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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Holding Firmly to the Traditions

1 Corinthians 11:2-16
Preached Sunday morning, October 29, 2006
Lexington Church of Christ, Milton Stanley

It’s encouraging to see the women of this congregation gathering together for food and fellowship as they did yesterday. You cannot have a strong church without spiritually strong women, working together. That’s an important truth to remember in the context of the passage we’re studying today, because the concepts of 1 Corinthians 11 are easily misunderstood in our own culture. In fact, quite a bit of the Apostle Paul’s language here about authority and head coverings is a little difficult to appreciate today. But at the heart of the passage we’re studying this morning is this truth: Christ is the head over every man, and man is head of the woman (v. 3). Man is the glory of God, and woman is the glory of man. These truths have consequences for worship: men must not cover their heads while praying or prophesying, but women must. Despite the way these verses are sometimes translated, the head covering is probably not so much a veil as what we would today refer to as a shawl [1].

The question facing Christians today in this passage is simple to ask but much more difficult to answer: are Paul’s instructions here primarily cultural, so that they would not apply to Christians today? Or is he speaking of eternal principles for Christian worship, so that we must obey the letter of his instruction? We can look to the history of the first century Roman empire to help us find answers. In Paul’s day, for example, it was considered scandalous for a woman to appear publicly without a head covering; to do so made her look like a prostitute [2]. But what about in a private home? Was a Christian woman allowed to appear bare-headed when the church met in the houses of members to pray and worship? In the first century, Roman men wore head coverings while praying, but Greeks worshiped bare-headed [3]. Although in later centuries Jewish men came to cover their heads in prayer, during the first century it seems they did not [4]. All of these historical details help us better to understand what Paul was referring to in the first century, but history will take us only so far in deciding how best to interpret this passage for today.

For example we won’t be able to answer certain questions strictly by looking at history and the New Testament. Knowing precisely how Paul’s words apply to us today hinges on understanding complex cultural practices that we simply don’t have adequate information to understand today. What, for example, do the angels in v. 10 have to do with head coverings? Is Paul speaking in this passage strictly of the assembly or also of Christian womens’ appearance in public? Given Paul’s instructions in 1 Cor. 14 about women keeping silent in the worship assemblies, why does he mention them praying and prophesying here? At least some of these issues are cultural, and we don’t fully understand them today.

But the underlying themes of the Apostle’s message are clear enough: traditions are important for the church; men and women are both under authority, and neither man nor woman is independent of the other. Let’s begin our study today by looking at this issue of tradition.

Paul begins this section by complimenting the Corinthian Christians on their faithfulness to Christian tradition: "Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you" [5]. It may seem a little strange for Paul to commend the Corinthian’s faithfulness to tradition when we consider that he immediately follows these words of praise with criticism for ways they are in fact not following Christian tradition. But, in general, they must be following the tradition. After all, Paul was with them for eighteen months teaching Jesus Christ and him crucified. More important for us today than precisely which traditions the Corinthians did or did not follow is Paul’s implicit statement of the importance of Christian tradition. In short, we learn here that traditions are important for the church, both at the beginning and end of today’s passage.

In our culture today, few men or women appreciate what a tradition really is. Literally, it is a practice handed down, from generation to generation. You can’t make up a new tradition; it takes generations of fellowship to create a real tradition, whether those generations are in a family or in a church.

For the church, traditions are dangerous matters. Once a belief or practice has been handed down for a few generations, the tradition has a way of taking on a life of its own. Once a particular practice has been in place for as long as anyone in the church can remember, we are inclined to feel it was handed down not only by men, but by God. The church today, for example, is struggling with innovations introduced not by God, but by Christians seventy-five or a hundred years ago. Our practice on head coverings is a good example. As much as we claim to follow only the Bible without the introduction of human tradition, if we’ve always been taught a particular doctrine or practice, we almost never give it up, even if it’s wrong. Once a teaching, however wrong, becomes a tradition in the church, it’s terribly difficult to get rid of it. So traditions can be very dangerous matters.

Right traditions, of course, are very good. As Paul told the Thessalonian Christians, "So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter" (2 Thess. 2:15). The lineage of a true Christian tradition shows its value: Jesus to the apostles to the church, either in spoken or scriptural teaching. The church practices this proper reliance on tradition all the time. Why, for example, do we celebrate the Lord’s Supper each week but not foot washing, even though Jesus seems to have commanded Christians to practice the latter (Jn. 13:15-17). Why do churches take a collection every week but not practice the holy kiss, even though the Apostle Paul commands Christians four times in the New Testament to greet each other in this way? The answer, is tradition. We look back over how Christians from the earliest days of the church have interpreted these biblical instructions in their day, and we gain insight into how we ought to interpret them today.

Without tradition, Christians become too confident in our own cleverness. Eccentric, goofy interpretations often arise when Christians do not listen to tradition. Tradition is learning not only from the wisest Christians of our own day, but from the wise and faithful Christians of past generations. It’s a wonderful relationship, really: tradition helps us interpret Scripture, and Scripture keeps tradition from straying too far from the truth. From this perspective, the Apostle Paul begins this section of instruction with a reminder of the importance of Christian tradition.

He then goes immediately to the heart of his instruction: "But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God" (11:3). He goes on to say in vv. 8-9 that man is not made for woman, but woman for man. That’s certainly not a politically correct saying in our day, but it is without a doubt biblically correct. In the very first book of the Bible we see that woman was created out of man to be his helper (Gen. 2:20-23). That’s Scripture, tradition, and truth.

Thus Paul instructs women to cover their heads as a symbol of authority: "That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels" (11:10). The word Paul uses here for "authority," by the way, is the same word often translated "right" in 1 Cor. 9. That word usage, by the way, reflects a problem of our own day. We want rights without submitting to authority men as well as women. But Paul writes that women are to cover their heads as a sign of male authority.

Our culture and even the church at times want to deny these different roles for men and women. We live today in a very, very sick time spiritually. The politically correct position is to say that men and women are equal with no real difference between them. We thus see a strange mixing of gender roles today. Some of these gender distinctions are indeed cultural, but many are intrinsic to the way God created men and women to function. In many cases, the distinction between cultural and intrinsic difference in role may not be clear. But here is one place where it is. Churches faithful to the Bible teach the distinction between men’s and women’s roles.

Regardless of what cynical voices may proclaim, these distinctions are not for the advantage of men. It’s much easier to roll with the tide of the day than to stand up for biblical manhood and womanhood. But being faithful to the Word is being faithful to the way God created things. The church’s mission on earth is to re-establish God’s order that was damaged by the fall of mankind. The Kingdom of God is an alternative society that calls its citizens to live a radically different lifestyle than the world around us. Yet some members aren’t willing even to change what they wear to conform to God’s instructions.

Yes, women in the church are essentially in the same state as men. As Paul himself told the Galatians, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:28). All men and women have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. All of us are unable to save ourselves. All of us must depend on the blood of the Savior for redemption. Spiritually men and women are in exactly the same boat.

But in the created order we have different roles thus the need for a symbol of authority. But how this truth out to be demonstrated in the church today is not necessarily easy to understand. Man is made in the image of God for God’s glory and adornment. Woman is created for man and placed in a subordinate position; we’ll see in 1 Cor. 14 that a woman is to keep silent in the Christian assembly. Thus congregations that conform their practices to New Testament teaching do not allow women to be preachers or teachers or men (1 Tim. 2). This teaching is hard for many to accept, because it runs totally contrary to our contemporary way of thinking. I don’t mean in any way to qualify or soften it. But there is another side to the issue.

Look at 1 Cor. 11:11-12: "Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God." So woman is created for man, but man is created through woman. That is a qualitative power women have that men do not: bearing and nursing children. I don’t know if God gave women this power to balance the authority of men or not. That might be a "fair" distribution of power and authority, but God is not fair. He is, however, just and loving, and his created order is good and perfect.

This teaching in 1 Cor. 11 about the different roles of men and women raises a broader question. How do we reconcile Paul’s teaching here with what he told the Galatians about their being "neither male nor female" in the Kingdom of God? A clue to the nature of men and women can be found in what the Scripture tells us about the nature of God. Let’s look at the relationship of Jesus, the Son of God, to the Father [6]. If we skip ahead in 1 Corinthians, we find these words:

For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For God has put all things in subjection under his feet. But when it says, all things are put in subjection, it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all. (15:22-28)
Do you see the situation Paul describes here? Christ is in subjection to the Father, even as woman is in subjection to man. Yet Jesus and the Father are in essence one (John 1; 8:58; 17:21). In essence, the Father and Son are one, yet in function they are different. The analogy to men and women is simple: in essence we are the same, but in function different. And as we can see from Jesus’s subjection to the Father, there’s no shame in submission.

Now, all this theology still hasn’t answered a basic question raised by this text: should women wear hats in the worship assembly today? Well, I don’t know. Culturally, first-century women covered their heads in public and were instructed to cover them in their Christian assemblies, too. But more than social conventions are at stake here. Paul’s instructions in 1 Cor. 11 are about God’s created order. In that order, male authority should be demonstrated in some way. For the church today, the question of how to be faithful to this biblical teaching is not up to the preacher alone to decide. For submission to mean anything, it’s the women, not the men of the church, who must decide how best to submit to men. Let’s all, men and women, pray and meditate on this teaching to find the best way to do God’s will in this matter.

Whatever we decide, one thing is clear: Christian women should be women and men, men. Each has different roles, whether headship or support. Those who have served in the military may see the analogy here with officers and non-commissioned officers. The commissioned officers have the authority, but it’s the NCOs who keep things running. If you don’t think support roles are vital, see how long the military could function without NCOs.

One role officers or enlisted is not better; it’s just the roles we play. Once we get that matter settled, we can get down to what really matters. And what really matters? The answer is found in Paul’s original message to the Corinthians: Jesus Christ and him crucified (1 Cor. 2:20). In that simple teaching is everything we need to know about submission: Jesus Christ to the Father, and us to God. The roles we play as men and women on this earth are for a short time in the context of eternity. But the roles Christians will one day lay in the Kingdom of God are forever.

PRAYER
INVITATION

NOTES
1. Thomas R. Schreiner, "Head Coverings, Prophecies, and the Trinity: 1 Corinthians 11:2-16," online study at www.bible.org.
2. Lawrence Richards, The Teacher’s Commentary. Wheaton: Victor Books, 1987, p. 867.
3. Norman Hillyer, "1 Corinthians" in The New Bible Commentary, rev. ed. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1970, p. 1065. See also Interpreter’s Bible, vol. 10. New York and Nashville: Abingdon, 1953, p. 125.
4. Interpreter’s Bible, 125.
5. 1 Cor. 11:2. Unless otherwise noted, all scripture quotes here are from the English Standard Version.
6. The ideas on this subject come from Wayne A. Grudem, "Wives Like Sarah, and the Husbands Who Honor Them: 1 Peter 3:1-7." In Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism, ed. Wayne Grudem and John Piper, 194-208, 499-503. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1991. Book on-line. Available from http://www.bible.org/docs/splife/chrhome/manwoman/chap10.htm. Internet. Accessed 15 October 2006.

(c) Copyright 2006, A. Milton Stanley

24 Comments:

Blogger Andrew Chapman said...

Is there any evidence from scripture that the interpretation of this passage depends on the 1st century culture in Corinth? I think not. It's a lie that has been bandied about to undermine the clear teaching of the apostle Paul.

Why don't we just do what it says and not argue about it?

9:06 PM  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Mostly because we like to sin.

Also, we always do have to consider context, whether we think much about it or not. Context, for example, prevents us from literally cutting off our hands or gouging out our eyes in following the "clear teaching" of Mt. 5:29-30.

The problem is that we're most tempted to over-contextualize a passage when the apparent meaning runs counter to the way we like to do things. When I said I don't know whether women ought to cover their heads in the church today, I mean that I really don't know. Even with all the contextualizing I've done in this sermon, it still looks to me like women ought to cover their heads in the assembly.

But I seem to be pretty isolated in that belief. With so many people around me--many of them either more mature, more knowledgable or both--saying that women need not cover their heads--I'm hesitant to be dogmatic about it. More harm than good has been done, I think, by those who insist that everyone else follow their own theological conviction--churches split, fellowship damaged, souls lost. Some doctrines (e.g. the incarnation, the atonement, the resurrection) are worth any amount of conflict to preserve, whether or not anyone else around believes it. I'm not convinced that women covering their heads in church is one of them.

What do you think?

7:09 AM  
Blogger elman said...

You said that your practice on head coverings is a good example...
and then you said that: "Now, all this theology still hasn’t answered a basic question raised by this text: should women wear hats in the worship assembly today?" And then you answered, "Well, I don’t know."

Let me just introduce to you what Peter said about his co-apostle Paul:

II Peter 3:15-17 And consider the patience of our Lord as salvation, as our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, also wrote to you, speaking of these things as he does in all his letters. In them there are some things hard to understand that the ignorant and unstable distort to their own destruction, just as they do the other scriptures.
Therefore, beloved, since you are forewarned, be on your guard not to be led into the error of the unprincipled and to fall from your own stability.

Now, Paul has some other writings about the covering which nature provides, not a hat, but rather is the original hair which women should leave uncut. This is also mentioned from 1 cor 11:5-6 and 1 cor 11:14-15. Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?, But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering. Why should then women wear a hat or any other artificial head cover?

Thus, biblically speaking, even nature teaches us that women need not use an artificial head covering but rather a long hair that nature provides for her. Let it grow, untouched by a scissor. Even black women can grow their hair given the time or if nature permits. So, if you cut it, then it's not long anymore, more so when you shave it. I see many churches fight a simple question, which should not be the question afterall. You should first ask, what covering is being considered for women as a symbol: For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels. The covering or long uncut hair of a woman represents that her man is under Jesus Christ's authority. Therefore, a woman praying with a long uncut hair honours her head, which is the man that is under Jesus Christ's authority.

Many preachers who calls themselves preachers doesn't even have a complete understanding of the old testament. More so, of Paul's writing.

12:52 PM  
Blogger elman said...

Hi! In order to answer your other questions, I want you first to learn about the most sensible creature of this times, Bro Eliseo Soriano (known also as Brother Eli). He's a Filipino whom we consider as the one prophesied in Revelation 1:3, blessed is he that readeth. You can throw any questions to him about the bible, and he will read to you the answer found in the bible (not man-made stories) immediately. You can try to have a sample of the questions answered already through clips and online feed at www.truthcaster.com or www.theoldpath.tv

12:52 PM  
Blogger elman said...

And he spoke a parable to them; Can the blind lead the blind? will they not both fall into the ditch? How can you hold on to the tradition when you have no idea which covering St Paul is talking about. You know brother, as I read your thoughts/writings, I see that you are almost at the right track but you curved to your own perception and ideas not from the bible. All things we say should have a basis, more so based on the bible. So, I hope you visit our website. All thanks be to God.

1:06 PM  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Elman, I am truly glad you have read my writings and offer your comments. I have read what you have written here and continue to think about it seriously. I take issue, however, with a couple of your comments.

In your first comment post, you take issue with my waffling on the issue here. That's fine. I'm not entirely comfortable with my position, and I welcome discussion and disagreement. Your final sentence, though, crosses the line from disagreeing with my position to insulting me. Please don't do that anymore at this site.

Also, because you have actually read my post and seem to be sincere about your respect for Mr. Soriano, I am letting your second comment posting stand. Please do not, however, continue as you have done on several occasions to post on this site what amounts to advertisements for Mr. Soriano's ministry.

Your third comment is also not very kind.

Again, I welcome discussion and even disagreement on this site. But please, let's be kind to one another.

6:53 PM  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

By the way, Elman, I'm sorry to read you were stung by a scorpion but glad to see that you seem to be recovering well.

7:01 PM  
Blogger elman said...

1 tim 1:3-4, 6-7 2 I repeat the request I made of you when I was on my way to Macedonia, that you stay in Ephesus to instruct certain people not to teach false doctrines or to concern themselves with myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the plan of God that is to be received by faith. Some people have deviated from these and turned to meaningless talk, wanting to be teachers of the law, but without understanding either what they are saying or what they assert with such assurance.

Oh, my comment is not to insult you but to show how frank the bible is and its warning to those who wants to be teachers of the law and those who wants to be a member of the Church of God. It's not only you who reads your article anyways. Now, I thank God that He gave you the chance to hear the real word of God, should you have visited our website I mentioned before. How can I invite you without stating the website?

titus 2:7-8 showing yourself as a model of good deeds in every respect, with integrity in your teaching, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be criticized, so that the opponent will be put to shame without anything bad to say about us.

Again, everything we say should have a basis, biblically speaking.
More so when we tackle St Paul's message from God.

II Peter 3:15-17 And consider the patience of our Lord as salvation, as our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, also wrote to you, speaking of these things as he does in all his letters. In them there are some things hard to understand that the ignorant and unstable distort to their own destruction, just as they do the other scriptures.
Therefore, beloved, since you are forewarned, be on your guard not to be led into the error of the unprincipled and to fall from your own stability.

A praise undeserved is a scandal in disguise.

11:30 PM  
Blogger elman said...

It is up to you if you'll let my comment postings stand. the last line on my first statement is a generalization and if it hurts you, then, it's something for you to ponder about. And if you have unanswered questions in mind, you know what to do.

11:47 PM  
Anonymous Tom D said...

Concerning comments made by Elman, isn't it strange that we always think that the one we disagree with is the one who is "ignorant and unstable" rather than ourselves (his reference to II Peter 3:15-17)? It's harder to look into ourselves and truely discover who is the "weaker" or "stronger" brother while trying not to offend (Romans 14). If we look at another of Peter's teaching (reference Peter's first letter, found ironically in the same chapter number and verses I Peter 3:15-17) we can see his advise to frame our comments with gentleness and respect. Beyond this, he also says "in our hearts set aside Christ as Lord". Milton, you have obviously done this, and I commend you for not overstepping your level of understanding (and most of us on this matter) by supporting a position which each deligent student of the Lord must decide "in our hearts".

11:24 AM  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Thank you, Tom D., for your kind words. They really hit the spot today! Peace.

2:16 PM  
Blogger elman said...

By the way, I placed this comment area as a link from my blogspot. I hope it's okay with you.

4:03 AM  
Blogger ELMAN said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:44 PM  
Blogger ELMAN said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:02 PM  
Blogger ELMAN said...

s it not this the premise:

Should women wear veils or hats or head covers in the worship assembly today? How about before and after, the assembly, do they need to wear it too? Do you pray outside the assembly? Do you pray anywhere, anytime? And what should they wear as a head cover?

Because Milton said:

"Now, all this theology still hasn’t answered a basic question raised by this text: should women wear hats in the worship assembly today?" "Well, I don’t know." ...Even with all the contextualizing I've done in this sermon, it still looks to me like women ought to cover their heads in the assembly. But I seem to be pretty isolated in that belief. With so many people around me--many of them either more mature, more knowledgable or both--saying that women need not cover their heads--I'm hesitant to be dogmatic about it. More harm than good has been done, I think, by those who insist that everyone else follow their own theological conviction--churches split, fellowship damaged, souls lost. Some doctrines (e.g. the incarnation, the atonement, the resurrection) are worth any amount of conflict to preserve, whether or not anyone else around believes it. I'm not convinced that women covering their heads in church is one of them.


Thus, I answered: that women should have a long uncut hair as a head cover based on the bible, "not based on my own understanding." Then I mentioned a verse in the bible forewarning those who uses the writing of Paul. And also what Paul reminded Titus, showing yourself as a model of good deeds in every respect, with integrity in your teaching, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be criticized, so that the opponent will be put to shame without anything bad to say about us, Titus 2:7-8.

Therefore, since the doctrine can not be criticized, Milton replied:

In your first comment post, you take issue with my waffling on the issue here. That's fine. I'm not entirely comfortable with my position, and I welcome discussion and disagreement. Your final sentence, though, crosses the line from disagreeing with my position to insulting me. Please don't do that anymore at this site.

And tom d said:

we can see his advise to frame our comments with gentleness and respect. Beyond this, he also says "in our hearts set aside Christ as Lord". Milton, you have obviously done this, and I commend you for not overstepping your level of understanding (and most of us on this matter) by supporting a position which each deligent student of the Lord must decide "in our hearts".

Now I said:
tom, I got no issue on the verse in Romans, as it is not the topic. Should you want to use it, we can discuss it after we finish the first subject. May I just say that understanding with the help of God and knowing because of pre-conceived ideas or own perception are two different things my brother. Moreso, when you do not know the answer at all! Yes, 2 Peter 3:17 states, Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. A student of the bible should know this too. How come you do not want to offend the wicked? Of course not the person of Milton, but what is contained in the sermon.

And I am truly disappointed to hear from a preacher, who does a sermon, this line: "Even with all the contextualizing I've done in this sermon, it still looks to me like women ought to cover their heads in the assembly." Imagine, Milton took the head cover as a hat! Let met say, "what an eccentric and, goofy interpretation! Let me just also point out based on the bible that it is the Scripture that keeps tradition from straying too far from the truth, not the other way around. From this perspective, the Apostle Paul begins this section of instruction with a reminder of the importance of Christian tradition.

Milton assumed too that because we have limited resources or information in history regarding the covering or other traditions, he concluded that atleast some of these issues are cultural, and we don't fully understand them today. Let us go back to what he said, "The question facing Christians today in this passage is simple to ask but much more difficult to answer: are Paul’s instructions here primarily cultural, so that they would not apply to Christians today? Or is he speaking of eternal principles for Christian worship, so that we must obey the letter of his instruction? We can look to the history of the first century Roman empire to help us find answers. In Paul’s day, for example, it was considered scandalous for a woman to appear publicly without a head covering; to do so made her look like a prostitute [2]. But what about in a private home? Was a Christian woman allowed to appear bare-headed when the church met in the houses of members to pray and worship? In the first century, Roman men wore head coverings while praying, but Greeks worshiped bare-headed [3]. Although in later centuries Jewish men came to cover their heads in prayer, during the first century it seems they did not [4]. All of these historical details help us better to understand what Paul was referring to in the first century, but history will take us only so far in deciding how best to interpret this passage for today.

What kind of logic is that when the explanation of Paul is found also within the chapter mentioned. Milton did not even state 1 cor 11:13-16. The head cover for man and woman is simply their hair. He look the history like others did and he too did not see the answer. So, what will be the result? Milton answered it himself but misstate that "we won’t be able to answer certain questions strictly by looking at history and the New Testament." May I correct you, the new testament has the answer my friend you just need to seek!

Milton added "Knowing precisely how Paul’s words apply to us today hinges on understanding complex cultural practices that we simply don’t have adequate information to understand today. What, for example, do the angels in v. 10 have to do with head coverings? Is Paul speaking in this passage strictly of the assembly or also of Christian womens’ appearance in public? Given Paul’s instructions in 1 Cor. 14 about women keeping silent in the worship assemblies, why does he mention them praying and prophesying here? At least some of these issues are cultural, and we don’t fully understand them today."

Paul stated it in the book because God told him to write it for the Christians to follow. It is not just a tradition made up by the first Christians or by Paul! Have not you noticed base on what you said and I wit, " For the church, traditions are dangerous matters. Once a belief or practice has been handed down for a few generations, the tradition has a way of taking on a life of its own. Once a particular practice has been in place for as long as anyone in the church can remember, we are inclined to feel it was handed down not only by men, but by God. The church today, for example, is struggling with innovations introduced not by God, but by Christians seventy-five or a hundred years ago. Our practice on head coverings is a good example. As much as we claim to follow only the Bible without the introduction of human tradition, if we’ve always been taught a particular doctrine or practice, we almost never give it up, even if it’s wrong. Once a teaching, however wrong, becomes a tradition in the church, it’s terribly difficult to get rid of it. So traditions can be very dangerous matters." And then you said that woman ought to wear a hat in church assembly! Look now who's talking!

With regards to 1 cor 11:10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels. This is a good topic. Let me read you this verse: Look in the book of the LORD and read: No one of these shall be lacking, For the mouth of the LORD has ordered it, and his spirit shall gather them there, Isaiah 34:16 and Rev 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. That is why I invited you to listen to Brother Eli to answer your other questions.

Yes, Milton, the underlying themes of the Apostle’s message are clear enough: traditions are important for the church. So, we are obliged to follow it! It could have been more clearer to everyone should you know what head cover is mentioned in the New Testament. But now, thank God, you know.

Furthermore, If you will insist that it is a hat which women ought to wear a head cover during assembly, let me ask, do they need to wear it everytime they pray, Or everywhere they go? Remember, christians pray most of the time. But how about those who cannot afford to buy a head cover? Are you saying that they keep silent instead and pray no more?

But instead of figuring out what is right and true from the bible, he and his reader divert the answer to question of gentleness and respect of how I delivered my comment. Would my disappointment and verses I just got from the bible made you feel insulted? Then, is it me who made you feel such, or the verse? Should Milton has the respect for you that he has no answer for this question and admitted that he really does not know the answer. What kind of a preacher is He then? But this comment area is not to ridicule the person of Milton, this is just to say that there is an answer found in the bible, you just need to seek. And if you can find it, ask someone's help, pray. The kingdom of God is in the Church, so you need to ask where the kingdom is. Therefore, try our church.

Of course our subject of discussion is the women's head cover. Why should women cover their head then? Is it not important?
One of the many subjects of discussions in a christian community is whether a woman should wear head cover or not. Another one is the head cover itself. Let me just refresh you of what Paul wrote concerning these tradition and doctrine.

1 cor 11:2-15(ESV) said that, 2Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you. 3But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife[a] is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. 4Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, 5but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head--it is the same as if her head were shaven. 6For if a wife will not cover her head, then she should cut her hair short. But since it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her cover her head. 7For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. 8For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. 9Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. 10That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.[b] 11Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; 12for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God. 13Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a wife to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him, 15but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering.

Let me highlight the concern, 1 Cor 11:13-16(KJV) states that, 13Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? 14Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? 15But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering. 16But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

Why then should women wear a hat or any other artificial head cover? Thus, biblically speaking, even nature teaches us that women need not use an artificial head covering but rather should maintain a long hair that nature provides for her. Let it grow, untouched by a scissor. Even black women can grow their hair given the time or if nature permits. So, if you cut it, then it's not long anymore, more so when you shave it. I see many churches fight a simple question of to wear or not to wear a hat. Is is a hat? You should first ask, what covering is being considered for women as a symbol. Also, why is it important? The covering or long uncut hair of a woman represents that her man is under Jesus Christ's authority. Therefore, a woman praying with a long uncut hair honours her head, which is the man that is under Jesus Christ's authority. 1Cor 11:1-4 states, 1Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. 2Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you. 3But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. 4Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.

Therefore, based on the bible, women honor God, above all, if she let her hair grow naturally and never cut it. And what should we look for as a sign of authority on a woman's head? The covering or long uncut hair of a woman represents that her man is under Jesus Christ's authority and she is in the church mentioned by Paul. Therefore, a woman praying with a long uncut hair honours her head, which is the man that is under Jesus Christ's authority. Should a woman has no sign of God's authority, then whose authority is she under? Now, if you want to be subjected to God's authority, what shall you do? Should women wear artificial head cover? How can a woman pray if she does not have or hold a head cover? Can every woman buy a head cover? Many women in africa does not even got a food to eat.

These are questions that might have been raised by so many who professed that they are female christians, but did their minister, preacher, or anyone in their church answered this with wisdom, authority, conviction, fear and trust in God? If not, then now is the time to ponder if you are in the right church.

Also, Milton used the verse which is supposed to be for the commemoration of the Lord's supper: 1 cor 11:17 (ESV) Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. 1 cor 11:16-21 (KJV) said, If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God. 17Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. 18For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. 19For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. 20When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper. 21For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. Milton's statements imply that if a practice would not result for the better, he is hesitant to be dogmatic about it. Paul says that he does not allow divisions and heresies in the church and pointed out what to do about it. That shows how to be kind to your fellow christians.

This would need another posting but anyways let me also, ask another subject, should a man cover his head or grows his hair and maintain a long hair like unto a woman? These questions are clearly explained to us in our Church. For those of you who are interested and found in their hearts God's calling, please, you know what to do.

Therefore, am I disrespectful if I said that a blind who leads a blind will both fall into the ditch? Did they fall already? Is the bible correct by saying, that the falling will happen should the blind leads a blind? Do you still have time to ponder and read more and pray that God will lead you to the old paths where the righteous walks and guided by the spirit.

Jeremiah 6;16: Thus says the LORD: Stand beside the earliest roads, ask the pathways of old Which is the way to good, and walk it; thus you will find rest for your souls. But they said, "We will not walk it."

And I want to add this: And those who wanting to be teachers of the law, but without understanding either what they are saying or what they assert with such assurance, 1Tim 1:7. I am not adding insult to injury but rather stating that the bible is frank to its readers. Well, discussion is very much welcome in your blogspot as you said and I thank God for this chance and opportunity to spread His True words. For those who has questions which can not be answered by Milton, well, I guess he will not deprive you when you seek out from the book of the Lord.even from instructions from my comments which remain posted up to now. If you have the chance to read it, I welcome you. Thanks Milton for posting this. You know what, I am also a student of the Word of God, and I would have not commented here should I haven't taken noticed of similarities of the way we understand Paul's writings. It is just that I took the initiative to answer what you lack based on the bible. And those things I know, I learned from our Presiding Minister in the Church.

Finally, as a person who gives sermon to a group of people, it is not enough to say that, I do not know. People look up to you for guidance. So let me end this comment with some verses from the Bible: But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: 1 Peter 3:15. A preacher, a teacher, a reader, or whoever guides a student of the bible should always be ready to give an answer to every man that asks a reason of the hope that is in you. Look in the book of the LORD and read: No one of these shall be lacking, For the mouth of the LORD has ordered it, and his spirit shall gather them there, Isaiah 34:16. Lastly, 2 Peter 3:15-17 (KJV) 15And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. 17Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. Best of all,do we need a preacher, or a reader? A preacher for me says of what he thinks is best, from his point of view and pre-conceived ideas and will usually say I do not know, or point finger to something to explain the reason why he does not understand. But a reader, Rev 1:3 says, 3Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

My friend, the holy kiss is not a kiss in the lips or the cheeks or any physical kiss. It's not because I think it is not but based on the bible. Ask Soriano, and the bible will answer!

1:12 PM  
Anonymous LaelAnn Hager said...

Woot Sir,
Your article sounds "distinctly" brethren! (shocking)
I also must give you two thumbs up for using bible.org! I simply love hearing Bob Deffinbaugh speak on this topic! (if you have not it is a must do... if you are ever in Texas).
But on this topic, do you believe the biblical reasoned assembly would allow a woman to prophesy in church [with her head covered], or does this go against women shall be in silence in the church?
Semper fi,
Lael

3:26 PM  
Anonymous LaelAnn Hager said...

I just realized I left no contact place... *thus is connected to this site,

3:29 PM  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Lael: I don't understand your second question, but I think I understand the first one. To be completely frank, I don't think prophecy still happens today as it did in the first century church. In a limited sense, preaching has taken the place prophecy, and I don't think women are permitted to preach in the church whether their heads or covered or not. That's the tradition of the church and the teaching of the NT (re. 1 Tim. 2:12).

5:33 PM  
Blogger elman said...

Hi Milton it's me again.

Can preaching be done when the Prophecy can be read literally but the meaning remains closed?

Therefore, you cannot say that preaching has taken the place of prophecy when in fact you do not understand what the prophecy means.

I enjoin you to a good conversation. Please visit esoriano.wordpress.com

Before deleting my message or any links here, please, try the link first, alright?

May God show you the way.

Thanks and be patient.

8:48 AM  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

I won't delete your links or comments, elman, but I don't have a lot of time to engage in long discussions, either. I do thank you for trying to lead me to the truth as you understand it, and I will follow the link and read as time allows.

9:36 AM  
Blogger elman said...

Hi! ,

It's me again. I have commented a lot from some of your previous posts and it is but proper that the our doctrines should be learned directly from our presiding minister. I don't want that the group that I belong to be judged according to what I said. Thus, may I just invite you to our Presiding Minister, Brother Eliseo Soriano's Blog at:

esoriano.wordpress.com

Thanks for the space and God willing that we grow in the Truth.

Elman

11:42 PM  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Hello, Elman. I noticed that you've already given a link to Mr. Soriano's blog, both on this and another comment section. While you're welcome to visit and comment, please don't use this blog to advertise Mr. Soriano's.

8:48 AM  
Blogger el man and an inner man said...

Hi! Milton,

How are you?

Do you remember me?

Brother Eli is now going from one country to another. Have you heard of him lately?

http://www.esoriano.wordpress.com

because if you have, you can ask anything about the bible and he'll answer you using the Holy Bible.

We have new brethren in Ghana Africa, with women prepared to let their hair grow naturally as their head covering.

God bless.

11:15 AM  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

I do indeed remember you. Thanks for remembering me, too, and for stopping by.

2:22 PM  

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