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.