Thursday, August 01, 2013

Christian toga movement

I'm gratified to see that some Christians still have a sense of priorities:

However, I'm disappointed that it stops short. Clearly this movement needs to be counterbalanced by a line of Biblical apparel for men. In addition, this would have the fringe benefit of making Christian students feel less out of place at fraternity parties. 


  1. The issue has always puzzled me. Paul's instructions don't seem to be cultural (on the surface). They seem to be clear cut apostolic commands, instructions, tradition (paradosis) to be obeyed. But maybe it's indirectly cultural. If it's true that Jews, both men and women, covered their heads during their worship services, and Pagans, both men and women, usually didn't cover their heads during their worship services, then maybe Paul's instructions were given to distinguish Christians from non-Christians. So, it would be analogous to the Sabbath command for Jews in the OT, since it was a distinguishing mark of Jews which made them different from non-Jews.

    On the one hand, in the first century, it was necessary to make it clear to Pagans that Christians weren't normal Jews. Though some believing Jews may have given that impression. They were believers in their Jewish messiah.
    On the other hand it was necessary to make it clear to Jews that Christians weren't Pagans (or ordinary gentiles/goyim) but had faith in the God of Israel. By having only women cover their heads during worship (and presumably for a short time before and after worship when they are out of doors) both Jews and Gentiles could recognize and distinguish Christians. It was a Yahwistic AND Christological statement. So it may have been cultural in that indirect way.

    Which may mean that since in our own day both Jews and "Pagans" (i.e. non-worshippers of the God of Israel) have no problem distinguishing Christians from Jews or "Pagans", there may not be a need for female Christians to cover their heads.

    Though, I suppose that in many cases Christians look and act like non-Christians (often including their immorality) so much that we may once again need to have something that distinguishes us from them. In other words, we have the opposite situation than in the 1st century where Christians were perceived as just another sect of Judaism. I think our distinguishing mark need not be something physical. At the very least it should be our Christian witness and faithfulness to Scripture.

    Those are some of my thoughts and speculations about Christian female head covering.

    1. I just read the ebook recommended at one of the blog posts (Here) and I found it fairly persuasive. Among other things, the author makes an exegetical case as well as a historical one (citing the writings, teaching or practice of church fathers like Tertullian, Hippolytus, Chrysostom, Augustine; and Protestants like Calvin, Luther, Wesley, Matthew Henry, even Watchman Nee). However, since I haven't read counter-arguments on the subject I'm not fully persuaded.

    2. In one sense this topic is like the topic of contraception. According to some there's a long tradition in Christianity against the use of contraception. Similarly there's a long tradition of women wearing head coverings. The main difference is that Scripture doesn't address contraception while it does specifically address head covering (and that from an Apostle).

  2. On the website they have an edited clip of one of R.C. Sproul's lectures on the topic. I happen to have a copy of the full audio and listening to it I was surprised to find out R.C. Sproul's position on the interpretation of the text. Near the end of the lecture he says,

    "Now I realize that when styles and fashion change, and that people today are not particularly scrupulous about this business of covering their head; that women today who come to church with their heads uncovered are not coming as an act of protest against the order of the universe or against the authority of Christ, or even of their submission to their husbands. I don't think that's what's behind all of this. But it does disturb me that the custom or the tradition of the woman covering her head in America did not pass away until we saw a cultural revolt against the authority of the husband over the wife. Not just in the home or in the church but in the whole of culture. And it frightens me that we're taking our cue not from the Scriptures but from the culture or the fashions where we live. Now again, I know scholars that I have the utmost respect for who disagree with me completely on this text. I don't want to be dogmatic about it. My own particular view is that Paul is appealing to creation and that Paul is saying that women ought to cover their heads. It's a small thing. This is not the article upon which the church stands or falls. But I think that we should seek to be faithful in small things. That we may be prepared to be faithful in many things. And at least it was important enough for the Apostle Paul to include it in his instructions to the church.

    There's also a quote of R.C. Sproul Jr. on one of the post of the website blog.

    Apparently both father and son interpret the passage as teaching female head covering as something that's principial rather than merely customary.

  3. This issue clearly isn't a moral one. If head coverings were to distinguish Christians from pagans in worship, it's cultural. Surely it's not a sin for a woman not to wear a head covering in worship.

    I believe promotes this web site and movement. That's where I think I first came across it.

    Seems pointless to me...

  4. Steve has addressed the issue of head coverings previously: