Those who oppose the head covering on supposedly scriptural grounds (hair length, culture-bound symbols for headship or femininity) aren't really any better than Suzie at respecting scripture as it takes a fair amount of twisting to arrive at their interpretations also.
One thing I could say in favor of her argument for my purposes here is that she does not dispute that the passage does require a literal cloth head covering, which she then goes on to dismiss by claiming Paul was reverting to legalism in requiring it -- requiring something physical. Of course long hair is also physical and in fact any token that might meet the cultural requirement would also have to be physical. Those who claim the covering implies an interchangeable cultural symbol -- of headship or femininity -- also don't deny that it really is a literal cloth covering Paul had in mind.
There's no end to the cleverness possible in doing away with it, but surely it ought to be clear just WHAT we're doing away with -- a literal cloth head covering.
So on to the blog exchange:
Faith said...If you think only nuns ever covered their heads you are out of touch with history (not to mention that you are out of touch with Paul, scripture and the Holy Spirit if you make Paul the source of convent life).(You can read her post that I am answering at the link above). She answers:
There are drawings on the walls of the catacombs of Rome (where early Christians hid from the Roman persecutions) illustrating women praying in standing position with upraised arms with a large piece of cloth draped over their heads.
Then Tertullian in the 2nd or 3rd century or so wrote objecting to the flimsy little pieces of cloth so many women put on their heads in the various churches, saying that did not meet the requirement of 1 Cor 11:2-16, but commended the Corinthian church of his time, the church to whom Paul had addressed that teaching a century or two earlier, for their women wearing the right sort of covering, something substantial that really did cover the head.
It was taken to excess --perhaps-- when women began covering their heads at all times in the West, at least when out in public, but often at home as well -- those little lacy frilled white caps of the 18th century for instance -- which you can see in paintings down through the centuries and in many costume film productions. This WAS done in obedience to Paul's directive -- meaning that is how the churches of Christendom ALL understood that passage up until very recent times.
If you think this is merely a Catholic thing, think again. The many Bible-believing proto-Protestant groups that separated themselves from the Catholic church, such as the Waldensians who had to go into hiding in the mountains and were still hunted down and killed from time to time down through the centuries, were very strict about the head covering based on their own reading of the Bible in reaction against the Catholic suppression of the Bible. Calvin read the passage in the same way. Many Pietist groups that split off from the Protestant Reformation through genuine Spirit-led Revival required that the women be covered. The "babushka" or scarf some elderly women still wear in rural Russia derives from this Bible-based practice.
You are arguing from a very modern Western and apparently feminist point of view. But then of course perhaps you are the only one in the churches who ever gets anything right? AUGUST 2, 2011 9:31 PM
Suzie Q said...No, I didn't miss the point. By sketching out the history of its acceptance by the church through the centuries, including those who were persecuted for their faith and others obviously Spirit-led I would have expected to pre-empt such a presumption as to continue to argue that the head covering is a "natural-minded" or carnal concept, but Suzie doesn't mind accusing all Christians of this, starting with Paul who gave five arguments for it which had nothing to do with "want[ing] something physical."
Respectfully, regarding head coverings, you miss the whole point. When people are in the flesh, they see things according to the flesh and focus upon this world and the flesh. We are complete in Christ.
You see, it is natural minded to think that we need a "physical covering". The Holy Spirit is upon our heads today. When people are carnal, they want something physical.
It was Paul who wrote most pointedly about the conflicts between law and grace and flesh and spirit, yet Suzie is not above accusing him of reverting to his Pharisaic past and forgetting the very teachings for which he is best known, which among other things inspired Luther and began the Protestant Reformation.
The rule that we are to submit to scripture and not judge scripture (about which she even quoted Augustine at one point) doesn't stop her from putting her own judgment of what is carnal/fleshly above Paul's. If Paul advocated a literal physical head covering, the true humble biblical interpretation is that HE did not regard it as a carnal concern contradicting grace, therefore we are also to understand it as compatible with grace.
As Watchman Nee put it,
We must not frustrate God's government by God's grace.The head covering is a creation ordinance which applies to all of us, relating to the creation of Adam before Eve, and recognizing it is a matter of orderly government while we are on this earth, it is not part of the Mosaic Law. Paul presents it as required by the creation of man and woman with man as head over the woman, Marriage as the permanent uniting of two (of the opposite sex of course) into one flesh is another creation ordinance. This didn't cease with the New Testament.
Had Paul made such an error as Suzie suggests, the Holy Spirit would have led him to recognize it eventually and correct it, and that would have been reported in scripture just as Peter's bondage to the Old Testament food laws was reported as corrected by a vision from God. Scripture is God's word. It records human errors but it doesn't leave such errors uncorrected where they could become the basis for Christian teachings down the centuries.
Take for example the matter of circumcision. Circumcision of the foreskin is a representation of the cutting away of the sinful nature.Yes, it is, and Paul taught on that as well as the head covering. Paul saw no contradiction. You are at fault for making one up.
Christians know this, there is no need to quote it at such length. The point is that there is no contradiction here with the head covering although you insist that there is. If there were Paul would have eventually recognized it and so would the Church down the centuries, but instead we find Paul insisting upon it as apostolic practice in all the churches (1 Cor 11:16) and no other apostle objecting, while theologians down the centuries have also affirmed it. Apparently Suzie would say they are all carnal, while only she has the Holy Spirit; even Paul himself is carnal according to her although he is the one who hammered out the very concepts she is embracing. The arrogance is breathtaking really.Colossians 2:10And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: 11In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.In requiring circumcision, ppl were missing the whole point. We are circumcised in our hearts in Christ through the putting off of the physical body. We have been made a new creation. We are spirit not flesh.
Physical circumcision of the OT was a sign and seal of what was to come in Christ.Colossians 2:16Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.Everything that pertains to the OT and pertains to the physical representations of what was to come -- is found in reality in Christ.
Just as circumcision was a shadow of things to come, the reality is found in Christ. We are complete in Christ. The sign and seal of physical circumcision was a representation of the cutting away of the physical body which is wrought in salvation in Christ.
In Christ, the body is literally put to death and we are raised with Jesus in newness of life. We are born of the Spirit and are spirit not flesh.
This is the principle of why it is wrong to require males to be circumcised. In requiring males to be circumcised, one is turning away from the spiritual reality of what has been done in Christ at the spiritual level. One is actually denying the reality of salvation having been occurred, having lost contact with the Head -- having lost sight of the spiritual reality that is in Christ in salvation... that we have become a new creation, holy, blameless in Him.NOBODY has a problem with this concept, Suzie. Luther elaborated it at great length in his study of Galatians for one thing. But Luther had no problem with the head covering. Oh, I guess he was carnal too even though he was such a great expositor of grace.
It is the same exact principle as applied to head coverings. Head coverings in the OT may have been a representation of something. However, we are complete in Christ. We have put off the body of flesh and have become spirit in Christ. We cannot go back to wearing head coverings, without turning away from the knowledge of the spiritual reality that is found in Christ.To the extent there is truth in what you are saying it applies to the world to come, but now we are still in this body and still on this earth. There is nothing carnal about the head covering, hard as you are working to make it so. Scripture is so abounding in teachings on grace such a thing would never have escaped.
There were those Christians in the day of Paul who "could not see this" in relation to male circumcision. They believed that persons would have to be circumcised -- because it was necessary in the OT. Paul proved them wrong stating correct principles. Paul also states that even Sabbaths and new moons and all of these things are not significant today. Because everything today is about what Jesus has done and who we are in Him -- this spiritual reality found in Christ in which we are a new creation. "All that matters is a new creation."All this is true but irrelevant to the head covering issue, to which you and only you are applying it. If it had any relevance to that question scripture would have addressed it. You are willing to tear apart scripture in order to elevate your own misunderstanding.
Clearly, the saints in the church who thought males must be circumcised were not spiritually minded enough to know that we are complete in Christ. They wanted to return to the old patterns. But, Paul rebuked them for this and turned them back to Christ. Were all who were thus tempted not truly born-again?? I'm quite certain there were born-again Christians who just were weak in the flesh and wanted to try to serve God by the old letter of the law rather than by the Spirit. Saints are not yet perfected in their minds and in the strength of their faith to simply look solely to Jesus and know the truth and be transformed as Paul instructs in Galatians 3.
Be alerted that I may come back and comment further on this. There are at least two more parts of this to come, which of course will simply carry on the same repetitive theme but it seems to need the airing.