The Reformation

Call No Man On Earth "Father"?

by Charles Hathcko

Matt. 23:9 Jesus exhorts, call no man on earth your Father. This particular Scripture is used by a vast majority of Fundamentalist, Evangelical, and Pentecostal Protestants in their condemnation of Catholics for calling their Priests "father"! A vast majority deny the Hierarchical or Ministerial Priesthood of the Catholic Church. Let us turn to Sacred Scripture regarding this particular verse. This particular Biblical verse cannot be isolated when studying Sacred Scripture. We cannot isolate a Biblical text to support one's theological scheme. The Scriptures must be studied qualitatively and quantitatively. Proof texting Sacred Scripture can be extremely dangerous when one has preconceived notions of what the Biblical texts teaches. Sacred Scripture must be studied with an open heart and mind to the Holy Spirit and the living tradition of the Church.

Since Sacred Scripture has God as its author and received through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit by the prophets and apostles, there must be absolute evidence of what the sacred writers intended. Let us never forget, God is truth! There can only be one definitive truth! Let us now look at the Biblical text, "Call no man Father!" Jesus Christ denounces the Scribes and Pharisees for false piety and selfish ambition. Christ uses hyperbole in this particular verse to give a grave warning against pride and self exaltation. That one must not desire pridefully titles of honor. This Biblical text must be studied on its right literal meaning.

In Matt. 23:1-12 when the sacred Scriptures are studied to fullest their totality, they teach about the spirit of pride and humility. The vices of the Scribes and Pharisees, the greed and recognition for honor and self glory is made known by Christ. The spirit of pride and ambition is incompatible with the teachings of Christ. We are called to humility. True discipleship is the imitation of the life of Jesus Christ in the service of others. 1 John 4:20-21 St. John states, If anyone says, I love God, yet hates his brother, his brother who he has seen, cannot love God who he has not seen. In Phil. 2:3 St. Paul exhorts, Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. In Matt. 23:1-12 Jesus Christ is talking about the sovereignty of God. Christ makes one aware that their is one heavenly Father, and no man comes before the supreme Almighty Father. In the text Jesus Christ is truly speaking on pride and humility. Look at Matt. 23:12 Jesus states, for whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

Protestants never mention Matt. 23:10! In this Scripture the Lord Jesus Christ states, call no man teacher. Protestants never turn to this particular Biblical verse, although many Protestant's call their own Pastor, a good Bible teacher they never Allude to this Biblical verse. Fundamentalists always turn back to the preceding verse call no man on earth father, but never to call no man teacher. In Matt. 23:9 this particular Biblical text gives evidence of the false presupposition and prejudicial view of the Fundamentalist, and many Evangelicals against the Ministerial Priesthood of the Catholic Church. Fundamentalist and Evangelical condemnation against Catholics for calling their priests father comes from Protestant oral tradition. Let us know turn to the "Divine Word" regarding the term father. The Bible gives affirmation and evidence, that the word "father" was used in both the Old and New Testament. Look at the following Scriptures regarding the word father. Many other Biblical verses using the term father are omitted in this article because of limited space. The Revised Standard Version and New International Version of the Bible will be used in this article. Two Protestant Versions. The Old Testament gives verification of priests being called father. In the R.S.V. Bible the term father and priest can be found. In Judges 17:10 Scripture gives affirmation that Micah from the hill country of Ephraim asked the Levite of Bethlehem in Judah to be a father and a priest. Yes, "a father and a priest"! In Judges 18:14-19 gives Biblical affirmation that the five men who had gone out to spy out of the country of Laish asked the Levite in the house of Micah, "come with us to be a father and a priest"! This gives evidence of a spiritual fatherhood. The spiritual fatherhood of New covenant priests is its application from the Old covenant priests as shown in the last two Biblical texts. Hebrews 5:1 St. Paul exhorts, for every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God. A priest is one's spiritual father in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Let us look at the following Old Testament text in the book of Isaiah. In Isaiah 22:15-25 The Lord God of hosts exhorts, go to him that dwelleth in the tabernacle at Shebna, who is over the temple. The deposition of Shebna and the denunciation of the self seeking official is evident in the Biblical text. The Lord of hosts states, He will call his servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and will clothe with your robe, and will bind your girdle on him, and will commit your authority to his hand; and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah, and I will place on him the key of the house of David. Notice God calls Elikim the father of the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the house of Judah. Isaiah 22:15-25 correlates with Matt. 16:13-20 Elikim and the apostle Peter are given the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven. 1Kings 2:26 King Solomon tells Abiathar, the priest the king said go to Anathoth, to your estate; for you deserve death. But I will not at this time put you to death, because you bore the ark of the Lord God before David my father, and because you shared in all the afflictions of my father.

In the New Testament the Lord Jesus Christ uses the term father numerous times. In the Patriarchal type of Israelite family the father was the center of cohesion and held absolute authority over all the members. The title of father of Israel is a theological metaphor which expresses the love and mercy of the father for his son. In Matt. 3:9 and Luke 3:8 John the Baptist mentions Father Abraham. In Matt. 8:21 and Luke 9:59 a disciple said to Jesus, Lord let me go and bury my father. Jesus states, "Follow me and leave the dead to bury their own dead." Notice the word "father" again is used in the Scriptures. In Matt. 15:4 Jesus exhorts, God says, "honor your father and your mother". In Matt. 19:16-25 and Luke 18:18-27 In the parable of the rich man, the Lord Jesus Christ tells the rich man how to seek perfection. Jesus exhorts, go sell all your possessions and come follow me. In this teaching Jesus commands, "honor your father and mother"! In Mark 9:17-29 Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, immediately after the father of the child said I believe, please help my unbelief. Scripture again uses the term father. In Mark 10:6-9 Jesus exhorts, in the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be united to his wife. Therefore what God has joined together, let no man put asunder. Again, Jesus uses the word "father". In Mark 13:1-37 The destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world is mentioned. The impending destruction of Jerusalem. Jesus speaks of the great division of brother against brother, who will hand each over to death, and father against child. Again, Jesus uses the term father. Look at the correlation in the following Scriptures. Matt. 10:34-39 and Luke 12:49-53 the Lord Jesus Christ exhorts, I have come to cast fire upon the earth. Jesus talks about divisions, He states, "he who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me". Jesus exhorts, there will be divisions father against son, and son against father,. In Luke 15:11-32 in the parable of the prodigal son, the Lord Jesus Christ uses the word "father" numerous times. In Luke 16:19-31 "in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus" the term "Father Abraham" is mentioned a few times. In Acts 7:1-53 St. Stephen uses the word "father" or fathers numerous times. Please read this Biblical text for verification. In 1 Thess. 2:11 St. Paul uses the word "father". Let us Look at the words of St. Paul to Philemon, the term father is used. Philemon 10 Revised Standard Version, I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I have become in my imprisonment. Notice that St. Paul calls himself the father of Onesimus. In 1 Cor. 4:14-15 St. Paul exhorts, New International Version - I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn you, as my dear children. 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. The Revised Standard and New International Versions are Protestant Versions of the Bible used in this article. The last two Biblical texts are the foremost and most essential texts in the Bible to refute the Protestant exegetical error, "Call no man on earth father"! Would St. Paul use the word "father" if the Lord Jesus Christ strictly forbade using the word "father". This certainly proves that the Protestant view is truly distored and in grave error. The Bible gives affirmation and direct evidence that Sacred Scripture cannot be adultered and distorted.

In 2 Peter 3:15-16 New International Version, St. Peter exhorts, Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them in these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures to their own destruction.In Matthew 22:29 Jesus castigates the Sadduces regarding marriage and the resurrection telling them, you are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. In Luke 10:16 Jesus exhorts, telling his disciples! He who listens to you, listens to me! He who rejects you, rejects me, but he who rejects me, rejects him who sent me. Look at the words of St. Paul regarding Paradosis which means Divine Tradition. 2 Tim. 1:13-14 N.I.V. a Protestant Version let us look at the words of St. Paul! What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you-Guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. Titus 1:9 N.I.V. gives evidence of the duty of the Bishop! He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. Read the first 300 years of Christianity, the writings of the Church Fathers and you will see they truly support the Catholic Biblical position on every Biblical dogma and doctrine. The term call no man father has instituted from the Fundamentalist Protestantism. Sacred Scripture is the Word of God and cannot be distorted. Christ commissioned his Apostles to be our spiritual fathers. Read Matthew 28:16-20-Matthew 16:13-20-Luke 10:16-John 10:16-Acts 20:18:31-Eph. 2:19-22-2Tim. 1:6-2Tim. 1:13-14-2Tim. 2:1-2-Titus 1:9! St. Thomas Aquinas, the great Saint and Doctor of the Church has written in his Suma, "Father means relationship"! Let us now talk about the Fatherhood of God. Sacred Scripture and Paradosis-Divine and Apostolic Tradition gives numerous affirmation that God is called Father. Scripture and Tradition nowhere gives evidence of calling God mother. This term God our Father and Mother has come from liberal Protestantism into the Catholic Church. Sacred Scripture and Paradosis-Divine Tradition refute this. There is no place in Scripture or Tradition where God is called mother. Tradition gives evidence, in the Apostle and Nicene Creed in our profession of faith, we profess, "Credo Unum Deum, Patrem omnipotentem"-"I believe in one God the Father Almighty"! Not God our mother, but God the Father Almighty! Scripture gives numerous affirmation where God is called Father. In 1 Chronicles 29:10-11 David states, Blessed art thou O Lord, the God of Israel our Father, for ever and ever. Thine, O Lord is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty; for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is thine; Thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou are exalted as head above all. Isaiah 9:2-6 gives evidence of the magnificent light of God. And his name will be called, "Wonderful Counselor", "Mighty God", "Everlasting Father", "Prince of Peace". Matthew 6:9 Christ in the perfect prayer, prays, Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Luke 23:34 Christ crucified on the cross prays, Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they do. In the following Biblical texts, Jesus calls God, "God the Father." John 6:44-John 10:27-30-John 14:6-John 15:7-8-John 17:1,21-John 20:21! In 1 Cor. 8:6 St. Paul calls God, Father. In Ephesians 1:17 St. Paul calls God, the Father of glory. In 1 Peter 1:3 St. Peter exhorts, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us never forget we have one heavenly Father, the maker of heaven and earth! Adoration and worship go to God alone. The main sufficient reason why many Catholics call their Priest Father, the Priest is our spiritual father through the gospel, his authority was given to him by Christ himself.

May God richly bless you! Amen! Hallelujah!

Charles Hatchko
The Catholic Legate
May 14, 2004


Originally published in the Area Bargain Buyer - November 2001