Over at the CBE (Christians for Biblical Equality) blog, there is a discussion going on about freedom in Christ. A patriarchalist, who is a pastor (if I'm reading some of his detail correctly) recently asserted that women may prophesy because "Authority in the church is not given to those who prophesy, but to the elders or pastors." I believe this is classic eisegesis. Here's what I replied to the man:
"I must disagree with Brian, both in general on what I see as his misunderstanding of true authority, and specifically about prophecy carrying no authority. If prophecy is declaring truth from God (and if it is not, it is certainly not prophecy), then it had BETTER carry God’s authority! Authority always centers around the task God gives one to do, not around a position of prominence or power. Authority is a tool, not a right or privilege. Authority is given by God to get the task done. So a preacher preaches with God’s authority, but is not an “authority figure” as Jesus warned us about. A prophet prophesies with God’s authority. A pastor shepherds with God’s authority, a teacher teaches with God’s authority, and any servant of God serves with God’s authority. We do what we’re called to do because God gives us the authority necessary to do it. This matter of declaring some “positions” as carrying authority and others not, is IMO the method Christians have used through the centuries to make the church more amenable to the worldly authority structures they end up emulating. God’s way is startlingly, effectively different than that."
I'd be very interested in what others think about this.