By: Admin Pastor Manny
I am a Catholic who respects the arguments being brought out by a non-Catholic. I am open to how their arguments work, and as much as possible, I will reply by applying the context of the Holy Word of God to speak for itself in order to know who is reading the Bible properly. However, it’s just awkward for me to hear someone who claims that the Catholic Church is completely against Scriptures when they put forth the “Call no man father” argument. In all honesty, I consider this to be the worst argument a non-Catholic and an anti-Catholic can make against the titles that we give to our priests. Today, I will present one verse that completely destroys the argument that Eli Soriano, the “undefeated” preacher, love to use, and I will show how his understanding of that verse is mistaken.
1 Corinthians 4:15 (Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition)
15 For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
It’s just great for me to know that Eli Soriano is a person who wants to apply the concept of Sola Scriptura in the most extreme sense in a way that he only accepts a word if it’s explicitly written in the Bible, and if someone can show one example where his opinions are against what the Bible says, he will still continue to use his argument. However, we should expect from him that if he will not believe what the Bible explicitly says, he will have his excuses based upon his false understanding of the text. Here is a quotation from him where he thinks that the Catholic Church is inconsistent with the proper translation of 1 Corinthians 4:15.
“The word used and translated in English as “begotten” is γεννάω, meaning, “be born”…
I CORINTHIANS 4:15 (Douay–Rheims Version)
For if you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet not many fathers. For in Christ Jesus, by the gospel, I have begotten you.
See? “I have begotten you” is worlds apart from “I became your father.” It is easily noticeable that in the authorized version of the Catholic Church, the word “father” does not appear in the verse but the phrase ” I have begotten you,” forcing them to use a version of the Bible which they do not normally use.”
I will summarize what I think is his argument at its core.
1. The original translation found in 1 Corinthians 4:15 is “I have begotten you” which is also found in Douay–Rheims Version.
2. It did not say “I became your father.”
3. Therefore, Paul was not a spiritual father, and the Catholic Church just forced this translation.
Before anything else, I have to mention some things that he got right. It’s true that the original Greek word used is egennēsa which literally means to beget or to bring forth. It’s true that the verse did not use the word patera which means father. However, his assertions or his interpretations of this text are what I consider as wrong and fallacious.
It seems to me that he really wanted to let his followers know that he knew proper Biblical translation by citing a Greek word, and then by showing how different are the Catholic translations on this verse. However, it’s plain simple that he is not aware of the different types of translations that can be done (or it’s possible that he’s aware and he simply did not want to let his followers know it).
There are two types of translations, and I will present here the definitions of those.
1. Formal Equivalence Method – attempts to translate the source text word for word into another language.
2. Dynamic Method – attempts to convey the thought expressed in the source text using equivalent expressions from a contemporary language like English.
If a translator will apply the Formal Equivalence Method, it’s more natural for him or her to translate it as “I have begotten you”, and there will be nothing wrong about that. At the same time, if a translator will apply the Dynamic Method, it’s really possible and probable for the translation to be “I became your father”, for it is awkward in the English language to hear from a person a statement like “I have begotten you”. If this is the case, then there is no reason for Soriano to use an argument that the Catholic Church simply forced this translation knowing that it’s the natural way of translating it using the Dynamic Method. This is a classic example of ignorance from a person claiming to be “undefeated”.
He still has an excuse if he really wanted to defend his worst argument against the Church, especially against the Priesthood. Even if it’s possible that this is the translation, how do we know that it’s probable? How do we know that this is likely? How do we know that in context, Paul called himself as a spiritual father? Let’s remember that his argument rests solely on the fact that this verse should never be translated as “I became your father”. If it’s possible and probable that this can be translated as such, then he has to accept that calling a priest father is simply a biblical fact.
I personally believe that what we have seen from him is a form of inconsistency. When we read a Greek term, for example, we shouldn’t just look what that specific word means. Rather, we should also look how these words were used in other passages. In fact, the Greek term egennēsa was only used twice. It was only used both in 1 Corinthians 4:15 and Philemon 1:10.
10 I appeal to you for my child [a]Onesimus, whom egennēsa (I have begotten) in my [b]imprisonment,
It’s really unfortunate that Soriano failed to see the context of Philemon 1:10 where it says that Paul had begotten Onesimus, and this person was described as his CHILD. If the apostles never considered themselves as spiritual fathers, then it follows that there are no reasons for him to call Onesimus his son. Why didn’t Paul simply call him his brother in order to establish the fact that he was just a spiritual brother, no more and no less? Rather, we should recognize that the apostles were both spiritual brothers and fathers just like how our priests are our spiritual brothers and fathers. We should simply allow the Holy Word of God to speak in its context, and by doing so, the “Call no man father” argument still remains the worst of all.
Click this Link: Never a Pope, Never in Rome, was Apostle Peter