Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 6

Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 6

Who's the boss? Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz debate women in ministry 6

In the last blog post Cheryl Schatz posed her third set of questions to Mike Seaver regarding their debate on women in ministry. Links to all the previous questions and responses is at the end of this post.  This discussion will be Cheryl’s response to Mike’s answers on question #3 and Mike’s rejoinder.

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Cheryl’s response:

Mike, I would like to once again to affirm you as a person and as a dear brother in Christ.  I appreciate that you have taken the time to listen to my questions and to give your answers.

Regarding your answer, where does the scripture say that being taught by a person places you under their authority?  Is Apollos said to be under the authority of Priscilla when she taught him?  No it does not. This is the world’s way of thinking that has creeped into the church.  We are always thinking about who is the boss but Jesus said that the greatest is to be the servant of all, not the boss of all.  Leading and teaching is a position of servanthood and it is not a place of taking authority over the student.   The reason is because humans are not the authority.  God’s word is the authority.

If a woman teaches another woman, the second woman is not under the authority” of the first woman.  Since God’s Word is the authority, we can correct others and test them by God’s word. No human teacher is to take “authority over” someone who is learning from them.  Instead of authority, we are to be a servant of all including our students.  We are there to serve them not lord it over them.  The student is to test all things and to hold fast to what is good because the teacher is not the standardthe Word of God is!

Where does the bible say that women cannot preach sermons? Can a woman preach a sermon to women?  If not, why not?  There is no biblical restriction against women preaching the word of God.  In fact the OT shows that it is God’s command that women proclaim the good news.

Psalm 68:11  The Lord gives the command; The women who proclaim the good tidings are a great host:

If women are to evaluate other women teachers, then what happened to the so-called standard taught by complementarians that men are to be the overseers of the congregation?  Are women now to be overseers of half of the congregation?

Mike, I think what has happened here is that you are giving your opinion that men listening to women teach the bible are themselves going against the scripture.  Yet there is not a single word in the bible instructing men to stay away from women teachers in case they might hear them teach.  Nor is there a word that men listening to women are sinning.  It is also obvious that male overseers would oversee (protect) the entire congregation not just the men.  Yet does the bible say specifically that men should oversee the women teachers?  The bible doesn’t address this, but the fact that the bible is silent on this matter does not mean that men should not oversee women lest they accidentally listen to them teach.  It just means that there is no difference between a woman servant and a man servant so there is no need for God to give multiple instructions for men on how to oversee women.

Also we can think that having a man listen to a woman teacher is “going against Scripture” but there is no such command to men or even a hint of such a thing.  When we go against the scripture and take a verse out of its context (1 Timothy 2:12 was written to an individual about specific problems in that church) we create a way to allow men to devalue women.  If a man is told that he isn’t allowed to listen to women teach the bible, what is he going to think about her teaching?  Would it not be normal that he would think that he is the one gifted to teach the church and she is an inferior teacher whose value is far less than his own value as a teacher?  We do a great disservice to the body of Christ by telling men that they are not allowed to listen to women teach the bible.  We create a division between males and females and we divide up by body of Christ into the elite and the non-elite.  This is not the way of the Master.

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Mike’s rejoinder:

Cheryl, thanks for your response.  It seems odd to me that your entire case for the first part of your answer is that there is no such thing as “authority” in the church…that the Word of God is the authority and then you spend the second part of your answer saying that there is inferiority if women cannot teach men, just showing a type of authority system.

I have never said that women could not preach or teach (or however you want to say it) other women.  I’ve said they should not teach or exercise authority over a man because of 1 Timothy 2:12.

I agree that men (overseers/elders/pastors) should oversee women as you said.  You said, “.  “ It is also obvious that male overseers would oversee (protect) the entire congregation not just the men.  Yet does the bible say specifically that men should oversee the women teachers?  The bible doesn’t address this, but the fact that the bible is silent on this matter does not mean that men should not oversee women lest they accidentally listen to them teach.”

I completely agree with you.  The male overseer/pastors/elders do oversee the entire church…that is their job as shepherds.  They care for all of the sheep in their church.  I don’t think that care is diminished if a pastor’s wife evaluates a ladies message instead of him sitting in the room.  I don’t think it is a problem for him to sit in on a woman teaching in order to evaluate her either.  I know you may say, “Well, he is placing himself under her teaching and authority” but I don’t think that is what he is doing when evaluating is his motive.

As for the idea that we are under the Bible’s authority and not the teacher’s authority, I’m baffled by your response.  Of course we are ultimately under God’s authority and God’s Word is authoritative, but the teacher brings authority.  What does it mean to be an overseer if you are not overseeing anything?  What does it mean to be a shepherd under the authority of the Chief Shepherd if there is not an authority structure in place?  What does Peter mean in 1 Peter 5: 2 when he tells elders to “shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight?” if the teaching that they provide does not bring authority?  He goes on to say, “not domineering over those in your charge.”  So, the temptation Peter sees is for elders to domineer…but he also says, “those in your charge.”  I don’t think this is a worldly philosophy that comes outside of Scripture.  Authority is good, it is biblical, it is helpful if those in authority are humble and those under authority are submissive.  God designed it that way, so we can celebrate it!

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The next post in this debate will be Cheryl’s fourth question to Mike and Mike’s answer.

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Links:

Cheryl’s Question #1 and Mike’s answers

Responses to Question #1

Question #2 and Mike’s answers

Responses to Question #2

15 thoughts on “Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 6

  1. Cheryl – Wow!!! This stuff is good stuff.

    Jousting with windmills. Mythical giants and all. Love it.

    And believe it or not I have some questions. : o )
    Please don’t banish me. God loves me. xoxoxox

    Does anyone here belong to D.A.M.?
    Mothers Against Dyslexia.

    What would a rabbi with dyslexia
    from Brooklyn say about these discussions?

    Yo!

    Dyslexia – a general term for disorders that involve
    difficulty in learning to read or interpret words,
    but that do not affect general intelligence.

    Does the ekklesia, His disciples, suffer with dyslexia?
    Do they have difficulty in learning
    to read or interpret words? Hmmm?

    The Bible warns us about – the commandments of men
    the philosophies of men – and the traditions of men
    that make the Word of God of non effect.
    Mk 7:14

    Traditions of men??? AAAHHHHRRRRGGGGG!!!!
    (Leaders, bah humbug) (Messing everything up.)
    Are they spreading the commandments of men?

    I have been asked to leave, when I asked questions about this one.

    Men wanting to be in control said,
    when Jesus ascended on high He gave gifts to men
    and “these elders” were God’s gift to me.
    They would call them asention gifts. Oy vey!

    No kidding, “my elders” they really said this.
    How very very funny. How very arrogant. How very deceived.

    Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.
    Rom 1:22

    Has anyone ever met an elder/shepherd/leader/overseer
    who fullfils the qualifictions for a bishop/elder?

    Really, Can you have elders without the qualifications?
    Hmmm? Just another windmill?

    Dyslexia – dyslexia – dyslexia – everywhere. AAAHHHHRRRGGG!!!

    When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive,
    and gave gifts unto men.
    Eph 4:8

    And he gave some,
    apostles; and some,
    prophets; and some,
    evangelists; and some,
    pastors and teachers;
    Eph 4:11

    Have you ever looked at the “some?”

    Who does the “some” refer to?
    No really, do you know who “some” refers to?

    Does the “some” refer to the saints?
    Does the “some’ refer to apostles?

    Did he give “some” saints, apostles?
    And “some” saints, prophets?
    And “some” saints, evangelists?
    And “some” saints, pastor – teachers?

    Or did He give “some”
    apostles,
    prophets,
    evangelists,
    pastors – teachers
    to “all” the saints?
    to “some” saints?

    Does every congregation
    get all five, or is it four in Greek?
    an apostle,
    a prophet,
    an evangelist,
    and a pastor – teacher?

    Do all the saints get to learn
    from “some” apostles?
    Or, only “some” saints?

    When you’re in a room
    or better yet a congregation,
    with an apostle,
    and a prophet,
    and a evangelist,
    and a pastor – teacher,
    Who is the leader?
    Who submits to who?
    Who submits to God?
    Is the pastor – teacher in last place?

    If they are titles and not functions of the body
    does the pastor submit to the evangelist?
    the evange….

    My brain hurts….

    If there are over 500,000 pastors in this country;
    Where are the apostles and prophets?

    If there are no apostles and prophets;
    why are there still pastors?

    In the Bible, How many people are… called pastor?
    In the Bible, How many people are… ordained a pastor?
    In the Bible, How many congregations are… led by a pastor?

    When did pastor become a title? A profession?

    Sorry, please forgive me.
    I haven’t found anyone who could answer these questions
    in a reasonable manner and I can’t stop.
    New ones keep popping up.

    Why does the body of Christ suffer from spiritual dyslexia?

    Why does the ekklesia, His disciples, have
    difficulty in learning and interpreting words?

    Could it be our leaders/teachers/elders teaching man’s traditions?

    Mark 7:13
    KJV – Making the word of God of “none effect” through your tradition…
    ASV – Making “void” the word of God by your tradition…
    NIV – Thus you “nullify” the word of God by your tradition…

    Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man,
    and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.
    Jeremiah 17:5

    Just wondering and wandering.
    Keep dreaming the impossible dream.

  2. Mike writes:
    “I don’t think it is a problem for him to sit in on a woman teaching in order to evaluate her either. I know you may say, ‘Well, he is placing himself under her teaching and authority’ but I don’t think that is what he is doing when evaluating is his motive.

    This resembles the approach of our lawmakers in D.C. who always create loopholes in their lawmaking for their own advantage. Your opinion and loophole (“I don’t think…evaluating is his motive”) is a loophole permitting the circumvention of the “law” you seem to work with great conviction to uphold without technically breaking it.

    What is key is your “I don’t think.” I have listened to sermons and read various heirchalists teach that men have the responsibility to remove themselves from a situation wherein “a woman is teaching and exercising authority”. So again, there is no consensus among heirchalists over where the boundary is. The boundaries appear to be in flux.

  3. A. Amos Love,
    My brain hurts from your questions! 🙂
    The issue is as you quoted – what have we made mandatory that is actually man’s tradition? Some people think that tradition is innocuous, but as the scripture says tradition can make God’s word to be of no effect.

    Good words!

  4. sm,
    Welcome to my blog! I hope you feel very welcome here.

    What you have pointed out is one of my main beefs with those who seek to impose their “laws” on women. They make their point of view a law but they are unsure exactly how that “law” is to be played out. It becomes a subjective issue by all the “I think” men’s views who differ from each other without any consensus as to what constitutes the full “law”. But this is not the way God operates with His law.

    So when these men are now responsible for supervising women they make all kinds of exceptions so that they can listen and evaluate her teaching. Then there are those who think that even this is a sin so they allow women to evaluate other women, but then who do the women evaluators report to? Is their evaluation an unlawful thing to be heard by a man?

    No wonder these ones can only say “I think”. There is nothing solid at all in their application from the scriptures. The boundary line appears to be placed just outside where the man stands. He is of course never outside the law when he is the one setting the subjective boundary. What hurts me the most for women in ministry is that these women are the ones who are hurt and discounted and discredited and the men don’t seem to care that their rules harm a sister in Christ when the scripture is not clear on the matter. Instead of working hard to find all the freedom they can for women, they set up all the ways that a woman cannot freely function in her gifting. It is no wonder that so many women feel like they are less valuable than Christian men. I believe that this hurts the heart of God because He is the one who has called, gifted and empowered His women and His Holy Spirit is being discriminated against because of the gifts He brings when He dwells in women.

  5. For Mike who referenced these women in the previous post but on this same topic:

    When Elizabeth Elliot, Carolyn Mahaney, or Dorothy Patterson teaches, are there procedures in place so as not to violate a “law” that no men are:

    *present (of course unless they are there to “evaluate” which you permit), or
    *within earshot so as to hear and be taught by these women?

    I am thinking all kinds of measures must be taken into account not the least of which would include only female audio technicians, video technicians, sound technicians, and hospitality staff during the teaching and any male musicians or worship leaders would have to exit after their service and prior to a woman teaching.

    Plus, for marketing of CDs & DVDs of teaching, are only female video and audio editing technicians used because this process requires listening and consequently the potential for being instructed in scripture by a woman? Or, is the teaching less authoritative when it is burned on a CD or DVD? I’m asking because I have come across heirchalists who have written that to read a book by a female author is not a violation of the “law” because it was not authoritative since it is in a book rather than teaching in a corporate assembly of men and women.

    It all sounds like another loophole.

  6. sm,
    Oh, my, yes, you have identified other areas of possibly breaking of the “law” that I had forgotten about. I should have picked up on that because I am a video editor!

    Is it less authoratative if a woman is teaching on a DVD? Hmmm…in reality I don’t think they really believe that. In my DVD set I quoted CBMW and got their permission for the quotes. I asked if they would like a review copy and they said yes. But Randy Stinson was the CBMW guy responsible for reviewing my DVD set. He apparently couldn’t stomach listening to the entire set and after previewing a bit of the DVDs he set them aside and eventually deposited them in the garbage. Well, at least they paid me for the DVDs since they failed to do a review.

    sm, you are really pushing us to use our thinking caps today along with A. Amos Love!

  7. Mike writes:
    “It seems odd to me that your entire case for the first part of your answer is that there is no such thing as “authority” in the church…that the Word of God is the authority and then you spend the second part of your answer saying that there is inferiority if women cannot teach men, just showing a type of authority system.”

    While I would welcome some clarity on what exactly Cheryl is saying about authority within the church, I believe I understand what she writes in the latter part.

    Cheryl writes in the latter part:
    “When we go against the scripture and take a verse out of its context (1 Timothy 2:12…) we create a way to allow men to *devalue women*. (emphasis added) If a man is told that he isn’t allowed to listen to women teach the bible, what is he going to *think about her teaching*? (emphasis added) Would it not be normal that he would think that he is the one gifted to teach the church and she is an *inferior teacher whose value is far less than his own value* as a teacher?” (emphasis added)

    I understand that Cheryl is appealing to the logical conclusion of what men would naturally think when they are regularly taught they are not to listen to a woman teach and even told they have the responsibility to remove themselves from such situations. Such as, if a man walks into a session or if a session takes the route of a woman teaching, a man is to walk out.

    I understand Cheryl to be saying, the logical conclusion, the natural tendency of fallen mankind is that this kind of thinking has implications for the way men perceive women: i.e. “inferior” in “quality and value”. She even says this “devalues women” and would lead men to believe women are “inferior teachers”.

    I did not understand Cheryl to be “showing an authority system” in her comment, but rather drawing out the logical conclusion of heirchalists thinking and practices.

    Cheryl, correct me if I misunderstood.

  8. *I posted this on Mike’s blog*
    You wrote: “I don’t think this is a worldly philosophy that comes outside of Scripture. Authority is good, it is biblical, it is helpful if those in authority are humble and those under authority are submissive. God designed it that way, so we can celebrate it!”

    Mike,

    After reading the last few lines of your rejoinder, I’m feeling baffled also. How can we both read 1 Peter 5 and “see” it so differently? I don’t see the word “authority” in any of those verses.

    I see in verse 2 the word translated as “oversight” has the meanings of “to care for, to look after” but no mention of “authority” in the definition. I do see the shepherds being told “And do not lord it over those entrusted to you, but be examples to the flock” a) Don’t try to be lords to those you care for. b) Do be examples. It is a warning for elders in the faith to be responsible. What could be more plain?

    Not one time is being in authority mentioned.

    But “all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Not one time is being in authority mentioned here either.

    So, I am left to wonder – where are the verses setting up an “authority” structure?

    Why would Jesus say “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many,” if having authorities set up is so “good” and “it is biblical” as you state?

    What could be more plain than “Not so with you?”

  9. sm,
    You are correct in your understanding of what I was saying.

    The problem seems to be a miscommunication from what I am saying and Mike is hearing. I say “teaching” and he hears “authority”. He is trying to put words into my mouth that I have not said or even thought. The hierarchist seems to operate only on an authority/submission mindset and cannot seem to think outside that box. That means that Mike has to interpret my words within his own mindset. But the “mindset” of scripture is not one of authority but of submitting to service. That means that the one who is to be the greatest is to be the servant of all. “Servant” and “authority” do not go together. A servants position is not “taking authority” over the sheep. It is a position of offering one’s service with humility and love for God. When I teach I do not “take authority” over anyone. I give them my wisdom and they are then required by the scriptures to evaluate what I have taught by the scriptures. This means that the scripture is the ultimate authority, not the teacher since the teacher is to be subject to the Word.

    I have had much experience since the late 1980’s of successfully helping Jehovah’s Witnesses find freedom in Christ. To do this I had to understand what their words meant (they can use the same terms but the meaning is different) and then speak in a way that they can understand. I used their own language to expose the scriptural errors and teach the truth. I admit that I have not yet completely figured out how to communicate with a hierarchist to stop him from twisting my language and placing it in his own understanding.

    Perhaps what I need to keep remembering to say is what I am NOT saying. i.e. I am NOT saying that teaching means a woman holds an authority over anyone. A woman teaching another woman is NOT taking authority over her because the student is to evaluate the teacher by scripture, therefore the teacher is not the FINAL authority.

    Perhaps we need to ask the hierarchist to define authority. What authority does a teacher take over his/her student? If giving out information makes one in authority over another person, then look out because a woman cannot give directions to a man who is lost. A clerk cannot answer a male customer’s questions. Don’t call the telephone company because the woman who is answering questions about your bill might be in authority over you? It just seems like hierarchists live and breath authority. It all goes back to Adam. God gave Adam and Eve rule over the world and after sin entered the world Adam’s lust for authority was turned towards ruling people instead of the world.

    That’s my two cents 😉

  10. Mike writes: “I don’t think Elizabeth Elliot, Carolyn Mahaney, or Dorothy Patterson feel inferior.”

    I understand the issue raised is not how heirchalists teaching and practices make “them feel” or even any one woman, but that the practices and teaching devalue women, in general.

    I assume as you, these ladies do not “seek to teach men” because it is not an option in the paradigm in which they function. No doubt, they are content with their sphere of influence.

    I am new to this subject matter, but I don’t think the issue is about “seeking to teach men” but about whether or not one sex is to rule over the other and the implications this has for society, the church, and the other sex.

  11. Reading the comments I was reminded of what happened to me in a Bible College far far away. The subject was ‘preaching’ and we had a woman (a strong comp) come in to lecture us on how to preach to women. She handed out notes that were headed as a “Lecture” given by her. Soon the conversation turned to whether or not a woman should teach/preach to men (we were a room full of guys by the way!). This female lecturer responded by saying that she “could not respect any man who thought it was ok for a woman to teach men, as they had not taken their Bible seriously!”

    When we start making up the rules ourselves then we end up in a mess!

  12. I should add that it was ok for her to lecture us because it was not Biblical exegesis…apparently Paul mentioned something about that somewhere…

  13. Cheryl writes:
    “If giving out information makes one in authority over another person, then look out because a woman cannot give directions to a man who is lost.”

    John Piper writes:
    “…it is simply impossible that from time to time a woman not be
    put in a position of influencing or guiding men. For example, a housewife in her backyard may be asked by a man how to get to the freeway. At that point she is giving a kind of leadership. She has superior knowledge that the man needs and he submits
    himself to her guidance. But we all know that there is a way for that housewife to direct the man that neither of them feels their mature femininity or masculinity compromised. It is not a contradiction to speak of certain kinds of influence coming from women to men in ways that affirm the responsibility of men to provide a pattern of strength and initiative.” (pg 42 Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood)

    I am new to this subject matter, so I am shocked that giving directions to anyone puts you in leadership over them. I call it being friendly, helpful, and the right thing to do, if you have the information to help someone out. The idea of having to run such ordinary occurences through a gender filter so as to not “compromise femininity or masculinity” is exhausting and impractical. I can understand being congenial, polite, clear and concise in giving directions, but what is the practical outworking of a housewife giving directions to a male stranger in a way “that affirm[s] the responsibility of men to provide a pattern of strength and initiative.” ????

  14. sm,

    Doesn’t it seem like complimentarians divide EVERYTHING about life into either male/masculinity or female/femininity? I don’t know how they manage to “see” it everywhere – you are right, it must be exhausting trying to make sure every move you make isn’t stepping over some gender line!

    Right now I’m trying to imagine myself helping out a drowning “male” by influencing (shouting, ever so politely, of course) “Sir, you might want to try grabbing the rope right behind you.” In reality, at a moment like that, I don’t think either one of us would be worried about genders. And I would be shouting (with command), “Turn around and grab the rope behind you!”

  15. You know, Cheryl, I sometimes wonder if our hierarchicalist friends really understand Matt. 28:8-20, and the parallel passages, in the NT. Jesus makes it very clear that all authority and power in heaven and on earth has been given to him, and him alone, by the Father. And he, in turn, delegates authority to all disciples, as represented by the 11 and others present in Galilee when Jesus gave this commission to the Church, to be his representatives and authoritatively proclaim the Gospel, in his authority, not their own. And as for the religious leaders of Israel who forebade them to preach the good news of redemption, reconciliation and adoption in Jesus’ name, Peter and John, as representatives of the entire Church, replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:5-20, NIV).

    So whenever any man or woman is gifted and called by the Holy Spirit to a ministry of any kind, in Jesus’ name, let them do so remembering that they engage in this ministry in Jesus’ power and authority, not their own, as Matt. 28: 18-20 makes clear. And let then remember that they have been gifted, called and authorized to do the kingdom work that he, the Father, and the Holy Spirit have jointly agreed, approved and empowered them to do, as Paul confirms in 1 Cor. 12:4-11. And let the modern Pharisees in our churches ask themselves who does right in the eyes if God, those who obey God and his word, or those who presume to speak in the place of God and his Word. But let us all who know the Lord, and have experienced the gifting and calling of the Spirit, obey God and fufill the ministries he has called us his servants, male and female, to do. So that is what I would say on this last aspect of the debate.

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