LONG HAIR AND WOMEN PREACHERS
July 1, 1998 Issue
by Andrew Ong
While many preachers in the cups and Sunday School churches still believe that I Timothy 2:11-14 prohibits women preachers, they openly defy the instructions recorded by the Apostle Paul in 1Corinthians 11:2-16 pertaining to the hair ordinance. This article is written to point out that the hair ordinance of 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 and the prohibition against women preachers in I Timothy 2:11-14 stand or fall together! Paul uses the same basic argument to make his case for both conclusions. In short, Paul was appealing to the 'order of creation' argument in both the cases.
Notice how one of Paul's arguments concerning the hair ordinance is put in 1 Corinthians 11:7-9, For a man in deed ought not to cover his head, for as much as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. Now notice how similar the wordings of the argument against women preachers is put in 1 Timothy 2:11-13, Let the woman learn in silence withal! subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed then Eve.
Both passages argue their respective cases from the fact that the first man, Adam, was created first, and then the first woman, Eve. This argument is not based upon culture, but is based upon the "order of creation." Since it is the same argument for both practices, if one practice does not apply anymore, then neither does the other. The careful Bible student must either accept the hair ordinance as applicable and binding today, or if he rejects it, claiming is was just cultural, then to be consistent he must reject the prohibition against woman preachers upon the same basis, that is, he must teach that it was just cultural. Clearly then, these two teachings must stand or fall together.
Some have made the argument that in 1 Corinthians 11, Paul makes the 'order of creation' and other arguments, in favor of man being the head of woman, and that the hair ordinance is just a cultural application of the headship principle. But the same basic argument could be made about I Timothy 2 and its prohibition against women preachers. Robert H. Rowland in his book, "I Permit Not A Woman To Remain Shackled," on page 82 correctly (for consistency) says, "If...long hair...uncovered heads, etc, were mere customs to be followed to conform to the local practices and not applicable today, why were Paul's instructions on women being silent any less subject to the argument that this was also just a practice or a custom? Both passages mention the 'churches not just in Corinth." His position in his book on the role of women in the church today left much to be desired. He advocated women preachers, elders, deaconess, and so on, in plain violation of the inspired writings.
The truth of the matter is that the hair ordinance of the prohibition against women preachers are both divine applications of the divine headship principle. The bible argues for both teachings using the same argument. God requires that women place herself in subjection to man, and God says that applications of that headship are that the woman would not only be covered with long hair. It is glory to her, for her hair is given her for a covering, I Corinthians 11:15, she is also prohibited from preaching. If the hair ordinance is only cultural, then so is the women preachers prohibition. The truth is that they are both still binding today.
Andrew Ong 1998 OPA Main Page HOME