Does “call no man father” Contradict the Church?


Steve: I will address this really fast.

(Mat 23:9) And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.

I believe the proper title used in the catholic church for the priest/preacher is “father” and the title you have given your pope is “holy father”

These are the ministers you send into the world, and immediately a Scripture is contradicted and a command from Jesus is broken.

It doesn’t matter how a catholic and a protestant interprets Scripture, it matters how God does. If we as men don’t interpret His way, what does it matter?

BFHU: The call no man father verse does seem to contradict Catholic practice; so, Protestants use this verse very effectively to seemingly “prove” that the Catholic Church advocates something clearly prohibited by scripture. But the reality is that, once again this is just another case of the Catholic Church contradicting Protestant interpretation of scripture and not actually contradicting scripture at all.

Because, as any Protestant worth his salt will tell you scripture cannot be taken out of context. But, that is exactly what Protestants do with this verse in order to denigrate Catholic practice. The author of “call no man father” is Jesus. Now, if what he meant, was that the faithful should NEVER call their priests “father” then one would have to conclude that St. Paul was a heretic. How else can a Protestant explain:

St. Paul addresses the Jewish religious leaders as fathers. Did St. Paul also ignore Jesus’ rule?

Acts 22:1“Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense.”

1 Corinthians 4:14-15
I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn you, as my dear children. 15 Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.

St. Paul continues this father/child relationship in the following epistles. He identifies himself as a spiritual father either directly as in I Thess. or indirectly by calling Timothy and Titus his “true son in faith”.

1 Thessalonians 2:11 For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children,

1 Timothy 1:2 To Timothy my true son in the faith(that makes Paul a father in the faith): Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Titus 1:4 To Titus, my true son in our common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

St.Paul fathered those he brought to life through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as he says in I Cor. And he had no problem with appropriating this title to himself.

And there is more. Even Jesus Himself called a religious leader Father.This would make Jesus a hypocrite according to Protestant interpretation of the call no man father verse

John 8:56 Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.”

Luke 16:24 & 30 So he called to him, ‘Father 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….’No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

Once again we see that the Catholic Church merely imitates our Lord and St. Paul in calling our priests, father. We uphold ALL of Scripture. And the Church founded by Jesus is able to interpret scripture His way. Do you claim the ability to infallibly interpret scripture?

Please see my post Scripture vs the Catholic Church

7 Responses to Does “call no man father” Contradict the Church?

  1. Verse 10 of Matthew 23 says to call no man “teacher” (KJV says “Master” which is why many Protestants don’t know this is the accurate translation of the Greek word). I hear many pastors referred to as “Bible teacher”. As for “Master”, that is where the title “Mister” comes from. So, anyone who puts Mr. in front of their name disobeys Jesus?

    The hypocritical, demanding leaders that Jesus warned about in Matthew 23 can be found in all ecclesial communities. Sadly, many are found in the Catholic Church as well. It’s not the title that He condemns, but the attitude.

  2. Constantine says:

    The first question, of course, is is your interpretation of Matthew 23:9 the official infallible, Magisterial interpretation of the Roman church, or is it just your “private interpretation”? (You never answer this question for obvious reasons. But, I’d like your readers to see that you have no backing whatever from your church for the claims that you make.)

    Acts 22:1“Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense.”

    Brothers and fathers were on the same authoritative level. Paul was not addressing one group as superior to the others. There is no indication in the text that “fathers” were superior to “brothers”.

    1 Corinthians 4:14-15. The difference here is that Paul is an apostle who was given authority over the church by God (1 Corinthians 1:1). (You will notice here, too, that Paul is denying “many fathers” which is very problematic for the Roman sect.) While God the Father is specifically granting the authority to Paul, God the Son is specifically denying that authority to those He is addressing in Matthew 23. There is quite a difference.

    1 Thessalonians 2:11 For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children,

    This is an analogy. How, exactly, did Paul “deal with each” in this passage? Did he lord it over them as a Catholic bishop? No, what Paul says, is “Therefore I urge you to imitate me.” He was setting a fatherly example and not exerting fatherly authority. Jesus was specifically dealing with the latter in Matthew 23.

    1 Timothy 1:2 and Titus 1:4 . Again, the key difference letting “Scripture interpret Scripture” is that God gave Paul a different level of authority as noted above in 1 Corinthians 1:1. Jesus denied that authority to others in Matthew 23.

    “And there is more. Even Jesus Himself called a religious leader Father.This would make Jesus a hypocrite according to Protestant interpretation of the call no man father verse.”

    Again, letting Scripture interpret Scripture, when God the Father changed Abram’s name in Genesis 17:5, He made Abraham a“father of many nations.” So Christ would have to have been schizophrenic to deny Abraham’s fatherhood. Just like God did for Paul in 1 Corinthians 1, He did for Abraham in Genesis 17:5. All of which was specifically forbidden to those in Jesus hearing in Matthew 23.

    So, because the Roman Catholic church requires their priests, who have a different authority in that sect, to be addressed as “father” they are clearly in violation of God’s Word. They therefore and necessarily do not interpret Scripture His way because if they did, they would cease to be Roman Catholics.

    BTW – what specific Protestant denomination did you come from? I would really like to know because you blame them a lot and they certainly deserve it.


    • April says:

      You are completely correct, my sister in Christ! Good use of the Scripture. Catholicism is full of man-made traditions that have resulted from poor interpretation. This is why we are supposed to be lead by the Spirit!

  3. bfhu says:

    There is no official infallible Church interpretation of every verse in the Bible.

    Thanks for your interpretation of Scripture. We will let the reader decide.

    Scripture cannot interpret scripture. This is a Protestant myth. Only a person can interpret scripture and private interpretation has resulted in thousands of conflicting Protestant denominations.

    I have been a member/attender of several Protestant denominations in the following order
    Dutch Reformed, Calvary Chapel, Charismatic, Southern Baptist, Evangelical Free Church.

  4. SR says:

    You know I read about this all the time, and I cannot help but go to the Ten Commandments. “Honor your “father” and “mother.” Did not God call Abraham, “The “father” of many nations?” I guess if God can do it we can too, since it “matters how God interprets Scripture.”

    • Daniel says:

      This is confusing the term spiritual father with physical father.

      Abraham was the physical ‘father’ of all the israelites, and the ishmaelites.

      That’s why Jesus referred to Abraham as ‘father’ because physically speaking, Abraham was the father of the jews

      • bfhu says:

        Daniel, that is a good point. But Abraham is also a spiritual father b/c he passed on his faith in his God. Israel is both physical offspring of Abraham and also a spiriutal descendent of Abraham.

        Even though the verse we are discussing in the post says, “call no man father” with no qualification, most Protestants do not interpret it to prohibit calling a physical father, “Father.” They maintain, without any evidence that Jesus’ prohibition refers to spiritual fatherhood and yet St. Paul clearly did not interpret Jesus’ words that way.

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