The Don Martin - Mark J. Ward Discussion on

I Corinthians 11:1-16

Ward's 12th Article

This is the next article Mark J. Ward writes under the Subject line: Re:I Corinthians 11:1-16...

Re: I Corinthians 11:1-16
Mon, 10 Feb 2003 00:57:09 -0500
"Mark J. Ward" <>

Mark J. Ward to Don Martin and the list:

I continue to enjoy the study, benefit from the comments and questions
raised, and appreciate my good brother Don Martin as he engages me in a
kind manner in this area of disagreement. While Don notes in one of his
most recent posts that I have a busy workload (spiritual and secular), I
would like to point out that it is my pleasure to engage in this
discussion (BTW the other discussion on another list was already planned
and agreed to prior to accepting ~Don's invitation~ to ask 5 questions
of each other on I Cor. 11 and then on I Cor. 14:34,35.) Patience is a
virtue, brother Don <g>.

I don't know whether or not we can complete this part of our study prior
to Feb. 18th, but such is certainly a possibility, time will tell. I
appreciate the kind words written about how we stand together on many
topics. I would be more than happy to have brother Don Martin at my side
in study/discussion with others on many topics!

In this post I will make a few comments on brother Don Martin's remarks
in MARS-List Digest posts 3871, 3880 & 3881 and pose Question 5.


Brother Don says he is not trying to misrepresent my position. I believe

that; I really do, Don. I believe I would err in not bringing this to
the attention of my good brother Don Martin. I would want the same from
him; I really would, brother Don. Please bear with me and read on.

Don wrote:
Mark, why would you make such a strained argument and even accuse me of
misrepresentation? Is it because you feel desperate to force the special
and unusual teaching that bound the covering on certain ones on all
today? Mark, even at Corinth, the covering was not bound on all women,
just every "praying or prophesying" woman. Mark, I think we are becoming
bogged down in equivocation and word games. I say this not trying to be
rude, but helpful.

Mark here:
Dear brother Don: Two of the reasons I would bring up the point about
you misrepresenting my position are: (1) to keep my position before the
list and not let it be misrepresented <g>and, (2) in order to try to
teach you wherein you make unwarranted conclusions and reach an
incorrect position. I certainly don't feel "desperate" as you ask above

You begin to depart from the truth in I Corinthians 11 when you assert
that the passage was NOT for "every woman" in the church at
Corinth...From there, you leap frog to other incorrect conclusions. No
equivocation here, good brother. Just trying to help you see truth and
the incorrectness of your position.

Brother Don wrote to Lora: "Don comments: First, Lora, thank you for
your interest in the covering issue. As you know, Mark Ward believes the
covering matter is binding on all "praying and prophesying" women
today." (from MARS-List Digest 3863, February 3, 2003).

Now, in his last post (from MARS-List Digest 3881) Don changes the
wording a bit, including changing the AND to OR (which is significant in
that it makes a DIFFERENCE IN MEANING) which is the teaching point I am
trying to emphasize at this time. Notice when Don writes, "Mark contends
that the covering is to be bound on every woman "praying or prophesying"
today. Mark has said that I have misrepresented him in this latter

Now, dear Don and readers...can you see THE DIFFERENCE?

Don takes "every man" and "every woman" and applies a definition to
"prophesying" of inspired ONLY and then uses terminology that is
uninspired sentence structure from that such as ~praying and
prophesying women~. So, WHEN DON WROTE what he did (above) to
Lora, can we not see wherein such would be a misrepresentation of my
position? Such is at the base/foundation of Don's theory being
false/incorrect. Hope this clears it up for you Don.

WORD LOGISTICS...Mark or Don???

Mark here:
Don honestly doesn't understand what I wrote in my last post. In the
spirit of good discussion, and since this is an important area of our
disagreement, I will try again.

I believe that the passage in I Cor. 11:1-16 applied (at the time of
writing) to "every man" and "every women" whether or not they were
inspired. Therefore, the ~application~ (to them) AND ~the proper sense~
(understanding) of the passage would be to inspired or uninspired men
and women at times of "praying or prophesying". I also believe that the
passage in I Cor. 11:1-16 applies (now) to "every man" and "every woman"
and (by ~application~) would only be to those who are UNINSPIRED...not
forgetting that I believe the ~sense/understanding of the passage~ is
for inspired AND uninspired action. Hope that helps, Don. Don't LIMIT my
position to being only UNINSPIRED as far as what the passage can do so in application and not misrepresent me, but you
can't so far as what I truly understand the passage to TEACH (includes
inspired AND/OR uninspired action). Thanks. Does that help you?

BTW, it would be God who "binds" and doesn't bind (whatever the subject
matter). I don't have any authority to bind anything, brother Don.
Neither do you. We are to preach and teach what we understand God to
have bound and loosed.


My good brother Martin really believes that women with the spiritual
gift of prophecy were in the pulpit in the assembly at the church of God
at Corinth with God's blessings. He asserts that the women were doing
the same thing (prophesying or praying) in the same circumstance. He
wrote, " I understand and teach that these were special women doing
precisely what their male counter-part, the prophets, were doing, in the
same way and circumstance."
By that he means, as he has explained all too well, that he believes the
ladies with the miraculous gifts would LEAD the assembly.

Don, this is would be in direct violation to I Tim. 2:11,12! These
women, that you assert without proof, that were LEADING prayer or
LEADING the prophesying in the church assembly, would be exercising
authority over every man in that assembly, even if they had a covering
on as a "sign of subjection"! That would be similar to elders today
giving a lady "permission" to preach in the pulpit when the whole church
be come together into one place (i.e. the assembly of the church) and
since she had "permission" (NOT from God, mind you), she would be OK,
even tho' she would really be exercising authority/dominion over the men
in the assembly?!?! You don't believe that, do you?

The above is another example of the incorrectness of my good brother
Don's position. You can't read in the Bible that the ladies were doing
the exact same thing that the men were doing in the exact same
circumstance. That is NOT the same as "they were both praying or
prophesying". Note the difference: Don and readers. But, Don expects us
to believe that they were no differences in that he teaches they were
doing the same thing in the same circumstance. I deny it was done with
God's approval. Don has no passage to support his theory.

The truth of the matter is that they "all prayed" when someone led them
in prayer and "every man" and "every woman" were to obey the covering
instructions for the inspired reasons given. But, once again, our
brother Don says that is NOT what is under consideration here, when he
writes, "Yes, when one publicly led prayer, all were praying in a
general sense, but this is not what is being discussed." Don, how can we
KNOW and how can you BE SURE? I'll contend that praying, in a general
sense, IS included in the meaning of the passage. And if there was
miraculous praying going on...every man and every woman praying (all of
them) should be obeying the instruction! There is no reason to believe

It is Don who is guilty of taking a passage to "every man" and "every
woman" concerning covering of heads at times of "praying or prophesying"
who sets up the definitions to be special, exclusive, without necessary
implication and forces the text to have things like ladies LEADING THE
ASSEMBLY which was against God's law! I hope Don can see why I can't
join hands with him in believing this "spiritual gifts theory" about the
covering not being applicable today.

Don Martin wrote:
I have explained Paul's teaching in I Corinthians 11: 3-16 regarding the
commands pertaining to the head covering in view of the subjects (every
praying or prophesying woman) and the meaning of the veil at that time
to those people (headship subjugation). Mark, if I understand you, you
are saying that there really was no such custom pertaining to the

Mark here:
Since Paul did NOT base the teaching of I Cor. 11:1-16 on custom, what
it matter (i.e. whether or not there was a local custom that was the
same or
different for the Jews and Greeks in the city of Corinth)??? Further, I
don't know of any "custom"
among JEWS OR GREEKS at CORINTH that had BOTH the "men uncovered" AND
the "women covered",
AT TIMES OF praying or prophesying, do you? That is what I am trying to

One good aspect of not rushing through a study is that there is time to
see wherein part(s) of disagreement might be resolved if there were a
better understanding of each other's position. I did not know some of
the things that our good brother Don believed, until he let me know such
in these discussions. Don knew he believed them all along <g>, but I
didn't until we took the time to get there. Sometimes Don thinks he is
being very redundant, where I am just making sure I understand him.
Please read on with regards to my responding to brother Don's para

The inspired record is where we should make our appeal and from which we
should base our faith (Rom. 10:17).

1. To assert that there were "women preachers of inspiration" in the
church of God at Corinth is not necessarily implied from the text.
2. To arrive at a conclusion that the "praying" in this text is
exclusively miraculous is without the same necessary implication.
3. Further, to base a view on the conjecture that Paul was teaching
something that was in vogue with ~THE CUSTOM OF THE DAY~ [in the absence
of inspired info on the subject, and since there were probably customs
(plural) of the day in Corinth <g>] is very dangerous in reaching a
studied conviction on the subject.

I say these things as kindly as I can. Please read on.

Scholars differ on just "what" the societal norm(s) was/were "of the
day" in the city of Corinth during the time Paul wrote I Corinthians.
But the Bible (inspired record) is clear that both Jews and Greeks lived
in Corinth (Acts 18:8; I Cor. 10:1; Rom. 15:26,27). I believe, Don,
that there were various customs (plural, practices, usages, etc) for
various folks (men and women, of various cultures) in their everyday
life: religious and non-religious (at the same time in the same city of
Corinth). We have such today, don't we? In other words, doesn't
everybody today (or in yester-year) have "customs" (practices, usages,
plural) concerning how they dress, including headgear???). And, since
Corinth was a city comprised of Jews and Greeks, their respective
customs could have been different in the same city (you seem to argue as
tho they had to be the SAME for Paul's teaching to make sense or apply
to them) If there were ~differing customs~ (religious and non-religious)
among the folks living at Corinth, WHICH ONE would Paul be
choosing/favoring/alluding to/etc??? and why ??? and, where is such
proven/supported by the inspired record??? ...

So, for my good brother Don to base his position on:

1. assumptive conjecture of the societal norm/s of the day in the
absence of inspired information,
2. when Paul's instruction concerning what God wants done (but I would
have you know...) concerning covered and uncovered heads is based on
inspired, God-given reasons (OTHER THAN "custom") for the specific times
of "praying or prophesying", and
3. since such instruction was probably contrary to BOTH the societal
norms of BOTH the Jews (esp. the men who normally covered???) and the
Greeks (esp. the women who normally uncovered least at
times of prayer, according to HBJ and Robertson <g>??),

is, in my estimation, an improper way to go about determining that such
is not applicable today at times of "praying or prophesying"...FOR

1. we have various societal norms today in all cultures on the earth,
and some cities are diverse enough to have mixed customs in the same
town (like could have been the case at Corinth 1st century),
2. when Paul's instruction concerning what God wants done concerning
covered and uncovered heads is based on reasons OTHER THAN "custom" for
the specific times of "praying or prophesying" , and
3. is probably contrary to various cultural norms of the day for
different people from different backgrounds in the norm of their
everyday life....


Paul's instruction is applicable to "every man" and "every woman" in
Corinth at times of "praying or prophesying" (and all other places the
gospel would be taught per I Cor. 4:17) and should be followed even if
contrary to what "everyday life custom" might be for each particular
Christian (male, female, Jew, Greek, bond, free, etc)....and,
Paul's instruction is applicable to "every man" and "every woman" now at
times of "praying or prophesying" (I Cor. 4:17; 2 Tim. 2:2) and should
be followed even if contrary to what "everyday life custom" might be for
each particular Christian (male, female, Jew, Greek, bond, free, etc).

Hope this helps.

QUESTION #5: Don, in light of the New Testament instruction against
women exercising authority over men, why do you believe that women with miraculous gifts in the first century were doing so (leading the
assembly in praying or prophesying covered with God's approval), but
others who were praying, men and women, didn't have to obey the
instruction? Scripture please.

In Christian love,
Mark J. Ward
The Religious Instructor
The Golden Isles church of Christ

(From MARS-List Digest 3886, February 10, 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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