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For me I have prayed about this and I feel strongly that it is a heart issue. I believe it is all about having a willing heart to be submissive to the covering/authority God has placed over you. I agree that it is a heart issue, if you feel convicted to wear an actual hat or some kind of cloth then you should do so. For me I do feel that a woman hair is her covering and so I do not wear a hat or other outer covering, my hair is my covering.
As far as a woman cutting her hair, I do think that its fine to cut your hair and again its a heart issue. I do not think that women should cut their hair so short that they appear to be a man. I think you should still be able to see that she is a female:) I have had really long hair in the past and then had some cut off, just recently I had my hair cut up to the top of my shoulders to get some of the weight off for summer. I do not feel that this is going against scripture because you can still easily see that I am a woman(at least I hope so:)
For those sisters who feel the Lord is leading them to wear a covering I say that is awesome and walk in what the Lord has for you ladies!
| 2010/4/28 17:54||Profile|
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I have looked into this issue intently and prayerfully several times. I looked at the Scriptures about this and the history of both the Church and society. I arrived at a personal conclusion that this passage is speaking about a natural covering of hair and not an earthly, material covering made my people.
I just can't find enough Scripture to actually base a definitive doctrine on such a matter. I Corinthians 11 is the passage that is often quoted as the proof for such a practice. However, the passage itself concludes, "Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: FOR HER HAIR IS GIVEN HER FOR A COVERING" (I Corinthians 11:14-15). Thus, it appears that this covering is...a woman's hair.
I am interested in the claim that woman have historically covered their heads. I have heard this argument before. However, outside of sectarian practice, I have never found a specific, credible reference that reinforces the idea that this was universally embraced by the people of God around the world. Rather, the entire passage seems to consider NATURE. It was unnatural for women to shave their heads. It is unnatural for men to wear their hair like a woman.
Now, I will admit that I could be wrong about this -- as is true with any practice or view that is not clearly spelled out by Scripture. This brings up something that I think we should consider. There are many sects that take a single passage and turn it into an "indisputable doctrine." In fact, cults like the Mormoms have taken a single passage about "baptism for the dead" (I Corinthians 15:29) and turned it into a central practice.
Other cults and some legitimate sects and local congregations have done the same. They take a personal view about a matter in Scripture and then surround themselves by others with the same view. Some churches literally make such things a mandatory practice. I have been to congregations where certain peculiar doctrinal views or practices were a REQUIREMENT to continue fellowship in that particular congregation.
I have no problem with a woman who chooses to cover her head with a manufactured material covering. However, I think that it is unwise to demand such adherence from others...or make such practice a criteria for fellowship. My brother-n-law and his family attended a congregation like this. The pastor and congregation were eager to get them involved in the various ministries of the local church. However, after a few months passed where they still didn't embrace those particular doctrines, they were politely told that they no longer could permit their involvement. I don't think that our love for one another -- and a condition for fellowship -- should be based upon something so unclear from God's Word.
| 2010/4/28 18:32||Profile|
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What I find interesting about this subject is this. I have travelled in many parts of the world, and almost without exception, Christian men would not wear a hat inside of a Church, regardless of culture. Yet in the case of a Christian woman covering her head, many times we fall back on the cultural argument. If it crosses all cultural barriers for men to take their hats of when going into church, I wonder why it is not the same for woman? I think the Scriptures are clear, but each must be persuaded, for we answer to the Lord in these matters I believe. God knows the heart, if their is any other reasons why the ladies would not want to cover their heads in church, then He knows the things of the heart.........brother Frank
| 2010/4/28 19:06|
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Yes Frank, we must be persuaded for own conscience sake. My prayer and research on these things were for my personal benefit, because I so desire to please the Lord.
To love my neighbor as myself should be the plumbline to measure things by.
Some of the most cold, judgemental people I've met had all of the physical standards honed to perfection. The problem was that their hearts gave them away. His meaning of holiness and our holiness are often opposed to each other.
| 2010/4/28 20:01||Profile|
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Hi Brother Frank...
I don't see this as a "cultural" argument.
I simply don't think that this is enough in Scripture to make it a required practice or a standard that must be upheld to participate in a congregation. Further, I think that it is unwise to break fellowship with a believer (or a congregation) over something as silly as whether or not a woman wears a manufactured piece of cloth on her head.
God knows the heart, if their is any other reasons why the ladies would not want to cover their heads in church, then He knows the things of the heart.
I suppose that we could also see the reverse as true too. There are some women who do not cover their heads with a manufactured cloth simply because they see nothing in Scripture that indicates that they would need to. The majority of believing women in the Church do NOT feel compelled to wear such material atop their hair BECAUSE they don't see such a mandate in Scripture. It has little-to-nothing to do with culture and everything to do with seeing a Scriptural mandate.
Unfortunately, there are some congregations (including one that I visited last year) where they equate the cloth covering as a mandate of "apostolic Christianity." They make it clear that a lack of such a cloth is a "rejection" of a tenet of the apostolic faith.
The Scriptures say that something is established in the testimony of two or three witnesses. Perhaps the same is true of doctrines and practices in the Church. Are there other New Testament passages that would specifically support any such mandate? I know of the I Corinthians 11 reference (which I feel is speaking about a woman's hair as a covering -- as explained in I Corinthians 11:15), however, are there any other passages?
| 2010/4/28 20:12||Profile|
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HI Chris, I was making no reference to you in my reply. The last thing I want to do is get into a disagreement on this subject. I agree with Kathleens statement. If congregations mandate this then I certainly do not agree with that. Let each be persuaded on this issue........brother Frank
| 2010/4/28 20:45|
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Many years ago "Christianity Today" printed an article dealing with this issue. As I recall the writer made a very interesting point that I would like to share.
If 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 is not asking godly ladies to wear a head covering, then how are you going to deal with the headship issue as pertaining to God, Christ, and men?
| 2010/4/28 22:10||Profile|
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Hi Sister Ginny...
I think that the answer to your question is that Christians do believe in spiritual coverings (God, Christ and men)...but that most Christian women believe that the physical covering in I Corinthians 11 refers to their hair.
"Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?
But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: FOR HER HAIR IS GIVEN HER FOR A COVERING."
- I Corinthians 11:14-15
| 2010/4/28 22:56||Profile|
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HI Ginney, thought this may be helpful. This is what Matthew Henry says about the contenious part of the Scripture in regard to this subject.......
"VII. He sums up all by referring those who were contentious to the usages and customs of the churches, 1Co_11:16. Custom is in a great measure the rule of decency. And the common practice of the churches is what would have them govern themselves by. He does not silence the contentious by mere authority, but lets them know that they would appear to the world as very odd and singular in their humour if they would quarrel for a custom to which all the churches of Christ were at that time utter strangers, or against a custom in which they all concurred, and that upon the ground of natural decency. It was the common usage of the churches for women to appear in public assemblies, and join in public worship, veiled; and it was manifestly decent that they should do so. Those must be very contentious indeed who would quarrel with this, or lay it aside." ..........brother Frank
| 2010/4/28 23:39|
Hazelton, BC, Canada
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My issue with the idea that the woman's hair is all that Paul is talking about in this passage is found in this verse:
"Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head--it is the same as if her head were shaven. For if a wife will not cover her head, then she should cut her hair short. But since it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her cover her head."
This makes zero sense if we're simply talking about hair. For the sake of making my point, let me re-word these verses with the hair as a covering interpretation in mind:
"Every man who prays or prophesies with his hair long dishonors his head, but every wife who prays or prophesies with short hair dishonors her head--it is the same as if her head were shaven. For if a wife will cut her hair short, then she should cut her hair short. But since it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her keep her hair long."
Read like this it is absolutely nonsensical.
I think that Paul is talking about two coverings, one that nature give (ie. hair) and one that is of fabric, that we put on to show our place. I think that he uses the natural covering of long hair to point out how natural the fabric head covering truly is.
| 2010/4/29 20:30||Profile|