The Don Martin - Mark J. Ward Discussion on

I Corinthians 11:1-16

Martin's 13th Article

This is the next Don Martin writes under the Subject line: Re:I Corinthians 11:1-16...

Re: I Corinthians 11: 1-16
Wed, 12 Feb 2003 22:28:47 -0700
"Don Martin" <>

Don Martin to Mark Ward and the list (post one of three):

I appreciate Mark's prompt responsive posts. Mark continues to do an
excellent job in defending his view that all women must wear a head
covering, at Corinth, throughout the churches of the first century, and all
women today. Mark has separated and isolated the adjectival participle
"praying" (I Cor. 11: 5) and insists that it includes women simply in the
audience when a public prayer is led. Mark has said very little about
"prophesying," which is syntactically joined to "praying" (I Cor. 11: 5).
In view of Mark's position, I can understand this lack of equal emphasis.
I have admitted that the "or" (Greek he) in I Corinthians 11: 4, 5 does
distinguish between "praying" and "prophesying." I have offered an
explanation which I believe to be in harmony with the context: The prophet
or prophetesses (prophesying woman) would not each pray and prophesy at the
same time; hence, the "or" is used. However, praying AND prophesying were
the two characteristic acts performed by these special, Spirit led
people. I have taken the full context or milieu combined with "praying"
being associated with "prophesying" and I have suggested that the "praying"
being mentioned was itself also miraculously produced or prompted by the
Spirit. I have said this especially in view of apparent Spirit led prayer
being mentioned in the full context (I Cor. 14: 15).

The chief difference between Mark and me is that I simply take the subjects
for what they were: "praying or prophesying" men and women. The
"prophesying" definitely makes them prophets and prophetesses. Since we do
not have prophetesses today and in view of the special meaning of the
covering to those people, the teaching relative to the covering or veil is
inapplicable today. Mark has the burden of taking the prophetess
(prophesying woman) out of the context of I Corinthians 11 and require every
woman today to be veiled. As I have attempted to kindly point out: Mark
has presented an anachronism, taking the subjects and circumstances that
were special and unique and applying them to people and circumstances
that are not harmonious and that create an incongruity.

Mark has again published long posts (9. 77 and 9. 08 KB). In the remainder
of this post and post two, I shall focus on a couple statements Mark made
and then in post three, I shall take more about the prophetess of the Bible
(I have three posts because they must be reasonably shorter).

Mark wrote:

Don is now writing with a little more care in his choice of words, and
that is one bit of progress we have made in this discussion.

Don replies:

I have not noticed any difference, but I accept with thanks the compliment.
As a discussion progresses, more refinement should be injected.

Mark considerately wrote:

Even IF, brother Don, "praying or prophesying" were telling the type of
woman (as opposed to when), since we still have praying today, and since
there is the little word "or" between the two words, we STILL have "praying
or prophesying" women today.

Don replies:

Mark, I have repeatedly addressed this matter. What the prophets were
doing, the prophetesses were doing. In view of the at least danger of
violating headship (I Cor. 11: 3), Paul enjoined the artificial covering in
the case of the prophetess. I again repeat that the fact that they were
doing the exact same thing created the special concern for headship.
Uninspired women anterior and subsequent to I Corinthians 11 were not and
are not in the same predicament and danger, regarding headship.

Mark wrote, first quoting me:

Mark has committed a basic error: He has failed to consider to whom it
was spoken and the circumstances in which it was stated. As I have
repeatedly said, the covering was not ever bound BEFORE I Corinthians
11: 3-16, not even on prophetesses, is not bound on all women IN the milieu
of I Corinthians 11: 3-16, and is never bound AFTER I Corinthians 11. The
subjects and circumstances along with the meaning of the covering to
those people all comprise an unusual and exceptional situation, not
duplicated in any usual circumstances and teaching.

Mark still asserts:

I believe it is really DON who has committed a basic error. He fails to
consider that it was a SHAME for "every woman" at Corinth to engage in
praying uncovered! Every woman has man as her head, every woman was to
be covered "because of the angels", every women is included in the text!

Don concludes this post:

Mark still refuses to accept and acknowledge that "every woman" is "every
woman praying or prophesying" and not "every woman at Corinth" or "every
woman today." Regardless of the predicate or attributive argument
pertaining to the perceived meaning of "praying or prophesying" as they
relate to the noun, man/woman, these women "praying or prophesying" women
were the only women being discussed. Mark's effort to detach "praying" from
"prophesying" and have the women only in an audience when a male led a
prayer just does not fit.

Also, if Mark referred to the "foot washing" of John 13: 14, I missed it. I
pointed out that the act of foot washing literally viewed was indigenous to
the lifestyle of the oriental and has no literal application to the
occidental. Culture and practice sometimes act as a major factor in
determining present day application. (See post two.)

Re: I Corinthians 1-16
Wed, 12 Feb 2003 22:29:54 -0700
"Don Martin" <>

Don Martin to Mark Ward (post two of three):

Mark asked:

Do you believe that the inspired men and inspired women who led prayer in
"private" had to obey the instruction in I Corinthians 11? Tell us please. I
am interested in learning more of your most unusual position. I
certainly can't read the answer in God's Book. And I won't presume to
know your position without your answering for yourself.

Don responds:

Mark, I am not sure what you mean by "private." I repeat that anytime and
every time these special men and women were "praying or prophesying," the
women had to be covered and the men uncovered. Mark, my friend, you
continue to fail to see the basic point: These prophets and prophetesses
were doing the same thing and in the same circumstance. This is why the
covering was required. The truly private circumstance (a woman "praying or
prophesying" alone) is not being considered in the text. Besides, why would
a Spirit led woman be prophesying alone. As we have seen, the point of
prophesying was to edify the church (I Cor. 14: 12, etc.). Even if the
"praying" were uninspired, the context is still public, placing these women
and men in a situation of doing the same thing and obviously at the same

Mark continued:

Don hasn't even begun to "prove" that "obviously" the women were doing
what the men were doing! Dear readers and Don, don't leap to conclusions
that are not in harmony with the rest of the inspired record (i.e. teaching
regarding women NOT exercising authority/dominion over men).

Don comments:

Mark, I continue to gently tell you that you are ignoring the subjects of I
Corinthians 11: 3-16, the full context, and the meaning of the covering to
those people. As a result, you are binding the covering on women never the
recipients of such teaching and also binding a matter, the covering, that
has absolutely no pertinence to our culture.

Mark further states:

Don ALSO asserts that "headship" was a "question" at Corinth. There is
also NO SCRIPTURE to prove this brother Don.

Don answers:

Paul just enunciated the principle of headship in verse three. He
immediately injects the matter of the "every man...every woman praying or
prophesying with her head uncovered.... (I Cor. 11: 4, 5). He then proceeds
to show that the natural covering (the hair) and, by way of extension and in
view of the meaning of the covering to those people, the artificial covering
are visible indicators of headship subservience. This is why the "every
woman praying or prophesying" had to be covered and the "every man praying
or prophesying" had to be uncovered.

In the totality of my posts, I have stated that headship was either already
a serious problem in the circumstances of I Corinthians 11: 3-16 or it was,
for sure, potentially a problem. Anytime certain men and women were doing
precisely the same thing, "praying or prophesying," headship would be a
delicate matter.

Mark wrote, first quoting me:

Don wrote:
Let us now take the full context of I Corinthians 11: 3-16 and see what
we can deduce.

(1). Those who had the gift of prophecy (both men and women), were to
edify the church with their gift (I Cor. 14: 3, 5, 12, 23, 24, 26-31).

(2). The church at Corinth was comprised of both male and female members

(I Cor. 14: 34, 35; 11: 4, 5).

(3). Hence, both prophets and prophetesses were publicly used to teach
the church and foretell by the impetus of the Holy Spirit.

Mark here:
This is Don's attempt to use scriptural argument, in addition to his
uninspired champion "Cavender". I DO appreciate, so much, Don's attempt
to reason from is truly refreshing after reading so much
from Cavender. Don's reasoning takes another faulty turn above. Please
note the following (that parallels Don's wrong argumentation above) ....

1. Women and men (uninspired, in this example) in New Testament times
were to sing and edify each other with spiritual songs.
2. Women and men (uninspired) existed in the local churches of Christ.
3. Therefore, women (uninspired) were used publicly to LEAD THE SINGING
in the edification of the church in song!

Don comments:

I have said a number of times that in the matter of binding the covering on
all women, my worthy opponent Mark often compares apples to oranges and
then draws unwarranted conclusions. Prophesy was a miraculous gift of the
Spirit, number six to be exact (I Cor. 12: 10). Prophesy was used publicly
to teach both men and women. This is what the prophets did and this is also
what the prophetesses did (see post three). Mark takes the act of singing
(uninspired singing) that can be simply an act done in the audience
(Eph. 5: 19) and reasons that since singing is do be done by all members,
women may led singing in a mixed audience. Mark utterly fails to
distinguish between leading and singing while another leads. Hence, his
syllogism that argues for uninspired women being able to lead singing in an
assembly involving men being a parallel to my argument is faulty. I think
Mark's above mistake is indicative of his reasoning in this whole exchange
and how he comes to the conclusion that all women must
be veiled. It appears that Mark does not realize the difference between
leading and following (cp. I Cor. 14: 16). (Please see post three.)

Re: I Corinthians 11: 1-16
Wed, 12 Feb 2003 22:30:55 -0700
"Don Martin" <>

Don Martin to Mark Ward and the list (post three of three):

I want to again thank Mark for the good job he is doing and for the fine way
in which he is doing it. You will notice that Mark and I are not attacking
each other. However, we both are attempting to show where we think
the other is wrong. Motive assignment and sinister plots have been
missing from this exchange. I feel good about it, even though I have
not yet convinced Mark that he is wrong in binding the covering on all
women then and now. I believe that Mark's essential problem of not
understanding who the prophetess was and what she did is too
common among many brethren. Therefore, I shall dedicate post
three to the prophetess.

Mark wrote, first quoting me:

Don wrote:
There are a number of prophetesses (women who prophesied)
mentioned in the Bible (cp. Miriam; Deborah; Huldah; and Anna, Ex. 15:
20, 21; Jud. 4: 4-10; 2 Kgs. 22: 14-20; Lk. 2: 36-38).

Mark here:
The ladies could prophesy YES; but, did they necessarily do so in
violation to the applicable laws (in whatever law age they were living
in) concerning NOT exercising dominion/authority over men?
No way!....Women and men today are to be involved in edification: in
and out of the local church. But, women today are NOT to LEAD the
teaching or LEAD the praying in the assembly of the church exercising
authority/dominion over men! If Don can see this, he OUGHT to be able
to see wherein ladies who were prophetesses could be involved in
church edification WITHOUT doing what he boldly, without proof,
asserts they did at Corinth, namely exercise authority/dominion over
men anywhere at anytime!

Don comments:

I have a great deal of patience with Mark because I think he is in many ways
an outstanding person. I also think some of his confusion is a result of
too often lacking teaching in the church today relative to prophetesses.
Please allow me to repeat: There are a number of prophetesses (women who
prophesied) mentioned in the Bible (cp. Miriam; Deborah; Huldah; and
Anna, Ex. 15: 20, 21; Jud. 4: 4-10; 2 Kgs. 22: 14-20; Lk. 2: 36-38).

Let me be simple and brief and just take the case of Anna.

"36: And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the
tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven
years from her virginity;
37: And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed
not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
38: And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and
spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem" (Lk. 2).

Please observe three things:

(1). Anna was a "prophetess" (vs. 36).
(2). She departed not from the temple (vs. 37, probably also resided there).
(3). Anna "spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem"
(vs. 38).

At this point, I intended to insert a number of learned statements regarding
Anna speaking "to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem."
However, I decided against it. The text is plain to all who approach it
with an open mind. "Don, do you really believe Anna publicly prophesied
and taught in the temple to both men and women?" I sure do. Why would I
not? This is what we read in Luke 2: 36-38. There is no way one can limit
"all" (pasin). Anna taught and prophesied (she was a prophetess) to all,
men and women alike. It is untenable to think of "all" as women only or
women and children only. Anna spake of him to all them that looked for
redemption in Jerusalem." Anna was a prophetess and she prophesied in the
temple, publicly and to mixed audiences. This was her job as a prophetess.

Again, please consider my syllogism:

(1). Those who had the gift of prophecy (both men and women), were to
edify the church with their gift (I Cor. 14: 3, 5, 12, 23, 24, 26-31).

(2). The church at Corinth was comprised of both male and female members
(I Cor. 14: 34, 35; 11: 4, 5).

(3). Hence, both prophets and prophetesses were publicly used to teach
the church and foretell by the impetus of the Holy Spirit.

Prophesy was used publicly to teach both men and women. As I bring this
post to a close and anticipate submitting the first of my questions, I again
emphasize that Mark is ignoring the special subjects of the covering
teaching, rejecting the full context, and binding a meaningless thing (the
covering) on all women in our culture. All I am doing, conversely, is
paying attention to the special subjects, prophets and prophetesses, taking
into account the full context, and acknowledging that the veil is without
meaning to Americans. Again, these prophetesses were the exception of I
Timothy 2: 12.

(from MARS-List Digest 3895, February 12, 2003)




[Editor’s Note: This is one of the most in-depth, comprehensive studies between two brethren on the issue of whether "the spiritual gifts view" of I Corinthians 11:1-16 is true, or whether God requires women today to cover their heads with an artifical covering whenever they pray. We hope all readers will continue to study all Bible topics with open minds, willing to conform to God's Truth. Thanks for reading! - Mark J. Ward]

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