Hackmodford wrote:It's been a while, but I was thinking on your argument about headcovering being a cultural specific thing... I have one problem with that. From what I can tell the church at Corinth had allot of cultures intermingled with them. Greek+Roman+Jewsish(possibly?)
So if that's true why would Paul say go with the Greek tradition instead of the Roman tradition or Jewish Tradition?
Also I've been digging through the internet and trying to find out what the early christians did and it seems that they all followed this custom one way or another. (i.e. some covered their face some did not)
Any more thoughts?
Corinth certainly was a blend of cultures. Though Paul is not playing "cultural favorites", but rather dealing with the "pop-culture" traditions that were especially ingrained in Corinth. It would have made no difference what culture the head covering tradition came from. It was a popular tradition and was relevant to how people and God would be viewed. This is what made it relevant for Paul and worth teaching on.
There are two principles guiding Paul's teaching here. One goes without saying, and that is to honor God. The other is actually presented by the context leading up to 1 Cor. 11, which indicates that we're talking about cultural issues rather than universal ones. That principle is to honor and "give no offense"(1. Cor. 10:31-33) to each other.
In chapters 8-10 of 1st Corinthians, Paul is giving instruction on how Christians should view their freedom within the context of their culture. He started out by addressing food sacrificed to idols(something alien to our modern American culture, but a big part of specifically Corinthian culture) and in chapter 11 touches on the custom of head coverings.
You're right that the churches in general likely handled this issue in similar ways. In verse 16, when Paul concludes his teaching on this issue, he says that if anyone still wants to be contentious about it, to appeal to the fact that it is the common church custom. Note that he doesn't say, "if anyone still wants to be contentious, warn them that this is the command of God and they should obey it." He essentially just says, "C'mon, guys. Be reasonable. We're all biting the bullet and doing this too."
Because of this final word from him and the surrounding context of Paul teaching on interaction with surrounding culture, I'm convinced that the head covering issue is also an issue of culture, rather than a universal command on attire.
I also think there are more logical complications and inconsistencies in treating texts like this as universal. I think if we assume this is universal teaching on attire, we also have to ask ourselves:
1. Why would God preserve in scripture extensive teaching on issues that are effectively obsolete? (1 Corinthians Chapter 8 is obsolete if we assume the teaching is universal, since no cultures I'm aware of practice this precise custom today.) God could have had Paul write Corinth about this, but why preserve it for us?
2. Why do we not immediately kiss each other when we meet? (1. Thes. 5:26)
3. Why are we not required to lift our hands in public prayer? (1 Tim 2:8)
Maybe I'm looking at this wrong. I suppose it's possible that the teaching on head coverings from Paul IS universal and relevant today. But if it is, and if we want to treat scripture consistently (rather than picking and choosing what we want to believe) I think these three points (and probably numerous others) need to be addressed in a consistent manner.
It's a difficult passage, definitely. But I think the most logically consistent resolution to the issue is to see it as teaching on cultural interaction, rather than attire.