Should Women Wear Head Coverings In Church?

Last Sunday, Pastor Eric preached from a text that challenges even the best theologians. How are we to understand the Apostle Paul's writings regarding head coverings?

"But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven." (1 Corinthians 11:3-5 ESV)

Given our interest in the topic "Gender and Our Relationship with Others: Can you be anybody you want to be?", many interpretive insights into this passage were left on the cutting floor. A few things were very clear:

  1. The passage is ultimately about authority, not head coverings.
  2. Masculine authority is a reflection of both the Trinity and the created order.
  3. Men need women as much as women need men. The genders are mutually interdependent.
  4. A beautiful woman wears authority on her head (i.e. a covering) like a crown.

And the answer to the big question last Sunday "Can you be anybody you choose to be?" is no. God has already chosen your gender and your gender is part of your calling. You can't choose this part of you. God did and now (as he has made you) you are free to be you. So be a man. Be a woman. Be your gender and by being your gender tell the truth about the Son of God.

Should women wear head coverings in church?

"Should, could, and must" are three different questions and Pastor Eric answered only one of them. The "must" question. "Married women are not commanded to wear a head covering during public worship."

The question of head coverings is an issue of application. How does the universal principle of masculine authority works itself out in the church? Then and now? Our top recommendation for further studies on this issue is an article by Tom Schreiner.

Head Coverings, Prophecies, and The Trinity