"Call no man Father"


#1

I am familiar with the scriptural defense of the title of Father for our priests etc., so please don’t provide info about that. I am after help on the subtler issue of the prudence of the use of the Father title in light of the plain statement in the scriptures that that we are to “call no man father”. What I mean is, you would think that the Church would have anticipated that eventually heretics would attempt to use that scripture to attack the Church ("…it’s so simple; why does the roman church have to take such a simple statement and turn it into such a complicated issue…").

Why didn’t the Church just keep it simple and avoid the Father title and use something else.

To try and answer my own question, I am guessing that the term Father must have been widely in use long before the Canon of the New Testament was defined (or even long before a precise Canon would become deemed as necessary). Any more thoughts for me on this?

Thanks in the name of Jesus the Lord!


#2

I don’t really have any profound thoughts on this, but maybe it’s because to take such an overly literal position would in itself be an offense against the proper understanding of scripture. It would be turning literalism into a kind of idolatry. It would be turning a statement meant as hyperbole into something that it isn’t. We still call people “teacher” too. And we call some people “good.” And I haven’t seen too many people take the command literally to pluck out their eyes if their vision causes them to sin.


#3

I think the reason the Church does this is not to be obtuse, but to be true to history and the truth. Why change this to adhere to a false interpretation of one part of scripture?
Since the Church is older that the Bible, it has always called its spiritual leaders Fathers, just as the Church had Brothers, Sisters and Mothers. Your right the Church is older than that recent interpretation of that scripture passage of “call no man father”.

I really don’t like that anti-catholic arguement as then for the rest of the day I get that song in my head and it drives me nuts.

“Father Abraham
Had many sons!
Many sons had Father Abraham!
I am one of them and so are you!
So let’s all praise the Lord!”

In Calvary Chapel they had no problem giving a CD to my kids that had that song on it. Why sing that, or teach it to kids, if Jesus specifically prohibited it? I don’t know of any protestant denomination telling people to never sing that again.

—There is my logical defense of “call no man father”—

Not even mentioning calling my dad, father.


#4

If you are familiar with the scriptural defense of the title “father” in the New Testament (1 Cor 4:15, etc.), then it is obvious that your guess that the use of the word was around before the canon of scripture was set is correct. The books of the New Testament were written before the canon was set.

Also, I don’t know if the early Church realized that the challenges about “call no man Father” would come. In the early Christian culture, it is possible that everyone who read the verse had the cultural background to understand what Jesus was saying. Also, there were so many heresies in the early days of Christianity that the Church was probably more than busy enough dealing with those. As other posters have said, it also would be inappropriate for the Church to adhere to a false understanding of scripture in order to avert potential confusion in the future.


#5

Beautiful…thanks.


#6

SOmething that I have noticed about fundamentalists-not all Protestants-is that they take verses out of context. I can’t find that particular verse in my bible but it seems that if you read the surronding verses you get a whole different meaning. Could you put up the book, chapter and verse number next time? It would be helpful.


#7

In the King James Version, at Matthew 23:9 Jesus says, “And call no [man] your father…”

However, in the exact same King James Version, at 1 Timothy 5:1, the Holy Spirit, through Paul’s pen, says, “Rebuke not an elder, but intreat [him] as a father…”

Don’t accept the fundamentalist interp of Matthew 23:9 as the basis for this thread. The simple-minded fundamentalist interp is simply wrong. Jesus was making a point subtler than, “Only bad boys call priests ‘father’!”


#8

Thank you Bible Reader for giving me the reference. In a book I have entitle Why Do Catholics Genuflect by Al Kresta it says:" That accountability to God was just what the scribes Pharisees and rabbies neglected in the exercise of their office. They corrupted the language of spiritual parenthood by insisting on honorific titles as elitist badges that gained them acess to privelge, financial advantage and many perks of lordship over others. When we see similar abuse we should not adopt or honor such titles." The book also says:“HEbrew scholars also remind us that Jews imployed the linguistic convention of using absolute contrasts to make comparative points. Its a form of hyperbole.”

Take verse eight in Matthew 23. Jesus says: "But you must not be called Teacher, because you have only one Teacher and you are all brothers and sisters together. or verse 10: And you should not be called Master because you have only one Master, the Christ.

ONe could make the logical jump, if you take the passages literally, that we aren’t to use any honorfic title but it is pretty obvious that Jesus is using hyperbole. He is making a point. If I took him literally, my kids couldn’t call my husband, dad. We’d have to doubt the spiritual language of such verses as Rom 4:11. 1 Thes 2:11, 1 Cor 4:15-16 and the list goes on.


#9

THe protestant interpretation of that passage you are referring to, like most of their interpretations, is taken out of context, twisted to fit their agenda, and just wrong. When the Bible says, call no man Father…it is not prohibiting us from calling our parents or priest “father”…it is basically another way of restating the 1st Commandment where it says (condensed version) “You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.”…because if you look at the entire scripture in context it says “Call no one on earth your father, you have but one father in heaven” It is perfectly ok to call your dad father…or call a priest father…but if you were to call them Father the same way you call God “Father”, that is what Jesus is telling us not to do. I believe what one must be aware of is the spirit of superiority and pride that can accompany these titles…because Jesus goes on to say “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted”.

[quote=sek]I am familiar with the scriptural defense of the title of Father for our priests etc., so please don’t provide info about that. I am after help on the subtler issue of the prudence of the use of the Father title in light of the plain statement in the scriptures that that we are to “call no man father”. What I mean is, you would think that the Church would have anticipated that eventually heretics would attempt to use that scripture to attack the Church ("…it’s so simple; why does the roman church have to take such a simple statement and turn it into such a complicated issue…").

Why didn’t the Church just keep it simple and avoid the Father title and use something else.

To try and answer my own question, I am guessing that the term Father must have been widely in use long before the Canon of the New Testament was defined (or even long before a precise Canon would become deemed as necessary). Any more thoughts for me on this?

Thanks in the name of Jesus the Lord!
[/quote]


#10

[quote=deb1]That accountability to God was just what the scribes Pharisees and rabbies neglected in the exercise of their office. They corrupted the language of spiritual parenthood by insisting on honorific titles as elitist badges that gained them acess to privelge, financial advantage and many perks of lordship over others.

[/quote]

This is exactly what Jesus is teaching about this verse; not that we are not supposed to call our priests “father”, for goodness sake!

Jesus says not call those people by titles which THEY DO NOT DESERVE! Pharisees, because they were not teaching the heart of the law and were saving those titles for themselves for selfish purposes, were being rebuked by Christ. We CAN call priests “father” because they deserve the title because of what they do for the faithful. They are our SPIRITUAL FATHERS. They teach us, they guide and counsel us in matters of the faith and morals. They help to spiritually guide us through life with the ultimate purpose of reaching God in heaven. I forget which verse it is, I think it’s in Corinthians, that Paul calls himself father to Timothy - his spiritual father.

We wouldn’t call someone Dr. so and so if he did not have the medical degree. Those who have the medical degree, we CAN call them Doctor - because they deserve it! Protestants don’t object to the term “Rabbi” and that means teacher! Jesus said not to call any man teacher, either! Well…he is called Rabbi because he has spent many years learning how to become a Rabbi so he deserves to be called Rabbi.

Only call those people by those titles - if they deserve it! Not if they are hypocrites like the Pharisees whom Jesus was calling on the carpet for being so!


#11

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