Sat. Apr 17th, 2021

Bobby-KillmonIf you believe women can preach despite 1 Cor. 14:34-35 calling women speaking in church a “shame,” why do you say the “shame” in 1 Cor. 11 dealing with “covered/uncovered” heads of men and women is not about an old cultural custom of women being veiled? If you say 1 Cor. 14 is just a culture issue, shouldn’t you say that 1 Cor. 11 is too for consistency?

If that is what I believed, I’d say yes. But I can prove that’s not what Paul is saying. First, the word culture is never used. Second, I don’t dismiss being against women preachers based on 1 Cor. 14 being just a “cultural issue” because 1 Cor. 14 is speaking specifically of the women disobeying 1 Cor. 11. Why would he say you can speak, only then to prohibit all speech? It’s these disobedient women who are prohibited.

Further, non-Apostolics agree it’s not merely cultural but about God’s “creative order.” R.C. Sproul said, “…the thing that is most astonishing here is that he appeals to creation, not to Corinth. If anything transcends local custom it is those things that are rooted and ordered in creation. That’s why I’m very frightened to be loose with this passage.” I could list others but a growing consensus admits the context shows one cannot say Paul is just addressing Corinthian culture; it’s about God’s creative order and distinction in sexes for all times and places.

Some suggest that veiling women was a cultural norm in Corinth and back then pagan worshippers rejected this practice out of rebellion against “the establishment.” So they suggest Paul was admonishing women to wear veils, and men not to, so they’d not be identified with the rebellious cross-dressing practices of these pagans. But remember, culture and cloth are never used. So we must let the Bible interpret “covering.” Paul says it’s her hair. Even G. Kittle proves it cannot be a cloth veil saying, “…it is quite wrong that Greek women were under… compulsion to wear a veil in public. …veiling was not a general custom; it was Jewish.” Also, all the existing archeological evidence shows at this time in Greek culture they did not wear veils until later under Catholicism!

Some would still object saying not one single early church writer ever wrote that 1 Cor. 11 taught strictly “uncut hair.” Really? The early church passed a law in 390 AD where the Emperor decreed, “Women who shall have shorn hair contrary to divine and human laws… should be barred from the doors of a church” (Salisburg 105). In fact, the early church’s interpretation of Paul’s use of komáo and kóme is remarkably uniform. In no case are these words taken to refer to hair that is “long” and yet “cut.” The consistent understanding that emerges from all the records is that men are not to have uncut hair and women are to have uncut hair. Examples include: The Synod of Gangra; Severian of Gabala; Augustine, in Of the Work of Monks; Epiphanius of Salamis.

So the reasons we believe in “uncut” hair as the veil for women is based on: the context of 1 Cor. 11, the clear Greek words, the uniformity of early church interpretation, and all the archeology evidence which shows our position correct.

Leave a Reply