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A Response to Mary Mohler on Christian Headcovering

In this clip I respond to a video posted on Christianity.com from Mary Mohler. Mary directs the Seminary Wives Instutite at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary where her husband, Albert Mohler serves as president. In this video Mary answers the question “Should women wear head coverings in church services?” I’ll let you watch her answer in its entirety, while I interject with some thoughts on her main points.

Note: In case you’re wondering, I highly respect the Mohlers and think S.B.T.S. is a fantastic seminary. Though I see this issue differently than them, we agree on far more than we disagree. This is a friendly response to help you, the viewer, think through common objections to this practice.

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.
  • Sara June Thompson

    I don’t agree with her point of view, but I understand. I was in Bible school and seminary (years ago) and that’s what was taught. Theologians wanted to cater to the feminism in the church and so need some way to explain away head coverings. Then the wrong teaching gets passed down to the next generation. I think what is till take is men of God who are respected theologians to stand up and say that this “cultural” interpretation that has been popular the last 40 or 50 years or so is wrong. And that the church was right for the previous 1950 years or so.

    • John D.

      “I think what is till take is men of God who are respected theologians to stand up….”

      …and people moving in the spirit with lots of prayer — that the Holy Spirit starts opening our brothers and sisters hearts and minds on this topic.

      • Sara June Thompson

        I think that is happening John. The Lord led me to this when I was so entrenched in the “cultural” interpretation by His Spirit. And during that time I ran into so many ladies, Catholic and Protestant, (many different denominations) who were feeling led the same way. No one “told” us we needed to do this, we just felt convicted by the Holy Spirit to obey the Word. But what we have needed is support. It is HARD to walk into church covered when you are the only one. This website and related groups are providing that support.

        • Gretchen

          I absolutely agree. My heart felt drawn to this teaching. I ignored it, studied it, asked about it and was told over and over my hair was my covering. The ‘Pull’ never stopped. I never felt completely satisfied with those explanations. I now do cover, with my husband’s support, and I feel so blessed. It was through this website and other cyber groups that I finally had some encouragement and some leads to follow the teaching where before my heart was pulling me. I was able to study and have some sort of explanation for those who said I was being legalistic. The Lord has been gracious with me in allowing me to ‘connect the dots’ and this is a safe haven to that. I feel connected to my Sisters who are covering because we DO need to support each other.

          • Kinuko H

            Sister Gretchen, thank you so much for your sharing. You are describing very well about the spiritual blessings which we head covering sisters are enjoying and the intimacy between us. God bless you.

        • Kinuko H

          Ms. Sara, thank you for your remarks and your testimonies. I agree with you and I am so grateful that you are actively participating the recovery movement. May God bless you.

  • Julia

    I took her seminary wives class when my husband was attending Southern Seminary and we addressed this very issue of head coverings. She said many of the same things. I too repect her and her husband. She is very much a submissive wife who loves the Lord and strives to follow what the bible teaches. That being said I believe her husband and she are incorrect in their belief that woman do not need to wear head coverings. I new of one other person besides myself that wore a head covering during my time at seminary. If I remember right she made it sound like most bible theologians agreed with her husband. I mentioned that R.C sprouls wife wears a head covering during church and she said she never head that. I told her that is what R.C Sproul has said on his radio show and in his book “Now That’s A Good Question?”
    Thsn she mentioned that it is up to her huaband which I would agree on that because of the submission issue. If my huaband did not agree with me and did not want me to head cover I would not because God wants me to be submissive to him.
    Lastly the name change argument was used in other classes I took plus wearing of the wedding ring.

    • Sara June Thompson

      She is right. In this day and age, most theologians do agree with her husband. The problem is, they are wrong. Feminism infiltrated the church and this was one area that was attacked. I was in Bible school late 70’s early 80’s and in seminary late 80’s. Those who believed in covering were ridiculed and treated as “uneducated”. It was an area of pride that you had come to realize that “this doesn’t apply any more”. Feminists did not want to cover, did not want to submit, and theologians did not want to be seen as backwards. The problem is that GOD never changed his mind. He still wants us to cover and obey His Word.

    • John D.

      “If my huaband did not agree with me and did not want me to head cover I would not because God wants me to be submissive to him.”

      I disagree. If you believe the commandment to cover is from God, then you should obey God over your husband. What if your husband commanded you to sin? You should do what you know is right and are convicted to do. God will deal with your husband.

      • Julia

        I said this because head covering is a sign of sumission to your husband. If you head cover when he says not to you are now not submissive which is what you are trying to diaplay. So now your husband is sinning for not following what the word of God says. Praise God my husband and I agree on this and I head cover.

      • Sara June Thompson

        I think it can go both ways. If a dh does not want his wife to cover, she can respectfully talk to him about why she feels the Word of God commands her to. See if there is some kind of covering that would be acceptable to him. And eventually if he will not permit so much as a headband respectfully let him know that she feels she must obey God and cover in some way only when she feels it absolutely necessary (eg. just church services instead of every prayer). Or she can choose to submit to him, asking if it would be at least alright for her to cover when praying at home. And keep praying for God to convict him. Either way a woman is submitting to something, either her husband or to the Word of God. But hopefully the couple can reach some compromise, some type of covering and frequency of covering that is acceptable to both. I also think it’s a good idea for such a wife to ask her husband to view some of the materials on this site to get the Scriptural point of view from another man on why covering is Scriptural. Sometimes a man will listen to another man, especially an ordained preacher, when he does not want to be seen as “wrong’ in front of his wife.

        • John D.

          “…respectfully let him know that she feels she must obey God and cover in some way only when she feels it absolutely necessary…”

          Yes, I couldn’t have said it better.

  • Taking a husband’s last name upon marriage isn’t a global custom, other cultures allow for woman’s name to remain unchanged or for a husband to choose to take his wife’s name. I don’t see how it could be enforced as a universal custom for a symbol of marriage when each and every human culture has different customs about symbols of marriage. No do I think that the American custom should take precedence over others. Each culture should be allowed to decide how they will express the tradition for themselves, as the saying goes, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”

  • Sara in Texas

    I ran across this article from a search on Wikipedia. I haven’t seen it on your website, but maybe it’s already here. This is the link: http://www.elcristianismoprimitivo.com/pdf/given-her-for-a-covering.pdf. Hope this is helpful!

    • Thank you for finding that! It looks familiar, so I’m certain I have come across it before. It certainly does point out the difficulties in interpreting these verses from a language standpoint.

  • James Thomas

    I found it interesting at the end of her discourse, of how she said “I put it all on Him” (referring to her husband). This is ironic, as she is arguing an egalitarian interpretation but then says she is complementarian if she is held accountable.

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