Q. In Matthew 23: 9, while Jesus was talking to the crowds & His disciples, He said: “And don’t address anyone here on earth as ‘Father,’ for only God in heaven is your spiritual Father.” My question is why then are Catholic priests to this day called father if Jesus commanded us not to?
A. In that same passage Jesus said we’re not to call anyone Rabbi or Teacher either (Matt. 23:8-10). Whether Jew or Gentile, Catholic or Protestant, many religious groups have traditions and practices that aren’t Biblical. Some of these are just man made traditions, but others are actually forbidden in Scripture.
It’s important to understand that religion is a man made system. Jesus didn’t come to Earth to start a new religion for some of us. He came so His Father could have have a personal relationship with each of us.
John 1:12-13 says, “To all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”
In Galatians 4:4-7 Paul said the same thing. He said that being redeemed by the blood of Jesus means we’ve been adopted into God’s family, and we are His children now. So we’re not just followers of our God like members of other religions are of theirs. Because of our faith in what Jesus did for us, we have literally become the children of our God.
Therefore, God is the only one we should address as “Father”.