An Introductory Primer to the Mystery of Spiritual Gender for Prophets
With the prophetic comes controversy. But there is necessary controversy and unnecessary controversy. Unavoidable controversy rises due to disobedience and false teaching in our midst. The prophetic stands as a rightful vanguard on the front edge of such controversy. But controversy may also be due to shortsighted immature misunderstanding that fails to appreciate the largeness of our God. Controversy based on prophetic shortsightedness is ignoble, avoidable and not to be admired.
Though the prophetic comes with controversy, with the greater prophetic comes discernment between necessary and unnecessary controversy with the healing of unnecessary controversy. There is a higher prophetic that identifies, corrects and seeks to prevent controversy based on prophetic shortsightedness.
There are times to be on the edge of controversy (tearing down). And there are times to be on the edge of healing (binding up). Today, I’m speaking from a position of controversy healing. I want to target a prophetic controversy that is avoidable and conquerable through maturity.
A deep yet unnecessary division exists through the entirety of all that is called prophetic. This division has always been, and continues to be. Due to it, the prophetic is prevented from taking a place of full stature around the “fivefold conference table” and from focusing on what truly needs to be called to account in the larger church. Though commonly thought of as the “eyes” of the body, we are crippled with a log of our own leaving us incapable of accurately pulling out specks from the greater church. Our visionary value to the church stands compromised.
Identifying the “Spiritual Gender” Controversy
The prophetic problem today—and by prophetic I mean everybody who thinks they are prophetic whether or not they are part of a “movement”—the prophetic problem—and the reason for wrongful prophetic division—is a prophetic idolization of partial images of God based on selective embrace of particular divine attributes.
These images with their selective sets of attributes break down into two broad categories. The categories are based in the creational reflection of gender division that mirrors the complete nature of God. [What???] Stick with me here and I’ll explain:
- Gender in Creation
When God created man in “His image,” it was necessary for God to make man using two genders. Each gender was created to excel in displaying certain attributes of the complete Godhead. The “masculine” gender was called to demonstrate God’s qualities of reason, judgment, purpose, truth (standardization), discipline and determination. The “feminine” gender was made to especially display God’s powers of beauty, emotion, intuition, tenderness, nurture, forgiveness, compassion and healing.
This isn’t to say each gender displayed only these qualities—just that it excelled in its respective qualities. Further, in creating these genders, the Lord established an order and priority between them. In this order, the second (feminine) was built on the first (masculine). First came the masculine, then the feminine to complete the masculine. This was done to show the overall relationship between the Lord’s own attributes within His Being.
The overall point is that, this composite of genders with the interlocking of their excelling qualities is what God called “Man.” Neither by itself was complete without the other. Neither embodied in itself who “Man” is. Neither bore the complete image of God. Most of all, only by harmonious marriage of these genders could God’s full image be fruitfully reproduced throughout the whole earth.
- The Mystery of “Spiritual Gender “
We are all familiar with the differing masculine and feminine dominant attributes. We’re also familiar with the natural friction that exists between them. This friction is the stuff of which everything from romance novels to pop radio to soap operas is made. The whole world turns on the relationship of human gender!
But the point here is that, as in the natural, so in the spiritual, and specifically so with the prophetic. God is a Spirit. All His attributes seen in creation through gender are also dispersed throughout the Spiritual Man that bears His image, ie, the body of His People. Just as every human body bears the “chromosomes” that make up both genders, but which favor certain ones, so the body of Christ and every member of it bears the same chromosomes spiritually while favoring certain ones.
The scriptures themselves recognize the reality of spiritual gender. The prophets repeatedly refer to the Lord’s people in differing “genderal” terms. In some places, we read of the “sons of the prophets” and the “sons of Israel.” In other places, they speak of the “daughter of Zion” and the “daughter of My People.” These references carry into the New Testament where we read of the “sons of God” and the “Bride of Christ;” or the “manchild” and the “woman” of Revelation. Understand that these references have nothing to do with natural gender. They are spiritual emphases of selective reflections of God.
Marriage and the Gender Divide
In the natural, the purpose of marriage is to mirror the completeness of God. We all know marriage involves an outworking between men and women of natural differences enabling them to display and reproduce one complete image of God. We know this requires maturity. We also know that through immature failure to grow into gender reconciliation, marriages either fail to form or fail after they are formed. In extreme immaturity, boys never get past hanging out with boys, and girls never get past hanging out with girls. In the worst case, some succumb to the perversion of homosexuality.
As this is true in the natural, it is also true in the spiritual body of Christ, and specifically in the prophetic. In the Spirit, the “spiritual chromosomes” that make up the full nature of God with all His attributes have been imparted to each of us and distributed among us all. The divine attributes from anger to compassion, from reasoned judgment to emotional outpouring are found within us and among us.
These attributes find their expressions through different associations of believers together. There are spiritually “masculine” clusters of divine attributes in the church, and spiritually “feminine” clusters. The best example of the spiritual “gender gap” in the at-large church is the divide between those churches devoted to the reasoned “Logos” word of God, and those devoted to the intuitive “Rhema” word of God.
- The Prophetic Gender Gap
Within the prophetic, the same dispersion is in force. There are spiritually “masculine” and “feminine” dominant prophetic attributes. Like all the rest, these cluster together in their respective places of abode. The “masculine prophetic” primarily displays an independent unswerving commitment to truth and holiness. Most masculine-spirited prophetic people are found in small isolated groups in remote places. The masculine prophetic chromosome is one of standardization and correction against that standard.
At the same time, the spiritually “feminine prophetic” bears the primary focus of interdependent devotion to the Spirit’s flow centered on pure devotional desire for the Presence of God. It is attuned to the Rhema without a plumb line. It is intuitive. It is passionate in expression. It is positive and uplifting in all it has to say. It does not tear down. It does not (generally) correct. And it is gathered in much larger and visible corporate gatherings.
The truth is that both these sets of prophetic attributes genuinely represent a part of the heart of God, and neither of these attribute sets is complete by itself. Neither represents the fullness of stature toward which the entire body of Christ has been called.
- Prophetic Gender Idolatry
But this is exactly where the prophetic problem begins. Taking either dominant set of spiritual attributes as a complete representation of God, prophetic people who cluster around one set or the other end up establishing and following a false prophetic image of God. They in fact re-create God after the image of their own spiritual “chromosomal” preference.
To this very hour, the worldwide prophetic—like the rest of the church—is rife with a blindness of its own making. It is a spiritual idolatry of divine attributes. The various prophetic clusters with their oppositely natured dominant spiritual chromosomes are crippled by devotion to their favored sets of divine attributes.
The result of this prophetic devotion to divine attributes is prophetic division—an entirely unjustifiable and avoidable animosity due to immature shortsightedness, not sin and disobedience.
Today, a state of [quiet] war exists between the masculine and feminine elements of the prophetic body of Christ. It was warned some years ago about a prophetic civil war coming to the body of Christ. Well, that war has already been in force as a “cold war” for many many years and generations.
As it was in the creation, so the challenge in the prophetic body of Christ has always been for the representatives of the differing spiritual gender attributes to come together into a spiritual “marriage” that forms one complete and whole worldwide prophetic body. The best description of this marriage I have ever found is in Isa. 62:5:
For as a young man marries a virgin, So your sons will marry you; And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, So your God will rejoice over you.
At the same time, the enemy has always had a great stake in seeing to it that the differing genetic prophetic elements never come together. As he has worked in natural society to divide and pervert gender, so he has sought to do in the spiritual, including the prophetic. And to this hour, he has largely succeeded. In fact, he has succeeded at this for at least two ages.
To this day, the prophetic exists as polarized camps. In one camp are the spiritually “polluted” and “compromised” feminine bodies in league (“adultery”) with human society. On the other are the persecuted but proud, critical, wounded, self-aware masculine “twos-and-threes” beset by weird doctrines and legalized holiness, seeing themselves alone as God’s “faithful remnant” with whom He will “start over” the true New Testament body of Christ.
Does any of this sound familiar to anyone out there?? How many times must one go around the mulberry bush on all this to see a pattern? This is the division. And there is no salvation in any of it.
But what must we overcome to enter into the true unbiased fullness of the Lord? And how do we do it?
Overcoming Toward Complete Prophetic Gender Reconciliation
When we are attracted to a nature of the Lord more than to the Lord, we commit the spiritual idolatry that ends in re-creating God after our own image. We can know we are under the spell of such idolatry when we deny the attributes of God that don’t fit with the partial divine nature we have enthroned.
It is in turn this idolatry that leads to the false prophetic teachings that the other side rightly targets. By targeting false teachings alone, we miss the point and continue the divide. Satan wins.
Until we can see past the false teachings to the gender issue, until we can recognize the legitimacy of the gender qualities underneath the false teaching, and until we can see past our own selective attribute idolatry, we can never provide a true healing alternative to the divide. We can never demonstrate the Lord’s wholeness within ourselves nor promote it in the rest of the Body. We will continue to be part of the problem, not of the solution.
We are called to abide in the knowing of the Lord, not in the knowing of His attributes. While we must understand the Lord’s attributes and their relationship to one another, we must abide in Him, not in His attributes. We must strive with a holy striving to see that all that the Lord is becomes formed in us, but we must abide in Him. To make any more of our Father than this—or to take away from this—comes of evil.
- So how do we overcome this attraction to particular attributes?
My answer is this. The Holy Spirit has been given to lead us into all truth. This means He has been given to lead us into the fullness of all the Lord’s nature. It means He has been given to shape in us the Lord’s harder “masculine” attributes of reason, judgment, mature self-standing independence and righteous anger. (Have you ever learned to get angry in the Lord and to express His righteous indignation?)
And He has been given to shape us into the Lord’s softer “feminine” attributes of compassion, mercy, mature inter-dependence and romantic spiritual passion. (Have you ever learned to dance, to laugh, and to even “swoon” before the Lord in His beauty? How about submitting prophetic vision to the testing of others?)
If this is so, then overcoming is a matter of submitting to the convicting work of the Spirit at every turn regarding what He wants to do in us past what we have accepted and received of His attributes. The Spirit is the One who weaves all these attributes into us. We are not responsible to do this. But we are responsible to yield to His leading to be so led.
- In Real Terms
What does this mean in real terms? It means we have to respond to the Spirit in honesty about the good things we see in those who manifest divine attributes we less favor or even deny. We have to give up knee-jerk critical attitudes regarding the “gender weakness” in those who favor divine attributes we do not. It means if we are going to register negative evaluations about the weaknesses in other parts of the prophetic body, we must be constructive and free from jaded spiritual prejudice in those evaluations. (Before we label others as false prophets, we need to be sure it is for a better reason than the fact that they simply major in displaying differing attributes of the Father!)
Above all, it means we have to submit to the Spirit’s drawing / convicting to expose and submit ourselves to relationship with others from the other side of the prophetic “gender fence.”
A Call to the Receptive Heart
Before this division can be healed and the prophetic can become a worldwide kingdom force as a “married people,” I am persuaded that this marriage is going to have to take place first in receptive individuals who can hear and respond to what the Spirit of the Bride is saying. And as this marriage takes place within us as individuals, together with triggering events, it will provide a rallying point for others to follow by example by which a full manifestation can take place.
Right now I am persuaded that there are those of a prophetic heart who have done the “yo-yo” enough times between the blind “corporate prophetic” and the jaded “wilderness prophetic,” yet who see the great strengths in both, that God is putting such into position to lead the way toward a fully married prophetic people. Who they are and where they are I cannot say. What will trigger their appearance into a place of recognizable leadership of God’s learners I also cannot say. But I believe they are there.
I believe there truly is a prophetic circular eldership developing in the earth somewhere that God is preparing to resolve into open manifest leadership. I believe there is a prophetic people out there more concerned with developing a complete personal and corporate representation of the divine nature than they are with continually finding fault with those of the opposite prophetic gender.
(Wouldn’t it be great to see a prophetic administration arise that knows how to speak hard disciplinary corrective truth while embracing the full healing warmth of the emotion of God? How about just a prophetic that can tell the difference between its true friends and enemies?)
My Personal Burden
The burden of my own heart is to increasingly understand this divide in prophetic natures, speak to the strengths and deficiencies of each, and work toward harmony in the prophetic body through a true fully-aligned embrace of the entirety of God. My quest is to provide a channel for overcoming the offenses to the mind over our inability to accept certain attributes of God for what they are.
In the course of this quest, it is impossible but to create offense in the process. I watch prophetic people come and go all the time from this list. (It’s a good thing not to base your sense of self-worth on the staying power of people with your teaching!) When speaking to defend one aspect of the Lord’s nature against the deficiencies of the other, I gain some readers and lose others. When speaking to oppositely defend the second aspect against deficiencies in the first, I lose the readers I just gained and gain a new set attracted to the second. And so the ministry goes…
God is looking for a “mature man.” He is after a “full body.” He is seeking a “circular eldership”—that is, an eldership in the earth that has risen above the offenses and partial characterizations to embrace the full circle of who He is—as it is in heaven. God wants a prophetic people that knows how to get angry for righteousness sake, how to suffer the individual consequences for taking a faithful stand for truth, yet who can quickly lay down divine anger in hope of pure redemptive reconciliation with the wayward—and who never lose the vision for becoming part of something larger than themselves.
It will only be when we as a people come to embody this marriage of divine attributes that a body compatible enough with the Lord will exist that He can call His Bride. Neither isolated faithfulness bearing the Lord’s anger, nor ceaseless spiritual ardor and “passion for Jesus” alone will qualify us to be part of His Bride.
Riverside, Rhode Island
First Love Ministry
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
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Page created November 4, 2016