Wednesday, November 19, 2008

More on headcovering

Read an interesting link from Monergism on headcovering by Dr. Robert Spinney. He makes an interesting point on our presuppositions regarding headcovering for women. There are basically two presuppositions we come to 1 Corinthians 11 with. One is that we presuppose (presupposition A) that Paul was writing only to the Corinthian church and the default position should be that headcovering is not normative for today unless proven otherwise.. The other presupposition (presupposition B) is that we should assume that headcovering is normative for today unless proven to not be. From Dr. Spinney's post...

Presupposition B is more sound. This is the assumption we normally use when we interpret the Bible. For example, pastors do not begin sermons on “children obey your parents in the Lord” by proving that such instruction is applicable to Christians today. We all assume (correctly) that such teaching passages are applicable unless we have strong biblical reasons for believing otherwise.

Regarding 1 Corinthians 11:1-16, this means that we must see solid evidence that we are not supposed to do this today before we reject the instruction. The burden of proof rests upon the man who says we do not have to obey this biblical command.

Unfortunately, we don’t treat the issue of head coverings in this manner. We place the burden of proof upon those people who maintain that we should obey the Bible’s instructions in 1 Corinthians 11:1-16. We would never do this with other instructions in the Word of God. Why the double standard? Perhaps because obeying this particular instruction might mark one as peculiar. Our strong desire to fit in with our prevailing culture may well influence how we interpret the Bible. Surely this is a danger that we must guard against. (emphasis added)

The entire article is thought provoking and worthwhile reading. Advocating headcovering is not a knee jerk reaction, a simplistic and overly literal reading of the Bible. Many Christians have studied the issue and come to the conclusion that women should cover their heads. It is at the very least an issue that should be prayerful considered and not dismissed because this person or that person has passed judgment over the issue and that means the matter is closed. If you assume that any command in the Bible must be defended first, you throw every doctrine in the Bible in doubt and insist that the burden of defense falls on the Word to fit into our culture first unless we can prove otherwise.

In fairness, there are several articles linked from Monergism's subsection on headcovering that do not support headcovering. I would invite you to read those articles and consider what they have to say but that you test all things against what the Word says.


Anonymous said...

quick question do the women in your life wear head coverings?

Arthur Sido said...

well I only have one woman in my life and she is sewing up some headcovers to wear at church and while praying at home.

Arthur Sido said...

As a side note, it was actually my wife who asked me about this at home...

If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church. (1 Corinthians 14:35)

That is when I started looking more deeply into it. It was my wife who was convicted about it at first and after I looked into it, I came to the same conclusion.

Paul Woods said...

"Why the double standard? Perhaps because obeying this particular instruction might mark one as peculiar. Our strong desire to fit in with our prevailing culture may well influence how we interpret the Bible."

I think that statement says it all.

Paul Woods said...

Also, headcovering does not only not fit with the prevailing secular culture, but Christian culture as well. If the majority of Christian women covered their heads, you would find just the opposite scenario than we have today. The burden of proof would once again rest on those who do not think women should cover.

Our family said...

I think that article excerpt was really good. When I first became convicted to cover, I started checking into the side that was for headcoverings. I had always heard the opposition to it and wanted to hear the other side of the story for once.

To me, it just made sense if you looked at the text coming into it with presupposition B, and if you look at history, it was normal for women to cover their heads up until recently and the rise of feminism.

I think the same goes with other topics of the Bible such as planning family size or women in ministry for example. The burden of proof rests upon those trying to think the Bible doesn't mean what it so clearly says.

Melissa : ) (Plain or fancy headcoverings, headbands, and more at an affordable price) (Christian resources for women about marriage, children, headcovering, and more) (Christian resource site)

Arthur Sido said...


every point you make is quite true, I am working on a post linking the family size issue with biblical authority, feminism, headcovering and whatever else I can throw in there!