The Don Martin - Mark J. Ward Discussion on

I Corinthians 11:1-16

Ward's 16th

This is the next (in sequence) post(s) that Mark J. Ward writes under the Subject line: Re:I Corinthians 11:1-16...


Re: I Corinthians 11:1-16
Tue, 25 Feb 2003 19:12:46 -0500

Mark J. Ward to Don Martin and the list:

(post one of two)

I continue to enjoy this good discussion and appreciate my good brother Don
very much. I hope everyone is doing well, I know that many disasters have
occurred recently and note that many of our dear friends across the nation grow
old and are suffering physical and emotional pain. Such occurs on earth, but we
all look forward to a better land! I am blessed to be in Artesia, New Mexico
and have been able to enjoy not only my secular work, but meeting good brethren
out here in Roswell and in Hope, New Mexico. It’s great to be in the family of
God and meet brethren all over. Such is also the case with this list. With
technology and interest, we are able to study God’s Word in this forum which
was not available to others a few decades ago. God bless us all as we continue
to study together.

Contrary to brother Don’ opinion, I am not feeling the “pressure” and don’t
believe some of the things he charges me with believing. Brother Don, I want
you to continue press your points, as truth (as we respectively understand it
to be at this time <G>) has nothing to fear from open investigation. Let us be
very careful, however, to do our best to understand and deal with the true
position of each other. I love brother Don and appreciate the job he is trying
to do in contending for what he really believes the Bible teaches and for his
interest and time in trying to help me and others. Many men today will not
engage such a detailed examination of this issue and Don is to be commended for

In the interest of not repeating too much, I have reviewed brother Don’s last
response (three posts) and have tried to make headings on the main points from
his last. Brother Don, please bring any argumentation that you believe I have
failed to deal with to my attention. That is NOT my intent in trying to be brief
(er). Thanks.

Don wrote (in part):
“I have maintained that the covering was only binding on "every woman praying
or prophesying" and that the covering was indigenous to those people, having no
meaning today in America.”

Mark here:
First, Don’s position doesn’t have many women being covered (versus the
inspired text’s “every woman”) as we will see in examining his position more
fully herein. Secondly, Don has already admitted that he is not sure just what
the societal norm(s) were of the Jews & Greeks that co-existed in Corinth. Paul
didn’t base the instruction on custom, he gave the inspired reasons we read of
in verses 1-16!

Please note what brother Don wrote in MARS-List Digest 3880, Feb. 7, 2003:
“I am not totally sure as to the full societal practice of the head covering at
the time of Paul's special teaching, to be up-front. It could be that the
culture of Corinth was diversified to the point that there may have been some
intermixed cultures that did not so view the veil and its meaning.”

Mark here:
So, brother Don doesn’t know what the practice was, but does (somehow) KNOW
that such was behind Paul’s inspired instruction…even tho the text does not so
state! Where is the passage to support this brother Don? Why do you keep going
to uninspired sources to get information? Please stay with the text of God’s
Word, its all we need. Please note: Sometimes, brother Don argues FROM the
backdrop of his assumptive belief that Paul wrote what he did BASED ON THE
CULTURE (thus going FROM culture TO the instruction found in I Cor. 11:1-
16..and other times, brother Don seems to reason FROM the instruction in 11:1-
16 TOWARDS the culture!

See the next quote by our good brother Don:
“Don comments:

I imagine one can find conflicting statements by latter day writers relative
to the veil, who wore it and what it symbolized at the time period of I
Corinthians 11. However, I do believe reliable works should be accepted,
especially in view of Paul's instructions. Consider the statement found in
the International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia:…” (from MARS-List Digest 3880,
Feb. 7, 2003)

Mark here:
See the dual approach? Immediately above our good brother Don reasons, “…
reliable works should be accepted, especially in view of Paul’s instructions.”
That’s just the opposite approach than the other one Don contends for that
states, “…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).” (from MARS-List Digest 3880, Feb. 7, 2003).
I contend that Paul based the reasons for women to be covered and men to be
uncovered on matters that were OTHER THAN culture/custom-based due to the
teaching of God’s Word on the subject we find in our text! BTW brother Don,
please tell us “which” uninspired works are reliable on “which” subjects?
Especially this one! <g>

Let Don and all the readership studying this matter be reminded that Don and I
disagree on the definitions, meaning and application of the text. In his
response most recent (separated into three), Don has begun to use the “inspired
WORD ORDER”, but keeps the meaning and application that he has held/believed
all along in this discussion. This is to be noted as a subtle change in Don’s
writing, and we appreciate at least the fact that he is now starting to use
the “inspired word order”, even tho’ we are still in disagreement.

But, notice that Don places the “when” that special women ONLY are to be
covered in a VERY LIMITED time…ONLY when the in presence of male prophets, and
ONLY when they were doing exactly the same thing in the same circumstances. I
am not sure where or how Don was taught this, it may have been from reading
other uninspired men’s writings??? Please notice a portion copied from the last

Mark had answered (in part) question #1:
"The Bibles teaches, whether in public or in private, whether in the company
of another human being or not, whenever and wherever a woman is engaged in
praying or prophesying she would need to be covered."

Don then wrote:
”Mark's answer resembles an answer to a similar question that I provided.
Notice both the similarity and the dissimilarity. I (“Don”, mjw) wrote:

" 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

Mark here:
But DON really puts more LIMITATIONS on the passage when you know his position,
in full (thus read on), for he DOES NOT believe that ANYTIME a woman was
prophesying in the company of WOMEN ONLY, for example, that she had to obey the
instruction to cover! God didn’t teach that it was a shame for a woman to be
uncovered “only when engaging in inspired only praying or prophesying in the
presence of men who were also exercising the same gifts”, but rather
when “praying or prophesying”! I hope those studying this will see the
difference. Read God’s Word and then read Don’s exceptional limitations. God
said “every woman” at times of “praying or prophesying” and Don leaps to “only
when leading inspired only praying or prophesying when men were present who
were doing exactly the same thing in the same circumstances”!

Don continued to explain:
However, I did not stop with the simple above answer, but I went on to
provide the full answer that I believe the context and milieu of I
Corinthians 11: 3-16 require.

"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 time."

Mark here:
Read on (in the next section) as to why we continue to disagree with Don’s


In my last post, in concluding my answer to Question #1, I wrote:

“Let all know that using the term “praying or prophesying” does NOT imply that
I believe (necessarily) that women “pray AND prophesy” in all the settings
brother Don has listed above.”

Brother Don failed to get this, in my estimation. It is really as simple as
understanding the meaning of the word “or”. Paul, by the inspiration of God,
tells us in I Cor. 11:1-16 some reasons why “every man” should be Uncovered
when “praying or prophesying” and also why “every woman” should be covered
when “praying or prophesying”. Don continues to assert that which the
Scriptures do not teach: that the prophets/prophetesses ONLY were being
addressed and that some societal influence “of the day” was behind Paul’s
writing the instruction! In other posts we have listed about 9-12 assumptions
of brother Don’s position which we will not re-list here (but will again before
the conclusion of this discussion).


Don fails to see that whenever and wherever women pray, they are to be covered.
Don has no scripture to prove that women with miraculous gifts usurped
authority over men (IN or OUT of church assemblies) with God’s blessings. We
have shown wherein Don errs, but instead of countering and showing where my
answer is wrong, he simply disagrees (states that such is extreme, or that he
doesn’t understand what I argue) and then repeats his original statement that
has already been dealt with!

IF women cannot “prophesy alone”, for example, so what? Did I ever contend,
brother Don, that women prophesy ALONE? In answering question one I have
affirmed that whenever or wherever women are “praying or prophesying” they are
to be covered. REMEMBER, I already stated, “Let all know that using the
term “praying or prophesying” does NOT imply that I believe (necessarily) that
women “pray AND prophesy” in all the settings brother Don has listed above.”
(with reference to his A-K parts of question one). The point is: IF a woman
COULD prophesy alone, she would need to be covered then. Since a woman can pray
alone, she needs to cover then. God said women who pray uncovered dishonor
their head (vs 5,6).

Don also thinks I bind more now than ever before. GOD does the binding and Don
and I are to try to rightly divide God’s Word! I have just answered question
one on what my position is, brother Don <g>! I have always believed that men,
for example, were to uncover when praying (whether public or private, whether
with men present or not, whether with women present or not, whether with
children present or not, and even when alone). Don thinks I err when I teach
that women who are praying ALONE are to cover (or when praying at other times,
when not in the presence of men, for example), but the SCRIPTURES teach
that “every woman” who prays with her head uncovered dishonors her head (vss 4-
6). GOD is watching brother Don, even when the lady is alone praying. ANGELS
may be watching. And in certain other cases, with no men present, WOMEN and
CHILDREN may be watching. While such is definitely “outward”, thus an
artificial covering as distinguishable from the long hair (which is also a
covering), the scriptures do NOT teach that such is ~only to be done when
leading inspired only praying or prophesying when in the presence of others of
the opposite sex~! In fact, Don actually has gone on record to assert that men
could pray (when praying while following) COVERED in the presence of women!
More assumptions without proof.


The Holy Spirit uses an economy of words that is divine in wisdom throughout
the entire Bible. The inspired tenses of verbs, the order of words, the gender
of words, the use of the definite article, etc. all can have a bearing on the
difference between right and wrong on a Bible issue (eg. Seed vs. seeds;
believe, baptized, saved vs. believe, saved, baptized; etc). Since “praying or
prophesying” ~could take place~ in various circumstances by “every man”
and “every woman” it does NOT necessarily follow that both men and women ~did
exactly the same thing in the exact same circumstances~ with regards to praying
or prophesying. Don asserts and assumes what the text does not teach. Don has
not and cannot prove that women usurped authority over men with God’s approval.
Yet, Don teaches that such is the “job” of the prophetess! Just think of the
many ways in which women TODAY can teach without usurping authority over men.
Likewise, women with the gift of prophecy could teach many, including men, in
LOTS OF CIRCUMSTANCES (but not in every circumstance a man could with God’s
approval)…and EDIFY THE CHURCH.

(con’t in next post)

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

(From MARS-List Digest 3942, February 25, 2003)

Re: I Corinthians 11:1-16
Tue, 25 Feb 2003 19:16:08 -0500

Mark J. Ward to Don Martin and the list:

(post two of two)

I continue part two of today’s post in response to brother Don Martin’s
comments to my last as we continue this good study. Don assumes, in my
estimation, what is not proven or necessary to deduce from the text and related
passages. Don believes the passage teaches “only leading prophets/prophetesses
while in the presence of those of the opposite sex when leading inspired only
praying or prophesying” were to be uncovered/covered. The Bible teaches
that “every man” and “every woman” who is “praying or prophesying” needs to
uncover/cover ( I Cor. 11:1-16).


Don’s syllogism has been shown to be incorrect in the application that brother
Don makes: that women taught publicly in such a way IN THE CHURCH to exercise
dominion and usurp authority over men in the audience! References to Anna and
other prophetesses, as we have shown, do not teach such a theory! A woman can
teach and edify the church today, for example, and not usurp authority over men…
even teaching men in some circumstances. Don’s position fails to realize this
to be true.


Mark here:
God didn’t limit this instruction for only public assemblies of the church,

Notice when I pressed Don earlier in this study, what he wrote:

Don wrote in MARS-LIST Digest 3871, Feb. 5, 2003:
“Mark, you have asked me if the teaching of I Corinthians 11 only applied to
the assembly at Corinth. I do believe the resident teaching did apply to the
assembly. Where else would it apply, to a street corner where the prophets and
prophetesses were teaching others? I suppose the teaching that required the
veil would apply to anywhere these certain women and men were doing what they
were doing. Any circumstance where there could be a misunderstanding of the
position of these special women relative to the men in view of them both doing
the same thing. Anywhere the covering would have the meaning of headship

Mark here:
Now that seems to indicate (please correct me if I am wrong concerning your
position, brother Don) that you are saying you believe the text applies OUTSIDE
OF THE ASSEMBLY of the church. You DO believe that spiritual gifts were
exercised OUTSIDE THE ASSEMBLY of the church, don’t you? Now, I realize that
you DO NOT believe (yet <g>) that men had to uncover their heads when they
prayed ALONE. I think you would believe that MEN in the presence of MEN ONLY
would also be permitted to pray covered??? Don, why don’t you teach that women
are to show “headship subjugation” when in the presence of other women and
children? Even if men are not present, women could certainly show such, after
all <g>, your position has women demonstrating the OPPOSITE BEHAVIOUR OF
SUBJECTION (exercising dominion over men) while “showing” a sign of subjection.

Don has already admitted that he believes that the people who were in the
audience praying could do the opposite of the text’s instruction, and that only
the LEADER had to obey the passage! This includes MEN being COVERED while
praying with a LADY WHO LEADS! Seems like THAT would be men showing subjection
to women, brother Don. This is ALL in direct violation of the passage, but Don
seems to take the similar view with regards to the women (i.e. that they HAD to
cover ONLY when in public, in the presence of men in public and ONLY while
leading)??? That is way more than the text teaches, good brother.


Don’s position really has women usurping authority over men while exercising
miraculous gift of prophecy…and while doing so they are to put a sign of
subjection on their heads! This is similar, but not identical, to a lady
preacher today usurping authority by preaching to an audience of men and women,
wearing an artificial covering and saying that the elders gave her permission
to teach over the men, but she is wearing the covering as a sign of her
subjection!!! See the point? Don errs in his mis-understanding of the passage,
but charges me with ~really~ mis-understanding it! See his next comment…<G>

Don concludes:
I can see a man who believes the covering is binding on all women today
maintaining its placement when men are present. However, to demand the
covering in the mist of only women, children, and then in total privacy, I
think clearly demonstrates a total lack of understanding of I Corinthians
11: 3-16.

I shall now wait for Mark to comment on my responsive posts to his answer to
my question one. Mark is now under pressure, but I anticipate that he will
maintain the good composure that has been characteristic of his manner from
the onset. I view Mark to be honest and want the truth. Therefore, I will
not be surprised if Mark comes back and says that he has been wrong to bind
the covering on all women today, even in the circumstance of total privacy
while "praying or prophesying" in their closet (Matt. 6: 6). I encourage
you to look for Mark's posts and carefully read and consider what he has
to say.

Mark notes:
No pressure, brother Don. I am in a position of being consistent with the text.
God sees all, public and private. Some angels see us; not sure the limitations
and all the applications/implications on that part of the matter <g>. A woman
can wear a covering while “praying”, for example, and be OUT OF SUBJECTION to a
man…such is wrong! God said, “every woman” that prays or prophesies with her
head uncovered dishonoreth her head. Where are the passages allowing the men to
be covered while praying at Corinth and women to be uncovered while praying at
Corinth (as your theory asserts, while another is leading them in prayer)?
Don’s position is that God required a covering of special women ONLY, while
LEADING ONLY “praying or prophesying” and WHILE (many times) they would be in a
position OUT OF SUBJECTION TO MAN (in an authoritative position, exercising
dominion over men).

I DON’T BELIEVE THESE THINGS (that Don says I do <g> see below)

Don wrote:
“It is evident that Mark cannot even imagine that these prophetesses or women
who prophesied (such as those in I Corinthians 11: 3-16) taught audiences that
included men.”

Mark here:
I continue to teach that women can teach men, but not usurp authority over men
(I Cor. 14:34,35; I Tim. 2:11,12).

Don wrote:
“Mark just cannot accept the obvious meaning of Luke 2: 36-38 regarding Anna
teaching in the temple (public place) and the fact that she "spake of him to
all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem" (Lk. 2: 38).”

Mark here:
I have pointed out that women can teach men in a public setting, but not in
public settings wherein they would usurp authority over men in violation of
God’s law (both old and new, per I Cor. 14:34,35; I Tim. 2:11,12).

Don also wrote:
“I accept the fact of the prophetesses and what she did, Mark cannot.”

Mark replies:
Brother Don, I will ask that you try harder to be fair with the position I hold.

Don also wrote:
“To make such a universal application and demand, Mark has to detach
"praying" from the commonly understood miraculous act of prophesying and
render "praying" totally natural, in spite of its association with
"prophesying" and the fact of inspired prayer (I Cor. 14: 15). Mark then
has to have "praying" understood as a male leading public prayer and a woman
in the audience simply following, when applied to the assembly. The
"prophesying" has to be reduced, in order to be immediately applicable
today, to uninspired teaching.”

Mark here:
I don’t detach praying. And, I believe Don probably errs in his application of
I Cor. 14:15, which we will get to, Lord willing, in the next round of 5
questions each <g>. I am willing to include uninspired and inspired activity
relative to praying. Don is not. I am willing to include leading and following
in praying. Don is not. Don reasons (as we have noted) FROM “prophesying”
TOWARD “Praying”. We have shown the problems with this in previous posts.

Note that brother Don again failed to deal with the reference/argument I have
made (more than once, unless I missed it) concerning “teachers of good things”
and “prophet is not without honor save in his own country” (in Matthew 13:57,
which is from the same basic Greek word as the other forms found in I Cor. 11
and Titus 1:12) can properly apply to either inspired OR uninspired
teachers/prophets. I don’t reduce the meaning of prophesying today…I
teach/instruct what the text “means” and the “application” ~of necessity~ would
be to uninspired folks today since no inspired folks exist! But, that does NOT
mean that I teach that the MEANING of the text is uninspired ONLY, brother Don.

Further, it is always interesting, even from my question #1 forward, to see how
quickly Don LEAVES the normal meaning of praying and runs to “prophesying” in
defining praying, to get his spiritual gifts position underway. There is no
hermeneutical rule mandating such an approach. Every man and every woman at
Corinth to whom Paul wrote prayed. The inspired reasons for covering and
uncovering heads at times of “praying OR prophesying” were given, and note
again that such did not include a reference to the societal norm(s) of the non-
Christians in that community <g>.

Don wrote:
“Mark must totally ignore the apparent situation of the prophets and
prophetesses (women who prophesied) at Corinth doing precisely the same
thing. Since the gift of prophesy was meant to be publicly used, there was
a real danger of insubordination of headship, the headship announced in
verse three.”

Mark here:
I do nothing of the sort, brother Don <g>! We need more than “presumptive”
and “apparent” theories to base a studied conviction/conclusion on. The gift of
prophecy was meant to be used whenever and wherever (publicly OR privately)
such would be for the edifying (building up). I believe that brother Don and I
are in agreement, per his teaching on I Tim. 2 elsewhere on this list, that
some women today (uninspired) can get out of line from their seats in a mixed
Bible class taught by a man (and even if they had a covering on)! Since
inspired OR uninspired women might get out of line…what does that argument
prove? Don doesn’t answer this question, when asked; rather, he just repeats
his position (previously stated). Notice: Putting on a covering WHILE USURPING
AUTHORITY OVER MEN isn’t much of a symbol of subjection, is it? A sign or token
of what??? Is the prophetess “showing” one thing and “doing” another??? (eg “I
will show you a sign of subjection, but I’ll exercise dominion over men”?

Mark concludes this post:
I look forward to brother Don’s responses and in continuing this very good
discussion. I hope the differences in what Don advocates and the teaching of
the text are becoming more and more apparent as we continue this study. I love
brother Don and all on the list. I continue to wait for scriptural proof
upholding his position. To my brethren and sistern who believe that the
artificial covering is LIMITED to “assembly only” or “church only activity”,
please reconsider your beliefs in light of what the text says. Thanks for

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

(From MARS-List Digest 3942, February 25, 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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