Thursday, April 29, 2010

Call No Man ‘Father’

Jesus’ admonition in Matthew 23:9; “Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven,” is take by some to imply that we should call no one by the title ‘father.’ Since it is the common practice of the Catholic Church to call priests ‘father, this is seem as evidence that the Catholic Church does not follow the Bible or is not ‘biblical.’ The reality is that if this verse was taken literally it would mean that you could not even call your own earthly ‘father’ by this title. The use of the term ‘father’ in the early church originally related to the bishop as the elder or Greek presbuteroi. The title later came to be used of the bishop and then by extension to his assistants the ‘priests.’ It is interesting to note that even the Apostle Paul describes himself as a father to the Church in Corinth (1Corinthians 4:15). Later still the term came to be used of the early Fathers of the Church. [Read more about the Fathers of the Church]

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1 comment:

  1. Peace to you brother! St John also wrote (twice) "I write to you Fathers because you have known Him who is from the beginning". And, as you mentioned, there are several places where St. Paul insists that he be looked upon by believers and calls himself the 'father' of various Churches and individual believers. Father - Abba - is a term of endearment and though it carries some idea of authority, it indicates more so a relationship of trust in which the Abba is dear because he takes care of his 'children'. I believe Jesus' point was just that before all earthly fathers we acknowledge our Father in heaven, recognize His loving care of us and submit willingly to Him - before and above ALL earthly men, including our genealogical fathers. Thank you for sharing brother! Your brother and servant always, Joseph, SFO