I Cor 4:15
ESV - 15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.
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Our Lord was not saying that we aren't able to call a person a father. Common sense tells us that Jesus wasn’t forbidding this type of use of the word "father." In fact, to forbid it would rob the address "Father" of its meaning when applied to God, for there would no longer be any earthly counterpart for the analogy of divine Fatherhood. The concept of God’s role as Father would be meaningless if we obliterated the concept of earthly fatherhood. His condemnation in Matt. Was most likely the use of hyperbole to criticise the pharisees who set themselves up as authority instead of looking to God as the source of authority and truth. So Jesus is not forbidding us to call men "fathers" who actually are such—either literally or spiritually. Especially since Paul's fatherhood is of a spiritual nature. To refer to such people as fathers is only to acknowledge the truth, and Jesus is not against that. He is warning people against inaccurately attributing fatherhood—or a particular kind or degree of fatherhood—to those who do not have it.
Paul referred to himself as 'father' because the old covenant order was still in operation but was 'passing away.' Heb 8:13. There were spiritual authorities in the old covenant while mankind was alienated from his father's presence since the time of Adam's dying spiritually. God thereafter used 3rd party mediators, priests, prophets, messengers until the new covenant was fully functional. The new covenant is not subject to messengers as was the old. Heb 2:5. God deals directly with each of us and he told his disciples not to give any authority to man by giving him a title, because they were all one with equal access to the father and all had the same TEACHER. 2 Cor3:17. Our TEACHER is the LORD, who is the spirit.
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