Friday, October 24, 2008

Personal Thoughts

I received a copy of this letter, concerning the wearing and not-wearing of Christian headcovering and 1 Corinthians 11:2-16. Since it was not sent to me, but only passed on, I didn't feel I should send my thoughts to the author, especially since it does not appear as if the issue is up for discussion. But I have read and heard these thoughts before. And I have been asked, "So what DO you think about all this?" Here is the letter, and then my response.
I studied this years ago and have fought the arguments on the issue for years now. If you read I Corinthians 11:3-15 you cannot come to a conclusion that they wore an artificial covering. If I Corinthians 11:3-15 teaches an artificial covering how long does it have to be, what material, when do you wear it, when not, etc. People whom argue cannot answer one of those questions because God doesn't teach an artificial covering to anyone now or then. Anything that God desires we do, He explains how to do it (Lord's Supper - when, where, with what, among whom, etc. - Matthew 26:26-30, Acts 20:7, and I Corinthians 11:23-34). If anyone is wearing it with mixed thoughts, not in faith, that is a violation of Romans 14:23.

The following is the letter that I wrote, but did not send:

Thank you for sending this. I would never like to argue with anyone, least of all someone who has "fought the arguments" for years. I would disagree that a person reading this passage "cannot come to a conclusion that they wore an artificial covering" because many people do.

I also have a problem with not having the specifics equaling it not being a command, because we also do not have specifics for many other things that we do: we are commanded to sing to one another, but which spiritual songs and hymns are to be sung, how long should they be, who should write them, what about song books and song leaders ... we are commanded to come together; should we meet in a special building and what are the specifics there, should we have a separate room for the Lord's Supper, what kind of table, utensils ... we are commanded to dress appropriately; what does "modest apparel" mean specifically, how long is a long skirt, (and how long is long hair?) ... .

I do agree that God does not teach artificial covering as a specific command, and therefore I would never bind this practice on anyone as a law - any more than I would bind teaching a Bible class, or dressing to my standard of modesty, or even getting married and having children, for example (there are many things in scripture that are not specifically commanded but are very good, righteous or virtuous behaviour). But I do think that there are wise choices that easily follow the commands of love that are there in the Word. God placed us in a certain order in creation as men and women, and head covering can be a choice made that very easily reflects that, and even is commended (though not commanded) in scripture. So I wouldn't "unbind" the practice either, as some seem to try to do. To me, this should be approached as a "Romans 14" topic in certain ways - if you feel that the scripture teaches it, or, in the words of others, that "the Lord is leading you to it", then in contrast to the "he who doubts if he eats, sins" (verse 23), "he who knows to do good and does it not sins"(James 4:17).

I encourage you to study with your husband, and others, and come to a conclusion on the issue for yourself. Just as "each person must be fully convinced in their own mind", so also the practice of headcovering is a sign of submission and authority, and so the husband's opinion on this is also very important. If you come to the conclusion together that it was a good practice but is not necessary, then I certainly stand with you in that liberty - God has not sent Jesus Christ as Messiah to bind us to another set of physical laws like in the Old Covenant. I don't personally feel that it is a clear command, such as sharing in the Lord's Memorial Supper, or worshiping and praying together. But I would encourage you to be careful not to be contentious about it either way - I really don't think You would anyway. :)

As I've said before, for me personally, this is where I stand at this point in my life, and how I understand it. Perhaps someday I may change my mind. Until then, I see nothing sinful in wearing a headcovering unless it is done in order to earn salvation or something like that, and in contrast I do see the spiritual benefits of living in humility and submission in a silent visual way for both husband and wife, and others too maybe - unless it is done as if it is a law and not as something which comes alongside a commanded spiritual law, such as a hymn book, or church building, or floor length skirt...

I hope that I don't sound argumentative - I really don't mean to. I am still suffering from this cough a bit and with all the packing going on, I may not be wording things exactly right. I also don't want to sound wishy-washy. I do believe it is a very good practice, and like marriage, which was a design from the beginning to symbolize our relationship to God, should be practiced in depth of spiritual understanding - not everyone does it; but I cannot judge their hearts. Only God can see their heart - and I can only see my own.

And therefore, I cover my head for prayer and speaking God's words.


If you would like to discuss these things with me further, please write and let me know. Leave anonymous comments, and I will respond in the comment section. Or feel free to copy this letter and discuss it with someone else - and Please, let me know if you feel that I am mis-representing the Lord God with these words.

May you remember that you are blessed, and may you be covered with Love.

- LM
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