The Dawning Restoration of Masculine
V. Four Levels of Spiritual Gender
C. Official Spiritual Gender
The third level of spiritual gender is seen in the spectrum of the fivefold
ascension gift ministries. Beginning with the apostle and ending with the evangelist, we can trace a definite progression of manifest gender characteristics from masculine to feminine. A simple parallel comparison would look as follows:
An even better illustration would be to set this comparison in context of a growing tree (something which Jesus used to picture the kingdom):
From this perspective, the apostles and prophets are the masculine seed elements that make up the underground root system of the Church hidden away from world view and exposure. The pastors and evangelists are the feminine fruit elements that make up the visible body of the tree seen by and interacting with the elements of the world. In between is the teacher who, as a stable trunk, forms a decisive link between the two.
Let's turn now to consider the progression of gender through these five offices in detail. Keep in mind that we are speaking in generalities to which there are nuanced exceptions, on which we will elaborate as we proceed:
1. The Apostle
The apostle is foundational to the Church. Apostolic revelation comes directly from God and is not mediated through any other part of the body. It is only confirmed later by the body. The apostle is a spiritual pioneer. He breaks new ground in the recovery of lost truth while adding by new revelation to that which has already been established.
The apostle is a traveler, moving among different churches. The overall training experience of an apostle is marked by suffering, misunderstanding, persecution, and rejection by the visible church. For this cause, apostles must live “underground,” outside the camp. They receive from God in isolation in the desert until the time of their manifestation appears. All of the above traits are the sum of spiritual masculinity, giving the apostle the distinction of being the most spiritually masculine of the five ascension callings.
2. The Prophet
The prophet is like the apostle in almost every way except that His revelation is not foundational, but geared to mediating the present mind of God for the here and now in the life of the Church. Where the apostle’ revelation is very structured, the prophet’s revelation is more fluid. These marks of temporality and fluidity bring the prophet closer to the surface of exposure and relevance which are feminine traits.
Nevertheless, the overall training and experience of the prophet is marked by the masculine traits of suffering, persecution, and rejection. The prophetic eye is more geared to the development of internal Christlikeness and holiness than it is to concern for outward affairs and blessings. Therefore it is an essentially masculine ministry. Together with the apostle, the prophetic ministry serves as the masculine foundation of the Church.
3. The Teacher
The teacher is above ground but on the ground. His ministry spans the gap between the hidden root system of the Church and the visible pastoral ministry of shepherding. This puts him mid-way between masculinity and femininity. To the degree that a teacher’s ministry is openly accepted among a visible body of people, he remains with them, and his teaching speaks to the practical in the here-and-now. His ministry is marked by femininity.
But to the degree his teaching is moral-based rather than experience based, and is drawn from prophetic influence with its attendant misunderstanding, the teacher is marked by masculinity. His teaching about hidden heavenly things to come is masculine. His teaching about practical living is feminine.
The teacher is far less abrasive than the prophet or apostle. He shows a greater sensitivity to the thoughts and feelings of the body he is teaching. This is feminine. Yet his teaching is not a free flow of experiential testimony but a codification of thought and principle. This is masculine.
4. The Pastor
Except for where he must minister discipline or can give codified teaching, the pastor is a totally feminine calling. His entire ministry is focused on preserving a body of people. His heart is clearly marked by caring and compassion. The pastor is an empathizer with the needs and experiences of people. His approach in all things is soft.
The pastor is a preacher who offers extemporaneous messages based on present life experience. Though he does believe in the hidden things of God, and things to come, and in established doctrine, none of these are his main concern. His main concern is for the meeting of people's present needs and for the effect of their testimony on the present world.
The pastor majors on the positive word of encouragement and the desire of God to bless His people with goodness. A pastor's heart is nonconfrontational, abhoring even the threat of division among the body. He draws his own affirmation from the body and moves forward in change only by careful consultation and consensus. All these traits belong to the nature of spiritual femininity.
5. The Evangelist
The evangelist is more feminine than the pastor in the sense that his ministry presents the most visible and accessible side of the Church to the world. He ministers to the least selective group of people. The evangelist's message is almost wholly extemporaneous, based on the power of free flowing testimony. That testimony is in turn based on the realities of the here-and-now.
Not only is the message extemporaneous, but the evangelist's alignment is with that truth which emphasizes human responsibility, will, and decision in coming to God. In the same way the pastor's heart shows the feminine love of God for His people, the evangelist's heart shows the same love for the outer world. The only masculinity seen in the evangelist is when he confronts the world with its need to repent of sin. But to him, repentance is not the focus, but only a qualifier. His heart is to win the world, not condemn it.
The evangelist's identity is not established by separating himself in secret from the world, but by identifying with the world in its need. Another subtle masculine trait of the evangelist is his traveling to meet the world where it is. Nevertheless, wherever he goes, his ministry is utterly dependent upon the local body for support and cooperation. He is no pioneer.
The overall experience of the evangelist is one of reaping and harvesting, not sowing and digging. Like the pastor, his focus of experience is on God's blessing and goodness. Together with the pastor, the evangelist makes up the sum essence of the feminine nature of the Church.
- The Overlap of Official Gender and Primary Gender
The spectrum of official spiritual gender is not commensurate with primary gender as if to suggest that all the apostles and prophets are found only in the masculine stream of the Church while all the pastors and evangelists are only found in the feminine stream. This is true in a general sense. There are more pastors and evangelists in the feminine Church and more apostles and prophets in the masculine Church.
But this is not exclusively true. The spectrum of official gender is actually superimposed on both streams of primary gender such that shades of all five callings appear in both the overall feminine and masculine Churches. Moreover, the callings themselves are not hard lifelong identities carried throughout spiritual life, but phases of ministry through which we pass within the greater framework of our primary gender development. In a way, they are sort of amplifications of our secondary seasonal gender.
The superimposing of the official gender spectrum over each primary stream of the Church makes for an interesting collage of overlapping gender color. In the scattered outcast stream of the masculine Church, for instance, there are not only hardcore “desert” apostles and prophets, but desert pastors as well. These are primary masculine saints who yet exhibit a feminine tug in their heart for the body of Christ. They minister to small, fragmented groups of believers in hidden places. There are even desert evangelists who roam the world, preaching the gospel from the platform of little scattered bodies which have no recognition.
Similarly, in the overwhelming stream of the more public feminine Church, there are not only body pastors and body evangelists, but body prophets and body apostles. The body prophets speak of righteousness and holiness with a vigor, and declare the present mind of God to the Church. But they do not do so in any way that can be interpreted as masculinely divisive or condemning.
Body apostles are structuralists for the feminine Church. They are administrators and overseers who travel among churches to set situations in order and provide counsel to pastoral leaderships. But unlike masculine apostles, they are accepted. They are not pioneers of truth that upset the present order, nor do they issue foundational governmental direction to churches through direct divine revelation. Body apostles do not so much establish something new as they bring restructuring to that which already exists.
Following is a comparison chart giving examples of real life ministries that
function or have functioned in each ascension gift calling within the framework of the larger primary sexual streams of the Church in our time (1992):
Ministry to the publicly recognized (“visible”) church
Ministry to the hidden church
Loren Cunningham (YWAM)
“Two-by-Twos” – pairs of itinerants who minister through unnamed bodies of believers throughout the world
First Baptist Church, Atlanta
Community Christian Fellowship, Johnstown, Ohio
1st Evangelical Free Church
Cranbrook, British Columbia
End Time Farm Movement
Bowen’s Mill, Georgia
Kansas City, Missouri
Bill Britain (late)
Praise Temple, Richlands, North Carolina
Beroya Fellowship, Hamburg, Ontario
Peter, James, John
scattered Gentile cities, Asia Minor, Greece
Let's take a closer look at some of the distinctives between the ministries of the two streams:
- The ministers within the feminine stream place a high priority on the label of their office and the recognition of their calling by the church at large. Those in the masculine do not place high priority on these, but on their pure identity as sons of God and their recognition by God. Those in the masculine stream avoid labels as much as possible. (Witness the unnamed "two by twos" whom one would only ever learn about by providential accident!)
- Those in the feminine stream are attuned to the visible moves of God and to the needs of the outer world. They also trace their heritage through the visible stream of Church history. Those in the masculine stream are attuned to the hidden work of God in unadvertised quarters. Their ministry is based on separation from the world, and they trace their heritage through the unrecognized stream of Church history.
- The feminine stream is focused on its sense of mission to the world and its manifest unity with other society-interactive churches. The masculine stream is affirming of its own uniqueness through its separation from corrupt visible church systems as well as from society itself.
- Consider the biblical comparison of these two streams among the apostles. Peter, James, and John exemplify the feminine stream. They began as ministers to the large visible body at Jerusalem. James especially retained his ties to the mothering faith of Judaism. The writings of Peter and John were soft and nurturing in their approach. None of their writings lays foundational doctrine for the church as a whole.
By contrast, Paul is clearly the apostle of the masculine stream. His writings are foundational and directly revelatory. He was intense and much of his writing focuses on the uniqueness of his own calling. The cutting word of the cross was at the root of all his work and vision. He ministered as a pioneer to the far flung corners of the earth, possibly suffering more hardships over the span of his ministry than any other apostle (II Cor. 11-12).
We could compare the traits of these two streams of fivefold ministry in greater detail. The point for note is that the fivefold ministry, while marked by its own progression from masculinity to femininity, is overridden by the stream of primary personal gender in whose context it is found.
In a moment, we will relate the emerging restoration of the prophetic and apostolic offices to the Church's entrance into the third dimension. This is such an expansive topic that we will save it for separate consideration. First, we will finish with our look at the fourth level of spiritual gender.
written from Merrimack, New Hampshire
First Love Ministry
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
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Page created September 28, 2016