The Christian Woman's Veiling

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by MennoMan, Feb 20, 2004.

  1. MennoMan

    MennoMan
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    I know that 99% of Baptists don't believe or practice this(even if they do believe it). I'm posting this article, which is an expression of my belief on the subject. For those of you who don't hold to the headcovering, I'd like to know why not, just for curiousities sake.

    I Corinthians 11:2-16
    Now I praise you brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the ordinances as I have delivered them to you. But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is man; and the head of Christ is God. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoreth his head. But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoreth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn, let her be covered. For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God, but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman, but the woman for the man. For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels. Nevertheless, neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God. Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man hath 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. But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

    Paul's introduction here is one of praise, "I praise you brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the ordinances as I have delivered them to you." Paul had spent around a year and a half at Corinth, teaching them the doctrines of Christ and the Word of God. The very first part of this chapter is devoted to the question of whether or not Christian women should be veiled. It would be correct to assume that most of the women in the church at Corinth practiced the wearing of a headcovering from the information given in verse 1 "you...keep the ordinances as I have delivered them to you."
    The Greek word for 'ordinances' is paradosis meaning 'tradition.' However, it would be incorrect to attach a negative connotation to it merely because it is translated tradition. In today's culture, 'tradition' is something that is not considered very reliable. However, in Greek, it dealt with facts or doctrines. So what Paul is doing here is praising them for keeping the doctrines which he had delivered to them during his stay in Corinth.
    There are generally three arguments against veiling or headcovering, which will be discussed here. The first is that it was a local and temporary practice, secondly that it is a trivial matter, and thirdly that the hair is the covering spoken of in I Corinthians 11.
    The first reason is the one most frequently given by those who do not practice the veiling. The claim is given that in the city of Corinth, the prostitutes would shave their heads and wear wigs as a symbol of their availability. Thus, with this problem being gone, there is no reason for women to still wear headcoverings. The following counterpoints are given against this argument.
    1) Paul says in verse 16 that this was practiced by "the churches of God." This was not merely a local practice, but was practiced throughout all the churches. Church history shows as well that this was widely practiced. Clement of Alexandria, and Tertullian both wrote of the veiling. Clement taught on the subject in his book Instruction. This writing was meant to be a handbook on living the Christian life. Tertullian also wrote on it in several writings, including a thesis entitled On the Veiling of Virgins. It is important to note that Tertullian was not writing because there were some challenging the custom, but a question had arisen on whether or not unmarried women were to be veiled as well. The issue arose because of the Greek word Paul used for the term women. Paul had utilized the word 'gynee,' and some wondered if this included the unmarried women, however, the veiling was never in question. Today 'gynee' is understood to mean all adult women.
    2) The writings of the early church fathers indicate that the veiling was something outside of the norm in their culture.
    3) Whenever the Apostle Paul was advocating that one's actions should be modified because of cultural considerations, he always gave a full explanation for why he pursued this point of view. We find this in Romans 14 and I Corinthians 8 where he writes concerning eating meat that had been offered to idols.
    4) Paul made no mention of the Corinthian prostitutes and the veiling in this passage, or elswhere for that matter.
    5) The teaching on Communion, found in the same chapter, is accepted by all believers. For what reason is the preceding passage rejected?

    The second argument is that this is a trivial matter since it was only mentioned once in scripture, and as such should be left up to the individual believer.
    1) Paul's teachings are a part of God's Word. Since all scripture is given by inspiration of God(II Timothy 3:16), it must still be in effect. God should not have to tell His children more than once in order for them to obey.
    2) Many scriptural practices are still in use today that are mentioned only once. For what reason is the headcovering passed over?
    3) The commands of God are never trivial. They are an evidence of one's faith in God, and when one disobeys, it shows their lack of faith.

    The third argument is that since verse 15 states that a woman's hair is her covering, that no extra covering is needed. This is a weak argument, and easily nullified.
    1) Paul uses two different Greek words that are translated 'covering' in this passage of the King James Version. It is for this reason that other versions properly make a distinction between the two. The first word is katakalupto and is used in verses 4-7. In verse 15, where the word is connected to hair, the Greek word is peribolaion. This shows us that the Apostle was making a distinction between the hair and the covering.
    2) Common sense would dictate that the hair is not the covering mentioned in the first part of the chapter. In verse 6, it says 'if a woman is not covered, let her be shorn.' If her hair is her covering, and she has no covering(ie, hair), then where is the logic in shaving her head twice?
    3) In verse 4, the Apostle tells us that a man should not have his head covered during prayer. If the hair was his covering, he would have to take off his hair during praying and prophesying, and put it back on when he was finished!

    It was not until the past hundred years when the veil ceased to be practiced in the church. With the advent of the women's rights movement, the veiling all but disappeared. A former radical feminist wrote of the veiling stating that she never received such respect from men as when she put on the veiling. But what was once practiced universally by the church has faded away to a few denominations which are considered to be 'quaint' or 'antiquated.'
     
  2. Brother Adam

    Brother Adam
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    I would think that it would be similiar to the reason why we don't worship on the Sabbath- it is the intent and purpose of the sabbath that is important- a day to worship the Lord.

    Likewise- it is the intent that woman should be modest. If a woman can be considered modest without covering her head, then it is acceptable.

    Like you said - 99% of Christians do not "viel". There is no need for it.
     
  3. Johnv

    Johnv
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    The verses of 1 Cor 11 make it clear that the "head covering" is a symbol for headship. A man who prays without authority dishonors Christ. A women who does the same without her spouse's blessing dishonors her spouse. The examples become more clear when you take into consideration the customs of headwear at that time. It doesn't say men and women can't pray pr prophesy, nor does it require or discourage men and women in their head attire. Since head attire customs today are not what they were then, the context of this verse is often difficult to discern. One thing, however, is clear. This chapter is NOT intented to require women from keeping their heads covered.

    However, if a woman (or man, for that matter) wants to cover their heads as a demonstration of submission or devition to God, then bon apetit.
     
  4. MennoMan

    MennoMan
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    Originally posted by Johnv:
    Actually, if you read the article I posted, you will note that the early church fathers noted that the headcovering was outside the norm in their culture.

    Scripture says that a man should not pray with his head covered, but that a woman should. I would say that that is a requirement.

    Agreed, this passage is not trying to prevent women from covering their heads. In fact, this passage is commanding women to cover their heads.

    Scripture says that it is a shame for a man to pray or prophesy with his head covered. It also says that it is a shame for a woman not to do so.

    In Christ,
    Will
     
  5. MennoMan

    MennoMan
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    If it is only the intent that matters, then why did the Apostle write commanding women to be veiled when praying or prophesying?
     
  6. I Am Blessed 24

    I Am Blessed 24
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    MM: You posted an article, but did not provide a link or give credit to the author. Please do so to avoid being in conflict with copyright laws.

    Thanks,
    ┬žue
     
  7. MennoMan

    MennoMan
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    I wrote it.
     
  8. Gina B

    Gina B
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    Will you be suing yourself? ;)
    Gina
     
  9. MennoMan

    MennoMan
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    Absolutely! :D
     
  10. Ed Edwards

    Ed Edwards
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    At one site this is located is the logo:
    "SOZO Bible Institute, all rights are reserved"

    but at this site they don't seem to care:
    http://www.jerrybernard.com/

    BTW, you know there are conditions under which the
    original author does NOT have copyright.

    Three things everyone should have before they surf the net:
    1. an anti-viral program
    2. a firewall
    3. a copyright lawyer under retainer

    One time i produced a fanzine and distributed copyies
    of it in the States and half a dozen foriegn countries.
    I posted a note on the Kinko's physical bulletin board that
    said i was the holder of the copyright and named the 'zine.
    Next time i was there, one of the help challenged me
    (usually i was at the self help machines, but he came
    over anyway). I told him to read the bulletin board.

    BTW, and on topic.
    Why i don't teach/preach headcovering.
    I'm always suspect of doctrine based
    on one scripture. God said His most important
    messages in His written word: the Holy Bible
    over and over. With one and only one passage
    that relates to the doctrine, our misunderstanding
    could dictate a FALSE DOCTRINE.
    For example, i can find a metaphor for a
    flat earth. If i base my doctrine on that oneverse, i come up with a doctrinal error:
    a flat earth. (The earth is near to being
    a sphere.)

    BTW, since the Crusades, we Christians
    like our women to look different from
    Muslims.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. MennoMan

    MennoMan
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    Ed: If it was important enough for the Apostle Paul to write about it and command the Corinthians to follow this teaching, don't you think it's important enough for us to take a serious look at it now?


    BTW- *bump*
     
  12. donnA

    donnA
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    Why then is it only mentioned in one sentence in the whole bible? You can not build a whole doctrine off only one verse and the bible not support that elsewhere. The bible must interpret itself.
     
  13. Debby in Philly

    Debby in Philly
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    Building a doctrine on one verse can get out of hand. The whole thing about not mixing meat and dairy in the Kosher tradition is based on the one verse that says "don't boil a calf in its mother's milk."
     
  14. donnA

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    Properly done, by an honest student of the bible, a doctrine should never be built on one verse alone. There is always the danger of taking that one scripture out of context and twisting it, and you may not even know it because your basing it on one verse.
     
  15. MennoMan

    MennoMan
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    Who is building a doctrine off of one verse? This is a passage of scripture we are talking about here.
     
  16. 7-Kids

    7-Kids
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    I have used a head covering for years. It is a simple as putting on a hat.
    The Bible teaches it so I must obey.
     

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