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Paul's Reference to Abraham as "Father of us All" Is Supposedly Not in Conflict with Christ's Command. 

 

In Romans 4:16 , Paul says"Abraham is the father of us all." 

 

However, Jesus commands: 

 

And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. (Matt 23:9 NIV.)

 

In Greek, you had other informal means to address your father. These informal terms are similar to how we use papa or dad in English. Thus, in Greek, your male parent is informally addressed as pappa and tatta. See link. Thus, it is a violation of Jesus' principle to call priests or anyone else  "father" -- the respectful form of address.

 

Thus, on its face, Paul's statement violates Jesus's express command.

 

Jesus highlights it applies even to calling Abraham father when Jesus speaks of the man in hell in one of Jesus' parables as calling for "mercy"  to "Father Abraham" -- not to "Father God."  See Luke 16:24. 

 

Efforts to Rebut Paul Violated Jesus' Words.

 

However, GotQuestions tries to clean up any conflict in Paul's words with Jesus by the following means:

 

[1] making a pointless digression, and [2] twice misidentifying the issues.

 

In this manner, the article never directly addressed the issue. The reader, however, may wrongly and easily assume among the host of words that there was a true explanation. Here is GotQuestions attempt at deflection of the contradiction between Jesus and Paul on this point: 

 

What about the apostle Paul’s reference to “our father Abraham” and his implication that he himself is a father to Timothy and Titus? When Paul refers to Abraham as “our father” in Romans 4:12, he is not making the same mistake as the Pharisees. Paul is saying that the promise that saves us was first given to Abraham who in faith believed. Paul is pointing out that God began His plan of redemption of all nations with Abraham and that Abraham is the model of justification by faith, apart from the Law (verse 3). Paul is not raising Abraham to God’s level or assigning an official title to Abraham but merely acknowledging his faith. Abraham is the metaphorical “father” of all who believe in Christ in the sense that he is the prototype of faith.

 

Let's start at the end where twice the issue is misidentified. The author implies Jesus said do not give someone an "official title" as father. Nope. Jesus instead said: 

 

And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. (Matt 23:9 NIV.

 

This is thus not about what you do in an organization, as if Jesus only had in mind what the Catholics do in an organization.

 

Next, the GotQuestions article implies Jesus expressly said "do not raise anyone to God's level...."

 

Nope. Jesus said do not call anyone "on earth" by the name Father. Jesus did not say it mattered what was your intention in doing so. Jesus instead is elevating our concern about something we might not otherwise be concerned about at all. Jesus says that the formal address of father belongs only to God. No good intention justifies it. Jesus means it is a name that only should be used to address the "one Father" -- Yahweh in heaven, and it should not be used for anyone else.

 

In fact, it appears that Jesus' main objection was using it about Abraham, for why else did Jesus tell the story of a man in hell asking for mercy from "Father Abraham"? Wasn't it to underscore Jews were seeking salvation through the wrong person's favor? See Luke 16:24.

 

Finally, the first rebuttal will now be addressed last. The rebuttal begins by making an irrelevant reference to Paul's point in the text is to teach a salvation promise by faith to Abraham.

 

(Incidentally, Paul relied upon the Septuagint Greek mistranslation of Gen. 15:6 for that lesson, but that is another issue. See this link.)

 

However, that does not excuse in any way Paul referring to Abraham as "the father of us all."  

 

In fact, this final rebuttal point highlights  the importance of  Jesus' story of the man in hell appealing to "Father Abraham" for "mercy." Could Jesus imply a knock on the exclusively Septuagint-based notion that Abraham was justified by faith? That our salvation and mercy is through the Septuagint-based alleged "justification" promise to Abraham? Why was the man in hell in Jesus' story thinking mercy could be obtained through an appeal to Abraham as Father?

 

Regardless of how one resolves those questions, the first rebuttal point was off point entirely. 

 

Hence, this GotQuestions article is just another example where mainstream Protestants are as inconsistent with respecting Jesus's words as Catholics. Our mainstream leaders too ignore Jesus' words, adopting a strong preference for Paul's words even when  obviously to the contrary of Jesus.