WinZIP (Text Word 97)
What usually comes to your mind when someone makes a statement(s) like the following:
1) All Christian women need to wear a veiling (headcovering), &
2) All Christians should routinely pray on their knees, &
3) All Christians should not wear immodest clothing, nor follow the latest styles?
The response usually goes something like this:
"That's just an outdated tradition of man", or "if you believe like that, you're just being legal". Yes, you've heard this type of response or maybe you've even said things like this yourself. However, is this God's opinion? What does He think about these subjects?
The following is meant to give you, the reader, clear insight into God's point of view. Does He think that such questions should be answered based on Christian tradition or not?
However, before we begin, certain things must be understood:
To the nonchalant inquirer, understanding this question will ever remain hidden. Only a sincere seeker will see the truth that lies below the surface of what seems to be outdated traditions of men. An example of this can be seen clearly from John 4:23-24. "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."
Jesus emphasized this principle further by, "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes". (Matt. 11:25)
Why is this? Because the Lord God "is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him". Only those who "diligently seek him" will be "given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. (Heb. 11:6; Luke 8:10)
Please understand that when Jesus came to John the Baptist to be baptized, John didn't want to baptize Him. "John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?" (Matt. 3:14)
Please note that Jesus answered, "suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him." What this is saying is that God has exact requirements concerning what we need to do to please Him. In order to do this, we must do His will exactly. This is what is meant by the word 'righteousness'.
Righteousness is like a command: It tells us to do this and not that; look at this and not that; seek this and not that. Specifically, this is what compels us to act only one way and not another. Our obedience to righteousness is the evidence of what we really believe. Doing righteousness is not some abstract, spiritual idea. There are some religious people who only focus on the spiritual side and say, "everything's spiritual". This is not true. Righteousness involves worshipping in "truth" as well.
On the other hand, worshipping in spirit has to do with your personal relationship with God - during secret prayer, fasting, and the humbling of your heart. Do you see the difference between worshipping in spirit and in truth? If we keep this in mind when we read the scriptures, we will clearly see how God, His prophets, Jesus Christ, and His apostles never spoke any other way than through these two - spirit and truth. They must be left connected together.
1) concerning this worshipping in spirit, it has to do with our personal relationship with God.
2) Worshipping in truth means this is what a person has to do before the Lord's eyes, because God has commanded it.
Here are some examples of this: Don't worship idols. Don't eat meat sacrificed to idols. Don't steal. Baptize in water. Women are to wear a veiling, but men are not. This is what it means to worship in truth; in other words, in righteousness. When we do this, we fulfill all righteousness as Jesus said.
Please notice what satan has tried to do. He always tries to split the spirit and truth apart. He puts it like this, "Just relax. God's only concerned that you worship in spirit, not in truth".
Those who call themselves Spirit-filled:
Here's an example of worshipping in spirit and not in truth. Many people take great joy in being, what they call, in the spirit. They get excited about: singing triumphant and worshipful songs; discussing Christian doctrines and principles; being "spirit-filled"; working in their "ministry"; or being "fed" at Bible studies, retreats or seminars. However, at the same time, their every day lives are clothed in the sins of adultery, lust, worldly practices and talking, and other ungodliness.
Oh, yes, I don't have any doubt that many of you see yourself like this. You can see this in the way America "worships", in the modern Pentecostals and Charismatics. This lopsided emphasis is the end of satan's work so as to move God's people away from the truth.
Those who follow the rules:
However, this isn't the only way satan has tried to destroy the church. Nowadays many people, whose ancestors were spiritual pillars, are worshipping only in truth, but not in spirit! They follow man's standards, laws, and rules. These people do this for only one reason. They fear God's judgment, not because they love the Lord. These people only concern themselves with their outward actions, clothing, sins, and what others are doing.
Today people are walking around crippled because they've decided to worship God either in one way (in spirit) or the other (in truth), but not in both. Please understand this: we must worship, with all our heart, in both spirit and in truth.
Many times I've heard ungodly people in the church say, respecting headcoverings: "Oh, that's just man's tradition. It was only our ancestor's idea way back" But this is a lie. It's a lie to say that these traditions and ideas were only part of our ancient culture, and not part of our faith in God.
I've met many Christians from many countries in the world. I find that Christian women there wear headcoverings and long dresses. Whenever I've seen this, I just say "Amen", because this tells me that it's not man's tradition. It's truth! I've seen this same thing all over the earth.
I've also seen Christian people praying on their knees. Again I say "Amen", because this proves that this too is not man's tradition. It's truth! I've met Christians in the far reaches of Siberia, in the middle east, Khassakstan, Montana, Moscow and New York and do you know what I've seen? All of them normally wear plain, humble clothing. Yes! Do you know what I do when I see this? I exclaim with all my soul, "No way is this just man's tradition! This is truth!"
Please listen. The Lord had ordained that these traditions would always be practiced by His people. And I triple repeat, "Amen!"
When I see an American hippie repent, and then take a headcovering for his wife and daughters, I know it's because the Holy Spirit has touched him. He doesn't have a TV, but he has more children almost every year. He normally prays, with fear and trembling, before God on his knees with his whole fellowship.
I've also witnessed a witch repent far away from America in Siberia. As soon as she repented, she immediately knew that she should put on a headcovering. She also found that she had instantly developed a hatred for TV. When I saw this American hippie or this Siberia witch repent, I infinitely exclaimed, from all my heart, "This is the work of the same Spirit! No, this is not mere man's tradition. This is truth!" Know this, that whoever loves God with all their heart must possess this understanding.
Don't believe anyone who tells you the opposite! Whoever calls this truth man's tradition is really seeking an excuse for their own selfish lusts. Such people as this are the same the world over. The only difference between Siberia, Africa, Australia, America and Cuba are their cultures, not God's traditions.
Some people who imagine that they walk in the spirit, try to excuse their own abominations and secret sins by saying, "Oh, the Lord doesn't look on the outward appearance". This is lawlessness.
Others, who imagine that they worship in truth, go about thinking that doing true deeds of the law bring salvation. This is legalism.
However, only those who worship the Lord in spirit and in truth, and want to grow in the knowledge and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, have salvation. This is because, only those who worship the Lord in spirit and in truth, sincerely desire Him.
If your heart doesn't understand what I've written so far, what can I do? I certainly have no power to open a mind that God has closed and kept blind.
The smallest of all slaves of the Lord Jesus Christ,
One of the most important aspects of living a Christian life is that of submission. The Apostle Paul in Ephesians 5:21 encourages us to submit ourselves one to another in the fear of God. A humble heart and an appreciation for what the Lord has done makes submission possible.
In the first sixteen verses of 1 Corinthians chapter eleven, Paul teaches the divine order in the relationship of the woman to man, man to Christ, and Christ to God. He states, "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God." It is the man's duty to be in submission to Christ. Likewise, it is the woman's privilege and duty to be in submission to man. Though the order is plainly thus, it does not mean that a woman is of lesser importance; each is dependent upon the other. "Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 11:11).
We read in Genesis 1:27, "So God created man in his own image." The man is to worship bareheaded in his allegiance to Christ, his head; "Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head." "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" (1 Corinthians 11:4, 7).
"What's that thing on your head? Are you Amish?" Such have been the questions that my wife and daughters get asked from time to time. For the last 12 years, we've been associated with Christians whose women and ancestors have worn them as far back as they can remember.
The Answer? "No, we are just Christians. Oh, yes, about the thing on their heads: it's called a 'Headcovering' or 'veiling' these days."
But what does all this mean?
Is the headcovering a real issue in our day and age?
Weren't headcoverings for a particular time and culture ages ago? This whole issue seems to centre around what is meant in 1st Corinthians 11, verses 1 through 16.
Is this a fair and objective approach or just old fashioned legalism?
Please understand this; I am NOT one who enjoys lengthy theological or philosophical discussions or discourses. The truth relating to this matter has ALREADY been laid down for us 2000 years ago in our Bibles. If it was simply a matter of reading plain English and doing it, I'd be done with it.
However, in our day and age, many are confused respecting the meaning of these passages in 1 Corinthians 11. Somehow, there seems to be a "WALL" to being able to understand or ACCEPT plainly worded English here. There appears to be "Something else" hindering our understanding concerning these clearly worded verses. This "Something else" is what, first of all, needs to be addressed, identified and faced, before we will "see with our eyes, and hear with our ears, and understand with our hearts".
The question of the 'importance' of "to headcover or not to headcover" is at the root to this issue. To understand this, we need to forget the subject of headcoverings altogether. It isn't a matter of a headcovering being a "minor" or a "major". It's a matter of obedience to Christ or not. It's a matter of understanding Christianity; that it's one of self-denial, surrender and obedience to the one Who first loved us. It's a matter of how we show our love to Him. He knows and said, "He that hath my commandments, AND KEEPETH THEM, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. ...If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me NOT keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me." (John 14:21, 23, 24)
So whether or not the headcovering is important for today should come down to one question: will we do anything God wants of us, simply because we love Him? It has nothing to do with it being a "minor" or a "major". It has to do with whether or not it was (and is) God's command and teaching for His Church from the beginning. It has to do with doing God's will or not. This is true of everything we do in our Christian lives. If we stamp a "minor" on this one and a "major" on that, we are simply acting like Pharisees to whom Jesus said "...Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition (like culture). Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye." (Mark 7:9, 13)
So if some of God's commands to His Church become "of none effect" because "you" think they are "minors", then it doesn't really matter whether you "are convinced" or "prayed" about whether you should do them or not. It really doesn't matter about the issue or subject at hand any more. It is now only a matter of you walking in disobedience to Christ and His commands and teachings for His bride, His Church. It's His Church and He is the head. He decides how it is to be pure, without one spot or wrinkle. A disobedient Church has no place in His wedding supper as He plainly taught in His parables. However, even this point has been made "of none effect" by our clever teachers who teach that you can do anything against God, once you've spent 5 or 10 minutes saying some magic words called a "sinner's prayer" and then you are always safe from going to hell. Not only is this idea without any Scriptural foundation, but it cleverly destroys any motivation for obedience to God.
Needless to say, since it isn't possible to speak with Paul personally, we can only read what he wrote. So this is where I will start, since it is the most reliable source. If we would just read and understand what Paul was trying to teach overall, the rest is simple. A simple read through of the first 16 verses of 1st Corinthians 11 will make it clear that Paul is NOT trying to convince the Corinthian women to put headcoverings on. Maybe this is one minor reason why there is so much confusion on the subject today.
Do you really think that prior to this, women went uncovered? Secular history proves otherwise. I don't discount the fact that Paul was also re-emphasizing the need for a covering, but Paul's main objective here wasn't about to headcover or not to headcover. He was primarily using an already universally accepted practice in and out of the Church, world wide, to teach the principle of headship and authority. In other words, he was using a normal Godly practice to bring out what was behind it.
You won't find complete directions for tent making in Paul's writing. You won't find exhortations about anything without getting the 'Spiritual' and eternal meaning behind it. This is explained by, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (2Tim. 3:16). In the Bible, God has always given us shadows and types to teach us eternal principles about holiness, the atonement, sin, authority, etc. It is folly to assume that Paul is trying to force the headcovering issue foremost, instead of primarily teaching the real eternal meaning behind it. However, be this as it may, it would also be a terrible mistake to focus on the spiritual only and eliminate the headcovering practice itself.
The fact is, the headcovering has been a Godly practice amongst Christians and decent moral citizens everywhere up until recently. We are the ones who have the problem understanding it, because our backgrounds and culture are so defiled. Perhaps we can't understand this because of our democratic culture. Strike one against 'culture'. Why is that? Because in this country, we have lost the understanding of authority. If we don't understand or obey God's basics: His order for the family, home and Church, how can we expect to understand the need for a woman to wear a covering? One example would be this. If our children are never taught to obey their parents, how will they ever know that they need to obey the civil authorities? Answer? They won't. And guess what? Reality is not violated. We can easily observe the fruits of such by the lawlessness (an outward SIGN; manifestation) amongst our youth today.
It is noteworthy that respect for authority in this country has been declining for a number of years. It isn't too surprising, then, to see its venom spreading into the family unit and finally the Church. It's no secret that the moral climate of this country has gone downhill rapidly during the last one hundred years. I don't mean to imply that the following is the root cause, but it was a little over a hundred years ago that women covered their heads. Back then it was the natural habit of moral women (and especially the Church) to cover their heads. Now they don't. The real root is that the headcovering's disappearance is a manifestation which is directly proportional to the spiritual decline of the Church.
We also still have the writings of the disciples of the Apostles, who lived in Paul's time and on, that discuss the very subject of headcoverings. They too were first hand witnesses to what the Apostles taught and practiced as Biblical truth. What did they say?
They knew that to cover a women's head with a veil was already universal spiritual knowledge. A few of them devoted entire chapters to the why, how, when and where. None were trying to convince the Church of the NEED to START wearing them, though. It was already accepted knowledge. They simply addressed the spiritual reasons FOR wearing them. After reading Tertullian (145 A.D.) and others, I get the idea that only pagan priestesses and queens, prostitutes and lesbians went without veils.
So it's not a matter of having to prove whether or not Paul wanted women to cover their heads. We don't have to speculate on what he 'probably' meant by a covering. That is only necessary now, because we look at things through our culture. Besides, it is not very difficult to discover that most of the world had (until lately) veiled their women. It has only been in recent years that cultures like ours, that have advanced in sin, have cast off the sign of the veil. All speculation as to whether it was a sign of this or that is like searching in the dark when we ignore such a cloud of witnesses before us.
I can still remember when I was in my teens that the Roman Catholic women always covered their heads whenever they entered a Church building. Even today, born again Christians from the former Soviet Block countries still cover their heads with a veil. When they come in America, they are absolutely shocked at the uncovered heads, short hair and immodest clothing worn by professing American Christian women and pastor's wives. Every former Soviet Christian I've known has told me that before they came here, God had warned them not to adopt our lukewarm ways such as our women's short hair, pants and lack of headcoverings, to mention a few.
Many today, in mimicking what they've heard, say that the woman's hair is her covering, as it seems to imply in verse 15. Such statements are not at all original or honest. Besides, the Greek word used for 'covering' in 1 Corinthians 11:15 ("for her hair is given her for a covering") is completely different from the one translated 'covered' prior to this in Chapter 11. This Greek word (peribolaion), here in verse 15, means to 'wrap around'. Hence the meaning would be ... "for her hair is given her for 'to be wrapped around'". There is no clear idea here, nor from any early Church writer, that the 'hair' is the women's 'covering'. Furthermore, it would seem to be negating what Paul had just spent 13 verses on prior to this in chapter 11. The words translated "covering", "covered" or "cover" prior to verse 15 in Chapter 11 use an entirely different Greek word (katakalupto). This one means to 'veil or cover up oneself'.
But just suppose we take this word translated 'covering' to mean 'the hair', instead of a veiling. It doesn't take very long to see the folly of such an idea. Just simply insert some words meaning "with hair" in place of "covering", "covered" or "cover" in Chapter 11 and the truth will be as clear as day (only to an honest heart, that is). For example it would read starting from verse 4:
"Every man praying or prophesying, having his head with hair, dishonoureth his head. :5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head without hair dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. :6 For if the woman be not with hair, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be with hair. :7 For a man indeed ought not to be with hair on his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man." :8 For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. :9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. :10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels. :11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. :12 For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God. :13 Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God without hair?
As any honest person can quickly see, the entire meaning of the text is changed. Instead of being about authority and headship, the whole discussion would appear to centre around the subject of having or not having "hair". It's as if Paul was confronting the whole Corinthian Church about a strange new heresy concerning "hair". Paul would now appear to be concerned that the Corinthian men weren't shaving their heads before prayer like they were supposed to, and the women were into shaving off all their "hair".
Then, of course, verse 6 makes no sense at all. It now seems to be saying that if a woman has no hair, then she should be shaved so she has no hair. This is absolute nonsense. Besides, the teaching that a woman's hair was her covering can never be found once amongst the early Church. Surely, it must be obvious by now that something other than the "hair" is meant here for a woman's covering.
It may be argued that since neither Finney, Wesley, Luther, or Calvin taught about the headcovering, why should we practice it? Some may 'hope' that these men didn't teach about it, but such is simply not the case. Of these men, some taught specifically about it, while others only wove it into their teachings on Modesty and Godly attire. Included in their teachings are exhortations to dress "exemplarily plain in your apparel; as plain as Quakers or Moravians", who, by the way, all wore headcoverings (Wesley Jour. Vol. VII pg. 116). John Wesley even stated that all Methodists should hear his "Thoughts upon Dress" read "at least once a year" (Wesley Jour. Vol. VIII pg. 307).
Truthfully, it wasn't a problem for these to practice the headcovering. They read their Bibles and preached and practiced what it said. If God said do it, they did it. If He said it was a 'Sign' to be practiced, they simply obeyed. They didn't look for some way to rationalize it away, like we do.
Even the Catholics, with all their abuses back in the dark ages, were obedient enough to practice the headcovering. Why is it so hard for us to "obey God rather than man"?
One reason for this may be our off balance 20th century teachings concerning the heart and its true motives. It is true that one can act or look right and their heart still be wrong. And it is right that stress has been put on our having a Godly attitude in our heart. However, it becomes heresy when this 'stress' becomes so over-emphasized, that it is 'assumed' that the actual 'SIGN', action or appearance can be neglected. Such thinking goes far beyond 'stressing' a needed Biblical teaching.
We stress the need for our "HEART" to be true (and we should). However, we defeat God's work when we eliminate the "SIGN" (of modest clothing, headcoverings, Holy living) as inconsequential, over objections that it represents a legal or 'religious' spirit. "Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men..." It was these very "SIGNS" that James said were absolutely necessary in order to prove to others that I had faith in my heart. He said "...faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone", because "...I will shew thee my faith by my works."
To hear folks tell it, it's as if they fear this 'religious' spirit more than they do disobeying God. Why? Isn't it really because their friends may see their clothing, a headcovering, etc., and think they have a 'religious' spirit (the unpardonable sin, to hear folks tell it)? Actually, the truth be known, by NOT wearing a headcovering for fear of showing that we may have a 'religious' spirit only goes to prove that we, indeed, DO have a 'religious' or legal spirit, if we really understood what a true, 'religious' spirit is.
In this country women don't cover their heads anymore for no other reason than "that's the way we do it now" or "just because we don't cover them anymore". That's about as logical as saying "I kill because I do". I've heard reasons like "that was for back then, in their time & culture", etc. Such reasoning is illogical and dishonest at best. It completely ignores the fact that even in THIS country, women wore them universally just over a hundred years ago. Such reasoning doesn't answer the real reason why it disappeared in cultures like ours. No, the real reason headcoverings have disappeared is due to the spiritual decline of the Church. It's been just over a hundred years since this nation had a major revival in the Church.
Will someone go to hell for not wearing one? The answer? 'Yes' and 'no'. In our crazy, mixed up our culture, it's a constant battle just to get free enough to find real Christianity.
For those who have never had to deal with this issue in their hearts, I don't believe it's a known sin to them yet. But please don't take this lightly. God, the Holy Spirit, always convicts us early on in our Christian lives (it's His job: read John 16:8-12). This question has always come up very soon after conversion, as soon as a new sister runs across 1 Corinthians 11. I can't count the number of times I've either heard them ask someone or me, concerning this subject soon after conversion. So the majority are without excuse.
Yes, it's very possible that there are women in heaven now who (like the thief on the cross) never had the time to read or hear of this command before they died. But, please remember this dear brethren: Those who truly love God in their hearts will do anything for Him. Those who were truly His, but died soon after conversion, before God showed them this practice's command, are most likely with Him now. Thing is, just over a century ago, no Christian woman ever had to deal with such decisions or discussions like this. Christian women already DID wear headcoverings. It was only the 'high' society, elite that practiced "new" fleshly ideas such as removing their veilings.
On the other hand, I don't believe any slack is deserved for those who are clever with human rationalization, logic and exegesis in figuring out ways around obeying this, once they're aware of it and God speaks to their heart. Once God speaks to us about this issue, we are accountable. So if someone persists in disobedience, the Bible says "to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin". We know that "he that committeth (practices) sin is of the devil". Consequently, "they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God (James 4:17; 1John 3:8; Gal. 5:21). We must not forget that it "is" God's heaven. He makes the rules, not us. Perhaps this is part of the root problem why we wrestle with this issue of headcoverings. Today in most Churches, Christianity has become nothing more than Christianized humanism, where we "think" God will overlook our "ways" of doing what we like, and will accept us into His Holy, spotless, perfect, clean kingdom simply because He loves us.
We need to realize that we as Christians have gotten used to being "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked" while thinking that we are "rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing", but it's time to wake up. Praise our God! He has ways of helping to wake us up.
I end this with nothing but love in my heart for you all, hoping that the Lord may richly bless you!