Great post, Chris. I’ll make a sincere response, too, if that’s OK. I think it’s good for people to try to explain their faith and the differences between the denominations as long as they don’t get offended. So, here’s a pretty typical Protestant (also Messianic) take.
You said, “I know there are quite a few people who interpret the words of Jesus from Matthew 23:9 literally, and therefore take issue with the practice in the Roman Catholic church of calling priests “Father Such and Such,” or referencing the Pope as “the Holy Father.””
Well, folks like me take it literall because obviously a literal verse.
Matthew 23 –
"2 …The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:
3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
6 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,
7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.
8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.
9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.
11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant."
That’s pretty clear to me. I don’t see a need for a particular denomination to indoctrinate me with what it “really means” when the words on the page are so clear and simple. He’s not saying anything hard to understand there or out of context. It’s very simple and in context. It only becomes hard to understand when people who claim to follow it do what it says not to do and need to reconcile the difference. Then, it