A theological conundrum for Fundamentalists

A theological conundrum for Fundamentalists January 2, 2012

If Jesus meant we are really, literally, to call no man “Father”, then what are the children of this convert Anglican priest supposed to call him?

Fundamentalists who resort to this chestnut as “proof” the Church is unbiblical seldom have trouble with calling their own fathers “father”.  They also don’t seem to have issues with calling people “teacher”, which Jesus also “forbids”.

Fundamentalists really need to find some less lame arguments against the Faith.

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  • Ben

    We all celebrate Mother’s Day in May; I suppose Bible literalist cannot observe a certain parental holiday that comes in June.

  • Marion (Mael Muire)

    I suppose we could refer to our earthly fathers as “male parental units.”

  • And the mother of all conundrum for Fundamentalists: John 6:53 “So Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves…'”

    Let’s pray that all Christians obey our Lord & Savior and come to receive His Body & Blood lovingly & worthily in this new year. Happy New Year, everyone.

  • Dan F.

    It still amazes me that adults can make this argument without realizing how utterly ridiculous it is. I happen to love it when I get this kind of argument, because usually it’s an argument that was taught to whoever is making it which they then accepted at face value along with a lot of other excrement. By showing them how outright stupid that argument is (hopefully in a charitable way without condescension) you can open them up to questioning the rest of what they have been taught about the Catholic Church.

    The same is true for any number of other examples of Fundamentalist, poorly-reasoned exegesis but this one is so simple while some of the others require more effort.

    My real challenge is in apologetics with those who are solidly in the Reformed tradition (Calvin & Luther etc.) and have studied those writers in greater detail. I’d really like to see some solidly academic/post-graduate level apologetics books dealing with the Reformers (rather than their disciples) and putting the various disputes/issues/actions into the historical context of the 15th and 16th centuries. Any ideas on a good place to start?

    • Ben

      The Book Triumph by H.W. Crooker III cover some of what your looking for along with a lot of other historical perspectives.

  • Andrew

    Think of what a better nation this country would be if evangelicals spent as much time learning their faith and spreading it to their fellow man rather than using it as an axe in a vain attempt to chip away at Catholicism. I have a few unfortunate in-laws who’ve left the Church and go to the flavor of the day evangelical megachurch. The only apparent thing they’ve been doing with the hours upon hours spent in church and bible study is looking for so-called falsehoods we Catholics believe than actually studying the life of Christ and how to better themselves and the world around them. All they or their pastors seem to know is how bad Catholicism is and are mostly mute on anything else.

    • S. Murphy

      I have an uncle and aunt who fell away from the Catholic faith as faithful Democrats, and then picked up Christianity again as evangelicals. I don’t see in them the kind of thing you’re describing, although I have seen it in other places – most notably at a King James Bible only church I visited with a friend in high school — and of course, in collected works of Jack Chick.
      Still, it seems to me that ‘evangelicals’ as a class, deserve credit for being more than anti-Catholics. I wish they weren’t trying to evangelize Catholics – especially in Latin America (and I wish we *were*); but what I see with my aunt and uncle is a deep commitment to learning more about the faith through Scripture, and deepening their understanding of Scripture. For whatever (emotional, probably) reasons, they never (in my arrogant opinion) engaged the Catholic faith with the adult intellect, as they have the Evangelical version of the faith. I wish they would give the Tradition another chance. But I don’t see the kind of Fundamentalism referenced in this post, in my uncle, or in a lot of other evangelicals I’ve met. I suppose they have their combat load of verses to use in case of argument from Catholics, or worse yet, Catholics trying to convert them. Anyway, my anecdotal evidence is more benign than yours, I guess, Andrew. I’ll pray for your apostate relatives if you’ll pray for mine…

  • Brian

    Also, the term “Mister” comes from “Master”. And Jesus said to call no one Master, so…

  • S. Murphy

    The linked story was cool enough to deserve attention in its own right…

  • Neil P.


    I’m sure fundamentalists know this full well. I believe that their argument is that father should not be used in a religious sense. For example, allegedly at the time of Jesus some Rabbis wanted to be called father because they were self important and this might have been what Jesus was getting at. Whether this is true I don’t know, but you should at least understand what “fundamentalists” are arguing.


    • James Isabella

      “I believe that their argument is that father should not be used in a religious sense.”

      Neil makes a good point, and this was the way it was argued to me.

      Of course, Jesus doesn’t seem to be making that particular distinction, and in fact says that we shouldn’t call *anyone* “Father”, so arguing that its”only in the religious sense” is overlaying an interpretation that’s tenuous at best.

    • Thank you, Neil, for that injection of charity and good sense into this discussion, which is getting a little facile. I’ve been arguing the Faith with evangelical friends for years, and that little “So what are you going to call your ‘dad’? Huh? Huh?” retort has never really been unanswerable. A real answer, like most, would take a bit more philosophical and theological spadework than fits into one sentence.