Is the wearing of fabric headcoverings in worship commanded?

shallow focus photography of woman in forest looking upward

The rise of feminism, advent of women’s suffrage, rejection of the wearing of fabric headcoverings in worship, attacks on marriage, family, and children, all–every one–are related and spring from a rejection of God’s Holy Word.

R.C. Sproul, “The wearing of fabric headcoverings in worship was universally the practice of Christian women until the twentieth century. What happened? Did we suddenly find some biblical truth to which the saints for thousands of years were blind? Or were our biblical views of women gradually eroded by the modern feminist movement that has infiltrated the Church of Jesus Christ which is “the pillar and ground of the truth.”

Charles Spurgeon, “We shall not adjust our Bible to the age; but before we have done with it, by God’s grace, we shall adjust the age to the Bible.”

Mr. Spurgeon is 100% correct and this is exactly what Brother Sproul was referring to; when women reject the wearing of fabric headcoverings in worship, though Scripture commands us to wear them when we come before the Lord in worship, we are adjusting Scripture to our times rather than subjecting the times to the timeless teaching of God’s Holy Word.

Women didn’t do this on their own. We got here due to a failure to fear the Lord and take His Word seriously. We thought we could adjust Scripture here, modify it there, ignore it in some other place, while explaining away still other parts of it, all while claiming to be worshipers of the Most High. It took pastors, elders, husbands, and fathers, capitulating to bring to us this point. Christians failed to consider the avalanche we were sure to set off by rejecting this teaching. Sin doesn’t happen in a vacuum. When we embrace sin in one area, it inevitably makes it easier for us to sin in some other fashion. Thus, when we reject Scripture in one area, it is only a matter of time until we reject the teaching of Scripture in other areas. If we’d not rejected creation order and thus headcoverings, or turned our backs on the teaching of the headship of man and the submission of women, we wouldn’t be in the position of embracing such debauchery as we do today. Sexual immorality of any kind–such as homosexuality, fornication, adultery, pedophilia, effeminacy–is a rejection of creation order and of the Word of God. Such rejection of God’s Word has led to the rise of women pastors.

Bartel Elshout: There are a number of Reformed denominations in North America and the Netherlands who now endorse women in church offices. The disturbing fact is that it appears that in some cases the pathway toward this unscriptural position began with the rejection of the teaching of 1 Corinthians 11: 1-16 regarding the divinely mandated use of the woman’s head-covering in public worship. Once the symbol of the head-covering was rejected (along with all of its theological implications), a first step was taken that could ultimately lead toward teaching that women should also be permitted to hold positions of authority in the church as office-bearers.

Headcovers aren’t some archaic teaching to be easily relegated to yesteryear. Despite what you may have been taught, headcovers weren’t cultural, a wedding ring or modest clothing do not in any way stand in for them, it isn’t your long hair, and it wasn’t because of Corinthian prostitutes. Rather, God ties the wearing of headcovers to the headship of man and the subjection of women; the teaching is ground in creation order and, as such, it is timeless.

“In public worship only God’s glory (reflected in the man) must be visible, and man’s glory (reflected in the woman) must be veiled.” ~Bartel Elshout

In 1 Corinthians 11: 2, Paul exhorted his readers to “hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you.” The traditions include the wearing of fabric headcoverings in worship.

Read What Did Linus & the Apostle Peter Believe About Head Covering? to see what the Apostle Peter taught his disciples.

When we defy Scripture, God is dishonored and His Word is trampled under foot. Consider…

Proverbs 30: 5-6, Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

Malachi 3: 6, For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

Isaiah 40: 8, The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.

God’s Word is true, timeless, and unchangeable and it behooves us to obey it; to do otherwise is to sin. Consider this: If in 1 Corinthians 11, God commands the wearing of fabric head coverings in worship and we reject this teaching, we are in sin because we are rejecting the Word of God. If however God didn’t command the wearing of fabric head coverings in worship and we wear one, we might look a little strange but are not in sin because we are not changing God’s Word; we’re simply wearing a style of clothing others choose not to wear. It is the one who rejects God’s Word, rather than the one with what others might consider rather strange fashion taste who has far more to lose. One is in sin; the other is not.

Soli Deo Gloria!

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Photo by Majid Sadr on Unsplash

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