Women’s Headcoverings

The Orthodox Life

little_russian_girl_orthodoxFor 2000 years in the Orthodox Church, the tradition has been for women and girls to veil their heads during worship, whether at church for the liturgy, or at home for family prayer time.

What is the Scriptural and Patristic evidence for this tradition, and why is it important?

In this article, we will take a look at headcoverings in the Old Testament, headcoverings in the New Testament, headcoverings according to the early Church, headcoverings in icons, and headcoverings today. At the end of the article there are links to additional resources for learning about Christian headcoverings.

Headcoverings in the Old Testament

Centuries before the birth of Christ, women’s headcoverings were an accepted practice for God’s people. It was not merely an option for those who wished to be holy. Rather, it was a matter-of-fact expectation that all women would cover their heads.

When the Holy Spirit inspired Moses to…

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Serfs, Peasants, & Employees

The Orthodox Life

G. K. Chesterton G. K. Chesterton

G.K. Chesterton wrote this article about Englishmen a century ago. But it just as easily applies to American workers today. Medieval serfs and peasants enjoyed conditions which–in many ways–are preferable to those endured by modern American employees.

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It is really time that the comfortable classes made a short summary and confession of what they have really done with the very poor Englishman. The dawn of the mediaeval civilisation found him a serf; which is a different thing from a slave. He had security; although the man belonged to the land rather than the land to the man. He could not be evicted; his rent could not be raised. In practice, it came to something like this: that if the lord rode down his cabbages he had not much chance of redress; but he had the chance of growing more cabbages. He had direct access to the means of production.

Since then…

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The Israelite Exodus – Foreshadowing Baptism

The Orthodox Life

The waters which parted to save Israel are the same waters which drowned the Egyptians The waters which parted to save Israel are the same waters which drowned the Egyptians

About 80 years after the baptism of Moses, the time had come for all Israel to be delivered from Egypt.  God remembered the covenant which He had made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and He listened to the prayers of their descendants.

God gave Moses a new revelation of His Name. Then He sent Moses on a mission to lead all the Israelites out of Egypt, so they could be free from slavery and worship God as a community. Acts 7:38 refers to the Israelites who left Egypt as the “church in the wilderness”.  The Greek word used in Acts 7:38 is ekklesia, the same word translated “church” elsewhere in the New Testament.  (Just like the New Testament church, the Israelites were called together to escape bondage, worship God as a community, and

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We are not going to heaven

I am finishing off my second as yet unpublished book, and it is about the soul in the Bible.  My conclusion is that Tyndale was right that the idea that we go to heavenly bliss when we die is a lie and a deception.  Luther agreed. Life after death is bodily resurrection when Christ returns, and there is no halfway house until then, except total nothingness.  We will be resurrected into a renewed earth, not a transcendental heaven and the resurrection body is not a “spiritual” body, meaning a metaphysical body, but the resurrection of the body we have now, but changed from mortal to immortal.

HISTORY AND THEOLOGY

The key to understanding the Bible is history, specifically, the history of a particular family, the fathers and the sons of Abraham.   In order to understand what is written in this book we have to have a clear grasp of the key events of that history, and the way that they were understood and explained within the Bible itself.

The human authors of the Bible placed great importance upon events, dates and times, and understood God to be acting through them.  Their theology was not based upon points of doctrine, but history, and what God had promised to do in it.  When they did deal with doctrine as we understand it, it was always in terms of the history of their ancestors and the covenants that God made with them, which was what we today call the history of salvation.

It should not be controversial to say that the integrity of the Bible as a self-sufficient unitary entity must be respected.  After all, it is a universal and basic axiom of literature.  Whatever use we put the Bible to, we must first understand it on its own terms and respect its literary integrity.  Only then may we apply what we have learned to our own day and situation.

Tom Wright has done an admirable job of demonstrating the historical reliability and credibility of the Bible in terms of a particular modern historical theory, in opposition to the open and plain rejection of Bible history by modern scholars like Crossan and others.  However, there are two weaknesses in his methodology that will eventually undermine his solid achievements.  First, his biblical history completely ignores the first eleven chapters of Genesis, which are the historical foundations of the Christian religion, and second, it fails to directly address the problem of metaphysics and the goal of salvation, which has the practical effect of totally nullifying the history of biblical Israel.

The liberal project depends upon rejecting the Bible’s account of history and insisting that true religion has nothing to do with it.   It focuses upon abstract things like “relationship” and ideals like hope and trust.  The primary reason is of course the almost total acceptance within the academy of Darwinian and old earth theories that make biblical history meaningless.  No-one who wishes to be taken seriously as an academic, or be a part of the religious establishment, can go against this consensus.

Modern evangelicalism has adopted the same basic ideas and rejected the history of the Bible, in particular the history recorded in Genesis, and the goal of salvation as the restored Davidic kingdom of Israel.  There can be no dispute about that.  In doing so they have adopted the methods and mentality of liberalism, and for the same reasons.  Modern evangelicalism is simply a variation of liberalism, despite their vehement denials and rhetoric.  Modern evangelicalism and liberalism are essentially the same thing.  Professor James Barr made this very case against modern fundamentalism, accusing it of theological dishonesty and hypocrisy for its attacks upon liberalism when it had in fact adopted its basic premises and methods, in the process abandoning the historical Christian position on Genesis and history, and he is indisputably right.

There is a closely related problem.  Metaphysics is broadly understood to mean “that which is beyond the physical”.  Anything that falls into this category has, at best, a tenuous link with history, and at worst, no link at all.  Without question there is a broad cross-cultural consensus that the true heart of Christianity is ultimately transcendent, centreing upon the invisible, immortal and immaterial soul, and a heaven that exists in another dimension from the earth.  To this way of thinking and believing the great events recorded in the Old Testament necessarily become metaphor, thus making them irrelevant as fact, and this completely destroys the Bible’s own understanding of the covenants, Christ, and the goal of salvation, which is entirely material and earthly.  This is why it works so successfully with the liberal anti-history project.

Whatever variations within liberalism and evangelicalism may be, both reject the truth of biblical history to a greater or lesser extent, but fundamentally they are in agreement on the age of the earth, and the consequences of that for accepting the biblical account of history.  Consequently they have a serious problem in handling the Bible, because they are not able to accept its integrity in regards to its truth, if only in part, their vehement protestations notwithstanding, or its integrity regarding its unity and completeness.

Darwinian and metaphysical theories are a curtain that hides the clarity and purity of the gospel in the same way that the Medieval Papacy concealed the gospel behind a thick veil of newly invented doctrines and practices.  When the veil is pulled aside the plain gospel of bodily resurrection through Jesus Christ into the never-ending Davidic kingdom shines forth in its purity and simplicity.

Pere me regne regnant

“By me kings reign”.  This was the inscription upon the crown of King Canute, king of England and Denmark.  It is a quote from the book of Proverbs in the Bible, and it refers to the wisdom that comes from God’s law.

That was a king who knew that he owed his crown to Christ.

Can you be Evangelical and Reformed?

If one grasps the fact that evangelical doctrine is essentially Baptist, then the answer is no, because baptistic ideas are contrary to the Bible.  There is also the fact that the Reformed Confessions all reject the idiosyncratic baptistic teachings.  Baptists have no idea of the covenant, and cannot see the relevance of the OT to the NT, and how the NT is the fulfilment  of the OT Abrahamic covenants of promise.  Indeed, many baptistic writers have written against it in no uncertain words.

There are of course those who are unaware of the essential incompatibility of the two theologies.  You have men calling themselves Reformed who are really predestinationalist Baptists, or, Reformed Baptists.  Strictly speaking it is a contradiction in terms, but people can call themselves what they like.

The thing to bear in mind is the absolute intolerance of infant baptism that marks the true Baptist, or Evangelical.  There are evangelicals who practice infant baptism, but they are doing so for reasons of tradition and church law, not because of a proper understanding of the issues.  I studied and trained in such a church.

This “tell” of hostility to infant baptism is the dead give-away to the absence of a proper covenant theology.

Then there are those who allow both credo-baptism and infant-baptism.  Again, that is the fruit of not understanding the covenant.  There was a large church near me that split into three over this very issue.  They were Presbyterians without a covenant theology, so they made convinced baptists into elders, they pushed their anti-covenant agenda, and before long the true Presbyterians were compelled to leave.

The turmoil over the Federal Vision boils down to hostility to the covenant from within Reformed churches themselves, the very places where the covenant should be celebrated.  The Federal Vision is authentic Augustinian Reformation theology, plain and simple.