Call No Man Your Father
8"But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ (Gr. rabbi) for you have only one Master (Gr. didaskalos, kathegetes) and you are all brothers. 9And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ (Gr. patera) for you have one Father (Gr. pater), and he is in heaven. 10Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ (Gr. kathegetai) for you have one Teacher (Gr. kathegetes), the Christ.” (NIV)
8”But be not ye called Rabbi (Gr. rabbi): for one is your Master (Gr. didaskalos, kathegetes), even Christ; and all ye are brethren. 9And call no man your father (Gr. patera) upon the earth: for one is your Father (Gr. pater), which is in heaven. 10Neither be ye called masters (Gr. kathegetai) : for one is your Master (Gr. kathegetes), even Christ.” (KJV)
Based on the preceding passage, many non-Catholics claim that the Catholic Church violates the scriptural prohibition against calling anyone “father” since its priests are commonly called “father” and the pope is referred to as the “Holy Father.” Is this really what the Bible teaches? Let’s take a closer look at this issue by reviewing not just a single verse but all that the Bible contains on this subject.
11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers (Gr. didaskalovs), 12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, says that God has established some people as “teachers” in the Church; this appears to be a direct violation of Jesus’ prohibition against calling anyone “teacher”. Does God contradict Himself?
1Not many of you should presume to be teachers (Gr. didaskaloi), my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
James, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, says that not many believers should presume to be “teachers.” This implies that a few (though not many) should and would rightfully have that position. Does God contradict Himself?
24So he called to him, “Father (Gr. pater) Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.”
Jesus tells a parable in which He has one of the characters speak to “Father Abraham” which would obviously be a bad example for His audience. Does Jesus contradict Himself?