VI.6. Please Explain “And Call No Man Your Father…”

Question:  What does it mean in Matthew 23:9 where it says,

“And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.”

Answer:  We know the word "father" in this verse applies to religious leaders, not our biological fathers, as in Ephesians 6:2, children are told to

“Honour thy father and mother.”

In Ephesians 6:4 the Lord addresses the fathers,

“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath; but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

Please read and re-read all of Matthew 23, as it graphically portrays these religious leaders with their pretense of piety, their long, fancy robes, their love of being noticed and of sitting at the head of the table. (Verses 5,6). They prided themselves in being addressed as “Rabbi” (v.7) and “father” (v.9). Christ rebuked these religious leaders, the Scribes and Pharisees, for their hypocrisies. They were nothing more than the workers of Satan. We have priests and rabbis doing the same thing today.

One needs to understand who the Scribes and Pharisees were. The Scribes Christ was dealing with were the students, interpreters and teachers of the Old Testament Scriptures. They were held in high esteem by the very people whom they had deceived. Christ rebuked them publicly for teaching their damnable traditions, instead of the word of God. Mark, in Chapter 7, records Christ denouncing them,

“…Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.” (9). “Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition...” (13). “Howbeit in vain (emptiness) do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (7).

The Pharisees arose in the time of the Maccabees, called “separatists” because they separated themselves from the ambitious political party in their nation. They were the proponents and guardians of the written and oral law. In belief, they presented themselves as conservative; but, their religious orthodoxy was spiritually bankrupt and barren. In Luke 11:39, Christ rebuked their hypocrisy,

“And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness.”

Neither was John the Baptist, fooled by them, as he addressed them in Matthew 3:7,

“But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, ‘O generation of VIPERS, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?”

Christ, Himself, in Matthew 23:9 warned the people not to be fooled by these pretenders when He said,

“And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.”

Christ addressed them as “hypocrites” six times in this chapter. In Matthew 23:27, He told them that they,

“…appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.”

Sometime back, while witnessing to a Catholic priest who wanted nothing to do with Christ for his salvation, I asked him why he liked to be addressed as “Father” when Christ, Himself, had denounced it. He told me, “Once the people call the priests, “Father, their allegiance is to them; and they will believe any-thing else we tell them.” That was the first time I ever had a priest admit that to me. He had a very arrogant attitude while making that statement, and was very proud that he could control the peoples’ thinking by his ecclesiastical “power” of being a priest.

Paul also described these religious leaders in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15.

“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. (13) And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed (pretending to be something they are not) into an angel of light. (14) Therefore it is no great thing if his (Satan’s) ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness...(15)”

I have personally asked approximately 150 priests if they would show me from the Bible how I could know, for sure, I am going to Heaven when I die. Not even one of them could do that. I entertained one priest for supper on three different occasions. Each time I called him ahead of time, giving him the questions I wanted to discuss with him, so he would have time to prepare. He was very personable, friendly, and open to the Scriptures. His last visit lasted about three and a half hours as he was very interested in the verses concerning salvation. Many of the verses I showed him, he was not familiar with at all.

It was a shock to my wife and me when he told us he had taken hardly any Theology courses in his training for the priest-hood. I believe he trusted Christ for his salvation. Shortly after that visit, he was transferred to a parish in another area.

Truly, the priests are a “god” in the eyes of many people. They have deceived the people by the damnable doctrine (heresy) of good works to merit salvation, along with “baptismal regeneration”; then, getting the people to address them as “Father,” in spite of Christ’s warning in Matthew 23:9. The irony of this, the priest leaves a person with the feeling of disrespect if they do not address him as “Father.” When behind the pulpit the priest begins to read the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:9,

“…Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy (God’s) name.”

It doesn’t seem to register with people that the Bible says that God in Heaven is to be addressed as FATHER, NOT THE PRIESTS on Earth. It is unbelievable how these false teachers can mesmerize and control the minds of people to trust their words, instead of God’s Word, the Bible.

Christ’s final rebuke to these false teachers is staggering.

“Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the DAMNATION OF HELL?” -Matthew 23:33

The prophet, Jeremiah, in his day warned the people about trusting false teachers, instead of the Lord.

“Thus saith the LORD, Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. (5) Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is (7).” - Jeremiah 17:5,7

Calling the priest “Father,” a title reserved only for God, is just one of the many false teachings exposed that prevail in the organization of Catholicism. When their false teaching is exposed, the people many times falsely accuse the Christian of hating Roman Catholics. No, the Christian hates the false teaching and deception of Catholicism; but, NOT the people.

A few years ago, a young lady, raised in the Roman Catholic Church, was invited to our church by a Christian friend. She came for the Sunday morning service and returned for the evening service. That night, she received the Lord Jesus Christ by faith, as her personal Savior. If the friend who invited her to church truly hated Roman Catholics, she never would have invited her to church…would she? Jesus Christ freed her from the bondage of Catholicism. By receiving Christ as her Savior she experienced John 8:36,

“If the Son (Jesus Christ) therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”

By the way, her husband was ordained some time back and she and her husband have headed up our youth group for the past several years. It all began when her Christian friend, who was “not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ,” invited her to church.

One more instance. A few years ago, a Christian woman in our church had been witnessing to her husband and trying to get him to come to church with her. He had been raised in the Catholic Church. He would drive her to church, but would wait for her in the car until church was over. He finally gave in and attended the Sunday morning service with his wife. That morning, during the invitation, he trusted Christ as his personal Savior. A few years later, we were privileged to ordain him into the ministry that the Lord had called him to. He presently pastors an independent, fundamental Bible church in Ohio.

In conclusion: If the priest can lie to the people; should not Christians be bold enough to tell them the truth?

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” - 2 Timothy 1:7

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