The Ward - Schellekens Debate

Rudy Schellekens' First Negative

"The scriptures teach that women today should

cover their heads when they pray."

Schellekens' Personal Introduction

Allow me to introduce myself. I am a native Dutchman, living in Iowa at the present, and work for a school District as IT services manager. I attended Harding's Christian Communication Program from 1976-1978, after which I returned to the Netherlands (with a native Iowan as my wife). We spent almost 20 years working with a number of different congregations and projects in The Netherlands and other parts of Europe.

Schellekens' First Negative

Mark's statement about "a personal ax to grind" applies to me, as well. I do not know Mark, have never met him and all I know about him is what I have read. My speech will not be as flowery as Mark's, but more "Dutch like" – short, and to the point. By that I mean no disrespect for Mark or any of the other readers, but I have learned to be upfront about my writing style.

Mark, rest assured, I will never doubt your integrity nor you honesty. I will, however, strongly disagree with some of the arguments you will be making. After all, if I do not DISAGREE, why have the debate??

A first disagreement is obvious. Mark, I do not think we are divided. I think we have reached different conclusions, but are still brethren in Christ. As such, I respect your opinions – but again, will strongly disagree.

I accept the following definitions without hesitation: "By "The scriptures" I mean the 66 books of the Bible, with specific emphasis on the New Testament, since we today are to live by the perfect law of liberty (Jas. 2 :12; Jas 1:25). By "teach" I mean, instruct, impart knowledge. By "that women" I mean the female gender as opposed to male. By "today" I mean now, presently, in this period of time."

I differ on the following: "By "should cover their heads" I mean are to use a means of artificially covering their physical heads like a mantilla, a hat, a scarf, a baseball cap (if at a sporting event, for example), a helmet (if riding on the back of a motorcycle, or on a bicycle, for example)."

I accept the following without hesitation: "By "when they pray" I mean when they either lead a prayer (of other women, children, or word the prayer themselves when praying alone) or, when they are following along in prayer that is led by another. "Prayer" is mankind's way of communicating with God which can involve thanksgiving, supplications, intercessions and possibly other forms of requests."

As to what I am going to argue, Mark, you will find out all about that when it is my turn…J) I will not feel limited to the use of the KJV, and I do hope that is not a problem.

Although I have great respect for that work, I believe there are better and more accurate translations available. However, to keep the playing field level, I will not resort to the translation which we ALL know to be the very best, Dutch.

I will not use the Strong reference listing for the studies of Greek words, but will instead lean on Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the Greek New Testament and on the "Theological Dictionary of New testament Words" (TDNT). Again, not because of a lack of respect for Strong's work, but I believe Thayer and TDNT to be more complete and accurate in their definitions.

For the study of English words I will be referring to Webster's dictionaries.

I will from the onset agree with the fact that the passage in question was written to the Corinthians.

Having read your affirmative, the following questions seem to have been overlooked or lacking a convincing argumentation:

1. Do ALL men have authority over ALL women, or is it a husband-wife relationship? You stated "I believe this includes mankind…head of womankind in a general sense…", but did not develop that thought any further. You would have to find a Biblical basis for that "belief".

2. Are women still prophesying today?

3. Are these prayers, prophesies expressed in a mixed assembly, alone, or a "single gender" meeting?

4. What are the possible social circumstances in Corinth which might warrant this kind of a statement from Paul?

5. "Because of the angels" – Are you saying this coverage is mandatory because angels exist? Or would there be another reason for that?

6. What is the basis for extending this command beyond the Corinthian church?

Looking forward to see your response

-- Rudy Schellekens

[-end of first negative by Schellekens]



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