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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Some Quotations On The Biblical View Of Headcovering

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 Some Quotations On The Biblical View Of Headcovering



"So if women are thus permitted to have their heads uncovered and to show their hair, they will eventually be allowed to expose their entire breasts, and they will come to make their exhibitions as if it were a tavern show; they will become so brazen that modesty and shame will be no more; in short they will forget the duty of nature…Further, we know that the world takes everything to its own advantage. So, if one has liberty in lesser things, why not do the same with this the same way as with that? And in making such comparisons they will make such a mess that there will be utter chaos. So, when it is permissible for the women to uncover their heads, one will say, `Well, what harm in uncovering the stomach also?' And then after that one will plead for something else; `Now if the women go bareheaded, why not also bare this and bare that?' Then the men, for their part, will break loose too. In short, there will be no decency left, unless people contain themselves and respect what is proper and fitting, so as not to go headlong overboard" (John Calvin - 1509-1564)



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Meaning of head-covering
There are at least three reasons given in the New Testament why a woman should cover her head when she prays or prophesies in the meetings of the church:

First: The Bible says, "A man should NOT cover his he..." - and the reason given is: ... because he is the image and glory of God". In contrast, we are told, "but the woman is the glory of man" (1 Cor.11:7). The glory of man must be covered in the church - and since woman is the glory of man, she testifies to this fact by covering her head. This is the plain and simple meaning of this verse.

Second: The Bible says, "A woman's long hair is her glory" (1 Cor.11:15). The glory of the woman also must be covered in the church, just like the glory of man. And so she must cover her head which has the glory of her long hair. Almost all women are conscious that their long hair is a major part of what makes them look attractive - and that is why even among those women who do put a covering on their heads, most of them cover only a part of their hair!! If a woman does not want to cover her head, then the only alternative that the New Testament offers is to remove that glory, by shaving her head completely: "If a woman does not cover her head, let her also have her hair cut off; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her cover her head" (1 Cor.11:6).

Third: TheBible says: "Man was not created for the woman's sake, but woman for the man's sake. Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels" (1 Cor.11:10). The head-covering symbolizes the fact that a woman accepts her God-appointed role as having been created "for man's sake" as his helper and therefore her willingness to be submissive to male authority - whether as a wife to her husband, or as a daughter to her father, or as a sister in the church to the church-elders. It is significant that the disappearance of the head-covering from women in Western churches (on a large scale) coincided with the time that the movement for "Women's Liberation" (a phrase used in a book in 1949) began to spread in Western countries - about 60 years ago. The "angels" mentioned in this verse could refer either to the fallen angels or to the angels in heaven. So it could either be a reminder to women to bear in mind that the fallen angels fell because they were not submissive to authority. Or it could mean "A woman should wear a covering on her head as a sign that she is under man's authority - a fact for all the angels (in heaven) to notice and rejoice in" (as The Living Bible paraphrases that verse).

1 Corinthians 11:16 says that every church that is a church of God, will insist on this head covering for women when they pray or prophesy. The Holy Spirit recognized that 20 centuries later this would become a controversial issue; and so He made Paul to state (in this same verse) that if anyone was going to be argumentative about this matter, he would not argue with such a person. He would just allow that person to continue on in his/her disobedience and inconsistency.

-Zac Pooonen




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Today we live in the world to maintain His testimony. The Lord has shown us three kinds of heads: God is the Head, Christ is the Head, and man is the head. This is altogether not an issue between the brothers and the sisters. It is basically a matter of government, not a matter of grace. Grace calls us brothers and sisters, but God has another arrangement which has to do with His government. This is God’s will, His unique heart’s desire. God ordains that He would be the Head, and that Christ would be the One under Him. He also ordains that Christ would be the Head and that everyone would submit to Christ. Now He further ordains that man would be the head and that the woman should have the sign of submission (Headcovering).

Please bear in mind that, in practice, only the woman is required to cover her head. In reality, Christ’s head is covered before God, and every man’s head is covered before Christ. But in practice God requires only that the woman cover her head before the man. This is a marvelous thing! It expresses a profound principle. The whole matter is not trivial by any means.

Sometimes I feel that I do not have the liberty to speak to some saints about the matter of head covering because they have no idea about God’s government. You must first understand what God’s government is before you can understand head covering. Since Christ has His head covered before God, I also have my head covered before Him. I have covered my head; it is no longer exposed. God is now my Head. Actually, God wants every man to cover his head. Christ is our only Head. Our head should not be exposed; it must be removed from sight.

Here, I will say a word to Christian women: God has ordained the man to be the head of the woman. In this day of ignorance concerning God’s authority, God only requires the church to observe this. The matter of head covering now becomes a question of whether or not one is a Christian. In the church God requires every Christian to acknowledge His ordained system of government.

- Watchman Nee



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William Greenhill (1581-1671): “They (the angels) reverence the greatness and majesty of Christ. Though they be high and glorious, yet they see so vast a distance between Christ and themselves, that they cover their faces, Isa. vi. And their bodies, here; they come not into his presence rudely, but with great respect and reverence. As God is to be had in reverence of all that are about him, Psalm 89:7, so Christ is reverenced of all the angels that are about him. Women are to be veiled in the assemblies, because of the angels, 1 Cor. 11:10, to show their reverence and subjection to them being present; and angels are covered, to show their reverence and subjection to Christ. It is an honour to the angels, that in reverence to them the women are to be veiled; and it is a great honour to Christ, that angels reverence and adore him.” Commentary on Ezekiel (Ch. 1:23), by William Greenhill, member of the Westminster Assembly.


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William Gouge (1575-1653): “Heading 3. – Of an husbands superioritie over a wife, to be acknowledged by a wife. ….6. The very attire which nature and custome of all times and places have taught women to put on, confirmeth the same: as long haire, vailes, and other coverings over the head: and the former argument doth the Apostle himself use to this very purpose, 1 Cor. 11:7 & c. …’And if it (i.e. the hair – DS) be given her for a covering (vail), say you, wherefore need she add another covering (vail)? That not nature only, but also her own will may have part in her acknowledgement of her subjection’ (Chrysostom). ‘Of Domestical Duties’ by William Gouge, member of the Westminster Assembly.



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John Lightfoot (1602-1675): “Therefore the Apostle requires the vailing of women in Religious worship, by the same notion and reason, as men veiled themselves, namely for reverence towards God. But certainly it may be required, whether he so much urgeth the vailing of women, as reproves the vailing of men. However, by this most fit argument, he well chastiseth the contrary custom, and foolishness of the men: as though he had said, do ye not consider, that the man is doxa theou the glory of God, but the woman is only doxa andros, the glory of the man; that the woman was made for man; that man is the head of the woman: and how ridiculous is it, that men should use a vail, when they pray, out of reverence and shame before God, and women not use it, whose glory is less?” Commentary on First Corinthians (ch. 11:5), by John Lightfoot, member of the Westminster Assembly.



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Thomas Manton (1620-1677): “In the assembly you meet with angels and devils; angels observe your garb and carriage and devils tempt you. Therefore, be covered because of the angels. The practice of women (who come hither with a shameless impudence into the presence of God, men and angels) neither suits with modesty nor conveniency…(Such boldness) feeds your own pride, and provokes …others of your rank to imitate your vanity. Now we should rather please God than men; better never please men than offend God” Sermons on Titus 2:11-14, Complete Works, vol. 16, p. 138 of Thomas Manton.




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Christopher Love (1618-1651): “Eighth, the angels are present with us, beholding us in our church assemblies when we come to worship before God. When you are in the worship and service of God, the angels are with you, beholding you, though you see them not. This is hinted at in 1 Cor. 11:10 ‘For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head, because of the angels.” Some refer these words to ministers, who are elsewhere called angels, but we may understand it of the angels themselves because they delight in the things of the gospel. Here the apostle speaks of women not coming into church without covering. Why? Because of the angels, not the ministers. It is meant of the angels of heaven, and therein the women are to take heed how they come into the church, because the angels are spectators and behold how you behave yourselves, they being fellow-worshippers of God with you in church assemblies. And this should make you take heed of your carriage; for although they do not know your hearts, yet they behold your carriage as you come into the presence of God.” A Treatise of the Angels by Christopher Love.




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John Bunyan (1628-1688): “For this cause ought the woman to have power”, that is a covering, “on her head, because of the angels” 1 Corinthians 11:10…Methinks, holy and beloved sisters, you should be content to wear this power or badge…”



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John Cotton (1585-1652): “How is the public worship of God to be ordered and administered in the church? All the members of the church being met together as one man (i) in the sight of God (ii) are to join together in holy duties with one accord (iii) the men with their heads uncovered, the women covered.”

“For a woman to cover her head in time of public prayer, or prophesying, and for a man to uncover his head, the Apostle warranteth from both the light of nature, and the custome of the churches, 1 Cor. 11:4 to 16.”


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Ezekiel Hopkins (1633-1690): “The apostle tells us (1 Corinthians 11:10) that the woman was ‘to have power on her head, because of the angels’. Which place, especially the latter clause of it, is diversely interpreted. But I think all agree in this, that this power which they were to have on their heads was a vail or covering, which at other times, but most especially in the congregation, women ought to wear on their heads…But the men were uncovered in their assemblies, as the apostle tells us (v. 4) to signify that they had nothing over them, but were superior to all visible creatures, and subject only to God.”



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Benjamen Keach (1640-1704): “The thing signified is sometimes put for the sign materially…1 Corinthians 11:10, ‘A woman ought to have power on her head,’ that is a garment signifying that she was under the power of her husband.”



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_________________
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2012/2/8 13:05Profile









 Re: Some Quotations On The Biblical View Of Headcovering

Very good quotes that actually address the scriptures. I wonder if you'll get the same flack I did for posting on this subject and for wanting to talk about the Word. I was even told by one member on this forum that it was against forum rules to post on this topic. Thankfully that doesn't seem to be the case.

 2012/2/8 14:41
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"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

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 Re:


This issue is biblical but must not be made a major issue in our fellowships. Each member of the body of Christ must have allowance for personal liberty on this issue. But it is good for the teaching of this doctrine to be given out to the body and for those who are growing and sensitive to the Spirit of God and submission to the church and huband as a place to grow and understand this teaching.

I would ask that these discussions about headcovering not be 'you are right and I am wrong.' but rather something we are all growing to understand and I appreciate the sister that is not covering her head as much as the sister that is.

May we focus on Christ in us the hope of glory as our basis of unity. Judging and critizing others is not biblical nor the Spirit of our Lord.


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2012/2/8 14:48Profile









 Re:

"Each member of the body of Christ must have allowance for personal liberty on this issue. But it is good for the teaching of this doctrine to be given out to the body and for those who are growing and sensitive to the Spirit of God and submission to the church and huband as a place to grow and understand this teaching."

I agree. It should never be force on anyone. Each member must be convinced in their own heart by the scriptures.

I would be great to be able to have a discussion about this issue, on this forum, without people calling you a legalist, or Islamic, and where people actually are willing to talk about the scriptures. Could be edifying.

 2012/2/8 14:59









 Re:

I posted a head coverings article on my personal blog, and someone commented to the effect:

"One final thought: there is a difference between following a specific, identified command of the Lord [like head coverings] and returning to the law."

I thought that was a good distinction. Legalism is usually the first word to be thrown out when this discussion comes up. But there is a real difference between legalism and simply obeying a command of the Lord.

 2012/2/8 15:05









 Re:

Sorry but arent we beating the theological horse to smithereens here?

Krispy

 2012/2/8 16:02
roadsign
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Posts: 3777


 Re:

Quote:
"One final thought: there is a difference between following a specific, identified command of the Lord [like head coverings] and returning to the law."



Really, only the Lord knows the heart on this matter. We cannot even know our heart apart from God revealing it over the course of our lives. So how can we judge another’s true motive for their traditional habits – or how God is working in that person’s lives?

This same principle works for any outward church tradition. Consider the practice of ecclesial robes. That too has been condemned as being legalist/popish. It may be so. But it may also be a way of holding the place of preaching the word in high esteem. There are many godly, Spirit led, grace-centered clergy who wear gowns every Sunday… and even light candles…

Being one who has visited and served in various church affiliations, I have come to learn the value of accepting their own traditions as having meaning to those people – even if they may not have relevance to me. Also, traditions can serve as powerful visual aids for biblical truths (as the head covering). And even if the people have forgotten their meaning, those truths can be brought back to light through preaching. I have found it a great way to re-root the Word of God in the historic tradition of that church congregation and move God’s promises forward into the contemporary setting.

“Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Phil. 2:4

Diane


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Diane

 2012/2/8 16:14Profile
Solomon101
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 Re:

@ Greg-

Do you think that much of the lack of agreement on this issue may be because in Paul's culture the head covering was seen as a sign of submission (he actually said that very thing) but in or culture (at least the one I live in) head coverings are not at all understood or seen as a sign of submission?

In essence the issue may simply be one of submission not necessarily the symbol of it. If head coverings are seen to represent that submission in an area then it means something to those people. However, if head coverings are seen as nothing more that a form of hat then the symbolism is lost on that group. Perhaps another symbol might play that role in their culture and could be used instead.

Just a few thoughts but I wonder if we are possibly looking at the specific symbol in Paul's world and at times we may, or may not, be able to use the exact same emblem in ours.

 2012/2/8 16:17Profile









 Re:

I agree with Solomon, I think he sums up the issue quite well.

Krispy

 2012/2/8 16:19
pilgrim777
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Joined: 2011/9/30
Posts: 1211


 Re:

Solomon,

I think you hit it square on the head (excuse the pun). Best post I have read on this subject, bar none.

Head covering means nothing in our culture. However, it means Roman Catholic Church to many of us.

Pilgrim

 2012/2/8 16:22Profile





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