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The Spiritual June Cleaver – Shawna R. B. Atteberry
Sep 142006

Salon has an article on Mark Driscoll’s Mars Hill Church (Hat tip to the The Reclusive Leftist). I was so sad after reading this article. In short they’ve taken the post-WW2 culture, and they are trying to make it biblical.

Following Driscoll’s biblical reading of prescribed gender roles, women quit their jobs and try to have as many babies as possible. And these are no mere women who fear independence, who are looking to live by the simple tenets of fundamentalist credo, enforced by a commanding husband: many of the women of Mars Hill reluctantly abandon successful lives lived on their own terms to serve their husbands and their Lord.

So if Deborah went to Mars Hill, she would have had to resign from being a prophet and judge, and who would have led Israelite troops to victory over Sisera? I guess Isreal would not have had that 40 years of peace under her rule. I guess Phoebe would not have been a deacon in the church at Cenchreae (Romans 16:1). The word that describes Phoebe as a “deacon” is the same word Paul uses when speaking of Timothy and Titus in their pastoral duties. At Mars Hill Phoebe would not have been allowed to pastor the church at Cenchreae, and she sure wouldn’t have been allowed to take Paul’s letter to Rome. Priscilla would not have been a tentmaker and copastor with her husband. Junia would not have been an apostle (Romans 16:7).

The online screening process that is used in Driscoll’s Acts 29 church planting application “begins with a lengthy doctrinal assertion that every word of the Bible is literal truth; the application plucks out the examples of creationism and male headship of home and church to clarify this doctrine.”

I have dealt with biblical literalism in Truth vs. Fact. In Does It Really Mean Helpmate? I looked at the creation account and showed that the Hebrew phrase ezer cenedgo means a help or power equal to, and that there is nothing submissive about the term. Woman was created equal with man to be partners with him in life, marriage, and ministry.

In other conversations I have pointed out that I am from rural Oklahoma. On the farm or ranch everyone worked. There was no man’s work and woman’s work–husband, wife, children, and who ever else lived there worked to bring in the crop and cows. If they didn’t they starved. The division of the family between separate jobs and home is a fairly new phenomenon within human history. I also come from a poor, working class family–my mom worked; she had to. I have always looked at the stay-at-home mother as a middle class luxury. In many places around the world both men and women work hard to keep their families from starving. Not everyone has the luxury of one person staying home. In fact, few people do. That’s why I call this the post-WW2 mentality–society has to be at a certain economic level within an industrialized or technological society to afford the luxury of the stay at home mom.

The bottom line is it’s not biblical. As my Career Woman of the Bible series shows God called women to be prophets, judges, and other leaders to obey him and lead his people. Women have the right to work: in Genesis 1:26 care and dominion of creation is given to both man and woman before the command to procreate in verse 28. Women are called to work in the world, work in ministry, and be ordained as pastors and ministers, because God has called us as the full witness of the Bible affirms.

Things like this used to make mad. Now I grieve. I grieve over the bondage that this lie puts on both men and women, and it is not God’s will.

Did you know there are only eight verses in the Bible that discourage women from speaking and holding leadership positions in the church? Did you know there are thousands of verses in the Bible that tell the stories of women who were leaders in their homes, towns, and religious circles? Meet the women in the Bible who were religious & civic leaders, business women, & women who challenged both Jesus and Moses in What You Didn’t Learn in Sunday School. What else didn’t you learn in Sunday School? Find out when you buy What You Didn’t Learn in Sunday School: Women Who Didn’t Shut Up & Sit Down from Wipf and Stock Publishers or Amazon.com today.

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  6 Responses to “The Spiritual June Cleaver”

  1. I am no fan of Mark Driscoll. Beside his views on women ministering in the church, his hatred for Arminians is equally severe. If you aren’t Reformed, you have nothing of theological value to add.

    He has responded with great anger and a complete lack of Christlikeness on the Out of Ur blog to Brian McLaren several times.

  2. That article was soooo sad! It made me angry too. Here’s a minister in a grocery store who has the opportunity to witness to a stanger but instead thinks “Shutting Her Up” was the better thing to do. My husband and I have been talking about starting our own blog. We would be considered “fundies” by most of the bloggers I read, but no where do I see anything close to our interpretations and ideas of what the Bible really has to say about the roles of men and women.

    Eric, my experience with the “Reformed” is that basically if you don’t “get it” you’re reprobate and loving your sin, not worthy of their time.

  3. Eric, I agree–his blog is like that as well. I did have a Mars Hill attender leave a comment on my letter to Salon that Driscoll and the church were misrepresented. I told him I wish I could believe that but couldn’t due to Driscoll’s blog and his responses on Out of Ur.

    Mary, one of the reasons I started this blog was because there was no place for a Christian feminist like me. I hope you and your hubby fill another void in bloggerdom.

  4. I like what you write 🙂

    welcome to Rev Gals by the way

  5. I wrote this on your blog at Christians For Biblical Equality Shawna, but I’ll say it again: Did anyone notice that Barbara Billingsley, the wonderful actress who had us all believing that she was June Cleaver, was in fact herself a working mother? Ditto for other ’50’s T. V. mothers. The bottom line is, you’re right: Mark Driscoll’s attitude is cultural, not Biblical. It’s time we urged women to speak up, not shut up. The woman at the well preached to the men, and Jesus reaped a two-day teaching ministry because of it.

  6. Yes, Kathryn, I saw that at CBE, and I absolutely agree with you. I just wish we had the outlets the comps have in getting published. We have a lot of catching up to do.

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