Call No Man “Father”

images-5STEVE: The practice of calling your priest “father” is not Scriptural, no matter how you spin it.

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

BREAD FROM HEAVEN: Please see my post–> Scripture vs. the Catholic Church: Call No Man Father

I always find it interesting that Protestants become indignant that we call our Priests “Father” supposedly in direct opposition to the very words of Jesus. Then they quote only part of the verse, just as you have quoted it, because the rest of the verse reveals that they are not truly zealous to obey the very words of Jesus but only use part of the verse as a stick to beat on the Catholic Church. Because Protestants use all of the titles, that Jesus, according to their interpretation, prohibits.

Mt.23:8 But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ.

They call their fathers …”father”, their teachers “teacher”, and leaders “leader”. You have no objection to Jews calling their teacher Rabbi.

They try to give themselves permission to do this by asserting that Jesus was prohibiting spiritual fathers, teachers, leaders, Rabbis. And yet St. Paul clearly referred to himself as a father “in the Lord” to some of his spiritual children. So this argument falls apart. I also know for a fact, that many Protestants refer to their pastor as a teacher and/or leader. And many laymen are “Leaders” of this group or that in the church and therefore spiritual leaders.

Besides there is no qualifyier in the scripture about fathers, teachers, leaders, rabbis in the flesh or worldly sense vs spiritual etc. This is just an attempt to legitimize their use of these terms while still criticizing Catholicism. But it all falls apart when we look at all of scripture. They hate to give this one up b/c it is so effective to quote the verse to an unsuspecting Catholic that may fall for the deception.

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. 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