Holding opinions differring from your local church

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he beholds

Puritan Board Doctor
On this thread, Scott1 wrote this:
The effects of the second part of what you are saying is, in our denomination, as a member, you are not required to have comprehensive knowledge of your doctrinal standards, far less vow agreement with every statement/proposition in them.

I've come to learn here on Puritan Board some reformed denominations would require such for membership, but our denomination, the PCA, does not require that for membership. It does require that for church officers, but not for members.

The membership vows include peaceably learning the church's doctrine. That is, humbly studying (not trying to create faction, defiance, or dissent) and learning the doctrinal standards.
Does that apply to people in the church who would hold minority opinions of doctrine? For instance, and this is not an EP debate, what about the people who won't sing the hymns with everyone else? I understand why they cannot, because their consciences won't allow it, but should they be trying to peaceably learn why hymns are allowed? In that scenario, they don't sing the hymns because they believe it is a sin to do so--could that not cause faction because others would realize that the non-singers believe the singers to be sinning?

Or what about headcoverings, holidays, baptism or communion practices, etc.

How does/should a church handle a situation when some in the minority have different practices because they specifically believe to do otherwise is to sin.
Should the church itself change, as to not offend those who believe the majority practice to be sin? Or should the minority seek a new church if at all possible? And if there are no local churches that share the same beliefs, should they split off and start a church plant for another denomination? Or is it right for the minority to try to bring about change in the existing church? Or should they remain, while personally not partaking in the activity that they deem to be sinful, but being careful not to condemn? Or should they try to learn the reasons the church does what it does?

In Western Pennsylvania, there are a million different Reformed churches to choose from, so for a person there, I would think they should maybe switch denominations to find one that fits. But in a place where the only Reformed churches are PCA churches, what is the best scenario?
 

Scottish Lass

Puritan Board Doctor
Are you dealing with members, visitors, both?

For example, I'm sure you probably mean members, but we have a student who worships/rooms with us during the semesters he does a coop. He believes in non-instrumental EP. He stands while we sing hymns (and psalms), but does not sing during worship. He respects/tolerates our view, and we respect his. He never comments on it, nor is it distracting to anyone other than the choir since he sits on the front row. We don't consider him to be sinning, and though he probably does, he continues to worship with us since the choices are few and far between here.

I am the sole woman in our congregation to practice headcovering. If it's an issue for someone else, I don't know about it.

I could count the Reformed churches here in Louisville on one hand and have fingers left over, so choices are few.
 

lynnie

Puritan Board Graduate
I am in a PCA church. I am the only woman with a headcovering. We have a few Baptists, and there are widely varied opinions about what is acceptable on the sabbath. Our service is more traditional and one family tried unsuccessfully to get the Intergity Music contemporary type singing introduced. Women and careers is touchy with a couple working girls. One lady who predates my pastor- I kid you not here- likes Osteen. One lady whose hub is in leadership (also predating the pastor) turned out last year to be a Beth Moore fan (I was horrified). We have pro Tedd Tripp spankers and non spanking time-outers. Cessationists and continuists. McCain voters and Ron Paul voters.

Everybody appears to love the Lord, and as far as I know loves our pastor. Sunday we focus on God and His word, and members submit to the elders in matters regarding church. We are growing and not shrinking on Sunday.

"Community" has been a deficit for the past 2.5 years since we started going, and I think your question is part of it. One lady told me she can't handle people thinking differently from her. Maybe half at most go to midweek small groups. Prayer meeting attendance is low. Some people really like me, and I've had a few withdraw when I casually said something outside their doctrinal box.


I pray for love a lot. If we do not have love that covers sin and accepts others the way God accepts us, we'll never make it.

Or is it right for the minority to try to bring about change in the existing church? Or should they remain, while personally not partaking in the activity that they deem to be sinful, but being careful not to condemn?

I think you should shut up and pray unless a very clear opening to give an opinion comes up. Very unmistakably clear, and it may never happen.

I feel your pain :lol:
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
There are ways, for the truly humble, to abstain from things that offend their conscience without being divisive. There are also ways for a church to accommodate those with different consciences. This must occur on some level with all churches for I doubt there has ever been one where all the elders and all the congregants were in agreement with everything!

For example, a man might have a scruple about the use of grape juice in the Lord's Supper. He could make the leadership aware of that fact and ask that the cup not be sent his way so that he need not refuse it in the sight of everyone. Also, the church could serve both grape juice and wine.

It is conceivable that some things are 'dealbreakers' but, in general, I don't think Christians work hard enough at Paul's command in Rom 15:2 "Let every one of us please [his] neighbour for [his] good to edification." Our liberties should not get in the way of our brothers edification.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
I am in a PCA church. I am the only woman with a headcovering.
Do you know the reason for this? Is it because they have never thought of it before? Or they have thought of it and they are convinced that it doesn't matter whether you were one or not?
 

he beholds

Puritan Board Doctor
There are ways, for the truly humble, to abstain from things that offend their conscience without being divisive. There are also ways for a church to accommodate those with different consciences. This must occur on some level with all churches for I doubt there has ever been one where all the elders and all the congregants were in agreement with everything!

For example, a man might have a scruple about the use of grape juice in the Lord's Supper. He could make the leadership aware of that fact and ask that the cup not be sent his way so that he need not refuse it in the sight of everyone. Also, the church could serve both grape juice and wine.

It is conceivable that some things are 'dealbreakers' but, in general, I don't think Christians work hard enough at Paul's command in Rom 15:2 "Let every one of us please [his] neighbour for [his] good to edification." Our liberties should not get in the way of our brothers edification.

Great post, thanks!

The grape juice was another good example. Our church actually believes the wine is proper, but puts an outer ring of grape juice in case anyone's health or conscience needs it, so I didn't think of that example.
But there are more, like sending your kids up to the children's lesson during church, or keeping them from Sunday School, or keeping them in Church or putting them in nursery. Basically,
This must occur on some level with all churches for I doubt there has ever been one where all the elders and all the congregants were in agreement with everything!
is spot on!

I, for the record, am not really speaking about myself differing from my church. I am more just curious on how to respond on all sides. I grew up always trying to be different, for different's sake, so now I find it hard to differentiate between when I'm falling into that trap again, or really being convicted of a minority view, so for the most part, as of yet, I am fine following my husband or the leaders of my church. We may do some things differently, but not most things.
 

Scottish Lass

Puritan Board Doctor
I am in a PCA church. I am the only woman with a headcovering.
Do you know the reason for this? Is it because they have never thought of it before? Or they have thought of it and they are convinced that it doesn't matter whether you were one or not?
I don't know. When we came, I wore it and no one asked except if my last church had practiced it. I knew they meant the last church from our denomination (ARP), which didn't, so I said no. (It stemmed from a church we visited, but that's a long story.)
Tim has taught the views on it since then in the context of 20 Controversies that Almost Killed the Church, but no one seemed even vaguely interested. No one's argued, either, though.
 

DonP

Puritan Board Junior
I would say, make your views known to your pastor, ask if he is OK with it, ask what he wants you to do.
If it isn't evil, submit or move to a church where you can do what you want. Don't tell me there isn't one. Move a long ways and get a new job or keep quiet.


You can bug him and your elders with questions about their belief and yours as long as you are asking for instruction on how they interpret a verse etc.

Don't disturb others. If you find those who ask you about your visible position, make it brief and handle it as the pastor told you. Refer them to him unless he gave you permission to speak on it.

Its not your job to reform the church.

If you are in the church position then sure you can seek to influence others to come to the church's position unless they ask you not to any more. Then let the pastor or elders handle that one.

It's not your job to weed out the church either.

And you should encourage women to ask their husbands to speak to you or your husband about it or the pastor. I don't think we should have women undermining other women's husbands, even if it is the church position, and men for sure.

Pray for them.
Pray for yourself, you may be wrong.
(Unless you agree with me and Calvin on everything. If all would do this we wouldn't have these challenges). :)

So many vrs but it shows the emphasis and importance of this. I think more than on our disputed ideas.

James 3:16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. NKJV

Heb 12:14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: NKJV

1 Thess 5:13Be at peace among yourselves.
14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all NKJV

Col 3:14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. NKJV

Eph 4:2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. NKJV

2 Cor 13:11 Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. NKJV

Rom 14:19 Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. NKJV

One may ask about PB in this respect.

Personally I consider this personal study and research, just as looking up something on the web.
No one here is in my congregation, no one has to be here to worship. No one should feel any obligation or special respect for me or anyone here as they would a member of their local church, although since we list denominations there maybe should be some respect to that, or if you do have church members here. Hopefully you agree.

And it probably would be a good idea for us to ask our pastors about doing this, I did, though we may have liberty anyway. Esp. the women; and I know some women who post here have asked their husbands permission to be here and ask questions of men who post here. Hopefully they ask their wives what they learned as I do of my wife when she comes home from the women's Bible study.

And I am open to feedback on this position as well. I am personally reflecting on my posting here and will probably be much more careful and reflective on this from now on as I post because: Each person is a member of some church and though I may have less responsibility for them than a member of my own church, I would have a hard time saying I have no responsibility to someone who professes to be member of a reformed denomination and chats or posts here since much of it is conversational as opposed to a simple article post.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
I am in a PCA church. I am the only woman with a headcovering.
Do you know the reason for this? Is it because they have never thought of it before? Or they have thought of it and they are convinced that it doesn't matter whether you were one or not?
I don't know. When we came, I wore it and no one asked except if my last church had practiced it. I knew they meant the last church from our denomination (ARP), which didn't, so I said no. (It stemmed from a church we visited, but that's a long story.)
Tim has taught the views on it since then in the context of 20 Controversies that Almost Killed the Church, but no one seemed even vaguely interested. No one's argued, either, though.
If a church is convinced that it makes no difference whether a head covering is worn or not, then it would be a loving act to wear one for the edification of a sister who does. That is the kind of thing Paul is talking about in Rom 15.

It wasn't until I became a pastor that I realized how much of what we do is to please ourselves without a thought for our brothers and sisters.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
How does/should a church handle a situation when some in the minority have different practices because they specifically believe to do otherwise is to sin.
Should the church itself change, as to not offend those who believe the majority practice to be sin?
No. It is unreasonable to think that one can bend a congregation to his will. (While it is possible for the Lord to use someone to do it, it is arrogant for a member to take that upon him or herself) At best, you can split the congregation and cause much heartbreak and grief. The more appropriate action would be for the session to put the dissenter under church discipline.

If one wants to lead by example - quietly standing with the congregation during the singing of a song, or wearing a headcovering during the service, that would be acceptable - and more effective in the long run. But demanding that the church change? No.

Or should the minority seek a new church if at all possible? And if there are no local churches that share the same beliefs, should they split off and start a church plant for another denomination? ... Or should they remain, while personally not partaking in the activity that they deem to be sinful, but being careful not to condemn? Or should they try to learn the reasons the church does what it does?
Yes to all. And if the community has the capacity, the congregation might be willing to assist with a church plant, if there is already some tension in the congregation.
 

satz

Puritan Board Senior
If a church is convinced that it makes no difference whether a head covering is worn or not, then it would be a loving act to wear one for the edification of a sister who does. That is the kind of thing Paul is talking about in Rom 15.

It wasn't until I became a pastor that I realized how much of what we do is to please ourselves without a thought for our brothers and sisters.
Pastor Ken

Are you saying the whole church should start to cover (or do anything else) for the benefit of one member?

I am not sure I agree. A individual christian should be willing to give up liberties in specific circumstances for others, as Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 10.

I am not sure that a whole church should change its practice for one member. If a church believes that headcoverings are not necessary, it presumably does so for good biblical reason. I am not sure a church should be changing its practice - and requiring this of its members - because of the views (the wrong views, as far as this church is concerned) of one member.
 

DonP

Puritan Board Junior
If a church is convinced that it makes no difference whether a head covering is worn or not, then it would be a loving act to wear one for the edification of a sister who does. That is the kind of thing Paul is talking about in Rom 15.

It wasn't until I became a pastor that I realized how much of what we do is to please ourselves without a thought for our brothers and sisters.
Pastor Ken

Are you saying the whole church should start to cover (or do anything else) for the benefit of one member?

I am not sure I agree. A individual christian should be willing to give up liberties in specific circumstances for others, as Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 10.

I am not sure that a whole church should change its practice for one member. If a church believes that headcoverings are not necessary, it presumably does so for good biblical reason. I am not sure a church should be changing its practice - and requiring this of its members - because of the views (the wrong views, as far as this church is concerned) of one member.
I took it he meant if you knew the woman and were a friend you might do it so she was not alone. Since you have the freedom to wear a hat or not just as clothing not as a covering.
As an individual out of love for her. Not that the whole church would do it each week. And not that they would change their view.
Some women just wear hats as fashion anyway with no thought of the command.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
Mr. Partridge is correct. If a church is convinced that head coverings are NOT necessary, it would be an offense to require them. But, some ladies could, since they believe it makes no difference, wear a head covering as an act of love toward their sister.

Now, if a church is convinced that it would be sinful for ladies to wear head coverings, then you have a different problem. (I have never heard of this, but who knows)

Similarly, if one of you tie wearin' southron Presbyterians moved to So Cal, your brothers could show love to you by leaving the shorts and Hawaiian shirt at home in favor of slacks and a tie.

We are to take every opportunity to please, not ourselves, but our brother in matters of indifference.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
Good questions. A few thoughts below.

On this thread, Scott1 wrote this:
Quote:
The effects of the second part of what you are saying is, in our denomination, as a member, you are not required to have comprehensive knowledge of your doctrinal standards, far less vow agreement with every statement/proposition in them.

I've come to learn here on Puritan Board some reformed denominations would require such for membership, but our denomination, the PCA, does not require that for membership. It does require that for church officers, but not for members.

The membership vows include peaceably learning the church's doctrine. That is, humbly studying (not trying to create faction, defiance, or dissent) and learning the doctrinal standards.
Does that apply to people in the church who would hold minority opinions of doctrine? For instance, and this is not an EP debate, what about the people who won't sing the hymns with everyone else? I understand why they cannot, because their consciences won't allow it, but should they be trying to peaceably learn why hymns are allowed? In that scenario, they don't sing the hymns because they believe it is a sin to do so--could that not cause faction because others would realize that the non-singers believe the singers to be sinning?

The vows the PCA requires of members might be summarized as:

1) examined for and profess publicly Christ alone for salvation
2) vow to live an obedient life as an orderly believer
3) support the church
4) submit to the government (discipline) of the church
5) peaceably learn the church's doctrine


From what I understand there are a few "EP" style churches in the denomination (I think Virginia Huguenot attended one at one time, he reported on a thread). I don't think membership would require believing in "non-EP" worship" but maybe that the person consider the biblical case for songs, hymns and spiritual songs that might include more than psalms.

The idea here is that if the word of God is faithfully taught and there is accountability, God's Word will accomplish its purposes. Just as we constantly must work with and even love people who disagree, we must learn to do that and model that in the church.

If a church member has a conviction about this, and they are maturing, why not look toward getting involved to see if they can influence the congregation to incorporate psalms, at least sometime, into worship? That would model Christ like submission and maturity and certainly would not be against vows.

Another aspect would be if someone has a strong conviction about that, they can seek a congregation that does that in the denomination or seek a denomination that does that everywhere.
Or what about head coverings, holidays, baptism or communion practices, etc.

I can't imagine someone who doesn't believe in infant baptism as covenant baptism remaining in a PCA church whereas, as far as I'm aware there is no confessional requirement on things like head coverings.
 

sastark

Puritan Board Graduate
Similarly, if one of you tie wearin' southron Presbyterians moved to So Cal, your brothers could show love to you by leaving the shorts and Hawaiian shirt at home in favor of slacks and a tie.
Growing up in Northern California, this was truly shocking to me. I would always were a tie and slacks to church, but now, wearing a tie is rare because of the Southern California influence. There were churches we visited where the pastor didn't even wear a tie! Talk about a culture shock! :lol:
 

DonP

Puritan Board Junior
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I can't imagine someone who doesn't believe in infant baptism as covenant baptism remaining in a PCA church whereas, as far as I'm aware there is no confessional requirement on things like head coverings.
Well we sure have allot of them. Baptists who can't stand what can go along with the independent nature of their past baptist churches, but do not see covenantal baptism as taught in scripture yet. They are thankful for the safety and sensibility of the pres govt but not convinced.
We even have one who was licensed to preach in Ref Baptist churches and our session lets him preach occasionally.
 

a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
Mr. Partridge is correct. If a church is convinced that head coverings are NOT necessary, it would be an offense to require them. But, some ladies could, since they believe it makes no difference, wear a head covering as an act of love toward their sister.
Rev. Klein, I was wondering if you think this should go the other way as well -- if in a church that covers, a woman who thinks it makes no difference should not cover as visitors etc. come in (and other women in the church also do not). Where does the greater 'charity' in that case lie -- in covering so as not to offend the majority of the congregation, or in helping the visitor or the other unconvinced women to feel less alone and awkward?

If you are in a church where none of the women wear slacks, is it loving or unloving to wear slacks occasionally to 'wear down' any kind of reaction against visitors? (we had a mother of some of our VBS kids come a couple of years ago in slacks etc: she was terribly embarrassed and never returned. In Mexico we had no problems with that kind of reaction with visitors because our people were so poor that they wore everyday clothes, no hats, etc?)

(edit: I don't mean to take this thread off topic with the introduction of 'visitors' -- I reference them because they are an additional consideration in wondering if the 'charity' argument works the other way as well?)
 

Skyler

Puritan Board Graduate
On this thread, Scott1 wrote this:
The effects of the second part of what you are saying is, in our denomination, as a member, you are not required to have comprehensive knowledge of your doctrinal standards, far less vow agreement with every statement/proposition in them.

I've come to learn here on Puritan Board some reformed denominations would require such for membership, but our denomination, the PCA, does not require that for membership. It does require that for church officers, but not for members.

The membership vows include peaceably learning the church's doctrine. That is, humbly studying (not trying to create faction, defiance, or dissent) and learning the doctrinal standards.
Does that apply to people in the church who would hold minority opinions of doctrine? For instance, and this is not an EP debate, what about the people who won't sing the hymns with everyone else? I understand why they cannot, because their consciences won't allow it, but should they be trying to peaceably learn why hymns are allowed? In that scenario, they don't sing the hymns because they believe it is a sin to do so--could that not cause faction because others would realize that the non-singers believe the singers to be sinning?

Or what about headcoverings, holidays, baptism or communion practices, etc.

How does/should a church handle a situation when some in the minority have different practices because they specifically believe to do otherwise is to sin.
Should the church itself change, as to not offend those who believe the majority practice to be sin? Or should the minority seek a new church if at all possible? And if there are no local churches that share the same beliefs, should they split off and start a church plant for another denomination? Or is it right for the minority to try to bring about change in the existing church? Or should they remain, while personally not partaking in the activity that they deem to be sinful, but being careful not to condemn? Or should they try to learn the reasons the church does what it does?
I think Paul's advice in Romans 14 is applicable in this case:

Romans 14:1-8(NIV) said:
1Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. 2One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. 4Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

5One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
The passage continues but in the interests of avoiding too-large posts I'll let you look up the rest of the passage.

The gist of it is, the person who feels he must do something(regard a certain day as holy, abstain from certain foods, etc.) must not condemn his fellow believers who aren't convicted on that point, and likewise his fellow believers must not look down on him for his weakness. Rather, they should each be convinced in their own minds as to what is right and what is wrong, and they should conform to that. They will answer to God for their deeds.
 
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Skyler

Puritan Board Graduate
Skyler
The passage continues but in the interests of avoiding too-large posts I'll let you look up the rest of the passage.

The gist of it is, the person who feels he must do something(observe the Sabbath, abstain from certain foods, etc.) must not condemn his fellow believers who aren't convicted on that point, and likewise his fellow believers must not look down on him for his weakness. Rather, they should each be convinced in their own minds as to what is right and what is wrong, and they should conform to that. They will answer to God for their deeds.
I agree completely with what you are saying.

Only one thing for those reading this, I don't think Paul in these passages (Romans 14:1-8) was at all talking about keeping the sabbath as being something a 'weaker' believer might have to born along with. Not at all, the forth commandment is a moral, binding and perpetual commandment. Rather, he is talking about certain ceremony connected with certain days (ceremonial sabbaths). Not to even argue that point here, only to clarify for those following that keeping the fourth commandment is not the same sort of thing as a conviction to require head covering or abstain from meat sacrificed to idols, in that context, etc.:)
Thanks for clarifying that for the readers. Sorry for any confusion I might have caused; I'll fix it.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
Mr. Partridge is correct. If a church is convinced that head coverings are NOT necessary, it would be an offense to require them. But, some ladies could, since they believe it makes no difference, wear a head covering as an act of love toward their sister.
Rev. Klein, I was wondering if you think this should go the other way as well -- if in a church that covers, a woman who thinks it makes no difference should not cover as visitors etc. come in (and other women in the church also do not). Where does the greater 'charity' in that case lie -- in covering so as not to offend the majority of the congregation, or in helping the visitor or the other unconvinced women to feel less alone and awkward?

If you are in a church where none of the women wear slacks, is it loving or unloving to wear slacks occasionally to 'wear down' any kind of reaction against visitors? (we had a mother of some of our VBS kids come a couple of years ago in slacks etc: she was terribly embarrassed and never returned. In Mexico we had no problems with that kind of reaction with visitors because our people were so poor that they wore everyday clothes, no hats, etc?)

(edit: I don't mean to take this thread off topic with the introduction of 'visitors' -- I reference them because they are an additional consideration in wondering if the 'charity' argument works the other way as well?)
If a woman is convinced that Scripture requires a head covering then she is not at liberty to remove it. If a church is convinced that Scripture requires head coverings it is not at liberty to change that practice for the benefit of those who hold a differing opinion.

I think your example of slacks is different because proper dress is a matter of propriety, not precept. (I guess it is possible that some churches are convinced that Scripture requires a dress code, but I am not aware of any.) This being so, proper dress is a 'scruple' which individuals are at liberty to adjust for the edification of a sister.

As for visitors, you are within your liberty to change your dress as an act of love if you want to. However, a church cannot require it of you lest it become guilty of binding your conscience and changing your act of love into a stumblingblock.
 
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DonP

Puritan Board Junior
Mr. Partridge is correct. If a church is convinced that head coverings are NOT necessary, it would be an offense to require them. But, some ladies could, since they believe it makes no difference, wear a head covering as an act of love toward their sister.
Rev. Klein, I was wondering if you think this should go the other way as well -- if in a church that covers, a woman who thinks it makes no difference should not cover as visitors etc. come in (and other women in the church also do not). Where does the greater 'charity' in that case lie -- in covering so as not to offend the majority of the congregation, or in helping the visitor or the other unconvinced women to feel less alone and awkward?

If you are in a church where none of the women wear slacks, is it loving or unloving to wear slacks occasionally to 'wear down' any kind of reaction against visitors? (we had a mother of some of our VBS kids come a couple of years ago in slacks etc: she was terribly embarrassed and never returned. In Mexico we had no problems with that kind of reaction with visitors because our people were so poor that they wore everyday clothes, no hats, etc?)

(edit: I don't mean to take this thread off topic with the introduction of 'visitors' -- I reference them because they are an additional consideration in wondering if the 'charity' argument works the other way as well?)
Not answering for KMK but I will share my thoughts.

If one feels it is a matter indifferent to sing psalms, wear pants, or cover for women, they have no problem accommodating the person.

If one felt it was sin to cover then they should nto cover to support one who comes in covered.

Similarly those are are convicted to cover as a command of Scripture, it would be wrong for them to uncover to support one who is indifferent about it.

Does that make sense?

Interestingly I do not know of any who think it is sin to sing psalms, or cover, or wear dresses.

So not sure how to answer the hypothetical what if
both were convicted the other was sin.

It actually makes you think doesn't it? The complete and total absence of the one? Hmmmm :detective:

So expanding on KMK's last post I would say it might even be wise where there are a significant # of people in a congregation with convictions, for the session to go that way since it is indifferent to them anyway and we are asked to be willing to give up our liberty for the other.

Another Hmmm... wonder why the church does not do that? Why they insist on exercising their liberty of indifference instead of yielding to the brother of conviction even though that is what scripture teaches?? :gpl:

How loving and selfless are we really? How much suffering will it really cause a woman to cover her hair for an hour or two?

Would love some feedback from some women on this
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
Westminster Confession of Faith

Chapter XXV
Of the Church

...

V. The purest Churches under heaven are subject both to mixture and error;[10] and some have so degenerated, as to become no Churches of Christ, but synagogues of Satan.[11] Nevertheless, there shall be always a Church on earth to worship God according to His will.[12]
One other observation is that we must be biblically realistic. The visible church is composed of believers at all levels- brand new, mature and everything in between. It is to be composed mainly of believers who walk an orderly life but sometimes has mixed in believers walking disorderly. Even occasionally of unbelievers who would harm to Christ's cause. This is why there is church discipline, and God appoints His purposes in that.

We really can't expect a new believer to understand profound truths like the "high mystery of predestination" far less to understand and embrace it immediately. How much less can we demand of important, but nonetheless much smaller, matters of doctrine or practice.

Reformed theology says God's people are covenanted together in community to serve God in this world. A Confession of faith and discipline help bind that together.

The covenant community is not, however, bound conditionally on a persons' perception of every other person's faithfulness in every single belief and practice. We were not created to be an island unto ourselves. God summarized his commands in two major ways:

1st Love God
2nd Love your neighbor

If we lose sight of that, we are truly lost.

The world makes vows and rationalizes breaking them on those kinds of subjective basis, but God's people are called to make them on the basis of His faithfulness to them (not on their evaluation of others' perceived faithfulness).
 

he beholds

Puritan Board Doctor
Not answering for KMK but I will share my thoughts.

If one feels it is a matter indifferent to sing psalms, wear pants, or cover for women, they have no problem accommodating the person.

If one felt it was sin to cover then they should nto cover to support one who comes in covered.

Similarly those are are convicted to cover as a command of Scripture, it would be wrong for them to uncover to support one who is indifferent about it.

Does that make sense?

Interestingly I do not know of any who think it is sin to sing psalms, or cover, or wear dresses.

So not sure how to answer the hypothetical what if
both were convicted the other was sin.

It actually makes you think doesn't it? The complete and total absence of the one? Hmmmm :detective:

So expanding on KMK's last post I would say it might even be wise where there are a significant # of people in a congregation with convictions, for the session to go that way since it is indifferent to them anyway and we are asked to be willing to give up our liberty for the other.

Another Hmmm... wonder why the church does not do that? Why they insist on exercising their liberty of indifference instead of yielding to the brother of conviction even though that is what scripture teaches?? :gpl:

How loving and selfless are we really? How much suffering will it really cause a woman to cover her hair for an hour or two?

Would love some feedback from some women on this
Well, one reason I could see against accommodating another brother's convictions as church policy or practice, would be that now the rest of the church will have its conscience bound to something they believe to really be a matter of liberty.
Like what Pastor Klein said:
However, a church cannot require it of you lest it become guilty of binding your conscience and changing your act of love into a stumblingblock.
So if my church were to tell all of the women to cover, though it does not believe it a matter of law but of liberty, then it has essentially put that yoke on its other members, who would then do it out of law and not in faith.
That was pretty jumbled up, but I hope my point is clear.

And for the example of the Psalms, sure, we should be singing Psalms in church (or hymns from Psalms) but to say that church-wide, we are no longer allowed to worship God with hymns that come from another portion of scripture, I think the church would be going against the conscience of many who believe that we are required to worship God with songs praising him for everything he has done.
 

a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
If a woman is convinced that Scripture requires a head covering then she is not at liberty to remove it. If a church is convinced that Scripture requires head coverings it is not at liberty to change that practice for the benefit of those who hold a differing opinion.
If I understand correctly you mean that those who are convicted on the matter should not change their positions, and the church its teachings, to accommodate those who are not?

Personally I don't believe that a church has *legitimate* Scriptural authority to require such a practice for membership in Christ's body. But setting that aside for the sake of the discussion: if most women in a church wear headcoverings, but one is not convicted of the biblical teaching and is not actually transgressing church authority either way, is it uncharitable not to wear one -- so as to make a handful of other women and visitors less uncomfortable? Basically who should a woman be more concerned about being charitable to in that situation -- the one or two people in the church who don't cover (as in the other scenario, it was one or two people who did); or all of the people who do? Are we supposed to, in the lack of our own convictions on an issue, seek to behave so as to always accommodate the minority, or the more convicted regardless of ratios (or any tendency to judge others by such convictions), or is there some other consideration that would be helpful in making that decision?

It seems one is always going to give offence somewhere -- you simply can't please everyone. How do you decide who to please?

-----Added 4/16/2009 at 02:43:09 EST-----

Well, one reason I could see against accommodating another brother's convictions as church policy or practice, would be that now the rest of the church will have its conscience bound to something they believe to really be a matter of liberty.
Like what Pastor Klein said:
However, a church cannot require it of you lest it become guilty of binding your conscience and changing your act of love into a stumblingblock.
So if my church were to tell all of the women to cover, though it does not believe it a matter of law but of liberty, then it has essentially put that yoke on its other members, who would then do it out of law and not in faith.
That was pretty jumbled up, but I hope my point is clear.
Exactly. The church is not faithful to the teaching of Paul if it drops liberty in order to legislate love. The liberty *is* to love; and the church is supposed to protect that, and to exhort both the strong and the weak, not to legislate either one's freedom over the other.
 

DonP

Puritan Board Junior
[
is there some other consideration that would be helpful in making that decision?

It seems one is always going to give offence somewhere -- you simply can't please everyone. How do you decide who to please?
As was quoted previously the scripture tells us how.

To clarify my last post, I did not mean the church would require the members to cover, for yes that would be binding them.

The point was, if we all loved each other foremost, then we would naturally follow the scripture, and would voluntarily cover for the sake of the one's conscience.
No requirement would be necessary.
For one to choose to give up their liberty, is not to be bound.
So there is no legislating going on except to point out the scripture below that we are to obey.

1 Cor 8:8 But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse.
9 But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak NKJV

1 Cor 8:13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.
9:1 Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? NKJV

1 Cor 10: 28 But if anyone says to you, "This was offered to idols," do not eat it for the sake of the one who told you, and for conscience' sake; for "the earth is the LORD's, and all its fullness." 29 "Conscience," I say, not your own, but that of the other. NKJV
 

a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
Don, I think this is probably a separate discussion if it is to carry on -- but briefly Paul is just as concerned to make sure the weak do not rule the consciences of the strong as vice versa. The view you advocate does not balance both halves of Paul's exhortations.

I hope I was not too confused in the question for Rev. Klein -- does one seek to act charitably, in the absence of one's own convictions on a matter, to minorities, to the more convicted, etc?
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
If a woman is convinced that Scripture requires a head covering then she is not at liberty to remove it. If a church is convinced that Scripture requires head coverings it is not at liberty to change that practice for the benefit of those who hold a differing opinion.
If I understand correctly you mean that those who are convicted on the matter should not change their positions, and the church its teachings, to accommodate those who are not?

Personally I don't believe that a church has *legitimate* Scriptural authority to require such a practice for membership in Christ's body. But setting that aside for the sake of the discussion: if most women in a church wear headcoverings, but one is not convicted of the biblical teaching and is not actually transgressing church authority either way, is it uncharitable not to wear one -- so as to make a handful of other women and visitors less uncomfortable? Basically who should a woman be more concerned about being charitable to in that situation -- the one or two people in the church who don't cover (as in the other scenario, it was one or two people who did); or all of the people who do? Are we supposed to, in the lack of our own convictions on an issue, seek to behave so as to always accommodate the minority, or the more convicted regardless of ratios (or any tendency to judge others by such convictions), or is there some other consideration that would be helpful in making that decision?

It seems one is always going to give offence somewhere -- you simply can't please everyone. How do you decide who to please?

-----Added 4/16/2009 at 02:43:09 EST-----

Well, one reason I could see against accommodating another brother's convictions as church policy or practice, would be that now the rest of the church will have its conscience bound to something they believe to really be a matter of liberty.
Like what Pastor Klein said:
However, a church cannot require it of you lest it become guilty of binding your conscience and changing your act of love into a stumblingblock.
So if my church were to tell all of the women to cover, though it does not believe it a matter of law but of liberty, then it has essentially put that yoke on its other members, who would then do it out of law and not in faith.
That was pretty jumbled up, but I hope my point is clear.
Exactly. The church is not faithful to the teaching of Paul if it drops liberty in order to legislate love. The liberty *is* to love; and the church is supposed to protect that, and to exhort both the strong and the weak, not to legislate either one's freedom over the other.
I love that phrase you used, 'legislate love'. And that is the heart of the matter isn't it? Charity cannot be legislated or it ceases to be charity at all.

In your example, it would depend upon whether the 'most' who do cover do so out of precept or propriety or some other reason. (Maybe its cold) I am not advocating for people to go against their conscience, but laying aside their liberty. If the majority cover but the church does not have a confessional stance on the issue, then it might be best to go to the elders and explain your concern about the consciences of the visitors. If it is the official confession that women should cover that is a different issue.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
Don, I think this is probably a separate discussion if it is to carry on -- but briefly Paul is just as concerned to make sure the weak do not rule the consciences of the strong as vice versa. The view you advocate does not balance both halves of Paul's exhortations.

I hope I was not too confused in the question for Rev. Klein -- does one seek to act charitably, in the absence of one's own convictions on a matter, to minorities, to the more convicted, etc?
Perhaps the guiding principle in the decision should be that the strong are to receive the weak but not to doubtful disputations. Who are the strong and who are the weak in your scenario? That would be the question to answer.
 

a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
Thanks Rev. Klein.

In my experience, those with stronger convictions do not often consider themselves 'weaker' brethren (very few of us do!); so it becomes difficult to determine. In some cases of course it becomes much more clear -- if a person has a history as an alcoholic, you don't flaunt any liberty to drink around them. But what about a person whose 'weakness' is a tendency to be uncharitable in the way they judge others? That is a much subtler weakness -- not so straightforward (in that they aren't being tempted to sin against their conscience by doing something they believe to be wrong -- the temptation is not to remove the headcovering but to judge the woman without it as if she were rebellious etc) and has to be combatted in a subtler way. One wants both not to tempt them to uncharity, but also to help them to stop judging others so uncharitably.

I will think more about this. My own church is wonderfully charitable despite requiring some things I might personally disagree with (we have a very charitable pastor and I think that sets the tone). But I have been in situations where it was not the case and one wondered what charity, giving up one's own preferences, really looked like, and how much one's own 'subtler' forms of weakness were creeping in, trying to determine how to behave.
 
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