Bill Cavender's"The Woman And Her Covering"
(Editor's Note: The page numbers that brother Wiser references in this booklet may or may not match the printed "version" of brother Cavender's tract you possess as there has been more than one printing. You should be able to find the quote referenced within one page of the notation. Any changes from the printed version of brother Wiser's tract are in blue and are minor typo corrections. I strongly encourage folks to read and study brother Cavendar's material alongside this material with open minds and Bibles. mjw)
REASON FOR TRACT
This tract is a reply to a tract written by Bro. Bill Cavender entitled, "The Woman and Her Covering". I suggest that you purchase the tract that you may be able to study this question knowing exactly what he said, as I will not be able to quote everything he said. 1 want to be as fair as I possibly can in the examination of this tract.
I assure you that I have nothing personally against Bro. Cavender. He and I have been friends since our school days. In fact, he taught me what I now believe on the covering when we were in school together. He has since then changed his position on this question, but I am unwilling to change my position until he can do a better job than he has thus far in his bulletin and in his tract. I am not willing to dismiss a passage of scripture on the basis of perversions and misrepresentations, as characterize Bro. Cavender's tract, as we will notice in this tract.
From September 7, 1969 through Nov. 23, 1969 there appeared nine articles in Bro. Cavender's bulletin on this question. The articles are found in Vol. 5, Numbers 18-26. His tract consists mainly of those articles. When Bro. Cavender began this series of articles he received a number of letters from gospel preachers who disagreed with him. In answer to these letters he said, "Brethren, I don't have the time or the money for postage to carry on a lot of private, written debates simultaneously with a number of you. Wait until the articles are written and finished and if you want to answer them, you can have at it. And if you want to publicly debate the matter, put your name on the dotted line and we'll work it out." (Messenger Of Truth Vol. 5 No.19). I don't know how many gospel preachers reviewed his articles or offered to debate with him. I know that I offered to write an answer to his articles if he would print the answer in his bulletin. He refused to allow me this opportunity. I also sent him signed propositions for a debate. Half of this was to be conducted in Port Arthur, Texas and the other half in Franklin, Ohio. He refused to debate in Port Arthur, Texas and also refused to affirm anything on the subject. He wanted to come to Franklin, Ohio for four nights in which I would affirm what he says I believe, not what I actually believe, with him denying. I now quote from his letter to me dated May 8, 1970, in which he said, "We care absolutely nothing about a debate on the hat question here. That subject was washed out, rinsed out and dried out in Texas years ago. There is not a church in Texas that believes that false doctrine, and only two preachers I know of who believe it and they keep their mouths shut. This subject was debated on over the years here in this area. The last one, between Wilson Coon and Bill Bass, was the last one we ever hoped to have here. After that debate, we don't have a woman in this area who believes she has to put a hat on her head to worship God or to show her subjection to men." Bro. Cavender says he knew of only two preachers in Texas that believed in the covering in 1970. Also he said we don't have a woman in this area who believes she has to put a hat on her head to worship God. I wonder if he would say there is not a woman in that area who believes she should "wear a covering" when she worships? The truth of the matter is there were more than two gospel preachers in Texas who believed in the covering and there were also women who believed in it in 1970 and still do. In his letter to me dated June 3, 1970 Bro. Cavender said, "People in this area got sick of Alabama preachers who bound that idea, and when Wilson Coon exposed Bill Bass and Bass admitted a
woman may as well be a harlot as not to wear her hat to worship, that cooked everybody good. Folks here care nothing for that hobby, and we care nothing for a debate on it." It might be well to point out here that Wilson Coon and Bill Cavender did not hold the same position when Bro. Coon met Bro. Bass in debate. The only thing they had in common, at that time, was they were both against the covering being binding today. Bro. Coon took. the "custom position" when he met Bro. Bass. Bro. Cavender does not and never has taken the "custom position". Now I wonder who the "we" are, in his letter of May 8, 1970. Does he mean "we" in the sense of all in the church, or does he mean "we" in the sense of himself and two or three more brethren? If he means "we" in the sense of all the church, I wonder: Is he saying that Sister Bass ceased to believe in the covering after her husband met Wilson Coon? Now what about the statement he made that Bro. Bass admitted a woman may as well be a harlot as not to wear her hat to worship? I asked Bro. Bass about this and he denies that he admitted any such thing. Bro. Bass sent me a tape of the discussion and I did not hear him admit any such. Bro. Coon tried to get him to admit it, but I did not understand him to admit it.
In part of our correspondence I sent some copies of my letters also to the elders by registered mail. Not one time did any of the elders sign for their mail. I believe the custodian signed one time and Bro. Cavender the other time. Bro. Cavender told me that the elders received a copy of those letters. I am encouraging the brethren at Sunny Hill, where I am presently preaching and who are paying for the printing and distribution of this tract (the original printing), to purchase a copy of Bro. Cavender's tract or at least read the articles in his bulletin, which I have. I am asking him to do the same for me. He does not have to ask the members where he preaches to purchase this tract. All he has to do is make their names and addresses available to us and they will receive a copy free of charge. Will he be fair in this matter? It remains to be seen. He would not be fair in regard to the debate. I asked him to provide a place anywhere and I would provide a place. This he refused to do. I offered to debate without propositions, and this he refused to do. He said he was going to write a tract and I promised him that if he did I would answer it and do my best to see that everyone received a copy of my tract who received a copy of his. This is the reason for this tract. I pray that everyone will read it with an open mind and help me to distribute it to all.
SOME MISCELLANEOUS THINGS
On page 36 of his tract Bro. Cavender says, "I urge all preachers, elders and brethren who do not believe this error to get your head out of the sand and begin to instruct Christians regarding it. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure; eternal vigilance is the price of freedom; and to be forewarned is to be forearmed. If you don't have trouble over it yet, chances are you will sometime. Make no mistake about it -- this error is being pushed. You should oppose it." On Page 35 he said, "Make no mistake about it, these brethren bind this as a matter of faith. It is law and gospel to them. They teach it, debate it, and bind it. If they go to a place where sisters do not wear hats, pretty soon they'll be asked why their wives or daughters wear a hat, and these preachers will have to explain and teach their ideas. Then some in the church will invariably take up with the idea. I have received letters from people in various parts of the country, telling me of the strife and division, the turmoil and feelings, being caused by the 'hat-question.' If those who don't believe in
hat-wearing write or preach on the question, the advocates feel duty bound to reply. They get hot and upset immediately when their favorite subject is challenged. Debates have been conducted both orally, and in writing. In my travels in meetings, the past several years I have noticed the agitation of this teaching in various places." I believe it is obvious from the above quotations that Bro. Cavender is ready to rid himself and the church of all who still believe in the covering. He calls upon elders and preachers to get their heads out of the sand. What he means is do everything you can to stop us. He is ready to make it a test of fellowship. May I say if everyone listens to him we are headed for another division in the church. Dear Brother, is that what you want? Bro. Cavender leaves the impression that those of us who teach the covering are church splitters and trouble makers. He says this is our favorite subject, that we are agitators and trouble makers. Brethren, it depends on who has the truth as TO WHO IS RESPONSIBLE for division, wherever and whenever it comes. Those who introduced missionary societies and mechanical music in worship called those who opposed it trouble makers and causers of division. Later those who have introduced benevolent societies and involved the church in social activities say we caused the division. Now Bro. Cavender says those of us who still believe the covering will have caused the division. If Bro. Cavender has the truth on this subject, then wherever I teach to the contrary and division results, then I cause division. On the other hand, if I have the truth and Bro. Cavender is in error, which I sincerely believe he is, then wherever he opposes what I preach and division comes he is the cause of said division. There is no need for me to accuse him of causing division and do everything I can to get brethren to draw the line and disfellowship those who disagree with them on this question.
On page 3, of his tract, Bro. Cavender said, "This issue died down among us during the forties and fifties when the more immediate problems of institutionalism, centralized church cooperation, the social gospel, liberalism and modernism were so generally and thoroughly discussed. With division having occurred over these matters and the discussions having waned, brethren who believe the 'covering' theory have again begun to be busy in their teaching of their theory." It was during the forties that Bro. Cavender taught me what I now believe on the covering. Bro. Cavender taught the covering during the fifties. Some women, in Tennessee, will remember that he did and some began to wear a covering as a result of his teaching. I don't think he was a trouble maker, but he believed and practiced exactly what I believe and practice now. If there was any dying down it must have been his dying down as he changed his position sometime after the fifties. If there was any dying down it must have been a dying down of those who opposed the covering. The only change I have seen is in those who oppose it and it looks like they intend to oppose it until the lines of fellowship are drawn. He calls what I teach a theory. Well, all honest people can see, by the time they finish this tract, who is agitating and causing division and trouble. I only ask you to honestly consider what I have to say, in the light of the word of God.
On page 4 Bro. Cavender says, "Sometimes these brethren will not tell elders and churches of their beliefs about 'the covering' before moving to work with a church. They teach their theory and trouble is caused. Their wives and daughters appear at services with some type of headdress, other ladies ask why, and the advocates feel duty-bound to 'privately' teach the inquirer about it. Then when enough 'private' teaching has been done, the preacher will then teach it publicly. He says he is bound to 'preach the whole counsel of God." ' He will try to arrange and have for meetings
those preachers who hold these same convictions, often with the elders and brethren being unaware of this. " About the above accusations, I cannot speak for all gospel preachers, I can only speak for myself I never did move to work with any congregation that did not know of my position on the covering before I moved. However, they did not know what I believed on every question that could arise. I don't know how a preacher could tell people what he believes on every question before he moves. I wonder if Bro. Cavender always tells the elders what he believes on every question before he moves or preaches for them? Of course gospel preachers are duty bound to preach on every Bible subject, and naturally they are to preach what they believe to be the truth even on the covering question. If division comes then those who oppose truth cause division. Bro. Cavender accuses us of trying to arrange for brethren to hold meetings who preach as we do on this question. I wonder what Bro. Cavender does? Is he judging us by himself? What would he say if the elders, where he preaches, talked about contacting me for a gospel meeting? Would he be willing for me to come? Bro. Cavender came to Big Stone Gap, Va. while I preached there and conducted gospel meetings. He and I discussed the covering while he was there. He knows he came for these meetings with my approval. He did not see fit to preach publicly on the covering while he was there. Other preachers held meetings at Big Stone Gap, Va., while I was there, that do not believe the covering. I preached over two years in Franklin, Ohio. While I was there Bro. Charlie Graham preached a number of times. He did so with my approval. He does not agree with me on the covering. He and I are good friends. As far as I am concerned he can preach anywhere I do any time. Also Bro. Jim Cooper preached at Franklin and I worked with him while I was in that area. I also worked with other brethren and preached for them. Bro. Jim Cooper is my friend and as far as I am concerned he can preach where I preach anytime. The thing that saddens me is that Bro. Cavender is calling upon preachers and elders to draw the line on us. I have been at Sunny Hill since a year ago last September. Since being here Bro. George Williams preached for us and he does not agree with my position on the covering. I also held a gospel meeting where be preaches. I wonder how many preachers, who believe the covering, preach where Bro. Cavender preaches!
WHAT BRO. CAVENDER CALLS "BASIC ERRORS"
Bro. Cavender really sums up everything under what he calls "Basic Errors Of This Position". According to him the first basic error is we do not understand the subjects. He says, "The truth is that certain men and certain women in the early churches were 'praying or prophesying', and the instructions pertained to them. The instructions did not apply to all men and women in the churches then, and apply to none now, for we have no such men or women in the churches."(P. 4). Then on page 5 he says, "The subjects doing the 'praying or prophesying' were inspired people." On page 11 he says, "These emphasized phrases limit Paul's instructions to certain men and certain women in the church. All men and women are not included!" Again on page 11 he says, "Where is the church NOW that has a 'praying or prophesying' man or woman in its membership? Yet every advocate of 'covering-wearing' now will twist this sentence structure to try to make it apply to all men and all women in the churches now." Now let's notice what he says in the above quotations. The truth is that Bro. Cavender misunderstands the subjects. He thinks the prayers were all inspired prayers. The truth of the matter is Bro. Cavender did not prove any of the prayers were given directly by God. He did not prove they were and he cannot prove they were. We will notice this more in
detail later in our tract. Prayer here, as is always the case, is no more inspired than your prayers and mine. These instructions in I Cor. 11:4, 5 are thus given to every women who prays OR prophesies; and to every man who prays OR prophesies. They are not given to every man and every woman in the world. They are, however, given to every man and every woman who prays OR prophesies. Bro. Cavender would have it read "every woman who prays AND prophesies". In fact, on page 4 he expresses it "Prays and/or prophesies". Also on page 11 he says, "Praying AND prophesying" a number of times. But no matter how much he wants it to read "pray AND prophesy", it will continue to read "pray OR prophesy". Therefore, it is possible for a woman or man to pray without prophesying and possible to prophesy without praying. But in either case, a woman is to be covered when she does either and a man is to be uncovered when he does either. Regardless of what "prophesy" means, both men and women still pray. Men ought not to cover their head when they pray and women should cover their head when they pray.
CAVENDER'S ARGUMENT ON PARTICIPLES
Bro. Cavender made quite an argument on what he called the "praying or prophesying" woman. He says not "all" women are under consideration, but only the "praying or prophesying" women. Sometimes he would use the expression "praying and prophesying women". Now let us consider these participles. The words "praying" and "prophesying" are participles. Participles are verbal adjectives and as such partake both of the nature of a verb and an adjective and may stand in two positions. It can be found in what is called the attributive position, or it can be found in what is called the predicate position. This may be illustrated in the following manner:
In the expression -ho agathos logos- (the good word) you have the adjective "good" or "agathos" in the attributive position. Another way of saying the same thing would be: ho logos ho agathos-the word, namely the good one. You will notice in both of these cases, the article (ho) immediately precedes the adjective, and this is the way that you know for sure that it is in the attributive position, that is, the article immediately precedes the adjective. If the article does not immediately precede the adjective, then the adjective stands in what is called the predicate position. Now since participles are adjectives the same set of rules will apply. Notice the following illustrations:
ho apostolos legon tauta blepel ton kurion. "The apostle" saying these things sees the Lord. (Note that there is no article immediately preceding the participle "legon"). Or for a second example: ho apostolos ho legon tauta blepei ton kurion. The apostle, the one saying these things, sees the Lord. (Note the article "ho" immediately precedes the participle (legon). In the first sentence you have the participle in the predicate position, because the article "ho" (does not immediately precede the participle "legon"). In the second sentence you have the participle in the attributive position because the article "ho" does immediately precede the participle "legon". In commenting on this kind of construction Machen says, "the participle, being in the predicate, not in the attributive position, goes only somewhat loosely with ho apostolos (though it agrees with it), and really modifies also the verb blepei-that is, it tells when the action denoted by blepei takes place." He goes on to point out that when the participle is in the attributive position it tells what apostle is
being spoken of (page 107).
In the text of I Cor. 11:4-5 the participles are not in the attributive position, but in the predicate position. Now observe as we quote the greek text: "pas aner proseuchomenos e propheteuon kata kephales echon kataischunai ten kephalen auto. pasa de gune proseuchomene e propheteuousa akatakalupto te kephale kataisehune ten kephalen autos;...." You will notice that there is NO article "ho" before the participles for "praying" or "prophesying". This means that the participles are not in the attributive position but they are in the predicate position. In this case, it is not telling what man shames his head, but it is telling when the man shames his head. This is what is sometimes described a "circumstantial participle" because it describes the circumstances under which the action described by the participle takes place. In 1 Cor. 11:4-5 the "circumstances" under which "shame" takes place is "when praying or prophesying". No doubt that is why some translations say: "Every man while praying or prophesying" or "every man if he prays" etc. The word "while" is used as Machen says to "tell when the action denoted by the verb takes place".
Therefore, it is not telling what kind of woman, or what class of woman, but it is telling when the man and when the woman shames the head, and Machen says, it goes more with the verb than it does with the noun.
Furthermore, in Winer's Grammar (Winer-Moulton, page 138) he says, "Pas with the participle-which is not in itself equivalent-deserves special notice. Pas orgidzomenos means every one being angry (if, or when he is angry), comp. l c xi. 4; but pas ho orgidzom., Mt. 5:22, is every angry man, =pas hostis orgidzetai." Bro. Cavender kept saying "every praying or prophesying man.." But Winer says that is not so. Before it would be "every praying or prophesying man", you would need the article "ho" before the participle. This you do not have.
Also some commentators, for example, Robertson and Plummer in the ICC series refer, to the participial use in 1 Cor. 11:4-5 as "temporal" ppl. that is again a "circumstantial" participle telling the time when the "shame" takes place. Bro. Cavender is wrong when he applies this passage only to a certain group of women whom, he says did both the praying and prophesying, and that a woman could not do one without the other.
THE SAME PRINCIPLE
Now suppose that Bro. Cavender could prove this prayer was inspired, which he cannot do, and that these instructions were addressed to prophets and prophetesses whose prayers and messages were inspired, what would that mean? Paul did not tell women to cover their head and men to be uncovered because they pray or prophesy, as Bro. Cavender argues; but when they pray OR prophesy, because man is the head of woman and etc. According to Bro. Cavender's logic we cannot plead for a decent and orderly service. Not only does he say I Cor. 11 is addressed to prophets and prophetesses, but the same is true of 1 Cor. 14. Paul was addressing prophets when he said, "Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. For ye may all prophesy one bv one, that all may learn, and all may
be comforted. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints." (I Cor. 14:29-33). Now, it is very clear that Paul is talking to prophets and describing things that are associated with their spiritual gift. Am I to reason like Bro. Cavender and say the instruction to speak one at a time is no longer binding? I use this passage to teach we ought to have an orderly service today, that only one brother should speak at a time, in the assembly, that we might have an orderly service; because God is not the author of confusion. I also teach that women ought to cover their heads when they pray, because man is the head of woman, and men ought not to cover their heads, when they pray, because Christ is the head of man. Bro. Cavender cannot prove that "pray", in 1 Cor. 11:4, 5, was only the prayers of prophetesses, and prophets. He can prove, however, that prophets are the only ones addressed In 1 Cor. 14:29-33. How far would I get with you if I advocated two preachers occupying the pulpit and preaching at the same time by pointing out that I Cor. 14:29-33 was clearly directions for prophets and prophets only? There is no logic behind the reasoning of Bro. Cavender. His purpose is to get rid of the covering and those who teach it. He would thus get rid of most of the New Testament, because it was addressed to inspired people. The right use of the Scriptures would be to teach that there were inspired people in the early church, but the SAME PRINCIPLES will apply whether people are inspired or not. It is no more important for inspired people to have a decent and orderly service than it is for uninspired people. Paul was talking to prophets, in 1 Cor. 14:29-33, when he said "prophesy one by one". It is just as important that preachers preach one by one. A decent and orderly service was the purpose for telling prophets to "prophesy one by one". Therefore, what difference does it make whether they are prophets or preachers? Should they not all speak one by one in order that we have a decent and orderly service? The same principle will hold true in I Cor. 11. If brother Cavender could prove that the only individuals addressed were prophets and prophetesses, which he can't, the instructions would still be binding. Paul did not say every prophet and prophetess praying or prophesying. He said "every man praying OR prophesying", and "every woman praying OR prophesying". But suppose Paul had said every prophet and prophetess praying or prophesying? Could it be any more important for inspired women to show subjection to men than it is for uninspired women? Is it any more important for inspired men not to dishonor Christ than it is for uninspired men not to dishonor Christ? Why would an inspired man dishonor Christ by covering his head and an uninspired man not dishonor Christ even though he prays with his head covered? Is Brother Cavender saying that uninspired men, at Corinth, could cover their head when they prayed or taught; without dishonoring Christ? Is he saying that only prophets dishonored Christ by covering their heads? Yes, this is what he is saying. Also, in addition to this, he is saying that prophets would not have to be covered unless they both prayed and prophesied. According to him they would not be required to go bareheaded if they prayed OR prophesied, but only when they did both.
Bro. Cavender does not see that though "prophecy" fed the church with "edification, and exhortation, and comfort" and we do the same with "preaching" that the principle of "subjection" is the same now as then. However, he can see the principle of both "prophets" and "preachers" speaking "one at a time." Also he can see the principle in Mt. 5:23,24. "Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy
gift." When Jesus gave these instructions the Jews offered gifts upon altars. We do not offer gifts upon literal altars today. However, the same principle will apply. Before a Christian comes to worship God he is to be reconciled to his brother and then come to worship. Would it be right for me to argue that since altars, as they used them, no longer exist that Jesus' instructions no longer apply? It would be, if it is right to teach that since prophets, as they one time existed, no longer exist; we are no longer bound to abide by the instructions of I Cor. 11:2-16.
IS OURS A "FALSE DEFINITION?"
According to Bro. Cavender, the second basic error is a false definition given the words "praying or prophesying". P.5. First of all I want to consider the various scholars he introduced, with reference to a prophet and prophesying. Under "Definitions of The Words", on Page II, he quotes a part of what Adam Clarke says in his commentary on Gen. 20:7. Of course, no one expects Bro. Cavender to quote everything any authority says on a subject, but isn't it strange that he conveniently overlooks those portions that do not agree with his position? The thing I am objecting to is Bro. Cavender quotes these authorities and implies that they agree with him. I will also be quoting from the same authorities. I will not quote everything they say. The only thing I want to do is show that these authorities do not agree with Bro. Cavender and he did wrong to quote from them as though they did. Bro. Cavender thinks "prophet" always means one who speaks by divine inspiration and prays by divine inspiration. His authorities do not agree with him, as we shall observe when we quote some things Bill conveniently overlooked. First of all let's observe a quotation from his tract. He said, " 'Prophesying' was ALWAYS a spiritual gift, done by inspired people, either men or women. Inspired prayers accompanied the prophesying, and many prophecies were in prayer and hymn form. NEVER in the Bible is 'prophesying' ordinary, common teaching. " (P.5). Adam Clarke did not agree with him. No one can read Clarke's comments and honestly get the idea that Abraham's prayers were given to him directly from God by the Holy Spirit. Clarke says, "Abraham certainly was not a prophet in the present general acceptation of the term, and for the Hebrew "nabi", we must seek some other meaning." Adam Clarke's Commentary on Gen. P.130. Bill, like most false teachers, starts quoting too late. Clarke says, "Abraham certainly was not a prophet in the present general acceptation of the term". Bill, why did you quote Clarke to imply he agreed with you? Clarke did not say Abraham was a prophet, in the present general acceptation of the term. Neither did Clarke say Abraham's prayers were inspired. Now let's observe some more quotations from Adam Clarke. "The title was also given to men eminent for eloquence and for literary abilities; hence Aaron, because he was the spokesman of Moses to the Egyptian king, was termed nabi, prophet; Exod. 4:16; 7:1. And Epimenides, a heathen poet, is expressly styled prophatas a prophet, by St. Paul, Tit. 1:12, just as poets in general were termed vates among the Romans, which properly signifies the persons who professed to interpret the will of the gods to their votaries, after prayers and sacrifices duly performed. " (Clarke, Op. cit., Pg. 130). 1 wonder if Bro. Cavender believes the heathen poet, Epimenides, was inspired in his prayers and teaching? Notice the following quotation from Adam Clarke. "In Arabic the word naba has nearly the same meaning as in Hebrew, but in the first conjugation it has a meaning which may cast light upon the subject in general. It signifies to itinerant, move from one place or country to another, compelled thereto either by persecution or the command of God". (Clarke, Op. cit., pg. 130). Hence, according to Clarke, Mohammed was called
a nabi because of his sudden removal from Mecca to Medina. I wonder if Bro. Cavender believes Mohammed was inspired? Notice Clarke again. "If this meaning belonged originally to the Hebrew word, it will apply with great force to the case of Abraham whose migratory, itinerant kind of life, generally under the immediate direction of God, might have given him the title nabi. However this may be, the term was a title of the highest respectability and honour, both among the Hebrews and Arabs, and continues so to this day. And from the Hebrews the word, in all the importance and dignity of its meaning, was introduced among the heathens in the prophatas and vates of the Greeks and Romans. See on the word "seer", Gen. 15: 1".(Clarke, Op. cit. Pgs. 130, 131). The above quotations from Adam Clarke will be sufficient for the present. However, before this tract is complete we will refer to him again. You will see that Clarke does not agree with Bro. Cavender on these issues.
EDERSHEIM AND GEIKIE ON PROPHETS
Now, I want us to observe some quotations from Alfred Edersheim and Cunningham Geikie concerning prophets. I would suggest that you consult Bill's tract and see the difference between his quotations and mine. When Bill quotes Alfred Edersheim he conveniently leaves out some very important statements. I believe when we observe those statements we will understand why he skipped them. He does the same thing in quoting Cunningham Geikie, on Page 13, of his tract. In both cases he omits what Edersheim and Geikie have to say about the "sons of the prophets". Observe the following statement taken from Prophecy and History by Alfred Edersheim P.121 - 123). "Thus viewed, the prophet is the medium of supposed or real Divine communication--from whatever Deity it be--and the 'weller-forth' is also 'the spokesman.' It is in this sense that, when Moses was sent to bear the Divine communication to Pharaoh, Aaron was promised to him as his Nabhi--his weller-forth, spokesman, or medium of communication. This may also help us to understand the meaning of an institution and of a designation in the Old Testament which is of the deepest interest: that of 'schools of the prophets' and 'the sons of the prophets.' I would suggest that 'the sons of the prophets' STOOD RELATED TO THE PROPHETS as the PROPHETS THEMSELVES TO THE DIVINE. They were the MEDIUM OF PROPHETIC COMMUNICATION, as the prophets were the MEDIUM OF DIVINE COMMUNICATION. And the analogy holds true in EVERY PARTICULAR. As the prophet MUST ABSOLUTELY SURMIT himself to God, and be always ready to act only as the medium of Divine communication, SO MUST the 'son of the prophet' be ready to carry out the behests of the prophet and be the medium of his communication, whether by word or deed. As a prophet might be divinely employed temporarily, occasionally, or permanently, so the sons of the prophets by the prophets. God might in a moment raise up and qualify suitable men to be His prophets or means of communication, since only inspiration was required for this. But the prophets could not exercise such influence in regard to their 'sons'. Accordingly, special institutions, 'the schools of the prophets,' were required for their training and preparation. Besides this primary object, these establishments would serve important spiritual and religious purposes in the land, alike as regarded their testimony to Prophetism, their cultivation of the Divine, their moral discipline, readiness of absolute God-consecration and implicit submission to Him, and general religious influence on the people. But the analogy between prophets and sons of the prophets went even farther than we have indicated. For the moral qualifications for
the two offices, however fundamentally differing, were in one respect the same. For both offices the one condition needful was absolute obedience; that is, viewed subjectively, passiveness; viewed objectively, faithfulness. Alike the prophet and the son of the prophet must, in the discharge of his commission, have absolutely no will or mind of his own, that so he may be faithful to Him Whose medium of communication he is." It is very obvious from reading the above quotation that, according to Edersheim, the sons of the prophets were not inspired. This is the reason for the schools of the prophets. They, like Aaron, sustained the same relationship to the prophets that the prophets did to God. The prophet spoke what God revealed and the son of the prophet spoke what the prophet revealed. Cunningham Geikie said: "As Wycliffe and Wesley promoted their great movements in England by the appointment of a body of evangelists who should spread through the country the doctrines taught by their masters, Samuel established what modem divines have called 'schools of the Prophets', to promote the reformation so near his heart. That such institutions should be possible is a noteworthy proof that there must already have been a vigorous revival of religious life, for they could flourish only when there was a sympathy with spiritual truth. Of their origin, aim, constitution, and history, the Old Testament gives few details. Those who attended them were known as 'sons' or 'disciples', a term afterwards used for the followers of a Rabbi, and their chief for the time was called 'father'. Most of them seem to have been young, and indeed are spoken of as such."
Again Geikie said, "They lived in communities, ate in common, went abroad--in companies, and were so numerous, at least at a later time, that Ahab could assemble 400 at once; that 100 were hidden in a cave by Obadiah; that 100 are mentioned in connection with the community at Jericho; and 100 more who, at the same period, lived at Gilgal." (Hours With the Bible. Vol.3, P.45,1888 ed.) Thus, according to Edersheim and Geikie the sons of the prophets were not inspired, but were called prophets. Moses was an inspired prophet who received his message direct from God, but Aaron was Moses' prophet in that he received his message direct from Moses rather than direct from God. Thus Aaron was Moses' prophet rather than God's prophet. His message came direct from Moses rather than direct from God. However, he is spoken of as God's prophet also in Num. 12. Thus, according to both Edersheim and Geikie, one can be a prophet without being inspired. This is most interesting in view of some statements Bro. Cavender made in his tract. Bro. Cavender said, " 'Prophesying' was ALWAYS a spiritual gift, done by inspired people, either men or women NEVER in the Bible is 'prophesying' ordinary, common teaching". (Page 5). Yet the scholars he quotes disagree with him. According to Edersheim and Geikie when Aaron told the people what Moses gave him; that which Moses had received directly from God, Aaron was Moses' prophet and thus prophesying. Also when the "sons of the prophets" taught any thing they received from the prophets they were prophesying. According to their reasoning then I would be prophesying when I teach that which the apostles received directly from God.
ROBERT MILLIGAN ON PROPHETS
The next scholar Bill quotes, when he wrote of prophets and their work, defining the word prophet, was Robert Milligan. Bill quotes only part of what Milligan said about prophets. Of course, I know he could not quote everything these authorities said, but what I want to impress upon you is that Bill only quotes what they say that agrees with him. Implying that they teach exactly what
he teaches about prophesying. For example, he puts down the main points Milligan made, but it is interesting what Milligan said under some of those points. Notice Point Number IV. "To unfold the meaning of the Holy Scriptures, to the spoken oracles of God. 1. Exodus VII, 1: "And the Lord said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a God to Pharaoh; and Aaron thy brother shall be thy Prophet;' that is, THY INTERPRETER. 2. 1 Cor. XIV, 1-4; 'Follow after love and desire spiritual gifts, but more especially that ye may prophesy For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue, speaketh not unto men but unto God; for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the Spirit he speaketh mysteries. But he that prophesieth speaketh to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.' It is in this sense that Apollo was called the Prophet of Jupiter, and that the ancient poets were called the prophets of the Muses." (Scheme of Redemption, P.300). Thus according to Milligan, another scholar quoted by Bro. Cavender, a person does not have to be inspired to be a prophet. The interpreter of Moses was called a prophet. Also poets were called the prophets of the Muses. Now, if Aaron was a prophet by interpreting what Moses said, i.e. that which Moses received direct from God; then why cannot I be a prophet by interpreting what Paul said, i.e. that which Paul received directly from God?
W. E. VINE ON PROPHETS
When Bill quoted W. E. Vine, on the word "prophet" (Pg. 14), he also conveniently left off the part that does not suit his case. Vine also says the Cretan poet Epimenides was a prophet. W.E. Vine, Expositorv Dictionary of New Testament Words Vol.3, Pg. 222. Again, I do not believe Bill believes that Cretan poet was inspired and yet Paul calls him a prophet. (Tit. 1:12).
THAYER ON PROPHETS
When Bill quoted Thayer, on the word "prophet", on page 14 of his tract, he conveniently left off one definition of a prophet. I now quote what Bill skipped. "An interpreter of oracles (whether uttered by the gods or the mantels), or of other hidden things. A foreteller, soothsayer, seer." Thayer, Greek English Lexicon Pg. 552. I wonder if Bill believes one has to be inspired to interpret oracles uttered by the gods or to be a soothsayer?
GIRDLESTONE ON PROPHET
Turn to Bill's tract on page 14 and notice the statements that he conveniently left out when he quotes Girdlestone. I believe it will be obvious as to why he left these statements out. I will underline the portions of the quotation Bro. Cavender left out. "The general name for a prophet in the O. T. is Nabi. The original meaning of this word is uncertain: but it is generally supposed to signify the bubbling-up of the Divine message, as water issues from a hidden fountain. It is used both of prediction, properly so called, and of the announcement of a Divine message with regard to the past or present; also of the utterance of songs of praise. It is applied to messengers of false Gods (e.g. 'the prophets of Baal'), and to a man who acts as the mouthpiece of another as when the Lord says to Moses (Exod. 7.1), 'Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet'. The first passage in which
the word occurs is Gen. 20.7, where it is used of Abraham. In Deut. 18.15,18, the title is applied to the Messiah who was to have God's words in His mouth, and who thus became the Mediator of the New Covenant, taking a position analogous in some respects to that of Moses. The LXX almost always adopts the rendering prophateuo and prophatas for Nabi," (Synonyms of the Old Testament P.239). I believe it is obvious why Bro. Cavender did not quote this in its entirety. He wants us to think that the meaning of "prophesy" has always been to speak by divine inspiration and that is all it ever meant. Mr. Girdlestone says the original meaning of this word is uncertain. He would also have us know that the messengers of false gods were prophets, and they certainly were not inspired. And he would have us know that Aaron was the prophet of Moses because he acted as the mouthpiece of Moses. Aaron simply preached what Moses received by divine inspiration. Today gospel preachers preach what Paul and Peter and others received by divine inspiration.
ADAM CLARKE ON 1 COR. 11
On Page 16, of Bill's tract, he said, "Thus in 1 Cor. 11:2-16, the 'prophesying' man and the 'prophesying' woman were inspired, Spirit-led people. EVERY lexicographer and scholar so translates these words, and every reliable, reputable scholar and commentator so comments. NO SCHOLAR ever makes the 'prophesying' of 1 Cor. 11:4-5 ordinary, uninspired teaching. Yet this is what the advocates of hat-wearing for sisters in Christ do." From previous quotations from the very scholars Bill quoted, in his tract, you will observe that these scholars do not agree with him. They believed that a man could be a prophet without always being inspired. They believed you could prophesy by interpreting the oracles of idols, and certainly this would not require inspiration. I would like for us to observe some statements Adam Clarke made in his commentary on I Cor. 11. Clarke said, "Praying or prophesying, Any person who engages in public acts in the worship of God, whether prayer, singing, or exhortation: for we learn, from the apostle himself that propheteuein to prophesy, signifies to speak unto men to edification, exhortation, and comfort, chap. 14:3. And this comprehends all that we understand by exhortation, or even preaching. Having his head covered -- with his cap or turban on, dishonoureth his head; because the head being covered was a sign of subjection; and while he was employed in the public ministration of the word, he was to be considered as a representative of Christ, and on this account his being veiled or covered would be improper. This decision of the apostle was in point blank hostility to the canons of the Jews; for they would not suffer a man to pray unless he was veiled, for which they gave this reason: 'He should veil himself to show that he is ashamed before God, and unworthy with open face to behold him."' (Clarke, Op. cit., Pg. 250). 1 don't believe one can read Clarke's commentary on 1 Cor. 11 and get the idea that he applies the instructions of Paul only to Inspired people. Surely Bro. Cavender believes Clarke is a reliable, reputable scholar because he quotes from him. Of course he just quoted what he wanted and ignored Clarke when Clarke disagreed with him.
THAT "STRONG PRESUMPTIVE EVIDENCE"
Bill knows that he MUST prove "prophesy" and "prophet" always involve Inspiration, in order to even make a point with his teaching on 1 Cor. 11. He must prove "prophesy" always means to speak by divine inspiration. This he has not done, because even the very scholars he quotes speak
to the contrary. Even If he could prove "prophesy" always meant to speak by divine inspiration, he still has to deal with the word "pray". He must prove pray in I Cor. 11:4, 5 is inspired prayer. Even if he could prove some prophet somewhere in the Bible prayed a prayer given directly by God, WHICH HE DID NOT DO IN HIS TRACT; he still must prove that pray in 1 Cor. 11 is inspired prayer. This he has not done and cannot do. Yet he is willing to dismiss a passage of scripture and disfellowship those who refuse to dismiss this passage of scripture on nothing more than what he calls, "strong presumptive evidence", in his tract Pg. 17. Bro. Cavender, shame on you for calling upon elders and preachers to get their head out of the sand and do what amounts to disfellowshiping us because we cannot conscientiously give up a passage of scripture, when you have no more than what you admit to be "strong presumptive evidence". Bro. Cavender, if you cannot prove all prayers of prophets and prophetesses were given directly by God, then you have no argument at all on 1 Cor. 11. The truth is you have not proved any prophet ever prayed a prayer given directly by God. All you have done is assumed and asserted. Even if you could prove that some prophet in the Old Testament uttered a prayer given directly by God, which you have not yet done, and I challenge you to try to do it; you would still have to prove the prayers in 1 Cor. 11 are inspired. Now suppose you should be able to prove "pray" in I Cor. 11:4, 5 is inspired and only inspired, which you have not and cannot do. Suppose you prove the only ones under consideration in 1 Cor. 11 are prophets and prophetesses, which you have not and cannot do. What have you accomplished in getting rid of those instructions? May I add: Not one thing! The reason I say not one thing is because of what the apostle Paul wrote in I Cor. 14:29-33.
PROPHETS IN I COR. 14:29-33
Again let me remind you: Paul definitely addressed prophets in 1 Cor. 14: 29-33 when he said, "Ye may all prophesy one by one". Was it any more important for prophets to speak one by one than it is for ordinary uninspired preachers to do so? Will not the same principle apply? Of course it will! Now, is it any more important that prophets go bareheaded, in order not to dishonor Christ, than it is for ordinary uninspired preachers to go bareheaded, in order that they do not dishonor Christ? Will not the same principle apply? Of course it will! Was it any more important that prophetesses cover their heads, in order not to dishonor man, than it is for ordinary uninspired women to cover their heads, in order that they do not dishonor man? Will not the same principle apply? Of course it will! Therefore, Bro. Cavender has not really gained any ground at all if he could prove "prophesy" always meant speak by divine inspiration, and all prayers of prophets and prophetesses were given directly by God, which he has not and cannot and never will do.
QUESTIONS ON I COR. 14:14-16
Also I would like for us to consider another passage in I Cor. 14. "For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. Else when thou shall bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?" (1 Cor. 14:14-16). Now, let us ask ourselves the question, is it any more important for an
inspired man to pray in a language everyone can understand than it is for an uninspired man? Would Bill call on a man from Germany to lead in prayer, where he preaches, if the German knew only the German language? What passage of Scripture could Bill use to condemn you for calling on a man from Germany to lead prayer in German when no one understood a word he said? He could not use 1 Cor. 14:14-16 because this was addressed to inspired people -- people who were speaking in tongues the Holy Spirit enabled them to speak. Now, if it would be wrong to call on a German to lead prayer in the German language, even though he is not inspired, why would it not be wrong for a man to cover his head when he prays, even though he is not inspired; and why would It not be wrong for a woman to pray uncovered, even though she is not inspired? Bill cannot consistently do away with the head covering without doing away with a decent and orderly service.
MORE ON PROPHET AND PROPHESY
Jesus said, "A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and In his own house". (Mt. 13:57b). Bill, do you ever quote that passage and apply it to an uninspired man? If you do, according to your reasoning, you misunderstand the subjects involved. What difference does it make whether a man is inspired or not? Is it not true that the place where he has no honor is in his own country and in his own house? The Bible says, "In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness. And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered: and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land. And it shall come to pass that when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him, 'Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of the Lord: and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth And it shall come to pass in that day, that the prophets shall be ashamed every one of his vision, when he hath prophesied; neither shall they wear a rough garment to deceive: But he shall say I am no prophet, I am an husbandman for man taught me to keep cattle from my youth. And one shall say unto him. What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends." (Zech. 13:1-6). It is obvious from reading the above passage that Zechariah is prophesying concerning the time when prophecy as a miraculous gift would cease. It would take place after the crucifixion of Christ, which I believe is to be understood from verse 1. But you will notice that prophecy was not the only thing to cease. God said he would cut off the names of the idols out of the land and He would cause the unclean spirit to pass out of the land. Now, did the idols cease or did they not cease? I believe idolatry still exists, even in the church, but not in the same way it existed in "the church in the wilderness," and among the Israelites in Canaan. I believe unclean spirits still exist, but they do not operate as openly as they one time did. Those of you who have heard Bro. Cavender preach on unclean spirits know he still believes they exist and still work. I believe people are still possessed with the devil, but not in the same way they one time were -- not to the same degree. I believe people still have the Holy Spirit, but not in a miraculous way. Thus idols are still here in a sense, but not in the same sense they one time were. Unclean spirits are still here working, but not in the same degree they one time were. Prophets are still here, but not in the sense of inspired prophets. That is why a prophet is still not without honour except in his own country and in his own house. You have the same truth taught in
EDITOR'S NOTE: THIS MATERIAL IS CURRENTLY BEING PROOFED AND POSTED AND IS ABOUT 45 numbered pages in total length. Please check back for remainder. THANKS...mjw
[Editors Note: Thanks to Windell Wiser for allowing me to make this tract available to our readers on the web!]
Email the Editor email@example.com
| CURRENT ISSUE | MAIN PAGE | BACK ISSUES | DISCUSSION PAGE |
| SPECIAL STUDIES | SERMON OUTLINES |