Author Topic: Calling someone "Father"  (Read 1523 times)

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Offline orthodox4life

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Calling someone "Father"
« on: September 17, 2013, 02:54:14 PM »
I'm new to Orthodoxy and my wife who is not, asked "how can you call someone father when the scriptures say not to"? I know it also says don't call anyone teacher either and they call people teachers but I was looking for a better explanation.

ref: Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.
Matthew 23:9
« Last Edit: September 17, 2013, 02:54:41 PM by orthodox4life »
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Offline Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)

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Re: Calling someone "Father"
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2013, 03:09:22 PM »
Ask your wife what she calls her father. Pops, Dad, Papa, etc.. are the same as Father, so what is the big deal?

Offline orthodox4life

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Re: Calling someone "Father"
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2013, 03:12:02 PM »
I don't want to sound condescending to her by saying something like that. To her the scripture says not to so I need a reasonable explanation.
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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Calling someone "Father"
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2013, 03:19:51 PM »
I don't want to sound condescending to her by saying something like that. To her the scripture says not to so I need a reasonable explanation.

But if, "to her the scripture says not to" call someone father, that should include earthly parents and not simply spiritual ones.  That's not condescending, that's just the plain sense of the words.  So unless she refers to her biological male parent as "progenitor" or something like that, she's probably not in accordance with the plain sense of the words.  But if the argument is that "That doesn't mean I can't call my father my father...", then you have a direction in which to walk. 

Quote
I Corinthians 4.15

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.
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Offline orthodox4life

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Re: Calling someone "Father"
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2013, 03:24:16 PM »
Quote
But if, "to her the scripture says not to" call someone father, that should include earthly parents and not simply spiritual ones.  That's not condescending, that's just the plain sense of the words.  So unless she refers to her biological male parent as "progenitor" or something like that, she's probably not in accordance with the plain sense of the words.  But if the argument is that "That doesn't mean I can't call my father my father...", then you have a direction in which to walk.

I see your point and I agree with you. But the answer seems to make an excuse for calling someone father rather than an explanation as to why we call a priest father.
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Offline hecma925

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Re: Calling someone "Father"
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2013, 03:24:23 PM »
Use context of Scripture, like your example.  Christ is also our Pastor, but Protestants call their leaders "pastor."  No says anything about that.  Christ is our Master, but we throw that label around by calling artists or tradesmen "masters" of their craft.  Christ is our Judge, yet we give that title to many and have the gall to say "Your honor."  Christ is our King, yet many on earth are monarchs anr are addressed, "Your majesty."  It's hard to use examples not in the Bible, if your wife will only subscribe to the Bible.  No example will be reasonable unless you have chapter and vers in hand.  I struggle with this too with my wife.
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Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Calling someone "Father"
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2013, 03:24:52 PM »
In the same passage, he also says to call no man Rabbi or teacher.

Paul also tells people that he is their Father, and they are not his biological decendents.

Christ was speaking in hyperbole and referring to it in a more transcendent sense.  We should not equate any man as being the equivalent of God our Father or God as our Teacher.



Guys! They're not intercoursing. It's just an unfortunate angle.

Offline orthodox4life

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Re: Calling someone "Father"
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2013, 03:34:18 PM »
Quote
In the same passage, he also says to call no man Rabbi or teacher.

Paul also tells people that he is their Father, and they are not his biological decendents.

Christ was speaking in hyperbole and referring to it in a more transcendent sense.  We should not equate any man as being the equivalent of God our Father or God as our Teacher.

Good point. That's something I can work with. Thanks everyone.... :angel:
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Offline katherineofdixie

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Re: Calling someone "Father"
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2013, 03:36:12 PM »
Since this is your wife, I don't recommend this but I often ask people who bring up this verse, how they decide (on what basis, using what methods/criteria) what parts of Scripture should be understood/interpreted literally.
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Offline orthodox4life

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Re: Calling someone "Father"
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2013, 03:39:51 PM »
Quote
Since this is your wife, I don't recommend this but I often ask people who bring up this verse, how they decide (on what basis, using what methods/criteria) what parts of Scripture should be understood/interpreted literally.

To your point and the one TheTrisagion made in his reply about hyperbole got me thinking along the lines of examples about taking certain scripture literally that were not meant to be. Like in Matt 5:29 where it says "“If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out". Very good points to build on...thanks
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Offline Jovan

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Re: Calling someone "Father"
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2013, 03:42:07 PM »
I´ve heard many orthodox priest commenting on Christ words on this same theme. That no one needs to be called father, teacher or any other thing out of pride, that you lift up yourself because you are a teacher, a father, a pastor, a priest, a mother etc.

If Christ only meant for us to condemn the use of these 2 names, whereas we use both in our common language. Can we still call someone high priest in the light of an none orthodox tradition? If Christ gave us this strict command not to use only these 2 names, then we have to consider all the other names he didn´t mention. Can someone within a church be called king? Queen? Dracula? Christ never condemned the use of these, so then it must be okey. But in the light of these names being used as a mark of pride, then many other names are suddenly included.
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Offline Jovan

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Re: Calling someone "Father"
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2013, 03:45:14 PM »
I would suggest you my dear brother, to bring examples which Christ didn´t mention. As for example High Priest, and ask her for what reason this term may sound negative if a human receives it. Pride,power or something along these lines will probably be the answer. This is what Christ wanted to condemn, the use of pride, not the use of names.
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Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Calling someone "Father"
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2013, 03:48:05 PM »
It is a personal pet peeve of mine, but I find it annoying when you ask (Orthodox) people about why the Church finds something acceptable when it appears to be condemned in Scripture, but rather than explaining what the correct interpretation is, they just bring up other situations when similar things occur or other seeming contradictions.  If I wanted to find a list of seeming contradictions, I would go talk to atheists.  

*steps off soapbox*
Guys! They're not intercoursing. It's just an unfortunate angle.

Offline orthodox4life

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Re: Calling someone "Father"
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2013, 03:58:58 PM »
Quote
It is a personal pet peeve of mine, but I find it annoying when you ask (Orthodox) people about why the Church finds something acceptable when it appears to be condemned in Scripture, but rather than explaining what the correct interpretation is, they just bring up other situations when similar things occur or other seeming contradictions.  If I wanted to find a list of seeming contradictions, I would go talk to atheists.

Yes me too. I guess you have to of come from a protestant background to understand that. I always have to be very careful about getting into being right vs being righteousness arguments. Since I'm different, my every step is put under a microscope by protestant friends and family.
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Offline Jovan

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Re: Calling someone "Father"
« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2013, 04:06:30 PM »
You seem to be a very humble and loving person my dear brother, regardless of your situation. Please pray for me that I might gain the same strength as you orthodox4life :) You´ve been put under a microscope for a reason, be strong my brother and you will see changes!
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Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Calling someone "Father"
« Reply #15 on: September 17, 2013, 04:08:45 PM »
Quote
It is a personal pet peeve of mine, but I find it annoying when you ask (Orthodox) people about why the Church finds something acceptable when it appears to be condemned in Scripture, but rather than explaining what the correct interpretation is, they just bring up other situations when similar things occur or other seeming contradictions.  If I wanted to find a list of seeming contradictions, I would go talk to atheists.

Yes me too. I guess you have to of come from a protestant background to understand that. I always have to be very careful about getting into being right vs being righteousness arguments. Since I'm different, my every step is put under a microscope by protestant friends and family.
Yep, as a protestant, if you would point something out like that, the solution would have been to stop calling your dad, "father" and start referring to him by his given name or something.  Fortunately, I don't know of any who have gone to cutting off hands.  :laugh:
Guys! They're not intercoursing. It's just an unfortunate angle.

Offline DeniseDenise

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Re: Calling someone "Father"
« Reply #16 on: September 17, 2013, 07:55:06 PM »
If  you listen to podcasts, Ancient Faith Radio has one by Fr. Thomas Hopko on this topic.

It's called 'call no man father' and is dated April 12th, 2010.

It's about 30 min long and I found it very good. 

Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Calling someone "Father"
« Reply #17 on: September 17, 2013, 11:17:17 PM »
Quote
But if, "to her the scripture says not to" call someone father, that should include earthly parents and not simply spiritual ones.  That's not condescending, that's just the plain sense of the words.  So unless she refers to her biological male parent as "progenitor" or something like that, she's probably not in accordance with the plain sense of the words.  But if the argument is that "That doesn't mean I can't call my father my father...", then you have a direction in which to walk.

I see your point and I agree with you. But the answer seems to make an excuse for calling someone father rather than an explanation as to why we call a priest father.

"For while you have many teachers in Christ, you have not many fathers," said St. Paul, referring to himself as a father of the Christians he brought to faith--spiritually begetting them. There you go.
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Offline Nicene

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Re: Calling someone "Father"
« Reply #18 on: September 27, 2013, 04:36:40 PM »
The apostle Paul called Abraham father and he called Timothy his son. Should we imagine that timothy didn't call Paul father or think of him in such a way? Is merely calling someone a father the sin or the intent behind falling them father?
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Offline davillas

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Re: Calling someone "Father"
« Reply #19 on: September 27, 2013, 06:35:49 PM »
There is a better example in the Bible :

"If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple."

So when someone asks you why you call your priest father, ask him if he hates his parents because it is written in the Bible to do that. :)

Offline biro

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Re: Calling someone "Father"
« Reply #20 on: September 27, 2013, 06:51:17 PM »
There is a better example in the Bible :

"If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple."

So when someone asks you why you call your priest father, ask him if he hates his parents because it is written in the Bible to do that. :)

Post that in one of yeshuaisiam's threads. See if it matters to him.

Offline Gamliel

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Re: Calling someone "Father"
« Reply #21 on: September 27, 2013, 07:09:29 PM »
If  you listen to podcasts, Ancient Faith Radio has one by Fr. Thomas Hopko on this topic.

It's called 'call no man father' and is dated April 12th, 2010.

It's about 30 min long and I found it very good. 
I am listening to the podcast now.  It is an informative lesson.

Offline orthodox4life

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Re: Calling someone "Father"
« Reply #22 on: September 28, 2013, 10:14:47 PM »
Can someone give me the link to that podcast? I did a search but can't find it.
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Calling someone "Father"
« Reply #23 on: September 29, 2013, 02:19:56 AM »
Can someone give me the link to that podcast? I did a search but can't find it.

AFR is acting up, but the audio is on the youtube in the meantime in three parts:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjOAS4hyWWg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APdFL22-WY4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rw4bwKqp_aE
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Re: Calling someone "Father"
« Reply #24 on: March 23, 2015, 05:40:48 PM »
Quote
It is a personal pet peeve of mine, but I find it annoying when you ask (Orthodox) people about why the Church finds something acceptable when it appears to be condemned in Scripture, but rather than explaining what the correct interpretation is, they just bring up other situations when similar things occur or other seeming contradictions.  If I wanted to find a list of seeming contradictions, I would go talk to atheists.

Yes me too. I guess you have to of come from a protestant background to understand that. I always have to be very careful about getting into being right vs being righteousness arguments. Since I'm different, my every step is put under a microscope by protestant friends and family.
Yep, as a protestant, if you would point something out like that, the solution would have been to stop calling your dad, "father" and start referring to him by his given name or something.  Fortunately, I don't know of any who have gone to cutting off hands.  :laugh:
Yeah, I would more likely do this. I actyally never called my ' father' 'father', I always called him dad, now I am glad I did.
I know many on here would not agree, but if Jesus says not to say 'father' then maybe we should just replace it with another name such as dad for example.

I do not come from a Protestant background, but I more often than not take the scritpture verses for what they say. I know people won't agree with me on this one.
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Offline wgw

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Re: Calling someone "Father"
« Reply #25 on: March 23, 2015, 05:50:58 PM »
But dad means Father.  Really that literalism does not hold up; if the semantics are the same and only the word is changed the meaning is unaltered and you are interpreting the Gospel in a legalistic sense, searching for loopholes.  Even Mor Ephrems example of Progenitor fails on the basis of semantics.  We can't really even imply paternal relationships in language if we want to strictly adhere to the literal meaning of this directive.

Which is why I think we should find the spiritual meaning instead, which Fr. Thomas Hopko of blessed memory explains in his podcast.  Please, listen to him.
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Re: Calling someone "Father"
« Reply #26 on: March 23, 2015, 07:51:09 PM »
... if Jesus says not to say 'father' then maybe we should just replace it with another name such as dad for example.

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Offline biro

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Re: Calling someone "Father"
« Reply #27 on: March 23, 2015, 08:03:53 PM »
The man married to my Mom will be rather disappointed.  :-\