15800Why Headcoverings Outside of Worship?
- May 24, 2007Hi 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 email@example.com, "Tim Cunningham"
> Tim-Granted that I am not from a covie background and so may not knowThere is nothing distinctly Covenanter about our (my wife's and my)
> how the relevant passage of 1 Cor. 11 has been interpreted in that
position on headcoverings.
> but this appears to imply that your wife wears a headNot at all times. I'm not trying to be funny, but I've been asked
> covering at all times.
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 beIf one assumes the woman is uncovered coming in to worship, then the
> 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?
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.
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