Those who take the cultural viewpoint of head covering often argue that since the veil has no meaning in modern Western culture, believers can uphold the principle by substituting the symbol with something that has more modern relevance. The most often cited replacement is for women to wear a wedding ring.
As one example of this recommendation Dr. Roy B. Zuck in his book “Basic Bible Interpretation” says,
Should women today wear shawls on their heads in church? No, because the significance of women wearing shawls in the Greco-Roman world no longer holds true in our culture. The act does not carry the symbolism it once had. But is there a principle here to be followed, and to be expressed in a modern-day cultural equivalent? The principle of subordination (not inferiority!) of the wife to her husband still holds because that truth is stated elsewhere in Scripture. A possible modern cultural parallel, some have suggested, is the wife’s wedding ring (and changing her last name to that of her husband) which shows that she is married and thus is under her husband’s authority. 1) Zuck, Roy B.. (1991)., Basic Bible Interpretation: A Practical Guide to Discovering Biblical Truth (p. 97). Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook.
There is a foundational reason for why I don’t accept symbol replacement. We simply do not have the authority to change what God commands in Scripture. As his people, our responsibility is to accept what He commands and put it into practice, not modernize or update it. I’ve already covered this point in-depth here and shown how this hermeneutic actually undermines other biblical symbols (like Baptism and the Lord’s Supper). For this article, I’d like to narrow my focus on the “wedding ring” and share why I do not believe it is a suitable replacement for head covering. I’ll lay out my case through five reasons. Read more
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