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Can we symbolize our roles using a different symbol?

Head Covering Objections
The Objection: Having your head covered today doesn’t have the same meaning it did in that time and culture. Using a different symbol would keep the spirit of the text and could more meaningfully symbolize our roles today.

This view would understand 1 Corinthians 11 essentially the same way we would, but proposes a different symbol than a head covering. In other words, they think only the principle is unchanging whereas the symbol itself can be modified. Joshua Harris, in his sermon on 1 Corinthians 11 proposed that we use wedding rings instead of a head covering. 1) ”Head Coverings” by Joshua Harris. Preached on Sept 2/07. You can listen here: http://www.covlife.org/resources/2671259-Head_Coverings Daniel Wallace listed some concerns with using wedding rings and proposed wearing modest clothing instead. 2) http://www.bible.org/article/what-head-covering-1-cor-112-16-and-does-it-apply-us-today Those are two of the most commonly suggested replacement symbols.

I’m concerned about the hermeneutic of separating the principle from the symbol and believe it can have dire consequences when taken to its logical conclusion. As you’ll see in a minute, this concern isn’t unfounded. A head covering is a visual picture of our gender roles and what scares me about the proposed hermeneutic is both baptism and the Lord’s supper are in that same category. They are symbols (visual pictures) that point to a greater reality.

The Salvation Army denomination takes this hermeneutic and regretfully applied it to both Baptism and the Lord’s supper. Here is their official statement on baptism:

The Salvation Army rejoices in the truth that all who are in Christ are baptised into the one body by the Holy Spirit (1Corinthians 12:13). It believes, in accordance with Scripture, that there is one body and one Spirit . . . one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all’ (Ephesians 4:5-6). The swearing-in of a soldier of The Salvation Army beneath the trinitarian sign of the Army’s flag acknowledges this truth. It is a public response and witness to a life-changing encounter with Christ which has already taken place, as is the water baptism practised by some other Christians. The Salvation Army acknowledges that there are many worthy ways of publicly witnessing to having been baptised into Christ’s body by the Holy Spirit and expressing a desire to be his disciple. 3) From ‘A statement on baptism’ located on the official Salvation Army website. This can be viewed at http://bit.ly/sabaptism (link is case sensitive).

In that statement they’re affirming that they too believe in the principle behind baptism. What they disagree with, is that water is necessary to symbolize that truth. Can those who replace the symbol in 1 Corinthians 11 say that the Salvation Army is wrong and remain consistent?

Biblical scholar Bruce Waltke speaking to this issue in regards to head covering says:

The picture of His rule must not be seized by believers into their own hands to shape it according to their own pleasure. Ahaz incurred the wrath of God by changing the shape of the altar to conform it to Assyrian demands (2 Kings 16:10-11). 4) 1 Corinthians 11:2-16: An Interpretation by Bruce K. Waltke

I have a couple additional points on why we should reject separating the symbol from the principle when both are given to us.

  1. Paul’s desire was for conformity in all churches with the practice of head covering (1 Cor 11:16). Allowing Christians to choose their own symbol promotes the opposite.
  2. Arguing that head covering doesn’t have the same meaning in today’s culture presupposes that covering is a symbol only for people. Paul on the other hand argued that we’re to cover “because of the angels” (1 Cor 11:10) and angels transcend culture.
  3. Paul’s command does not agree with the worship practice in his own day either. The Cambridge Bible for Schools and College says “the remarkable fact that the practice here enjoined is neither Jewish, which required men to be veiled in prayer, nor Greek which required both men and women to be unveiled, but peculiar to Christians” This same understanding is backed up by many scholarly works including The Expositors Greek Testament, Tyndale’s New Testament Commentaries & Vincent’s Word Studies in the New Testament. It’s hard to believe that Paul would insist on a symbol that was the very opposite of what they were accustom to, if he did not intend for it to be carried on.
  4. Even if we had liberty to replace the symbol, a head covering would still remain the best option. Since it is embedded within the pages of Scripture the meaning behind the symbol can never be lost and Christians worldwide can be unified in practice as per Paul’s command (1 Cor 11:16). This is not possible with a symbol outside of the Bible.

For these reasons I believe that Christians should embrace the symbol that was given to us: a head covering for women and a bare head for men during corporate worship. When churches and cultures are ignorant of Christian symbolism, it should be taught to them rather than being changed.

References

1.
 ”Head Coverings” by Joshua Harris. Preached on Sept 2/07. You can listen here: http://www.covlife.org/resources/2671259-Head_Coverings
3.
 From ‘A statement on baptism’ located on the official Salvation Army website. This can be viewed at http://bit.ly/sabaptism (link is case sensitive).
4.
 1 Corinthians 11:2-16: An Interpretation by Bruce K. Waltke

Jeremy Gardiner

Jeremy is the founder of the Head Covering Movement and the author of Head Covering: A Forgotten Christian Practice for Modern Times. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and is a member of Fellowship Baptist Church. He is a husband to Amanda and father to four young children. Jeremy is also the founder and operator of Gospel eBooks, a popular website that provides alerts for free and discounted Christian e-books.

Latest posts by Jeremy Gardiner (see all)

  • Melissa Bishop

    Well put. I especially like your closing sentence.

  • Lois Ann Mast

    This is excellent.

  • Karen Gattis Smith

    very good.

  • ginsuzake

    brilliant! well done. I haven’t explored this aspect and the post is to the point and informative. thank you!

  • Diana Johnston

    Very well put; great points. Agree completely!

  • Julie Roggie

    Agree with all but the “corporate worship.” The Bible clearly states “while praying or prophesying.” I not sure how “corporate worship” was added in. Hopefully praying (talking with God) and prophesying (talking about Him) are done both privately and publicly.

  • Amy Pavlovik

    Thank you for taking the time to put together these many excellent points. Number 3 especially was one I had never thought of in that light. What Paul was commanding was a practice transcending any one particular culture. Had he been, as many say, simply encouraging the people to fit in with their local culture, he would not have outlined a practice contrary to their local culture.

  • David Pendleton

    What you argue here is precisely the argument the Judaizer’s would have made regarding circumcision in the first century.

    • Colin Saxton

      David, you only ever come on this site to tear apart the word of God – you are teaching against that which is clearly taught by Christ and the apostles – If you disagree with Paul the apostle it is because you are prideful and I would suggest to anyone reading your comments to ignore you – you change your goal posts as people disprove your words. Very subtle, very devious – people would do well to ignore you.

      • David Pendleton

        Thank you for sharing your thoughts here, Colin. Rest assured that in my experience your sentiments are shared by the majority of the people that I know who have reached the conclusions that are touted on this “head covering movement” site.

  • David Pendleton

    This is how I imagine those who argued against Paul and Barnabas in Acts 15 would have argued their point. Note the similarities…

    Paul and Barnabas’s view would understand Genesis 17:9-14 essentially the same way we would, but proposes a different symbol than circumcision. In other words, they think
    only the principle is unchanging whereas the symbol itself can be modified. Paul, in his letter to the church in Galatia said, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” Paul has proposed that we completely abandon the command for all Christian men to be circumcised and instead replace the practice with what he refers to as “circumcision of the heart”! Though he doesn’t explain what exactly that would look like, he suggests that it is the “principle” in the heart that is
    more important to God than the physical custom of circumcision that was commanded by God in Genesis 17!

    I’m concerned about the hermeneutic of separating the principle from the symbol and believe it can have dire consequences when taken to its logical conclusion. As you’ll see in a minute, this concern isn’t unfounded. Circumcision is a visual picture and reminder that God’s people are to be “cut out from the world” and what scares me about the proposed hermeneutic is both baptism and the Lord’s supper are in that same category. They are symbols (visual pictures) that point to a greater reality.

    Can those who replace or completely abandon the symbol in Genesis 17 say that it is wrong to not maintain the practice of water baptism and the physical symbols of the Lord’s supper and remain consistent?

    What I want to say to Paul and Barnabas regarding this idea that the practice of physical circumcision should now be considered optional is that the picture of God’s rule must not be seized by believers into their own hands to shape it according to their own pleasure! Ahaz incurred the wrath of God by changing the shape of the altar to conform it to Assyrian demands (2 Kings 16:10-11). Dare we similarly conform to these Gentile’s demands to abandon this centuries old practice that was commanded by God to be carried on from generation to generation?

    I have a couple additional points on why we should reject separating the symbol from the principle when both are given to us.

    God’s desire was for complete conformity among his people with the practice of circumcision (Genesis 17). Allowing Christians to choose their own symbol, or to choose to not do it at all promotes the opposite.

    Arguing that circumcision doesn’t have the same meaning in today’s culture among the Gentiles presupposes that circumcision is a symbol only for people. God on the other hand commanded the practice as an “everlasting covenant” that transcends culture.

    God’s command was given to Abraham as a practice that was to be passed down from generation to generation. There was no suggestion when the command was given by God that there would come a time when the practice was no longer necessary or would be replaced by what Paul refers to as “circumcision of the heart”!

    It’s hard to believe that God would insist on a symbol that was the very opposite of what Abraham was accustom to, if He did not intend for it to be carried on.

    Even if we had liberty to replace the symbol, physical circumcision would still remain the best option. Since it is embedded within the pages of Scripture the meaning behind the symbol can never be lost and Christians worldwide can be unified in practice as per God’s command (Genesis 17:9-14). This is not possible with a symbol outside of the Bible, or a symbol that is
    completely invisible, as Paul seems to be suggesting with his proposed “circumcision of the heart”.

    For these reasons I believe that Christians should embrace the symbol that was given to us: physical circumcision of the flesh. When churches and cultures are ignorant of Christian symbolism, it should be taught to them rather than being changed or abandoned completely!

    • I understand your point but don’t think you’re doing an apples-to-apples comparison. Your example involves crossing covenants and deals with a symbol that God explicitly states is finished (or replaced depending on your tradition). The problem I’m raising is with replacing a symbol within the same covenant when we’re not given any indication to do so.

      • David Pendleton

        Regardless, Paul did not use your argument about “crossing covenants” to make his case. He used the very same hermeneutic of separating the principle from the symbol that you are claiming has such “dire consequences when taken to its logical conclusion”. My point was that those who would have argued against Paul and Barnabas would have had the very same concerns as you in this case.

        What we do know is that for those Judaizers the practice of circumcision was a “test of fellowship”. I am curious about something, Jeremy. Do you believe that a piece of fabric on a woman’s head should be a test of fellowship?

        • Jesus and the Apostles have authority to create, change or abolish a symbol. That’s a right we don’t have. We’re to “hold firmly” to what has been delivered to us (1 Cor 11:2).

          “Do you believe that a piece of fabric on a woman’s head should be a test of fellowship?”

          Absolutely not.

          • David Pendleton

            Thank you, Jeremy. I do agree with you there. So now I’m curious about something else. Do you ever find yourself discussing this topic (either on this online forum or elsewhere) with those who DO think this practice should be a test of fellowship, and if so what would you tell them if they asked you why you don’t think it should be a test of fellowship?

          • Colin Saxton

            [Rom 16:17] And now I make one more appeal, my dear brothers and sisters. Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them.

            And no doubt David you would disagree with Paul again – at what point do you break fellowship with someone. Do you just go along with everything until the whole lump is leavened – you are causing deception by teaching against the word of God. As Paul the apostle said – I would stay away from David – he will always be right and you will always be wrong even when you quote to him the word of God.

          • David Pendleton

            Rest assured, Colin Saxton, I don’t think your warning is necessary here. In your previous comment you also wrote, “do it [wear a head covering] because God is telling you to do it and ignore people like David Pendleton who are just contradicting the word of God. Are we going to listen to men who argue against the teaching of Christ or is it better to do the will of God.”

            This is the attitude that I find among the majority of those who hold to the conclusions expressed on this site. The pronouncement is that “God is telling you to IGNORE” Christians who have reached a different conclusion based upon their interpretation and understanding of 1 Corinthians 11. Guys like Wayne Grudem, Daniel Wallace, and ESPECIALLY me should not only be “ignored” but completely avoided. (After all, “as Paul the apostle said – I would stay away from David”.)

            The reason that I think that your warning is hardly even necessary is because in my experience your comment represents the majority of those that I have contact with who hold to the pro-head covering position. You are certainly not alone in your sentiments here. You should take great comfort in that!

          • David Pendleton

            (By the way, after reading your first comment about the Apostles having “authority to create, change or abolish a symbol”. Paul didn’t come along and basically say “I’m an Apostle and I have the authority to hereby abolish the need to carry on the custom of circumcision.” That’s not what he did. He reasoned that what God is most concerned about is not external customs or symbolic practices of any kind, but rather what is in the heart.)

          • David Pendleton

            Jesus does indeed have the ultimate authority, of course. After all, He is God. But I am very uncomfortable ascribing to the Apostles more authority than we ought. Yes they do have Apostolic authority. I understand that. But I would not to ascribe to them more authority than they would want ascribed to them. I’m not sure that Paul would say that he was given the authority to step in and “create, change or abolish a symbol”. Yikes! Furthermore, if that were the case then there would not have been “much discussion” in the Jerusalem council in Acts 15. There would have been no discussion at all! Paul would have simply said, “I’m an Apostle and what I say goes. I hereby decree that the symbol of circumcision is no longer necessary. End of discussion. Next item of business, please.”

          • Hi David, that’s not what I meant. I probably wasn’t clear enough but I was only speaking of what they did in Scripture. So Paul would never say “I can do whatever I want” but we can have confidence that whatever he actually did set forth in Scripture is correct and that he had the authority to command/change/abolish what he did. His instructions were under the inspiration of the Spirit, therefore in accordance with the plan and purpose of God. If Paul changed something and delivered that to the church, God wanted it changed.

            My point was we do not possess that authority. We can’t say, Paul changed/replaced/abolished so-and-so, so we can too.

      • David Pendleton

        I’ve been mulling over our little conversation on your website over the past several days. I’ve also been in an ongoing conversation with someone else who seems to have a very similar way of seeing things as you. I just have some thoughts I’d like to share with you.

        I was very much intrigued by your comments to me about “crossing covenants” after I made the post that I did to try to illustrate that Paul himself applied the very same hermeneutic of “using a different symbol” than the form that God specifically commanded that would convey the same meaning as physical circumcision.

        As I have been thinking about this it occurs to me that perhaps where you and I differ has to do with what we believe actually changed between the old covenant and the new covenant.

        What you seem to be suggesting is that what changed between the two covenants is simply a different set of specific forms that have been commanded by God. In other words, in the old covenant circumcision was a specific commanded form and it was expected to be obeyed. In the new covenant, according to you, that form (circumcision) was simply eliminated (“God explicitly states is finished”). You clarify that some “traditions” might not say that it is “finished” but rather “replaced” with a different form. (I guess they say, “circumcision of the flesh has been replaced with circumcision of the heart” whatever that is supposed to mean.)

        But what I’m suggesting is that what changed between the two covenants was not merely a swapping out of one set of commanded forms for another. What I’m saying changed is the actual hermeneutic! What I am suggesting to you is that you are actually using an old covenant hermeneutic in the way you look at God’s commands. The hermeneutic itself is what has changed in the new covenant. I am suggesting that the reason that people say “Using a different symbol would keep the spirit of the text and could more meaningfully symbolize our roles today” is because they are applying what they see as a new covenant hermeneutic instead of an old covenant hermeneutic. In other words, it is because we now are living under the new covenant that we CAN use a different symbol that would keep the spirit of the text and more meaningfully symbolize our roles today. They are using the very same hermeneutic that Paul taught us to now use with respect to the Old Covenant commands.

        This is, among other things, based on the idea that when Paul talked about circumcision what he does is change the way we actually see that command under the new covenant. What you seem to be saying is that what has changed is not the hermeneutic, or the way we actually see the commands of God, but rather the list of specific commands themselves. The Judaizers used a certain hermeneutic that led them to conclude that circumcision should continue to be required. Paul didn’t just step in with his Apostolic Authority and declare that circumcision was not longer necessary. No. He introduced a new hermeneutic.

        But this idea of changing the specific commands themselves raises the very important question of who actually has the authority to change or even eliminate commands previously given by God! Your answer: “Jesus does.” So far so good. After all He is God. But then you add: “Oh, and um, the Apostles do to.” Really? So is that how you see it? Paul was just given the authority to step in as an Apostle and declare one day that circumcision is no longer necessary? One day circumcision was a specifically commanded form by God and the next day, poof, it is no longer necessary? And that is because God just bestowed His authority on Paul to step in and eliminate it?

        Or is it, rather, that when Paul was giving us instruction about circumcision that what he was saying was that under the new covenant everything has changed. The way that we look at all of God’s commands has changed. The difference between the old and new covenants is not merely an exchange of one list of do’s and don’ts with a new and different list (completely eliminating some of the “old” commands and adding on few new ones). The change between the old and new covenants was much more radical than that!

        • David, are you saying that the new testament hermeneutic that you’re proposing can be applied to new testament symbols and commands?

          Are you allowing for this to happen across the board or are you only applying this freedom to head covering? Do you take issue with someone who changes Baptism and the Lord’s Supper?

          • David Pendleton

            Yes I am saying that the new covenant hermeneutic can be applied to New Testament symbols and commands.

            Here’s the deal, Jeremy. The people that turned me onto your site would say this about Baptism: For a person to be TRULY baptized they need to be baptized in a very particular mode and it must be in a natural body of water that is a flowing stream. Otherwise that person is not being truly obedient to the Scriptures. If a person was not baptized that truly “biblical way” in the past, then they will need to demonstrate their true obedience to the Scriptures and be baptized again in order to be considered “in fellowship” with the church. Naturally these people also have very particular ways in which the Lord’s Supper is to be conducted (which includes a meal and a time for people to wash each other’s feet). That is all well and good for them to do what they do, but the kicker is that they believe that unless you do it EXACTLY like them then you are guilty of the very thing you asked me about. People who don’t do it exactly like them have “changed Baptism and the Lord’s Supper” from its truly Biblical form.

            So do I take issue with someone who “changes Baptism and the Lord’s Supper?” Trust me, Jeremy, according to the people I’m referring to here, if YOU don’t practice Baptism and the Lord’s Supper just exactly like they do then YOU are guilty of “changing Baptism and the Lord’s Supper!” So you tell me? Should I take issue with YOU then? After all, according to these people you are guilty of the very thing that I suspect you think I should take issue with if I’m truly going to be committed to what the Bible says.

            I suspect that you will protest that you are not guilty of changing Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Good luck trying to convince those people of that! According to them, if you don’t do it exactly as they do it then you have taken God’s rule and seized it into your own hands to shape it according to your own pleasure. Trust me, according to somebody out there (and I can introduce you to a few of them if you’d like) YOU are guilty of the very thing you are accusing others of in this post.

    • pjoy

      You’ve got me thinking about the meaning of circumcision as a symbol. I actually am opposed to circ for various reasons, but from a scriptural standpoint see Paul standing strongly against it as a necessity, particularly in Galatians. He very tellingly did not want it to be practiced by Gentile believers due to the risk that they would associate it with earning their salvation.

      Thanks for making me think about consistency in this line of reasoning. Why would I practice HC as a symbol but not circ.? There may be many good reasons to come to different conclusions on these two issues, but now I’m thinking them through. Perhaps you should also think through why you embrace circ. as a symbol (even though Paul says it is not necessary) but are not willing to embrace HC also as a symbol, even though he expressly teaches it is necessary.

      • Circumcision was an Old Covenant symbol. Head Covering is a New Covenant symbol. So the question would then be, why should we accept Baptism and the Lord’s Supper as symbols today if this line of reasoning is accepted? This is the exact trajectory that concerns me that I alluded to in the article.

        • Kay

          I believe the discussion ought to had about “test of fellowship” ideas, and how rules, behaviors, or denial of practices are used by assemblies to accept certain believers, or put them out of fellowship.

          • David Pendleton

            Amen! Amen! Amen!

        • Christian Filbrun

          Jeremy, if you haven’t expanded on this elsewhere, perhaps you could do a post on the subject of how to determine whether a symbol should or should not be accepted…?

          • David Pendleton

            Christian Filbrun, I know that you belong to a church where 100% of the female members of your church wear a piece of fabric on their heads
            (not only when they are in church but any time they are out in public). I also know that you have told me in previous conversations that if a woman in your church chose to NOT wear a head covering in public or in church she would fall under “church discipline” and be put out of fellowship. You believe this so strongly that you told me that if a woman who did not wear a covering was allowed to continue to be a member of your church that you would LEAVE your church and find another church that would not allow that to happen. Now in contrast, when I asked Jeremy Gardner if he similarly thinks that a piece of fabric on a woman’s head should be test of fellowship he responded: “Absolutely not”.

            Just as you have asked Jeremy here to write a post on the subject of how to determine whether a symbol should or should not be accepted, I would also love to hear from you on this forum why you think it is appropriate and necessary to make the head covering a test of fellowship in your church. And Jeremy Gardner I would love to hear from you why you do NOT think that would be appropriate and necessary to make the head covering a test of fellowship.

          • Christian Filbrun

            This being Jeremy’s site, I’ll leave the decision up to him on whether to write said posts. For public record, I PMed Jeremy sometime last October that I would respect his site and not dialogue with David Pendleton here since David remained unwilling (throughout several prior discussions he and I have had) to address the exegesis and the noncultural and time-transcendant Scriptural reasons behind veiling which I had continued to share (many of which we find here on Jeremy’s site), and since further dialogue between David and myself on this subject has only fueled his fire against those with whom he continues to disagree on this subject, here and elsewhere. As I shared with Jeremy, I have no desire to use this site as a battleground, nor to distract from the work God seems to be doing through it in the hearts of many. Thank you.

          • David Pendleton

            For the record, I am NOT “unwilling to address the exegesis and the noncultural and time-transcendant Scriptural reasons behind veiling”. Good grief, Christian, what on earth would lead you to that conclusion? Furthermore, what do you mean when you say “further dialogue between David and myself on this subject has only fueled his fire against those with whom he continues to disagree on this subject”? I have made no bones about it that primarily those with whom I “disagree” on this subject are those who make the head-covering a test of fellowship. Yes, I strongly disagree with people like you, Christian Filbrun, who believe that women who do not wear a piece of fabric on their heads should be put out of fellowship or not allowed to be members of the Church. I make no apologies for that.

          • David Pendleton

            Would you similarly say that guys like Wayne Grudem and Daniel Wallace are “unwilling to address the exegesis and noncultural and time-transcendant Scripturals reasons behind veiling” just because they do not share your conclusions on the subject???

      • David Pendleton

        Does Paul “expressly teach” a piece of fabric on the head as “necessary”? If so, “necessary” for what? Do you think a piece of fabric on the head is “necessary” for a person to be considered “saved”? If you are like most HC proponents you will probably say, “Of course I don’t think a HC is ‘necessary’ for me to consider a Christian woman to be saved!”

        I am absolutely willing to “embrace HC as a symbol” just as I am willing to embrace circumcision as a symbol. Neither symbol, however, is biblically “necessary”.

        • pjoy

          According to what I have been studying thanks to the resources I’ve found on this website, it is “necessary” as a witness to God’s created order for men and women under Christ and God the Father. Not necessary for salvation. If I begin covering, I will make it clear to all my friends that they have freedom of conscience under Christ in this issue as do I.

          • David Pendleton

            Many (most actually) of the women that I know who wear a piece of fabric on their heads also make it a test of fellowship. The women in their church do not “have the freedom of conscience under Christ in this issue”. In other words, if a woman does not wear a piece of fabric on her head she is told that she cannot be “in fellowship” with the ones who do. This is exactly what the “Judaizers” did with the uncircumcised Gentile Christians.

          • pjoy

            Well, I am sorry to hear that. I think that’s wrong. I believe there are essentials of doctrine on which such lines can be drawn (the nature of God, Christ, soteriology, etc). But there are many and various kinds of less central doctrines and principles that Christians can hold various positions on. Some of these are more important than others. I hold any convictions on HC to be of tertiary importance compared to many, many other Christian doctrines and principles, and not something to be used as a test of fellowship. I am sorry to hear you have had contact with such a legalistic group of people.

          • David Pendleton

            These same people protest that they are not “legalistic” at all. They resent being labeled as such. They claim that just because they make this practice a test of fellowship it does NOT mean that they are saying that a woman who does not wear a piece of fabric on her head is not a Christian. Basically what they say to women who do not wear a piece of fabric on their heads is: “We’re not saying that you aren’t in God’s family– we just don’t want you to be in our family.”

            A prime example of one of these groups is the Old German Baptist Brethren. I have spent considerable time studying this group. They seem to think that as long as they SAY a practice has nothing to do with salvation there is no inconsistency to specifically REQUIRE that practice of members of their church.

            I suspect there are many followers of this “Head Covering Movement” blog who do not think it is wrong at all to make a HC a test of fellowship in their church. If you ask them, “If a woman who does not wear a covering wanted to be a member of your church would you specifically REQUIRE her to wear it?” they would reply by asking: “Well why would she WANT to be a member of our church in the first place?” This is their way of evading the question and skirting the issue.

          • pjoy

            Hmm. I don’t know Jeremy Gardiner other than his testimony on this site and other online presence. I am watching this site for a while before sending its info to friends. I listened to Vincent’s sermons and Yohanon’s ebook and both acknowledged the importance of Christian freedom and not judging others in this area. I grew up attending and currently attend a church where no one covers her head, so it is a big deal for me. Jeremy, may I ask if you think it is right to consider HC a test of fellowship? From what I have seen, you would not say so, but I want to see what you say.

            David, again, I am sorry that you have come in contact with what I consider legalistic churches. However, it seems to me that by pointing to the abuses of the doctrine of HC, you may be avoiding what the scripture itself teaches and the careful arguments of people who do not impose this doctrine legalistically.

          • David Pendleton

            I wasn’t talking about Jeremy Gardiner, whom I’ve never met outside of this forum. I was talking about Christian Filbrun, a German Baptist whom I’ve known for several years and who introduced me to this forum. If you look at the comments posted on this same blog entry but below our present conversation you will see that Jeremy Gardiner says that he “absolutely does not” believe that a HC should be a test of fellowship. Nonetheless, most of the women that I know personally who wear a piece of fabric on their head belong to churches that would not allow you to be a member unless you did.

          • David Pendleton

            The people that I know that make a HC a test of fellowship would similarly tell you that if you don’t make the HC a test of fellowship “you may be avoiding what the scripture itself teaches”!

          • Colin Saxton

            It should be a red flag to any who are being discipled. If simple commands are ignored then what else will they ignore. The whole point of being a Christian is to follow the teaching of the Lord and that includes the teaching of the apostles. If people want to neglect the simple commands given in scripture (especially new testament commands which are there for our protection) – they are not going to follow through with the much tougher commands – I can most absolutely guarantee that they will not follow through with the greater commands because Christ said so regarding money:

            Luke 16:10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.

            This can easily be applied to all of the “least” commands asked of Christ and not just money.

            Let us take the the mark of the beast as a much more grim example: you can read this in Revelation 13 and 14. Revelation 13 tells us that in order to continue to buy and sell that people will have to take the mark of the beast – the massive problem here is that in Revelation 14 we are clearly told that to take the mark of the beast has the consequence of eternal damnation.

            However, now put this to your own heart and test yourself here, the same goes for those who refuse to be baptized – even though there are clear commands to be baptized in scripture: If you are going to fail to do the simplest of commands then how are you going to resist the mark of the beast: leaning only on the Lord for everything you need: If you can be so disobedient in the simplest of things then how will you be obedient on that which is going to be much tougher.

            We are not here to question if it is a new testament command or not or whether we are saved through this or that. The important thing to remember is that “God is asking you to do it (or to not do it in the case of the mark of the beast)” – so just do as we are told is safer than going against that which God has given to us to follow. Head coverings are not a hard thing to do. If you are not baptized then get baptized because Jesus got baptized and he said “Follow me”. If you are not covering you head then start covering your head and vice versa if you are a male uncover your head if you wear a hat in fellowship – do it because God is telling you to do it and ignore people like David Pendleton who are just contradicting the word of God. Are we going to listen to men who argue against the teaching of Christ or is it better to do the will of God. The thoughts of God are much higher than our thoughts and there are valid reasons for head covering – one of them is pride swallowed and submission to headship – something which the devil ignored and was cast out of heaven for.

            In these last days – pick up your bible and stand on the word of God – stop following the contradictions of men and stand on what has been taught from the beginning. At the beginning – head coverings were given and commanded in the churches. Only in these last days, during the falling away of faithful teaching, do we now have contradicting and argumentative people who are only subverting the commands of the Lord for their own, defiant false teaching.

          • David Pendleton

            I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am that you have entered into this discussion, Colin Saxton! Please keep it up! You represent the mentality, attitude, and perspective of the “head covering movement” crowd so well. I so appreciate your candor.

          • Colin Saxton

            I think that I have been faithful enough and warned people of your attitude to the word of God. So I finish with the words of Paul:

            Titus 3:10-11English Standard Version (ESV)

            10 As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.

            take this as my last post to you David

          • David Pendleton

            Well played, Colin Saxton! Thank you so much for expressing so fairly, accurately, and candidly the attitude and mentality of the folks in the pro-head covering camp!

          • Kay

            Not all….

          • Kay

            From what I have seen, in this blog as well as some Facebook groups, is that most of the women reading, looking for fellowship and discussion with other women who cover or are considering it, are pretty much the only women in their assemblies who practice it. I have met with assemblies like you have described, and learned much. I have seen the pride in them and lack of grace as well. I am alone in my practice of it within our Christian community. I have also been prideful at times, but I continue to try and look past the frailty of our nature, and seek to stay at the Lord’s feet, and continue to learn. Regardless of what the Church at large is doing (or not doing).

            I don’t believe that dress codes, rules and tests for fellowship, etc. are the mind of Christ. But I do believe the Bible ought to be taught. And this passage has been sorely neglected, as well as teaching on the Lord’s Supper. Worship is a huge concern of mine, yet I don’t see much discussion about that either. Man made traditions take deep roots, and if my studies lead me to have a different conclusion about something I will discuss it openly.

          • David Pendleton

            1 Corinthians 11 has not been “sorely neglected” in the church where I attend, yet none of the women that I know in my church are compelled to wear a piece of fabric on their heads.

          • Kay

            I agree. Although there was a time when I thought that way. But I enjoy discussing the topic. My experience in assemblies has been that it isn’t usually taught, or it is skimmed. I’m certain that is not always the case.

          • David Pendleton

            There is a fellow who makes comments on this blog by the name of Christian Filbrun. He would disagree with you that it is “wrong” to make a HC a test of fellowship and would strongly deny (possibly even resent) your label of “legalistic group” regarding his church which makes a HC a test of fellowship. I would encourage you to talk to him and learn more about his perspective.

          • Colin Saxton

            And Christ also teaches against people like you David who are playing one off one to get them to argue with each other.

          • David Pendleton

            Again, thank you so much for your comment here, Colin Saxton. Your comment, coupled with your attitude, demeanor, disposition, and perspective expressed here, fairly and accurately represents the majority of those I have personally come into contact with who tout the conclusions expressed on this “Head Covering Movement” website. Rest assured, Colin, you represent the “pro-head covering” crowd quite well.

          • Colin Saxton

            [Luk 6:26 KJV] 26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

            I am sure Paul would have come under similar fire so I am in good company – I have many, many times come across the same deceptive people in congregations, prayer groups and while preaching on the streets who use the exact same arguments as yourself David. I stand on my words – you are only here to turn people away from the teaching of the apostles – and if you are against the apostles – you are against Christ. You need to repent.

        • Colin Saxton

          David, you are full of pride – you are speaking against the word of God and Paul in His day knew that some, like you , would kick up a fuss about it and said “There is no other practice in the churches of God” – Let us remember that Paul was a pharisee and he was also taught directly by the risen Christ on the road to Damascus and he had no problem, after being born again, saying without any doubt that “there is no other practice on the churches of God” – If God stood before you would you argue so much in His face on something so plain a teaching – you are full of pride and you have a massive issue with people who just want to follow what the apostles taught – who were taught directly by Christ Himself.

          • David Pendleton

            Thank you so much for your comment here, Colin Saxton. Your comment, coupled with your attitude, demeanor, disposition, and perspective expressed here, fairly and accurately represents the majority of those I have personally come into contact with who tout the conclusions expressed on this “Head Covering Movement” website. Rest assured, Colin, you represent the “pro-head covering” crowd quite well.

  • David Pendleton

    You write, “I’m concerned about the hermeneutic of separating the principle from the symbol and believe it can have dire consequences when taken to its logical conclusion.”

    And then you give an anecdote citing the Salvation Army as an example of people who have “regretfully” done what you claim has “dire consequences”—taken the “hermeneutic of separating the principle from the symbol” and carried it to its “logical conclusion”. You click your tongue and wag your finger at those bad, bad, bad Salvation Army people who have, as you suggest, said, “water is [not] necessary to symbolize that truth” and have replaced the symbol of water baptism with a different symbol. Shame on those bad Salvation Army folks! You then compare what the Salvation Army has done to the Old Testament example (as if it is an “apples-to-apples comparison” and not “crossing covenants”) of Ahaz incurring the wrath of God by changing the shape of the altar to conform it to Assyrian demands!

    Furthermore you write this as if we don’t run into any problems at all if we take YOUR hermeneutic and carry it to its “logical conclusion.” Your hermeneutic is that a piece of fabric on a woman’s head is a command that was given by God that all of us are to “hold firmly” to. The “logical conclusion” to that is that those who do NOT “hold firmly” to and practice this symbol in its literal physical form are being disobedient to a clear command given to us by God. James 2:14 says, “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?” James goes on to say in verse 17, “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” Therefore, the “logical conclusion” is that those who are not obedient to this clear command in Scripture do not demonstrate by their physical “deeds” true faith. After all, women who do not wear a piece of fabric on their heads have taken God’s rule and seized it into their own hands to shape it according to their own pleasure. They are no different than Ahaz who incurred the wrath of God by changing the shape of the altar to conform it to Assyrian demands. Therefore, the “logical conclusion” is to do with those women exactly as Paul said needed to be done with the immoral man in 1 Corinthians 5. “Expel the wicked person from among you.” (Verse 13). That is the “logical conclusion”, is it not?

    By the way, if you think my example is “too extreme” I’d be happy to cite for you real life people, who are just as real as the Salvation Army folks that you cite in your anecdote, who have taken your hermeneutic and carried it to that very “logical conclusion”. They do indeed make a piece of fabric on a woman’s head a test of fellowship. And they do that precisely because they believe that is the “logical conclusion” of the very hermeneutic that you so carefully spell out not only in this article but in all the articles on this website.

    So what I am saying to you is this: I’m concerned about the hermeneutic you are touting here and believe it can have dire consequences when taken to its logical conclusion.

    According to the people that I have regular contact with (who pointed me to this very website as a resource), the only reason you do not make the presence of a piece of fabric on a woman’s head a test of fellowship is because you have not taken your very own hermeneutic and carried it to its logical conclusion. Let’s please not pretend that there are not “dire consequences” to the hermeneutic that you suggest when it is carried to its logical conclusion.

    • Carley Evans

      Bravo!

    • Ron Hofman

      Taking Scripture clearly, as written, is the hallmark of a person who has a right relationship with the Author. To “wrest” the Word of God is to come up against a formidable foe. Where do you begin the discussion with someone who has a suspected lack of understanding of the Bible? But who presents themselves as someone who has a “deep” understanding of God and His ways with mankind? Well, I suppose you can walk away, but in the meantime, they will continue to do damage. As is the case here.
      Circumcision – applies to Jewish males only. Whether or not they had “faith” in God. There is nothing spiritual about the rite at all. You had to be a Jew. And you had to be male. End of story.
      Fellowship – applies to those who “have the same mind” on a matter. There can be no “fellowship” if you do not share the same viewpoint on a topic. End of story.

      As far as a complete understanding of the old and new testaments are concerned, there is a lot more groundwork to cover. “Beware of the concision,” is wise advice.

      • David Pendleton

        Ron, you wrote: “Taking Scripture clearly, as written, is the hallmark of a person who has a right relationship with the Author.”

        I agree with you. Taking the Scripture clearly, as written is what I endeavor to do.

        The question that I have to ask myself here is where do I begin a discussion with someone who has a suspected lack of understanding of the Bible, but who presents himself as one who has a “deep” understanding of God and His ways with mankind? Well, I suppose I could walk away, but I choose to try to engage in genuine discussion as best as I can.

        I do find your sweeping “end of story” comments to be conversation halters, though.

        Concision: http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/concision/

        • Dale Ferguson

          David, you seemed surprised that fellowship would be based on disagreements in of matters of faith. But I don’t understand, would you exclude someone if they disagreed with your views on matters of faith? Unless you would fellowship all people regardless of their beliefs in what the Bible teaches. You too fall into the trap of being exclusive, because of what you believe the Bible to teach on a given subject. And you too would have to agree that would be your, “end of story” and “test of fellowship” So, David what is your “test of fellowship”? If you have any standards you will naturally exclude some other people that do not hold to your Bible beliefs! People who read the Bible and decide to disobey what the Bible teaches are the ones who decided this is a “test of fellowship”. It is not the people who obey God who cause the division! It is the people who refuse to obey God that divide the body with their opinions. The covering was used in Bible times and it was used in most churches throughout the recorded history up and into the reformation time. It was only in the 20th Century that women began to feel uncomfortable with wearing the covering. So they said they would stop wearing the covering. The people who obey God did not wake up one day and start forcing the other women to wear the covering. These are not the people who are to be blamed for the division, the women who continued to cover are the ones who learned the truth in 1st Corinthians when Paul taught this Bible truth. This teaching was obey until the women’s rights movement of the 1900’s. So, history reveals to us today who are the ones who caused the division. And it is NOT the women who obey God in 1 Cor. 11 You have a perverted sense of the Bible and history.
          David would you divide the body over what you call a “piece of cloth”? If you would then it covering is a matter of faith to you. If you would not, why cause grief with your opinion? But you’re insistent fight over the covering reveals that you are the one who is guilty of dividing the body of Christ and this issue to you is “end of story”

      • David Pendleton

        Ron, I really do love it that wrote this: “Fellowship – applies to those who ‘have the same mind’ on a matter. There can be no ‘fellowship’ if you do not share the same viewpoint on a topic. End of story.”

        It’s actually quite stunning to me that you apparently can’t see the numerous issues latent in that statement. And then I must admit that it makes me laugh out loud that you sum up your proclamation with the authoritative assertion “END OF STORY”, as if your statement was completely self-evident and cannot possibly be refuted by anyone who truly “has a right relationship with the Author”.

        I want to take the opportunity to point out to Jeremy (the keeper of this blog) that it is people like Ron that I find to be so pervasive in the pro-head covering camp. I have said over and over in the various comments I’ve posted on this site in the past couple of years that it is the people who make a physical fabric head-covering a “test of fellowship” that I have the biggest problem with. Think about that for a minute. Ron has just said that “there can be no ‘fellowship’ if you do not share the same viewpoint on a given topic.” That means, according to Ron, that there can be no true Christian fellowship between a woman who does not wear a piece a fabric on her head and a woman who doesn’t. After all those two Christian women obviously do not share the same viewpoint on that topic, right? So how could they possibly be in fellowship with one another? This is precisely what the pro-head covering people that I know tell me when they try to explain to me why a woman who does not wear a piece of fabric on her head cannot be a member of their church.

        Please do me a huge favor here, Jeremy! Would you please explain to Ron Hofman why you don’t think that a piece of fabric on a women’s head should be a test of fellowship? I’d like to hear how YOU would unpack that. Please explain to him why you think that two Christian women who don’t have the same viewpoint on this particular head-covering issue can nonetheless still be in fellowship with one another. That is what you think, isn’t it Jeremy? Can a Christian woman who wears a piece of fabric on her head be in Christian fellowship with a Christian woman who does not?

        • And to men who wear a covering on their head out of religious conviction. Soft clay is easier to shape and mold. Hard clay has precious little give with which to work. The thing about pots is that almost all of them used to have lids, but through the course of time they get separated. Lidded or not, covered or uncovered, pots still fulfill their purpose. It’s funny how metaphors get lost on a society that is more familiar with Play-doh than pottery.

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