I just posted this letter on Salon.com:
I am Rev. Shawna Atteberry, and I am an ordained minister in the Church of the Nazarene–an evangelical denomination. The Nazarene church has ordained women since its beginning in 1903. We are part of the American Holiness Movement that ordained their first woman pastor in 1859. Another evangelical denomination, The Salvation Army, has ordained women since its beginning in the 1860s. In fact, Catherine Booth would not marry William until he “saw the light” that women could preach. Their daughter, Evangeline, was the third general of the Army (i. e. leader of the entire denomination). Coming from a tradition that has ordained women for 150 years, I find Mark Driscoll’s view of women medieval to say the least.
Driscoll’s view is not biblical either. The Hebrew phrase in Genesis 2:18 that is mistranslated at “helper” actually means “a power equal to.” Woman was created to be a help or power equal to man–to be his eqaul in life, work, ministry, and marriage. There are several women leaders in the Bible: Deborah was a judge, prophet, and military leader (Judges 4–5); Miriam, the sister of Moses was a prophet (Exodus 15:20); and in the New Testament Priscilla and Aquila were co-pastors as well as made tents for a living together, and Junia was an apostle (Romans 16:7). In Romans 16:1 we find Paul sent the letter with Phoebe who was the pastor of the church in Cenchreae. Normally “pastor” is mistranslated as “helper,” but this is the same word that Paul uses to describe Timothy and Titus in their pastoral ministries.
Driscoll’s view of the roles of men and women are not biblical, and I believe harmful for both sexes. Biblically, both men and women are called to minister, work, and take care of their families together. Their highest priority is to obey God, and show Christlike love to each other and the world, not confine themselves into impossible gender roles.
Rev. Shawna R. B. Atteberry
Update: My letter has been posted on Salon.com.
7 thoughts on “Viewpoint of a female minister”
my best freind is a female pastor and her husband is having to face a lot of sexism with being married to a pastor. does anyone have any scriptures or advice?
i should have checked the date of your post before responding! 🙂
i had no idea that salon had just done an article on him. shawna, i believe that you have written a fine letter, it’s great that salon published it!
it’s pretty scary thinking that he is a “church planter” and a loud voice among evangelicals.
Awesome, Shawna! One of the reasons I am drawn to the Nazarene church is the fact that they’re open to female ministers. Indeed, Joyce Meyer, a non-denominational Christian minister, has really made me rethink how I feel about women in ministry. I hope that the Catholic Church will re-evaluate gender roles within the church. As of now, I enjoy going to my boyfriend’s church, First Church of the Nazarene, Pasadena (aka PazNaz) and hearing women ministers preach. Keep up the great work and blogging!
Hey Shawna, those links are not working unless it’s just me!
I’ve read Mark Driscoll’s blog and I agree with Shawna. He doesn’t come across as very Christlike to me. He’s seems very judgemental and just down right mean. I really don’t get how anyone can think it’s ok to ridicule and insult fellow Christians.
Driscoll has been terribly misquoted and misunderstood. I attend his church.
The following summs up much of the teaching of Mars Hill:
“The Hebrew phrase in Genesis 2:18 that is mistranslated at â€œhelperâ€ actually means â€œa power equal to.â€ Woman was created to be a help or power equal to manâ€“to be his eqaul in life, work, ministry, and marriage.
… list of leaders and women …
Biblically, both men and women are called to minister, work, and take care of their families together. Their highest priority is to obey God, and show Christlike love to each other and the world, not confine themselves into impossible gender roles.”
What Mark teaches is very similar. The Salon article is semi slanderous one of our Decons at best. Please note the letter that Judy gave on the Salon site.
Thanks for pointing me to the letter that Judy wrote in response. For those who want to read it go here. I’d also like to point you to a letter written by Ballard Dweller, a visitor to Mars Hill.
I’d like to believe this was bad journalism on the part of Salon, but I’ve read Driscoll’s blog, and I’ve read his judgmental responses on Our of Ur, where he shows no respect for brother and sister Christians who don’t agree him. I have to say that this article only reaffirms what I’ve read on his blog and the Out of Ur forum.