Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Call No Man Father Meaning
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What did our Lord Jesus Christ mean when he said "call no man father"?

I know that many non-Christians object to the use of "Father" by using Matthew 23:8-10, but this verse is just showing no one can take the place of God the Father. Few people claiming this is against the Bible look to the next line claiming "call no man teacher".
While Jesus was speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers appeared outside, wishing to speak with him. Someone told him, "Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, asking to speak with you." But he said in reply to the one who told him, "Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?" And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother." Matthew 12:46-50
Again, both of these claims point to the general theme where Jesus is telling us not to call anyone like the Pharisees were our fathers and teachers.

The title of a father is just showing us these people are serving the Lord in a special way to help others get to Heaven. This is spiritual fatherhood. If we took that verse in Matthew 23:8-10 literally we couldn't even call our biological fathers by the title "father". Here are some examples of "Father" used in the New Testament showing that the Catholic Church is not wrong:
"In the New Testament, things are even clearer. Jesus himself refers to Abraham as "father" in his parable about the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16, and again in John 8:56. This practice is echoed by Stephen in Acts 7:2, where he is speaking under the influence of the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 7:55). Not only does he refer to "Father Abraham", but he also addresses the members of the Sanhedrin as "brethren and fathers".

And a direct example of the theology of the spiritual fatherhood of priests is Paul's comment in 1 Cor 4:14-15: "I do not write this to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel". " 
Is the use of "Father" in the New Testament proving the Catholic Church's position?

Yes: Jesus, St. Paul, and St. James all referred to Abraham as "father". St. John on two occasions refers to Church leaders in his letters as "fathers", and St. Paul refers to himself as "father" in 1 Corinthians: " I write not these things to confound you, but I admonish you as my dearest children. For if you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet not many fathers. For in Christ Jesus, by the gospel, I have begotten you."

Jesus was telling us not to give to another the authority that God is entitled to. Notice he said to call no one "teacher" also in the line after "Call no man Father". This usage is far from sinful.

11 comment(s):

del_button July 21, 2005 at 12:54 AM
Deacon Mike said...

None Catholics also use this reading to show that Mary did not remain a virgin after Jesus birth because of the reference to Jesus brothers. But from what I've read about it the term that is interpreted here as "brothers" could also be used to mean cousins or other close relatives.

Mike

del_button July 21, 2005 at 7:53 AM
Matthew said...

Correct. These "brothers" were most likely cousins from a previous marriage of St. Joseph.

del_button July 21, 2005 at 5:20 PM
auron said...

Yea, I'm glad you can interpret "god's perfect bible" so perfectly. Its just a hyperbole! That sickens me. Who gets to decide what to take literally and what to take figurativly huh. Thats what i mean by the bible isnt perfect. It can be taken so many different ways that I refuse to believe somebody has figured out exactly what god meant by a specific passage.

del_button July 21, 2005 at 7:04 PM
Anonymous said...

I agree with Auron.

Sorry, most everything I think has already been said.

del_button July 21, 2005 at 11:20 PM
Matthew said...

Well, yes there are many interpretations, but I follow the one that is passed down through Christ's teachings through His Church. These are how the Gospels must really be followed and interpreted; this is why Christ gave us the Holy Spirit for guidance and His Church.

del_button July 22, 2005 at 11:27 PM
Anonymous said...

The Bible could have changed in its translation to english or with the findings of The Dead Sea Scrolls.

del_button July 23, 2005 at 10:11 AM
Matthew said...

The Catholic Church's official language is Latin from the translation by St. Jerome. And the Catholic Church also has the power to interpret the Bible, which is the Magesterium. You should look up the term online for an explanation of it.

del_button July 29, 2005 at 1:49 PM
Anonymous said...

Auron - -

This all boils down to authority. And you have just identified the number one thing that foils protestantism:

"Who gets to decide whats taken literally and figuratively huh."

Protestants decipher scripture under what they think is the Holy Spirit guiding them - but how can he guide 3 different people to 3 different conclusions? He cant!

As we know, the body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the only TRUE Body is that of Jesus Chirst - the church in other words. Jesus started a church .. which church was that? Todays Roman Catholic Church. Therefore, it is the Roman Catholic Church that is the true Body of Christ. Therefore, it is the Roman Catholic Church that posseses the Holy Spirit in guiding them whilst interpreting the scriptures.

Protestantism doesn't have this - there are numerous bodys of Churches scattered throughout the Protestant world, and not all of them can be correct. Only one. Only a Holy. Only a Catholic. Only an Apostolic.

Only the Roman Catholic Church.

del_button August 21, 2005 at 7:36 PM
auron said...

what about the new testament jesus isnt here to interpret that. and dont go all holy spirit on me ive heard it. You cant show that they had the holy spirit and that everybody else that claims they did, didnt.

del_button February 14, 2010 at 12:30 AM
Unknown said...

The Catholic Church is more than the Holy Bible. Remember, it was the Catholic Church that gave the bible to the world. The bible is Church Based. The Church is not bible based. The true difference between Protestants and Catholics. We as Catholics believe not only in the bible-Sacred Scripture, however, Sacred Tradition, and the Magisterium. Remember, If anyone has the Authority to speak on behalf of Sacred Scripture, it is the authors themselves. All Roman Catholics.

del_button July 18, 2011 at 10:07 PM
Anonymous said...

The Bible is perfect in it's message Of God's salvation. It doesn't have to be historically accurate to get God's message across. He loves us all and Offers salvation to all His brothers and sisters...

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