The Ward - Schellekens Debate

Rudy Schellekens' Second Negative

"The scriptures teach that women today should

cover their heads when they pray."

Schellekens' Second Negative

In this response I will deal with Mark's answers to my questions,  thanking him for his patient way in taking the time to answer  these, AND (yes Mark, finally!) I will deal with Mark's nine  arguments.

First of all, however, let me point out, Mark, that your proposition  is not proven by the passage under consideration. What IS proven is that the women to whom the letter was addressed were to pray or prophecy with their heads covered. What you need to prove is the fact that this is still the case TODAY.

Your first question, "Will my opponent argue that women do not  engage in 'praying' today?" needs to be answered with, "No, Mark, I  do not argue such.

As far as your statement, "The Bible clearly teaches that women  dishonor their head when they pray bareheaded (See I Cor. 11:1-16)"  is concerned, you have proven that point - as far as the Corinthian   situation is concerned.

Now, you made a point of the translation of ANDROS and ANER. Let me  draw your attention to 1 Cor. 7:2,3, 4, 10, 11, 13, 16, 34 and 39  where Paul uses the same terms. PLease explain how you would agree with the term "husband" in 1 Cor. 7, but so vehemently oppose the  translation of ANER with husband in 1 Cor. 11? You even go so far as to call that idea a "liberal translation."

My question relating to the prophesying IS related to the subject,  since the passage you use as a foundation for your case includes the prophesying. Now, when they do prophesy in the sense of, "uninspired teaching of God's word", do you expect them to cover their heads in those situations as well?

I appreciate the answer to my question re. mixed/single gender  meetings.

You answered my 4th question with the introduction, "Again, I don't  base my belief or practices from conjecture...but rather from what  is revealed in God's Word." Yet, if I were to ask you for the   reasons for the writing of the entire Corinthian correspondence, if I were to ask you about the kind of people Paul writes to, some of your answers WILL be based on conjecture! And rightly so, since we can only surmise a number of circumstances from what we can read in  the letter! Having said that... We have to look at the circumstances   surrounding this letter, since some of the statements Paul makes  goes AGAINST God's revelation in the pages of the Old Testament!

"Because of the angels" is a strange statement, and only, again,  conjecture could be used for an answer. Could the angels be the  leadership of the congregation (re. Rev. 1-3)?  You list the reasons again why the women should have their heads  covered while praying, but none of these give any clarification on  the issue of angels.

My last question dealt with the reasons you see for extending this  command beyond the Corinthian situation. You quoted a number of  passages, and stated that "Paul taught the same thing in all the churches of the saints". That, too, is conjecture!

Just by reading through Paul's letters we know that each  congregation had a number of problems which were unique! To assume   that Paul taught the Ephesians about the wearing of headcovering is   conjecture on your part, Mark.  Now, that is not to say that some of the subjects were NOT  identical. For example, Paul writes about the church as a "Body" to  the Romans, the Ephesians AND the Corinthians. He writes about the  relationships both to the Ephesians and to the Colossians. But  where else does he write about the Lord's Supper? Where else does  he write about the resurrection body? Where else does he address the  issue of the reason for assembling?

So, to maintain the idea that Paul has a specific reason, related to  specific circumstances, only present at Corinth is not out of consideration.

Now, on to your arguments.

Argument ONE.

Paul taught that this instruction concerning the matter of covered and uncovered heads was a ordinance or requirement of God that would be applicable to all saints

Well, Mark, please substanbtiate that this is a teaching for ALL saints. There is nothing in the text to make this applicable to all saints. There is nothing in the text that supports the idea that it is "a command to be obeyed throughout all the ages"

Argument TWO

Paul, by inspiration of God, based one of the reasons women are to be covered while praying or prophesying on HEADSHIP (I Cor. 11:3-6).  Man is still the head of woman today. Christ is still the head of man today. God is still the head of Christ today. Therefore, women are to obey the passage today.

I do not believe that the headship issue is tied to the head covering issue. Even without the issue of prayer, headship is still a fact. But, as I have stated above, the headship should be seen in  relationship husband/wife. The way Paul uses the terms in other  passages in the same letter strongly point to that interpretation. ANER and GUNAIKA are the same terms as used in chapter 7 - husband  and wife. Why should ANER, ANDRAS and GUNAIKA be seen as non-related (no husband/wife)? There another time Paul uses the term ANER, and that is in 1 Cor.  14:35 - let them ask their own HUSBANDS (ANDRAS) at home.


God teaches us, through Paul's instruction, that a woman DISHONORS  her head if uncovered at times of praying or prophesying (verses  5,6). He goes on to state that such is "as if" she were shorn or   shaven (as far as shame and dishonor go). Since Paul taught that it is a SHAME for a woman to be shorn or shaven, the woman is to be  covered today when praying.

No problem with this argument - provided we keep it within the context of the Corinthian circumstances...


Paul, speaking as God's messenger, used even another reason for  women to be covered while praying or prophesying in verses 7-9.  Woman is mentioned as being the "glory of man" in verse 7 and in verse 9. God's Word also teaches us that the woman was "created for  the man". These are inspired, God-given reasons for women to pray with their heads covered. These truths are applicable today. Therefore, women are to cover  their heads while praying today because woman is still the glory of  man and because the fact is still true that woman was created for the man.

Mark, you again jump to a conclusion: These truths are applicable today. Nothing in what you state here supports that point! I can think of a number of examples in the writings of Paul which were for that time, and that time only! But just for a short example: Greet one another with a holy kiss. Do you stil practice that, Mark? If not, why not? It is written by the same author, with the same   authority, as an imperative, to boot!


Another inspired reason Paul gave in I Corinthians 11 for women to be covered while praying was "because of the angels" (See verse 10).  Angels still exist today. This reason is just as valid now as when God gave it originally in the writing of I Corinthians! Therefore, women are to cover their heads while praying today.

So, what DO the angels have to do with this? I know there are some who want to go back to Genesis 6 to find an explanation. Can you give me a little more insight?


Another reason God gave in I Corinthians 11 for women to cover their heads while praying is that it is not "comely" for women to pray to God uncovered (See vs. 13). This reason is applicable today. Women should be covered and men should be uncovered while praying today.  This still applies today and we should answer the question the same way today as Paul intended it would be properly answered when he  wrote it.

Mark, please read through the dress of the High priest in the Old  Testament. Tell we what you find about the covering he wears on his  head. Now find the place where God tells him to take it off when he  is praying...


Further, Paul appeals to what is right and wrong about a natural covering (the hair is given her for a covering, peribolaion Gk.) concerning women having long hair for it is her glory and it being a shame for man to have long hair. Similarly, it would be proper for  women to be artificially covered and men uncovered while praying or prophesying. Long hair is still a woman's glory today. It is still a shame for man to have long hair today. Since these reasons are still valid today, women today are to cover their heads when they pray. (Likewise, men are to be bareheaded, or uncovered, when they pray to  God today.)

Well, Mark, I do not know where you are born and raised (or when,  for that matter). I grew up during the sixties and seventies. I  grew up in The Netherlands. At no time in my life was long hair for a man considered to be shame! Nor was short hair on a woman something to be ashamed of!   The only people I ever remember speaking out against long hair were the American missionaries, working with churches in the Netherlands. Could this be an indication of a cultural issue? And if the long/short hair is a cultural issue today, could it have been a cultural issue in the Corinthian letter?

And, bringing this back to the Bible. What was part of the Nazorite vow? Are you trying to convince me that Samson was unacceptable to God - where God set the conditions for the vow? Or are you planning to convince me that Samson did not pray as long as his hair was "long"?

Besides, it is NOT against nature (in the sense of biology) that men have long hair. I still have enough hair (my sons might enjoy pointing out my ever growing bald spot) on my head to KNOW that biological nature is NOT the issue.

Now, "nature" along the ideas of "custom" seems to make more sense in the given passage!


Paul goes on to state in verse 16 that he had "no such custom" as  what the contentious man would advocate. Neither did the churches of  God. This should teach us that Paul, by divine inspiration, was teaching against women being bareheaded, or uncovered, while  praying. My opponent believes the opposite of what Paul & God taught in this passage, concerning women today, in denying the present proposition.

Actually, Mark, I do believe exactly what the passages teaches! It is your application I have problems with!

Exactly WHAT is the custom Paul is referring to as not being present in the churches of God? Being contentious, or the head covering?  That the head covering was something belonging to the Gentile cultus is beyond a doubt. Men worshipped bareheaded, women covered. It  was a shame for a woman to be seen uncovered in a temple, dedicated to the idols.

So, exactly what IS the custom?


Let us hasten to point out that God gave several reasons for women  to be covered at times of prayer. All of these reasons are still  applicable today (headship, the order of creation, woman created for  the man, woman being the glory of the man, because of the angels, it  is not comely for women to pray uncovered, the natural covering  suggests a difference in man and woman and this relates to women  wearing an artificial covering at times of praying for the women to  be different from the men, Paul and the churches of Christ had "no   such custom" as that advocated by a contentious person). As we  pointed out before, even if (for the sake of argumentation, for example) "one" of the aforementioned reasons was no longer valid,  the other God-given reasons would suffice to prove our proposition.  ALL the reasons God gave must be addressed by our opponent in this  discussion. Since these reasons are all still valid today, women are to be covered and men uncovered when praying today.

Again, Mark, you keep applying this passage to TODAY. I have asked you earlier about the holy kiss. Do you, or do you not practice that? Let me add another one. The "letter of fellowship". Do you  practice that one? After all, according to your reasoning - God only has to say something once...

Mark, some of the above may come across as direct. I did warn you that I prefer getting to the point.

I have a great respect for you and for your sincerity in what you believe to be true. And, I hasten to add that have an even greater respect for women who do indeed believe they need to cover their head while praying - and do so, regardless of where they are. I learned some important lessons from one of those women in the past!

Looking forward to your next statement.
with brotherly respect,

-- Rudy Schellekens

[-end of second negative by Schellekens]



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