by Taylor Marshall
"But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man you father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted."
If you're going to use the above passage to protest the title "Father," you must also protest against the other titles "rabbi," "mater," and "teacher." To be consistent one must stop using the following words and phrases: Mister (means "Master"), Master of Ceremonies, Maitre d', master of the house, master sergeant, magistrate (from the Latin "magistratus" for "master"), Master of Arts (M.A.), founding father, city father, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), medical doctor, witch doctor, teacher, substitute teacher, student teacher, etc.
A plain reading of the Scriptures will reveal that the Bible teaches spiritual fatherhood and that the term "father" is used for those in such a role.
There is "Father Abraham" and "Father David." (Mark 11:9-10)
St Paul writes in I Corinthians 4:14-17 "I became your father through the Gospel." Thus those who convert others are seen as spiritual fathers.
St Paul refers to Timothy and Onesimus as his "sons."
St Paul encourages presbyters or priests to act in this way with the laity: "As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children." (1 Thessalonians 2:11-12)
More "father" verses below:
[Jesus speaking in same chapter as the "Don't call men 'fathers' verse] Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.
[Christ speaking] Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.
What then shall we say about Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh?
And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised. For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.
For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.
As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father's sakes.
I Corinthians 4:14-17
I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you. For though ye have ten thousand instructers in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me. For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church. [NIV: "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."] [NASB: "For if you were to have countless tutors in Christ, yet you would not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel." -- He not only talks about spiritual fatherhood in these verses, he differentiates the spiritual fatherhood of the presbytery from common teachers about Christ.]
1 Corinthians 10:1
Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;
And profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.
My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you.
But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's. But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel.
1 Thessalonians 2:11-12
As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.
1 Timothy 1:2
Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.
1 Timothy 5:1
Rebuke not a Presbyter, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;
I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds: [ESV: "I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment."]
Hat tip to FishEasters for the verses and content.