Below is an email response from Mars Hill Bible Church in Michigan. Rob Bell is the pastor...author of Velvet Elvis which I have not read. I was curious as to their view on the role of women in the church. Obviously there is no relation and should not be confused with the Mars Hill Church in Seattle...
Yes, we do have women in senior leadership. Both on staff and as elders. The following is an explanation.
Redemptive Movement / Cultural Analysis / Women in Leadership We believe that scripture is to be interpreted in light of a redemptive arc. This means that things that once were may no longer be. Therefore, our task becomes to apply the ancient text in light of our current context. Throughout scripture there are texts that speak to a specific group of people at a specific point in time. Scripture is not seen as static truths for all times; its context and ours must be taken into account. For example we cite I Timothy 2.11-12 where Paul says that women are not to assume authority over men. In light of a redemptive arc this is not considered a static timeless truth. It is to be applied to that group of people, at that point in history, in that specific setting. We have come to the conclusion that women in our context must have the freedom to serve in all capacities within the local church. For us, this includes the role of pastor and elder. We believe the church is to be a community of free and equal people.
Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Isaiah 1.17
Community Life Team
Mars Hill Bible Church