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I Prayed About It (And I Don’t Feel Convicted To Cover)

I Prayed About it (And I Don't Feel Convicted to Cover)

Many years ago I read a letter from a Christian teen who revealed that he recently became intimate with his girlfriend. He said that he had been genuinely wrestling with if he should or should not, so he decided to pray about it. Like Gideon, he asked God to make his will clear, “God if she asks to come over tonight, I’ll know you’re okay with us having sex. If she doesn’t, I’ll know you’re against it.” Later that night he receives a call from his girlfriend asking to come over and the teenage boy ends up sleeping with her under a false sense of permission due to what he believes is an answered prayer. While that’s an extreme (but real) example, many of us have used his method for determining God’s will with other issues. In this article I’d like to show why we should not let our decisions be made by prayer, if we’re given direct and clear instructions in Scripture.

The Authoritative Scriptures

The Bible says that:

“no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:20-21)

The words of Scripture are not men’s opinions. Men were the instruments used to speak “from God” by the Holy Spirit’s direction. So when we read Paul, James or Luke in the Bible, their instructions are just as authoritative as if they came from the mouth of Jesus or were uttered by God on Mount Sinai. The black letters in our Bibles carry the same authority as the red letters. 1) In some Bibles the words of Jesus are put in red while the rest of the words of Scripture are in black.

Again the Scriptures say:

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness…” (2 Tim 3:16)

The Scriptures are “breathed out by God” (ESV) or “inspired by God” (NASB) so when we read Scripture, we’re reading what God says. This means if the Bible tells us to do (or not do) something then we hold that up as authoritative. God will not give a different answer by prayer.

Avoiding Deception

The teenage boy mentioned at the beginning didn’t need to pray about his decision since God already answered his question in the pages of Scripture. God only has one message for him and that’s “flee from sexual immorality” (1 Cor 6:18). If we believe God has given us a different answer to our prayer, we are being deceived. We are warned “let no one deceive himself” (1 Cor 3:18) and that our enemy Satan is a deceiver (Rev 12:9). What we believe is God’s answer to our prayers is subjective 2) Feeling peace, conviction or a sense of direction is subjective. It could be from God, but it may not be. Because of this it needs to be subject to higher authority which can correct it if necessary. That’s the Bible.  and therefore it must be anchored to the authority of God’s Word. Just recently I had two Mormon missionaries over to discuss our faiths. They told me they knew Mormonism is true because they prayed about it and God answered their prayer by giving them peace or a “burning in their bosom”. These young men had a (false) confidence that Mormonism was true because they believed God had answered their prayer. Their confidence was placed in a subjective feeling or experience rather than the unchanging authority of God’s Word. See, we don’t need to pray to see if Joseph Smith 3) The founder and prophet of Mormonism. To learn more I recommend The Bible vs. Joseph Smith  was a true prophet. I have been asked by Mormons if I would do that for myself, but that’s not something I’ll be doing. Joseph Smith’s revelations contradict what God has said in Scripture, so I know that he is not from God. So if we have a question, we consult the Bible first, and if it gives a clear answer then we should not seek a different one through prayer. We’re told that “God is not a man, that He should lie” (Num 23:19) and He says of Himself “I the LORD do not change” (Mal 3:6). So we need to have a firm conviction that God will not command one thing in the Bible but tell us something completely different through prayer.

Lacking Conviction

I’ve heard from numerous women who no longer practice head covering. The top reason given for their decision to stop is that they prayed about it and they weren’t convicted that they need to cover anymore. Many women likewise use this method for deciding if they should begin this practice. If they feel conviction, they will. If they don’t, they won’t. This is not how we should make decisions on topics that are dealt with directly and clearly in the Bible. God gives instructions about head covering in 1 Corinthians 11, so He’s not going to tell us anything different then what He has already said. His answer is “let her cover her head” (1 Cor 11:6). Now don’t get me wrong, if we’re having trouble understanding the meaning of a Scripture, we are told to pray for wisdom (James 1:5). So I’m not saying don’t pray when in doubt. What I am saying is our decision making should be made based on our understanding of what God has said in Scripture, not our subjective feelings. So if you believe based on a study of 1 Corinthians 11 that a woman’s long hair is the only covering needed, that’s a good reason to not wear a veil (though we’d strongly disagree.) But praying about it and not feeling conviction is a dangerous reason for disregarding something the Word of God tells you to do. I hope that when it comes to headcovering, that we make our decisions based on God’s word. If we bypass that step or elevate a perceived answer to prayer above His Word, we are liable to being deceived.

Summary:

  • We should be mindful that we can be deceived by our own flesh and/or Satan.
  • If the Holy Spirit tells us one thing in the Bible, He will not tell us something different through prayer.
  • Feeling conviction, a sense peace or any other perceived answer to prayer is subjective. It must be subject to the authority of God’s Word.
  • If the Bible speaks directly and clearly to an issue, our decision making should be based off our understanding of what God has said.
  • If the Bible doesn’t speak directly and/or clearly to an issue, we should pray for wisdom and direction.

References

1.
 In some Bibles the words of Jesus are put in red while the rest of the words of Scripture are in black.
2.
 Feeling peace, conviction or a sense of direction is subjective. It could be from God, but it may not be. Because of this it needs to be subject to higher authority which can correct it if necessary. That’s the Bible.
3.
 The founder and prophet of Mormonism. To learn more I recommend The Bible vs. Joseph Smith

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)

  • If I cannot trust my sense of conviction telling me ‘no’, then how I can know that the myriad testimonies on this site saying ‘I felt convicted to do it’ aren’t people being deceived into a false sense of piety?

    • Head covering is dealt with directly and clearly in 1 Corinthians 11:2-16. If a person experiences conviction AFTER they’ve read and understood what God says there, then feeling “conviction” is an appropriate response.

      • So what about me? Have I not read 1 Corinthians 11? Do I not understand it? I’ve been visiting this site for ten months and my opinion has not changed. Does my lack of conviction mean I lack the Holy Spirit? What if there is nothing to convict me of for not doing or guilt me into doing? You’re tell me that I can’t trust me. I can’t trust you in that I can’t trust me.

        • Kinuko H

          Dear Jamie, I don’t think you lack the Holy Spirit. You are a careful researcher of the Bible truth, which is wonderful. And if you are convicted indeed, then I believe you are going to be one of the most powerful defenders of this headcovering doctrine, and you are going to help many headcovering women across the globe. So, please keep on! God bless you.

          • My position has always been that head covering is for the people who feel convicted to cover (or uncover if they’re guys) but for anyone who is not convicted they are not required to abide by it. Just last night I was looking up how 1 Corinthians 10’s last section ‘The Believer’s Freedom’ ended with: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.” Head covering is a stumbling block for way too many. Right now it’s quite unclear and that’s a big problem for me as a single individual. I just want it to be clearly spelled out, who, what, when, where, why, and how.

          • Kinuko H

            Dear Jamie,
            “I just want it to be clearly spelled out, who, what, when, where, why, and how”—this is something I want to learn.
            I see that God has given you great mental ability and passion for truth. Sometimes, I find it difficult to defend my beliefs, though I am trying my best.
            I believe it is His great mystery and plan that you are part of us for these ten months. I believe He has a reason why He granted you this great ability and passion. One powerful and couragous defender can help thousands of defenceless sisters and I see this hope in you.

          • John D.

            “but for anyone who is not convicted they are not required to abide by it”
            When you say “not required” it is the same as saying “of no consequence”. There’s consequences that we don’t even realize. Unfortunately, while doing something wrong out of good faith may not be a sin “that leads to death” (1 John 5:17), there are definitely consequences to that sin. Therefore, it does matter to be right on this issue (or any issue for that matter). Plus, Paul gave a pretty clear consequence: because of the angels. That sounds pretty important to me (never mind the other reasons).

            “Head covering is a stumbling block for way too many”
            Stumbling blocks refers to things like drinking alcohol in front of people who think doing so is a sin. Nobody thinks wearing a head covering is a sin…quite the opposite. Christianity is foolishness to gentiles (1 Cor 1:23) until God calls them.

            “I just want it to be clearly spelled out, who, what, when, where, why, and how.”
            I think the only interrogative there that matters is who and that’s God through the Holy Spirit to Paul. When we push back, God may get a little perturbed. Exodus 4:13-14. It’s one thing to ask questions when you’re uncertain, it’s another to not obey outright.

            Kinuko is right, Jamie. For a while now I’ve believed there’s something deeper with you that’s getting in the way here. “I promised myself not to let that happen again.” Hmmmm.

          • I’d never make it as a member of your denomination either, from the sound of it. What exactly is the sin here? The sin of breaking the law or the sin of disobedience that you’re getting at? I was born into the second generation without head coverings – my grandparents practiced it, but my parents did not. I didn’t see any noticeable consequences among my parents generation or in my own – but since most millenials are fleeing from church it’s not like there’s a large number of us around to ask what they think the consequences are – if there is any at all.

            Head covering represents two things: (1) what is worn and (2) what is lived. I remember spending one afternoon in school writing out a debate against uniforms because it stifles our individuality – I won that debate. My generation would not see it a conflict for a person to show their individuality with head coverings or without them. But head coverings also represents a secondary teaching about men and women and their place which poses a problem. The lifestyle isn’t one that would attract them to sign up for Christianity in droves. Both are stumbling blocks depending on how you look at it.

            There’s a big verse – something about loving God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind. It’s right up there with loving your neighbor as yourself. For those us who were raised under this philosophy, pure obedience isn’t even half of the equation, God wants more than that. Not only that, but we have to be ready to give answer for harder questions about who ought to wear head coverings and why. What are the exceptions to the rule? Is it women or wives? Is it men or husbands?

            Gas lighting is a method of manipulation by making a person come to believe that their own senses are deceiving them and they should rely on another to tell them what they are seeing, hearing, and believing to be true. The sad thing is that some churches resort to this method to keep people in control. I did promise myself not to let that happen again. The terrible experience created within me an abundance of caution that keeps me from accepting what others say. Rest assured I do look up things on my own time. I pray that no one has the misfortune of attending such a church, but people must be warned that they do exist and to keep away from them.

          • Amy Unruh

            Jamie, believe me, I completely understand where you are coming from. I’ve been researching headcoverings for years. Just when I’m convinced on one side of the argument, I go back and look at the other side and start to doubt, because when people can interpret the Greek differently and basically say a translation you are reading is wrong, how do you know who is right?
            I read an article by a Mennonite covering all of the arguments for and against headcovering, and while very thorough, it was clear he was biased, as he’d found the “truth” and he and his wife had stopped dressing “plain.” They were convinced that long hair is the covering referred to, and first started thinking that way when his wife saw a Spanish Bible that interpreted the Greek word “anti” to mean “in place of”.
            The fact that there are so many arguments and interpretations on the different verses leads me to believe that Satan is hard at work here. I cover sometimes, but I’ve yet to be lead to cover because of headship. I think if I cover because of this scripture, it will be “because of the angels”, to cover my glory as the angels cover theirs in the Lord’s presence. But I suppose it’s a pride issue for me in this modern age, to view headship as a negative thing.
            What I don’t understand is why it is so hard to get it right, and if we can doubt what this scripture says, what does that say about our understanding of the rest of it?
            Conviction can be dangerous. My sister believes she’s a prophet from God, but what she’s being told doesn’t line up with scripture. God has told her not to study the scriptures so much. He’s told her that my husband and I aren’t “one”. He’s told her she’s a prophet. She has beliefs about angels that don’t line up. We can talk to them and they’ll come to us. Everything I’ve ever seen scripturally shows angels coming to us as messengers of God, not as servants of our will. One angel apparently died for her, so she got a tattoo on her forearm to commemorate “him.” Another is now taking care of her, so she got a tattoo of this angel on her other forearm.
            I can be convicted to cover and another person to not cover, but what does that say? I want that clear spelling out, too, otherwise, conviction has to take the place of biblical Truth, and people can be convicted to eat clean or not eat clean, to keep a Saturday Sabbath or a Sunday Sabbath, to keep the Sabbath day Holy in whatever way they are convicted, to dress as modestly as the Holy Spirit convicts them, too, or to be convicted that sexual purity was only for those times back then because they didn’t have birth control or condoms (true argument from a friend of mine).
            And then we get into the “what’s true for you isn’t necessarily true for me” arguments.

          • Sometimes I think that neither one is the ideal that we’re supposed to aim for. Jesus gave us overall principles to live by in the Sermon on the Mount, not a list of specific commands to follow to exacting standards. Jesus was getting the message across that no one can legislate the morality of another, inside the church or outside of the church. We also don’t see any particular verse in Scripture that indicates that what we wear, what styles we wear, what colors we wear, makes a difference in our spirituality. Christians are only asked to choose inexpensive fashions so that church doesn’t become a fashion show. Christians are only asked to choose plainer styles of hair so that fancy up-dos do not impede the worship of others. Christians are asked to consider the needs of their brothers and sisters before themselves.

            Conviction has two meanings, the first usually comes from a sense of guilt. Our conscience will remind us of something that were were supposed to do but did not do or something we did do that we were not supposed to. But I don’t feel guilty. The second sense of the definition of conviction is to have a firmly held belief. It does not require guilt. One of my shows says that: “Belief is not a matter of choice, but of conviction.” Some are convicted that head covering is a requirement over all cultures, all places, for all time – they do not chose this belief, because choice implies that they had the option to choose otherwise. I don’t have that either.

            I have to admit a healthy amount of uncertainty because of so very much we don’t know – what the original lesson about head covering would have been in person between Paul and the churches he visited. What the cultures of that day and age practiced exactly. What the best translation from the Greek and the Latin are into English. I’m not God, but I do know that could not have been surprised when the practice of head covering ended or when this head covering movement got started. And he wasn’t surprised that it would resonate with some. So he’s not surprised that it doesn’t resonate with everybody. I really do think it is subjective.

            Admittedly, I’d be quite worried about your sister if she were mine. Truth is, all of us have a family member sort of like that. Mine is my aunt. She’s getting into ultra-conservative churches and her personality has begun to change and it’s not for the better. I might not be all that thrilled about her choices, but she’s family and I love her even when she calls me words like ‘heretic’. I can’t – and shouldn’t – get in the way of her and her beliefs. Either she will continue down that path of righteous isolation from her worldly family or come to realize that the people who care for her are genuinely concerned and reconnect with all of us. It’s up to her to act in according with her own beliefs. All we can do for such family members is to love them, to pray for them, and to carefully chose our words. My aunt may think she’s justified in calling me a heretic, but that doesn’t give me the right to give her a taste of her own medicine. The golden rule here would ask me to be gracious to her.

          • Amy Unruh

            Sometimes, it’s like walking on eggshells, isn’t it? I found something interesting. Not sure if you’ve seen it. It’s a website from a church historian who has many literary works under his belt. Once I saw it, I was convinced on head covering, at least enough to honor it and see where it goes. Check it out, see what you think: http://earlychurch.com/HeadCovering.php

          • Yes. I want to be careful because I don’t want to say a careless word and help her nudge further away, but I can’t always support everything she’s into. I remember reading that before – I find it interesting that historically they said “Let the women do this” not “Have the women do this”. I think it’s a wise policy to let women observe head covering if they so choose. I was speaking with my mentor and she asked, “Are the unbelieving women attending service required to wear head coverings?” I hadn’t thought of that question – I only wish I had.

          • Amy Unruh

            It’s definitely a choice, not required for salvation. I’d be interested to see more than one translation on the church fathers’ letters.

          • Chantelle Monroe

            Amy, for sure there is a lot of reading out there to be studied. I admire that you have done so. For me personally, several things lined up and on Sunday, February 7th, 2016 I left my home wearing a headscarf and went to church in it. Every Sunday since I have done the same.

            I’m not an exhibitionist by any means, but I’m not regularly what you would call a modest person either. For sure I have opened myself up for questioning from others. I have found deeper meaning in my spirituality this year.

            Some things can be openly viewed differently. Everyone doesn’t need to wear the same color clothing or anything to that extent. the person in the blue shirt probably isn’t pleasing anymore than the one in the pink shirt is.

        • Hi Jamie, I’d like to point out this line from the article:

          “So if you believe based on a study of 1 Corinthians 11 that a woman’s long hair is the only covering needed, that’s a good reason to not wear a veil (though we’d strongly disagree.)”

          Though I disagree with your take on 1 Cor 11, if you don’t practice it because you’re convinced that the Bible doesn’t teach it (meaning you think I’m misinterpreting it) then you’re not guilty of what I was warning about. I’m asking people what is their authority? The Bible or a feeling?

          Here are the two types of responses I’m trying to discourage people from doing.

          1. You start with prayer–receive an answer/feeling and then go to the Bible and make the Bible line up with your answer to prayer.
          2. You start with the Bible and you believe it teaches that you should cover but then you pray about it and don’t experience conviction so you don’t do it.

          I am not in this article speaking about those who go to the Bible and come to a different conclusion than I do or those who go to the Bible, are genuinely confused and who pray for wisdom to help understand the passage, then act upon their understanding of the passage (whether for or against) after praying.

          • The problem might be in that we are from two very different schools of Christian thought on different ends of the spectrum. I have a feeling that I would not be a good member of your denomination. Many Christians would say, “No Christian would deny scripture, therefore anyone who denies scripture is not a Christian.” Yet as a society we have done away with this little thing called the institution of slavery. Every time we read those verses we understand that they literally do not apply to us. Some say, “master / slave is sort of like boss / employee – so they sort of apply.” So one one hand, we deny them literally and on another we twist them to apply to a scenario that is not explicitly stated. Head covering suffers from the same confusion. Some people do affirm them literally. Others affirm the teaching of headship without requiring the wearing of a head covering. The only thing I have to tell me which one to believe is the Holy Spirit. I understand that it’s not always crystal clear. We might be looking at doing one thing or another thing, when neither of them are an option. We might be looking for a yes or a no and we get a maybe or a not yet. I’m just really careful because of a technique called gas-lighting is commonly used in churches – including a few that I’ve been to. Gas-lighting is what happens when somebody tells you that you cannot trust yourself and you should trust them to tell you what’s really real. I promised myself not to let that happen again.

          • Amy Unruh

            Slaves were really more akin to servants during this time, so the boss/employee description is quite apt, I’d say.

          • I guess poor Onesimus was mistaken when he felt it necessary to flee his ‘boss’ because he wasn’t the ’employee’ of the week. In the ancient world, some 2/3 of the general population was somebody else’s slave. In fact, Christianity was known as the religion of ‘Slaves, women, and children’ because it attracted people without status, power, or influence in droves. The early history of slavery in Christianity is quite fascinating – and nothing like boss / employee relationship. You might want to read up on the patron/client relationship to get an idea of the uneven ground the ancient world shared.

          • Amy Unruh

            I have, which is why I wrote that above post. I think we can see from the history of Joseph that slaves could accrue quite a bit of influence and power, much more than I have as a simple employee at a railroad. Slaves could inherit the property of their owner if there was no relative in line. The reason Onesimus left was because of mistreatment, which was the reason for Paul’s carefully worded letter about how all should be treated in Christ. If my boss mistreated me, you’d bet your rear end I’d flee.

          • It might be better to say that not absolutely everything in the Bible has a modern equivalent from which to base one’s theology off of or to guide our decisions from. One of the books in my library, ‘Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes’ talks a lot about how modern Westerners try to fill in the gaps of what goes unsaid in Scripture by imagining our concepts are a close match to what the Bible means or describes or a ‘they did what I would have done in their place’ way of thinking explains why people did what they did. It’s not always the case.

          • Amy Unruh

            Exactly, which is why I think it’s dangerous to compare the slaves back then to the slaves nowadays. Sure, there were many that had the same lot as they do now, but I can’t think of a single slave account from today that would equate with well-off slaves back then, though there were a few accounts from the slave trade of blacks to America well over 100 years ago. There were several slaves that handled their masters business, were well-dressed and educated, and were treated well. Many were loyal to their masters, as well. So there are many comparisons, but I haven’t come across any present-day accounts, and there is far more slavery today. When I compared them to servants, it was not modern-day servants of which I spoke.
            I did make a comparison to me and how I’d act if treated badly, but that was only to provide a subjective view of my own human condition that fights against bad treatment. The boss/employee description could apply to any time.

          • In general, all forms of slavery is extremely anti-biblical. At least in the OT there were protections, cities of refuge where they could flee to. Laws were put int place to provide for them and treat them well. It was not supposed to be an indefinite way of life, at the Jubilee celebrations they could be set free. They could also choose to remain slaves. Historically speaking, African Slavery didn’t meet most of the Biblical requirements.The odd thing we had a system of indentured servitude – which actually did set people free once their obligations were met – right along-side slavery. I had read that up until last year, men were forced against their will onto boats for months at a time to fish up shrimp that was sold at Costco and Wal-mart. The day of the Super Bowl is the biggest day for sex-trafficking in the states. Much of our economy is supported by the work from wage slaves. Some say that God’s commandments regarding slavery and masters was a concession to the world in which they lived in – all of their neighbors accepted slavery as being normal – Aristotle wrote in Book 1 of ‘Politics’ that as the heads of their households, masters were supposed to rule over slaves. Fathers were supposed to rule over their children. Husbands were supposed to rule over their wives. As a society, we’ve moved past that. We know better in many things. We do not accept slavery as a state institution or normal for our society, but we haven’t figured out how to put the practice to the end all over the world, yet.

          • Amy Unruh

            It’s terrible sad. I actually was a victim of sex trafficking as a child. The business is huge and The Super Bowl isn’t the only big event that attracts the demand. I keep up with International Justice Mission which works at freeing all types of slaves and often frees those who’ve been forced to endlessly make bricks or pick cacao beans for our chocolate. And then there’s the endless brothel raids. I know we want many more to come to Christ before the Lord comes, but I just wish he’d come sometimes.

          • One of my favorite quotes goes something like this: “The belief that increased awareness will stir the nation into action is one of mankind’s greatest illusions.” It describes Christianity’s excuse – why bother trying to set slaves free, or minister to victims of abuse – when the Lord can come at any time and then we won’t have to worry about it. It’s just that Jesus didn’t say: “Go and wait for my return, doing nothing in my name, refuse to aid the poor, do not feed the hungry, and whatever you do, do not stand up for the oppressed.” I’m sorry that Christians didn’t come to your defense. I’m sorry that the only justice Christians care about is all about ‘just us’.

  • Heather Irwin

    Forgive the pickiness, please; the article has a mis-capitalized ‘He’ referring to Joseph Smith in the ‘Avoiding Deception’ section.

  • Loretta Compher

    Fantastic article. I had been issued the same challenge by Mormon missionaries. I told them I didn’t need to pray since I believed Mormon ism contradicted clear Bible instructions and could not be true. Yes, when praying for answers we already clearly have in Scriptures, it’s too easy to be led astray by personal desires and deceptions of Satan. Thanks for setting the record straight!

  • Sara June Thompson

    If the Word of God clearly teaches that we should do (or not do) something, then we don’t need a conviction to obey. But in this situations, where for decades the church leaders in the West have taught women this Scripture was cultural, it’s a little different. A woman is probably going to have to come to the conclusion that her pastor, perhaps her husband, perhaps her parents, her denominational leaders and probably most commentaries she has ever read are wrong. In other words every authority figure she has ever had in her life. And that this “new” idea that women need to cover (which of course is anything but new) is actually the correct interpretation of the Word. So I think we can be understanding if women are hesitant to step out and do this if they have not come to a place of conviction in their own hearts that God’s Word really does mean what it says. It is hard enough to go into church covered as the only one when God’s truth is burning in your heart and you just have to obey. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to do it if you were not sure it was really required or if it was cultural. But a woman in that situation should continue to pray and study. And I have every confidence that the Holy Spirit will bring her to that place of conviction, as long as she is willing to obey once she is so convicted. On the other hand, some women really don’t want to obey this Scripture and use this as a convenient excuse not to obey. God knows the difference.

    • Candace Curry

      very good comment sara! I agree and think you should write a blog for this website as well! haha

    • Amy Unruh

      Not a single commentary I’ve ever seen says to cover. My study Bible talks about it being cultural and not relevant today. I’ve seen so many contradictory arguments from scholars that translate the Greek words, interpret syntax, even look at culture and practice in order to give us a clear picture of this passage. But no one can clear it up if there is so much debate and argument and mostly, different interpretations of the Greek!

      • Sara June Thompson

        Actually this site has articles from many theologians who believe in head covering, as well as a list of commentaries that promote that belief. If you read a little further around this site I’m sure you can find theses articles. God bless. The important thing it so be willing in your heart to cover if God shows you that is the truth. John 7:17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. Once our hearts are willing to do what the will of God is, which ever way it goes, then we can truly hear from God what His truth is. As long as we have our minds made up that we don’t want to do one of the options, we will always be able to find justifications for that position. God bless you as you continue to study and pray.

        • Amy Unruh

          I’ve read a lot of the articles on this site already and on plenty of others. Believe me, I’m one who WANTS to cover but I also don’t want to feel like I’m an idiot if the research just doesn’t support it. I see too much theorizing and not enough factual evidence.

          • Amy, thanks for the comments.

            Here’s a list of commentaries that do support the ongoing practice of headcovering: http://www.headcoveringmovement.com/articles/which-commentaries-teach-head-covering

            With regards to contradictory claims, we wrote this article to help people weigh through them. It’s called “Sources, Sources…What are your Sources?” http://www.headcoveringmovement.com/articles/sources-sources-what-are-your-sources

          • Amy Unruh

            Thank you, Jeremy. I believe after seeing this and looking at some research on early church history, I’ve decided that I should be covering. I’ve wrestled with it and tried it out here and there and, of course, been called out for it. Let’s see, I’m legalistic, I’m trying to stand out, I’m “Amish”, etc. Funny on that last one, my cover was no where near Amish-looking, but at least with her, I know she was teasing and wasn’t trying to be contentious. Thanks again. Glad and joyful to join the movement.

  • Helene Lygren

    Actually, when you read about the cover of the head, read it again and read it with the thought that it actually talks about hair. Long hair and short hair :)

  • Becky

    This is a good article and makes some good points about how we need to trust in the bible and Holy Spirit, because through Him the words in the bible convict us. One thing I would like to know, what was the New Testament context in terms of covering heads? 1 Corinthians 11 covers many issues regarding head covering, marriage and the roles of men and women, but without any context as to why Paul is writing what he does, knowing who he is writing to and what their society was like, it is hard to know why this is an issue and makes them distinctive from the society in which they are by covering their heads.

  • Jeremy, I thought you touched on an important point at the end of the article when you said,

    “Many women likewise use this method for deciding if they should begin
    this practice. If they feel conviction, they will. If they don’t, they
    won’t. This is not how we should make decisions on topics that are dealt
    with directly and clearly in the Bible.”

    I have seen, over and over, where someone gets a “conviction” about something and plows ahead with it. Headcovering and its application can be a conviction (i.e., styles, wearing it day and night, hair up, etc). Another thing that I have seen this with is modest dress. I know of a woman who felt God calling her to wear cape dresses–something that I don’t believe her husband was really happy with. She began attending a Mennonite church and now wears her hair up in a bun–something her husband didn’t want her to do. God didn’t command women to wear their hair up or to wear cape dresses. He did command them to submit to and respect their husbands. His word needs to be the final authority in our lives–not “convictions”.

    Actually, all this comes home for me. For several years, I had feelings of “do this” or “do that” or “don’t do that”. Sometimes, it led me to do very weird things. Sometimes, I had “do that” and “don’t do that” feelings at the same time. I never felt truly victorious as a Christian and felt very guilty over small matters–things that might not have been sin at all!

    Finally, God showed me that these feelings were not coming from Him. I believe that Satan was trying to confuse me, discourage me and keep me from whole-heartedly following God. It has been a great relief to be free from those feelings that I was so sure were God’s leading in my life. (I wrote more about this at http://www.aradicalforjesus.com/2014/06/24/how-to-have-confidence-toward-god/)

    Does God lead us with His Holy Spirit? Absolutely, yes! But His Word is the ultimate authority, and we must stand on its truth, whether we “feel” that it’s truth or not.

  • Michael

    First of all go by what the Bible says and not theologians because they are definately not God. Second directly from the greek bible and see what you think then.

  • Doris

    I am totally confused. My husband believes in this so strongly that it has caused disturbances in 3 churches we’ve attended because he insists that the pastor and elders believe this doctrine and change. There are no churches with 5 hrs. that we could attend that teach this doctrine. We are making plans to move to where we can attend one. But the Lord is in charge and our house hasn’t sold yet. My question is what is my place as a Christian wife to do when he causes this to happen in the churches? I have been praying for him.

    • Hi @disqus_tN8JMUNNWR:disqus, I apologize for taking a little long to respond but I wanted to discuss this situation with my pastor and small group leader before responding. This was to ensure my advice was sound, since this is such a difficult situation (which grieves me).

      The Head Covering Movement stands firmly against this type of divisiveness which we believe the Apostle Paul warns against in Titus 3:10-11. While we think it’s perfectly acceptable to reason with the leadership and make a case for headcovering, this should be done in a spirit of gentleness that doesn’t demand their adherence (since it’s not a primary issue). Most people who reject head covering do not do so out of rebellion to the Scriptures. We must understand that rejecting our viewpoint is not the same as rejecting the Scriptures. While some things appear crystal clear to us, it is not so to everyone else for various reasons. To demand uniformity in all doctrine before you’re willing to serve and submit arrogantly presumes that you have it all figured it out. A sign of Christian maturity is being a peaceful, encouraging, submissive, serving member of a local church with people who don’t see everything eye-to-eye with.

      In your particular situation, since the Scriptures presume every Christian is a member of a local church and lots of commands cannot even be fulfilled unless you’re a part of one, it is important to reach out to a gospel-preaching church. You will need to commit to one of them (for membership once this is all sorted out) and to heed their counsel in this matter. If your husband refuses to go with you, go anyway. If he refuses to let you go to church, you are under a higher authority, that of Christ. If he accompanies you and does not change his ways, make sure you let the pastor(s) know your desire for peace and your willingness to submit. If the situation is as bad as it sounds it may come to the point where the husband is refused membership (and potentially from attending) while you are accepted. So find the best local church in your community and seek the counsel of the pastoral staff there. Inform them of this situation and let them know you need their help. Make sure one of the questions you ask is if they believe in church discipline. If they don’t, that won’t be the type of church that will be helpful to you.

      I also recommend reading this article that I wrote: http://www.headcoveringmovement.com/articles/why-my-family-joined-a-non-head-covering-church

  • Doris

    Thank you. I understand what you’re saying, but my husband does not. He seems very frustrated with a number of issues that make him unhappy. I would appreciate your prayers.

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