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Letters to the Editor: Headcoverings, Too Much Psychology & an Assembly Survey

Letters to the Editor

Welcome to the second Letters to the Editor post. This is a way to provide a moderated feedback loop on the articles I am posting here on Oversight Today. I intend to post both supporting and opposing viewpoints in keeping with my Letters to the Editor policy.

Letter re. Head Coverings

I wanted to write to you in thanks for your excellent and comprehensive treatment of the 1 Cor 11 teaching on head covering!

A couple comments if I may?

Evangelical Christians practiced this up until very recently. My wife -who grew up conservative Baptist – not long after she met me asked her then pastor about the practice.  She had never heard of assemblies at that point and while we were both teaching English immersion in a Christian school in Slovakia had first seen the practice in the Bratislava assembly.

Her pastor informed her that if she looked at older photos of the Baptist churches she would find that this was once universally practiced among them.  He credited the “hat fashion” of Jackie Kennedy-Onassis that drove head coverings to a place other than doctrinal and when the fashion phase passed the sisters all stopped wearing them.  He admitted “we had long ago lost the teaching and for us it had become simply traditional, and so when tradition turned into fashion and then was no longer fashionable the practice simply disappeared.”  There is much to pay attention to in those words.

I am thrilled to see you teach that a sister displaying visible submission to her head is a lesson to observing angels – some of whom were disobedient.  This truth once grasped teaches sisters that their simple act is an eloquent and unspoken rebuke to Satan (which is in scriptural keeping with how he is to be spoken of – no railing accusation but a meek “the Lord rebuke you”).  It resembles Job’s faithfulness to God without ever having seen Him which was also a rebuke to Satan who HAD seen God’s glory and still rebelled against Him.  A sister who similarly has never seen God but willingly submits to His divine order and to her creatorial equal (man) by wearing this symbol of willing submission must offend him greatly – it reminds him of his position before his own fall.

May I suggest that the elect angels who did not sin also see revealed to them the marvelous truth of restoration?  When Adam and Eve fell they were in the place of divine fellowship – the garden of Eden. God’s expectation was to walk and talk with them there.  Today, in called out companies all over the world, sisters reveal that humans are once again subject to and in fellowship with their Lord in the midst and what was once lost has been restored by virtue of the cross of Christ and His resurrection.  They marvel at a miracle of grace that will never be open to angels who sinned, they will never experience redemption or enjoy fellowship with God restored.

My wife and I decided long ago that our three daughters would not wear a head covering until they were saved.  We felt it was impossible for them to display headship while rejecting His Lordship.  I would agree this is a Romans 14 conviction and offer it only as food for thought.  In any case I think Paul would agree that practice should be accompanied by knowing why.

Thank you again for your excellent post.

–Rob Bednarik, Iowa, USA

Letter: Too Much Psychology

If you will allow me an observation, I sometimes feel there is too much of the psychology coming through and too little of the scripture. Forgive my sweeping generalization. It is an impression I get. There seems to be plenty of detail which comes from your background/employment. You make comment about the Lord and different biblical characters but they are passed over quickly. I appreciate that space is at a premium, but the use of these biblical examples would strengthen what you have to say, at least from my perspective. I might mention that we have covered an occasional series in Precious Seed on the topic of depression. Whilst we have had one person’s personal struggle, in the main we have tried to look at characters from the scriptures – Elijah, Jeremiah, Job, and Jonah – to show that this is not something that marks the spiritually weak. We haven’t covered Paul but his experiences in 2 Corinthians 1 or 11 would be classic examples – ‘we despaired even of life’.

–John Bennett, United Kingdom

Thank you for this feedback, John. First, a quick aside to other readers: John has sent more than one encouraging message to me in response to articles here on Oversight Today. The concern he raises here is one that others have expressed, so I am taking the liberty of using his particular Letter to the Editor in responding to this concern.

As a counsellor in assembly circles I find myself called on to speak about counseling issues. Others have also complained that my treatment of these topics is not biblical enough. In one sense, that has been a very helpful challenge as it has pushed me to search the Scriptures. In another sense, it is frustrating that a Christian medical doctor or lawyer is not called on to do the same when speaking out of their respective areas of expertise.

This uncovers a couple unique points about the counseling field that should be addressed. The first is that Christians generally seem to believe that anything related to mental health or relationship issues or psychological challenges can only be “treated” with Scripture. However, the Bible does not make this claim for itself. Secondly, this perspective fails to recognize the fact that all truth is God’s truth. So as I look into empirically validated studies or research articles to learn more about how we function in our minds, our relationships, etc., then I am also looking at truth that God is revealing in creation (Romans 1:20, Psalm 19:1-6). As long as I take what is learned in general revelation and scrutinize it in the light of what I know from special revelation (the Bible) I am confident that I am speaking the truth.

Having said that, and despite these frustrations, the exercise of being compelled to examine the Word of God to validate what is found in general revelation has been a profitable experience. Practically, it doubles the time of my sermon prep and article writing. When possible to do so: it is very worthwhile. However, when the time crunch is on I am simply not always able to do that extra research. For this I beg your understanding and forgiveness. –Caleb

Survey Idea re. Disengagement

Steve McMurray from the Clyde Gospel Hall created a survey for the assembly in which he serves. The survey was in response to my article, Are We The Ones Causing Disengagement? I thought Steve’s idea was innovative and helpful. He has agreed to allow the survey to be shared here on Oversight Today in case others desire to use it in their home assembly. You could either hand it out in a paper format and tally the answers or use a free online tool such as Survey Monkey to distribute the survey by email. Thanks Steve! –Caleb

About the author

Caleb Simonyi-Gindele

An overseer himself, Caleb's mission is to help other elders lead their local assembly through some of the unique challenges of the 21st century: both doctrinal and shepherding. More about Caleb.