"Call No Man ‘Father’ or ‘Teacher’"

One reader of this blog (coming from a Roman perspective, I believe) wrote: “Never mind the fact that Jesus also commands His followers to abstain from calling men “teacher,” yet Paul often refers to himself as such. Did the Spirit forget the instructions of the Son? You see, the Lord was not speaking literally. Imagine that!”

The problem with that response is that it only gets you half way.  The other half is, “what did Jesus mean by his saying?” One answer could be, Jesus meant not to have teachers endowed with the kind of authority that the Roman bishop claims for himself.

Same thing for “call no man Father.”  One answer could be that Jesus meant we should not have someone that we treat the way that Roman Catholics treat their “Holy Father” in Rome.

In fact, of course, the kinds of abuses in 1st century Judea were probably far less grand than Rome’s claims.  But certainly if anyone could violate the spirit of what Jesus’ words mean, then Rome is it.  If Rome’s treatment does not qualify, what possibly could?

Earlier in the thread, in response to a comment about not calling any man father, the same commenter had pointed to a tract published at the “Catholic Answers” site (link).  This tract makes the mistake of actually trying to go the rest of the way.

The tract is not far off when it states:

He was using hyperbole (exaggeration to make a point) to show the scribes and Pharisees how sinful and proud they were for not looking humbly to God as the source of all authority and fatherhood and teaching, and instead setting themselves up as the ultimate authorities, father figures, and teachers.

But which one of those scribes or Pharisees ever claimed to be the head of the whole church and father to all believers?  Which one of those scribes or Pharisees ever claimed to teach infallibly?  Their abuse pales in comparison to the abuse that Rome offers.  If what the scribes and Pharisees did is to be condemned, how much more what Rome has done and continues to do!

-TurretinFan

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10 Responses to “"Call No Man ‘Father’ or ‘Teacher’"”

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