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Priesthood, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III

53- Fatherhood in the New Testament


Evidence from the New Testament

We could also respond from the New Testament.

[6] Here We May Encounter The Rhetorical Protest Against The Validity Of Old Testament Evidence

We respond by saying: Do not despise the Old Testament remembering that the Lord Jesus did not destroy it nor contradicted it.

(Mat 5:17) "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.

Also remember the profit gained from the Old Testament.

(2 Tim 3:16) All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,

[7] The Spiritual Fatherhood Is Abundantly Referred To In The New Testament

Saint Paul has repeatedly spoke about the fatherhood of our Father Abraham. Hence it is not possible to contradict such holy utterance.

[8] Saint Paul Calls Titus, Timothy And Onesimus His Sons.

(1 Tim 1:2) To Timothy, a true son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.

(2 Tim 1:4) greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy,

(Titus 1:4) To Titus, a true son in our common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.

(Phile 1:10) I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten while in my chains,

(2 Tim 2:1) You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. Image: An icon of Saint Timothy the Bishop. صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: أيقونة القديس تيموثاوس الأسقف. Image: An icon of Saint Timothy the Bishop.

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: أيقونة القديس تيموثاوس الأسقف.

It is well known that Saint Paul was a celibate, he had neither natural sons nor daughters, however he was the spiritual father to many.

Would Timothy, Titus or Onesimus dare tell Saint Paul: you have no right to call us sons

[9] Also Saint Paul Exhorted Saint Timothy To Consider The Older Men As Fathers To Him.

(1 Tim 5:1) Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers,

It is not imaginable that Saint Timothy would have objected by arguing that it is not scriptural to call an earthly person a father

[10] Saint Paul Claimed Fatherhood to Entire Nations

(Gal 4:9) But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage?

He also calls the Corinthians sons;

(1 Cor 4:14-17) I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you. {15} For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. {16} Therefore I urge you, imitate me. {17} For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church.

[11] The Expression I Have Begotten You Through The Gospel Denotes Spiritual Fatherhood

Saint Paul was the father of the people of Corinth, as they embraced Christ as a result of his work.

Could any one imagine the Corinthians or the Galatians contesting Saint Pauls fatherhood by saying

(Mat 23:9) "Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. "

[12] Such Argument Would Constitutes Gross Misunderstanding Of The Scriptures

The Scriptures teach us:

(2 Cor 3:6) who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

It is dangerous to take one verse in isolation, building ones whole faith on it. One should study any verse in the light of the whole Scriptures, as we have discussed this issue before here on in other sections. Also it is important to understand the context and the intent of the verse.

[13] Saint John Has Also Called Himself A Spiritual Father

(1 John 2:1) My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

(3 John 1:4) I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

[14] Also Saint Peter calls Mark his son.

(1 Pet 5:13) She who is in Babylon, elect together with you, greets you; and so does Mark my son.

Saint Peter was much older than his nephew Mark, the son of Aristopoulos.

[15] Did These Great Apostles Erred By Claiming To Be Fathers?

Did Saints Paul, Peter and John err? Did they think of themselves more highly than they ought to think? Did they set themselves in competition with God by calling themselves fathers?

Certainly not as Matt 29:3 was meant for the apostles and only for them.

It was they who inquired from the Lord:

(Luke 12:41) Then Peter said to Him, "Lord, do You speak this parable only to us, or to all people?"

[16] The Literal Interpretation Of Christs Command Would Also Destroy Natural Fatherhood

There is nothing in Matt 23:9 which could limit the meaning to spiritual fatherhood. So if the verse is understood literally one could also assume that Christ has rejected natural fatherhood. Obviously not! Especially that Saint Paul reiterates Gods Commandment:

(Eph 6:1-2) Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. {2} "Honor your father and mother," which is the first commandment with promise:

[17] Matthew 23 Was Aimed At Dismantling The Authority Of The Pharisees And The Scribes

The whole chapter (Matthew 23) is designed to annihilate the old religious hierarchy. In this chapter the Lord has repeatedly and clearly admonished the Scribes and the Pharisees:

(Mat 23:13-15) "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. {14} "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation. {15} "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.

(Mat 23:25) "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence.

(Mat 23:29) "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous,

(Mat 23:33) "Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?

It is clear that the Lord issued his instructions to the apostles in Matt 23:9, straight after admonishing the Scribes and Pharisees for their love of the first place and their obsession with pomp and ceremony for their person.

(Mat 23:6-7) "They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, {7} "greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, 'Rabbi, Rabbi.'

[18] Hence It Was An Explicit Assault on The Fatherhood Of The Scribes And Pharisees And Not Against The Fatherhood Of The New Testament

At this stage the Lord Jesus was preparing for the cancellation of the fatherhood of the then religious hierarchy which was in complete and utter control. He was about to replace the corrupt system with a new spiritual fatherhood and leadership.