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Call no Man Father the Jesus Flip Flop?

Updated on January 29, 2012

Vote for me and I will give you life

Once again, it's an election year and politicians are out courting the American voter.

From the promise of healthcare repeal, to the vow to cut taxes, to the guarantee of new jobs.

Oh, and let us not forget, the pledge not to commit adultery - for a third time. Politicians will do and say anything in simple exchange for our approval.

Yet, if history is a reliable indicator in all things political, the odds are quite certain those behind these counterfeit commitments will eventually, flip flop.

By no means, a recent political deficiency, flip flopping can be traced back to Governor Pilate's death sentence of Jesus Christ.

For gospel accounts tell us, the Roman Governor's original pledge was to have Christ "...flogged and then release him (Luke 23:16)."

In an effort to assuage the raucous crowd, however, we are later told Governor Pilate flip flopped on his commitment and adjudged "...their demand" of crucifixion "should be granted (Luke 23:24)."

Moreover, there are those who, perhaps, inadvertently take it a step further and affix the "flip flop" stamp to Christ himself.

We speak of those who advance the falsity, the Catholic Church blasphemes when addressing her priests (mere men) as father. It should come as no surprise, those who launch the accusation come equipped with, you guessed it, a scripture verse.

Be warned, however, those of us Catholics who refute the allegation, are locked and loaded with a veritable arsenal of biblical verses. And refute the shallow claim, we shall. For as we will see, to issue such a claim against The Church is to reduce the Lord to the level of a political "flip flopper." And that, is blasphemy in its truest form.

Now, the verse these accusers discharge against The Church comes by way of Matthew 23:9, which states: "Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven."

Seems straight forward enough. The accusation must be true. The Catholic Church blasphemes.

There is only one problem with this prognosis. And that is, in the very book of Matthew, Jesus calls Abraham, father, when telling the parable of Lazarus to his disciples (Matthew 3:9).

In fact, in Genesis 17:4 God himself (Jesus), tells Abraham: "My covenant with you is this: you are to become the father of a host of nations."

Is Jesus, a flip flopper, does The Church blaspheme? Then we must also conclude the Apostles of the Lord were not much better.

For in Acts 7:2 St. Stephen, when addressing the Jews, states: "My brothers and fathers, listen. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was in Mesopotamia..."

As we see, the Apostle Stephen's blasphemy and flip flopping is two-fold, for not only does he refer to Abraham as father after being instructed by the one for whom he eventually dies, not to do so, but he also refers to the Jews as fathers.

In like manner, Acts 22:1 tells us St. Paul is guilty of the same "blasphemy" when he states: "My brothers and fathers, listen to what I am about to say to you in my defense."

Oh, but scripture tells us Paul is a serial blasphemer. For in Romans 4:16-17, the Apostle states:

"For this reason, it depends on faith, so that it may be a gift, and the promise may be guaranteed to all his descendants, not to those who only adhere to the law but to those who follow the faith of Abraham, who is the father of all of us, as it is written, "I have made you father of many nations." He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into being what does not exist."

Note the repeated use of the moniker, father. Yet, Paul is just getting started. In 1 Corinthians 4:15, the Apostle dares to say this:

"Even if you should have countless guides to Christ, yet you do not have many fathers, for I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel."

The audacity, the sheer blasphemy of the man. And even the Apostle whom Jesus loved, John, states: "I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning (1 John 2:13)."

So what is going on here? Is Jesus Christ about as honest, or dishonest, as Barack Obama or Mitt Romney? Is The Church founded by Christ truly blasphemous? Of course not.

This is a simple, obvious case of reading scripture out of context and ignoring the time period in which the scriptures were written.

In the time of Jesus, the Roman Emperor exulted himself as God. Incense was burned in worship of him and the people were expected to pray to him as if he were God himself. In turn, some Pharisees and sadducees suffered from a form of the same iniquitous bug.

This is what Jesus is addressing in the infamous, Matthew 23:9 verse. This is why prior to this verse, we find Jesus stating the following in verses 5-7:

"All their works are performed to be seen. They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues, greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation 'Rabbi."

In other words, there were those in Jesus' time, not unlike some of today's political and spiritual leaders, who dabbled in the act of self-exultation.

Matthew 23:9 is meant for the haughty Jewish fathers who would eventually reject Christ - God made flesh. Not for those humble fathers who would humbly serve him and his holy Catholic Church.

See you at the ballot box.

God bless.

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    • cafeteria profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Lexington Kentucky.

      The Greek word Pater, which the King James Greek Lexicon defines as: "generator or male ancestor

      either the nearest ancestor: father of the corporeal nature, natural fathers, both parents," I am familiar with.

      The word genna on the other hand does not exist in said lexicon. And judging by the question marks you place in the words you've rendered here, I am not so sure you fully comprehend what you are saying either.

      For the sake of argument, however, let us not forget the other verses cited in the article which do use the word pater. Hence, we still have Christ and other Apostles referring to mere men as Fathers.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Don't forget that things get changed in translation. The word "father" in Matthew 23:9 (pat?r)is a completely different word than "father" in 1 Cor 4:15 (genna?), so that's not an accurate comparison.

    • cafeteria profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Lexington Kentucky.

      Thanks much MsDora. My aim is to share and dispel misconceptions about the Catholic faith. If I do this well enough that it might persuade some, then, in Christ, I'll take that too.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      6 years ago from The Caribbean

      You presented your point very well, cafeteria. I had never read or heard a response to the "Call no one ...Father," statement before. I hadn't even considered those verses you quoted. If your aim was to share and not to persuade, you have done a good job! Thanks for sharing!

    • cafeteria profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Lexington Kentucky.

      So you are telling me Paul (a circumcised Jew) was actually a Greek man? For Acts 16 plainly says Timothy's biological mother was Jewish but his biological father was Greek. Paul had Timothy circumcised precisely because Timothy's father was Greek and all the Jews in Lystra knew this, according to the word of God.

      Paul became timothy's "father" in the faith. Exactly the same way a priest becomes our "father" - in the faith. 1 Timothy 1:2 (which you've just cited) is actually a good example of this because Paul says: "to Timothy, my true child in faith." We see this again in Titus 1:4 where Paul says to Titus: "Titus, my true child in our common faith." He again uses similar language when he tells the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 4:15) "I became your father in Christ through the gospel." In the next two verses (16-17) Paul says this:

      "Therefore, I urge you, be imitators of me. For this reason I am sending you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord."

      Take note Dave, in verses 15-16, Paul is addressing the Corinthians directly when referring to himself as their "father." In verse 16, he then tells them to be imitators of him. Not until verse 17 does Paul bring up Timothy (showing he was indeed talking to the Corinthians in verses 15-16) and refers to Timothy as his son in the Lord. Just as he referred to himself as "father" of the Corinthian people, in Christ and to Titus as his true child in our common faith. In other words, Paul was the "father" of many, in Christ, in faith, through the gospel but not biologically as you propose.

      Dave, its really getting deep for you. According to your interpretation, Paul now has, not one biological son, but two - Timothy and Titus. Not only that, but thanks to your interpretation, we've also discovered Paul (a circumcised Jew) is actually Greek.

      God bless you, Dave.

      This was an e-mail response to Dave who continues to insist, Timothy is the biological son of Paul, in spite of irrefutable biblical evidence.

    • Dave Mathews profile image

      Dave Mathews 

      6 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

      Paul was a father he had a son so he was addressing his son.

    • cafeteria profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Lexington Kentucky.

      Thank you Marie Gail...I am flattered. Please quote me till you're heart's content. I can't take credit though... I am a mere instrument.

      God bless.

    • Marie Gail profile image

      Marie Gail Stratford 

      6 years ago from Olathe, KS

      I LOVE THIS! While I may hold slightly different political views than you, I must say your biblical studies are spot-on. Many years ago I just stopped arguing with other Christians, particularly after I converted to Catholicism. It just seems there are so many more important things than deciding which Scripture verse can be taken literally. But you break it down very well here. I may quote you at my next family reunion in an attempt to save face as the only Catholic present. Thank you!

    • cafeteria profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Lexington Kentucky.

      Yes Dave, you say Jesus is telling us not to address our spiritual leaders as "father." Yet, as I've pointed out, Paul refers to himself as father in 1 Corinthians 4:15, when he stated:

      "Even if you should have countless guides to Christ, yet you do not have many fathers, for I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel."

      Are you saying, Paul was not a spiritual leader? He was absolutely a priest. A priest, by the way, who called himself, father.

      Not only that but Paul also refers to members of the Sanhedrin (Rabis) as father - so does St. Stephen. Your argument is baseless and weak. Sorry Dave.

    • Dave Mathews profile image

      Dave Mathews 

      6 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

      In Exodus 20: 12; Almighty God instructs all mankind to honor our mothers and fathers. Since Almighty God is the "AUTHOR" of the law, we must obey His law first and formost. Jesus was referring to addressing priests, Rabbi,teachers, as father for in truth only God is "FATHER" or "TEACHER" Only GOD has the knowledge and deserves such reverence.

    • Dave Mathews profile image

      Dave Mathews 

      6 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

      As far as Pilate is concerned, He was constantly flip flopping around trying to please Rome. Pilate was the epitomy of BUT kissers.


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