Pastoral Testimony (Patrick Smith)
1) Please introduce yourself and the church you pastor.
My name is Patrick Smith and I’m one of the teaching elders (pastors) at Upper Room Community Church in Chula Vista, California. We’re a small Christian church that believes that the Bible is the word of God and that Jesus is our Living Head.
2) Tell us how you came to believe that head covering is a timeless symbol for today.
Like most Christians in North America I’d learned to dismiss 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 as “cultural”. But about three years ago through Gospel Fellowships I began to be exposed to brothers and sisters that believed head covering was for today. So when I studied 1 Corinthians 11 to teach our small house church I was a little more open. When I got to “because of the angels” (1 Cor 11:10) it stopped me in my tracks. It was as if the Holy Spirit highlighted that verse as I realized for the first time that there is nothing cultural about the Angels. From there I saw that Paul made other timeless arguments from the creation order, the authority structure in Gods kingdom, and nature.
3) Most people wrongly assume that this passage is all about women. On the contrary you mentioned in your sermon that God used this passage to convict you about your own hair. Tell us more about that.
Yeah 1 Corinthians 11 is definitely not only directed to women. When I realized that the apostles instructions on head covering wasn’t cultural I almost immediately became convicted about having long hair. Sadly it was at least a year later before I acted on it. I looked at commentaries that said it was ok for men to have long hair to ease my conscience . But God is merciful and long suffering and when the Holy Spirit prompted me again I was obedient . Mans glory is woman and I have a beautiful wife. I don’t need anymore glory then that. I also preach out doors at a community dinner we hold and used to wear the hood on my sweatshirt up and even a hat sometimes but was convicted to stop doing that . I want to be obedient to God’s Word. We make it our aim to be well pleasing to our King . If His Word says it I’m going to assume He wants me to do it . James said if we’re hearers only we’re deceived (James 1:22).
4) How did you let your congregation know about your theological shift on this issue? How did you walk them through it?
Our house church merged with another small church (Upper Room Community Church) . And from the first time we gathered I asked everyone to put their preconceived theology aside. We committed as a local body to build our theology straight from God’s Word. We intentionally talked about that first temptation “did God really say?” (Genesis 3:1) and taught that God’s Word is true even if it makes us uncomfortable at times. My wife and I had already studied and prayed about it a lot and about a month before the church got to chapter 11 she began to practice it. So we were ready by the time we chose to go through 1 Corinthians.
5) How did your church react to your preaching through 1 Corinthians 11?
I can’t tell you what a blessing it is to be part of a church that handled this teaching the way they did . It was received with humility and open hearts wanting to please God. More then half the women have began to cover there heads when we gather .
6) Do you have any tips or advice for pastors who’ve recently come to believe in this symbol and are thinking through how to best introduce their congregation to it?
Trust God and move forward in humility and love. One day as pastors we will answer to God for what we have taught or not taught . Seek the honor that comes from God.
“How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?” Jesus (John 5:44)
You can watch Pastor Smith’s sermon on 1 Corinthians 11 below: