THE SOLITUDE OF JESUS… Part 2

Written by Octavius Winslow (1808 – 1878)

He said unto them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” John 4:32

We could scarcely have expected any other path more appropriate to Christ than the one which this passage indicates.

Jesus-praying-beigeAny other would have been incongruous with the character, the mission, and the life of Jesus. He was a Divine Sun revolving in an orbit peculiarly His own, an orbit so vast that Deity alone could fill it. The path He took was too elevated for any to walk beside Him- His object, His sorrow, His joy too unique for a stranger to intermeddle with. The human nature of Christ was keenly sensitive. Naturally of a pensive mind, He loved retirement, courted solitude, sought the quietude of the desert, that there He might converse alone with God. With the nature of the work which He came to accomplish neither men nor angels could sympathize or aid. Deity, united with a sinless humanity; absolute God, yet in union with perfect man.

He alone could accomplish it.

No creature could share the curse, divide the burden, or tread a step with Him the wine-press of woe. Ah, no! with the accomplishment and the honor of our salvation man had nothing to do. It is the work of the God-man alone, and stands, in its own transcendent glory, the unaided achievement of the Incarnate God. While yet none ever lived so solitary a life as did our Lord, it yet was not a selfish, unloving life. Never did one live so entirely for others as He did. “He went about doing good.” He loved the solitary glen, but He loved man more; and to heal and soothe and bless man He would often exchange the calm, sequestered shade of the mountain, for the noise and the strife of the crowded city. And yet, amid the turmoil and engagements of public life, His spirit was often as lonely and desolate as though He trod the profound solitudes of the desert. He had food to eat of which none knew but Himself.

Then there was loneliness around the character of Christ. It was never fully known even by His beloved disciples, so constantly in His presence, sharing His love and admitted to His confidence. His words were misunderstood, His actions misinterpreted, a false complexion often put upon the most simple and transparent doings. And why this? Because He moved in an orbit unknown to all but God!

Equally lonely were the sorrows and sufferings of our Lord. The cross, in this respect, stood alone. There was no sharing of the cup which He drank, no dividing the sufferings which He endured, no partnership in the work which He finished. The scripture was fulfilled to the letter which said of Him, “I have trodden the wine-press alone, and of the people there was none with me.” Not only did He endure in lonely, uncomplaining silence, the petty trials and annoyances of daily life, (for to whom could He repair with the woundings of His sensitive, loving spirit?) but the deeper anguish His soul endured in working out the redemption of His Church. Truly might He say to His disciples, “I have food to eat which you know not of.” This explains to us the one purpose of our Lord’s life. His food and His drink was to do the will of His Father, and to finish the work given Him to do. For this He lived and labored, for this He suffered, bled, and died. It was His food- the sustenance of His life. He only lived as He lived to accomplish this sublime end- the glory of God in the salvation of man. What a solemn lesson does this teach us!

Does our life have an adequate object? Are we doing or enduring the will of God?

Is the object for which we live, in which we employ our talents, expend our time, use our influence, devote our worldly substance, worthy of life’s present obligations and future award? Oh, beware of a blank life! What, reader, is your food and your drink? Is anything done for Jesus? anything for the glory of God? anything for the well being of your fellows? Remember that for all your abilities, God holds you accountable, and that before long death will cite you to his bar! Child of God! be up and doing. Say to the world, its enchantments, pleasures, and repose, “I have food to eat of which you know nothing. My food is to live for God.” Christ’s cross of suffering pledges us to a life of labor for Him. Service for Jesus is to be our daily food. There must be no pause, no succumbing to difficulty, no fainting beneath opposition. Life is a real, a solemn thing, too closely linked to a momentous future to be trifled with. Again, we ask, what is your object in life? Are you living for your Lord and for your fellow men? Do you carry within you a Christ-loving, man-loving heart, seeking the glory of God in the good of all with whom you come in contact, aiming to set a precious gem in the diadem of your Lord? Is it Christ for us to live, and do we feel as if life only were precious as we offer to Him all we hold most dear and valuable? Is it an object of our life to advance Divine truth, to enlarge Christ’s kingdom, to bring our fellow sinners to partake of His Divine redemption? Let us who hope through grace we are purchased with His blood, are saved by His resurrection, find our rest in toil, our joy in suffering, our food in service for Christ.

“The captive’s oar may pause upon the galley,
The soldier sleep beneath his plumed crest,
And peace may fold her wings over hill and valley,
But you, O Christian, must not take your rest.”

Oh, no! who would wish for rest here in Christ’s service, with an eternity of repose before him? His love constraining us, labor for Him is delectable, service for Him perfect freedom, His yoke easy, His burden light. Let the inquiry be, “Lord, what would you have me to do?” Thus honestly looking up to Him, the sphere of labor in which He would have you engage will be made plain, “And to every man his work.” Seek by prayer to know what the Master has assigned to you, and keep busy until He comes. And as you toil, perchance in pensive loneliness, uncomplaining suffering unnoticed, and unknown, cast your eye earthward and exclaim, “This is the place of labor;” -then raise your eye heavenward and exclaim, “Yonder is the place of rest!”

Taken from “The Foot of the Cross”.

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Meet the author and part of your Christian heritage:  Octavius Winslow (1 August 1808 – 5 March 1878), also known as “The Pilgrim’s Companion”, stood out as one of the foremost evangelical preachers of the 19th Century in England and America. A Baptist minister for most of his life and contemporary of Charles Spurgeon and J.C. Ryle, he seceded to the Anglican church in his last decade. His Christ centered works show devotion, practicality, and an experimental calvinism of the highest order. His writings are richly devotional and warm the soul and inflames the heart with sincere love, reverence, and praise to Christ.

 

If thou art in Christ, FEAR NOT SIN!

Written by, Thomas Goodwin
Materials from, The Protestant Pulpit
Foreword by, Michael Pursley

[May I say just a few words, I believe that this may be an important post for some of us; especially for those of us who have a hard time liking ourselves or finding acceptance in God.  And these two things are related; for as adults, we treat God as we treat ourselves, and when we were young, we saw God as we saw our parents… and we bring that baggage forward with us.

For those of us who have had great difficulty when we were young in finding acceptance, especially in finding a sense of integral formative acceptance from our parents, and/or later, a confirmative acceptance from our siblings or peers, there may very well be a broad chasm in our understanding of God’s acceptance.  Don’t be alarmed about your difficulty in feeling or understanding that God has accepted you; or even, that he wants to accept you.  Your natural feelings may be very stunted by your past.  You may even wonder “why would God or anybody else, see anything good in me.”  If this is you, my dear friend, God’s message of acceptance is especially for you. 

If you are that person, that person who may not have been good enough, or pretty enough, or smart enough to please your parents, or failed somehow in the eyes of the people most important to you, then there may be a tendency that every time you sin, that you might feel like, “There I go again, messing up again, how can God like me?” “How can I be saved… I always keep messing up.”  “Maybe God doesn’t really like me…”  “Maybe, I am not saved.…”  “Maybe, I am only fooling myself, maybe I have already committed the unpardonable sin.”   If your thinking tends to goes around like this… this is  very understandable, but disregard these thoughts, completely!

You will need to learn the concept of acceptance, and that will take time.  Just remember, that you did not come to this unhappy conclusion overnight, and you will need to unlearn it, and that will be a journey.   But, by God’s grace, you can do it, and you can do it with your eyes of faith wide open; not a blind leap of faith! Now, take a few minutes and read the message below, slowly begin opening your eyes of faith.  Grace and peace to you!  –MWP]

If thou art in Christ, fear not sin; for God from everlasting saw all thy sins, and yet, for all that, he continued to accept thee in his beloved,

brideofchrist-249x300It altered his mind not a whit. He was so much pleased with his beloved, that though in his own prescience he foresaw what we would be, yet, having chosen us in his Son, he accepteth us in him; and so, now that we actually exist and sin against him, he, notwithstanding, finds so much contentment at home in his Son, having him by him, that he can patiently bear with us, and please himself in Christ. And so, though he see thee sinful for the present, and foresaw thee sinful from everlasting, yet he still accepts thee in his Beloved. And the reason is, because Jesus Christ is more beloved of him than sin is or can be hated by him. If ever sin should come to have more interest for hatred in the heart of God than Christ hath for love, thou mightest well fear: but he hath accepted thee in his beloved, therefore be not thou afraid.

Hath God accepted thee, and rendered thee thus dear unto him­self in his beloved ? No matter though the world hate thee. The world shall hate you, says Christ, John xvi 33: ‘In the world you shall have tribulation;’ but it is no matter, ‘ in me you shall have peace,’  God accepts thee in Christ; he renders thee dear unto himself in his beloved.

Go therefore unto God, to be accepted only in and through his beloved. Here is the greatest and strongest argument for it that can be. It is said before, in ver. 4, that God chose us unto perfect holiness, and ordained us to perfect glory, and to be sons to him, ver. 5, and both of these as we shall one day be, in heaven. And yet, after both of these, the acceptation of our persons in the beloved comes in as a third and distinct benefit; so that all this would not have pleased him so much as one look upon us in his beloved.  Is this not the perfect holiness, and that complete glory which we shall be in Christ?

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Meet the author and part of your Christian heritage: Thomas Goodwin (Rollesby, Norfolk, 5 October 1600 – 23 February 1680), known as ‘the Elder’, was an English Puritan theologian and preacher, and an important leader of religious Independents. Christopher Hill places Goodwin in the ‘main stream of Puritan thought’.

In 1625 he was licensed a preacher of the university; and three years afterwards he became lecturer of Trinity Church, successor to John Preston, to the vicarage of which he was presented by the king in 1632.

In 1639 he fled to Holland to escape persecution. For some time was pastor of a small congregation of English merchants and refugees at Arnheim. He returned shortly after the inception of the Long Parliament.

In 1643 he was chosen a member of the Westminster Assembly, and at once identified himself with the Independent party, generally referred to in contemporary documents as the “dissenting brethren” and was one of the authors of An Apologetical Narration. He frequently preached by appointment before the Commons, and in January 1650 his talents and learning were rewarded by the House with the presidency of Magdalen College, Oxford, a post which he held until the Restoration of 1660. An amusing sketch, from Joseph Addison‘s point of view, of the austere and somewhat fanatical president of Magdalen, is preserved in No. 494 of The Spectator.

He was chaplain to Oliver Cromwell from 1656. He rose into high favour with the Protector, and was one of his intimate advisers, attending him on his death-bed.

He was also a commissioner for the inventory of the Westminster Assembly, 1650, and for the approbation of preachers, 1653, and together with John Owen drew up an amended Westminster Confession in 1658.

From 1660 until his death, he lived in London, and devoted himself exclusively to theological study and to the pastoral charge of the Fetter Lane Independent Church.

Meet the author and part of your Christian heritage: Thomas Goodwin (Rollesby, Norfolk, 5 October 1600 – 23 February 1680), known as ‘the Elder’, was an English Puritan theologian and preacher, and an important leader of religious Independents. Christopher Hill places Goodwin in the ‘main stream of Puritan thought’.

In 1625 he was licensed a preacher of the university; and three years afterwards he became lecturer of Trinity Church, successor to John Preston, to the vicarage of which he was presented by the king in 1632.

In 1639 he fled to Holland to escape persecution. For some time was pastor of a small congregation of English merchants and refugees at Arnheim. He returned shortly after the inception of the Long Parliament.

In 1643 he was chosen a member of the Westminster Assembly, and at once identified himself with the Independent party, generally referred to in contemporary documents as the “dissenting brethren” and was one of the authors of An Apologetical Narration. He frequently preached by appointment before the Commons, and in January 1650 his talents and learning were rewarded by the House with the presidency of Magdalen College, Oxford, a post which he held until the Restoration of 1660. An amusing sketch, from Joseph Addison‘s point of view, of the austere and somewhat fanatical president of Magdalen, is preserved in No. 494 of The Spectator.

He was chaplain to Oliver Cromwell from 1656. He rose into high favour with the Protector, and was one of his intimate advisers, attending him on his death-bed.

He was also a commissioner for the inventory of the Westminster Assembly, 1650, and for the approbation of preachers, 1653, and together with John Owen drew up an amended Westminster Confession in 1658.

From 1660 until his death, he lived in London, and devoted himself exclusively to theological study and to the pastoral charge of the Fetter Lane Independent Church.

The Solitude of the Cross… Part 1.

Written by Octavius Winslow (1808 – 1878)

He said unto them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” John 4:32

The cross of Christ, like the light of God, stands in its own awesome and sublime solitude.

in-the-wilderness-by-ron-dicianniViewed in this aspect, it appears in perfect sympathy with a peculiar stage of Christian experience. His was a lonesome way. No foot had left an imprint upon its path; no echoes answering to His grief had ever broken its deep solitude; the cup He drained no other lips had ever pressed. From Bethlehem to Calvary, from Calvary to Olivet, from Olivet to heaven, He traveled in loneliness. He was thronged, and yet alone. He had many friends, yet lacked one. This but added keenness to His sense of desolateness. There is no solitude so painful or profound as that which is experienced in a crowd. To feel, amid the hum of a thousand voices, not one chimes lovingly on our ear- to feel, amid the beatings of a thousand hearts, not one throbs in sympathy with our own- to feel, amid the bright and happy homes of earth, the head has no where to lie- this, this is desolateness indeed! Such was the path trodden by our Lord! It is true there were hearts that loved Him, sympathy that soothed Him, kindness that relieved Him, and yet withal He could say, with an emphasis of meaning deep and mournful, “I have food to eat which you know not of.” I have a mission to perform, a work to finish, suffering to endure, a path to tread, unapproached and unapproachable by angel or man.

Viewed in this light, the cross of Jesus is in full sympathy with a peculiarity of the believer’s experience- Christian solitude. The life of God in the soul is a concealed life. Its seat, its principle, its actings, all are profoundly veiled. This being so, the path of the believer must necessarily partake much of this page of our Lord’s life. Next to his Lord, he is the only being who can say of his service and suffering, “I have food to eat which you know not of.” Let us study these remarkable words of our Lord, first in reference to Himself, and then as they bear upon Christian experience.

Taken from “The Foot of the Cross”.

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Meet the author and part of your Christian heritage:  Octavius Winslow (1 August 1808 – 5 March 1878), also known as “The Pilgrim’s Companion”, stood out as one of the foremost evangelical preachers of the 19th Century in England and America. A Baptist minister for most of his life and contemporary of Charles Spurgeon and J.C. Ryle, he seceded to the Anglican church in his last decade. His Christ centered works show devotion, practicality, and an experimental calvinism of the highest order. His writings are richly devotional and warm the soul and inflames the heart with sincere love, reverence, and praise to Christ.

A Spiritual Sticky Note to Myself…

by Samuel Rutherford  (c. 1600 – 1661) 

“We know that all things work together for good to them that love God; hence I infer that losses, crosses, disappointments, ill tongues, loss of friends, relations, houses or country, are God’s workmen, set to work out good to you out of every thing that befalleth you. Let not the Lord’s dealing seem harsh, rough, or unfatherly, because it is unpleasant. When “the Lord’s will blows across your desire, it is best in humility to strike sail to Him, and to be willing to be led any way our Lord pleaseth. You know not what the Lord is working out of this but you shall hereafter.”

Excerpt From: “The Prison Sayings of Samuel Rutherford

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570px-Samuel_Rutherford_St._AndrewsMeet the author and part of your Christian heritage:  Samuel Rutherford (c. 1600 – 30 March 1661) was a Scottish Presbyterian pastor, theologian and author, and one of the Scottish Commissioners to the Westminster Assembly.

Rutherford was educated at Jedburgh Grammar School and Edinburgh University, where he became Regent of Humanity (Professor of Latin) in 1623. In 1627 he was settled as minister of Anwoth in Kirkcudbrightshire,Galloway, where it was said of him ‘he was always praying, always,preaching, always visiting the sick, always catechising, always writing and studying’, and from where he was banished to Aberdeen for nonconformity, ‘being very powerful on the side of the Reformed faith and of God living’, there in Aberdeen, ‘his writing desk’, was said to be, ‘perhaps the most effective and widely resounding pulpit then in Christendom’. His patron in Galloway was John Gordon, 1st Viscount of Kenmure. On the re-establishment of Presbyterianism in 1638 he was made Professor of Divinity at St. Andrews.

Rutherford was chosen as one of the four main Scottish Commissioners to the Westminster Assembly of Divines in London taking part in in formulating the Westminster Confession of Faith completed in 1647, and after his return to Scotland he became Rector of St. Mary’s College at St. Andrews in 1651. Rutherford was a staunch Protester during the controversy in the Scottish Presbyterian church between the Resolutioners and Protesters in the 1650s, and at the Restoration of Charles II his Lex Rex was burnt by the hand of the common hangman, and the “Drunken Parliament” deprived him of all his offices and voted that he not be permitted to die in the college.

His epitaph on his tombstone concluded ‘Acquainted with Immanuel’s song’.

Rutherford’s has been described as ‘Prince of Letter writers’ and C. H. Spurgeon described Rutherford’s letters to be the nearest thing to inspiration which can be found in all the writings of mere men, continuing in an 1891 review of Rutherford’s (posthumously published Letters (1664) ‘when we are dead and gone let the world know that Spurgeon held Rutherford’s Letters to be the nearest thing to inspiration which can be found in all the writings of mere men’. Andrew Thomson, a Scottish minister, in a 19th-century biography observed ‘the letters flash upon the reader with original thoughts and abound in lofty feeling clothed in the radiant garb of imagination in which there is everything of poetry but the form. Individual sentences that supplied the germ-thought of some of the most beautiful spiritual in modern poetry’ continuing ‘a bundle of myrrh whose ointment and perfume would revive and gladden the hearts of many generations, each letter full of hope and yet of heartbreak, full of tender pathos of the here and the hereafter.’  Rutherford was also known for other spiritual and devotional works, such as Christ Dying and drawing Sinners to Himself, “The Trial and Triumph of Faith”.

When God Goes Distant…

Written by A. W. Pink

imagesFO1GZLFM“Loose walking severs communion with God, and then will He act distantly toward us.

Our folly must be repented of and humbly acknowledged before fellowship can be restored with God. Yea, even if our fault be only against a fellow-creature it must be righted before God will accept our worship: “If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift” (Matt. 5:23, 24)—how many are unable to obtain conscious access to God through failure at this very point!

“Turn ye unto Me, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will turn unto you”

Taken from  “Access to God”

A W PinkMeet the Author and part of your Christian heritage: Arthur Walkington Pink (1 April 1886 – 15 July 1952) was an English Christian evangelist and biblical scholar who was known for his staunchly Calvinist and Puritan-like teachings in an era dominated by opposing theological traditions. For example, he called Dispensationalism a “modern and pernicious error”.  Subscribers of his monthly magazine Studies in the Scriptures included Martyn Lloyd-Jones and Dr. Douglas Johnson, first general secretary of Inter-Varsity.After Pink’s death, his works were republished by a number of publishing houses, among them, Banner of Truth Trust, Baker Book House, Christian Focus Publications, Moody Press, Truth for Today, and reached a much wider audience as a result. Biographer Iain Murray observes of Pink, “the widespread circulation of his writings after his death made him one of the most influential evangelical authors in the second half of the twentieth century.” His writing sparked a revival of expository preaching and focused readers’ hearts on biblical living. Pink is left out of many biographical dictionaries and overlooked in many religious histories.

Character Excerpts from Wikipedia

PARTICULARIST THINKING ON THE MEANING OF BEING DRUNK

Written by Benjamin Keach,
Reblogged from Particular Voices,  with thanks. 
Edited for thought and sense by Michael Pursley

Consider what it means to be drunk.

Monk drunk as a Skunk_Painting - forum

To be drunk is to take in excessively anything as disorders nature in its course and operations; this we take to be a general definition of it, including the proper and the metaphorical notions thereof.

What things do necessarily contribute to drunkenness?

Such things that necessarily contribute to it are.

  1. Great and vehement desire or thirst after it.
  2. Plenty of the thing thirsted after.
  3. The greedy taking their fill of it.

What are the true and proper signs of drunkenness?

The signs of drunkenness are:

  1. When the faculties are so disordered that they will not submit to the best reason that can be given them
  2. When they abuse those whom they are most obliged to love and respect.
  3. When they have cast off all considerations of their own and others good, and forbear no mischief but what they are refrained from by force.

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From Keach’s “Antichrist Stormed…”
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keach_benjaminMeet the author and part of your Christian heritage: Benjamin Keach (29 February 1640 – 18 July 1704) was a Particular Baptist preacher in London whose name was given to Keach’s Catechism.

Originally from Buckinghamshire, Keach worked as a tailor during his early years. He was baptized at the age of 15 and began preaching at 18. He was the minister of the congregation at Winslow before moving in 1668 to the church at Horse-lie-down, Southwark where he remained for 36 years as pastor (1668-1704). This congregation later became the New Park Street Church and then moved to the Metropolitan Tabernacle under the pastorship of Charles Spurgeon.

It was as representative of this church that Keach went to the 1689 General Assembly and subscribed the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith. Keach was one of the seven men who sent out the invitation to the 1689 General Assembly. The signing of the confession was no mute doctrinal assent on the part of the church, for in the same year they entered into a Solemn Covenant which reflected, at the practical and congregational level, some of the doctrines of the confession. There was a secession from Horse-lie-down in 1673 and the Old Kent Road congregation was formed. Spurgeon later republished the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith for use in the congregation.

Keach wrote 43 works, of which his “Parables and Metaphors of Scripture” may be the best known. He wrote a work entitled “The Child’s Instructor” which immediately brought him under persecution and he was fined and pilloried in 1664. He is attributed with the writing of a catechism commonly known as “Keach’s Catechism”, although it is most likely that the original was compiled by William Collins.

“On the pillory at Aylesbury Mr. Keach defended himself and the truth with great boldness. The jailer frequently interrupted him, and finally the sheriff himself threatened to have him gagged. The people, contrary to custom, had no words of mockery for the good, persecuted minister, and no offensive missile was hurled at him. An Episcopal minister who ventured to assail Mr. Keach in the pillory was immediately reproached by the people with the ungodliness of his own life, and his voice was drowned in laughter. At Winslow, where he lived, he suffered the same shameful penalty, and a copy of his little book was burned.”

Keach is also known to have promoted the introduction of hymn singing in the Baptist churches. His church, Horslydown, was probably the first church in England to sing hymns, as opposed to psalms and paraphrases. Keach’s hymnbook, published in 1691, provoked heated debate in the 1692 Assembly of Particular Baptists.

Head-Covering: Is It Still Relevant?

From The Protestant Pulpit UPHOLDING AND PROMOTING EXPERIMENTAL CALVINISM & REFORMED PIETY

Beautiful____[ It is always interesting to me when culture and theology meet… er, maybe I should say clash. Ever since the fall of Adam, the size, shape and texture of the proverbial “fig leaf” has been important, debated and watched. In this case, a nascent women’s liberation movement, in an ancient, educated, and cosmopolitan setting occurs; and of all things, it involves clothing at church. It also involves gender roles, how we see ourselves, “sexism”, culture, “progressive thinking”, submission, the will of God, and various other aspects of theology including, but not limited to, contextualization, modernism, values, seeker-friendliness,   etc.

The question is not how you may “feel about it”. Rather, the question is, How will you deal with the subject and also scripture? Will you dismiss the subject entirely? Maybe, even suggest that the “men” who push these thoughts are Sexists. Step back and say, “I really don’t want to get involved.” Or, “Another time… when it is more convenient.” “I’ll think about it?”  Or maybe even take a more “progressive,” “relevant,” and existential view of scripture?

Below, Dr. Timothy Williams makes an excellent, exegetically Biblical, theological and historical presentation on this subject. What are your thoughts? –MWP ]

What were the arguments that Paul brought forward to insist that in Corinth women should be veiled in public worship?  What may she do if properly veiled?  How far are these arguments of permanent validity? Are they culturally based or eternally based?

A note about the context would seem to be helpful here. Lenski  is right when he states that in reference to the head-covering the Corinthians were in perfect agreement with Paul.  This was one “tradition” they were keeping.  And that Paul in verses 3-16, simply states the reasons why they should continue in the practice.  He believes that the “contentious” ones referred to in 11:16..’is the thought that a few contentious voices had been raised in Corinth which either merely questioned the necessity of the women covering their heads or advocated that they leave them uncovered.  The congregation and the body of the women in it were not yet disturbed.’  In fact, it can be suggested that some among the women in Corinthians church had decided that they could cast aside all symbols of subjection to men since ‘there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ.” (Gal. 3:28). This is the position of scholars such as De Wette: ‘It appears that the Christian women at Corinth claimed for themselves equality with the male sex, to which the doctrine of Christian freedom and the removal of the distinction of sex in Christ (Gal. 3:28) gave occasion. Christianity had indisputably done much for the emancipation of women, who in the East and among the Ionic Greeks (it was otherwise among the Dorians and the Romans) were in a position of unworthy dependence. But this was done in a quiet, not an over-hasty manner. In Corinth, on the contrary, they had apparently taken up the matter in a fashion somewhat too animated. The women overstepped due bounds by coming forward to pray and prophesy in the assemblies with uncovered head.’

It can be easily postulated there was a certain in the midst of Corinth there was a small women’s liberation movement .Thus, the primary thrust of this passage pertains to subjection.  To persuade the women not to cast aside their symbol of subjection, Paul made six arguments.

1.) The headship of the man.  His first argument is that to appear uncovered in the congregation denotes the having no visible superior there. But woman has a visible superior, namely, man. To this fact, when she appears in public, her very dress should testify.

2.) While the man directly reflect God’s glory by not having any earthly being over him, the woman must show that he does not directly reflect God’s glory in this way. Woman is not the manifestation or representation of the glory of God on earth, inasmuch as she is subject to man, and therefore cannot properly represent Him Who has no superior. Man is God’s glory on earth: woman is man’s glory. Grotius uses the similitude of the sun and moon. Lias states, ‘But to all inferior beings she represents and is scarcely distinguishable from man, and therefore manifests and shares his superiority; reflects it, as the moon does the light of the sun, to use (and it may be said, to complete) the simile of Grotius here.’  Alford warns, ‘This of course is true only as regards her place in creation, and her providential subordination, not in respect of the dependence of every woman’s individual soul directly on God, not on man, for supplies of grace and preparations for glory.’

3.) Naturally moving from the above argument, we find that Paul now argues from the creation of mankind. ‘The narrative in the book of Genesis establishes two facts, (1) that woman had her being originally through man, and not, as man, directly from God; and (2) that she was created for man’s advantage, and not man for hers. Not that we are to suppose, with some, that woman is in no sense to be regarded as the image and glory of God, but that man is so immediately, she mediately, through man.’ It is important to underscore here the fact that man glorifies God, when man serves God in his recognized role (man, not God).  Woman brings glory to man (esp. her husband) when she serves in her recognized role.  Therefore, in pursuing the point at hand, to cast off the veil, a recognized symbol of femininity and subjection, was a sign of disrespect to the order established at creation, and esp. to one’s husband.  ‘In so doing she brings shame on him by trying to dissolve the rightful male/female relationship.’ (Fee p. 518) Now, we must not miss the point that the facts of creation and its implications abide forever.  Thousands of years after Gen. 2:1-25, God still felt that the text was relevant to first century Christians.

4.) There is an argument drawn from the presence of the angels at Christian worship. The passage has sorely perplexed the commentators. The various explanations of it may be summarized in the following way: a.) guardian angels who watch over the heirs of salvation (Jerome, et al); b.) bad angels whose lust might be aroused (Tertullian); c.) human angels of the assemblies –the prophets (Beza); d.) the presidents of the assembly (Ambrose); e.) people assigned to give away the betrothed (Lightfoot); f.) spectators within their assemblies; and g.) angels within the assemblies “because in the Christian assemblies the holy angels of God are present, and delighting in the due order and subordination of the ranks of God’s servants,—and by a violation of that order we should be giving offence to them” (Alford; cites Chrysostom). Lias agrees, ‘It is best on the whole to regard it as an intimation that the angels, though invisible, were fellow-worshippers with men in the Christian assemblies, and were therefore “spectators of the indecency,” and liable to be offended thereat. “When therefore the women usurp the symbol of dominion, against what is right and lawful, they make their shameful conduct conspicuous” in the eyes of the messengers of God. Thus Calvin. Erasmus paraphrases it well: “If a woman has arrived at that pitch of shamelessness that she does not fear the eyes of men, let her at least cover her head on account of the angels, who are present at your assemblies”.’

5.) Paul also argues from nature. What this actually means is debated. In its core, it means ‘The recognized constitution of things.’ (Vincent p. 248)  Fee is probably right when he states that this refers ‘to the “natural feeling” that they shared together as part of their contemporary culture.’ (Fee p. 527). Obviously, we cannot argue against long-hair, seeing that Nazarenes were forbidden by God to cut their hair (Num. 6:1-5).  In a real and distinct way, this argument is based upon the accepted ideas of propriety. In most societies, short-hair was the “norm” for men and long-hair for women. ‘The Athenian youth cropped his head at 18, and it was a mark of foppery or effeminacy to let the hair afterwards grow long.  This feeling prevailed in ancient as it does in modern manners.’ (Gr. Ex. N.T. p. 875).

Notwithstanding this, the use of the cultural situation was only to bolster his overall charge. In reality, Paul’s main concern was not length per se, but he was speaking of being revealing one’s womanly portrayal. Paul seems to be arguing along these lines: a.) The Christians could easily observe that society frowned upon long-haired males. This is ‘evidenced by thousands of contemporary paintings, reliefs, and pieces of sculpture’ (Fee, p. 527). Society viewed such as ‘effeminate.’   (b)  Women, even the Corinthian women arguing for the removal of the veil, took pride in their natural covering, i.e. their long hair.  (c)  So everyone could see that there existed things that were viewed as distinctly “feminine (under normal circumstances), i.e. belonging to women.’  (d)  If they could see this in reference to a ‘natural covering,’ then is not unreasonable that the same type of meaning can be placed on a physical covering.  (e)  Respecting the use of the veil, was just like respecting the fact that certain hairstyles belonged to women and others to men.

6.) Paul’s last argument concerns the universal practice of the church. There were those who were still trying to protest against Paul’s teaching. Therefore, Paul highlights the fact that is done is all apostolic churches. As Fee reminds us, ‘This is now the third time that Paul had tried to correct the Corinthian behavior by appealing to what is taught or practiced in the other churches’ (Fee p. 530; cf. 4:17; 7:17). And why this argument? Hodge captures well the reason: “With such persons all argument is useless. Authority is the only end of controversy with such disturbers of the peace. The authority here adduced is that of the apostles and of the churches. The former was decisive, because the apostles were invested with authority not only to teach the gospel, but also to organize the church, and to decide every thing relating to Christian ordinances and worship. The authority of the churches, although not coercive, was yet great. No man is justified, except on clearly scriptural grounds, and from the necessity of obeying God rather than man, to depart from the established usages of the church in matters of public concern.”

From Paul’s standpoint, only when a woman is properly veiled does she have the right to pray and prophecy.  It is not the proper place to explain the meaning of prophecy here, nor is it the place to harmony this statement about prayer with others passages wherein women are to be silent. It is, however, the overall thrust of the passage to underscore the only biblical ground for her to do these; she is be veiled. Lias is right when he qualifies this by saying, ‘This refers, of course, to the public assemblies of the Church, where the woman appears, not in her individual character, but as the member of a community. She must therefore perform her devotions in this latter character, and her attire must bear witness to the fact that she is subordinate to those of the other sex in whose presence she worships. Alone, of course, or in the presence of her own sex only, she has the same privilege of approaching God unveiled, that man has.’

It must be observed that these apostolic churches were in various cultural contexts.  Yet, he could appeal to the fact that all the churches in all these various cultural contexts followed this pattern in public worship.

 Now, the question over permanence of this must be addressed. It would seem that the principles of Paul’s arguments, with the possible exception of that based upon the nature of things, move us in the direction of saying that a physical sign of subordination is required. While the sign upon her head, and it must always be that upon the head if any, may change according to the day, the necessity of it remains. The church has held to this position for nearly two millennia until the sexual revolution and women’s liberation movement; this is an historical fact that cannot be easily dismissed by revisionism. Even Wikipedia notes this, saying, “Veiling, covering the hair rather than the face, was a common practice with church-going women until the 1960s.”

 Moreover, the very forms of the head-covering of the ancient church varied. The article in Smith’s Dictionary of Antiquities speaks of the fact that some used a pellum or shawl, which was ordinarily used as a covering for the body, but on public occasions thrown over the head in worship. In Oriental countries, however, the women wore, and still wear, a veil. Thus, while times may change the way in which women might cover their heads in worship, according to the customs and fashions of the day, the requirement of a public and physical sign of subordination remains in force.