Women in Ministry Debate: Freedom or Restriction?
Responses to question #4
In the last blog post, Cheryl Schatz posed her 4th set of questions to Mike Seaver regarding their discussion/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 #4 and Mike’s rejoinder.
Cheryl Schatz responds:
Mike, I am very happy that you admit that there is no verse that instructs elders to stop women from using their gifts. In fact, as the body of Christ, we are to encourage one another in our gifts. And we are told not to judge in these secondary areas.
Romans 14:4 Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
There is a faithful solution to women teaching the bible to men. It is to encourage the women to teach and do not stop them from teaching. We should allow those men whose Bible-trained conscience does not stop them from accepting the good gifts that God gives through women, to stay and receive from the Lord. Then let’s give those men whose conscience is weak and who do not believe it is right for a man to listen to a woman, the ability to leave quietly and respectfully. But whatever we do, scripture does not say that a woman is not allowed to teach if she is teaching the truth. Let her teach and encourage her by acting as one who values both the woman and her gifts because if you refuse to listen to her, she will most certainly receive the message that what she says has no value.
When we try to put limits on another fellow member of the body of Christ, and they do not accept our man-made limits, we may end up treating them with contempt, but the way of love shows that we need to let these women be responsible for their conscience before the Lord on these debatable matters.
Romans 14:10 But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.
Romans 14:11 For it is written, “AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD.”
Romans 14:12 So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.
Romans 14:13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this–not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way.
It is a godly thing not to be an obstacle in the path of our own brother or sister in the Lord.
Mike, you said that God has set parameters on His gifts. However, if you look closely at the restrictions in the Scripture, you will notice it is only the gifts that do not benefit all that are restricted and even these gifts are not completely restricted, and they are never restricted by gender. It is God’s intention that the gifts He gives benefits all. Prophesy benefits all. Teaching benefits all. Tongues without interpretation benefits only one. Men’s and women’s gifts benefit all.
Lastly, we are told that we are not to allow our freedom to be spoken of as evil.
Romans 14:16 Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil;
A woman’s gift of teaching the Bible is not something that becomes evil when a man walks in the door. Her gifts are also for the common good so that the entire body will grow together instead of growing apart and separated.
Mike Seaver’s rejoinder:
Cheryl, once again, thanks for your response. It is a joy communicating with you about this issue.
First off, you said, “There is a faithful solution to women teaching the bible to men. It is to encourage the women to teach and do not stop them from teaching. We should allow those men whose Bible-trained conscience does not stop them from accepting the good gifts that God gives through women, to stay and receive from the Lord.”
Cheryl, I don’t think this is a conscience issue. It is not like eating meat or not eating meat sacrificed to idols. Paul says don’t allow it (1 Tim 2:12), and so we shouldn’t say that it is okay for those who have strong consciences. I’m not saying that “women teaching men” is on the same level as those who are homosexual, but the same arguments you use of “conscience” and “don’t judge” is the very same argument I hear from homosexuals. Anyone can say that some have strong consciences and some have weak consciences (and most of us always seem to think we have the strong consciences). Homosexuals also say that anyone who says what they are doing is wrong is judging them. Though I do not associate homosexuals and the gravity of that sin (Romans 1) with “woman teaching men”, they do both have some commonalities in their arguments. They both dismiss Biblical passages that speak to an opposite view of what they hold. They both hold their view in the name of Christian freedom. They both say that the passages that speak against their view are culturally binding, but not binding for today. They both say that God made them or gifted them in a certain way and that God would not do that if he did not intend them to live it out. You see, Cheryl, your arguments are a slippery slope. You do not have a passage that says, “Women should teach and exercise authority over a man,” but 1 Timothy 2:12 says, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man….” This is huge difference in our arguments.
The idea of women not teaching men is an instruction set in which to do it is to obey it and to not do it is to disobey it.
Question #5 will go on-line on August 31st with the responses set for September 2, 2009.
Links to all segments of the debate: