The Block Island Times
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(Part 4) He Gave Some Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, And Pastor Teachers

By Block Island Christian Fellowship | Jun 29, 2014

Are the offices of the New Testament church gender specific – for males only?

Anna, a Prophetess Four Daughters, Virgins, Which Did Prophesy Jezebel, Which Calleth Herself A Prophetess There Is Neither Male Nor Female

 

7.  More Pertinent Scriptures Relating as to Whether the Office Gifts Are Gender Specific – for males only.

I don’t really have a particular strategy in writing this study other than taking a look at scriptures that will help us look at this idea of gender specifics relating to the office gifts by looking at opposing views.

As I mentioned earlier, I was in a church that dogmatically taught that women were not allowed to occupy any of the leadership positions in the church.

I believed what was taught, because this was the church that I enjoyed attending.

Years later I have found myself co-laboring with a pastor from New York, who has encouraged me to teach on various biblical topics on a small island off the coast of Rhode Island.

So this is one of my many studies.

Let’s take a look at more sections of scripture that should help us determine for ourselves whether the call of a Christian to an office gift in the church is gender specific – for males only.

The following verses talks about a prophet, who is female. It will be interesting to see how this is viewed.

Anna, a Prophetess

The background is that Mary has just delivered the baby Jesus.

During this time a man named Simeon was waiting for the consolation (the fulfillment of the Messianic hope). It was revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death until he had seen for himself the Lord’s Christ.

At a certain time he was directed by the Spirit to go into the temple. By divine appointment Mary and Joseph arrive at the temple at the same time with the baby Jesus. Simeon takes the baby up in his arms and proceeds to bless (praise) God.

Another person also arrives whose name is Anna, a prophetess. She, being about 106 years old, and a widow, who frequently attended the temple expressing her worship in fastings and prayers, gave thanks to the Lord for the birth of the Messiah; and spoke to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem that the Messiah had come11.

And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

Luke 2:36-38

Is the calling to an office gift in the New Testament church gender specific – for males only?

Yes

No

It is clear that Anna was a prophetess.

However, her calling to this office occurred prior to and continued on during the time that Christ lived on the earth, before

the institution of the New Testament church with its newly ordained office gifts.

All this does is confirm that during the Age of Israel and the Age of Christ’s Incarnation there were female prophets.

However, this does not confirm that the office of prophet in the New Testament church can be occupied by both males and females.

This would only be the case if it could be proven that there were prophetesses as revealed by scripture in the Book of Acts, the Epistles, or the Book of Revelation.

Therefore there is no office of prophetess in the New Testament church.

Anna was a prophetess.

There were other female prophets in the Old Testament besides her such as Miriam (Exodus 15:20), Deborah (Judges 4:4),

Hulduh (2 Kings 22:14), Noadiah (Nehemiah 6:14), and the wife of Isaiah (Isaiah 8:3)12.

This doesn’t prove that women are called to the office of prophet in the New Testament church.

What it does do is give us evidence that women were called to this office during the time preceding the Day of Pentecost, the day which marks the beginning of the Church Age.

 

 

Even though we are trying to determine whether the office of pastor-teacher is gender specific – for males only, hopefully looking at the office of prophetess in the verses that follow will assist us in determining this.

This next section is about Philip, one of the deacons of the church at Jerusalem, who has four daughters who prophecy.

Are they prophetesses?

Four Daughters, Virgins, Which Did Prophesy

Paul is continuing on in his journey to Jerusalem. While on his way he and his company arrive in Caesarea and abide at the house of Philip, one of the seven deacons of the church at Jerusalem.

Philip has four daughters, unmarried, which did prophesy. Acts 21:8-15

If they prophesy does this mean that they are prophetesses?

There is a difference between having a gift of prophecy and being called to the office gift of prophet.

The gift of prophecy is one of the many gifts of the Spirit.

If someone has this gift, then they will call forth words from the Spirit, which is another way of saying that they will speak under the immediate influence of the Holy Spirit in the common language of the people unlike that of teaching or preaching which could be preplanned.

This gift speaks unto men for edification (to build doctrine in the soul for the spiritual growth and development of character of believers13); for exhortation (encouragement, which can include reproof); and comfort (to remove sadness).

Every person in the body of Christ receives at least one gift of the Holy Spirit.

But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. 1 Cor 14:3

The office gift of prophet is one of the five office gifts relating to leadership in the church.

Not every member of the body of Christ receives an office gift.

Prophets are preachers and expounders under the immediate influence of the Holy Spirit.

There are two divine skills that will help to recognize if a person is called to this office gift.

The first is that they are able to discern as to whether another prophet is speaking under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. 1 Cor 14:29

The second is that they are able to predict future events. An example of this is a prophet named Agabus.

He predicted that there would be a great famine throughout the whole world.

And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch. And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar. Acts 11:27-28

This same prophet came to the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the deacons of the church at Jerusalem, in Caesarea. When he entered Philip’s house he took Paul’s belt (a long piece of cloth which he wrapped around his waist. This type of belt was used not only as a part of one's clothing, but also to serve the practical purpose of being a place where one could carry money and other items14) and bound his own hands and feet, proclaiming by means of the Holy Spirit that whoever owns this belt will be bound by the Jews at Jerusalem and be delivered to the Gentiles.

And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus. And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. Acts 21:10-11

Is the calling to an office gift in the New Testament church gender specific – for males only?

Yes

No

These verses clearly indicate that Philip’s four daughters each

had the gift of prophesy.

Why?

Because there is no evidence that they exercised discernment

concerning whether what another prophet said was under the

influence of the Holy Spirit; and neither is there any proof that

they predicted future events.

Therefore, this supports the supposition that the calling of a

Christian to an office gift is gender specific – for males only.

It is clear that the four daughters of Philip did prophecy.

Whether there was any indication that they were able to discern as to what another prophet said was under the influence of the Holy Spirit or whether there was any evidence to indicate that they predicted future events is not known.

However, a man named Caius, a church father, otherwise known as Gaius, who lived during the beginning of the 3rd century, in a fragment of his writings recorded these words, “by speaking of" the four daughters of Philip, prophetesses”15.

He believed that they were prophetesses.

While this doesn’t prove that they are it does indicate that

someone who lived during the time of the early church believed hat they were.

 

Let’s take a look at a person in the Book of Revelation, who called herself a prophetess.

Jezebel, Which Calleth Herself A Prophetess

At the church of Thyatira, which was located in Asia Minor, there was a woman in the church named  Jezebel, who called herself a

prophetess.

God is very upset with this church, because they allowed her wickedness to be left unchecked. She taught (believers how to compromise with the Roman religion and the practices of the guilds, so that Christians would not lose their jobs or their lives16)

and seduced (fundamental departure from the truth) the assembly to commit fornication (sexual immorality) and to eat things sacrificed to idols (the custom of attending on the festivals of idols led commonly to licentiousness, and they who were gross and sensual in their lives were fit subjects to be persuaded to attend idol feasts17). Revelation 2:18-29

20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.

Is the calling to an office gift in the New Testament church gender specific – for males only?

Yes

No

The Lord indicated that this woman was not a prophetess.

While it is true that her teachings would not line up with those of divine prophecy, if she was a prophetess, this wasn’t the issue.

The issue is that she was not a prophetess, because a woman is not called to this office.

Indicating that she was not a prophetess is clear indication that there are women prophets. In order to say that someone isn’t called to a position in the church, because that which is evidenced by them is not in agreement with the divine skills of the office is an indication that this office does exist.

Women can be called to the office gift of prophetess.

One more thought to add. The word prophet which is translated from the Greek word profetees in the masculine gender along with the word prophets occurs over 100 times in the Book of Acts, Epistles, and the Book of Revelation.

The word prophetess which is translated from the Greek word profeetis in the female gender occurs only once in the Book of Acts, the Epistles, and the Book of Revelation.

The point being is that just like the position of deaconess, the office of prophetess is found to occur so infrequently that one could assume that it doesn’t exist. But all it has to do is occur once and this proves that women can be called to the office of prophetess.

 

Let’s take a look at one more section of scripture.

In the Book of Galatians there is a verse that talks about the idea there is neither male nor female in Christ.

What does this mean?

There Is Neither Male Nor Female

Galatians 3:26-28

Paul is addressing the Jewish believes in the Galatian church, who after having received the Holy Spirit by means of faith in Christ, are now proceeding on to spiritual maturity by means of self-effort in an attempt to obey an outward legalistic system of works according to the Mosaic Law. .

He further states that when they were under the Law they were in the minority and under a guardian. But by their believing in Christ they have become an adult son and are no longer under surveillance by the old guardian.

26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

For they have been baptized (with the Holy Spirit) into Christ (admitted to the full rights of the family) having put on Christ (put on Christ's robe of righteousness which grants full acceptance before God18).

27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

For there is no longer: national distinctions between Jew or Greek; class distinctions between a slave or freeman; and gender distinctions between male or female, which could refer to political or social distinctions; for you are all one in Christ.

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

The question is what does it mean that they are all “one” in Christ?

Is the calling to an office gift in the New Testament church gender specific – for males only?

Yes

No

These verses are talking about the fact that human distinctions do not play a part in a person’s acceptance in Christ.

Oneness in Christ (the idea that one mind, the mind of Christ guides all) can only become a reality when a person believes in Christ and becomes a child of God.

Whether a woman can be called to an office-gift in the church is not being addressed here.

 

 

It is true that human distinctions do not play a part in a person’s acceptance in Christ.

Those who believe in Christ by faith have not only become children of God, but they have become one in Christ.

Oneness in Christ means that all on the same level, and entitled to the same privileges in your Christian profession19.

These privileges not only refer to the blessings bestowed on a believer at salvation such as eternal security, the gifts of the Spirit, having become an adopted son, etc., but also refer to the idea that a calling to an office-gift can be for both a male or female.

 

I hope you enjoyed this. In order to have an opinion on any topic it needs to be taught. By reading the responses by opposing views you get an idea as to how churches that differ in their theology support their belief system.

Some churches advocate that we shouldn’t learn about what another church teaches on the same topic, because their doctrine is considered false.

Shouldn’t we be encouraged to study a biblical topic for ourselves?

What if we change our view, then what?

I believe that in the course of us growing in Christ we will change in our thinking concerning some of the views that we have been initially taught concerning the many varied biblical topics.

Why is this so?

This is so because hopefully you will desire to know more about why you believe what you believe. This will cause you to read more books or listen to more tapes from different teachers on the same topic.

As you do hopefully you will be praying to God for a discerning spirit concerning what you are reading.

Are the teachings on a topic that we are receiving based on only one verse?

If a viewpoint on a topic is taken from one verse, then it is imperative for you to beware of the view that is being proposed. When doing a study on any topic verses that come before and after a particular verse should be considered so that the full idea of what is being said can be attained. Along with this there should be further study that looks at verses that are about the same topic that are taken from different books ((e.g. the Book of Acts; the epistles; the Book of Revelation) of the bible. These should help to enhance the topical view that is being looked at.

Some of you might be thinking, why didn’t he mention any of the books from the Old Testament or the Gospels?

I didn’t mention these books because the protocol for the New Testament believer is found in the Book of Acts; the epistles; and the Book of Revelation, along with a limited number of verses from the Gospels. The Old Testament books for the most part are written for the Jews. The Gospels were written to proclaim the birth, life, public ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ.

So keep on reading and learning so that you will have a fuller understanding about this topic.

Believe it or not there are more sections of scripture to look at in this regards.

Let’s see what they are all about.

 

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