This is question #5 of a 10 question discussion/debate between Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz on the issue of women in ministry. The discussion will take the form of five questions posed by Cheryl Schatz with answers by Mike Seaver and then five questions posed by Mike Seaver with answers by Cheryl Schatz. Each question and answer session will be followed up in the next post by one response each from both Mike and Cheryl. Links to the questions and the responses will be at the bottom of this post.
Question #5 by Cheryl Schatz:
Does God contradict Himself? In 1 Corinthians 14: 1, 5, 12, 24-26, 31, 39 Paul commands all to desire earnestly to prophesy and he gives them all permission to prophesy in the assembly so that all may learn. How could Paul give multiple commands before and after 1 Cor. 14:34, 35 if women are to keep silent in the church? Whose commands are women supposed to obey – the commands throughout 1 Corinthians 14 that command us to desire to prophesy and give us encouragement and opportunity to prophesy in the assembly or a verse that has no link to any known God-ordained law?
Does God contradict Himself, or is it possible that Paul is once again quoting from the letter that the Corinthians wrote him and which has Paul correcting their false view in 1 Corinthians 14:36? Can you please explain how 1 Cor. 14:34, 35 is a universal law for all godly women for all of church history within the context of all the things that Paul has written throughout the entire chapter of 1 Corinthians 14?
No, I don’t think God contradicts Himself. He can’t. If he did, he would cease to be God. That would be scary for all of us!
I know what you are meaning though…This is similar to your first question and I think I answer a lot of it there. Paul wants and urges men and women to prophesy, which biblically is different than preaching or teaching. Verses 34-35 are speaking about a woman not judging the prophetic word publically, but she should talk to her husband about it.
Again (to cut and paste my answer to question #1). I think the ESV Study Bible is helpful.
14:34-35 Since Paul seems to permit wives to pray and prophesy (11:5, 13) as long as they do not dishonor their husbands by the way they dress (11:5), it is difficult tosee this as an absolute prohibition (cf. Acts 2:17, 21:8-9). Paul is likely forbidding women to speak up and judge prophecies (this is in line in the immediate context; cf. 1 Cor 14:29) since such an activity would subvert male headship. ‘ Law also says’. Paul is probably thinking of the woman’s creation “from” or “for” the man. (see 11:8-9; Gen. 2:20-24) as well as a general pattern of male leadership among the people of Israel in the OT.
Cheryl’s response and Mike’s rejoinder will follow on September 2, 2009.
Links to previous segments of the debate: