Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Post 3: The Controversy: Women, the Veil and Submission of 1 Corinthians 11

  • veil2.jpeg

    Paul considers women wearing veils in the assembly of God, not as a sign of submission to men, but a custom that is null and void in the Church of Christ.


    Fact 1: The Apostle Paul was not a misogynist or prejudiced against women. In fact he was quite the opposite and instead he reproved those who sought to subject the women in Christ to a subservient role within the body of Christ. Some say that Paul, with this letter, is putting women in their place in the following passages below (1 cor. 11); however, as we will see Paul is not putting women in their place, but he is correcting those who are contentious regarding this matter.

    Fact 2: The church of Christ is not meant to be a hierarchy in which the men are representatives of God for the women in the church, nor for their wives at home. A woman's identity is in Christ, and God is their Father, therefore, they have direct access to God, and Christ alone is their mediator. Nor do the women of God need permission from the men of God to exercise their gifts in Christ. God gave gifts to the church, in which these gifts are backed by the authority of God, whether you are a male or a female. These gifts are given for the edification of the church, and no one is authorized to lord it over the body of Christ, to decide for God who will be allowed to exercise their gifts, and who will or will not be allowed to exercise their gifts, as long as all things are done decently and in order. "Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock" (1 Pet. 5:3). These gifts are given to and for the whole church, and are not segregated to and for a specific gender. God is Spirit, and it is His Spirit that is expressed through a person, and that Spirit is neither male nor female. The Word of God spoken is the Word of God, and does not become less effective because of one's gender.

    Fact 3: According to one's culture the word "head" can be understood to mean "authority," or the one in charge, but to apply the same understanding of this word to these biblical passages is out of context to the message given. To do so, is a misinterpretation of the Greek word "kephalē," interpreted as "head," as connoting the right of men to have a superior role over women in the name of God. As we will observe, the meaning of this word is clearly understood as "source, not boss."

    William Ramsay in his book "The Layman's Guide to the New Testament, on page 127, lists the 11th chapter of Corinthians as a reply to questions that the Corinthian church asked Paul in a letter. As we will see, it was logical for Paul to state the complaints written in the letter, and reply to them. In chapter 11, Paul first edifies the church, and are found in the first 2 verses of the chapter, then he leads us into the issues under dispute in this church. These are the complaints of certain members of this church, in verses 3-10.  Paul then responds to these complaints in verses 11-16 of 1 Cor. 11. Let's take a look at what was said, starting with v. 3, where Paul begins to speak about these complaints.

    1Co 11:3: But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of [note: head of and not head over] the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

    The word "head" is speaking about "origins" since the following verses 7-9 declare the reasons for insisting that a woman wear a veil in the congregation (cf. Liddell and Scott, Greek-English Lexicon). The complainants base their argument on the premise that a man was created first, and the woman was created from the man and for the man, but not the other way around. The complainants also claim that they are created in the image and glory of God, but in contrast, the woman was created for the glory of man. They (the complainants) have direct access to God; however, a woman has access to God only under their authority.

    Below are verses 4-7 and as we will see they further expound the issue at hand:

    1Co 11:4-7: Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoreth his head. But every woman praying or prophesying with her head unveiled dishonoreth her head; for it is one and the same thing as if she were shaven. For if a woman is not veiled, let her also be shorn: but if it is a shame to a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be veiled. For a man indeed ought not to have his head veiled, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.

    Would Paul contradict the Scriptures? I say, Paul would not contradict the Word of God.

    This leads us to the question, was Eve made in the image of God? The answer is "YES' and is found in the book of Genesis below:

    Gen 1:27:

    So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

    If Paul is not addressing the issues under dispute in this church, then why would he contradict the Word of God, and emphasize man as being created in the image of God and not the woman?

    We know from the Word of God that both male and female are in the image of God.

    The following verses 8-10 will demonstrate the reasons why the complainants state that a woman is not in the image of God, but was made for man's glory.

    1Co 11:8
    For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man:
    for neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man:

    1Co 11:10 for this cause ought the woman to have a sign of authority on her head, because of the angels.

    As we can clearly see the "origins" of male and female, or who came first in the creation process is the emphasis for this complaint, and has nothing to do with the truth of God's Word.

    The Greek word for "authority" is "exousia," meaning "power." The Greek custom for women was to wear a veil in expression of their subjection to men. This differs from the Hebrew custom, in which the Jewish religious leaders wore veils to express their authority with God. Why would Paul institute in the church of Christ the customs of different cultures? My answer, he didn’t, as we will see in the following verse, Paul does not agree with the above complaints. Paul now responds to the aforesaid with the word "nevertheless," or in spite of what has been said.

    1Co 11:11: Nevertheless, neither is the woman without the man, nor the man without the woman, in the Lord.For as the woman is of the man, so is the man also by the woman; but all things are of God.

    Here Paul is speaking about origins and concludes all things originate with God.

    1Co 11:13 Judge ye in yourselves: is it seemly that a woman pray unto God unveiled?

    Paul then returns the question back to the individuals for their consideration, and does not give an answer. In other words he is saying "figure it out for yourself,"he asks, Is it a lack of decorum for a woman to pray to God unveiled?

    As a matter of fact, Paul now presents the natural state of the man and woman for consideration.

    1Co 11:14: Doth not even nature itself teach you, that if a man have long hair, it is a dishonor to him?

    Paul differentiates the natural differences in appearances of the sexes.

    1Co 11:15: But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.

    Paul states that instead of a veil, a woman's long hair is her glory, and is her covering, and he makes no implication of the need to wear a veil.

    Most importantly,

    In verse 16, the last verse regarding this complaint, Paul declares that there is no such custom regarding this matter.

    1Co 11:16: But if any man seemeth to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

    Although Paul reasons with the complainants regarding this matter, the end result contradicts the idea that Paul wrote an entire letter of instruction, for women to wear a veil, or shave their head.

    Paul concludes with a contradiction to verses 7-10, that her hair is her natural covering and her glory. The subject is the "custom" of the time which is not a part of the church of Christ, as Paul stated in verse 16.

    In conclusion, it would seem that the idea that a woman was made from a man meant that women in some way needed to show their submission to men, and somehow allotted them an inferior or second class position in humanity and in the Church of Christ. Members of the Corinthian church disputed over the issue of having a women wear a veil in her service to God, and by wearing this veil, her subordination in the kingdom of God is clearly defined. This idea was negated by Paul and not only Paul but the very Word of God.

    more to come . . .
  • Tuesday, July 05, 2005

    Post 2: Adam and Eve: God's will revealed in the light of paradise & God's will lost in the darkness of sin

    PART I: God's perfect will revealed in the light of paradise

    Premise: In the beginning God did not give Adam dominion over the woman . . . please read on . . .

    Passages of Scripture examined in this post are:

    Genesis, chapters 2 & 3 (KJV or ASV)

    Genesis 1:26-28 (note: bible verses are listed after each set of facts)

    FACT 1---- The word "man" in verse 26 represents "humankind" and is not speaking of Adam alone. As the Word of God always interprets itself, the context is speaking of both Adam & Eve and is understood by the word "them" in all of the verses below. Four times (4x) the word "them" is used concerning God's will for both Adam & Eve.

    FACT 2  Both Adam and Eve were made in the image of God

    FACT 3  God told both Adam and Eve (them) to be fruitful, multiply, replenish the earth, subdue it, and have dominion over all the earth.

    1:26And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

    1:27  And God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

    1:28  And God blessed them: and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

    Genesis 2:18 - 25

    FACT 1 God searched for a compatible companion for Adam, but He found none that was suitable for him in all His creation. Thus, the woman is made from Adam's rib, from his side, to be side by side with him.

    FACT 2  In verse 24 the relationship of the man to the woman is clarified. Adam was to "cleave" or rather "be joined" to the woman, and not to usurp authority over her. Neither Adam nor Eve usurped authority over the other.

    2:18 And Jehovah God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him.

    2:19 And out of the ground Jehovah God formed every beast of the field, and every bird of the heavens; and brought them unto the man to see what he would call them: and whatsoever the man called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

    2:20  And the man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the heavens, and to every beast of the field; but for man there was not found a help meet for him.

    2:21 And Jehovah God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof:

    2:22 -25  and the rib, which Jehovah God had taken from the man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And the man said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

    PART II: God's perfect will lost in the darkness of sin


    FACT #1---- Anyone claiming to have dominion over another, whose claim is solely based on gender, and is propagated in the name of God is wrong. The need for this type of control is fleshy and the work of a fallen humanity.

    FACT 2 ---- Much that has been taught concerning the story of Adam and Eve has been premised on speculation, and not fact.

    Gen 2:9  And out of the ground made Jehovah God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

    Gen 2:17but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

    The devil then tempts Eve to eat of the fruit of the tree.

    Gen 3:2 - 6   And the woman said unto the serpent, Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat; and she gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat.

    At this moment both spiritual and physical death entered the human race, and Adam, Eve, and all of creation fell under the curse of sin. By this transaction of accepting the devil's offer, the whole earth fell under Satan's dominion. They lost their original spiritual life with God and any hope of eternal life. For God said,

    Gen 3:22 - 23  And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. Simply put, God could not allow this state of corruption to live forever. He would need to redeem man from the curse through Jesus Christ.


    Please note when reading the following account that the curse is a result of sin and not a conscious act of God or a commandment of God to cause humanity to suffer. When you come to the words "I will" please keep in mind the following information:

    "Active verbs were used by the Hebrews to express, not the doing of the thing, but the permission of the thing which the agent is said to do” (Bullinger, Figures of Speech Used in the Bible, 823).

    Gen 3:16 -19:Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy pain and thy conception; in pain thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in toil shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

    In other words for the woman:And though your desire will be for your husband, yet he will dominate you.The word "desire" means longing or craving. Some bibles have added footnotes to state that this desire means women want to have control over men.

    This is mere speculation, there is no indication in the verse that this is the case. Some also suggest that God was speaking to Eve and it was Adam who would exercise control over Eve. Anything is possible, however, I hope I have demonstrated here that the need of some men to control women and take authority over them is not the work of God, but the result of the curse of sin.

    Saturday, July 02, 2005

    Post #1: An introduction to the purpose of this blog

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  • Below is a list of some of the distorted views that are openly propagated against women. These views are supposedly based upon a few bible passages that will be examined in this blog. Here are some of the comments I have recently encountered, and by those who claim to be teachers of God's Word.

    They said, . . .

    1. God gave men authority over women because women are easily deceived!
    2. No woman will ever teach me!
    3. The role of women in the church is to pray and not to lead, but that's a good thing, yes, that's important too!
    4. Even though a verse can be interpreted another way, we cannot take this view because then the verse we use to subject women to men will be invalidated, and we don't want that to happen!
    5. God appointed the man of the house to teach the children about God not the mother!
    6. The husband must nurture the wife and lead her into maturity and growth in Christ!
    7. Wives should ask permission of their husband's in order to interject their point of view when they disagree with his decision! (This being said by a Christian female author who submitted her book for approval to her pastor before sending it out to be published).

    I also would like to acknowledge the many men of God who have labored in the Word of God and have greatly contributed in liberating women to the truth of Christ.