So, how do Fundamental Protestant's celebrate "Fathers Day"? You know, "Call no one on earth your father; you?

have but one Father in heaven. " (Matthew 23:9)

Taking the words of Jesus literally here, would it not mean you cannot

call your biological father, "father"?

It seems that if we take Jesus literally you would stop calling any man or women teacher, father, or leader.

Jesus is using what it referred to as rabbinic hyperbole, meaning speaking in

exaggerated terms to make a point in the opposite direction.

Jesus says if your right hand or eye offend you, cut it off and pluck it out! (Mt 5:29-30). Most

people recognize that Jesus was not commanding us to amputate or blind ourselves

but is emphasizing the seriousness of sin and the eternal consequences of our actions.

So in Matthew 23:9, he is using hyperbole to demonstrate the foolishness of the Pharisees in their

extreme positions in the other direction. It is the way rabbis argued in the first century

which is important to understand so as to properly interpret Scripture within its

proper context. Historical and cultural context is as important as the textual context.

Fundamental Protestants use this verse in an attempt to prove that it is wrong for Catholics to call priests "father."

This is an example of "eisegesis" (imposing one's views upon a passage) as opposed to "exegesis" (drawing out the meaning of the passage from its context).

Jesus was discouraging His followers from elevating the scribes and Pharisees to the titles of “fathers” and “rabbis” because they were hypocrites.

Jesus also says not to call anyone teacher or rabbi as well. But don’t Protestants call their teachers “teacher?”

The New Testament shows "father" is a title applied to God, to the ancestors of Israel, to fathers of families, to Jewish leaders, to Christian leaders, and even to the Devil (the Father of Lies).

Every New Testament book except 3 John uses the word "father" at least once.

Those Christians who are troubled by the title "father" being given to Catholic priests say it is an honorific that belongs only to human parents or to God, not to religious leaders.

In the New Testament, it does show us that Jewish or Christian leaders may be addressed by this title.

1 Thessalonians refers to Paul "as a father".

He insists on being called the spiritual father of the Corinthians(1 Cor. 4:15).

In 1 John a group of Christian men are addressed as fathers.

There a clear authorization from Scripture to call our parents and religious leaders father or mother. It is true Christ gives us an admonition not to let any human being become as important as God the Father or Christ our teacher and rabbi, yet neither should we deny that certain people in the Christian community are our spiritual parents.

Since the Bible frequently speaks of this spiritual fatherhood, we Catholics acknowledge it and follow

the custom of the apostles by calling pastors/priests "father." Failure to acknowledge

this is a failure to recognize and honor a great gift God has bestowed on the Church,

the spiritual fatherhood of the priesthood.

So you can decide:

Was Jesus being figurative in Matthew 23:1-12 and making a point about the spiritually prideful and those who are impressed by them -- or did He contradict Himself when He went on to refer to people as "fathers" in that very same chapter?

Happy Fathers Day


Susanna :

Do you even read an entire question or do you always go off on your anti-Catholic ignorance.


"eisegesis" (imposing one's views upon a passage) as opposed to

"exegesis" (drawing out the meaning of the passage from its context).

11 Answers

  • 10 years ago
    Best Answer

    Good point.

    Matthew 23:6-9 reads, "They (the scribes and the Pharisees) love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues, greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation 'Rabbi.' As for you, do not be called 'Rabbi.' You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers. Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven."

    Are we also not to call anyone "teacher" or "doctor" which is how "rabbi' would translate? I think not.

    This is call for humility for those in leadership roles. Not to be taken literally.

    We are not to deny our male parent and cut the Commandment to honor our father and mother in half.

    Some leaders in any church may fall into the same folly of a lack of humility as the pharisees of Jesus' day.

    By the way, we also take into account the entirety of the Bible:

    The Apostle Paul writes:

    I am writing you this not to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. Even if you should have countless guides to Christ, yet you do not have many fathers, for I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. (1 Corinthians 4:14-15)


    As you know, we treated each one of you as a father treats his children, exhorting and encouraging you and insisting that you conduct yourselves as worthy of the God who calls you into his kingdom and glory. (1 Thessalonians 2:11-12)


    I urge you on behalf of my child Onesimus, whose father I have become in my imprisonment, who was once useless to you but is now useful to (both) you and me. (Philemon 10-11)

    And finally, Peter calls himself the "father" of Mark:

    The chosen one at Babylon sends you greeting, as does Mark, my son. (1 Peter 5:13)

    With love in Christ.

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    Usually verse 9 is taken out of context , neglecting to mention the verses

    before and after it. Here is the the immediate context, “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.”

    Jesus is dealing with a much different issue. He is pointing out the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law. In verses 6 and 7 which immediately precede the rejection of the titles of honor, Jesus explains in what sense His rejection is meant: "And they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the Synagogues, and salutations in the market places, and being called rabbi." Here Jesus is commenting on their superiority complexes. They have effectively set God aside and put themselves in His place; thus the comments on being humbled and being exalted.

    Bible Christians call their ministers "Pastor." Pastor means shepherd. In John 10:14-16 Jesus says, "I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, as the Father knows me and I know the Father, and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd." If we reason that we cannot call a priest Father because we "have one Father who is in heaven," then can we not also reason that we cannot call a minister Pastor because there is only "one Shepherd?"

    Isolating and grabbing hold of one scripture verse is risky. It can be misleading or even dangerous. Even an honest and well-intentioned Christian can subconsciously bend a verse to suit his or her own needs. It is vitally important to understand the Bible as God intended.

    St. Augustine once said, "Not what one scripture says, but what all of Scripture says." We can take it a step further and say, not what Scripture says but what Scripture means.

  • Emily
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    The most literal, silliest anti-catholic tirade when St Paul is very clear: 1 Cor 4:14-15 Furthermore, with regards to spiritual fatherhood in the Christian community, to the Church in Corinth he wrote: "I do not write this to make you ashamed but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you might have 10,000 guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers. Indeed, in Christ Jesus I became your father through the Gospel" (1 Corinthians 4:14-15). And he describes his relationship with the Christians of the Church in Thessalonica as being "like a father with his children" (1 Thessalonians 2:11). Doesn't St. Paul, in the above passages, claim to be the spiritual father of the Corinthian and Thessalonian Churches, their father in the Gospel - Father Paul, if you will?

  • carl
    Lv 7
    10 years ago

    “CALL NO ONE ON EARTH YOUR FATHER;” – a literalistic interpretation means no person on earth could be called father. Therefore we could not call our dads, father either. But if we are to take a literalistic approach then how come we find in the gospels and other books of the NT, which were written after the Resurrection, the authors using the term ‘father’ to describe both natural fathers and spiritual fathers (see below)?

    "Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven."

    If we read the scripture in context we see Jesus using this term ‘father’ in conjunction with the Pharisees and scribes. The scribes and Pharisees were usurping the role of God the Father. Jesus is using hyperbole to make the point that no one should take the place of God the Father since you only "have but one Father in heaven".

    Here are a few scriptures that make a case against a literalistic interpretation -

    Jesus uses the term 'father' often in the gospels

    Mt 10:35 (NAB): "For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against his mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law."

    Angel Gabriel about John the Baptist

    Luke 1:17 (NAB): "He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of fathers toward children..."

    Angel Gabriel about Jesus

    Luke 1:32 (NAB): "He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father.

    Mary calls Abraham her father

    Luke 1:55 (NAB): "...according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever."

    Luke 1:72 (NAB): "to show mercy to our fathers and to be mindful of his holy covenant".

    Luke 1:73 (NAB): "and the oath he swore to Abraham our father, and to grant us that,"

    Mary calls Joseph father of Jesus

    Luke 2:48 (NAB): "...Your father and I have been looking for you [Jesus] with great anxiety."

    Luke 16:24-30 : Jesus calls Abraham, 'father Abraham' in the parable of Lazarus

    The new Jewish Christians call David their father

    Acts 4:25: “you said by the holy Spirit through the mouth of our father David, your servant: ‘Why did the Gentiles rage and the peoples entertain folly?”

    St. Stephen addresses the 'fathers' in the crowd-

    Acts 7:2: “And he replied, “My brothers and fathers, listen. The god of glory appeared to our father Abraham…”

    Acts 7:32: “I am the God of your fathers…”

    St. Paul addresses the 'fathers' in the crowd:

    Acts 22:1: “My brothers and fathers, listen to what I am about to say to you in my defense.”

    Romans 4:11 – Abraham a spiritual father, not just a natural father

    “Thus he [Abraham] was to be the father of all the uncircumcised…”

    Romans 4:16: “follow the faith of Abraham, who is the father of all of us.”

    James 2:21: “Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar?”

    Source(s): Paul, a spiritual father. 1 Cor 4:15: “Even if you should have countless guides to Christ, yet you do not have many fathers, for I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.” 1 Tim 5:1: “Do not rebuke an older man, but appeal to him as a father.” Phil 1:10: “I urge you on behalf of my child Onesimus, whose father I have become in my imprisonment.”
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  • Mike N
    Lv 6
    10 years ago

    Maybe that's why my kids, who were raised by their protestant mother, never send me any Father's Day cards or gifts. They just do that for their step-father. Boy, them folks got it all twisted around, LOL. God Bless you.

    And now, to twist it all around, here on Father's Day, my daughter, who was raised by her protestant mother, texted me saying "Happy Father's Day" and told me she loved me. Now that's a daughter that makes a daddy proud, and very happy.

  • 10 years ago

    With their backs to the wall, all they have is silence, as always. Ignore the question, and they think they can act like they never saw it. But God knows better.

  • 10 years ago

    They call it "Male Parent's day"LOL!

    I do not look for consistency in anti catholic FPs.

    Let's pray for them that their hearts and minds be opened.

  • 10 years ago

    Wow. Great question !

    But they are not answering.

    Too funny!

  • 10 years ago

    Good question I like it.

    Source(s): Catholic Christian
  • 10 years ago

    Wow, look at all the answers!!

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