God Has Ordained Headship
by Doyal Thomas
"But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of every woman is man; and the head of Christ is God." (I Cor. 11:3)
It is, or at least it ought to be the desire of every man who speaks or writes on matters pertaining to God's word to do so with one dominant motive. And that motive should be that all that is said or written will redound to the glory of God. To do otherwise is to exhibit character that is dishonest, and is a flagrant demonstration of self-will.
It is with the desire to be used of God, and to exalt His well-beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, that I now write. I have no desire to seek to gather followers to myself, nor to separate myself from others. Nor do I seek to be the instructor of dear brethren, in a fleshly manner. I confess that there is much about this subject that I do not know. But I want to know.
May God be pleased to grant grace to me as the writer, and to you who may read these words to desire His glory in all things. With this prayer, I send forth this booklet.
Because man is a fallen and sinful creature, his faculties, including his will and desire is toward self-gratification. He does not seek the glory of God. Man's conduct, therefore, being a reflection of his depraved character will always, unless Holy Spirit directed, proceed along toward an expression of self-will. He will always seek self-gratification and self-elevation, and in so doing, will attempt to bring God down to his own fallen level. This is evidenced by the awful, cutting words of Romans 1:21-23.
&#-109;Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but become vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things."
The terrible state into which man has degenerated in these last days can be unmistakably traced through his recorded history. It is recorded in God's word, as well as in the accounts that man has given of himself in his own secular history.
Admittedly, in secular history man has attempted to camouflage himself, as does the chameleon. But the facts give him away. He paints an entirely different picture of himself than the facts will bear out. He attempts to pass over his innumerable failures and exalt his seeming successes. All the while he continues the delusion of his mind toward bigger and better accomplishments "just around the corner," or surely "just over the next hill."
Because we will be discussing the subject of God ordained headship, there may be those who will not care to follow on. Since this headship is to be symbolized in the Lord's churches by men wearing short hair, and no external covering (hat, cap, etc.), the women are wearing long hair and an external covering (hat, veil), there will be some who will take issue with us. This position is in direct conflict with the position that they have been taught by others.
Before you lay this book aside, please read it through very prayerfully, and give a fair hearing to the truths contained. If, after careful study, you find it to be contrary to the teaching of God's word, then lay that to the failures of the writer. If, on the other hand, the positions set forth are in harmony with the teaching of God's word, then give Him all the credit, and none to me. Brethren, all I ask of you is that you give the same attention to the subject that you would ask of me if you were the writer, and I were the one who would read these words.
For those of you who hold opposing views on this subject, may I ask you to think back to the instruction that you received that led you to the position you now hold? Please, dear brother, bear with my presumption for a short season.
To be taught a certain thing by other men does not, of itself, render that thing to be correct. To hold to a position that the Bible does not teach is to exhibit the self-will of man, and it tends to bring reproach upon our dear Lord, and upon His precious churches. And it is from His precious churches that His chosen bride is to be taken.
Do you and I really want to know what God's word teaches about this matter? Are we able to lay aside our prejudices and earnestly contend for the faith, as once delivered to the saints? If we do want to know the truth, and if we are able to approach the problem with an open mind; a willing mind, then it must be acknowledged that it was grace that enabled us to do so. May God be pleased to grant such grace to each of us now.
OLD TESTAMENT PATTERNS
Before we undertake a study of the truths that God has been pleased to reveal through His word concerning headship, as it is expressed in the text chosen for this study (I Cor. 11), let us examine some other teachings of God that set forth His Divine Order. Let's go "way back," so to speak, to the time when God first began to teach His creatures about the matter. Let's go back in order that we may be established.
God is unchangeable, as His attribute of immutability so very plainly declares. (Mal. 3:6; James 1:17). He did not suddenly begin to present Himself as being immutable when these scriptures were recorded. They simply declared that He is, and always has been immutable. They did not make Him to be immutable; rather, they proclaimed the eternality of His immutability.
Likewise, when God authored the words recorded in Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians, including chapter 11, He set forth His demands that His churches observe His order in the matter of headship. And it did not suddenly become His order. Rather, these scriptures declare that these positional demands have always been in His mind and purpose. God is not one who continually legislates new laws, nor is He one who modifies His views in keeping with the times.
Men indeed do these things, and then take great pride in themselves for being flexible, or adaptable to circumstances. It may be wise politically, for one to be a pragmatist, to roll with the punch. But to seek to be one in matters pertaining to God is not wise. This kind of failure on the part of fallen man has given rise to every movement toward "progress" and "advancement" in his recorded history. Humanism is the outpouring of the thoughts and intents of a corrupted heart. "Situation ethics," "no absolutes," and other such perversions are the fruits of rebellion. They are not the cause of rebellion. They are the fruits of rebellion. Man rebels because he is a rebel. Man sins because he is sin.
Because God is immutable, He has structured all things systematically. I do not mean that He is forced into a pattern according to man's estimation of what is systematic. But as He sees order in all things, He so operates orderly. God is a God of design, and He has eternally determined to create, administer, and bring to consummation all things as seemeth Him good.
"Wherefore, when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offerings thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me." (Heb. 10:5)
The will of the Father has always been that His Son would take upon Himself a body of prepared flesh. A body that is the "express image" of God. A body that would be offered up as a sacrifice for sin, in order that payment for those sins might be made, and that redemption might be effected through the shedding of His blood. In this image Adam was created and brought bodily forth.
"And 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 fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So, God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." (Gen. 1:26,27).
Adam is the first man whom God created and brought forth. And when Jesus was born into His humanity, His body was of the same kind as was Adam's body at its creation. Jesus looked like other men. That is, in body, He looked like other men, for He was a man.
But Adam was not the "express image" of God. Jesus was. And is. Adam was not the pattern that dictated the appearance of Jesus. No, it was just the other way around. Jesus, as seen by Omniscience, was to come forth with a prepared body at God's time of appointment. And it was in the likeness of His body that Adam was created. Jesus did not look like Adam. Adam looked like Jesus.
What terrible blasphemy evolutionists spew forth when they declare that God gradually brought man into his present form and body. Such filth is declaring that God did not see His Son in a prepared body before the world was, and determine to create a man in that image. Away with such foolishness and blasphemies. Away with it!
With God's purpose ever in His mind, in regard to His creative work, He proceeded to take of the dust of the earth and make man. He already had spoken the earth into existence. Out of nothing, He had brought it forth. Then, of that earth, He made Adam.
Adam was made, in the physical sense, to appear as God intended for His Son to appear. When he was physically made, he was yet but an inanimate being, for he was made of inanimate material; i.e., the, dust of the earth.
To complete His creative work of making man in His image, God breathed into the nostrils of this "dust man" the breath of life and only then did he become a living soul. He immediately began to live. He began to exhibit life, for he now lives, and moves, and has being. All the activities of life are because of life. Life imparted to him from the source of all life. That is, from God Himself.
Adam, being the first man, is the father of all his offspring. Thus, he is the federal head, or representative head of his race. All the sons and daughters sprang from him, and this according to Divine Order. We all had our standing, both positionally and actually in our father, Adam. And as he stood, so did we, even when as yet we had no being. Likewise, as he fell, so did we, even when as yet we had no being.
But, dear reader, there is here a much deeper and richer declaration of God's eternal purpose. It was not just the mere arrangement of physical life as seen in Adam. Though we were all seen as being in Adam by our Eternal Sovereign, it is but a figure of a greater display of God and His infinite wisdom. For what is here pictured is Headship of our dear Lord over those chosen of the Father in Him before the foundation of the world. (Eph.1:4).
"For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." (I Cor. 15:22).
All those standing in Adam, positionally and actually, died when Adam died. Even so, all those who stand in Christ shall be made alive, because He is alive. It is because of this standing in Christ, positionally and actually, that all the elect ones of God are made to rest in the Blessed Hope.
Who are these who are in Christ? Why, it is those, and only those who have been chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. They are in Him positionally, because they have been seen as being there in the mind of God from all eternity. They are in Him actually, because the Son has purchased them with His own blood. And in God's appointed time for each of them, they have been in Him by birth. They are born into that relationship as sons. The blood of Christ secured their place in Him, and the effectual work of the Holy Spirit in quickening them, and calling them into sonship by the gospel, secures their actual position.
Each one thus chosen of the Father becomes a son at his birth. They are identified as being in the family of God. To be a child, one is begotten of a father. This is evident even in the human realm. But this truth declares an even greater truth. That is, that one is a son of God only if he be born of God, being begotten by Him. "Ye must be born again." (John 3:7).
All God's children, then, constitute the family of God. Included in this family are those Old Testament saints. Every one of them without exception, for they were born into this relationship. Also included are New Testament saints. Every one of them without exception, for they too were born into, or will be born into this relationship. Likewise, future saints (those born after the rapture) will be in God's family, for they will be born into that relationship.
Those chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world will, without fail, be birthed into the family of God. This is God's eternal will, and nothing can stay His hand in fulfilling that will. This is definite atonement. This is certain salvation. This is positive redemption, and there will be no miscarriages. Every one chosen shall be born, for "He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: . . ." (Isa. 53:11a). Travail in childbearing is followed by birth. God thus ordained it and it shall be as He has decreed. Those whose sins were upon Jesus Christ on the tree shall be delivered, for the travail of His soul was for them.
Now, out of this family comes the bride. The bride must not be, yea, cannot be taken out from among any other. Therefore, the bride is a chosen bride. A bride chosen and espoused to the Bridegroom. This espousal is until the time appointed for the marriage to take place. At that appointed time the marriage will take place and the bride will truly become the wife. The bride then is of the family of God. But not all the family members are in the Bride of Christ. Only those who are chosen to that grand position. And these will then clothe themselves by their faithfulness.
According to the types that God has shown in His Book, the bride will first have been identified as being of the proper family. Then she will be set forth as having been chosen, and her will and desire during this time will be toward her Betrothed One, and to Him only. She will yield unto Him in every way and will be made happy in doing so. She will want to be pleasing to His every desire, knowing that His desire for her will be for His glory, and for her good.
In the marvelous types, God has demonstrated this coming soon relationship. In the case of Abraham and Sarah, it can be seen that Sarah was first a member of Abraham's family. And she was also chosen to become his wife. (Gen. chp. 11). As his wife, she was led to honor him as her lord, for she submitted to him and even referred to him as her lord. (Gen. 18:12).
More striking still is the marriage between Isaac and his chosen bride, Rebekah. Remember Isaac, the child of promise through whom the Seed should come? When a bride was to be chosen for him, his father Abraham distinctly ordered that his servant was to choose, or select a bride for his son out of his own kinsmen. (Gen.24:4). He was specifically forbidden to take a wife out of any other people. (Gen. 24:3).
A careful reading of the entire episode as recorded in the 24th chapter of Genesis will produce some great and striking truths. Please study this entire chapter very prayerfully, paying particular attention to the portions concerning the selection of the bride, and her responses.
When the servant
came to the place of Abraham's kinsmen, he was led to speak to Rebekah (verse
17) so as to be assured that the one he would choose would be the one whom
the Lord had chosen. She responded in verses 18-
Her desire to be pleasing was immediately kindled toward this one who was in every way a total stranger to her, as far as previous knowledge was concerned. But this servant was made known to her as the servant of him to whom she was to be married, as her word to him in verse 18 implies. More remarkable was the fact that the bridegroom himself was later made known to her, and she responded favorably to his approach as is recorded in verse 65. She took great delight in owning him as her espoused one, and in being submissive to him, for she saw her duty to him, never seeking her own, but the good pleasure of his will. She veiled herself to reflect her position before him.
Surely the God of all providence was at work here. How anyone can deny the omniscient and omnipotent hand of God is such a mystery to me. God was in the process of working His will in this matter. He was doing so from all sides and among all those who were involved, or who would become involved in this issue. He was making Rebekah to be receptive to the coming espousal and ultimate marriage. And she was being gently led to do so, and to desire to have it so. Her will was to do His will, as surely the chosen members of the Lord's Bride will be led to be faithful to Him.
And Rebekah was exceeding glad to be the chosen one, and her desire was only toward him who had made the choice, and to whom she was soon to be wedded.
Now, lest you imagine that I have wandered far astray from the stated subject of Headship, let me quickly bring you to the point of all this.
God, seeing the end from the beginning, and having in wisdom determined that His own Son would have a suitable bride, set out to provide that bride. He set her apart from the family from which she was to be taken. His church, in kind, is therefore set apart from His family. Then from His kind of church, He further sets apart a particular, chosen bride. Not those who may claim to be in His church are chosen. But from those whom He has actually placed in His church is the bride chosen. (I Cor. 12:18)
He clearly identifies her as the one of His choice. The one chosen is the Lord's own. She is from the churches of the Lord Jesus Christ, and she will be conformed to the Lord's standard of perfection. She will be chaste. She will be virgin. She will be spotless. She will be properly clothed. And having been chosen as His bride, she will be obedient to Him who chose her, and she will be faithful, just as Rebekah was obedient and faithful. She will be chosen from Baptist churches.
Now, God, through the apostle Paul, spoke of this in great detail. Specifically, He declared it to be so, for in Ephesians 5:25-27, we read:
"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish."
And then in Ephesians 5:31,32 we read:
"For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church."
May we now hasten backward in time to Eden? I urge you to keep clearly in mind the Bride of Christ and the decrees of God relative to her as we go, so that you may see that even then He was laying before His creatures His Divine Order.
"And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make an help meet for him. And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof, And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam 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. Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. " (Gen. 2:18-24).
In these scriptures God is presenting His Divine Order relative to the positions that He has ordained for the man and the woman. That positional order is never changed. God does not slacken His demands, nor does He sanction the actions of men who seek to abdicate (surrender a position), nor of women who seek to usurp (assume a position). His order is fixed by immutable decree, and any attempt by anyone to alter that which has gone out of His mouth marks that one as a rebel against sovereignty.
Adam was first made, and he out of the dust of the earth. His being is at the good pleasure of the Creator, and he stands subject to his Creator. Adam is not the master. He is but the creature. Christ is his head, and he is under sovereign rule. Now out of Adam was taken woman to be an help meet for him. That is, she was brought forth as his help; his suitable (meet) help. She was not made of the dust of the earth, directly. Instead, she was made of the man who had already been made of the dust. Thus, from the same lump came all that followed Adam, including Eve and all the children.
The fact that she was taken out of man is clear evidence that she had previously been in man. She was taken out of him. She was not made directly from the earth as was Adam, otherwise there would have been in one sense, two lumps from which we all sprang instead of one lump as God has announced.
Also, had she been made a separate being from the dust of the earth, she would not be OF Adam and not subject TO him. Instead, she would have been his equal and would have been the federal, or representative head of some one, or some thing. Thus, a two-headed monstrosity of humanity would have existed. However, this could not be, for Infinite Wisdom would never imagine it, and Divine Order would never establish it.
Now when God took woman from man, and then presented woman to man, there was the institution of marriage as God established it. God is the one who ordained it and sanctioned it. "What therefore, God has joined together, let not man put asunder." (Matt. 19:6b).
When Eve was presented before Adam, he declared, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh:". They were one in creation. But God took the woman out of the man and they were two. He joined together the two who were originally but one, and they became one again, never to be separated before God.
Isn't this a beautiful picture? Doesn't God show infinite wisdom and demonstrate matchless grace toward His creatures in designing and ordering marriage? And why? For the God honoring, human good of mankind.
But is the extent of the teaching here just the act of God ordaining marriage? As honorable as it is, and as marvelous as God's order in the matter is, there is still deeper meaning. I do not seek to minimize the godliness of marriage and of the family, but to show by the teaching of the scriptures that it is a picture of a much more glorious event.
It concerns the marriage of God's own Son to the bride of His own choosing. It shows forth that indeed a certain nobleman made a marriage for his son and took all steps necessary to insure that it was completed exactly in the order of his, the nobleman's design. (Matt. 22).
Adam was first made and Eve brought forth from him to be his wife. To be loved by him and provided for by him. To honor him, and to be subject to him in all things, and to be enabled, by faith, to find the greatest joy in doing so.
That which is here pictured speaks of the preeminence of Christ. It speaks of His Headship over His bride. It speaks of His love for the church, and of His gracious provisions, safeguards, and designs for her well being. It also speaks of the desires of His church toward her Betrothed. It speaks of her willingness to show forth to the other family members her joy and pleasure in Him.
Again, the Marriage of the Lamb is not to be patterned after the marriage of Adam and Eve. Rather, the marriage of Adam and Eve, and the marriage of all human couples whom God has joined together must be patterned after the soon coming Marriage of the Lamb.
How marvelous are the types, and how beautiful the design of the God of all grace, who wisely ordered all things. Do you enjoy His order?
NEW TESTAMENT ORDER
"Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered then to you. But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered dishonoreth his head. But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoreth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of man. For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels. Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God. Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering. But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God." (I Cor. 11:1-16).
In this matter of headship, the apostle Paul is coming directly to the problem that had arisen in the early churches, as God's order concerning headship was being violated. The church at Corinth had lapsed into looseness of order and decorum in the worship services.
There were those who appeared in the assembly in disregard of God's instructions. Women were in rebellion against God. They displayed this rebellion by refusing to acknowledge their God ordained position of subjection to their own husbands in particular, and to the male members in general.
Men were also in rebellion against God. They tolerated, yea, even promoted positively and negatively this wanton behavior. Their refusal to face up to the responsibilities that God had wisely placed upon them as the head of the woman encouraged their women to continue this shameful conduct.
The result of this attempted overthrow of God's order hindered the church in her effectiveness. Disorder in one matter led to disorder in other matters, as a study of this epistle will confirm.
Grave moral offenses that are committed by members of one of the Lord's churches today can usually be traced to a lack of doctrinal soundness. The commission of serious crimes is usually the result of a disregard for orderly government.
God's word is the only source of instruction for our faith and practice. It is the safeguard that God has given us against our tendency toward a disorderly walk. If no attention is paid to the sound doctrine of the Bible, then the safeguard has been removed, and lawlessness becomes the order of the day.
It behooves us, then, to be diligent in our study of the Bible in order that we may know what God would have us to know. We must be governed by the Bible in all matters for our lives to be properly regulated and for our walk to be pleasing to God.
As Paul begins this discourse, he first reminds these saints that it is God who has ordained headship. It is not left to the discretion of any one member, or of any church to determine the proper path to follow. Man is not permitted to pick and choose which instructions he will follow. He must give ear to the whole counsel of God. He must observe to do all that God has commanded him, knowing that the commandments of God are not grievous.
First of all, headship begins with God. He, then, in sovereign prerogative, assigns the positional headship of all others, as seemeth Him good. He has that right. Any effort to overthrow His assignment is an attempt to overthrow Him who made the assignment.
"But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is man; and the head of Christ is God."
God is supreme over all. Christ acknowledges and submits to the will of the Father in all things. He was never rebellious. He was always submissive. He said, "I come to do thy will, O God."
Christ is the Head of every man. Every man, especially those in His church, must likewise acknowledge the Headship of Christ over him, and submit to Him in all things. He must, or else he is a traitor and a rebel.
The man is the head of the woman. Every woman, especially those in the Lord's church, must likewise acknowledge the headship of the man over her, and submit to that headship in all things, as verse 3 declares. In doing so, she is submitting to Christ.
This does not
seem to me to be difficult to understand. It is clearly stated, and leaves no
room for debate. But, upon this verse hangs all the good and wholesome
instruction that Paul then presents to the church. He speaks under
inspiration to people who have professed to be followers of Christ, and
therefore should be able to be taught God's word. We also, having professed
to be His own, should be teachable. Are we?
"Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoreth his head." (verse 4).
Who exercises God ordained headship over every man? Christ is the Head of (over) every man. It is clear then that Christ is to be honored and not to be dishonored. Did He not demonstrate His own submission to God the Father, His own Head? How does man honor his Head when the church, the body of Christ is assembled? Remember now that Paul is writing to the church at Corinth. The church is assembled when this letter to them is read, and the subject matter involves them and all other churches when they are assembled. (Met together).
Man, in the Lord's assembly, honors his Head (Christ) when he prays or prophesies having his own head uncovered. He must not cover his head with a hat, cap, or any other external covering, for to do so would dishonor his Head (Christ). Come now, dear reader. You know this is correct; it is in order. Would not the whole assembly be offended if the preacher, or any other male member were to appear in the assembly wearing a hat, and proceeded to take part in the worship so clothed? You know that would be offensive, because you know that it would dishonor Christ.
To settle the matter as to whether the covering in the case of a man is an external covering, or hair, look again at verse 4. If hair is meant as the covering here referred to, then only men who are bald can pray or prophesy in the public assembly. Since hair is obviously not the covering that is appropriate for men, then why would men imagine that hair would be the appropriate covering for women, when their case is considered?
Woman, in the Lord's assembly, honors her head (man) when she prays or prophesies having her own head covered. She must cover her head with a hat or veil, for to do otherwise would dishonor her head (man) and mark her as one who walks apart from the headship under which God has placed her. It would be as if she had been marked as an unfaithful wife.
The praying or prophesying of women in the Lord's assembly will always be done in silence, and never, under any circumstances be otherwise. Scripture demands it. (I Cor. 14:34,35; I Tim. 2:11). The fact that women must be silent in the church does not mean that they are taking no part in the worship, and are therefore relieved of the requirement of having their own head covered. They are participating in the worship, in the role that God has assigned them. They are praying (silently, to be sure), and they are prophesying in that they are telling forth the word of God by their submission to the teachings of the word. They are testifying by example and by practice. They are learning, in order that they may the more perfectly fill the role that God has assigned them.
When woman meets in the assembly having her own head covered with an external covering (hat or veil), she honors her head. To do otherwise would mean that she must also have her hair clipped (shorn), or even have her head shaved. This was an identifying mark placed upon wayward women who had brought dishonor to their husbands.
If woman is uncovered in the assembly, it is as if she were shaven. If she will not be covered, then let her ALSO be shorn. Read verse 6 again. If she will not submit to God ordained headship, then let her be marked so as to identify her as a rebellious and wanton one. If the Lord's churches are not in subjection to Christ, then they are unfaithful to Him, and this is represented by the women of the church as they appear uncovered. When the Lord's churches are in submission to Him, then it is represented by godly women having their heads covered.
If hair, in the case of woman, is meant to be the covering Paul is talking about, then the word "also" in verse 6 is meaningless. This word carries the meaning, "in addition to." If she is properly showing forth God ordained headship, she must not be shorn, AND she must also be covered. "If she have short hair, then let her ALSO have short hair." That's how the first part of verse 6 would literally read if her hair is meant to be the covering referred to. Remember now, whatever covering the woman wears is that which symbolizes the church in her appearance before Christ. Does she honor, or does she dishonor? I'm speaking of the church as she is symbolized by the woman.
Woman is to be covered (veiled) in the assembly to demonstrate that she is under the power (authority) of her husband, in order that the angels who meet with the saints may be taught that the church is subject to Christ in all things. The angels are actually met in body with the saints. What kind of teaching does the church provide for them? Do they see a submissive church? Do they see an unfaithful, rebellious church?
Now then, about hair for a moment. What is meant when hair as a covering is discussed, both as it applies to men and to women? It is apparent that hair does mean something, for it is discussed as a covering, and cannot therefore be ignored. But what does it mean?
First of all, hair as a covering, is given by God, and is to symbolize human headship. It acknowledges positional standing of men and women in the natural realm. It is therefore the natural symbol of headship, and not to be confused with spiritual symbols at all.
Long hair for woman is a glory to her; "for her hair is given her for a covering." (verse 15). Her hair, which is her glory, is the symbol of headship in the natural realm. It symbolizes that there is glory to her when she is fitted into the place of her assignment. She wears it proudly (not self-pride), desiring always to be identified as a woman; as one who has been brought forth, out of man, to be his help meet, and to honor God in doing that which He has assigned her to do. She knows that Eve, being deceived had been led to sin. She knows that God decreed that her desire shall be to her own husband, and he shall rule over her (Gen. 3:15). She knows that Infinite Wisdom dictated that she be so placed, but that is for her own protection. She delights in being so placed.
Short hair for man is the symbol for the position in which God has placed man, in relation to the woman. He has been placed in subjection to Christ, and over the woman. And for man to wear long hair is an attempt to change God's order and to bring dishonor to Christ, and shame upon himself.
Even nature teaches that it is a shame for men to have long hair. Every man who has long hair is shaming himself. Regardless of his efforts to justify himself as being in keeping with the time, he is still shaming himself, and dishonoring the position in which he has been placed. Because times change and styles change, does this mean that God changes? Certainly not. It is not possible for man to use such a flimsy excuse as this to gloss over his shameful conduct.
Godly men, get that hair cut! Get in order with God's way, and then you may be able to influence those over whom the Master has given you positional headship. You may be able to teach by example what the Bible teaches concerning headship, and then truly take the place that God has assigned you as the head of your family. How can you expect your family to respect your position if you show such contempt for it?
God's word has clearly established the order of things in the scriptures (I Cor. 11). Both the natural symbols of headship (short hair for men; long hair for women) and the spiritual symbols of headship (men uncovered; women covered) are set forth.
Paul, under inspiration, has established that the apostolic teaching as well as the acceptable manner of worship in the Lord's churches today are here recognized. He further declares that he, and the other apostles have not deviated from that order. Then, he drives the point home by emphasizing, "But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God." (verse 16).
He is saying that neither he, nor the churches of God have ever taught, nor practiced any other form for recognizing headship, nor have they advocated any other practice. It has always been proper, Paul affirms, for these symbols (both natural and spiritual) to be observed.
Now, if any man seem to be contentious, he is not doing so by following the teaching of God's word. That is, if any man seem to contend for any other presentation of headship, he is not doing so in accordance with the Bible way of representing these great truths.
Those who teach and practice that long hair for godly women is the correct symbol for representing the Lord's churches in subjection to Him are contending for another way. The apostles taught no other way, and the early churches practiced no other way. It was error that led the churches to substitute long hair for the veil, or other external covering to be worn by woman as the symbol of her subjection. It is error that leads men to teach, and churches to practice another way now.
When godly women enter into the assembly, being covered, they are teaching by example their subjection to their husbands. They are teaching by example that the church is in subjection to Christ. They do not speak a single word. They are not permitted to speak. Neither need they speak a word, for their actions speak and testify for them. They teach more by example than they could ever teach by word, even were they desirous of speaking, or were allowed to do so.
In their private teaching of the younger women, as commanded in Titus 3:3-5, they may teach these truths of I Cor. 11:1-16, along with the other portions of God's word. The young women, then being properly instructed by word and example, will also desire to follow the teaching of the Bible. They will want to be in subjection.
When churches insist on the members submitting themselves to God's word, and to His established order, the churches will be blessed with spiritual strength. God blesses greatly when His churches obey Him. He also withholds blessings when they walk disorderly. Do we want to be blessed and used of God? Then let us seek His way, and walk therein.
Godly men should submit themselves to their Lord and seek His guidance in fulfilling their duties. Godly women also should submit themselves to their Lord and seek His guidance in fulfilling their duties. To do less is careless, and reflects unfavorably in every way upon the character of each of us who have professed Christ.
For men to fail does not relieve them, or the women of their duties. Neither does an attempt by women to lay aside their duties give them the right to do so, nor does it relieve the men of their duties as heads of households to teach their women folk, and to insist upon their obedience to God's commands.
To be sure, many women do not observe this headship because they have not been properly taught. Men likewise, have not been taught, nor have they taught their wives.
That brings the matter down to those who are charged before God to preach the word. To those who have been commanded to teach all the counsel of God. It brings it directly to the door of the preachers.
The pulpits across this land are generally silent upon this important subject. Little or no teaching about headship can be found, even among Baptists. When have you heard it taught, or have seen it practiced?
It has been primarily within the past two generations that the subject has been so neglected. If we examine the teachings and the practices of those who have preceded us, we will find that until recent years, it was unthinkable for a Baptist woman to go into a Baptist assembly having her head uncovered. Men taught, men and women believed, and churches practiced this submission to the Headship of Christ.
In reading the writings of Baptists of the past, it becomes evident that almost all practiced this order in their day. They had evidently been taught it by their fathers, and it was practiced by the churches of the day.
It seems that the so-called "style" has not only changed among women outside the Lord's churches, but this change has been brought over to those women in His churches. Women, generally, just do not wear hats. But why would they? It is evident that women, for the most part, are not in subjection.
Every feminist movement that has ever existed is the direct result of sin. The rebellion that is among people today is directly attributable to sin and the awful consequences that it has brought upon us.
When women rebel, they are rebelling against men. Right? Wrong. They are rebelling against God and His order. ERA and all such movements are ungodly movements for they seek to change God's order of things. Women are rebels against God when they participate in, or show sympathy for such activities.
Men are also rebels, for they are active movers within such groups. They also countenance such ungodliness in others. They are just as guilty, and maybe even more so than the women, for they have gone directly to God and have said by their actions that He erred in His purpose. They have abdicated the position that God gave them.
Should the "style" that the world is so wrapped up in dictate to godly men and women what they should wear? I believe the answer is evident. The world is not to be brought over to the churches. Instead, the churches are to maintain separation from the world. Separation is taught in the Bible. It is to be practiced.
Dear Sisters, hear the words of your Lord. Follow His teaching, and seek by every scriptural means to regulate your life by His word. Listen to your Lord. Give no ear to the Devil, for he is out to do you harm. Submit yourself to the position God gave you.
Dear Brothers, hear the words of your Lord. Follow His teaching, and seek by every scriptural means to regulate your life, and the lives of those of your own household by the word of God. Remember, you have been given directions by God, and are responsible to Him for those under your headship. You will give an account to God for your actions.
Dear Churches, seek the Lord's face and strive to walk in the Light. Insist upon God's word being faithfully proclaimed and then to be followed. Being fully persuaded that Go has ordered all things for His glory and for the good of His churches, earnestly contend for the faith as once delivered to the saints.
As one, individually, or as a church walks away from the source of light, his steps take him into deeper darkness. He is moving in the wrong direction, and as he proceeds in that direction, his steps become more and more uncertain. His danger increases and the pitfalls less discernible.
On the other hand, when one is turned, he begins to catch a glimpse of light in the distance. Moving forward toward that light, he is encouraged to go on for every step now gets brighter. His confidence is increased and his welfare is improved.
I do not suggest that correction of our course in this one matter will cure all the ills that have befallen God's people and His churches. But I do suggest that when the headship that God has ordained is understood and practiced it will lead to more light. I do suggest that God's people will be able to regulate their lives more perfectly when God's order is maintained.
When God ordained headship is practiced, husbands and fathers will meet their responsibilities to a greater degree. Families will again be set in order when the head of each household fills the role to which he has been assigned. Wives and mothers will be true help meets for their husbands and will superintend the rearing of their children and the managing of the household affairs as they should. Children will see these godly qualities displayed before them on a daily basis and will be led to see their own place in the family structure more correctly.
When the family is in order, the churches will also be in better order. Each member of one of the Lord's churches is also a member of a family. And when the families are in order, it will naturally carry over into the churches.
May God grant grace to all His people to seek His will. May He be pleased to enable each of His blood bought saints to hear His word, believe His instructions, and obey all the precious and wonderful commands that He has given. For it is to His glory, and to our good that He has wisely ordained this headship.
"...Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matt. 28:20).