1 Cor. 4:15 For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.
Christians can be really weird. One minute they call you their spiritual father, the next minute they treat you like a weird uncle. It always strikes me funny when someone who was converted in our church, grew strong in the Lord, and even launched out into ministry and even calls me their spiritual father acts as if I’m their weird uncle instead. You know, weird uncle Frank. It used to really bother me but not so much anymore. I don’t presume to compare myself to great men of God in history but many of them were also treated like a weird uncle. ‘They are sort of related but you know, a little off.’ Jesus’ family thought He had lost His mind and tried to get Him to stop the nonsense and just come back home. Paul was betrayed and abandoned by many of his sons. 1Cor. 4:12-15 “When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things. I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 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.” Matthew Henry describes the relationship Paul claimed as their father in the gospel.
“They were made Christians by his ministry. He had laid the foundation of a church among them. Others could only build upon it. Whatever other teachers they had, he was their spiritual father. He first brought them off from pagan idolatry to the faith of the gospel and the worship of the true and living God. He was the instrument of their new birth, and therefore claimed the relation of a father to them, and felt the bowels of a father towards them.”
Just like natural fathers, spiritual fathers are far from perfect, I say give them a break. So whether I am your spiritual dad or just weird uncle Frank, God is still God. The Lord is the one that does the work. At the end of the day we are just vessels of His grace.