Who’s the Boss?
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.
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 standard – the 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.
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!
The next post in this debate will be Cheryl’s fourth question to Mike and Mike’s answer.
Links to all segments of the debate: