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15800Why Headcoverings Outside of Worship?

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  • gmw
    May 24, 2007
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      Hi Tim,

      I've never been one to want to argue this subject, but I will not have
      my friend be curious, so I will explain my position with some help
      from Mr. Calvin.

      --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "Tim Cunningham"
      <timmopussycat@...> wrote:
      > Tim-Granted that I am not from a covie background and so may not know
      > how the relevant passage of 1 Cor. 11 has been interpreted in that
      > tradition,

      There is nothing distinctly Covenanter about our (my wife's and my)
      position on headcoverings.

      > but this appears to imply that your wife wears a head
      > covering at all times.

      Not at all times. I'm not trying to be funny, but I've been asked
      whether or not I'm for headcoverings in the shower, in bed, moping
      around the house in our pajamas, etc. As Calvin notes in his sermons
      on 1 Corinthians, "St. Paul is not addressing what may take place at
      home; for, if a woman combs her hair, she will surely have it
      uncovered then, but she also retires to her place of privacy. So, St.
      Paul is not discussing what may happen with individuals at home."
      Again, Calvin notes that, "should a woman require to make such haste
      in assisting a neighbor that she has not time to cover her head, she
      sins not in running out with her head uncovered" [Institutes Book IV,
      Chapter 10, Sec. 31]. So, no, not at all times.

      > As I read the relevant passage, Paul seems to be
      > mandating covering in the worship service of the church not as
      > something to be done at all times. Is there a reason that your wife
      > is extending the practice beyond church walls?

      If one assumes the woman is uncovered coming in to worship, then the
      direction seems to be that the woman put on the covering during
      worship. However, if one assumes that the woman is already covered
      coming in to worship, then the direction seems to be that the woman
      ought not to take it off during worship.

      Calvin interprets Paul as saying "that women should not go out in
      public with uncovered heads" (Institutes Book IV, Chapter 10, sec. 29).

      Without going into the specifics of 1 Cor. 11, of the sign of
      subjection, the respect to the angels, the headship and glory
      arguments (none of which necessarily cease outside of the walls of a
      church building), there are some other issues involved with the
      headcovering that factor into why my wife wears one whenever she goes
      in public --

      1. The difference between men and women:

      "They forget their nature: for women ought to be modest. If there be
      no shame, but that they will needs be out of order: it is a very
      beastliness. That is the effect of God's intent in saying that men
      ought not to put on women's apparel, nor women ought not to be clothed
      in men's apparel: For it is good reason that there should be a
      difference between men and women. And although there were no law
      written, doth not even nature teach it us? And when Paul (1 Cor.
      11.5,) telleth us that women must come to the Church with their heads
      covered & not with their hair about their ears: he sheweth the same
      thing. What saith he? have we need to speak to you of such things? For
      if a woman were polled , durst she shew her head abroad? A man may
      well be bold to shew his head bare, though he be polled: and shall a
      woman do so too? That were a shame, everybody would mock at her, and
      she should be fain to hide her head. Now since ye know this without
      any scripture or word written: do ye not see how God hath shown as it
      were a seed of modesty in you, to the intent that every man should
      have a regard to that which is comely for him? So then, let us mark
      that here God intended to shew us that everybody's attiring of
      themselves ought to be such, as there may be a difference between men
      and women." -Calvin's sermon on Deut. 22:5-8.

      2. The immodesty and impropriety of my wife showing you her long
      beautiful blonde hair:

      "Men use not to hang out a sign at a tavern, unless they meant men
      should come in who list. And while women deck and trim themselves
      after this sort, to draw men's eyes to them, and to have men stand
      gazing at them, what is this else but a spreading out of their nets? &
      therefore it is as much as if they kept open tavern of their own
      bodies. True it is, that all of them will not do so: but this is the
      end of their prancking, and it is not almost to be found, but that
      such gorgeous deckings, and such braveries do always bear one smack of
      bawdery with them although whoredom do not always follow. So then let
      us mark well, when Paul speaketh of this, shamefastness and modesty,
      that in correcting one fault he taketh away all those superfluities
      wherewith women are so set on fire, that they can keep no measure in
      them, & therefore it booteth not now, to reckon them up by piecemeal.
      And if this affection and perverse desire were well purged, no doubt
      women would deck themselves modestly, and we should see no more of
      these disguisings. See there cometh out a woman like a painted
      idol;—all our age is full of colours, there is nothing but laying on
      of gold, perukes and false hairs, and such like: again, we see such
      pomp, and bravery, that when such a Diana cometh forth, we may well
      judge and think that she is at defiance with all shame, with all
      modesty, with all honesty, as a stews, & strumpet, ready to say on
      this wise: 'I will show myself here as a salt bitch, I will be
      impudent and shameless, and show my filthiness to all the world.' We
      should I say, see no more of these things. If women observe this rule
      of modesty, they would not be so bespangled with gold as they are,
      they would not have their heads uncovered as now they have: to be
      short, they would not so exceed measure in gorgeousness as they do,
      wherein they do but fight against modesty & honesty, which Paul
      speaketh of in this place, if all this (as I said) were cut off." --
      Calvin's Sermon on 1 Timothy 2:9-11.

      And the more often quoted (and seemingly prophetic), "So if women are
      thus permitted to have their heads uncovered and to show their hair,
      they will eventually be allowed to expose their entire breasts, and
      they will come to make their exhibitions as if it were a tavern show;
      they will become so brazen that modesty and shame will be no more; in
      short they will forget the duty of nature... So, when it is
      permissible for the women to uncover their heads, one will say, 'Well,
      what harm in uncovering the stomach also?' And then after that one
      will plead something else: 'Now if the women go bareheaded, why not
      also this and that?' Then the men, for their part, will break loose
      too. In short, there will be no decency left, unless people contain
      themselves and respect what is proper and fitting, so as not to go
      headlong overboard." -- Calvin's Sermon on 1 Corinthians 11:2-3.

      Again, I do not intend to argue these points. I only wanted to let
      you know what the points are -- not just 1 Cor. 11 and worship, but
      also the differences in apparel for men and women, and modesty.

      gmw.
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