Thursday, July 07, 2022

Female Prophets

In my teaching about the Ministry of the Prophet, I have sometimes used the male pronoun, but this is just because writing he/she gets cumbersome after a while. And many of the examples that I quote come from the Old Testament where the prophets were mostly males. Nevertheless, I believe that everything that I have written about the ministry of the prophet apploes to men and women.

The Holy Spirit has been poured out equally on men and women, so he can use both men and women as prophets. All the ascension gifts described in Ephesians 4:11 are available to women.

The only constraint is that in a perfect world, all prophets should be submitted to elders who are pastors, apostles or evangelists, just as pastors, apostles and evangelists should be submitted to elders who are prophets. No one person should be in charge. Mutual submission is the key to the effective functioning of all these gifts. This applies to both women and men.

This issue is much wider than the role of prophets. Many modern churches struggle to recognise the role and gifting of women. If a woman belongs to a church with that approach, she will find it difficult to develop any ministry, let alone a ministry as a prophet. Many churches still want to be led by a single male pastor-leader. In that situation, the pastor will find any prophet threatening, whether they are male or female. They will want to tame them to keep them under control. This attitude will make it difficult for any woman to emerge into a prophetic ministry.

Various prophets have different personalities. Jeremiah was a very different person from Elijah, and perhaps more like Jesus. The same is true now. The various men and women that God calls to the prophetic ministry will have different personalities, so they will need to develop their ministry in a way that fits with their own personality. This means that some female prophets will function in a different way from some male prophets.

Deborah is the female prophet about whom the scriptures give us the most detail, (although others like Miriam and Huldah were mentioned). That does not mean that every female prophet should aspire to be like Deborah. Deborah was called to a particular task at a particular time and she had a personality suited to that role. Many female prophets will have a different role today, so they will have a different personality. Every prophet needs to work out who they are in relationship to their calling.

Women can take everything that I have written about the ministry of the prophet and use it if it is relevant to them. However, they will have to work out their calling where God has placed them in terms of the personality that God has given them.

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