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  • The speaker needs to add this asterisk: *”But a head covering is not required to be only an outward sign of submission, especially when a husband deems it unnecessary. If a woman is submitting to the rule of her husband in that she does not wear a head covering, then she fulfills the biblical obligation inwardly. If a woman defies the ruling of her husband then she is not submitting inwardly and wearing a head covering is of no value outwardly.” Of course, they could always go with the classic “Which is right in God’s eyes, to listen to the spiritual authorities over me or to Him? You decide for yourselves, but we’re going to bear witness to what we have seen and heard.” How do you decide who to listen to when between God, Pastor, and Husband, two are in disagreement?

    • Kay

      There are differing views on this, but I would submit to my husband on this issue. Is the value of the testimony of a covering more valuable than that of a cohesive and happy marriage? I would not choose to bring strife into my marriage for this command.

      I would not submit to a pastor over my husband, ever.

      • The value of the testimony is paramount if it’s all about wearing a head covering to be seen outwardly. If this covering was inwardly and had always been so, nobody could walk into church and say “Sarah’s not covered today. She must be asking for trouble from the angels.” or “I bet Samuel doesn’t want to be the spiritual covering of his wife. He is failing to fulfill his role as her head.”

        I still don’t think head covering fits everybody in every circumstance (unmarried, widows & widowers, non-traditional families & traditional families with unbelievers) nor have I heard any explanation on what this spiritual covering is / does, how a husband provides it for his wife and a wife incapable of providing it for herself and why Jesus is not sufficient spiritual covering for both of them (or, why God needs a believing husband to be the spiritual covering over his believing wife – remove the husband from the picture and she has no indirect access to God), and how that ties into honor / shame and why that is relevant for today.

        i guess I’m really uncomfortable with the idea that it’s: God -> Jesus -> Husband (Man) -> Wife (Woman) because it used to be: God -> High Priest -> lesser priests -> Husband (Man) -> Wife (Woman), I was taught that Jesus tore down the barrier between people and God, but in the process he apparently restored it in the form of spiritual covering. But I also know that people, even well-meaning husbands, are flawed because we are human and it’s our human tendency to put ourselves in places of authority over others because we like looking down on people a whole lot more than we like looking up to God. In the sphere of church, is it not: God -> Jesus -> Holy Spirit -> Pastor -> Elders -> Husband (Man) -> Wife (Woman) -> Children?

        I really do believe that there is equal, level ground at the foot of the cross and that Paul sincerely hoped that we would one day understand the underlying principles of what he wrote to the patriarchal Roman-ruled world so that the greatest would be least, the first would be last, the leaders would be servants, and all of us were constantly trying to be the best least, last, and humble servants we could possibly be.

        • John D.

          I think this is more about order in the family than anything. On the society scale, the Bible tells us to submit to our governments. On the family scale, the Bible tells women to submit to their husbands. There are various repercussions for disobeying the government, likewise a wife disobeying her husband. What kind of signal does it sends to the kids if a wife disobeys her husband?

          “what this spiritual covering is”

          Yeah, I’m with you on that as I really don’t see that in the Bible. It’s not like the government is our spiritual covering for anything. But never-the-less, we’re still called to submit.

          “i guess I’m really uncomfortable with the idea that it’s:
          God -> Jesus -> Husband (Man) -> Wife (Woman)”

          I’m with you on that as well. It’s God > Jesus > Humans. Period. But, that doesn’t mean a wife can disobey her husband on non-sin issues just because she feels like Jesus is telling her something different.

          • According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Testament_household_code the NT household codes could have been a response to questions about Aristotle’s discussion of families in Book One of Politics. Paul didn’t want the recently freed women and slaves to completely reject tradition because that would have made it nearly impossible for outsiders to see it as anything less than a rejection of order and authority which the Roman Empire fought to maintain – but it was their order and not God’s. Paul was certainly not affirming the Roman household codes in their entirety, but he couldn’t out-right reject them either.

            I really don’t think submission is necessary when two educated adults come to mutual agreement concerning any issues they’re facing. If we make Jesus our leader, then neither the husband nor wife will need to be the leader or in charge.

  • Matthew Clarke

    I don’t disagree with this quote, but it does seem to put that particularly modern and western emphasis on the inward part. Yes, the headcovering should reflect an inward attitude, but this quote could be taken to imply that the outward sign aspect is only secondary.

    I think the outward sign aspect of the headcovering has an inherent value independent of the inward attitude of the wearer.

    Modern Christians are too quick to jump to the internal aspect.

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