Volume 6, Number 2
In our day people are talking about “unisex” that is, about obliterating the lines of distinction between the sexes. Women cut their hair and sometimes dress like men, and long-haired men with strings of beads around the neck are becoming a common sight. The Bible teaches that there should be a distinction between the sexes, and that it is degrading for a man to wear long hair, but that long hair is appropriate and proper for the Christian woman. Early records show that even Jesus had a close-cropped haircut (see Vollmer, The Modern Student’s Life of Christ (Revell).
The Apostle Paul was inspired (as recorded in 1 Corinthians 11) to give three reasons why the man’s hair should be short and the woman’s hair should not be shorn:
(1) The theological reason (vs. 2-6) – The issue centers around authority. In God’s order, the woman cooperates with man’s leadership, and the veiling is a sign of her acceptance of that authority an(] his leadership role.
(2) The biblical reason (vs 722) – The facts of’ creation (as given in Genesis 1 and 2) are discussed. God created the man first. The woman was in turn made from the man, and this simple order in creation is to be. respected in the Church.
(3) The physical reason (vs. 1326) — Even nature shows a distinction between the sexes and nature shows the female as modest and retiring. Nature everywhere teaches us that the Creator distinguishes between the sexes, and certainly it is proper for men and women to appear differently in order to distinguish them.
In spite of the fact that some think the Apostle Paul was biased against women, the Bible actually bestows honor upon women, and elevates the woman far above the place accorded her by the ancient religions. In Romans 16, Paul names many women (Phoebe, Priscilla, Junia, Mary, Tryphena, Tryphosa, etc.) -and describes them as humble women who on the Resurrection morning are going to share in the brilliance of the eternal city.
The article by Bro. James Myer featured in this issue of the BRF WITNESS is an excellent study of God’s instruction in 1 Corinthians 11. Those who say that the more conservative churches have a flourishing church attendance because they preach what people want to bear (instead of getting involved in current socio-political issues) — are altogether wrong! The Bible way has always been a narrow way, and the masses turn a deaf ear. Try urging the practice of 1 Corinthians 11:2-16, and see how popular you become! And let no one level the charge of “legalism” or “Phariseeism.” The danger today is not legalism; the peril confronting the church today is secularism and lukewarmness and indifference to the will of God.
The Head Veiling
by James F. Myer
Sixteen verses from 1 Corinthians 11 provide the biblical instruction for the sisters head veiling. This teaching which was once a living practice amongmany Christian bodies, is remembered today only by their historical records. Because this practice sets God’s people separate from the. world, it has become unpopular and is not commonly observed. We do not believe this doctrine to be more important than others taught in the Scriptures, but it is part of God’s perfect revelation.
In religious circles we hear the term “nonessentials. There may be some reason for using this phrase with regard to personal convictions, but it should never be used to describe a clear teaching of the Word of God. We approach 1 Corinthians 11:126 keeping in mind that this is the teaching of God’s Word, and not the mere custom of some church.
Many argue that this teaching was relevant and intended only for the Corinthians. In 1 Corinthians 1:2 however, we learn that it was not only addressed to the Corinthians, but to “all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ.” God was no more concerned that order in headship be observed by the Corinthians, than He is for the Christian Church today. If the first sixteen verses of this chapter are only for another age, then what about the latter part of the chapter? Why should we accept Paul’s instructions about the disorders at the Lord’s Table and not accept his instructions about the disorders surrounding headship? Those who are quick to discard the headship instructions (in 1 Corinthians 11) are often equally as diligent in wanting to point out the beautiful words of the great love chapter (in 1 Corinthians 13). Those who would take away the teaching oil the veiling, should first check Revelation 22:11).
Many argue that Jesus never said anything about a head veiling. Sometimes they boastingly say , “We follow Christ,” with an air of indifference to the teaching of the Apostles. It is clear from the context that our Lord did say something about the head veiling. “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the, commandments of the Lord,” says Paul (1 Corinthians 14:37). Again he said “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you” (1 Corinthians 11 :23). It is clear from these Scriptures that Paul was writing beyond himself and that that he wrote was at the divine direction of’ the Lord.
The Principle of the Covering
The principle of headship and order is given in verse three. 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.Everything that God does is done decently and in order. In the original establishment of order, God saw that it was good. Man became the major disappointment in God’s orderly creation by falling into sin. God has air established order under Him, wherein each part bears certain responsibility under another. The order is simple: God, Christ, man, woman.
Because of woman’s being deceived in the original transgression she has to bear a greater stigma for her guilt. “And Adam was not deceived. but the woman being deceived was in the transgression” (1 Timothy 2:14). Painful child-bearing is a grief-filled reminder to women, of Eve’s role in the original transgression. The principle of submission to authority is the underlying principle for the veiling.
The spirit of rebellion and insubordination that prevails today is an attempt by many to eliminate every voice of authority over the life. The Bible clearly states that every Christian believer must recognize a prevailing head When Jesus prayed, “Not my will but thine be done,” He was expressing total submission to the Father. Men must recognize that God has given Christ “to be the head over all things to the church” (Ephesians 1:22). Christian women must recognize that the head of the woman is the man. The emergence of many false teachings in our day is the result of men and women failing to submit to divine authority
The Practice of the Veiling
Verse 4 of 1 Corinthians 11 gives the practice for men. Two acts of communication are indicated. Praying is talking with God. Prophesying is witnessing to men. Man is to show his subjection to Christ by having his head uncovered or unveiled When the Bible uses the word “covered,” the word “veiled” is equally correct. The veiling is a recognizable sign-covering that has spiritual significance. The wearing of a weather–protection has no spiritual meaning and therefore is not a fitting substitute for a veil.
Verse 5 of 1 Corinthians 11 gives the practice for Christian women. When Paul speaks of every woman that prays or prophesies with her head uncovered, we believe He is speaking of a constant, active, spiritual occupation. It is not indicated in the text that Paul is giving public worship guidelines. If women only pray and witness during times of public worship, they call hardly be called Christian. It is no less a disgrace to pray unveiled out of the assembly than in it. When Paul begins teaching later in the chapter (1 Corinthians 11, verses 17-34) about the Communion, he says three times “when ye come together.” This indicates that the Communion is something for a time of public meeting. No such phrase is given with regard to the wearing of the headveiling.
Paul is saying further in verse 6 (of 1 Corinthians 11), that if a woman will be rebellious toward the wearing of a veiling she should be consistently wrong and cut her hair off too. A woman’s hair is her glory – it is a shame for her to cut it off. Neither does Paul suggest that one can cut some of it off and then be able to cover the shame of that act by wearing a veiling. For those who can’t understand what “long hair” is, we suggest they let the scissors away, and God will demonstrate how long “long” is.
Jesus clearly said we cannot serve two masters. The teaching in 1 Corinthians 11 helps to keep Christian women from being a slave to the constantly changing hair fashions of the world. We believe God is displeased with women who live in the height of worldly fashion and style, and then wear a mini-covering on mini-hair for a mini-period of time (at a Sunday service).
Verse 10 (of 1 Corinthians 11) declares that the veiled head of a Christian woman will encourage power and protection from the guardian angels. Testimonies can be gleaned to witness to this fact. Men have power in their bodies, but women may have power on their heads.
In verse 16, Paul clearly sees the contention arising over this instruction about the veiling. He makes no compromise however for those who would be contentious. He says, “We have no such custom (referring to verse 13 which speaks of’ women praying unto God uncovered), and neither do the churches of God.” True churches of’ God will still uphold this is Bible teaching.
One of the tragedies occurring among many believers in the church, is the failure to walk in increasing light. The Apostle John writes an important truth reminding its that keeping the Lord’s commandments is an expression of’ our love to God, when he says, “He that says I know him, and keeps not his commandments, is a liar., and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:4). One work of the Holy Spirit is to lead believers off fit the way of’ truth and righteousness. The person who will not follow the Holy Spirit’s leading, will usually fall prey to the dictates of another spirit. Remember that the world passes away, and the lusts thereof but he that does the will of God abides forever (See 1 John 2: 17).