Are headcoverings cultural?

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Puritan Board Sophomore
What is the best way to exegetically (I Cor 11) combat the cultural argument about headcoverings that says, "Wearing a headcovering was a sign of submission in that culture, but in our culture today, we don't have a similar sign of submission so women don't need to wear anything on their heads in worship"?

Basically, the cultural argument would say, "The wearing of a covering on the head is cultural," whereas I think the pro-headcovering crowd would say "The wearing of a covering on the head is not cultural, but what the specific covering is...that is cultural."

Anyways, Paul does appeal to the creative order in his argumentation (not culture), but the cultural-argument people still say wearing a covering was how that culture showed submission (and the created order). So against this argument, I think I would appeal to Paul's big argument that women are to have power on their head because of the angels, which could not be construed as cultural, in my mind.

Another thought I had was that ordinances outside the church might not make sense to unbelievers (I mean, what would someone with no experience with the sacraments think of them?), similarly, headcoverings might not make sense to everyone in our culture, but inside the church we know the significance of wearing a headcovering. And then, of course, I also make the argument that this was the custom of the churches of God (I'm no expert in the history and culture of this period, but I wonder if a headcovering would have the same significance in all the different places where churches were scattered abroad throughout the Roman Empire). Another argument I think of is that it seems Paul would be going against the RPW in commanding a worship practice based on what the culture dictates.

Thoughts? I would appreciate it if only pro-headcovering people respond.


Puritan Board Freshman
Hello Nathan,
Please check your email. I will be sending you a rather long article exploring the passage in I Corinthians 11. Since most Reformed Christians have left the veiling and only wear it in worship it is rather difficult to find any modern exegesis on the passage. The Mennonites have held onto the practice and the author of the article is a Mennonite. I do not agree with some of what the Mennonites practice, however in this area they have held out against the cultural argument very well. I hope it helps.



Puritan Board Junior
Please check your email. I will be sending you a rather long article exploring the passage in I Corinthians 11.

If you wouldn't mind sending that my way too, I would be very appreciative!
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Puritan Board Freshman
I think it boils down rather simply to this: Paul gives no cultural reason for the issue of headcoverings, rather the opposite in appealing to creation and the angels. It seems so clear from the passage, and to import extra-Biblical 'cultural' information seems to me to be very unsafe. Based upon such reasonings, why is Paul's teaching on women to keep silent/not to teach in the church, not also cultural, bearing in mind he here also uses arguments from creation?
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