Our Head Covering Applications

What does Jesus think of me? How does He view my people, those of my culture, my denomination? Are there things in my culture that are contrary to His teachings and need changing? These are good things to ask ourselves occasionally because it is so easy to move away from His heart, His desire for us, if we are not heedful to stay connected to the Vine. Moving away from Him– regardless of which direction– will be just enough to cause us to miss the mark.

Jesus was born into a Jewish culture. The religious leaders of His culture rejected Him and His teachings because it was so different from their mind set and the way they had been doing things for so long. Are there things in my life or my culture that cause me to reject what Jesus taught because we have “done it this way” for so long that anything different can’t even be considered?

When the religious leaders confronted Jesus about not keeping their oral laws, He pointed out how their traditions/oral laws were keeping them from obeying some of God’s commands and causing them to be blinded to God’s original intention for His commands.

It made me wonder if we have done this with any Biblical commands? Have we become like those religious leaders in any way? Are there ways that we are imitating the Pharisees and turning Jesus away by our commitment to some man made traditions/applications?

 

Did the Pharisees know the difference between a command from God and an application?

The religious leaders took commands (given by God) and seemingly added to them to make sure that the common folk would know how to follow them correctly. We could call this the application part of the command.

For example, the law said that Aaron and his sons were to wash their hands and feet before going into the tabernacle or coming near the alter. By the time Jesus was on earth, there had been much added to this command and the Pharisees taught that one should wash his hands before and after eating. They considered anyone who didn’t do this to be no better than a pagan. They “induced men to” do it by teaching that an evil spirit, called Shiybta’, sits on their hands by night, and has a right to sit on the food of him who does not wash his hands.1

Even though there was no direct command in the law regarding washing hands before eating, only traditions pertaining to that law, the Pharisees had no problem confronting others, specifically Jesus, for this perceived sin. (Mat. 15, Mark 7)

Another example would be the law of keeping the Sabbath. They were not to work, or carry a “burden”, or “kindle a fire”. (Exodus 20, 35; Jeremiah 17 are a few passages that refer to this) The Jews then added “commandments of men” or “traditions” to this commandment as applications of it. They had a total of 39 categories of activities that were prohibited. They also had a much shorter list of activities that were allowed on the Sabbath.2

When Jesus did not keep their oral traditions/applications, it became very obvious that they held their applications as high as– if not higher than–God’s commands.

 

Jesus’ response to the Pharisees and their applications

Jesus healed a lame man (John 5) on the Sabbath, then told the man to “take up his bed and walk”. He seemed to see the common sense of not leaving the man’s bed there just because it was the Sabbath day. He knew that it was needful for the man to have his bed. Jesus showed that legalism was not part of His plan for the Sabbath. He also showed that mercy and acts of necessity on the Sabbath were lawful.

The Pharisees, however, completely ignored the lesson that Jesus was trying to show. They didn’t even seem to notice what a great miracle from God had just occurred! All they saw was that their interpretation of a Sabbath law had been broken.

The fact that Jesus healed people on the Sabbath day and did other things that contradicted their beliefs regarding Sabbath keeping seemed to be particularly offensive to them because of their many traditions concerning that law. But in Mark 2:27, Jesus told them, “Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath”.

This admonition came right after they had confronted Jesus and His disciples for picking corn and eating it on a second Sabbath (Luke 6:1 –which is when the first fruits were to be offered). Jesus was not stressed about it, but had a ready answer. In Matthew 12:7, we hear Jesus telling the Pharisees that He would rather have mercy and not sacrifice (regarding a hungry person eating that which was meant for a Sabbath sacrifice) showing even more clearly what was in His heart regarding the Sabbath.

In Matthew 23, we hear Jesus talking to the multitude and his disciples about the scribes and the Pharisees. He warns them not to do like the scribes and Pharisees. Jesus’ words about them were, “…they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders…all their works they do to be seen by men.” (4-5)

In verses 23-28, He describes them further and says how they demand an exact tenth of even the smallest herbs but omit the “weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith”. Jesus calls them “Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel.” He depicts them as “whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.”

 

Are applications wrong to have?

When God gives a command, how we live it out is our application of it. That is not wrong. But if my application of a Biblical command causes me to disobey another direct Biblical command, then my application can become wrong.

What if I hold my application as high as a Biblical command and teach it as such? Is this wrong? Maybe a better question would be, what did Jesus think of the Pharisees who did that? He described the Pharisees like this, “…they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders…”

And what were those burdens? Was it not their applications that they insisted that everyone must follow just as much– if not more than– God’s commands?

Dwight Gingrich says it like this, “The mere act of treating man’s word as weightily as God’s word is blasphemy against God’s word, a de facto demotion of God to the status of man.”3

And I could add here that treating man’s word as weightily as God’s Word could also be viewed as the attempt to promote man to the status of god.

 

Anabaptist applications

We have many applications/traditions within our Anabaptists circles. They don’t seem odd to most of us because we have grown up with them. We know them well, and for the most part, do not question them. When outsiders view our applications though, they often question why we insist on doing things this specifically. When we defend our applications so religiously that we hold them equal with a command of God, it makes me wonder if we know how to tell the difference between our applications and a Biblical command. Dwight Gingrich addresses this more in depth here .

Dwight also has another essay showing how applications/traditions can be a positive thing when they are done correctly. You can find that here .

 

The head covering– Biblical command or application?

The head covering is a good example of a Biblical command that Anabaptists have added applications to. I have my own preferences for my wife and daughters in regards to our application of this command. However, I doubt that everyone else around me has that exact application. And if I insist that everyone must do exactly as I do or I can not consider them to be a true brother/sister in Christ, something is wrong.

The only thing 1Corinthians 11 says is that women are to pray with their heads covered and the men with their heads uncovered. If God did not deem it necessary to say exactly what that head covering should look like, could it beheadcovering4 that He wanted a variety? Maybe He doesn’t prefer robot replicas all doing the same thing– maybe He likes to see colors and diversities of styles. I don’t know what His reason is for not spelling out, but it just seems if He thought what it looked like –color, shape, size, style– was so important, He would have said so.

It seems to me that God probably cares more about what the headcovering2covered head is supposed to be symbolizing than He does about what that symbol is supposed to look like (since He didn’t spell it out). When we take our focus off the act and onto the symbol, we often end up missing the point.

Women are often confronted quicker for head coverings that aren’t up to code, than they are for not living out the headship order it is supposed to represent. But which of these is actually a commandment of God? Do you think He is more grieved about the actions of a woman that is wearing the correct church coveringsstandard covering while being disrespectful or non-submissive to her husband, or with the non-Anabaptist woman who is in right relationship with her husband and wears a scarf or some other covering? Would Jesus words to the Pharisees apply here? “Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.”

When someone from outside our Anabaptist traditions attempts to join our group, one of the first things we do is to make sure that their head covering is “up to standard”. Is it the right shape, color, size, etc.? If not, we let them know they need to change it before they can join our fellowship. Sometimes the woman in question may be wearing a covering that covers more of the head than most Anabaptist women’s coverings do, and still we insist she must change because we must have “unity”. But is this unity–or is it just uniformity?

Just because an entire congregation agrees to do something a certain way does not make it Truth or make it equal to a command of God. In fact, it sounds a bit like the post-modern belief of saying truth is relative (truth is truth because we all agree on it).

We say that we must add rules to the covering command to ensure that it is followed and that we don’t lose this practice. But what good is the practice if there is no change in the heart? When our long list of head covering rules is the only thing keeping everyone looking right, all we get is a lot of correct looking “Christians” who are like plastic imitations of the real thing.

In Acts 20:38-32, Paul is addressing some church leaders about dangers that the church would face regarding being drawn away from truth. He warns the overseers of these churches that “wolves” that would enter into the church to “draw away the disciples after them”. But he doesn’t tell them to make a long list of rules and guidelines to protect their flock or to keep them from falling away. He doesn’t tell them to start their own sub-culture to make sure their godliness is passed down to the next generation. In fact Paul warns that some of the danger would come from within their own group (vs. 30). Even if they could keep the “wolves” out, what about the “sheep” within their group that would also be doing the same thing?

So what was Paul’s “solution”? He only exhorts them to “take heed”, to “watch and remember” that he had “not ceased to warn them” and then he says, “I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified..”

Have we just decided within ourselves that Paul’s solution is not sufficient? Have we looked at God’s Word and decided that it is not enough–that we must do more than what God says because we have a better way?

 

 


 

1. Adam Clark commentary on Matthew 15:2

2. http://www.thenazareneway.com/sabbath/39_prohib_sabbath.htm

3. http://dwightgingrich.com/tradition-in-nt-1-bad-examples/

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27 thoughts on “Our Head Covering Applications

  1. “If God did not deem it necessary to say exactly what that head covering should look like, could it be that He wanted a variety? Maybe He doesn’t prefer robot replicas all doing the same thing– maybe He likes to see colors and diversities of styles. I don’t know what His reason is for not spelling out, but it just seems if He thought what it looked like –color, shape, size, style– was so important, He would have said so.”

    I loved this paragraph. Hmmm… the same God who made no two things alike… maybe He likes us to be the same way?

    Just want to throw in my own two cents on a similar topic, which I just posted on my own blog: http://www.aradicalforjesus.com/2016/02/13/if-jesus-showed-up-would-you-hate-him/

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow, Amen! It is exciting in reading your articles to see God showing you the same things that He is showing me. I have been writing some of these same things in a book that will hopefully come out later this year titled: The Failure of the Great Amish and Conservative Mennonite Dress Experiment.

    For those of you who might be questioning if Simon is going too far, here are some more things for you to consider. The first is an article that I wrote that supports what Simon just wrote: The Christian Woman’s Headcovering: The Style and How Much Should It Cover?
    http://www.biblicalresearchreports.com/headcoveringstyle.php

    The second:
    As for the church requiring certain headcovering applications such as style, color, and size, there are some important concepts that God teaches in I Cor. 11 that are often overlooked by Amish and conservative Mennonite groups. They get the instruction that a woman should cover her head when praying or prophesying right, but they make big mistakes on these other important points:
    • God does not list the church here in 1 Corinthians 11 as part of the authority structure. The church and the pastor are totally left out. The Greek word for man is singular and means an individual male. If the word was plural, meaning men, then it could possibly be argued that the church was part of the authority structure over a man’s wife.
    • The head of every Christian man is Christ, not the leaders and manmade rules of the local church. Each man needs to go to Christ and get his direction from Him. Each man needs to know how to hear God speak to Him and to be ready to communicate with Christ all throughout the day.
    • The husband is the God-given leader for his wife and daughters. Many men have allowed the church to be the “head” of their wife in areas that are not the church’s responsibility. The pastors of the local church are not to be the head/leader of another man’s wife, as it is in most conservative Mennonite and Amish churches. The conservative church leaders are the ones who decide what a man’s wife will wear. She dresses to please the church and the preacher rather than her husband.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Myron,
      Yes it is always good to read and interact with others who seeing that there is a need for change among our people.

      Your book sounds like an interesting read. I’ll be watching for it!

      You bring out some interesting points in your comments. I especially appreciated the point you brought out that church authority is not part of the headship order mentioned in 1 Corinthians. Since the covering only represents the headship order, it would make sense that Christ, husband and wife would be the ones deciding what that symbol should look like.

      And I agree. It just doesn’t seem right that a woman should have to dress and cover her head to please the church or the preacher more than her husband. God said in Genesis that the woman’s desire would be for her husband and that he would rule over her. Somehow we have gotten this confused and turned that into, “her desire should be to please the church and the preachers regardless of –or more than– her husband wishes and the church shall rule over her.”

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I agree. But then when those things do cause “harm” in the sense that we equate our application of it into a “command” and condemn others who do not interpret it as we do, it can become sin. Anabaptists often turn people away because of things that should be considered an adiaphoran, but they have instead made it into a doctrine that they then hold as high as a command of God.

      For example, if a woman in a conservative Mennonite church wore a head covering that did not have the right shape, size or color, she most likely would not be allowed to be baptized or partake in communion unless she repents.

      I’m sure other denominations face things like this as well. However, my knowledge is rather limited to Anabaptists issues. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks, Simon. Your words are like a soothing ointment after years of thinking that our family was mainly alone in our understanding and interpretation of Scriptures on some of these issues! It’s really great to know that other people, especially men, are wanting to search God’s Word and lead out in these areas. God bless!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I am part of a evangelical church (not anababtist) that used to put a lot of emphasy on the outward apperance.Even tough the requirements for dress where biblically foundated the leaders, over the decades, missed out on teaching the biblical reason for their requirements.
    The result: Legalism, only grudgingly followed by the members.
    About ten years ago our church started to let the reigns looser and looser until it was cummunicated that every one is free to dress as he/she feels led by the ‘spirit’.
    Since the topic was so negatively loaded it developed into a tabou practically never mentioned anymore in the teaching and preaching.
    The result: The ‘pendulum’ has swung to the other side and our church is now in a stage of erosion that hasnt reached the bottom i fear.
    There has been a split , many have left to either the more conservative new churche or the opposite.
    Membership is dwindling, services often only scarcely attended.
    It is becoming more and more politically uncorrect to even wear a dress or skirt to church.
    This is viewed as not having the ‘real freedom in Christ’
    I find it very difficult if not impossible to teach the biblical view of modesty to my teenage daughters
    in our circle at the moment.
    So please take my warning to heart: If you strive to loosen strict rules in regards of apparel,

    PLEASE teach the bible, teach the importance of a most close relationship to the Lord Jesus followed by striving for a holy living!

    If you as leaders miss out on this you will be sadly surprised how many will drop the biblical practice of head covering and modest dress . And how fast they will do it.
    Even tough dress codes have their questionable points, they still have the benefit of a sense of belonging and might be a save guide line for the members who are maybe a little less into studying more deeply.May you be granted wisdom as you strive for another radical reformation.

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    • Hi Ruth,
      Thank you for weighing in. I think your words are fair. There does seem to be a pendulum that swings between legalism and having no convictions for anything in many churches. Without a solid foundation on biblical truths, it will just continue to swing. We want rules to get our church back to where it needs to be, then we want rules dropped because legalism is all we see.

      But making rules and dropping (or changing) rules doesn’t change the problem in the heart. Jesus always focused on the heart as being the problem.

      I think you hit the nail on the head when you said we must focus on teaching the importance of a relationship with Jesus. Without that, all the rules in the world won’t do us a bit of good. We become just another works religion. We need to teach what Scripture says, without adding to it, and let the Holy Spirit convict and draw men/women to Himself.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I get what you are saying in this post and in the one on double standards. What have you done when you see these things? I am assuming you are still Anabaptist. In my experience, people are told to move on if they can’t be happy with the way it is. Most people do, but then there are some who look at the Anabaptists as “my people” and they want to help change it for the better, if possible.

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      • Hi Brenda,
        Yes, you are correct. I am still Anabaptist and I still see them as “my people”. What am I doing when I see these things? One thing is this blog. I started this blog because I’ve found many of our people feel just as I do but lack the “voice” to say it.

        Others in our circles never question whether our practices are in line with Scripture or not. They just do what they’ve always done. Hosea 4:6 says “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” and I don’t want that for us. I want to speak truth and shine light on areas we need to repent of. If enough of our people begin to speak up and each of us does our part, others will hear. Will there be change? I am praying for it and I know that many others are as well!

        Liked by 3 people

      • I think you hit the nail on the head yourself in this comment. 🙂 The reason that the pendulum swings is because we follow men instead of Christ. Making rules to “help us follow Jesus” doesn’t change the heart. Amen!

        Also, it has to do with a lack of the Holy Spirit’s leading in our lives. Of course, the problem is, when you add the rules of men to the teachings of Jesus, you restrict or entirely prevent the Holy Spirit from leading you. Jesus said, “in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matthew 15:9 & Mark 7:7)

        Liked by 3 people

  5. God also warns us not to “add to
    ” or “take from” the scriptures. When we hold uniformity and application up above scriptural teaching, we are in danger of denying those very warnings and calling God a liar since He Himself has said “there are differences of administration but the same Spirit that worketh in all”. We also rob ourselves of blessings that come with fellowshipping with those of ” like precious faith” but not necessarily of like application. We dare not allow our application become more precious than our faith. It would be interesting to also have a conversation on the SCRIPTURAL teaching of when and where woman are to be covered as directed by the scripture and not taken out of context.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I don’t disagree w/ this post at all – except to realize that it will be used by those on the ‘on the fence’ side of headcovering to (for example) declare that their skinny headband they’re wearing is just fine as a head’covering’ – among other things. And Really? Scripture doesn’t talk at all about what it looks like? I believe we can discern at least 2 things about what it looks like from scripture…. It does say ‘covered’… (and no – I realize it doesn’t say concealed)… but last I checked there’s very little in life we’d cover by about 1/8th (or less!) and call it ‘covered’. How much does it take to cover? I think we know – just like we know when a skirt is too short – if we’re honest and heeding to the Lord’s voice and not our own. We DO know – we just don’t obey and want to be different (oh – we HATE to be different – when it’s for anything ‘religious’). And 2nd – headcovering is some sort of sign to the angels. They are not ‘all knowing’ beings. It would seem in light of everything this headcovering represents in the natural and supernatural world (of which we don’t even all ‘get’) – that the covering should have spiritual significance. Seems it should be worn in a way that others would recognize as being worn for spiritual significance. In other words – if today I wear a knit cap – and tomorrow a skinny headband – and the next day a baseball cap – all things which the world would do as part of their fashion and weather gear daily wardrobe – I struggle to see that pattern as something that would be seen as having spiritual significance. And 1 last side note – If we’re gonna uphold the headcovering movement as the ‘go to’ source on this subject – – please recommend with discernment – not blanket approval. I love that movement – and believe it is a direct result of years of praying for God to open eyes on this subject… but their theology is fairly removed from some core anabapist theology that I believe to be biblical – and that theology does shine thru their site. And I’ve also found myself disagreeing with some of their ‘headcovering’ conclusions. As always – with all that we read and digest – Lord give us discernment! Your posts are not just read by the very conservative anabaptist people…

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    • I think for you, Joyce, to judge someone’s desire to cover, regardless if it fits your definition of what a covering should be, is in great error. You sound very similar to the Pharisees mentioned above.
      Its been mentioned numerous times the heart must be right. If the heart isn’t right, don’t even bother wearing it. All too often in Anabaptist circles there is little attention to the heart being right. All the attention is focused on the outward. The right covering, the right dress code, the right set of rules and guidelines. Much like your comment on an appropriate covering. Your comment and thinking can be a stumbling block to many who are on the journey of head covering so I caution you to rethink how you view those who see another style acceptable. If a woman is wearing a headband and in her heart SHE DESIRES to please the LORD and at that time that’s all she knows who are you to tell her “sorry honey your headcovering ain’t cutting It. Too small, too fashionable etc”.

      What I would like see in the Anabaptist community is more realization that the body of Christ is diverse in how they apply biblical commands such as the head covering. I also think a huge one is when and wear to wear the covering. Context is very important and I see my Anabaptist brothers and sisters missing context a lot. I personally agree with the head covering movements position. And their theology 😉
      Head covering is not limited to anabaptists. Its not limited to when they think it should be worn and it’s not limited to what they think it should look like. I’m sorry but if someone is truly desiring to please the Lord, it’s between them and God. Not you and I. Where I also think Anabaptists error is thinking they need to set these extra biblical rules and regulations to keep their people from falling. Maybe the real problem isn’t the rules. Maybe it’s why are these people “on the fence” anyways, and are these people even really converted? Is their heart right? Or are they just playing church and trying to hold on to denomination traditions. I don’t think an article is going to change that, sorry Joyce. Just something to ponder. An unconverted person will take the first chance they get and run. Of course when the rules are loose the first thing they’ll do is bend them and go as far as they can get away with. Its because there is a HEART ISSUE. Its not about the rules.

      I believe this article and most of these comments articulated some very good points.
      Thanks Simon.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hello Joyce,

    Thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment. I stand firm in saying 1Cor. does not say what it should look like, (it doesn’t give color, shape, or size) but you are very correct, it does say “covered”. I think the woman praying with a covered head is what symbolizes the headship order. Wearing something that symbolizes a covering, but is too small to cover is only a symbol of a symbol.

    I agree that when a woman prays with a head covering on, it says something to the angels. However, when a woman who wears a head covering never prays, does that covering do her any good? Does it say anything to the angels? As one of my readers pointed out, there are Wicca followers who also teach wearing a head covering (for different reasons), so how do the angels know which ones are representing the headship order? That’s when “covering while praying” becomes so significant. Just wearing the right symbol is not enough.

    I receive your last caution about not giving blanket approval to the head covering movement. I have not read all their articles. However, the articles that I have read and recommended I found to be Biblically sound. I have appreciated the effort they make to follow Scripture.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks Simon for you discussion which I would love to join. It may take several posts to unpack my thoughts. For starters my wife and I have always practiced and supported the traditional anabaptist understanding of the head covering and currently live in a racially diverse inner city setting. One of the dangers of a topic such as this, is addressing it too narrowly. First while importan,t it is a peripheral teaching of the Gospel message and not a core doctrine. Second there are centuries of church history and doctrine to glean in a meaningful way if we take off our modern lenses of bias and look openly at the record.
    First with over 2000 years of head covering practice our current specific practice applications are most likely an anomaly relative to the norms of history. Second we should seek to understand how Anabaptists have come to passion over this practice.
    It doesn’t take much travel or historical observation to note the prevalent and wide variety of veiling that has occurred and continues to occur in Christian culture today along with Jews and Muslims. Many even cover to a greater extent than our Anabaptist tradition. For me this points to the important truth that the specifics do not dictate the practice but principles that are motivated by matters of the heart. So you can error by being solid on principles and misguided by the heart or weak on priciples and have a rightful heart. Both need loving correction.
    To the second point why does this issue now invoke such passion in Anabaptist circles? As I interpret Anabaptist history it seems that faithfulness to practice grew out of a passion for Scripture. Early Anabaptist sought to restore the core Gospel truths in daily practice in radical and obedient ways. They lived focused missional lives that sought to compel individuals by heart and mind to love Christ first and obey his commands. This issue of covering probably had some concern in teaching but likely was a side note compared to the weightier core doctrines of the Gospel.
    Fast forward several centuries and Anabaptist have come to a place where any for of compromise on this issue is seen as threatening a wholesale rejection of Scriptural authority and obedience to Christ’s commands and therefore intergral to protect. While I’m passionate about this practice I would challenge those assumptions. First association does not always equal causation. Even as Anabaptists we are not always faithful in keeping ALL of Christ’s commands. This issue was never specifically addressed by Christ Himself and relative to many other New Testament topics gets very modest focus! So we make a grave mistake when we pull a peripheral topic into the core tenants of the Gospel and give disproportional teaching time to a principle for which Jesus Himself did not emphasize. This creates an implicit message that veiling is core to salvation and the Gospel which in inself by associate is heretical. I’m confident there will be many faithful saints in heaven who never imbraced this truth as we often due in Anabaptist circles yet mightly advance the Gospel sacrificially and far flung regions of the world. I personally know many.
    What I suspect happened is that as Anabaptist were afforded more peace and security over the centuries we became more complacent in missional living and then as modern society outwardly trended to secular hedonistically centered living and practice we have overeacted to a simple meaningful New Testament command and pulled it into our doctrinal center as a “last stand” type effort. While well intentioned we now at times have sabatoged the beauty of simple, focused, and radical missional living that was the core of our early Anabaptist forefathers. They would probably role over in their graves to see our passionate veiling relative to our vocal evangelistic passions in proclaiming the core Gospel message in a secular world.

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    • Hi Kirwin,

      Thanks for adding to the discussion.

      I agree with your statement that the head covering is a peripheral teaching and not a core doctrine. I think viewing it as a core doctrine is what has caused it to become such a volatile subject among Anabaptists.

      “…specifics do not dictate the practice but principles that are motivated by matters of the heart. So you can err by being solid on principles and misguided by the heart, or weak on principles and have a rightful heart. Both need loving correction.” Good thoughts!

      As I read that, it brought to my mind that women who wear a head covering for any reason other than what is given in Scripture, are wearing it in vain (evidenced by other head covering religions). What about those in our circles who have begun to wear it for many wrong reasons–is this any different? This is not any better than those who may be motivated by a right principle but choose to throw out the wearing of the head covering.

      We tend to think that we Anabaptists hold the claim on knowing exactly how it should be done. But too often we end up doing something right for the wrong reasons and frown on those who may have a wrong practice but have a rightful heart.

      I think we would do well to get back to proclaiming the Gospel message to the world and have that be our passion rather than fussing among ourselves about the specifics of a “peripheral teaching”.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Simon,
        Thanks for you response. I believe we track closely in the same vein of thought. In more recent years as I personally tackle my own position on these issues I find that there are often many layers of meaning in principle and practice based on how the discussion is framed and the context of the discussion such as how much of our energy we are devoting to a topic. Often these nuances are lost in the discussion as people argue over trivial symantics and narrow applications. My desire would be that as individuals seek Christ and to live in obedience to His commands, their actions would emerge organically from a vibrant personal relationship with Christ and not the religious filters/culture of individual leaders or congregations. Cultivating this in our discipleship will produce mature solid believers rather than disciples blown about by every wind of doctrine or praxis. It is also my New Testament understanding of healthy believers.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I agree. When individuals seek Christ, their lives change out of a love for Him. When they choose to obey a command because they love Him, it often looks a lot different than when someone is pressed to do something because their culture requires it. It seems our discipleship should be more about bringing believers to maturity by bringing them to Christ rather than trying to only change outward appearance. I think you hit it right-this is the only thing that will produce mature solid believers that have a firm foundation and are not blown about by every wind of doctrine.

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