Headcoverings and the RPNA's position paper

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BaptistCanuk

Puritan Board Sophomore
Originally posted by Lauren Mary
Dear Brian et al.

In response to your question Brian: "Lauren, in all seriousness does the Bible command you to cover your face when you pray? There are many RPW people on here who should be asking you about that but if they won't, I will."
-------------------------

Thank you for asking. I hope the reason none of the RPW people asked me about it is because they could see I never said anything about it being a command, but that I was only sharing how this personal gesture in prayer was experienced as a blessing for me. My apologies for any misunderstandings.

Blessings,
LM

Hey Lauren, don't worry. There is nothing to apologize for. I knew you weren't saying it was a command that everyone should follow. That was basically my point though. I figured RPWers would say that you shouldn't do that because there is no command in Scripture to do it. That's all I was doing. God bless you.
 

BaptistCanuk

Puritan Board Sophomore
Originally posted by LadyFlynt
On the hair as covering...you will see that the passage is comparative..."does not nature ALSO...?"

The term for covering here refers to an actual covering of material, a veil....not the hair.

I read the whole passage tonight and I was kind of confused. Because Paul goes on to say "Judge among yourselves" and "But if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God." Any of you more skilled in hermeneutics than I, what is Paul saying?
 

satz

Puritan Board Senior
Originally posted by LadyFlynt
Just to clarify...I did point out my reasons for wearing it in public...none of them being scriptural, I admit that. I also am not pushing for that.

Of course you may be refering to particular groups that DO insist upon that...

Yup, i tried to make it clear in my post i wasn't referrring to what anyone had posted in this thread.

Just making some general observations.
 

Lauren Mary

Puritan Board Freshman
There is a responsible sounding explanation about what Paul meant by, "Judge among yourselves" and "But if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God" - at -

http://www.bible-researcher.com/headcoverings.html
For conveniences sake, here is the particular excerpt of interest.

Point #16: "But if anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God. He thus brings the matter to a conclusion. In addition to the theological and moral reasons for the headcovering, there is also the fact that if the Corinthians were to allow their women to remove the headcovering, this new practice or custom (συνήθειαν) would go against the established custom of Paul and his fellow-workers, the custom which was observed in all the other churches, and which he has delivered to them as one of the παÏαδόσεις "traditional practices" of the faith (verse 2). A similar appeal to the church-wide παÏαδόσεις may be seen in 14:33, "As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent," and the argument there is also ended with a brusque, "if anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized." (14:38). Those who continue to challenge the παÏαδόσεις regarding women after these explanations have been made are to be regarded as obstinate trouble-makers, who deserve no further answer.

Some have strangely interpreted this verse to mean, "But if anyone strongly disagrees with what I have said, rather than make a habit of argument over such unimportant matters let us just say it is a matter of indifference," etc. But this interpretation fails to take the whole passage seriously as the Word of God. And besides that (which should be enough), it makes no sense either rhetorically or semantically. Paul has devoted some time to this subject because it is important to him, not a matter of indifference; and it makes little sense to speak of a custom of being contentious (φιλόνεικος, lit. "loving strife"), because contentiousness is an attitude or temper, not a custom. There is a good parallel to Paul's usage of the word φιλόνεικος in Josephus' work Against Apion. Josephus concludes a series of arguments with the sentence, "I suppose that what I have already said may be sufficient to such as are not very contentious (φιλόνεικος)," (14) and then he continues with even stronger arguments for those who are very contentious. In the same way, Paul reserves the clinching argument for the end. It is an argument from authority. The headcovering practice is a matter of apostolic authority and tradition, and not open to debate. His concluding rebuke of the contentious people in Corinth is meant to cut off debate and settle the issue, not to leave it open. It is quite wrong to say of this last argument of Paul's that "in the end he admits" that he was merely "rationalizing the customs in which he believes," (15) as if Paul himself put little store by custom. Rather, Paul considers this to be his strongest point. At the end he harks back to the words with which he opened the subject ("maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you" in verse 2), and the whole section is thus framed between explicit invocations of tradition."
 

BaptistCanuk

Puritan Board Sophomore
Thanks for the link Lauren, and also for posting the most relevant part. That is interesting and I will keep it in mind. I do believe though, that even if it is necessary for women to cover their heads, the husband shouldn't force them. That same passage in Scripture says a woman "ought" to cover her head and I understand that as meaning "they should", but I don't see it to be saying "women, you must...".

Thanks again Lauren.
 

Archlute

Puritan Board Senior
Originally posted by LadyFlynt
On the hair as covering...you will see that the passage is comparative..."does not nature ALSO...?"

The term for covering here refers to an actual covering of material, a veil....not the hair.

LadyFlynt,

As for the negative particle which you rendered as "also" - it need not be translated comparatively, as you will see if reading from the English translations of the Geneva, RSV, ESV, or NIV. That is only one of several emphases available for that conjunction.

Yet, even if Paul is using nature as a comparative point, by which to reinforce his argument, you must still prove (not merely assert) that the issue over all is cloth coverings as opposed to hair length in distinguishing the sexes and their roles.

You asserted that 'paribalaiou' "refers to an actual covering of material, a veil, not the hair", but the lexicons and the scriptural use of this term do not support that assertion.

The recognized biblical and classical Greek lexicons support metaphorical or "non-cloth" uses. They specifically include long hair (and several press that point on this particular passage), as well as youth or manhood as an "encasement of the flesh" as found in the writings of Euripedes. That is certainly a metaphorically descriptive use, not requiring that it be seen as a literal veil of cloth.

As well, the Septuagint uses this term to speak of being "wrapped in zeal" (Isa. 59:17), "covered in strength" (Jer. 15:12), or the metaphorical use of "the deep as a garment" (Ps. 104:6).

There is no way that it can be proven that Paul was speaking exclusively of an external veil outside of the woman's hair at this point. In fact, context and lexical/Septuagintal use of that term rather support my position.

If that is the case, then false arguments are being used to bind the consciences of others, and we are sinning against the Church by imposing a view based upon false interpretation, and must withdraw our position.

Does anyone here have any greater proof that Paul is speaking of cloth headcoverings and not hair length? If not, how would that then change your understanding of this passage and it's requirements for the Church?
 

Lauren Mary

Puritan Board Freshman
Hi Adam, Did you see the earlier post that pondered, "If the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:5 meant that being "uncovered" was tantamount to being "shaven," then verse 6 would also mean, "if a woman will not refrain from cutting off her hair, then let her cut off her hair also." So it doesn't make sense for Paul to be saying a womans long hair is her covering. Paul must have meant something other than her hair."
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Originally posted by Archlute
Does anyone here have any greater proof that Paul is speaking of cloth headcoverings and not hair length? If not, how would that then change your understanding of this passage and it's requirements for the Church?

Adam,
Perhaps you might be interested in the thoughts of a former Westminster professor, John Murray. Full article available here: http://members.aol.com/rsiworship/head.html

I am convinced that a head covering is definitely in view forbidden for the man (vss. 4, & 7) and enjoined for the woman (vss. 5, 6, 15). In the case of the woman the covering is not simply her long hair. This supposition would make nonsense of verse 6. For the thought there is, that if she does not have a covering she might as well be shorn or shaven, a supposition without any force whatever if the hair covering is deemed sufficient. In this connection it is not proper to interpret verse 15b as meaning that the hair was given the woman to take the place of the head covering in view of verses 5, 6. The Greek of verse 15 is surely the Greek of equivalence as used quite often in the New Testament, and so the Greek can be rendered: "the hair is given to her for a covering." This is within the scope of the particular agrument of verses 14, 15 and does not interfere with the demand for the additional covering contemplated in verses 5, 6, 13. Verses 14 and 15 adduce a consideration from the order of nature in support of that which is enjoined earlier in the passage but is not itself tantamount to it. In other words, the long hair is an indication from "nature" of the differentiation between men and women, and so the head covering required (vss. 5, 6, 13) is in line with what "nature" teaches.
 

Kevin

Puritan Board Doctor
Lauren Mary, I don't know any Greek to cite but I will say that in English that is a very common expression.

I.E. Guy walks into work after getting his hair cut and one of his co-workers say, "If you were going to cut it that short, why not get your head shaved?"

I have heard this actual exchange several times. I know that does not prove that this is what St Paul meant, however I do think that it is not impossible that that is how he meant it.:2cents:
 

BaptistCanuk

Puritan Board Sophomore
You make a good point Kevin. It doesn't prove that that is what Paul was doing but it shows that it is "possible" that that is what Paul was doing.

Ok...something that was said begged the question. How long is "long" hair? What is the maximum length of hair a man can have? And for women: how much of their hair do they have to cover? I've seen ladies with a doily type of thing on their heads where their hair is still visible. I've seen women with hats. I've seen women with nothing much bigger than one of those little tiny caps with the airplane propeller on it (if anyone knows what I mean). So how much hair must be covered? And how short can a woman cut her hair before it's too short, let alone shaved? *deep breath*

edited for word mistake

[Edited on 8-30-2006 by BaptistCanuk]
 

BaptistCanuk

Puritan Board Sophomore
LOL that's because of our culture. :bigsmile:

I don't know, in my mind, "long" has to be quantified. Otherwise it is too easy for people to make judgements of others based on their own preferences.
 

Kevin

Puritan Board Doctor
BTW, I am interested in knowing from the Ladies on the thread how many of you began to cover because your husband asked you to?

Or, was this something you became convicted of first.

Or, did you grow up in a "covering" church?

Thanks I am finding this very interesting & helpful:up::up:
 

BaptistCanuk

Puritan Board Sophomore
I think you can just go to edit, and scroll down to the bottom. One of the options will be to delete. I don't know if you can only do that when your post is the last one or not though. Give it a try.
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
Long hair on a woman...as long as her hair will grow (I've known one woman who's hair literally doesn't grow longer than two inches out of her head).

On men, I believe past the shoulders is too long...personal opinion, so don't ask for scripture on that one, I base my opinion on it from a look through history.

Kevin, my husband and I studied it together. He was convinced before me and requested I start covering. I did. I later, through furthur study and the Lord changing my heart, became convinced. When I started covering, the Lord had already been working on me with the submission issue.
 

Augusta

Puritan Board Doctor
I felt a conviction to cover my head simply by reading the passage. I wasn't even reformed then. I was attending a Foursquare Church that was begun by a charismatic woman preacher.

I asked a older woman whom I respected in my church her opinion and she of course shot it all down because in modern evangelical churches this is not even thought about much less practiced.

My husband and I later listened to an exegesis of this passage and were convinced of it's command immediately. It is one of the lengthiest treatments, explained from many angles, on any command or teaching in scripture In my humble opinion.
 

CDM

Puritan Board Junior
*cough* *cough*

But here is my question: What visible, tangible practice or custom is done today to signify the moral principle of lawful male headship under Christ and respectful female submission in the Lord within the assemblies of the Church? What has "œreplaced" the head covering?

We know what has "œreplaced" the foot washing and holy kiss custom as mentioned above. (note: I don´t mean "œreplaced" to be taken negatively). But what has replaced the head covering custom?

How would one, Christian or otherwise, observe the biblical practice of a visible sign of authority over the woman? If it is not a covering (because of our culture) then what is it? Or, what should it be? It seems to me that when the Apostle calls for a visible sign of authority or power upon the (woman´s) head, he is mandating that it ought to be immediately apparent to the observer of the rightful order of things.

My questions can be compacted into one: What modern day, culturally specific custom is expressing this absolute moral principle of submission and authority in the Church?
 

Lauren Mary

Puritan Board Freshman
To Kevin and Brian et al.

Hi Kevin et al.
So guys say that line to each other after short hair cuts? Cute. It never would have occured to me. I suppose there is a chance Paul meant it that way since he did use a little sarcasm in other of his letters, but by context I still think it means the long hair is one thing and the headcovering is another.

Hi Brian et al.
For myself, I'd say long hair for a woman is that which reaches to the top edge of her shoulders or longer. And if the headcovering is only meant to be a symbol, then there may be a wide variety of acceptable coverings.

However, if the headcovering is meant to conceal this often attractive and lovely attribute of woman (her hair) so that it is not a distraction to man or angels, then something fully covering the hair and more humble in appearance would be appropriate.

My practice is something half way between the two. I cover all my hair, but the scarf is nice looking. Not really attention getting, but a conventional nice looking silk scarf over my head and tied at the back of the neck. Or I sometimes wear another scarf that is mostly netting with small embroidered flowers. This scarf fully covers my hair and wraps around my neck once. With the net scarf my hair is only slightly visible, but still fully covered. I own only these two. One dark and one light. Any more would seem like vanity to me. But that's just me.

Again, Kevin et al.
I began wearing a headcovering just this year. My unbelieving ex-husband left 18 years ago and I remained single, so this decision was just between me and the Lord. About 20% of women in my church wear a simple scarf headcovering as directed by their husbands or fathers. The pastor's wife and daughter do not. Once I decided to wear a headcovering, then several of the head-UN-covered women let me know they didn't like it or didn't agree with it. My response was a simple, "oh." I don't argue with them about this, but if someone wants my reasons I am very happy to show them the verses and teachings that convinced me.

For the young headcovered women in my church, it seems that their dads direct them to wear the headcovering starting between 12-14 years old.

Blessings all.
 

tcalbrecht

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by mangum
*cough* *cough*

We know what has "œreplaced" the foot washing and holy kiss custom as mentioned above. (note: I don´t mean "œreplaced" to be taken negatively). But what has replaced the head covering custom?

The premise that one "custom" has replaced another "custom" -- whether in the case of foot washing or holy kiss -- is not established.

You have to work that issue before we can talk about an appropriate "custom" to replace the "custom" of a head covering.

BTW, I'm not at all convinced that 1 Cor. 11:1-16 is directed mainly or solely at the conduct of women in the public assembly of God's people. The end of chapter 10 is discussing sexual immorality, temptation, idolatry and the obtaining things sacrificed to idols in the public square, "Eat whatever is sold in the meat market, asking no questions for conscience' sake;"

In chapter 11 around verse 18 there seems to be a shift to the assembly. "For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe..."

Note the phrase "First of all." That seems a bit misplaced if the previous discussion about head covering was for the assembly as well.

I find nothing compelling in that section to limit its requirements (whatever they may be) to public corporate worship.

Then there is the matter of "praying or prophesying". If this is the public assembly, and we also have instruction from Paul, "Let your women keep silence in the churches, for it is not permitted unto them to speak", I have a difficult time seeing this passage as regulating what Paul is specifically forbidding in chapter 14. It seems like the IRS coming after someone for not paying taxes on the proceeds from a drug deal.
 

satz

Puritan Board Senior
Then there is the matter of "praying or prophesying". If this is the public assembly, and we also have instruction from Paul, "Let your women keep silence in the churches, for it is not permitted unto them to speak", I have a difficult time seeing this passage as regulating what Paul is specifically forbidding in chapter 14. It seems like the IRS coming after someone for not paying taxes on the proceeds from a drug deal.

Although it is, to my knowledge, a rare view, I am sympathetic to the idea that the 'praying or prophesying' in view here refers to inspired praying and prophecy that were part of the spiritual gifts that were active at that time in church history. This I think flows most naturally from Paul's use of the word 'prophesying' which would seem to indicate direct revelation from God, whereas we can see other places in the NT when Paul is very capable of using the word 'preaching' to indicate the teaching of revelation that has already been revealed. It also avoids the inconsistency that Tom noted above that seems to have Paul regulating a practice he would later forbid. The prohibition on women speaking in 1 Cor 14 is, from what I can see not an absolute prohibition, since Paul allowed them to sing in church. I think it is not an unreasonable assumption that there is an exception from the normal rule regarding the speaking of women from 1 Cor 14 and 1 Tim 2 when the woman is speaking prophecy by the inspiration of God. For instance in Luke 2 Anna a prophetess as teaching men about the Lord, and there are a few passages in scripture that were initially spoken by women (Exodus 15:21, Judges 5, Luke 1:46-55, Proverbs 31) yet are surely binding on all Christians today regardless of gender.

I am aware that many respected teachers like Calvin have taken the view that Paul merely mentioned the practice in Chapter 11 and condemned it in Chapter 14, but (for the moment) I think that the interpretation above flows more naturally from the passage. The inconsistency between 1 Cor 11 and 1 Cor 14 is, I think, easily solved by seeing the word 'prophecy' and realizing that the speaking going on in 1 Cor 11 is different from that being condemned in 1 Cor 14.
 

Augusta

Puritan Board Doctor
My understanding is that in Corporate worship which includes all of the sacraments, prayer, worship, etc. occurs before the throne of God in unity as a body. Thus they all participate in the prayer worship etc. wether all speak or don't speak. Thus a woman can never speak but be in unity before the throne participating in all of these things.

We know both men and women spiritually are equal, but Paul is saying here there should be a distinction of the headship order maintained and the the women should have "power on her head."

1 Cor. 11:10 For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Originally posted by LadyFlynt
On men, I believe past the shoulders is too long...personal opinion, so don't ask for scripture on that one, I base my opinion on it from a look through history.

I had to smile when I read this, since I thought the same thing. Barbers came into vogue in the Roman era. It is generally acknowledged that in many nations the men did not usually cut their hair, but grew it as long as the women's.

From a biblical perspective, I think Paul's "nature" statement is referring to the manner in which men and women are naturally distinguished. Thus, as their clothes are different (or should be), so should their hair length be.

But from a cultural viewpoint, I agree that past the shoulders is too long -- in Western societies at least. It is a general biblical rule that the nobles set the standard as to what is "culturally" acceptable. Hence the prophetic woes pronounced upon princes. Of course, we find ourselves in a position not unlike Tyre, where our merchants are princes, and our traffickers are the honourable of the earth. In which case, nobility has been spoiled by making the accumulation of wealth the mark of a man's worth.
 

tcalbrecht

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Augusta
My understanding is that in Corporate worship which includes all of the sacraments, prayer, worship, etc. occurs before the throne of God in unity as a body. Thus they all participate in the prayer worship etc. wether all speak or don't speak. Thus a woman can never speak but be in unity before the throne participating in all of these things.

Does either word pray or prophesy ever refer to mere non-aural passive participation in the action of another?

Such a notion seems to defy passages like, "But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation. "

It seems to me that whatever is being referenced here is real activity on the part of the persons. Since we know that there were for a time in the very early church prophetesses (Acts 2:17,18; 21:9), why should we not think that Paul's words are being directed at that special (minority) class of women.

Originally posted by Augusta
We know both men and women spiritually are equal, but Paul is saying here there should be a distinction of the headship order maintained and the the women should have "power on her head."

1 Cor. 11:10 For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.

Yes, but that does not explain the directive of Paul to women who "pray or prophesy".

And it does not explain why this is generalized to men and women, not husbands and wives.

As a man I am not the head over all women. Neither is my wife subject to all men, even in the congregation. But Paul speak of men and women in a broader sense that husbands/wives.

Perhaps what is in view is a prophet/prophetess relationship. That in the general flow of things the prophetesses (women) in Corinth were to be subject to the prophets (men), and a covering was a sign of that submission. "And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets." (1 Cor. 14:32)
 

Croghanite

Puritan Board Sophomore
[/quote]

Perhaps what is in view is a prophet/prophetess relationship. That in the general flow of things the prophetesses (women) in Corinth were to be subject to the prophets (men), and a covering was a sign of that submission. "And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets." (1 Cor. 14:32) [/quote]

I have never heard of this interpretation before. Very interesting.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
The apostle's comments only make sense in the context of a public assembly, meeting together for the purpose of worship. Jewish men worshipped separately from women. Men covered as an expression of reverence. Amongst the Greeks, where men and women worshipped together, the men uncovered the head, because covering was a sign of subjection. The apostle says that is the custom to be observed in the Christian assembly where Jews and Gentiles meet together. It could not have applied outside of a public assembly meeting together for worship.
 

Augusta

Puritan Board Doctor
Originally posted by tcalbrecht
Originally posted by Augusta
My understanding is that in Corporate worship which includes all of the sacraments, prayer, worship, etc. occurs before the throne of God in unity as a body. Thus they all participate in the prayer worship etc. wether all speak or don't speak. Thus a woman can never speak but be in unity before the throne participating in all of these things.


Does either word pray or prophesy ever refer to mere non-aural passive participation in the action of another?


It seems to me that whatever is being referenced here is real activity on the part of the persons. Since we know that there were for a time in the very early church prophetesses (Acts 2:17,18; 21:9), why should we not think that Paul's words are being directed at that special (minority) class of women.

In those days there were women who prophesied and that of course no longer happens now. Paul is not differentiating between men and women based on what they are doing ie praying and prophesying. He is commanding both to do a specific thing while praying and prophesying. They are all participating as one body. There are not hats of and on for specific this or that. It is a constant state of covered and not covered.

Now my understanding is that when we are before God "In Christ" in the spirit we are not their bodily obviously. We are there spiritually and we are one invisible body before the throne "via" "Christ." We worship in spirit. So this is what I am understanding the praying and prophesying to be. It's corporate here not specific.

Paul is stating the headship order as it should be before God. And he is saying men should NOT cover their heads and women SHOULD. It is a dual command. Not one command for one or the other. I think this explains the angel aspect also because they are present when we worship in the spirit. Paul's appeal is never to anything other than the created order of headship for this command.




Originally posted by Augusta
We know both men and women spiritually are equal, but Paul is saying here there should be a distinction of the headship order maintained and the the women should have "power on her head."

1 Cor. 11:10 For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.

Yes, but that does not explain the directive of Paul to women who "pray or prophesy".

And it does not explain why this is generalized to men and women, not husbands and wives.

As a man I am not the head over all women. Neither is my wife subject to all men, even in the congregation. But Paul speak of men and women in a broader sense that husbands/wives.

Perhaps what is in view is a prophet/prophetess relationship. That in the general flow of things the prophetesses (women) in Corinth were to be subject to the prophets (men), and a covering was a sign of that submission. "And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets." (1 Cor. 14:32)

I agree that it is not in the sense of husbands or wives necessarily either because he take pains to say that in the Lord we are all from God.

1 Cor. 11:11 Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. 12 For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God.

What then is the problem? Paul is saying that there is an order of headship and it must be shown via symbol. The women must have power on their head and the men shouldn't.

I hope I am making some sense. I am not especially gifted at it. :um:
 
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