons have nothing to do with addressing religious leadership.


#11

Agreed I usually assume that when a Protestant brings this up it is because they’ve lost all ground on issues of substance and so resort to this as a last ditch effort because this attack is comical at best. It’s about one step above “Catholics changed the 10 commandments!”


#12

I go back to my original post and repeat that Jesus warns us not to elevate anyone to the level of our heavenly Father. Spiritual fathers/teachers/leaders communicate the nature of God to us, their children, through teaching and example.

1 Cor. 4:17 - Paul calls Bishop Timothy a beloved and faithful “child” in the Lord.

2 Cor. 12:14 - Paul describes his role as parent over his “children” the Corinthians.

Phil. 2:22 - Paul calls Timothy’s service to him as a son serves a “father.”

Is Paul any different than the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23?

Obviously, there is no comparison. So, what is the difference between Paul and modern fathers/teachers/leaders?


#13

The ancient Jews did not do that either. They knew well enough that their leaders and elders were not God and neither did they elevate them to such status.

1 Cor. 4:17 - Paul calls Bishop Timothy a beloved and faithful “child” in the Lord.

2 Cor. 12:14 - Paul describes his role as parent over his “children” the Corinthians.

Phil. 2:22 - Paul calls Timothy’s service to him as a son serves a “father.”

Is Paul any different than the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23?

Paul never took on any of their titles of Father, Master, or Rabbi.

Obviously, there is no comparison.

Agreed.

Paul had and employed no such titles. This reality extended through the early church period as well.

The same cannot be said today.

So, what is the difference between Paul and modern fathers/teachers/leaders?

Modern elders erroneously receive the titles of Father and Master for themselves against the express command of our Lord.

Christians are to only have one titled Master and Father because we are all brothers.


#14

I don’t agree with the premiss that Jesus is forbidding someone from having a title. I think He is warning against how we use them.

I’m really not trying to put words in your mouth, but this is what I hear you saying in reference to the scripture I quoted. Paul didn’t break the letter of Jesus command not to use titles, but is alright that he broke the spirit by refering to others as children and himself as a father. Paul is not acting like an equal brother in those verses. Please tell me if I’m wrong so I don’t misunderstand what you’re saying.

How do you explain?

Acts 7:2 And he said, "Hear me, brethren and fathers! in reference to elders.

Acts 22:1 “Brethren and fathers, hear my defense which I now offer to you.” in reference to elders.

Are Stephen and Paul guilty of breaking Jesus command?

Peace,

Ryan :slight_smile:


#15

Atemi…

To you in Christ…

I guess I should have been a little more clear. The meaning that catholics use, and that some protestants such as your self use are totally different… We, as well as a majority of protestants believe that this passage is referring to people who take vain titles, and boast about them. Saying things like “see how much better than you I am”. In a way, the person loves them self more than God, so yes, they do put them self above God. The pat them selves on the back with many titles, some of which you can’t even find out who ordained them a bishop, doctor or reverend.

I am not arguing about the understanding you hold, which is why I mentioned don’t go there unless relevant. Catholics do not violate the literal and figurative as you mentioned because we are not interpreting the verse the same way. If you do want to discuss why catholics use “Father” open a new thread. I am looking at this verse from a Catholic POV. Respectfully, not your POV…

So, My question is just, Isn’t someone using titles like Dr Reverend Bishop Dan, Makes a point for everyone to know they are a Doctor, a reverend and a Bishop, and likes to point out in arguments they are more qualified because of it, doesn’t this person actually violate the CATHOLIC understanding of this verse…

That is what I would like to discuss… not the minority Protestant Understanding of this verse (which by the way, all the Protestant Bibles I have foot note this verse to say do not take it to literally mean father, but more people vainly taking titles…)

To argue that the title father is illegal means god is more focused on the title someone has, and not what the person actually does. And THAT makes no sense… however, if you want to discuss call no man father, to mean call no man father… then open a new thread… This thread is about the CATHOLIC understanding of this verse and its apologetics value

To you in Christ


#16

This is an excellent question. It is remarkable how dishonest this “call no man father” argument is, and how shallow a view of Scripture it betrays.

To expose just how dishonest it is, I like to follow up with, “So if we call priests pastor, you’ll become Catholic?”


#17

That is fine, but please understand that it is a thoroughly Catholic position.

In the very footnotes of a Catholic Church approved Bible, here is teaching on the very text in question:

"These verses, warning against the use of various titles, are addressed to the disciples alone. While only the title "Rabbi’ has been said to be used in addressing the scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 23:7), the implication is that Father and “Master’ also were. The prohibition of these titles to the disciples suggests that their use was present in Matthew’s church. The Matthean Jesus forbids not only the titles but the spirit of superiority and pride that is shown by their acceptance.”

nccbuscc.org/nab/bible/matthew/matthew23.htm

Now if any lay Catholic here knows better than the entire USCCB, then I for one would like to hear them.

I think He is warning against how we use them.

He commanded plainly:

“Do not be called…”

“Do not call…”

To say He meant everything else but what He actually did say is a mistake, IMO.

I’m really not trying to put words in your mouth, but this is what I hear you saying in reference to the scripture I quoted. Paul didn’t break the letter of Jesus command not to use titles, but is alright that he broke the spirit by refering to others as children and himself as a father. Paul is not acting like an equal brother in those verses. Please tell me if I’m wrong so I don’t misunderstand what you’re saying.

No.

He did not break the spirit of any of Christ’s commands.

Analogy, simile, and metaphor are not titles…they are literary devices.

How do you explain?

Acts 7:2 And he said, "Hear me, brethren and fathers! in reference to elders.

Acts 22:1 “Brethren and fathers, hear my defense which I now offer to you.” in reference to elders.

These are mere figures of speech. These are most assuredly NOT titles. Not one translation I know, including Catholic ones, translates these as titles.

Please note than in both cases, not even believers are being addressed.

Are Stephen and Paul guilty of breaking Jesus command?

No. Not at all.


#18

Like I said, many such Protestants can violate both understandings of the text in question.

The interesting part of all this is that no Catholic priest, bishop, or pope could ever violate the Catholic understanding of this verse with the myriad of titles they all have adopted and receive.

How seriously should everyone thus take such an understanding?


#19

Hi Atemi.

Let’s read 1 Cor 4:15-16 again please:

…for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the Gospel.
Then I urge you to imitate me.

You’ll say “But that’s a metaphorical use, not a title”.
Any use of “father” other than the litteral, biological meaning, can be considered a metaphorical one. And here you have precisely the kind of usage ( about religious leadership, seniorship), that, according to the strict reading of Jesus’ command, should be clearly forbidden. Paul calls a man “father”, in the spiritual, religious sense: himself.

Paul does not violate, on the contrary, the majority understanding
of Christ’s command, since he certainly is not boasting vainly
about a supposed spiritual fatherhood, and even less forgetting
the oneness of Our Father, but is quoting his well founded fatherhood for pastoral needs.

A couple of questions for everyone:

  1. Does stating: “Y is (isn’t) child/son to X”, mean the same as stating “X is (isn’t) father to Y” , or are the two expressions
    essentialy different from each other ?
  2. Does Jesus’ command concern men still living on earth only ? If the answer is yes, whence have we to understand this limited application ?

Thanks in advance for any answer.

About the OP: I suppose, dear Heisenburg, that, indeed, every Christian boasting, unnecessarily or even pompously, titles of any religious or academic sort is likely to violate Jesus’ command.


#20

Well…

I guess even though i am insistent on the Catholic understanding, you still want so desperately to talk about your view. Pride? Dunno…

That being said… since you have successfully hijacked the thread… I guess this can just now be a “why catholics are wrong in calling no man father” thread… Even though I reiterated numerous times, that i did NOT want to talk about that private, personal, interpretation.

Since you do not want to talk about the reason for me starting this thread, but instead twist what I a asking to try and show how catholics are always wrong… I guess I do not need to stay in this thread…

To those that did answer, thank you…

In Christ


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