Is there a Second Witness that forbids Christian women from teaching the Bible to men?
This is question #2 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. Mike’s corresponding post on his blog is here.
Question #2 by Cheryl Schatz
If God has a law that forbids godly Christian women from teaching correct biblical doctrine to men, then why is this the only “law” that does not have a second witness? God established the need for a second or third witness in Deut. 17:6 & Deut 19:15 regarding the importance of establishing a judicial matter and also for accusations of wrongdoing. When Jesus was confronted with the law of the second witness, He subjected himself to this law in John 8:13-18 thus confirming the importance of the law requiring a second witness. Jesus even stated that his testimony was not considered true without a second witness John 5:31-37. Jesus also repeated the law in Matthew 18:16, to establish an important matter.
Paul, like Jesus, also obeyed the law by stating that he had met the conditions of two or three witnesses in 2 Cor 13:1. In Philippians 3:1 Paul gave the reason for why important matters need to be repeated. The reason that repetition is necessary is that repetition is a safeguard for us. This important principle is strictly followed in the scripture to prepare the foundation for this universal principle that all of God’s universal laws to mankind are never given to us without a biblical confirmation. Can you explain why the only “law” that is not repeated is the “law” that forbids women from teaching men? If you disagree that every universal law has the required two or three witnesses, can you please name even one universal law that does not have a second witness?
Answer by Mike Seaver:
I think that the idea that Scripture needs a second witness is a faulty one. The idea of a second witness was set up for fallible, finite humans who are sinful and thus have clarity in reasoning and thinking by having a second witness. Scripture is infallible and inerrant it needs no second witness. When Jesus says in John 5:31, “If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not deemed true.” He is not saying that his testimony is NOT true unless he has a witness, but it is not deemed true by humans and in John 8, the Pharisees. It seems like the questions comes down to a view of Scripture. Is Scripture completely true or not? Are Greek and Hebrew original writings completely without errors and completely correct in their teaching or not. If Scripture is true, it needs not second witness to be true.
As far as other theological debates go…if Scripture needs a second witness than all those who hold a Millennial view of Premillennialism or Post Millennialism are out of luck because only Revelation 20 speaks of a Millennium. Only Amillennialist bring this up…usually.
Also, I think the idea that more than one source is not consulted when thinking about whether or not women can be overseers/elders/pastors is a faulty one. Paul, the apostle speaks about it in 1 Timothy 3:2 and in Titus 1:6. He mentions that women should not teach or exercise authority in 1 Timothy 2:12. The order of worship in 1 Corinthians 12-14 (specifically ch. 14) seems to speak about men being the ones leading the corporate meeting. Acts 20 has Paul speaking to the Ephesians elders and it seems like they were all men and this is Luke writing (Acts 20:30 uses “men” as who will rise up from among them). Peter and Paul speak of male headship when it comes to marriages (1 Peter 3:1, Eph. 5:22).
So, while the Bible never says, “godly women who teach right doctrine are not allowed to teach men” it certainly seems to imply that there is a biblical headship and leadership that men are responsible to provide.
It is great for women to use their gifts and teach. It is just that the Bible says that women should not do this with men present.
The next post will be Cheryl’s response to Mike’s answer and then Mike’s final rejoinder on question #2. The responses will go up on August 5th.