“Over the years I have learned that what is important in a dress is the woman who’s wearing it.” —Yves Saint Laurent
Frankly, I can’t remember all of what I’ve written in the past 12 years, I do find it nice, however, to luck upon an old post and think “Yep. got that one right.* Recently, that applied to Ravi Zacharias whom I claimed had faked his bio way back in 2015. Anyone who fakes a bio is most likely lying about other things. Good night! Was that ever an understatement. In this post you will see an old post I did on the topic of leggings!
TGC loves anything and anyone that is current and the proper type of Reformed, even if the people they feature are creepy. They were huge supporters of Mark Driscoll and CJ Mahaney until it was too gosh darn embarrassing. Let this post be a warning to all of you who think they carefully vet people and would never post anything by questionable people. They have done so in the past, they did so again today and will continue to do so in the future.
Today, TGC posted Going on a Bear Hunt: Head Coverings, Custom, and Proper Decorum: Revisiting 1 Corinthians 11:2–16 by Steven Wedgeworth
As any English teacher worth their salt will tell you, look at the author so you will have an idea what they might be driving at. So who is the author.
Who is Steven Wedgeworth?
Here is what is posted at TGC.
Sounds quite intellectual, doesn’t it? I wanted to understand him better and looked into the Davenant Trust. I’m so glad that I did. According to the website, this organization is named after:
an irenic English Reformed scholar and Bishop of Salisbury John Davenant (1572-1641
he modeled a theology that was forthrightly Reformed in the essentials and encouraged charity, diversity, and vigorous discussion in non-essentials
Ah, the word irenic gets thrown around by the boys quite a bit. It means:
favoring, conducive to, or operating toward peace, moderation, or conciliation
It can also mean
a part of Christian theology concerned with reconciling different denominations and sects.(from Oxford Languages)
So Steve sounds like a thoroughly jovial man with which to share a brew and discuss one’s differences “peacefully.” Except he doesn’t do that in real life, especially when he appears to be threatened by a woman. In this instance, the women are Aimee Byrd and Rachel Green Miller. He failed to mention his ties with the discredited geneva Commons. I wrote the following post: (Updated)Aimee Byrd and Rachel Miller Attacked by Real Life Calvinistas: Genevan Commons Current Members…Be Ashamed.
Steve and TGC’s (by default) views on head coverings
What a guy! Given his view and treatment of women, as a member of Geneva Commons, it is a surprise that The Gospel Coalition featured him. Or, perhaps it isn’t. This group adored Mark Driscoll and we well remember his creepy views on women! Who could forget his depiction of Queen Esther as a slut?
Steve *the irenic’s* views of women and head coverings should now be suspect before reading this article. The same goes for any post on women on TGC. We should assume that he will attempt to put women in a subordinate position, given his treatment of women like Aimee and Rachel.
The following are just a view of my observations. However, the TWW community is quite sharp and I bet you will come up with much more that I missed.
Once again, here is a link to Going on a Bear Hunt: Head Coverings, Custom, and Proper Decorum: 1 Corinthians 11:2–16. Before we being, here is the NIV version of 1 Corinthians 11:2-16.
I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the traditions just as I passed them on to you. 3 But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man,[a] and the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. 5 But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is the same as having her head shaved. 6 For if a woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off; but if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should cover her head.
7 A man ought not to cover his head,[b] since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. 8 For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; 9 neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. 10 It is for this reason that a woman ought to have authority over her own[c] head, because of the angels. 11 Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. 12 For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.
13 Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered?14 Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, 15 but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering. 16 If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice—nor do the churches of God.
Steve claims that Paul discusses this issue because of the need for social order in the church.
I warned you.
The circumstances of prayer and prophecy raise the underlying issue of the relationship between men and women in public assemblies, particularly the worship service. Paul isn’t giving an arbitrary dress code, but is commenting on the implications of public presentation of social order.
He says that Paul allowed women to pray and prophesy in the church. However, In order to do so properly, the head needed to be covered. In my trips to Israel and Greece with the Christian Medical Dental Associations, I learned of other cultural reasons for this which are not mentioned by Wedgeworth but I’ll come back to that shortly.
He claims that are controlling categories that inform Paul’s reasoning.
- Paul values tradition (1 Cor. 11:2)
- and custom (1 Cor. 11:16).
- He sees a certain hierarchical arrangement involved in social ordering (1 Cor. 11:3)
- related to the creation account (1 Cor. 11:8–12).
- outward decoration can and should provide glory and honor (1 Cor. 11:4–6, 15)
- and should do so in a manner consistent with biblical protology (1 Cor. 11:7–11) and the natural law (1 Cor. 11:14–15) (protology is the doctrine of first things, just as eschatology is the doctrine of last things).
Tradition, custom, and glory to God
It is interesting to me that Steve overlooks tradition in this instance. I learned the following from the historians who traveled with us. Women who had their heads shaved were often temple prostitutes. Women who cut their hair were often emancipated women who were not following the faith and often involved in some unsavory activities. Therefore, there was a reason that women in the church should endeavor not to be thought of, at first blush, as one of those women.
By keeping their head covered, due to this cultural norm of that day, they honored God.
Hierarchy in social ordering as well as in the Bible (protology)
This is where he goes off the reservation in my opinion. This passage does not discuss the creation account, hierarchy, or the word of the day, *protology.* I laughed when I saw that he used this word. People who subscribe to his way of thinking view it like this. Men were created first. Therefore, they are in charge of women because women were created second. There is a problem with this reasoning, When the Fall came, the relationship between man and woman became strained. In Genesis 3:16 NIV In other words, things got screwed up.
Your desire will be for your husband,and he will rule over you.”
But, then came the Cross and things changed but the Cross seems to be overlooked in Steve’s gender-biased world.
He claims Paul believes that clothing and hairstyles make deep statements about the structure of reality.
Notice the trajectory of his post. It seems like he might be saying that we need to be obedient in how we dress in order to identify with the *structure of reality* by which he means *look like a woman.* In fact, he says we shouldn’t be revolutionary or provocative in our fashion choices. I don’t understand why being provocative and revolutionary is ungodly. In the 1800s and early 1900s, women began to don swimsuits in order to go into the water as men did. It was revolutionary. It was also revolutionary when women began to wear pants. It allowed them more freedom as well as an ability to participate in certain work environments. One modern revolutionary move I personally endorse is the advent of leggings.
Five years ago I wrote Legalism and Leggings: A Neo-Calvinist Midrash. In this I said:
Legalistic rules often develop around the *it* subject which today is gender roles.
in the post, I noted that Owen Strachan was against leggings for women. He said this because leggings were traditionally worn by children so now women couldn’t wear them.
- Owen Strachan does not think adult women should wear leggings because only kids wear leggings.
- We’re in the age of the “Kidification” of America. We adults watch comic-book movies, wear the shorts and leggings that seven-year-olds have traditionally worn,
Much of what Steve says in this post seems to be about controlling the behavior of women.
the head covering was a custom with a particular purpose. It preserved proper order in public assemblies, even when a woman engaged in charismatic worship. With it, the woman could pray and prophesy without causing scandal. Without it, she couldn’t.
In the end, here are the things Steve says women must do in order to be obedient. (I’m not sure he means to him or to God.)
We must resist most fashion trends.
We should make sure our dress and behavior is consistent with what we believe about human sexuality, as well as modesty and respect for others. This means Christians need to learn to resist many fashions and trends
Dressing for comfort might offend our neighbor.
He obviously doesn’t live in my neighborhood.
We may sometimes wish to dress for comfort, but we must also always dress for the conscience of our neighbor.
Our fashion should demonstrate respect for authority.
So if I wear a skirt, the law enforcement officer will know I am respectful of his authority? Seriously?
Our public presentation should promote a respect for authority.
Our fashion should reflect our gender assignments.
Men are wearing earrings. Should I stop wearing them?
Our behavior ought to reflect who we are as God created us.
…actions that flow from our nature and that glorify our callings as male and female.
We need to respect the customs around us and never start a revolution
So, the Chinese women who had their feet bound should not have been encouraged to give up that custom? I think most of the women in Japan are really glad that custom has gone away.
Instead, we ought to respect the abiding customs in the place where we live, and we should reject revolutionary impulses, even if we believe them to be spiritually inspired.
He thinks we don’t have to go back to wearing head coverings in church.
Thank you, Steve.
I don’t believe that churches have to resurrect the custom of head coverings.
Fedoras are out!
On a side note, there has been much discussion on Twitter about the problems surrounding Doug Wilson. (Have you noticed my tweets now appearing on the home page?) I will be writing about this in the near future. One of the few amusing and weird things about Doug’s college is that the male students have taken to wearing fedoras. We now have a rule from irenic Steve. ROFL.
Wearing a fedora is a similar example. In earlier eras, it signified a certain ordinary politeness. Now, however, it carries a somewhat stipulated and even provocative public meaning.
News flash! Maybe fedoras are now in. Steve-what shall we do? From the Wall Street Journal: Discovering Hats, a New Generation Brims With Anxiety Over Etiquette: Old Rules Flummox Young Hipsters; ‘I’m Wearing an $80 Fedora!’
Steve ends on the note that we suspected he would when we investigated his background. Men are in charge. Period.
Intelligible customs that signify male headship or the glory of godly femininity should be respected and promoted.
Looks like Steve and TGC are in alignment.
What did you all see? What did I miss?