Thursday, September 10, 2009

Head Coverings in Church

Here's an email exchange you might find helpful.

Hey Mark, I recently attended my home church's retreat at _____. During one of the meetings, I was wearing a hat. Not thinking anything of it, I had to go to the bathroom. When I was done, I headed back into the meeting when an elder stop me, and asked if I had heard the Holy Spirit talking to me. Confused and not knowing how to respond, he told me that the holy spirit was telling me that I needed to take off my hat while in the the presence of God. I quickly apologized, removed my hat and submitted to his authority.

My church has always held true to 1 Corinthians 11 in following what it says about woman wearing head coverings and men hats.

So my question is: Why is this teaching not common in a majority of churches today? How do we respond to this?

Here's my response, a quote from Grudem's Systematic Theology:

"Just as God the Father has authority over the Son, though the two are equal in deity, so in marriage, the husband has authority over the wife, though they are equal in personhood. In this case, the man's role is like that of God the Father, and the woman's role is parallel to that of God the Son. They are equal in importance, but they have different roles. In the context of 1 Corinthians 11:2-16, Paul sees this as a basis for telling the Corinthians to wear the different kinds of clothing appropriate for the men and women of that day, so that the distinctions between men and women might be outwardly evident in the Christian assembly. (footnote: The fact that head coverings were the kind of clothing that distinguished women from men in first century Corinth meant that Paul directed the women to wear head coverings in church. But this does not mean that women should wear head coverings in societies where that is not a distinctive sign of being a woman. The contemporary applications would be that women should dress to look like women and men should dress to look like men, in whatever form those clothing patterns are expressed in each society: Paul is not in favor of unisex clothing!) Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem, pp 459-460. See also Thomas R. Schreiner, "Head Coverings, Prophecies and Trinity: 1 Corinthians 11:2-16," in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, pp 124-139.

1 comment:

Chris said...

According to verses 14 and 15, I'm in real trouble:

"Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her?"

I'm glad I don't live in Corinth.