During my nine years in Evangelical Christianity, I never noticed the many New Testament examples of non-literal father/son relationships because (in my opinion) I viewed the Bible through Evangelical lenses, rather than Biblical lenses. What’s more, I never heard an Evangelical sermon about them, or saw them pointed out in an Evanelical book, or heard about them on an Evangelical podcast, or saw them explained on an Evangelical DVD, or heard them mentioned in Evangelical conversation.
It was not until I listened to speeches by a Catholic named Tim Staples that I actually learned of those New Testament examples. This was very troubling to me. Evangelicals often refer to themselves as “Bible-believing” Christians. Yet the many New Testament examples of father/son relationships are ignored in Evangelicalism in favor of the single New Testament admonishment (Matthew 23:9) to call no one “father” but God himself.
The irony of ironies is that Tim Staples himself only learned of the many New Testament examples of non-literal father/son relationships when, as a zealous young Evangelical in the Marines, he tried to convert a Catholic Marine. Tim approached the Catholic (in what he thought would be a “gotcha!” moment) and told him that Matthew 23:9 says to call no man on earth “father.” The Catholic responded that Catholics believe Matthew 23:9 exactly as its written, and then he asked Tim with just a bit of sarcasm, “did you know there’s more than one verse in the Bible?”
Tim was stunned because he had never met a Catholic who could defend himself, much less one who put Tim on the defensive. Catholics were easy picking for Tim, but not this one. The Catholic then went on to show Tim the many New Testament examples of non-literal father/son relationships. I have yet to speak with an Evangelical who was aware of them, and that is a big problem for me. Evangelicals are absolutely certain that Catholics have no Biblical right to call their priests “father” — and Evangelicals are absolutely wrong! If Evangelicals can be so wrong about something so obvious, then how much more are they wrong about?
Tim’s discussions with his Catholic friend continued, and covered many other topics. The result was not the Catholic converting to Evangelicalism, but Tim converting to Catholicism. Keep in mind, Tim was a zealous Protestant evangelist and a Protestant youth minister. But not only was Tim converted, he is now Director of Apologetics and Evangelization at Catholic Answers. To hear Tim’s story about his Marine buddy and the father/son issue, go to the 1:33:20 on this video.
In fact, watch the entire video if you dare.
My last two posts, The Evangelical Ostrich, and I’d Like You To Meet My Sons, are based on scriptures I learned from Tim Staples and others like him. Remarkably, some of today’s best Catholic apologists are former Protestant pastors and ministers.
The Bible is always proven true.