Prophetic authority is given to mankind in general, along with priestly and kingly authority. Jesus identifies Himself as being the embodiment of the prophetic when He says, “I am…the truth” (Jn. 14:6). As Basileians, we cultivate this prophetic way of embodying truth as 1) Global Pilgrims who pray the Daily Office, 2) Celtic Community-Builders who cultivate colonies of heaven on earth, 3) Pattern-Keepers who interpret the Word according to the Apostolic Rule of Faith, 4) Friends of God who make consensus decisions that bind and loose, and 5) Ambassadors who advance the Kingdom through our vocational callings. We distinguish between the general prophetic teaching authority of individuals and the special, collective prophetic teaching authority of elders in general and of Presbyters of the Church in particular. When individuals teach, they are to do so “in private.” Thus both men and women may speak and teach other men and women “in private,” whether one or more people are assembled. But only elders are to speak and teach “in public” even if only “two or three are gathered.” This explains why in some “public” situations women as individuals, for example, may not teach (1 Tim. 2:12) whereas all members of God's covenant community, in their capacity as self-governing individuals, are to teach and defend the truth in “private” (2 Cor. 10:4-5; 1 Pet. 3:15). Making this distinction between private and public modes of the prophetic is necessary to the proper administration of prophetic authority in binding and loosing. The phrase “binding and loosing” was a technical term in Rabbinic Judaism for the authority of rabbis in teaching and discipline. The close connection between teaching and discipline is derived from the confessional nature of the covenantal administration of authority, whether in an individual or collective capacity. Judicial decisions, for example, are to be made in a ministerial (objective), not a mediatorial (subjective) way. Therefore, all ministerial decisions must be defensible on the objective basis of the Apostolic Rule of Faith as revealed in Scripture, by the Spirit and through creation. Such a “defense” requires that both individuals and collectives (via elders) be able to teach in private and public ways, respectively. Discipleship is not just a private matter or a public matter. It is both. Individuals and collectives are both to be disciples and to disciple. When Jesus commands His followers to make disciples of collective nations (Matt. 28:19-20), this means making disciples of nations as corporate persons, not just individual persons (although this will naturally happen at the same time.) Westerners more than Easterners have difficultly with the concept of corporate persons because the West has for centuries championed the cause of individuals over collectives, reducing the idea of what a collective is to something impersonal at best and inherently evil at worst. Therefore, we carefully distinguish between private and public modes of prophetic authority as exercised by men and women individually and elders collectively in order to properly relate them.
Also see Ambassadors, Celtic Community-Builders, Friends of God, Global Pilgrims, “Governing Roles of Men and Women in Basileia,” Kingly, and Priestly.