Head Coverings: And five different groups
Who have it all covered
We know of at least four different groups, churches, etc. that vehemently preach and promote the use of head coverings on women. These groups include sincere, godly believers, many of whom are dear friends to us.
A brief analysis made by observation:
The first group consists of highly separated, fundamental Presbyterians and Baptists. They believe that a womanís head is to have some form of covering besides her hair (I Cor. 11:1-12). They believe this covering should be worn only in public gatherings of worship, such as church services. They believe it depicts the submission of the wife to her husband when coming before the presence of God. They believe the covering is only a symbol, and need not be a certain length, size, diameter or material. Thus, it may be a hat, however so big with designs, flowers, fruit and the works; or it may be a little doily no more than three to four inches in diameter. Either is fine since the covering is just a symbol. One distinguishing feature of these people is that many of their women have short hair -- in and out of the assembly. But the external covering is what matters. These women do not cover their heads at any gathering, Bible study, prayer before a meal, or when someone in their midst (away from church) quotes Scripture. Only at an organized church facility is the covering worn. Young, unmarried girls are encouraged to wear the head covering just as the older women do. This custom they affirm dogmatically, regarding all others to be in error and lacking of Godís blessings for disobedience.
Another group consists mainly of Sovereign Grace brethren, who believe similarly, with a few variations. They believe that the womanís hair should be long as stated in I Cor. 11:15, and that the covering should represent in a worship service what the hair shows in every, day life -- a wifeís submission to her husband. Since the covering symbolizes the hair, it should be long like the hair -- a veil, a long piece of cloth draped over the whole head, except for the face. Such a veil may be solid, multi-colored, and of any material, but it must cover the whole head during the service. Like the preceding group, members of this group need not wear veils at all times. Since the veil is believed to show submission to the husband, young, unmarried girls need not wear them, though I have seen it done in their midst. Members of this group likewise regard all others to be in error and disobedience who do not practice as they do.
A third group is the Mennonites. They believe quite differently than the others on the philosophy of the head covering. They believe a womanís hair is to be long and put up in a bun and covered at all times (I believe just in public). The head coverings are merely a symbol and do not cover the whole head. Some have a small net, others a cap; some are black, others are white: to each his own. A Mennonite tract on the matter reads, "The wearing of the covering is appropriate whenever a woman prays or worships, at home or in public, ĎFor in Him we live, and move, and have our beingí (Acts 17:25)." According to such a statement, it would be fair to assume that if these women pray in the shower, the covering should be worn there as well, etc. This group likewise regards all others to be in error who do not practice as they do.
A fourth group comes from among Christians in other countries, such as India for example. Their head coverings are quite colorful and usually silky and long enough to cover the whole head, except for the face, and drape down long. These folks do not wear the coverings throughout the entire services, but mainly during public and private prayer. It can be said quite honestly and truthfully that some have more on their heads than around their bellies.
Should any of the above groups visit one another, each would disagree with the other concerning "the clear teaching of Scripture." It is clear to see why God instituted just two ordinances -- Baptism and the Lordís Supper. There has been enough controversy over these two alone. Arenít we glad that God did not institute seven ordinances? The church would have certainly seen an early death!
We likewise believe and affirm our convictions on the matter: If, "where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst" (Matt. 18:20); if, "in him we live, and move, and have our being" (Acts 17:28); if, we are to worship the Lord at all times and to "pray without ceasing" (I Thess. 5.17), then we are more consistent than they. Our glorious women always have their long hair, at all times and in all places, showing submission to God and their husbands. If they are too poor to afford a piece of cloth, they arenít too poor to have hair. If the wind blows at a public gathering and all the above lose their submission and obedience, our womenís hair will gloriously wave in the wind, but never leave their obedient heads.
Nor must our women be concerned when to put it on, take it off, or what to do when it is left off or lost: theyíve always got their glorious hair. What did the poor martyred women of old do when, not being stripped of all their clothing and being thrown to the wild beasts was as bad as losing their doily in the process! Did God hear their prayers? Poor women -- rejected by God and man! What about the sincere, godly woman who, upon arriving at the House of God, realizes she had left her covering behind! Donít say the entire message was not ruined for her, thinking the whole time she was not covered! God save us from sacramentalism and works righteousness!
Truth is simple and crystal clear. After going through the whole custom and practice of his day, Paul concludes the whole section, "Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? Doth not nature itself teach you, that if a man have 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 covering (veil). But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God" (I Cor. 11:13-16). Now, my dear friends, if you are going to appeal to tradition to continue wearing your caps, donít get too upset if a Christian Indian woman visits your church continuing her tradition with her belly showing. If your authority for your customs is Christian tradition, then you are behaving like Roman Catholics.
If the Bible says a womanís long hair is a glory to her, why do so many professing Christian women today wear short hair? The answer is simple: rebellion to God-ordained authority. And it can always be seen in their children. They are fighting against the curse, seeking to be a dominating authority and almost always wear the pants in the family, literally and figuratively. God will hold those weak husbands responsible for not ruling well their house. Show me a pant-wearing, short-haired woman with obedient and godly children and Iíll change my religion.
If head coverings are right. I have yet to meet any that cover their heads completely (including the face), all the time, every-where, except for Muslims. Have you ever considered how Jacob could marry the wrong girl? Her veil covered her face.
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matt. 11:28
"Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near." Is. 55:6
"...Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." Rev. 22:17b
"Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else." Is. 45:22
"But as many as receivedí him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." John 1:12
"...if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus...." Rom. 10:9
"...make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die...?" Ezek. 18:31
The Inability of Man
"No man can come to me..." John 6:44a
"There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God." Rom. 3:11
"So then it is not of him that willeth..." Rom. 9:16a
"...Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3:3a
"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." I Cor. 2:14
"No man can say that Jesus is the Lord..." I Cor. 12:3b
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked..." Jer. 17:9
The Sovereignty of God
"...Except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day" John 6:44b
"...I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me." Rom. 10:20b
"Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power..." Ps. 110:3a
"...The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest...see that Just One..." Acts 22:14
"But as many as received him... were born, not of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." John 1:12-13
"...but by the Holy Ghost" I Cor. 12:3b
"A new heart also will I give you...and I will take away the stony heart..." Ezek. 36:26
-- A contradiction between two apparently equally valid principles or
between inferences correctly drawn from such principles. (Merriam Websterís Collegiate Dictionary, tenth edition) The truth of Godís Word is honored not in holding exclusively to one truth to the exclusion of another truth, but in believing the whole counsel of God, even though we may not be able to reconcile it in our finite minds. The Bible plainly teaches the sovereignty of God in salvation just as it plainly teaches that man is responsible to repent and believe the gospel.
--taken from Journey magazine, December 1997, Volume II: Issue 12
"God has not willed to command anything impossible, for he is righteous; and he will not condemn a man for what he could not help, for he is holy." -- Pelagius (condemned as a heretic at the church council of Ephesus in A.D. 431)
Often this "Pelagianism" is today worded, "what man is responsible to do, he is able to do," thus concluding the Law to be sufficient and Christ to be unnecessary.
Man is responsible to obey the ten commandments, but man is not able.
Christians are commanded to be perfect, but Christians are not able. God save us, for we are unable, but He is able!
We used to have a sign in front of our church for all those who would pass by, but would never enter in. The church was very close to the road, with only a few feet of space between. There used to be an elderly man who would walk the streets with a cane, while jerking his head to the side; he had been injured in the war. This man walked these same streets for years, but never came to church. He had been given the Gospel many times, but believed it not.
One early morning we were awakened by a policeman. He didnít know we lived in the back of the church, and thought we might have been possible criminals. My father went with him to the front yard of the church to find that old man who used to always pass by the church, stretched out on the ground, dead, in front of the church sign which read,
Prostrate, dear Jesus, at Thy feet
A guilty rebel lies,
And upward to Thy mercy-seat
Presumes to lift his eyes.
If tears of sorrow would suffice
To pay the debt I owe,
Tears should from both my weeping
In ceaseless torrents flow.
But no such sacrifice I plead
To expiate my guilt;
No tears but those which Thou hast
No blood but Thou hast spilt.
Think of Thy sorrows, dearest Lord!
And all my sins forgive;
Justice will well approve the word
That bids the sinner live.
-- Samuel Stennett, 1787
The policeman was taken back, saying, "what a place to die!"
The following is a letter written on Christmas Eve to two open-audience, computer symposiums:
As I was eating breakfast with my family and some friends this morning at the Cracker Barrel restaurant, I noticed some obvious, out-of-the-ordinary things:
-- I noticed a greater number of families joined together than normal.
-- I noticed more happiness, cheerfulness, and kindness than normal.
-- I noticed a more pleasing, God-honoring music in the background than normal.
-- I noticed more modest clothing on people than normal.
-- I noticed entire Scripture passages being read on secular radio (John 1:1-14) from the Authorized Version of Godís Holy Word, which isnít normal.
-- I noticed God-haters and Christ-deniers confessing with their mouths the Lord Jesus, which they will give an account for one day, nevertheless, Christ is being preached ("Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: the one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely...notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice" (Philippians 1:15-18.)
-- I noticed on the public radio broadcast yet another attack by the world upon Christmas -- a public school teacher in my city threw a five- year-oldís Christmas cards in the garbage can.
--I noticed that none of the Christmas trees had people -- Christians or unbelievers-- on the ground on their knees worshipping those trees. And I will notice in a couple days, those same trees will be on the side of the road waiting for the garbage men to haul them off to the dump, or throw them in a lake.
--I noticed on the contrary, music sung by no doubt an unregenerate, lost soul commanding the hearers to fall on their knees to worship Christ the Lord, born today.
--I noticed that the songs saying, "Christ is born today" are sung on all the days around the 25th as well, and can be sung any time of the year.
--I noticed the Christian radio station was still cooing Charismatic drivel and sissified lullabies, like normal, but the secular radio sounded like they got converted.
And then I thought to myself-- what a wonderful time of the year! I wonder how my good friends, who refuse to do anything that the world does, and who have to have a command from Scripture to celebrate their King, I wonder what kind of a day they are having? Perhaps they have to disfigure their faces lest it appear to others that they just might have some joy too.