Call no man father?

Status
Not open for further replies.
P

Psychic

Guest
Matt. 23:9 is the verse which in Christ commands not to call any man father. But christian celgery are addresed as “fathers”. Isn’t that a constraction?
 
No. The word “father” there is being used to refer to God. Meaning that you should not call or recognize anyone else than God as God.

The word “father” appears numerous times in the New Testament. For example, Abraham is identified as being the “father” of us all.

Also, no one would deny the opportunity for a child to call his father, “father”.
 
Matt. 23:9 is the verse which in Christ commands not to call any man father. But christian celgery are addresed as “fathers”. Isn’t that a constraction?
Not if you take it in the context of the “whole counsel of God.” Jesus called people “father.” Paul did. John did. The narrow interpretation of Mt. 23.9 would also disallow calling people Mister or Doctor.

Generally when this question arises, it comes as a snipe at the Church rather than from a genuine question about the text but as a challenge to Catholic (and Eastern Orthodox and Anglican) practice

Of course, in your case, we presume the question is sincere.
 
Matt. 23:9 is the verse which in Christ commands not to call any man father. But christian celgery are addresed as “fathers”. Isn’t that a constraction?
No. Matthew 23:9, “And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in Heaven.” Notice, however, that this makes no distinction between spiritual fathers, which is what our priests are to us, and biological fathers. In other words, if you interpret this passage to say, absolutely, that no man is to be called father, you cannot distinguish between calling a priest, father, and calling the man who is married to your mother, father.

But, is that actually what this passage is saying? Or is Jesus warning us against trying to usurp the fatherhood of God? Which, in many ways, is what the Pharisees and Scribes were doing. They wanted all attention focused on them…they were leaving God, the Father, out of the equation. Which is why Jesus goes on to call them hypocrites, liars, and whitewashed tombs.

If you interpret this passage from Matthew 23 as an absolute ban against calling anyone your spiritual father, then there are some problems for you in the rest of Scripture. For example, Jesus, in the story of Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16, has the rich man referring to Abraham as “father” several times. Paul, in Romans chapter 4, refers to Abraham as the “father” of the uncircumcised, the Gentiles. That’s referring to spiritual fatherhood, not biological fatherhood.

In Acts 7:1-2, the first Christian martyr, Stephen, referred to the Jewish authorities and elders who were about to stone him as brothers and “fathers,” as does Paul in Acts, chapter 22. This is referring to spiritual fatherhood. So, if you interpret Matthew 23 as saying we cannot call anyone our spiritual father, then you have a problem with Jesus, Paul, Stephen, and the Holy Spirit…they must have all gotten it wrong.

It is okay to call priests “father”, just as it was okay for Jesus and Paul to call Abraham “father” and for Stephen and Paul to call the Jewish elders “father.” As long as we remember that our true Father is God the Father and that all aspects of fatherhood, biological and spiritual, are derived from Him. And as long as we do not allow anyone else to usurp that role in any way, shape, or form, as the Pharisees and Scribes were prone to do.

biblechristiansociety.com/2min_apologetics.php?id=17
 
Matt. 23:9 is the verse which in Christ commands not to call any man father. But christian celgery are addresed as “fathers”. Isn’t that a constraction?
***Hi, Psychic!

…when this query arises just think on this… when Jesus spoke to the Sadducees/Pharisees and they claimed that Abraham was their Father/father… did he object to their usage of the term “father” or to the fact that they rejected Jesus even though the Prophecies in the Holy Scriptures directed them to Him? ("…if Abraham was your father you would listen to Me…" paraphresed)

Maran atha!

Angel***
 
I would argue that “call no man father” is a bit like when Rinzai Gigen (a Zen monk) said, “If you meet your parents, kill your parents.”

Now no Chinese Buddhist would be advocating patricide–the killing goes against Buddhism and that it’s your parents goes against Confucianism–but what he meant was, “don’t let worldly authorities stand between you and your religious goal.”

Similarly, Jesus did not mean, “Never use the word ‘Father’ to address a human.” He meant something more like, “Parental authority cannot trump the authority of God.”
 
It might be interesting to note “why” we call our priests “father”. It’s not out of reverence or respect. It’s because we recognise the priest, who acts in persona christ (person of christ), has a special role in our salvation. The priest gives us the body of Christ (Eucharist) and the priest absolves us from our sins (confession).

Protestants will find this whacky. :whacky:
 
I suppose one way of looking at it is to look at what we mean by ‘father’.

Today, we use it (non-religious) as a formal term for ‘dad’. We also use it (religious) for addressing a priest, and also the Almighty Father. But just what is ‘father’?

I should think it means one who is our teacher, our guide, a person who loves us for our own sake and who is willing to do just about anything for us. In a loving household, I am sure our dads would cross the oceans for us, and die for us. Our priests, if we asked them to, would defend us in our hour of need, and for our Almighty Father, well, we only have to consult the Magnificat (Lk 1:49 NJB) for this:

…for the Almighty has done great things for me.
Holy is his name.

When Christ said ‘call no man Father’, it means that we should not replace that person who created us, that person who loves us for our own sake and we should not replace the person who teaches us. We should not turn away from the one who is always there for us, call no man Father, for failure to do so would to deny love itself.

I just think that to call someone else ‘father’ is to put in a man everything God, our father is, into the frailty of human flesh and to expect the same things of him as we do of God.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Back
Top