Looking back from the middle of the first century up until the late 19th century, the practice of women wearing head coverings was in effect. Creeping towards the 1900â€™s, there was a shift in the status quo and by 1970â€™s it was the minority who wore head coverings for corporate worship. If one was to look through history in a flip book, in the blink of an eye, suddenly this practice became almost obsolete. What happened?
My hope is to, Lord willing, share in a two part series about head coverings. The first part of the series is what is a head covering, why do people in church wear one, and why people don’t wear them anymore. The second part of the series will cover why I believe that the practice should continue for today. The main passage of this study is 1 Corinthians 11:2-16.
First of all, a head covering is a physical piece of cloth covering the head of Christian woman. There are no set regulations on size, color, or shape. Â Christian wives covered their heads in the early church because the Apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, commanded the practice during corporate worship.
Wives in church wear head coverings in corporate worship first in obedience to the command laid out in 1 Corinthians. The purpose was to show an outward symbol of submission to their husbands; a beautiful symbol like a wedding ring. It was a symbol of the hierarchy in her life. At the head of Christ is God the Father, at the head of the Church is Christ. At the head of every man is Christ. At the head of every woman is her husband. The head covering symbolizes this truth.
The majority in the church community today say this passage is cultural to the first century and therefore does not apply to todayâ€™s church. Some say it was because of issues of immodesty, sensual lusting, and in some cases because of hygiene and cleanliness purposes. Others say it was what the culture at that time did but we donâ€™t do it anymore so it is outdated and does not apply.
The biggest reasons why I believe the western church does not hold to this practice anymore is three fold.
- The feminist movement: Women rebelled against anything uniquely feminine.
- Men were afraid to be called male chauvinist pigs by the feminists who determined the definitions of emotionally charged arguments.
- The church lost the meaning because they did not teach the passage faithfully. Why uphold a practice if we donâ€™t know the reasons behind it?
This article briefly touched on what head coverings are, why they were worn, and why they are not worn frequently today. Next week, Lord Willing, I will explore 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 to defend why I believe head coverings should continue today in our churches.
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