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Jamie Carter
Reply

I have always believed that there is no one right way to worship God and no wrong ways to worship God, just lots and lots of different ways to worship God that are all equally valid. After all, it’s more important to worship God than to treat the idea of worshiping the ‘right’ way as an idol that keeps us from worshiping God. We share the same God who certainly enjoys variety – that’s evident enough in his creation. So I don’t think he would chose one type of worship as superior or another as inferior than any other. What matters is if a persons’ heart is in the right place.

Jeremy Gardiner
Reply

Perhaps it would be helpful to clarify what Goudge meant. He’s not speaking of areas of Christian liberty where there is no specific pattern for us (i.e. raising a hand in worship or not). Rather, he’s speaking of things that are commanded (like head covering). Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10) are great examples of how obeying God in the specifics matter. 1 Cor 11:29-30 is a NT example in a similar fashion. In that passage we’re warned that we can’t just eat and drink the Lord’s supper any way we please. If we do, the Lord may kill us.

Jamie Carter
Reply

So if we obey the letter of the law, we will please God and therefore avoid punishment. That’s Pharisee 101. They wanted to be really careful about not making God upset, so they defined the oral law to govern every aspect of life. Jesus made them upset with his minstry because He was a constant rule-breaker. To him, people were always more important than keeping the law or the appearance of rightousness.

Twice Jesus quoted from Hosea 6:6, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ He probably meant that when he said it. The second part of that verse is ‘and acknowledgement of God rather than burnt offerings.’ Sacrifice and burnt offerings were the commands of God, but he never meant them to last for all time. Jesus was the last sacrifice and the fulfilment of the law and the commands that went with it. Since God did not institute head covering when he laid down the law for temple worship we have to ask how important is head covering? If it’s origin is as an ancient near eastern tradition shared by many non-christian cultures, what place does it have in the here and now (what did it mean to them or their way of thinking)? Is it wise to begin a practice that we don’t fully understand because it was mentioned in one chapter of the Bible? Or, like the law, has it’s time also come and gone? Since there is prececent for God giving a command and chosing a time for it to end, then we must consider that it’s very possible for the practice of head covering to also come to an end.

Futhermore, if Western Christians are to take up the practice of Head Covering, we will join both Islam and Judaism in that practice, but to agree with their administration of it, we would have to gender-segregate the church (an extreme example, but in some synogogues and mosques the men have priority access to God and it trickles down to their family – which is unfortunate for non-traditional families, orphans, and mixed believer and non believer families they seem to not get any consideration from anybody that isn’t Jesus). Isn’t it a good idea for us to be different and totally free from that sort of legalism that Jesus so ardently fought against?

Kay
Reply

You address several points, but what strikes me is the idea that we can basically worship God anyway we like. Jesus told the Samaritan woman that worship was of the Jews (according to God’s mind and instruction). Also that God was seeking worshippers that would worship in Spirit and Truth. I understand this to mean we should seek God’s mind in the practice of worship. (Or any aspect of life, really) it has nothing to do with rule following. It has to do with submission (for men and women) to Him.

We can call anything worship, but that doesn’t make it so. We can learn from the law, in multiple types, that worship has nothing to do with us, and everything to do with Him.

He is a God of order. The Western Church bears the testimony at large of assemblies “doing what is right in their own eyes” and I believe it’s a very confusing testimony at best, detrimental at worst, leading many astray.

Jamie Carter

If that is the case, then Western Christianity should return to either Roman Catholicism or the Eastern Orthodox Church (as whichever Christians choose) because they are the least removed from ancient tradition by centuries of conflict, division, and reinterpretation of doctrine. While we’re at it, we should restore services in Latin because that’s how they did it for many hundreds of years. That might not be going far enough to suit some, but it highlights the problem of trying to go back to the beginning. But since one cannot unring that bell, then we should consider this: The Bible mentions the master and slave relationship. Does that mean that the institution of slavery was meant to endure for all time? If it was meant to endure and we have abolished it, are we in error? Was not the slavery of the past a grave injustice and not in keeping with scripture? Is not the form of slavery that exists today reprehensible? I don’t think Jesus’ death and resurrection was meant to ensure a world of division and separation, but unity and harmony – and for that there must be nothing less than complete equality. Since our ancestors could not follow the Biblical commands regarding slavery, are we any more capable of following his will when we can’t even fathom how he thinks or what he really wants from us as a people?

Kay

The reference to slavery is about a mind set. Not about slavery itself. There are still slaves in this imperfect world, so those verses still apply.

Jesus’ death and resurrection (as He stated) *would bring division, between believers and unbelievers, and we have seen it throughout history. A world of peace is not spoken of prior to Christ’s second coming. However, striving for peace with the world has lead to the watered down version of the gospel that predominates many denominations.

Orthodoxy, whether Roman or Greek, does not go back to the beginning, but it does set an unbiblical precedent (in my understanding) of relying on the clergy as an intermediary. Whether for worship, or biblical interpretation, it isn’t found in the teaching of the New Testament.

Order is found however, in the Lord’s Supper, use of spiritual gifts, teaching, family, etc. It isn’t based on the Law of Moses, but on God’s design for His own, to represent Christ and His Body, to properly edify the assembly, and encourage reliance upon Him rather than ourselves.

Is the teaching often embellished upon? Yes, I believe so. Divisions have happened and will continue. But adherence to ideology rather than the Word, will lead to setting aside the simple place we are given, which is to sit at Christ’s feet, and seek to know Him, “holding the head” and remembering our first love.

Jamie Carter

The fact that slavery still exists is yet another example of Christianity of dropping the ball. I’m pretty sure Jesus said to make disciples of all nations, yet there are more slaves now than there has been at any point in history. (www.libertyasia.org says 11.7 million slaves live in S.E. Asia alone.)

I think the real problem with the ideology / word illustration is that too few people have the time or inclination to open a Bible and figure out what they believe and how to apply it to themselves without forcing it upon others around them. I come from a non-denominational stand point because I believe God does not need me to read to him the Baptist Faith and Message or the Methodists Social Creed, but to explain myself alone to Him. (What I believe and why I believe it: I believe slavery is wrong because no person should own another and all people should have free will to determine their own destiny. If God gave us free will, then we should grant that to those around us.)

Order can too easily be made into an idol of doing something one way when there are all sorts of possibilities that exist outside of that order. In the case of ‘the family’ as an order of God, then you have to realize that family today looks nothing like it did in the past, not all families are made up of all believers. In the case of the Lord’s Supper, He saw fit to give people celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, making it impossible for them to eat anything containing wheat, including breads and communion crackers without incurring major illness. Some churches would say that the order for women to be silent in the church means they can’t prophesy or pray or teach.

I’ve also noticed that the application is uneven, where is the ‘Ban mens hats movement’?

Kay

I agree with pretty much everything you shared in this post, other than the idea that it’s up to Christians to rid the world of slavery. 🙂

I also don’t believe God “gives” any disease, but that it is a product of the fall, and sin and death entering the world. And people (believers often) don’t make time to read the Word. If they have no inclination, well, I don’t know.

No practice should be made a rule, in my understanding, or a requisite for fellowship. However, the whole counsel of God should be shared, taught, and discussed.

Jamie Carter

If Christians can’t be a force for positive change, feeding the hungry, providing shelter, standing up for the oppressed, visiting the ill, providing prisoners with guidance, what good are they? How many of us are there? One or millions? Being a christian isn’t a matter of what you wear, but what sort of person you are and how you reflect Jesus to those who don’t know him by how you act out what you believe. I believe the hymn goes, ‘They’ll know we are Christians by our love.’ Or, if you prefer contemporary music: ‘I Said, “God, why don’t You do something?” He said, “I did, I created you”.”

Kay

I agree, and I believe Christians are most likely the most effective group in battling these issues. And it certainly has nothing to do with what we wear. However, how we present ourselves directly affects our testimony.

Sara June Thompson

Off topic but my church supplies gluton free bread for communion as an option, it is labelled and in one corner of the tray. My fill’s church gives you a choice of wine or grape juice.

Sara June Thompson

Men remove their hats for prayer/church. They always have until just the last couple of years. Personally that is my theory as to why “now’ the head covering movement has sprung up. When for many years women have gone to church uncovered and it has not pleased God. But when men started wearing their hats in church services, things had gone too far and God raised up people to speak to the church and restore His order-men to be uncovered and women to be covered. Just my opinion.

Jamie Carter

The more I look into Christianity, the more I see Jesus (and his disciples) breaking all sorts of rules, no healing on Sundays, not fasting, not washing their hands, Jesus even had a reputation for being a drinker that partied with the worst of the worst sinners – tax collectors and prostitutes. Jesus saw these rules that were inspired by God’s word for what they are – spiritual red tape. Matthew 25 says: “‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’”
Notice it does not say “you obeyed the letter of the law, keeping my commandments and followed my instruction. your women pleased me by wearing your head covering and your men pleased me by their male pattern baldness.” Ours is a ‘take care of people’ relationship, not a ‘treat rules of the utmost importance’ religion.

Sara June Thompson

We can do all these worthwhile things while wearing a head covering.

John D.
Reply

“So if we obey the letter of the law, we will please God and therefore avoid punishment. That’s Pharisee 101”

Good thing Paul said “Because of the angels” to inform us that this involves the spiritual realm also and not the realm of the legalistic Pharisee which has no place in the Spirit.

Jesus never hated the law or those that strictly stuck to it, He hated the hypocritical implementation of it — where they cleaned the outside but not the inside.

Likewise, women who cover their heads don’t benefit anyone if they don’t also live a Christian life.

But a Christian women who acknowledges the Bible’s commandments and “fears the Lord, she shall be praised.”

Jamie Carter

‘Because of the Angels’ could mean anything. Because the Angels will report you to an omniscient God. Because the Angels are actually outsiders, messengers that will tell on you to the cultural police. Because the angels are attracted by women’s hair. Because the angels can’t tell the difference between a married and unmarried woman. I’ve heard some pretty weird reasoning for that over the years. To me, it’s like “Why?” “Because.”

According to: http://www.scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/NTpdf/1co11.pdf the word-for-word from greek to english translation of verses 4 and 5 is: “Every man praying or before-averring down of head having is down viling the head of him Every yet woman praying or before averring to un down cover the head is down viling the head of self one is for it is and the same the to having been shaved” And verse 10: “thru this is owning the the woman authority to be having on the head thru the messengers” Verse 15: “Woman yet if ever may be tressing esteem to her it is that the tresses instead of about cast has been given to her”

I hope the translators knew what they were doing – they didn’t exactly use punctuation marks the same way we do now, some 2,000 years later. Considering how much English has changed, it’s quite possible that we’ve lost much of the non-biblical cultural context of that time.

I’m looking for explanations for that, my favorite one is that they are referring to a particular hairstyle – the ancient Corinthians were not immune to fashion, and fashion always seems to find a way to clash with the church. I like this guy’s explanation: http://godsbreath.net/2008/05/14/head-coverings/

I also enjoy the irony: Paul having to tell the Christians not to wear a particular hair-style, but it was lost in the translation and millions of Christian women were required to wear cloth head coverings for 1800-ish years (give or take a few decades.) Just long enough for this requirement (medieval law: poor women could not buy expensive veils) to turn into a matter of fashion (bonnets, hats) and finally choice.

There is a lot we can’t be 100% certain about, but I do know that God loves all of us equally as his children, He does not show favoritism or give more praise to his daughters that choose to wear head coverings any differently than to those that choose to delight in the hair that he gave them. He does not choose to give more praise to his sons that follow the rules all their lives than the last minute convert. He rejoices in each and every one of us as he made us to be.

John D.

Jamie, you obviously see God’s deep love for us and know
that it is that love that propels us to “…be a force for positive change….”
Likewise, those that cover their heads are propelled by God’s love to do so, especially today when it is so unpopular. I think if you look at the lives of the women that cover their heads out of a sincere desire to do God’s will, you’ll see that their lives are “a force for positive change” in the Kingdom. This force was brought forth by their obedience to God’s word. So even if you disagree with the interpretation, you should be able to look at their lives and see that force.

“Notice it does not say ‘you obeyed the letter of the law’”

Actually, as for Jesus’ stance on obeying His commands, He made it pretty clear with Matthew 23:23 His position – obey and have the right spirit. God does give His people commands and He does expect people to obey them. “Love your neighbor as yourself”, that’s a command that you should definitely obey to the letter of the law. While you can talk all day long about God’s love for you, it’s harder to talk about your love for God. John 14:15. All of God’s commands for us are for our benefit as God needs nothing.

Head coverings like all other commands are a part of God’s love for you. It’s not about strict laws; it’s about God showering His love on us by bringing His good and perfect ways. This command didn’t come from men, it came from the Spirit. The problem is sometimes we don’t see the benefit and don’t want to obey. That’s where faith and John 14:15 comes into play.

Jamie Carter

Nobody knows when the origin of head covering was – we don’t even if it was an order from God or a regional social custom in the ancient world. Eve, as far as I could tell, didn’t have a head covering – ever. And from what I can tell, Paul could have been saying: “Women, stop letting your chignons down during worship, it causes disorder when your hair hits your husband in the face.” It sounds like it fits the aforementioned Greek. As I’ve said, I’ve seen this website tell elderly widows to wear the head covering in submission to the church elders above them – that’s certainly not in this verse. We don’t know what head coverings originally meant in the ancient world and we don’t know why women stopped wearing them decades ago – perhaps they had gone from cultural and social custom to religious regulation, to a matter of fashion, to a matter of choice and lost all meaning. Perhaps they had a good reason for it. I can’t stand the inherited inequality from ancient times and I don’t see the need to continue on that particular tradition when our culture is basically the opposite of theirs.

Christian Filbrun

Jamie, I’m curious if you have actually read through the articles on the 4 or 5 reasons for the veiling, and the ones on objections, which Jeremy has linked under Articles at the top of the home page? If so, I can respect much of what you have shared; if not, I would encourage you to read the material and actually consider the evidence before getting too dogmatic. Blessings.

Jamie Carter

I have, that’s where I found the suggestion of the elderly widows being told to wear them in submission of their church elders. Some places I have looked around for further information go so far as to say that all female believers of all ages must therefore submit to all male believers of all ages, which doesn’t sound particularly Biblical either. Some places put a son above his mother, so much so that if he is of age, he can be at the front of the line for Christian conferences, while she must wait for all the men’s seats to be filled before she can ask permission to be let in. The last thing we need is a two tier Christianity where men are closer to God and women are further from God. Our Christianity should be side-by-side equality, where no one has the authority to decide how another person lives their life for them.

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