Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 9

Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 9

Does God Contradict Himself?  Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry

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?


Mike’s answer:

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:

Questi0n #1 and Mike’s answers

Responses to Question #1

Question #2 and Mike’s answers

Responses to Question #2

Question #3 by Cheryl and Mike’s answers

Responses to Question #3

Question #4 by Cheryl and Mike’s answers

Responses to Question #4


6 thoughts on “Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 9

  1. Mike writes: “Paul seems” ; “Paul is likely forbidding women”; “Paul is probably thinking of the woman’s creation”; “as well as a general pattern”

    These phrases have appeared here and in previous responses and suggest to me that there is conjecture involved in Mike’s interpretation of these scriptures which is not uncommon by interpreters of the opposing view or uncommon in a great deal of scriptural interpretation.

    The issue is being honest about the degree of conjecture and the necessity of possessing a generous dose of humility when presenting hierchial claims, both of which is absent among the heirchalists I have encountered in my discovery of this topic.

  2. sm,
    The big issue is whether “seems” and “likely” are good enough to warrant a charge of sin. This is a very serious issue and sin is not something to be taken likely. Can you imagine God saying that adultery “seems” like it is a sin or Paul saying that it is “likely” that God doesn’t allow adultery as a “general pattern”? How absurd! Then should we allow patriarchists to speculate about women’s sin? It is my firm opinion that we need to stand up and draw a line in the sand. Sin is not something that “fits” into any kind of “seems to” or “likely” category. God is gracious in his wisdom to make sin clear to us. There is no unclear sound of the trumpet for a battle call against sin. Sin is sin and unclear sin is never ever a part of God’s way of doing business with the human race. God makes sin clear, understandable with punishable. The “sin” of women teaching the bible to men is so far off that standard that it makes me scratch my head to try to understand how we have accepted it as sin for so long.

  3. “The big issue is whether “seems” and “likely” are good enough to warrant a charge of sin.”

    ROTFLOL…….too funny! It’s beyond ridiculous thinking about it and is made too clear by “the big issue”.


  4. Well, Cheryl, I think you are doing a good job in accurately explaining what the Scriptures actually teach about women teaching and preaching, while pointing out the contradictions in his own position, and doing so with gentleness and respect. I made the following comments on his site, which support and elaborate on what you have already said:


    I assume from what you have said that, like Cheryl and myself, you believe that since the OT prophets and NT apostles wrote Scripture under the divine guidance and superintendance of the Holy Spirit, and therefore there cannot by any contradictions in what it teaches regarding our ministerial duties and responsibilities in the Body of Christ, correct? And according to you, in 1 Tim. 2:12, Paul absolutely forbids women teaching or preaching, whatever the form it is given,in a mixed audience during worship, correct? Then how do you square that with the teaching gave to the entire church, leaders and congregation, in Colossians 3:15-17? The Apostle writes as follows:

    15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdeom through psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him(Col. 3:15-17, TNIV).

    In these three verses, we find a summary of the teaching Paul earlier gave regarding congregational prayer and prophesying in 1 Cor. 12-14. The focus here is on “the message of Christ,” which is to be communicated by psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit, with the purpose being to “teach and admonish one another with all wisdom” (v.16). This text in Colossians clearly indicates that in the NT house churches, psalms, hymns and songs not only praise and thank God for our great redemption in Christ, but also served a didatic or teaching function for all participating in the worship service. And regarding these “prophecies,” THE EXPOSITOR’S GREEK TESTAMENT states: “The precise distinctions intended are not certain, and perhaps they should not be sharply drawn. The meaning is, whatever kind of song it may be, let it be made the vehicle of religious instruction and admonition”(Vol. 3, p.541). Like 1 Cor. 12-14, this text not only assumes that both men and women will proclaim or prophesy the message of Christ together during worship, following the directives of 1 Cor 14 which were normative for all the Pauline churches; but it also expects and encourages them to do so, so as to instruct and admonish one another, resulting in everyone becoming wiser in the mysteries of Christ and his Gospel.

    Now, Mike, if Paul absolutely forbids women,at all times and in all forms,to proclaim God’s Word to mixed audiences during worship in 1 Tim. 2:12, does this not contradict what he here commands them to do in Col. 3:15-17? If one thinks about this critically and logically, one must come to one of these conclusions:
    1. Paul, when he wrote 1 Tim. 2:12,had forgotten what he wrote in Col. 3:15-17,and did not realize that he had written two texts that contradict each other. Well, liberals might believe this could have happened; but do we really think Paul was so irrational or forgetful that if somenone had pointed this out to him, he would not have recognized it as an apparent contradiction, and made some clarfying statement,like he did in 1 Cor. 5:9-11?
    2. As you and Wayne Grudem argue, Paul made a distinction between prophecy and teaching, the first which he permitted women to do in 1Cor. 12-14,but forbade them to do the latter in 1 Tim. 2:12. Well, the problem with this argument is that several NT scholars-e.g., David Hill, Earle E. Ellis, and Kevin Giles-who have studied this subject in detail, have demonstrated that the NT does not make the rigid distinction between teaching and preaching(prophecy)that we moderns make. After all while Jesus is often called a prophet, the NT primarily focuses on his teaching and preaching. And even prophets like Silas and Judas preach to and exhort congregations on the basis of God’s Word revealed to the Jerusalem church (Acts 15),rather than on new revelations they themselves have received. So denying women the right to proclaim God’s Word in the congregation on this basis of a supposed distinction between teaching and prophecy is totally unwarranted.
    3. Paul’s instructions in 1 Cor.12-14 and Col. 3:15-17 are normal guidelines and regulations regarding how men and women are to instruct, encourage and build up one another in the Lord during worship. But, as determined by its context, 1 Tim. 2:12 is a special ruling, addressed to an unusual or abnormal situation that existed in the Ephesian church. This being the case, 1 Tim. 2:12, because it is not part of Paul’s normal guidelines and regulations for worship and ministry,cannot be used as a regulatory law to deny women’s right to full participation in worship and ministry today.
    So, Mike, which of these three conclusions is the most biblical and logical for us to hold, if we truly believe Paul wrote under the guidance and supervision of the Holy Spirit, and if we also believe that there can be no contradictions in the true teachings of Scripture?

    I made two attempts to post these comments to Mike’s site earlier today. So I hope they went through. My only regret is that I can’t think of a good way to make clear to him that 1 Tim. 2:12 is not the strong tower and refuge for the complimentarianism that he believes it to be.

  5. Frank,
    Good job! There are so many good comments lately. I am hardly needed here anymore 😉

    I am on my last week and a half of editing to produce the finished product and so I will try to pop in and comment as I can. But sometimes I think that just letting you good folks go at it has been a bonus because the comments have been outstanding.

  6. Hurray! I checked Mike’s website, and my comments were posted full and complete. Which is a relief. It seems like I always have to make two attempts to post them before they actually go through; still haven’t quite figured out why that is so. And thanks for your words of appreciation, Cheryl. However, whatever contribution I or others may make, we would never believe that your own knowledge and skill in proclaiming, defending and confirming the truth of the Gospel is “hardly needed anymore”! May the fullness of the Spirit of grace and truth always rest upon, and may your teaching always advance the cause of Christ, including your upcoming participation in the Australian “Blog” Conference. Amen!

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