I was talking to a girl about "call no man Father"


And she was very persistent in her stance that the Church is wrong to do that. I alluded to how Paul and John spoke of themselves being fathers to the members of the Church, and she said she trusted Jesus more, and that Paul may have been wrong.

How should I respond to this? But she said end of story for the discussion on this.


Does she have a dad? Does she call him Dad?

Jesus had equally strong words for people calling him “master” and “teacher”.

Does she have teachers? Does she call her teachers teachers?

Does she have a doctor? Does she know that “Doctor” means “teacher”? Does she call him “Dr. Bob”?

Does she call anyone “Mr.”? Does she know that means “Master”?


The Blessed Virgin referred to Joseph as Jesus’ “father”:

Luke 2:48 - They were overcome when they saw him, and his mother said to him, ‘My child, why have you done this to us? See how worried your father and I have been, looking for you.’

Jesus calls Abraham “father” several times in the story of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16)


Responses can be provided…but since your friend has basically closed herself off from further discussion - there is probably little you can say.

There are many places where Jesus refers to others as Fathers - both in the biological sense and in the ancestral - spiritual sense. Though this will not make much impression on your friend.

In the same place that your friend has pulled the “call no man father”, Jesus says not to be called “teacher” - does she also feel it is wrong to refer to someone as a teacher?

What I find most interesting here is that she is so adamant about the accuracy of Jesus’ words (recorded second or third hand) but is suggests that Paul’s words might be mistaken (recorded first hand).

I’d suggest waiting a couple of weeks and asking…
“Do you believe that Scripture is inerrant?”…
If she says yes - you can remind her of her comment about Paul possibly being wrong and then ask…
So if Paul was wrong…what does that say about the inerrancy of Scripture?..

If she says no - then you can ask her how she trusts any of it?
Not sure where that conversation might go…but it could be interesting…:thumbsup:



Call no man father…
… I suppose protestants consider this the 11th commandment?

Of all the words/terms God could have forbade, why “father”? It’s ridiculous to suggest God would boil His commandments down to just 2 AND forbid us to call no man father. .


By protestants I assume you mean evangelicals. Methodists (I was one for many years) believe as Catholics do on this subject.


Since she wishes to focus ONLY on what Jesus said:

Jesus had three main ways of teaching: factual, parable and hyperbole.

Factual : Verily, verily I say unto you… Jesus was saying EXACTLY what he meant.
Parable: Teaching by telling a story…most known one is the Good Samaritan
Hyperbole: Teaching by exaggeration…

Jesus said that “unless we hate our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers we could not be his disciples.” Luke 14:26

Jesus also said that “if our eye causes us to sin to pluck it out and to cut off limbs that cause you to sin.” Mark 9:43

I have not seen that many half blind amputees around and who among us hates our parents, especially seeing that we are supposed to honor them. In teaching by hyperbole, Jesus is telling us the God comes first and foremost, not our own flesh and not our families. God comes before all when we give honor.

If she chooses to follow Jesus literally on the “Call no man father” verse, then what will she do with the other two I mentioned?


Whenever I am confronted with that statement, I just tell them they have to take it up with GOD as he gave us the 4th Commandment. And all the above mentioned reasons. God Bless, Memaw


Many share her stance. It’s kind of sad, really.

It is the bolded part that I want to focus on.

By her statement that Paul may have been wrong, she is saying that THE BIBLE is wrong. ALL true Christians freely admit that the Bible is the INERRANT WORD OF GOD (although interpretation is debated fiercely). I am shocked that she could or would make such a statement even after you had a great response to her. One would expect a better rebuttal than “Paul could be wrong”. I am not surprised by her not wanting to discuss it any further. I pity her.

It is said by Protestants everywhere that the Bible is the ONLY infallible deposit of Christian faith; but how can she ever hope to win a debate with you if the infallible Bible is in actuality fallible? She really does not help her position by saying that Paul is, or could be, wrong.

Trusting Jesus is ALWAYS a good move; but what did He mean exactly when he said, “call no man ‘father’”? THAT is what she should contemplate.

And she should talk to her pastor or spiritual director about her statement on the possibility of the Bible being in error. She needs some further study, I think.



JDGaney. You stated this girl said:

. . . and she said she trusted Jesus more (Regarding “Call no man Father”).

I might consider asking her that if her interpretation is correct (and it is not correct), what is up with Jesus calling Abraham, . . . . “FATHER Abraham” in His Luke 16 discussion?

Was it “wrong to do that” too? Or could her interpretation be “wrong”?

Below is a brief excerpt from our local men’s Catholic Bible group.

(If interested I will be glad to post more.)

**The Holy Spirit, through St. Matthew warns us to call NO MAN father. **

But in what sense is this prohibition to be observed? That is the first question to always ask when Matthew 23:9 is brought up.

[INDENT]MATTHEW 23:9 9 And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.

Let’s ask what sense we are to observe this commandment of Jesus.

Q: In what sense are we to call NO MAN on earth father?

A. In an ultimate sense.
B. In NO sense at all. You can’t even use the word “Father” for anyone on earth!
C. In a natural sense (no calling anyone “father” in the sense of “Dad”!)
D. In a spiritual sense. There are no spiritual leaders termed “Father”![/INDENT]


I mean no disrespect, but, I dont know the difference. How does one keep track of 33,000 denominations? “Call no man father” probably the reason for a couple hundred break-away protestant churches.


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