Headcoverings and the RPNA's position paper

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CDM

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by tcalbrecht
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.

Did you read the RPNA position paper? This is NOT my position.

My original post, and the title of this thread, is Headcoverings and the RPNA's position paper. It is their [RPNA] "cultural" claim that states they disagree with headcoverings because it only concerns the culture at the time of the Corinthian church. They referenced footwashing, and holy kissing as examples. I took their conclusions to its natural end.

My point is, for all who say it is cultural (assuming their argument matches the RPNA's) what has *replaced* the symbol of authority on her [womans] head?

ORIGINAL post (pay close attention to the bolded lines):

Originally posted by mangum
1 Corinthians 11:2-16

This topic has been coming up often in my circles of interest. I see the strength of the arguments on both sides of the debate (viewed as cultural practice to the Corinthians OR to be practiced by all churches for all times as part of proper worship).

The RPNA has an "Official Presbyterial Paper" found here.

Has anyone read a rebuttal to it? For those here that cover or have a wife that covers, what do you think of this 22 page paper?

Many that take the "cultural" position refer to the washing of the feet and holy kiss practices for support of their view that head coverings are cultural. Even this position paper mentions them here

Words in italics are from the paper regarding foot washing and a holy kiss:

"¦Although the Lord authorized his disciples to wash the feet of others, as an appropriate act in their cultural context, we do not believe that in our society we are presently under an obligation to practice that specific cultural custom. We recognize there is a moral principle (of selfless service) that stands behind that cultural practice which we must continue to exemplify in our lives as Christ´s ministers and disciples. The Lord here illustrates the moral duty incumbent upon all who rule in His Church to be the greatest servants of all in caring for others. The actual practice of foot washing had cultural significance to those living in the ancient world, but it has no real significance to those living in the Western world of the twenty-first century. Perhaps our closest cultural equivalent to foot washing presently is offering refreshments and hospitality to guests who visit in our homes.

But we also acknowledge that we are not universally bound to the alterable, cultural custom of foot washing, but rather to the unalterable, moral principle of service. So likewise, we acknowledge that men and women are not universally bound to the alterable, cultural custom of uncovering and covering their heads, but rather to the unalterable, moral principle of lawful male headship under Christ and respectful female submission in the Lord within the assemblies of the Church.


But there is something that continually comes to my mind when hearing this particular line of argumentation. In the 2 cases of foot washing and holy kissing, the paper acknowledges a cultural "œreplacement" (so to speak) sign or practice that signifies the moral principal being taught. "œ"¦our closest cultural equivalent to foot washing presently is offering refreshments and hospitality to guests who visit in our homes." Agreed. This is a cultural custom, in modern times, which is the same in principle to foot washing during Apostolic times.
Likewise, a holy kiss today "œ"¦would likely be a holy handshake or perhaps a holy embrace"¦Again, we do not understand that we are bound by this specific cultural custom, although we would understand that the moral principle (of Christian love) that lies behind that practice does in fact continue as an obligation. So likewise, we acknowledge that men and women are not universally bound to the alterable, cultural custom of uncovering and covering their heads, but rather to the unalterable, moral principle of lawful authority and submission within the Church. Like the foot washing example, I agree.

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?

[Edited on 6-7-2006 by mangum]
 

tcalbrecht

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by mangum
Did you read the RPNA position paper? This is NOT my position.

I didn't say it was. I was merely arguing against the premise (which is what your question was built upon) that one "custom" needs to exist to replace another "custom", whether foot washing or head covering.

When you ask, "My point is, for all who say it is cultural (assuming their argument matches the RPNA's) what has *replaced* the symbol of authority on her [womans] head?", I simply question where has it been established that one custom/tradition needs to replace another.
 

tcalbrecht

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by armourbearer
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.

Later in the chapter Paul says, "For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it." He uses this "come together" language in later verses, clearly meaning the public assembly (11:18,20,33,34; 14:23). But that language is not found immediately in the context of vv. 2-16. As I said the preceeding chapter is not dealing with assembly issues.

Then there is the non-localized nature of v. 13, "Judge among yourselves. Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered?" It does not say "in the assembly".

It's also interesting to note that the word "pray" in rest of the letter has some relationship to the extraordinary tongues phenomenon (14:13-15).

Even so your understanding of gentile vs. Jewish customs does not explain why it is specifically directed at participants in certain activities. "Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head. But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved."

If doesn't say "every man worshipping" or "every woman worshipping". Now perhaps the phrase "praying or prophesying" is meant to designate the entirety of corporate worship, but that would need to be established by exegesis.

We also have Paul's interesting statement in 1 Timothy 2:

"Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension. Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments,"

Note the contrast between men praying (active?) and women adorning themselves with emblems of their inherited righteousness (passive?).

Based on these constructions it seems that we could reasonably infer that rather than being a general directive to all men and all women, 1 Cor. 11 is speaking of a unique set of individuals with a divine calling, and in the case of the extraordinary gifts, one limited by time. Women who found themself in this unique service needed a symbol of the authority over them to pray and prophesy in a public fashion (neither activity being strictly limited to what we call corporate worship assemblies, 1 Thess. 5:17).

These are my thoughts. They are not cast in stone in my mind.
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
What has replace it? I think I answered that toward the beginning....

Nothing.

And it should still be practiced. ;)
 

satz

Puritan Board Senior
Based on these constructions it seems that we could reasonably infer that rather than being a general directive to all men and all women, 1 Cor. 11 is speaking of a unique set of individuals with a divine calling, and in the case of the extraordinary gifts, one limited by time. Women who found themself in this unique service needed a symbol of the authority over them to pray and prophesy in a public fashion (neither activity being strictly limited to what we call corporate worship assemblies, 1 Thess. 5:17).

This is the view I am leaning towards at this time. Did you see my post above?
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I will preface my remarks by saying that this is not a burning issue for me. At most I consider the covering of women a matter of decorum; it is not an "element" of worship. 1 Cor. 11 provides a positive example of how best to express gender relations to the glory of God in corporate worship.

Originally posted by tcalbrecht
Later in the chapter Paul says, "For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it." He uses this "come together" language in later verses, clearly meaning the public assembly (11:18,20,33,34; 14:23). But that language is not found immediately in the context of vv. 2-16. As I said the preceeding chapter is not dealing with assembly issues.

The reference to the ill nature of the Corinthians "coming together" need not indicate he is addressing their coming together for the first time. He has expressed his praise of the Corinthians in v. 2, and now he expresses his criticism of them. If anything, that indicates the preceding section of vv. 2-16 is referring to something in their coming together which was praiseworthy, i.e., that they kept the ordinances. The "but" introducing v. 3, indicates something they needed to be reminded of.

The whole section is marked out by these two significant statements: "keep the ordinances, as I delivered them unto you," v. 2, and "neither the churches of God," v. 16. These are indicators of a public worship setting.

Then there is the shared vocabulary between this section and 1 Cor. 14, which leads a number of commentators to conclude that the apostle divides the problem up, dealing with the order of the sexes here, and the praying/prophesying there. 1 Cor. 14 is definitely speaking of a public assembly setting.

Moreover, there is the reference to "angels," which only makes sense within the context of a gathered assembly, the disorder of which would have been scandalous to the heavenly hosts. Charles Hodge (in loc.): "it was specially proper in the worshipping assemblies, for there they were in the presence not merely of men but of angels."



Then there is the non-localized nature of v. 13, "Judge among yourselves. Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered?" It does not say "in the assembly".

The Greek "en humin autois" would indicate corporality -- "among you yourselves."

It's also interesting to note that the word "pray" in rest of the letter has some relationship to the extraordinary tongues phenomenon (14:13-15).

True, and 1 Cor. 14 indicates that this phenomenon was taking place in the assembly, which is what made it so unseemly.

Even so your understanding of gentile vs. Jewish customs does not explain why it is specifically directed at participants in certain activities. "Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head. But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved."

If doesn't say "every man worshipping" or "every woman worshipping". Now perhaps the phrase "praying or prophesying" is meant to designate the entirety of corporate worship, but that would need to be established by exegesis.

From 1 Cor. 14 we learn that the specific activities of praying (in tongues) and prophesying were out of control in the assembly. That is the disorder the apostle sought to rectify. He locates the problem in chapter 11, deals with one part of the problem here, and moves on to the other part of it there. 1 Cor. 14:33, "as in all churches of the saints," picks up where the apostle left off in 11:16.

Based on these constructions it seems that we could reasonably infer that rather than being a general directive to all men and all women, 1 Cor. 11 is speaking of a unique set of individuals with a divine calling, and in the case of the extraordinary gifts, one limited by time. Women who found themself in this unique service needed a symbol of the authority over them to pray and prophesy in a public fashion (neither activity being strictly limited to what we call corporate worship assemblies, 1 Thess. 5:17).

Extraordinary occurrences are not governed by ordinary rules. I don't think the apostle would have appealed to the ordinary course of nature in order to establish the proper order of the sexes if he was redressing an "extraordinary" phenomenon.
 

CDM

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by armourbearer
I will preface my remarks by saying that this is not a burning issue for me. At most I consider the covering of women a matter of decorum; it is not an "element" of worship. 1 Cor. 11 provides a positive example of how best to express gender relations to the glory of God in corporate worship.

Originally posted by tcalbrecht
Later in the chapter Paul says, "For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it." He uses this "come together" language in later verses, clearly meaning the public assembly (11:18,20,33,34; 14:23). But that language is not found immediately in the context of vv. 2-16. As I said the preceeding chapter is not dealing with assembly issues.

The reference to the ill nature of the Corinthians "coming together" need not indicate he is addressing their coming together for the first time. He has expressed his praise of the Corinthians in v. 2, and now he expresses his criticism of them. If anything, that indicates the preceding section of vv. 2-16 is referring to something in their coming together which was praiseworthy, i.e., that they kept the ordinances. The "but" introducing v. 3, indicates something they needed to be reminded of.

The whole section is marked out by these two significant statements: "keep the ordinances, as I delivered them unto you," v. 2, and "neither the churches of God," v. 16. These are indicators of a public worship setting.

Then there is the shared vocabulary between this section and 1 Cor. 14, which leads a number of commentators to conclude that the apostle divides the problem up, dealing with the order of the sexes here, and the praying/prophesying there. 1 Cor. 14 is definitely speaking of a public assembly setting.

Moreover, there is the reference to "angels," which only makes sense within the context of a gathered assembly, the disorder of which would have been scandalous to the heavenly hosts. Charles Hodge (in loc.): "it was specially proper in the worshipping assemblies, for there they were in the presence not merely of men but of angels."



Then there is the non-localized nature of v. 13, "Judge among yourselves. Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered?" It does not say "in the assembly".

The Greek "en humin autois" would indicate corporality -- "among you yourselves."

It's also interesting to note that the word "pray" in rest of the letter has some relationship to the extraordinary tongues phenomenon (14:13-15).

True, and 1 Cor. 14 indicates that this phenomenon was taking place in the assembly, which is what made it so unseemly.

Even so your understanding of gentile vs. Jewish customs does not explain why it is specifically directed at participants in certain activities. "Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head. But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved."

If doesn't say "every man worshipping" or "every woman worshipping". Now perhaps the phrase "praying or prophesying" is meant to designate the entirety of corporate worship, but that would need to be established by exegesis.

From 1 Cor. 14 we learn that the specific activities of praying (in tongues) and prophesying were out of control in the assembly. That is the disorder the apostle sought to rectify. He locates the problem in chapter 11, deals with one part of the problem here, and moves on to the other part of it there. 1 Cor. 14:33, "as in all churches of the saints," picks up where the apostle left off in 11:16.

Based on these constructions it seems that we could reasonably infer that rather than being a general directive to all men and all women, 1 Cor. 11 is speaking of a unique set of individuals with a divine calling, and in the case of the extraordinary gifts, one limited by time. Women who found themself in this unique service needed a symbol of the authority over them to pray and prophesy in a public fashion (neither activity being strictly limited to what we call corporate worship assemblies, 1 Thess. 5:17).

Extraordinary occurrences are not governed by ordinary rules. I don't think the apostle would have appealed to the ordinary course of nature in order to establish the proper order of the sexes if he was redressing an "extraordinary" phenomenon.

:ditto:

A very fine post, Rev. Winzer. :up:
 

Lauren Mary

Puritan Board Freshman
:ditto::amen:
Thank you Rev. Winzer.
And thank you all. Excellent thinking, expounding, and reasoning through the word of God together.
 
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