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Articles

THE RELEASE OF WOMEN INTO MINISTRY

SPOKEN BY JACKIE PULLINGER
jackiept@asiaonline.net

Now and again, people would say (concerning her ministry in Hong Kong), "Isn't it WONDERFUL that God would choose a woman to go? I would say, "No, it's not wonderful.  Excuse me for being rude about God, but He can pick who He likes." I mean, it's no more wonderful for Him to send a woman than a man, or an old man or young woman.  He picks who He wants.  That's His business.  It was God's wisdom that sent me.  I was just doing what He made me for.  That's no credit to me; it’s all credit to Him.  If He's made you for something, you just do it.

It happens to be that God allowed me to go because the place was ruled by gangster men.  If God had sent a man, they'd have beaten him up.  Men are threatening to men, but women, especially in Chinese culture, are treated with disregard.  They say about women:

"They're like flies.  When you squash them, it doesn't hurt.  They say that women have little hearts and are actually like animals.  When you kick them, it doesn't matter." So you see, it's wonderful He sent me.  They could disregard me because I was not a threat to their maleness and all that made them gangsters.

Therefore, I could go about God's business . . . I didn't feel strange about this, being a woman in ministry UNTIL a man, a really nice man--one of the Brethren with whom I had some fellowship, came and saw what was happening.  He was a wonderful guy; and if you know anything about the Brethren, they deeply love the Scriptures.  This man was very helpful to me and actually happened to be the only one in Hong Kong who was willing to baptize me at that time.  So, I owe very much to him.  But, he saw what was happening and said to me." Is this dutiful for a woman to do?" I'd never heard that before.

One of my problems is what has kept me safe.  I will listen to older Christian men.  My Christian instinct is to listen to older men.  This has gotten me into a great deal of trouble.  It's also, in God's mercy, been a great security because had I said, "I will not listen because I can hear from God," I would have been proud.  On the other hand, when I listened to people, I would think they must be right because they're older than I, so I accepted a whole lot of "stuff," which I hadn't filtered.  But, you see, you're quite safe if you do that because if you're submitting to God in men, He will work it out.  I've been through a lot of trouble because of this; but in the end, he has worked it out for good in a very sweet way.  So, that was my first encounter with, “Jackie, should you be doing this? Shouldn't a man be doing it?" And, I would ask, "Would you like to do it?" "Well, no,” they simply wanted to run the men I'd led to the Lord.  Then, I found out this is a kind of thing that happens historically.  Men don't have a problem with women in ministry if they're on the mission field.  This one exception is for men who feel threatened by women, and they don't "mind" if it's "over there." If you look at men who have very strong views on women in ministry, you'll find the exception is missionaries.  Everybody can go into all the world and preach.  It's alright if it's "over there." I've met some wonderful missionaries who've come to Hong Kong and done it.  They've set up tents for refugees, given them bread, prayed for them, and led them to Jesus.  Then, the whole country heard of it and said, "We must send a MAN to run the church." This happened many, many times.  So there were questions in my mind.  It did seem a bit unfair that here she had loved them from her heart, and then a man came and took over.  However, that's how it was, and I had not understood too much about the role of women in the Scriptures or in the church because in one sense I was "outside" all of that.

All these men were coming to the Lord.  Many visitors continued to ask, "Is this right for you, Jackie?" So, I tell you what I did.  I began to send all the people I'd won to the Lord to “church.” Because I'd only had a brief amount of training, being a Christian only 6 months before going to Hong Kong, I did take an evangelism course.  So, I sent my converts to “church,” who came back to me, saying, "We don't like it there." I told them, "Well, you're supposed to go." There were some unhappy things taking place.  There were gangsters wearing the wrong shirts! The “church” asked them to change their shirts and told them they were not supposed to wear flip-flops to “church,” you know.  And, they won't let us take communion because we haven't been baptized.  So, I said, "O.k., let's see if I can get you baptized," but they were still wearing the wrong shirts! So, I had this problem.  I wanted my people to be baptized, take communion, and no one would do it.  I wanted to put them into the "system," I mean the “church,” but it didn't help them! However, I persisted because my instinct was they should be "in church."

At this time, a missionary and wonderful man of God, an elder and statesman, very sound, came up to me after one of the little chapel meetings to which I had MADE my new converts attend.  He asked me, "Jackie, why are you doing this?" I said, "For several reasons.  First of all, I really believe we need the church.  We're young, we're not "It," and we need to be with the rest of the church.  We need to learn from them.  It's not healthy to be by ourselves.  The second reason might be slightly wrong, but I don't want the other missionaries to criticize me for "doing my own thing." You see, my instinct has been to be part of the church.  This wonderful missionary turned to me and said, "Don't do it.  Don't do what you've been doing.  The church in Hong Kong is not ready to accept these young people, and they'll kill them off.  Your young people can't take the criticism they're going to get from the church.  Regard them as little plants that’re not yet strong enough to take the beating in the forest.  Nourish them in a safe place; and when they are seedlings, you may transplant them." Right now, which is about 25 yrs.  after he said this, we're about at seedling stage.  In God's mercy, I think we've been a part of the church in Hong Kong.  It's very sweet.  People have been very afraid of us for years 'cause we grew and grew and grew, and there were stories about us, you know.  Up until 4 years ago, speaking in tongues in Hong Kong was of the devil.  We were very strange.  If we sent our people to other churches, they still were not allowed to break bread.  It's been a strange history, but now it's the other way around.  I suppose it's because Jesus has become very famous.

There are pastors who now come and say, "We've heard about all these men and women who've come to know Jesus, and we love it." They used to come by night and then go to the church in disguise because if they were seen in our place, their own churches would put them out.  Now, they come openly because they want to share in what we've received.  Now they invite us to come and share in their churches.  It's been healing and very wonderful.

About 1984, I came to California.  I had already met John & Carol.  They prayed for me and I was very touched.  In one of his conferences, John released women into ministry.  I don't know if anyone here attended that conference or heard what was said, but I heard what he said.  About that time, I stopped apologizing for what God had done because we'd grown to several hundred by that time.  The parents of the gangsters, friends of the gangsters, rich judges, rich and powerful men in Hong Kong saw what God had done in the poor and started coming to us to receive Christ because they were jealous of our poor . . . So, now, when people ask, "Are you a ‘church,’ or are you a fellowship, etc., I say, "Oh, we're whatever you like.  I don't mind." Then, some ask, "Are you a pastor?"

"I haven't got that name.  We don't have any titles.  However, there are those around who look after the sheep, probably 20 or more of us.  That's how it is with us.  Our people know who care for sheep, who prophesies, and who teaches.  I have lots of all those people.  That's how we've raised them.  They are identified as men and women of God.

Now, we will look at some Scriptures.  Turn to Galatians 4:24.  Here we see two covenants and two women. 
1.  Mt. Sinai = Hagar = slave (someone tried to make it happen)
2.  Jerusalem or Zion = free Church (the Bride) and she is FEMALE (Promise)
I believe you here today may be a part of the Promise.  You do not need to be part of the slave one.  You are born of God and called by Him.  You are part of the church which is free.  I've been told I must obey and that I must submit to this and this and this.  That does not mean I must be in bondage.  The freedom will be in your heart and in your spirit.  You see, the "system" or the "slave church" can never stop your doing what God had called you to do.  Who can thwart God's purposes? Only WE can if we don't obey God.  There's nothing on earth that can stop us from what God has prepared us to do.  Men do not give us permission to do what God has called us to do.

Now, in their buildings and in their organization, they may have some order and say you can't do this or that and that's o.k.  When I come to your house, I'll follow your "house rules." I'm not going to be rude.  When you come to our house, I hope you'll take off your shoes before you come in . . . but not under bondage.  I'm free to do what God tells me to do in your house.  So, you who are born of the promise, you can preach the Gospel just as Carol said in the marketplace, buses.  You have everywhere to do the work of God!

And if the people who run the churches where you go have not yet realized the ministry of the church is to be outside at least you have! There is great opportunity to reach the unreached.  We do not have to consider ourselves children of the slave woman.

Galatians 4:27: “For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren woman that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not; for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath a husband.” This is a little mysterious, for it is actually quoting from Isaiah 54.  I want to share it with you because my history up ‘til the time I first came to California was as a single woman.  I believe that in this Vineyard there may be a high percentage of women who are not with husbands for one reason or another.  And it's hard for women who are not with husbands whether you've never married, perhaps divorced, widowed or whatever reason you're not attached legally or formally to a man.  It's a hard thing because many of the talks for women and indeed a large amount of scriptural teaching for women is in relationship to husbands.  And certainly, much of the doctrine, which has explored the role of women's behavior in church, seems to depend on the relationship with a husband.  Therefore, a huge amount of women are left like the desolate woman, wondering where they fit in.  Here is great promise for them.

Turn to Isaiah 54:1.  These scriptures speak of ministry, fruitfulness in the Lord, and bearing good fruit through our love for Jesus.  So, it says, “Sing O barren woman, you who never bore a child . . . more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married.” Much of what I pray God does today is that all women who feel desolate and barren spiritually, the Lord is going to bring fruit through you more than she who has a husband.  Verse 4: “Do not be afraid . . .”
One time there was a man, a Vineyard pastor, who lived in Hong Kong.  I'll never forget when we held a conference and thousands came.  Lots of good stuff ! Then in the late '80's he laid hands on me and prayed, "OH, GOD! Fulfill Jackie in her womanhood." OH, Really??? What would YOU feel like if I put my hands on you and said, "OH God! Fulfill his manhood!?" And, Isaiah 54 is always given to the widows, the unmarried or women who are divorced.  Now, you need to give this chapter to the men, for it is to the unfruitful men.  As men are a part of the Bride of Christ and the Bride is female, this promise includes them in the call to fruitfulness.  They, too, are to produce godly offspring.

So, when I hear teaching on male and female, I think right across the board that we all are to be fruitful.  And I don't believe either that because you don't have a man, God is going to "make it up to you." No, I don't.  So, when people used to give me that scripture, I used to get really fed up.  Oh! Since you're not married, you can have God as your husband! I had a problem coming to the states for a number of years.  I confess this now.  For years, every time I'd come to the states, people would come up to me and ask, "Jackie, why isn't a girl like you married?" I thought how rude! How rude to God! You think He doesn't know what He's about? Do you think He would withhold any good thing from me?

People would lay hands on me and pray, "God, give Jackie the desires of her heart." I would think, Ummmm, I know what you mean and you're wrong! He's the desire of my heart, and I'd hate to marry the wrong man.  Marriage was not an issue for me.  Oh, I had the normal “lusts.” Marriage, however, was not an issue, and I dealt with the normal “lusts” like everyone else would.  So, I was in a strange position.  Having grown hundreds of people, frequent visitors from abroad would say, "You shouldn't have done this,” or “Where is your covering?" Perfectly satisfied in the Lord and bearing fruit, people would tell me I needed a "covering."

Especially in the last few years, people have come, telling me how wonderful it is that God has done all of this.  Looking at all the kids shining with Jesus, they tell me it shouldn't have happened as if I'm an illegitimate mother.  "Course, you're not a pastor.  All said, I was an evangelist, again not a pastor.  O.K.  Fine.  Whatever you say.  They would cast their eyes upon my lot.  Some of them said they would like to have it.  I had lots of spiritual offers." "Spiritual offers" of marriage, which came like this, "You've got this wonderful bunch of people who've come to the Lord.  Now if you're covered spiritually, God would really bless.  Let us come and lead your church, and then you can be released to your job which is evangelism.  I nearly fell for it lots of times.  However, my bottom line was and is, "What have you done for my kids?” So, I didn't give my kids away.

We came to an interesting time a few years ago before I was married and our kids were mainly drug addicts.  They began to desire marriage and were married in our "para-organization," or church, or whatever you want to call it.  Sometimes I said the words.  Sometimes someone else did.  I began to notice something quite distressing.  In nearly every single instance, I could see that in the marriage the woman was going to lead spiritually.  In nearly every situation, I would see she was going to be the one to say, "Let's pray, or let's talk." I thought, this is not right.  It's 'supposed to be the other way around.  What should we do? We kept coming upon these bits about man being the “head” of the woman, and it didn't look quite right where we were. 
In nearly every marriage, she was going to do more praying than he.  Also, she was going to do a greater amount of the work.  Formally, he was supposed to be the “head.” This always seemed to be the wrong way around.  That was when I searched the whole of Scripture to find out the place of man and woman and their relationship to one another.  What I'm going to do is take you through some scripture which gave me an understanding of manhood and womanhood.

Why had God picked a man? Why should it be a man? Why not a woman? I looked around and saw that easily the majority doing the work in the church were women--all the prayer and house visits.  Mostly what they are not allowed to do is stand on the stage.

They're to do all or at least a large amount of the work.  God! Something's gone wrong.  Clearly something is wrong.  Then, I read a wonderful book called, Healing the Masculine Soul by Gordon Darby, who also along with Leon Payne had done similar exploration.

He tells the story of being in Africa when a young African boy approached him with, "When do you release your men?" "When do you call your men out?" Not understanding the question, the young African explained to him that ‘til the boys came into early adolescence, they lived with their mother in a hut.  Manhood, the calling them out, took place when the village chief, along with the elders behind him, came to the mouth of the hut where the mother would do a little play acting.  She would hide the boy behind her skirts, but she knew she would have to give him up.  Eventually, mother handed the son over to his father.  The father, the village chief, elders, and other men led him into the jungle with the other boys where they learned to fight, learned how to do roofs, as well as learned about manhood and sex.  And, they were circumcised.  This is a tremendous book where he explains what happens in Jewish culture.

I saw this is what happened to Jesus.  (Although Jesus was circumcised when 8 days old) When He was 12 years old, He went with His parents to Jerusalem. Lk.2:49.  After the separation from His parents when His mother was so disturbed with Him, Jesus said, "Didn't you know I must be in my Father's house?" You would think His mother had every right to be anxious.  The thing was, she knew from the beginning Jesus was God's Son, and this was the appropriate time for Him to be brought to Father's house.  If you're looking at child development, which I've looked at a lot through Scripture, this is the proper age for sons to be bonded with fathers and also the proper time for daughters to be bonded with fathers.  And you will find the reason many people are sexually confused is because this did not happen.  Malachi 4:5 speaks of the turning of the fathers’ hearts to the children and the children's hearts to the fathers.  When fathers are reconciled with sons and daughters, God's saving power is released amongst us.  If this does not take place, the powers of destruction are beckoned.  That's why, early on in Scripture in the book of Luke, it talks about John the Baptist going out in the power and strength of Elijah to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous to make a people ready for the Lord.  What is it, then, that this seems to be the KEY for the return of the Lord? One hundred percent of our own addicts never had a relationship with their fathers.  There's something wrong in the family.

As I looked at this, I saw our men don't know how to be men because they had no fathers.  No one called them into manhood.  God, how are we going to call them into manhood? As a woman, I can't! What am I to do? I was in a tremendous quandary! God! I want godly men! These are boys who don't know about being men.  How can a woman call them into manhood? She cannot! Very strange and I continued to see throughout Scripture that the church is female - Jerusalem the Bride.  God the Father is male.  To be a good marriage there must be a father and a mother.  Here I was, and for some strange reason had birthed this church, was it's leader, a woman! I tried to preach on manhood for 6 months and kept having to jump off the stage! God! I must find a man who can call these boys into manhood, but I couldn't find one.  Honestly, I couldn't find a man.  There were hundreds of pastors in Hong Kong with miserable wives, but I didn't want these men to call my men into manhood, because that's not manhood; it's a male position in the church and that is a perversion of God's purposes.  God never chooses anyone on the basis of their sex.  And this idea that man should hold position in the church because he is male is a perversion of the truth of Scripture.  Man may lead on the basis of manhood, not sex.

I saw, in Genesis 3, the perversion that has taken place, for God called Adam and Eve to rule together, as partners, and she was clearly his helper.  No problems until they both sinned.  The curse is that woman will have pains in child - bearing and man will work by the sweat of his brow.  Her identity will be in her man, and that's where it all went wrong.

Ever since then, women have tried to find their identity in men and men have sought to find their identity in their job.  That's a result of the fall and was not God's plan.  So, I saw why men are so threatened because their position in the church might be their "job".  Now if you're married today or if your husband has died, I want you to be free in Jesus Christ.  We are released from that curse.  We don't have to find our identity in man because our identity is in Christ.  If our identity is in Christ, we may relate to men very well.  But we're not dependent upon men for who we are.  We're dependent upon God.  We're free to help man if we are with one and if we're not we may do whatever God has given us to do.  No problem.  However, now what was I going to do? I mentioned that when our men went off together they didn't pray together; they got sweaty! One of the men came and asked that the women might be allowed to go next time.  I asked, "Why" and he told me," When the women are there our conversation is better." That's awful! Now, forgive me, but because we're "over there" and because of our past, we're a whole lot less redeemed than you people here.  We are first generation Christians, so this is terrible, They have to have their wives so they speak O.K.!

I found the wonderful, terrible, over-threatening woman in Proverbs 31.  She does EVERYTHING! Look at her.  At night she's still at it! I think originally this ministry was "balanced," but she's not balanced.  I looked at this challenge.  How can this woman be lpter; my friends and I sat up one night trying to understand this extraordinary puzzle.  What's wrong with this? Then, we found out why.  She must have had a husband who was not threatened.  He let her do it; and more than that, he praised her and said she excelled above them all.  I think he's the star of this chapter because of his praise.  WHERE do you get a man like that?

After reading Ephesians 5:23, I looked around the whole world trying to find a man who is a man.  I could see lots of males but hardly any men.  Most women “mother” their husbands, do they not? Women looking after men instead of men looking after women.  This is true.  It's perversion.  Where are the MEN?

Christ is the Head of the Church, which is His Body; and He is her Savior

God is male, whereas the church is female.

Husbands are to be like Christ, laying themselves down, giving themselves up for their wives.

Husbands are to wash their wives with the Word and make her holy, even as Christ makes us holy.

There's only one perfect Man—Jesus, and I saw what that perfect Man did.

On the night before He died He took a towel, girded Himself and stooped to wash their feet.  If we want to know His secret, we find it in John 13:1.  Jesus knew He came from the Father and was returning to the Father.  That's how He can be the perfect husband.  He was pure in His relationship with the Father God; therefore, He could take the towel and basin and wash His disciples' feet like a servant.  Not acting like the leaders of the church with a microphone, having faith like the Pharisees, holding honor because of being the male leader, but because He was so secure in His identity and relationship with God the Father.

He could be a gentle man.  When I saw that in Scripture, I said, "That's it." There's not a single woman who would not desire a man like that.  That's the yearning of our hearts--a man who is so secure in His relationship with the Father that he can be gentle.  He doesn't have to establish his position as the leader of the house, head of the family, or any of that.  He doesn't need to.  He gives that up.  He guards her with the Word and makes her clean.

Then, my prayer began to be, "God bring men into manhood!" That's still my prayer.  I invited various men to come and stand on the stage; and I said, "Call the men into manhood and he'd have the men stand and speak, "You are priests.  You are called to be men, etc.  Occasionally, we had some women visitors with us who said, "Jackie! That's awful.  What about the women?" I'd say, "Don't you understand, if there's any church in the whole world that ought to be unthreatened, it's ours.  Women can do anything in our church, and we're very in order.  Why would we be threatened by men? It's not an issue, but I'm very interested in bringing men into manhood.  That's my passion for the sons God gave me as a desolate woman, who's now very free and happens to be married.  Not that it's made a whole lot of difference.  My ministry wasn't dependent upon my husband.  It was on my relationship with the Lord.  It's had a few advantages because less male pastors attack me.  I have to say being married right now, sometimes (this sounds awful) I'd like a wife--someone to do my washing.  I do all the stuff, and I don't manage as well.  He does his own wash.  Well, he did it before we married.  When I do a colored wash, I put them all in.  So, people ask, "Has it been easier since you're married?" I have a few more jobs than before, not less.  Anyway, I really love him.  That's the wonderful thing.  It's a ministry together.

I'll go back to manhood because this is the key issue.  If men are to come into manhood, there's no problem for us women.  You see, when men are secure in their manhood, women can do anything.  I'll never forget years ago speaking at a church in England.  Doctrinally, they were not quite sure about what to do about women teachers.  So, to get around it doctrinally, the pastor spoke for 5 minutes and I delivered my "testimony" for 50 min.  Their problem.  I wasn't taking authority over a man.  I was under their authority, and it was no problem for me.

Eventually, this is what I decided to do.  I got hold of Gary Beft, whose church was the first to ever come to Hong Kong and serve us.  They never asked to lead a Bible study, to preach or anything like that.  They just served and helped us.

I said to Gary, "Listen, our men need to come into manhood.  Do you think you could come to Hong Kong and take all the men off like the boys in Africa and lead them into initiation into manhood?" And he did! He brought 13 big, Canadian men and took 12 of ours off for a week.  He had the anointing for this.  All the Canadian wives began to have dreams that their husbands were going to die.  In fact, that is in a sense what happened.  What was happening was their husbands were also being called into manhood.  Strong, tall, sort of "beefy" - looking Canadian men, but they were men needing to come to Father God.  The reason men have to come to Father God is because there has been so few fathers.  You'll find it in Hosea 11.  God can intervene when we've not had fathers that taught us to be women and men, which is the proper role of a father to adolescent sons and daughters, teaching them a proper, wholesome sex identity.  Son leaves mother and bonds with the father.  So, Gary understood this, and 0ff they went.  I was hoping they would all come back bleeding and liming.  Now, I'll tell you why.  The Africans were circumcised at age 12.  Look at Abraham who was promised to be the father of many nations.  He was not a father at that time, but then got in a hurry and took Hagar (wrong one--she was the slave woman!) Then, God said, "Abraham, I'm about to give you a son; the real son of promise.  Get circumcised.  "Up 'til now, there had been no circumcision.  What was going to happen with a stone-sharpened knife in the desert? This was an untried operation.  Abraham was about to be cut in the place of his manhood.  That's a risk when the promise of God is going to be through that part of your manhood.  That's when Abraham became a man.  Isn't that good? He trusted God enough to be cut in the place of his manhood, and then came children of promise.

I'm saying this to you because I'm hoping you all will visit the "Man-talk." (I don’t know what she means here) I'm hoping this will help you know how to pray.  Pray for the men whose identity has been in the sweat of his brow, in his maleness and in his job.  Pray they can now trust God enough to be cut.  You'll find it happened to all the great men of God.  My prayer for the men is circumcision of the heart.  Pray the men trust not in jobs, sweat, position, maleness, or muscle and that they will take a towel, gird themselves and serve the church and their wives, and we will be free.  However, we don't have to wait for them to get there, but we trust God to bring them.

When Gary got back from this camp with the men, not many were limping.  I was hoping they would all come back bleeding and limping.  Since that time, some have fallen away, some really bad.  Others have gone on, and none are in between.  The fallen always will return, but the good thing is they will not continue in a false manhood.  So, God in His mercy was not going to allow them to minister with their identity in the wrong place.  Since that time, it's been imparted into the church.  We haven't sent all the men off for initiation into manhood, but from time to time, we've done something like it.  And, it's been imparted ever since.

God has raised up people who did not go to that camp who have the same understanding.  Their identity is in God the Father, and they are strong gentlemen.  They understand the job of a man is to fight with the Word and protect the woman.  The balance comes when men become free men, and women become fully women.

I had a problem when they got back from the camp.  My problem was that I used to be the "mother" of these guys, and now what was I to do? I found great comfort, for this was a very hard time for me.  I didn't know how to behave anymore.  Strange--very strange.

In I Samuel 1:28, I found comfort.  Hanna wept and wept for a child and God gave her a son.  Then, she gave him back to the Lord at weaning time.  The one bonded to mother is now being bonded to one who is not his natural father.  How could she do that? Turn him over to Eli who was not even a good father? He's just a baby! In chapter 2, we see Samuel growing in stature; and in chapter 3, he hears the Father's voice! Little Samuel was being called to Father God.  His mother dared to let him go.

I wanted to make the men do what I thought they ought to do and my practice was manipulation, which most women learn to do because men have not come into manhood.

They've paraded around with their virility, jobs, sweat of their brow, carrying the title or position.  Women, seeing something is wrong, learn to manipulate.  Repent, give it up, and ask God to come and do the work in their hearts.  Release your men whether they be husband, father, or son.  If we don't release them, they may not get to Father God.  Trust that when you let them go, as Hannah did Samuel, they will respond and find their healing and manhood. 

See also:  www.ststephenssociety.org/jackie/index.htm  

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