Does Matthew 23:9 Exclude the Title Father? Matt1618

Does Matthew 23:9 Exclude the Title Father?

By Matt1618

Here is the passage often used by Protestants to say that a Catholic should not be able to call the priest Father., Matthew 23:8-10, with the focus on verse 9:
8 But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren. 9 And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10 Neither be called masters, for you have one master, the Christ.
This is a response to an email from a Protestant who disagreed with my presentation why Catholics do not contradict Jesus’ saying in Matthew 23:9 to call no man ’Father’, when we call Priests ‘Father‘. Here is the paper that I wrote which he responded to: When one points to the spiritual fatherhood shown in Scripture, as I did, what happens is oftentimes a Protestant will say ‘well, it must mean that no one can use the title ‘Father‘ about anybody in a spiritual way.’ I will address that objection in this response. Also, he objects to the idea that there is a ministerial priesthood and I briefly address that issue, though that is not the main focus. I will quote the emailer in green & my response will follow.

As I read this paper quite a few questions came to mind. I would like to share those with you and hope that you will seriously consider them and then answer back. . 1 Thessalonians 2:7 Paul uses the analogy of them being nursing mothers. And in verse 11 he uses the analogy of them being like fathers. Why is it that you bind one of these analogies and not the other?
I will be glad to address this. First off, there is a difference in the passages that I quoted in the other piece from that passage that you referred me to in 1 Thes. 2:7 or 2:11. You seem to suggest that I quoted 1 Thes. 2:11 to support using the title ‘Father’, but ignored the reference to being a nurse. I did not use that passage because it is not relevant one way or the other. Nonetheless, I’ll look at the passage since you brought it up, 1 Thes. 2:7-11:
7 But we were gentle among you, like a nurse taking care of her children. 8 So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us. 9 For you remember our labor and toil, brethren; we worked night and day, that we might not burden any of you, while we preached to you the gospel of God. 10 You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our behavior to you believers; 11 for you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you
In fact this is an analogy. I did not use this passage as an argument for spiritual fatherhood. I did not ignore verse 7 while quoting verse 11. You are right, this passage speaks of an analogy. It says that I treated you like a nurse, (v. 7). In v. 11, it says like a father. In my piece I did not use scriptures to point to analogies, but to scriptures pointing to actual spiritual fatherhood. For example, 1 Cor. 4:14-15:.
14 I do not write this to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15 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.
He doesn’t say I write this because you will become like my beloved children, he speaks to them as his beloved children. In v. 15, he doesn’t say it is like I became your father, he says ‘I became your father.’ Notice that here he is not using analogies, but he is in actuality his spiritual father. The other passages I referred you to also speak of spiritual fatherhood in actuality, not analogies, and thus a totally different animal, from the passage in Thessalonians that you referred me to.
Regarding 1 Corinthians 4:15 where Paul says he became a father unto them, notice they never are said to have called him father, but again it is an analogy he uses to describe their relationship, not his title. Notice Paul doesn't write them and say this is father Paul called to be an apostle. Why is it that no where is a religious leader called a father by any disciple? the only record is of actual fathers or Paul calling himself their father as an analogy. How would you use this as if it is authoritative and yet it contradicts a clear statement by Jesus?
In the letter the issue is not how he is supposed to be titled. That is not an issue at hand so why would he bring it up? He is writing to the Corinthian community. They know who he is. He calls himself a father to the Corinthians, how is that not calling himself a ‘father’? There is no reason that he would have to say ‘I am Father Paul.’

There are two other issues I want to address here. First you say nowhere does any disciple give anybody the title ‘Father’. Second you also say that by using the title ‘Father’ that is contradicting Jesus’ clear statement.

You basically admit that this is a Father-Son spiritual relationship, though you lessen it by calling it an analogy, but you say you can’t just use the title ’Father’. Ok, the first thing is that I dispute the contention that the disciples never gave anybody the title ‘Father’. First, as noted in my paper, Paul does call Abraham the father of all believers. Abraham is given the title 'Father', Romans 4:12-13:

12 and likewise the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but also follow the example of the faith which our father Abraham had before he was circumcised. 13 The promise to Abraham and his descendants, that they should inherit the world, did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.
Paul specifically speaks of Abraham as the Father of faith, and gives him the title ‘Father Abraham.’ It is thus a spiritual fatherhood, not a physical fatherhood. Thus, the apostle Paul has no problem assigning the title ‘Father' to somebody besides God the Father. Is Paul ‘contradicting Jesus‘ clear statement?

Next, as pointed out in my paper, but I guess you missed it, Jesus himself in a parable, gives to Abraham the title ‘Father Abraham’ in Luke 16:24-25. I will quote from my paper here:

24 And he called out, 'Father Abraham, have mercy upon me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in anguish in this flame.' 25 But Abraham said, 'Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.
Now, if someone will say, 'well, it is ok to use the term Father about someone, but Matt. 23:9 precludes one of calling someone 'Father' (which is another way of using Mt. 23:9 against Catholics) who is spiritual, Jesus himself shows that is not his way of thinking. Here there is someone who appeals for mercy from Abraham. He specifically calls and uses the term 'Father' directly to Abraham. Now, Jesus himself uses the term 'Father' to apply to Abraham in the parable, with Abraham not only accepting the title but legitimizing the title by calling the person 'Son' (Lk 16:25) even if he refuses the request.

Thus, Jesus, who would understand his own teaching in Matthew 23:9, obviously is not contradicting himself when he specifically gives Abraham the title. Abraham is not God the Father. He is a human being but Jesus himself gives Abraham the title 'Father'.

I pointed out in my paper that Stephen the disciple used the term fathers 17 times in Acts 7. He did not shy away from that term as well. Besides that, notice also what Paul himself says in Acts 22:

1 "Brethren and fathers, hear the defense which I now make before you."
Whereas Stephen addressed in Acts 7 our fathers & your fathers with no hesitation, here Paul addresses the people with the title ‘Fathers’. Here he is not even addressing Christian clergy. Thus, one can not even limit its use to ‘clergy’ only. Paul does use the title Fathers for those he was addressing. So your premise that no disciple uses the title ‘Fathers’ of anybody is wrong. Of course the fact that Jesus himself applies the title ‘Father’ to Abraham shows that either Jesus doesn‘t understand what he said, or the premise that one can not use the title ‘Father‘ of anybody except God the Father, is wrong.

In fact, Paul in Eph. 3:14-15 writes:

14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
Here is the meaning of the word translated as family, patria, in Strong's concordance, #3965:
as if fem. of a der. of 3962: paternal descent. i.e. a group of families for a whole race (nation).
Thus, it is the feminine derivative of pater in Strong's concordance, which is 3962, Father, parent.

appar. a prim. word; a"father" (lit. or fig., near or more remote: father, parent.'
Thus, it could be legitimately translated "From whom all fatherhood in heaven and on earth is named," meaning that all fatherhood on earth-both natural, physical and biological fatherhood and supernatural, spiritual fatherhood comes from God our Father. Thus, all fatherhood that is here on earth is derived from Our Father in heaven. So it is not since there is God the Father, there is no fatherhood on earth, but, but all fatherhood, including spiritual fatherhood, is derived from Our Father who is in heaven.

This is shown also, when addressing the other terms immediately around Matthew 23:9. Just like he spoke about not using Father in Mt. 23:9, he says the same about the term master in v. 10. He said in Matthew 23:10 to not call anyone master, just like he said to not call anyone ‘Father’. Shortly after that he says in Matthew 25:14-28:

14 "For it will be as when a man going on a journey called his servants and entrusted to them his property; 15 to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them; and he made five talents more. 17 So also, he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.' 21 His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.' 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.' 23 His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.' 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, 'Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not winnow; 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.' 26 But his master answered him, 'You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sowed, and gather where I have not winnowed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has the ten talents.
Again, we reiterate what Jesus said about Masters:
10 Neither be called masters, for you have one master, the Christ.
We see here that in the parable, Jesus is giving an example of servants who increase or do not increase the value of their money. Now he is not speaking specifically of God the Father, but how the master’s servants do with the money that they have. Here not only does Jesus talk about masters who are not God the Father, but the servants of the master gives the title ‘Master’ to them. Jesus said in Matthew 23:10 to not be called ‘master’. However, He himself uses the term ‘master’ in his narrative of the story seven times. In addition to that, in that same parable, the three different servants both give the title ‘Master’ to their master. This parable is quoted by Matthew 25 very shortly after Matthew 23. Jesus is not going to contradict himself. Thus, just as Jesus saying in Matthew 23:9 does not actually prohibit either calling them or giving the title to a man ‘Father’, likewise, one is not prohibited from either calling or giving the title ‘Master’ based on verse 10. As I wrote in my earlier piece the title ‘master’ and ‘Father’ the Pharisees were elevating themselves in a way beyond the way they deserved, and thus, they did not deserve those titles.

Let us look at this next passage, Ephesians 6:5-9:

5 Slaves, be obedient to those who are your earthly masters, with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as to Christ; 6 not in the way of eye-service, as men-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to men, 8 knowing that whatever good any one does, he will receive the same again from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. 9 Masters, do the same to them, and forbear threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.
Here Paul writes about servants obeying their masters. Paul thus calls them masters but also gives them the title ‘Master’ in verse 9. Thus, there was no compunction, or reason not to give the title Master to a human being. Paul writes that those who are Masters see that there is one supreme Master, who is master over all people. The masters on earth must treat their servants well according to Paul. However, Paul sees no prohibition of the use of the term ‘master‘ for other people. Similarly, since there is God the Father, it does not preclude men from being called Father, the same goes for Master.

Back to Matthew 23:8

8 But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren.
For those who say we can’t use the term ‘Father’ in order to be consistent that must also mean one can not use the term ‘teacher’. Does this mean that no one can be called teacher? We see in John 3:9-10:
9 Nicodemus said to him, "How can this be?" 10 Jesus answered him, "Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand this?
This is the time that Jesus teaches the necessity of being born of water and spirit (Jn 3:5), and believing in Him for eternal life (Jn 3:16). Here, right in the midst of teaching he acknowledges Nicodemus is a teacher of Israel. Here Jesus is instructing him how to be a better teacher, not that he can not be a teacher or titled ‘teacher’.

Acts 13:1:

1 Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyre'ne, Man'a-en a member of the court of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
Luke writes that in the church there are teachers. He gives them the title teachers and his writing obviously would not contradict Jesus’ words.

James 3:1:

1 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, for you know that we who teach shall be judged with greater strictness.
James also writes how that not many should be teachers. However, there are people who are teachers (James 3:1). He gives people the title teachers.

Thus, we see both in Jesus and the apostles, use of the term ‘teachers’ ‘fathers’ and ‘masters’ for people in a spiritual sense. Thus, the idea that Jesus means that one can not use these terms to apply to people is shown to be false.

You tried in your paper to make it about the motives of the Pharisees wanting to be called father etc, but Jesus says nothing about that he just says don't call any man father, which in context as you would agree is talking religiously. I believe the statement is clear and you have manipulated it to mean something else.
Most people who quote this passage for use against Catholics only look at Matthew 23:9, and ignore the verses surrounding it (like the immediate verses that speak of do not call anyone a teacher) so I find it interesting that you speak about the context. Let us look at the context again of Jesus’ statement in Matthew 23:1-13:
1 Then said Jesus to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 "The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat; 3 so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice. 4 They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with their finger. 5 They do all their deeds to be seen by men; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, 6 and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues, 7 and salutations in the market places, and being called rabbi by men. 8 But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren. 9 And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10 Neither be called masters, for you have one master, the Christ. 11 He who is greatest among you shall be your servant; 12 whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. 13 "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you shut the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither enter yourselves, nor allow those who would enter to go in.
The context is about how the Pharisees are exalting themselves over other people. They are doing things to be seen by others. They are loving those titles, and not being good examples to other people. They are in effect using their titles to displace honor to God. In that vein after that, Jesus specifically says he who exalts himself will be humbled in verse 12. They are expecting people to treat them with honor that is only given to God. We see elsewhere in that same vein that the Pharisees allowed a corban rule that allowed them to ignore the commandment to honor their parents (Mk. 7:9-13). Thus, it is very clear that is what Jesus is condemning here, not the use of the terms Father, Teacher or Master, but the way they are using those titles. It does not mean to be a blanket condemnation of the use of those terms. I did not manipulate both the disciples and Jesus to say ‘Father’, ‘Teacher’ and ‘Master’ of people, who obviously are not God.

All in the church are called priest 1 Peter 2:9. All are of the tribe of Judah once baptized into Christ. There are no special branch of priest as you implied. Certainly there are offices such as the eldership (bishops) and deacons and an evangelist working with a congregation, but nowhere are they titled father. Any Christian can bless the bread and fruit of the vine. If you say only certain priests that you would call fathers are able to do so then present the verse that proves this.
I do not have to prove that only priests can be called Fathers, but that title does apply most appropriately to those that are priests. Catholics do accept that there is a universal priesthood of all believers, so your quoting of 1 Peter 2:9 does not impact this issue. Let us look at the passage:
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Peter did not pull this out of thin air. This is borrowed from the old Testament, Exodus 19:5-6:
5: Now therefore, if you will obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my own possession among all peoples; for all the earth is mine, 6: and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel."
All the Israelites were called to be a kingdom of priests. Catholics will also say that Christians are called to be a kingdom of Priests. However, that does not preclude there being a ministerial priesthood. There is a Levitical Priesthood in the Old Testament as well, as noted by God in Exodus 32:29. Here the Levites became ordained as people who were specifically dedicated to the service of the people.

But even in the passage that 1 Pet 2:9 refers us to in Exodus 19, we see in the very same chapter, a specific set of priests beyond the universal priesthood, Exodus 19:21-22:

21: And the LORD said to Moses, "Go down and warn the people, lest they break through to the LORD to gaze and many of them perish. 22: And also let the priests who come near to the LORD consecrate themselves, lest the LORD break out upon them."
We also see that the priests who are Levites are called fathers, Judges 17:9-10:
9: And Micah said to him, "From where do you come?" And he said to him, "I am a Levite of Bethlehem in Judah, and I am going to sojourn where I may find a place." 10: And Micah said to him, "Stay with me, and be to me a father and a priest, and I will give you ten pieces of silver a year, and a suit of apparel, and your living."
We see in this passage that priesthood is associated with spiritual fatherhood, something that can not be ignored by any Bible believer. Thus, quoting 1 Peter 2 does not address whether there are a specific group of people who are called to a ministerial priesthood. In fact in the context of the chapter that Peter is pulling this passage from, is an implication towards a specific ministerial priesthood.

There are many passages which point to the fact of a ministerial priesthood, but that is not within the parameters of this article. Here is an article that gives the Biblical basis for a ministerial priesthood: There is a definite distinction made between ministerial priest assumed in the New Testament, and a passage in Jude reflects that. Here I want to borrow from the article written by James Akin that shows this:

Scripture takes this distinction between clergy and laity very seriously. Both Old and New Testaments warn people against assuming an office to which they have not been ordained. For example, I direct your attention to Jude 11, a verse most people gloss over when they read the book. That verse discusses various wicked Church leaders and states:

"Woe to them! For they walk in the way of Cain, and abandon themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam's error, and perish in Korah's rebellion."
" All three examples cited in this verse -- Cain, Balaam, and Korah -- involve religious ministry. Hebrews 11 makes clear that Abel had offered a better sacrifice to God than Cain, for which Cain was jealous. 2 Peter 2 makes clear that Balaam was willing to corrupt his ministry for money. Most of us know those two examples, but who was Korah and what was his rebellion? The story is found in Numbers 16, and it concerns precisely the issue which is before us today: Whether the fact that all believers are priests means that there is no ministerial priesthood. Korah said it does mean that, and he gathered a rebellion against Moses and Aaron to usurp the priesthood from them. Numbers 16 says:
""Now Korah . . . and Dathan and Abiram . . . took men; and they rose up before Moses, with a number of the people of Israel, two hundred and fifty leaders of the congregation, chosen from the assembly, well-known men; and they assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said . . . 'You have gone too far! For all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them; why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the LORD?'" "When Moses heard it, he fell on his face; and he said . . . "In the morning the LORD will show who is his, and who is holy . . . Do this: take censers . . . put fire in them and put incense upon them before the LORD tomorrow, and the man whom the LORD chooses shall be the holy one. You have gone too far, sons of Levi! . . . [I]s it too small a thing for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel . . . would you seek the priesthood also? Therefore it is against the LORD that you and all your company have gathered together; what is Aaron that you murmur against him?"

After this you can guess what happened. The men loaded up their censers and tried to offer incense before the Lord, but God caused the earth to open its mouth and swallow up Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, then he caused fire to come out of the Tabernacle and swallow up the two hundred and fifty men offering incense, showing that they were not to be priests, not the ones to offer incense, even though God had said that in one sense the whole congregation were priests. Moses also had to intercede to keep God from killing those in the congregation who merely supported Korah, even though they did not themselves offer incense. Later, when the people grumbled after Korah was dead, Moses again had to intervene to stop God from killing them all, but almost 15,000 of them died anyway for being followers of Korah.

It is against this sin that the book of Jude warns us, because the same thing can happen in the New Testament age. Don't think you can confine the warning against Korah's rebellion to the Old Testament age. Jude tells us it was going on in his day as well.

Just as Korah, Dathan, and Abiram came along and said, "Hey, in Exodus 19 God said we are all priests, so we don't need a ministerial priesthood; we can do that ourselves!" today people come along and say, "Hey, in 1 Peter and Revelation God said we are all priests, so we don't need a ministerial priesthood; we can do that ourselves!"

It is against this erroneous conclusion that the book of Jude warns us, proclaiming that people who fall into this error perish in the rebellion of Korah. In the New Testament age there were people rising up and assuming the priesthood who had not been authorized to do so, and Jude records their judgment for us.

Now about the idea that anybody can bless the bread and wine. Assuming you are Protestant, and not going into the issue of whether the bread and wine remains bread and wine or becomes the Body and Blood of Christ, does your church think so? I don’t know of too many Protestant churches that says anybody can go up and say ‘This is my Body’. Usually it is the Minister of that church that does that. Do you just go and bless bread and wine on your own like that? I hope not. I will grant that Scripture does not specifically say that only those who are ordained priests are able to consecrate the bread and wine to make it become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. However, the Church is given authority to make such decisions, see Matthew 16:18-19, Matthew 18:18. But neither does it say any Tom, Dick and Harry can do so. Scripture does not specifically say either way. However, the implications drawn from Jude above point to the Catholic conclusion. Now Jesus did the last supper and did the consecration among the apostles. He said for the apostles to ‘do this’ in remembrance of me. He did not do this among the general populace of believers, but the apostles only. In Matthew 26:20 it says he sat at table with the twelve disciples. The apostles were obviously the only ones given this commission. It was the apostles who ordained others, as we see Paul’s references in 2 Tim. 1:6, for example, where he speaks of his ordination of Timothy. We see Paul passed this authority to others, who also had this apostolic authority (1 Tim. 4:14, Titus 1:5)..

A good way to interpret the proper idea of who can consecrate the bread and wine is to look at how the first post apostolic believers addressed this issue. St. Ignatius, about 10-15 years after St. John inked his writing, wrote the following:

Chapter VIII.-Let Nothing Be Done Without the Bishop. See that ye all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as ye would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution55 of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper56 Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid.57

See that ye all follow the bishop, even as Christ Jesus does the Father, and the presbytery as ye would the apostles. Do ye also reverence the deacons, as those that carry out [through their office] the appointment of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper58 Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as where Christ is, there does all the heavenly host stand by, waiting upon Him as the Chief Captain of the Lord's might, and the Governor of every intelligent nature. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize, or to offer, or to present sacrifice, or to celebrate a love-feast.59 But that which seems good to him, is also well-pleasing to God, that everything ye do may be secure and valid. Ignatius, Letter to the Smyrneans, 8, AD 107

Ignatius’ letter is available here: Thus, we see in the immediate post apostolic era, Christians recognize that the Eucharist is valid only if the Bishop either celebrates it himself or by those who are authorized by him. Those who are authorized by him are priests.
You gave the instituting of the Lord's supper and said only the apostles could do so (and I'm paraphrasing off of a few days old memory so forgive me if I misrepresent you) and those they passed this write on to. I have the verse that destroys your whole argument. Matthew 28:18-20. Lets examine this closely as I know that you know it, but are missing a big point or else you would not hold the position you do. He say go into all nations making disciples through baptizing them. Then he tells them to teach all these disciples of all these nations to observe or practice all that I have commanded you. This includes blessing the bread and fruit of the vine in order to do it in remembrance of him just like they did. 1 Corinthians 11 makes it clear that Corinth done so when they met, but were doing it in an unworthy way. So your argument has these that Paul ordained to bless the bread etc practicing it wrong?
Okay, let us look at the passage, Matthew 28:18-20:
18 And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age."
I do not see in the passage what you are seeing. It says for the apostles to baptize all nations, but says nothing about who can consecrate bread and wine. Jesus told the apostles to ‘do this in remembrance of me.’ Jesus says for them to observe all that he commanded. Fine, all that he commanded them was to ‘observe‘, not ‘every single believer has the authority to practice whatever I gave you the authority to practice.’ Apparently one of the things that they observed is that only the apostles and those appointed by the apostles, and those who succeeded them, had the authority to bless the bread and wine, witness Ignatius.

Now we notice that in Jesus’ commission to ‘do this in remembrance of me,’ he did not tell this to non-apostles, Luke 22:19, Mt. 26:14. The only people who told this were the apostles:

Matt 26:14 And when the hour came, he sat at table, and the apostles with him.
Non-apostles were not ordained to do this. Now, this was apostolic authority, and this gift was given only to those who were ordained by the apostles (2 Tim. 1:6), or by those who they gave authority (1 Tim. 4:14, Acts 13:2, Titus 1:5). That is how the first century Christians understood it, and we have that witnessed by Ignatius of Antioch, as seen above. There is nothing in the New Testament that indicate Ignatius was mistaken, and that your understanding was the one that the apostles had.

Now, in reference to Paul’s complaining about abuse of the Eucharist: It does not say whether those who participated in the abuse were ordained by Paul or not. As long as they were ordained by Paul or the other apostles or those authorized by the apostles, that part of it was not an issue. The issue was that those people who partook of the Body and Blood of Christ (1 Cor. 11:21-27), came to the Church drunk, and not properly prepared to partake of that which was consecrated. That is an abuse of Christ’s Body and Blood. Paul’s issue seems to be more on the people who partook of the Eucharist in an unworthy fashion, not on those who broke the Bread and Wine.

In reference to whether Paul was inspired to choose the wrong men, that is not what I am arguing. He preached the gospel to all, but we see in many places how those he preached to fell away from the Gospel and even preached against him, see Galatians. We see that they had shortcomings, even a son sleeping with his mother (1 Cor. 5). He was inspired to preach to them, but everybody has free will to act in any way that they want, even if they choose to act against the gospel of grace that Paul preached to him. I suppose the same may have happened on who Paul ordained. Some that he ordained may not have run their ministry the way that they should have. However, with that said, that issue does not pertain to that which we are speaking about.

We are not to be called father or teacher or master, but are to greet the brothers by name (last verse in 3 John). All we are is brothers and sisters, not to be titled as father. Your claim ignores Johns command and Jesus'. I hope this will help you and if I misunderstand maybe you can help me.
Well, as I’ve shown in this response to you, both Jesus and the disciples did not put this restriction on others, on not calling them father or teacher or master, but only in the way that the Pharisees were misappropriating those titles for their own exaltation. We’ve seen both Jesus and the disciples/Apostles appropriate the use of the terms ‘Father’, ‘Teacher’, and ‘Master’ for people who are not God. Jesus and the disciples not only called people not God ‘Father’, ‘Teacher’, and ‘Master’, but also gave them those very titles that you say we can not use. By the way, very few Protestants that I know of, maybe you are an exception, refuse to call their Pastor a ‘teacher’.

You say that we are only to be called brothers and sisters, not to be titled father. This doesn’t make sense to me. If Christians are a family in Christ and there are brothers and sisters in Christ, why would there not be fathers in Christ as well? A full family would not be just brothers and sisters, but also fathers and mothers as well. Otherwise you would not have a full family. Well, as we have seen in 1 Cor. 4, Paul calls himself a father of the Corinthian believers. If he is a father to him, why would he not accept the title ‘father’? He already calls himself a spiritual father to him, why does he have to say, ‘Give me the title Father.’, when he has already declared himself a father to them? 3rd John, last verses don’t even use the term brothers and sisters, I see the translation as ‘friends’. I see no prohibition on the use of the term ‘father’. You pointed me to the epistle John. As noted in the original paper in that very epistle you pointed me to, John calls his readers children (1 Jn 2:1) implying that he himself is a Father to them. Not only that, but even more to the point, he calls people ‘Fathers’ in the very epistles he writes. See 1 John 2:12-14:

12 I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his sake. 13 I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, children, because you know the Father. 14 I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
John specifically spells out those who are spiritual children, but also speak of spiritual fathers. He gives them the title ‘Fathers.’ We are not even sure that these are clergy, or ordained people. The context seems to show that these people termed as fathers are more mature in the faith, as opposed to children, who are new, and just beginning to grow in the faith. John has absolutely no qualms in giving those people mature in faith, the title ‘Fathers.‘ This drives home the point even more, that apparently one does not even have to be ordained clergy to be given the title ‘father’. Those who have advanced in the faith exercise spiritual fatherhood to those John terms children. Of course, John himself calls all he is writing to his children. He’s a father to even these fathers. Here of course we are speaking of spiritual fatherhood.

In Christ,


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Completed on September 30, 2006.