Headcoverings and Authority

Headcoverings and Authority

While I still intend to write an article about 1 Corinthians 11 – Head coverings and authority, the video clip below which is an excerpt of part 3 of “Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free?” is a good introduction to this controversial issue. Should a woman wear a head covering? Should she have no authority or even speak in the church? This hard passage in scripture has been a challenge to the church because it has been unclear why wearing a head covering for a male would shame Christ. A clear understanding of the reason for the shame comes from understanding the cultural background. This verse by verse explanation of the head covering issue from 1 Corinthians 11 brings a great deal of light to this hard to understand passage. This excerpt is taken from the 2nd DVD of the 4 DVD set called “Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free?” available from Amazon.com or mmoutreach.org. Click to watch the preview clip below.

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9 thoughts on “Headcoverings and Authority

  1. I would very much like to read about your thoughts on a physical veiling for women. In my practice and conviction, which Conservative Quakerism has heavily influence, I see no contradiction between covering one’s hair and being prohibited from speaking the truth of Christ in front of groups of people. I cover for public worship and private prayer.

  2. Hi Anna,

    I will be doing an article on the head covering for women including the topic of glory. In 1 Cor. 11 Paul does not prohibit women from speaking in front of the congregation whether covered or uncovered, but he does address the two reasons for covering and how one of those reasons is a shame to Christ. May I ask, why do you cover your hair?

  3. Cheryl,

    Interesting and informative blog. I also appreciate your graciousness in dealing with opposing viewpoints… especially considering that I hold one :).

    I also look forward to seeing if CBMW will respond and how. I am going to send them an e-mail also asking that they do… considering that I highly respect and have learned from several of the men affiliated with them.

    I do, though, have a question for you that I have not seen addressed. If you have addressed it please just point me in the direction.

    In 1 Corinthians 11:3 Paul makes at least some kind of connection between:

    1. Christ as “head” of every man

    2. Husband as “head” of wife (or male of female if anyone prefers)

    3. God as “head” of Christ

    What is your understanding of the comparison that Paul is making here?

  4. I would like to comment on this discussion.

    There are two questions I believe we must ask of 1 Cor. 11:1-2. First what is the meaning of kephale (translated “head”) in this metaphorical usage. And second what kind of an ordering is Paul outlining. Also note that it is “kephale” OF, not kephale over.

    If one looks carefully, you can see that it is NOT an hierarchical ordering. An hierarchical ordering is a ladder with items placed meticulously one over another. Such an ordering would be implying that God the father is higher and of more prominence and authority than Christ which scripture does not support. Such an ordering would also include the Holy Spirit and children. And if it were an hierarchical ordering then Paul placed them out of order. Since this involves only three points, these three points need to fit in the exact order they are written. Paul was not a sloppy writer. He had specific points in mind in exactly that order.

    In my opinion Paul is addressing certain events it in chronological order.

    1. Christ is the head of man. (as a source of Adam, Gen.) the first humans were created through Christ.
    2. man is the head of woman (as a source of woman, later on in Gen.) woman was brought forth from the man.
    3. God is the source of Christ. (as a source of Christ as he came to a human body … much later on) Christ was born by/through God’s direct intervention.

    Paul is addressing certain events in chronological order. With this in mind we can approach the question of glories or esteems more logically.

  5. Hi Matt,

    Thank you for coming to this blog. You are most certainly welcome here and your opposing viewpoint is welcome to be expressed. Don’t be surprised, though, if you find some well thought out challenges to your viewpoint expressed here as well. I believe that we can all learn from each other as long as we practice love and respect for another brother or sister in the Lord.

    Regarding CBMW – yes I too would to know how they would respond. In my last email response from Chris Cowan (their email rep), he made it clear that it would be his last communication with me. I had been fairly persistent in asking for a response to the exegesis in my DVD. I do not know how many men in CBMW viewed WIM. I do know that the president saw it, although I suspect that he is the only one who watched it since he threw it in the garbage before he finished watching the entire series. That allows me to assume that he did not take the opportunity to pass it on to others. His only comments were that the quality of the DVDs themselves was poor. Well, honestly that really surprised me. I expected that they wouldn’t like the reasoning in the series as it isn’t complementarian, however to put down my video editing was a bit strange. The comments that I have received back regarding the video/editing/graphic quality of the DVDs has been a very high rating even from those who have not held an egalitarian view. So for me to get only a comment in passing about the quality of my editing work, seemed to me to be an attempt to just dismiss the whole project without having to put the effort in to deal with the content.

    I highly doubt that you will get any kind of a response on WIM since CBMW reimbursed our ministry for the DVD set that they threw away, I would think that they would just like to wipe their hands off of any further responsibility. I was told that to continue to ask them to please provide a response or to pass me on to someone associated with them who would have the time to dialogue with me on women in ministry, Chris said smacked of an attitude of pride. That surprised me too. Maybe one can’t judge for themselves if one has pride or not, but people have generally said the opposite about me so it was a very surprising comment for me to read. If you do get an answer from CBMW, I would love to hear it. I am not about to contact them again since the personal attacks against me have dampened my desire to dialog with them.

    Now to your question. I think the best way for me to answer is to put it into a blog article as many people don’t bother to read the comments on blogs. Give me a couple of days to get time to put together an article and I will tell you what I have learned about understanding Paul.

    TL, lots of good points! I especially liked how you worded it this way “Paul was not a sloppy writer. He had specific points in mind in exactly that order.” The additional information that I will give in my next blog article will take off from that foundation in that I believe and teach that all scripture is God-breathed including the inspired words and the inspired grammar. My way of understanding Paul is probably nothing like you have ever read anywhere else (I am an out-of-the-box thinker whether that is a good thing or a bad thing remains to be seen 🙂 ) but it is logical, biblical and helps people to learn how to make sense of the hard sayings of Paul. More later…..

  6. Regarding CBMW it is a sad observation that they have not responded forthrightly with others in the past. I do commend you on your efforts to communicate with them.

    And I look forward to reading your take on 1 Cor. 11.

    Aloha 🙂

  7. Thank you TL. I will make my article a priority this week and will try to fit in some time in the next couple of days.

    Aloha sounds very Hawaiian. Wished it was hot
    enough here to give you an Aloha greeting back.


  8. You are in Canada, correct. I’ve some very dear friends there. In fact, wish I could visit there. Maybe someday.

    Aloha nui 🙂

  9. Yes we are in Canada. We are in the midst of moving to the mountains. It is beautiful here but Hawaii….well that is paradise in my mind. I have never been to Hawaii but would like to go there once in my lifetime.

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