Head Coverings in Public Worship

“Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.    But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.  For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn…  For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels…  Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?…”

1 Cor. 11:4-6,10,14

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Order of Contents

Start Here
Articles
History of
Website
Latin
On Ministers Covering their Heads Preaching
On Reverencing the Ordinances of God

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Start Here

Murray, John – ‘Headcoverings, a Letter’  1973  12 paragraphs

Isbell, Sherman – Headship and Worship: Notes on 1 Corinthians 11:2-16  no date  33 paragraphs

For something particularly very full and detailed, see Kayser’s treatment below.

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Articles

1600’s

Ames, William – ‘Concerning Women’s Veils, 1 Cor. 11’  being ch. 3, section 28 of A Fresh Suit Against Human Ceremonies in Worship, pp. 345-350  GB  1633

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1900’s

Pink, A.W. – Studies in the Scriptures, August, 1930, p. 191  

Pink teaches that ladies are to cover their heads in private prayer also, which we do not endorse.

Kayser, Phillip – Glory and Coverings: a Study of 1 Corinthians 11:1-16  2003  52 pp.

Kayser convincingly argues that 1 Corinthians 11 teaches that ladies are to wear head-coverings in the public worship of God

Silversides, David – Is Head Covering Biblical?  no date  71 paragraphs

This paper is very valuable, in addition to its Biblical arguments, for its analysis of Calvin’s pro-head-covering position and the position of the Westminster Assembly, and for its numerous quotes on the subject from the reformers, puritans, Scots and other writers through church history. 

This paper was primarily intended as a refutation of the position paper of the Still Waters Revival, in their reversal on the head coverings issue 

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The Reformation History of

1500’s

The Discipline of the Reformed Churches of France  1559

Ch. 10, Canons 1-2  in Synodicon in Gallia Reformata, vol. 1, p. xliii

Peter Martyr Vermigli

As quoted in Joseph Bingham, Works, 10.128Martyr in the context is arguing that certain, distinctive, ministerial dress may be lawful. 

Propositions and Principles of Divinity Propounded and Defended in the University of Geneva by certain students of divinity there, under Mr. Theodore Beza and Anthonis Faius, professors of divinity (Edinburgh, 1591), pp. 251-2

“6. …Some [apostolic traditions] are concerning the rites and the good order of the Church; as that touching the blood of things that were strangled, the covering of women’s heads, that men should not be covered in the time of prayer, and such like.

7. Those things, which are concerning the substance of doctrine [e.g. Lord’s Supper], are to be perpetually observed in the Church: but as for the things which apertain to outward rites, they in consideration of diverse circumstances, as of time, place and person, may be changed: yet so, as regard be always had (which must be generally observed in all indifferent things) unto that which makes most for the glory of God and the edification of the Church.”

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1600’s

Theodore Beza

A Clear and Simple Treatise on the Lord’s Supper (RHB, 2016), p. 113

“We are accustomed to testify without hesitation that this reverence–even if it principally resides in the attitude of the heart of a person who, with a certain righteous dread, regards God as present with Him, a heavenly banquet as present, and the angels as present–nevertheless is also present in the external elements [signis].  I mean things like kneeling during common prayers, an uncovered head, and properly greeting those from whose hand we receive the mysteries–in a word, in our whole deportment and demeanor.  And anyone who behaved differently would not leave without a severe rebuke.”

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The Synopsis of True Theology (1625; Brill, 2016), Disputation 36, ‘On the Religious Practice of Invocation’, Antonius Walaeus presiding, p. 431

“And while men pray with their heads uncovered, women do so with covered head, according to the apostle’s instruction (1 Corinthians 11:4).”

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On the Scottish Church

Leishman, Thomas – pp. 401-2 of ‘The Ritual of the Scottish Church’

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Samuel Rutherford

Divine Right of Church Government, p. 144

“Uncovering of the head:  Though this last be not adoration, but a national sign of reverence, and is not every where adoration; yet Abulensis says, the Jews did pray and sacrifice with covered heads: So says Virgil, and Lod. Vives:  Therefore the Corinthians had this from the Grecians as a civil sign of gravity, which should not be banished from God’s worship.”

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Richard Baxter

A Christian Directory: a Sum of Practical Theology and Cases of Conscience  Buy  (1673), pt. 3, Christian Ecclesiastics, Question 136, ‘How shall we know what parts of Scripture precept or example were intended for universal, constant obligations, and what were but for the time and persons that they were then directed to?’, pp. 893-4

“On the other side, narrow and temporary precepts and examples:  1. Are void of all these foresaid [universal and perpetual] characters;  2. They are about materials of temporary use;  3. Or they are but the ordering of such customs as were there before, and were proper to those countries;  4. And many speeches are plainly appropriated to the time and persons;  5. And many actions were manifestly occasional, without any intimation of reason or purpose of obliging others to imitation.

So the women’s veil and the custom of kissing each other as a token of love, and men’s not wearing long hair, were the customs of the country there ordered and improved by the apostles about sacred things, but not introduced into other countries that had no such custom.”

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Richard Muller – Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics, vol. 2, pp. 489-90

Muller quotes the Genevan Bible Annotations, Matthew Pool, John Lightfoot and Francis Roberts for the cultural view.

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Website

The Head Covering Movement

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Latin

Voetius, Gisbert – Problem 6  of Ecclesiastical Politics, vol. 1, book 2, tract 1, ch. 8, pp. 475-6

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On Ministers Covering their Heads Preaching

Perkins, William – ‘Thirdly’, p. 3, left col., top  on Mt. 5:1  in A Godly & Learned Exposition upon Christ’s Sermon on the Mount  in The Workes of that Famous & Worthy Minister of Christ in the University of Cambridge, M. W. Perkins (London, 1631), vol. 3

Speaking of the custom in the reformed Church of France.

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On Reverencing the Ordinances of God

George Gillespie – in English-Popish Ceremonies

Rutherford

The Divine Right of Church Government…  (1646), p. 84

“…yea, reverencing of the ordinances of God, as the delighting in or trembling at the Word, are not properly acts of adoring God.”

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Related Pages

Worship

The Regulative Principle of Worship 

Whether Ladies have the Right to Vote for Church Officers

Saying Amen at the End of Prayers

Ladies

Ladies in the Church

Church Membership