A gracEmail subscriber in California writes: “I would appreciate your comment on why Jesus did not select any women as Apostles. I have noticed that you do not interpret scriptures literally when there is a need to comply with contemporary tradition. I assume that you are being politically correct.”
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I do not know why Jesus chose only male Apostles, or only Jews, or so many fisherman, or only Galileans (except possibly Judas), and it would be presumptuous for me to speculate beyond what Scripture reveals. We may be certain that it was not because God automatically rejects women in public service, since at different times he has approved their leading worship (Ex. 15:20-21; 1 Cor. 11:5), acting as ruler-judge (Judges 4-5), serving as prophetess (Judges 4:4; Lk. 2:36-38; Acts 21:9), hosting the church (Acts 12:12; 16:40), team-teaching theology (Acts 18:26), serving as deaconess (Rom.16:1-2), and generally “working hard” in the Lord (Rom. 16:6, 12).
Be assured that I care nothing for political correctness. My sinful nature is far more likely to manifest itself in cantankerous individualism than in seeking the favor of the crowd. Be that as it may, I try always to base doctrinal conclusions on a careful, prayerful, exegetical study of the biblical text in context. Whether the results support or frustrate any popular notion is wholly beside the point. Universally-applicable scriptural principles must always outweigh “culture” and “political correctness” of every stripe — whether today’s radical feminism or male-dominated hierarchicalism of the past.
The Bible, not culture, is our final authority. But we best understand the Bible’s teaching when we have some knowledge of the cultures in which its various parts were written. And we best apply its teaching when we are sensitive to the particular culture in which we ourselves happen to live and serve God. I suspect that you do that yourself when it comes to women wearing veils (1 Cor. 11:5-7), washing each other’s feet (John 13:14-15) and greeting people with a kiss (Rom. 16:16).