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View Poll Results: Should women wear head covering in church; should they be allowed to speak in church?
Yes, they should wear head covering; No, they should not be allowed to speak . . . 2 8.00%
Yes ; Yes. 2 8.00%
No ; Yes. 15 60.00%
No ; No. 5 20.00%
I don't know. 1 4.00%
Voters: 25. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 03-15-2010, 08:05 AM
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Default Head Covering and Speaking in Church

I'm sure that some of you know instantly what this thread is going to be about.

So, should women wear head coverings in church?

Should there be women speakers/preachers in church?



(please read 1st Corinthians 11:2-16 and 14:34,35, and any other passages you find relevent)

Quote:
(1st Corinthians 11:4-6)
4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head.
5 But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved.
6 For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered.
Quote:
(1st Corinthians 14:34.35)
34 Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says.
35 And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church.
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Old 03-15-2010, 08:23 AM
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Eh.. tough one.

A third category could be held in this, and that is should women be in position of power in churches / allowed to preach.

The Bible tends to go multiple ways on this.
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Old 03-15-2010, 09:17 AM
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From what I understand, the head covering was a kind of cultural symbol in the ancient world, and since it is not a cultural symbol in the modern West, modern Western women don't need to wear one. By women "speakers," do you mean women preaching to a mixed congregation, or a woman praying, or a woman teaching women? Since I'm unsure of your exact meaning, Lossendil, I'll refrain from voting for the time being.

Corinthians talks about women keeping silence in church, but since it also mentions women praying in church, many commentators think that the Corinthian women were guilty of being loud (i.e. whispering questions to their husbands) during the church service. Thus, Paul says, they should ask at home if they've got questions for their husbands.

I have no problem with women praying in church, or with women teaching women/children. I think the Bible backs both of those activities. But since the Bible also assumes that the church pastors/elders/deacons will be male, I don't think that women should take those particular positions of leadership.
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Old 03-15-2010, 09:17 AM
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The poll is worded confusingly.

I don't think women have to keep their heads covered in church and I do think they should be allowed to speak. Or to preach.

It's a known fact that half the churches Paul founded were left in the keeping of women. He scolded one particular church that was having problems with a certain group of women whom he basically told to shut up.

If I wrote an epistle to my family living in Antarctica, I would advise them never to leave the house without a coat on. If they moved to Hawaii, I would certainly not expect them to obey my original instructions! Know the circumstances, and if you can't know the circumstances, don't make inflexible interpretations. I take my hat off in church to show respect for God. My jewish friends wear a hat in church for the same reasons. To them taking your hat off in church is akin to taking off your tie or your shoes because it's more comfy that way.

When it's a symbolic gesture, it's far more important that whatever you do, you do because you think it's right. That's what gives a symbol its power. If it had biological significance, such as whether to serve arsenic in the communion wine, that would be a different matter. In the church where I attend, the women remove their hats for the same reason the men do.

Last edited by EveningStar; 03-15-2010 at 09:25 AM.
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Old 03-15-2010, 12:58 PM
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I more or less agree with Glenburne on this one. As for the covering of the head, it was a practice that was, I believe, exclusive to Corinth at the time. I believe this had to do with prostitutes of that time. In covering their heads, the women demonstrated their separation from these women. The prostitutes in those days would walk around with their heads uncovered, and were rather brazen about it. I'm not entirely clear on the matter, but I don't think this was a practice put in place throughout the entire church.

As for the woman being able to preach to a congregation, I believe this remains a constant no matter what cultural changes occur. The role of shepherd over the flocks of the Lord belongs exclusively to the man. But I do agree with Glenburne that women should be allowed to teach women and children as well. At the church I attend there is a women's ministry, which is led by the wife of one of our pastors. My mother attends and is always blessed by what the Lord is doing there among the women. Yet the role of pastor belongs exclusively to the man.

I think for a woman or a man to pipe up during a sermon is certainly not a good thing. What was happening at Corinth was the women were asking their husbands questions during the sermons as to what the preacher was talking about. I think for anyone to interrupt the pastor during the service is to quench the work of the Holy Spirit among the people. Don't take away from the glory of God, whether you're a man or a woman. Period. Hence, asking their husbands their questions "at home."
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Old 03-15-2010, 01:24 PM
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I'm agreeing with ES. The cultural leaning at the time was for women to be covered, and as Saruman notes, ladies asking questions during the sermon was distracting people so Paul told them to keep silent.

Today there's no reason to have our heads covered and no reason for ladies not to preach. One of my favorite lady preachers is Joyce Meyers, a married woman who would say her husband is the head of her household, but she is the main speaker at her church. It works. The Episcopalians even have lady priests. It's a calling, and who is to say ladies don't receive the call?
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Old 03-15-2010, 03:15 PM
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I am unconvinced by the argument that this instruction was purely cultural to Corinth, since Paul backs it up with two universal arguments (v3, about authority, and v8-9, about creation). My inclination, therefore, would be to say that women ought to cover their heads and men ought not to. Interestingly, when I was in Russia recently, whenever we visited an Orthodox church the men were asked to uncover their heads and the women to cover theirs, which I assumed was based on this passage.

I also agree that women are not intended to hold leadership and teaching positions in the church. However, as 1 Cor 11:5 says that "every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonours her head," this implies that women will be praying or prophesying. (I do wonder what 'prophesying' includes, though, and wonder whether it could include preaching.) Therefore, I reject the interpretation of eg. 1 Cor 14:34 that women should never say anything in church. However, I think 1 Tim 2:11-12 does seem to rule out women teaching in church. Also, Jesus only appointed men with the Twelve of his inner circle.

However, the NT church does seem to have given women a significant role. Some seem to be deacons (eg. Phoebe) and others to be apostles (eg. Junia and perhaps Priscilla). Others hosted churches in their houses, so were likely important members of the church. And let us remember too that Jesus chose women to be the first witnesses of his resurrection, and to tell the men what they had seen. So I do not think Paul's teaching is intended to subjugate or devalue women, as has tended to happen in conservative churches where women are not allowed to preach. I think what is needed is a careful analysis of the roles intended for men and women.

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Old 03-15-2010, 03:19 PM
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It's interesting that when the epistles mention a church in a woman's home, they only mention the woman by name -- not the male "pastor" or "shepherd" though -- so it seems the me the woman was the pastor. If women were apostles, then I'm pretty sure they taught and spoke in church. I don't think that Paul (or Jesus) ever intended that a woman shouldn't lead a church. At the time, for that culture, women weren't often in leadership, but I don't think those Scriptures mean women could never be teachers and preachers. Otherwise "the church in Ms. So-and-so's home" that Paul greets in his letters ought to have been identified as "the church of pastor Male-Person," wouldn't it?
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Old 03-15-2010, 03:23 PM
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The only women who may be regarded as apostles are only ever mentioned in connection with a male (Andronicus and Junia; Priscilla and Aquila), which I think is significant.

It is difficult to say with certainty that the home-owner would be the pastor. If so, I don't know why Paul would specify that the church was in that person's home. It might be that they had a more flexible leadership style with no fixed leader from week to week, and hence it was easier to identify the church by where it meets than by who leads it.

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Old 03-15-2010, 04:52 PM
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One thing to keep in mind about such matters is that the accounts in Acts cover only the very earliest stages of Church history. Heck, the first century hadn't even finished yet! If there's one thing Church history tells us, it's that "what the Church does under optimal circumstances" and "what it must do under difficult or strained circumstances" are often quite different.

To take an example: ideally baptism is performed by someone who has been ordained (i.e. under Holy Orders, in my tradition) in a church with the family and some of the congregation present, as part of a liturgical celebration. But in extremis, the child can be baptised at home over a sink by his parents, or even in a ditch by an unbeliever who intends to do what the Church intends. There's what's ideal, and what sometimes must be done.

St. Paul was establishing these churches in pagan territory, before there even was a stable and coherent structure of Church authority. Everything was ad hoc (under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, of course.) To presume that something which might have been adopted for purposes of expedience was normative is to make a major error.
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