I said in a recent post that, while I believe headcoverings are mandated in Scripture and, because of that, the command for a woman to cover her head in a worship service is still in effect, that I do not believe headcoverings are a salvation issue. I stand by this because of grace.
None of us obey the Lord perfectly. All of us who are followers of the Way are on a journey towards spiritual wholeness. The more we know, the more the Lord holds us responsible for. When we are first reborn, we are mere babes in Christ needing the milk of the Word. As we grow and mature, we move on to the meat of the Word, thus the more we are responsible for in the eyes of the Lord.
Churches haven’t taught that women are required by the Lord to wear headcoverings for a long time. As women’s lib moved in, headcoverings and other forms of obedience and submission moved out. Today, only a fraction of church leaders believe headcoverings are important for women to wear in worship. It isn’t taught in most of our homes, it’s not instructed in most seminaries, it’s not addressed in pulpits, and most Christian writers, teachers or bloggers never address it. Pray tell, how are we supposed to know that we are supposed to be wearing them?
However that seems to be changing and headcoverings in worship is a growing trend. That’s good news, indeed. But if we bring headcoverings back while at the same time we ignore the poor in our midst, we continue to dress immodestly at the beach, we are arrogant, rude, selfish or lazy in our homes or in our places of business, what good is it really doing us? There is no magic pill we can swallow that will make us more holy. There also isn’t a magic practice we can add to our lives to prove to God and to the world that we are His. It’s all about the heart–loving God, His Word, His people, more than we love ourselves. If we do that, then obedience in all forms will follow.
There’s another thing: If I cover my head in worship, all the while looking around me at all of the other women who don’t cover and I feel superior to them for my supposed advanced spiritual understanding, then I’ve missed the mark entirely. It’s not about the headcovering, it’s about the heart.
Everything we do as Christians is about our heart. The more we love God, the more we will want to love Him. The more we’ll long to understand His Word, know what He desires and demands of us, know where His heart on this or any matter is. Then we’ll set about obeying joyfully. The thing is, this side of heaven, we’ll never fully arrive at our destination. No matter how much I might want to fully obey Him, I never will. There will always be some part of me that is messing up.
None of this is to say that we ought to embrace disobedience. Far from it. We ought to run from disobedience like we’re running from the devil himself. If we find ourselves toying with disobedience, we’re in big trouble somewhere and we’d better get on our knees and start repenting.
So are headcoverings mandated in Scripture? I believe so, yes. The language in 1 Corinthians 11 seems pretty straightforward to me, and the fact that the Apostle Paul ties wearing them to the creation order pretty much cements the command in my mind. There are many who disagree with me, including some bible believing pastors with whom I agree with on just about everything else. But still I believe they are mandated because of the language of the text. I don’t believe that here some 2,000 years after Christ, we just suddenly became smarter than all of our brethren who have gone before us and somehow managed to discover some meaning in the text that in nearly 2,000 years none of them ever found. That just doesn’t make sense.
But it doesn’t make sense that it alone out of everything is a salvation issue. I see one salvation issue in Scripture: believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that He died for my sins and was resurrected the third day. Everything else is growing in faith, in knowledge and in obedience. Everything that is included in “everything else” is important: the kind of person we are, the way we live, what we believe, how we act and so on. It’s all important. If you ask me if we have come to realize that something is commanded by God that we are refusing to obey, is that a salvation issue then I’d have to say that you might want to get in the Word and pray and ask God to search you to see why you are failing to desire to obey Him. Failure to want to obey the Lord in any area is pretty important and pretty telling of one’s spiritual state.
Proof of salvation is that we grow in knowledge of and obedience to His Word. The more we study and learn, we more we are required to grow in our knowledge, and the more we’ll become like Christ. If we are not doing this, then that is the most important issue of all. So we must examine ourselves constantly: Do we love the Lord more than anything? Do we love our neighbors as ourselves? If we do, we’re growing in grace. If we aren’t (and arrogance about being a headcovering woman among women who don’t is a mighty telling issue), we have problems.