Long ago, in a land far away, the apostle Peter, inspired by the Holy Spirit, said something remarkable. He was merely quoting his Bible, which in itself would not alarm listeners. But in quoting this passage, he was suggesting something extraordinary:

In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy. (Acts 2:17–18)

If you think about the context, you’ll realize how startled his listeners must have been. Some may have sat up sharply, shaking their heads in wonder, others thinking, Did he say what I think he said? Daughters will prophesy? The Spirit poured out on women? That sort of thing would have been inconceivable in the cultural and religious context of the first century.

It has also been inconceivable for much of church history. But no longer. Let’s skip the issue of women’s ordination, over which Christians of sincere convictions still arm wrestle. Let’s just consider the proliferation of powerful female evangelists (e.g., Anne Graham Lotz) and Bible teachers (e.g., Beth Moore) and, as our cover package shows, female apologists (p. 34) we are seeing today. I mean “prophesying” here broadly: proclaiming the truth of the gospel in whatever form—preaching, evangelism, teaching, or apologetics—whenever the name and work of Jesus is announced publicly.

I sometimes joke that we must live in the last days, because Joel’s prophecy about the Spirit giving the gift of prophecy to women is being fulfilled in dramatic ways today. Then again, to the Lord a day is as 1,000 years. I suspect we will have to wait a bit more.

More seriously, I’m grateful for women’s entrance into this male-dominated field. In my university days, a male friend and I gave an intellectual defense of our faith to a religion class of theists, skeptics, and atheists. It fell on deaf ears, of course, because we appealed only to their minds. What I now see—and that which our cover story demonstrates—is that we are called to appeal to both mind and heart. Male apologists can do this, but in my experience, female apologists move more comfortably between the reasons of the heart and the reasons of the mind.

Men are said to be more competitive in general. So I trust that our male apologists will
take note.

Follow Mark Galli on Twitter @MarkGalli

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