Ok, so this is a very heated issue for anyone thinking of going to the Bullen church or anyone that has been. To Mark it IS a heaven and hell issue and an indicator of whether a woman is a Christian or not. His thinking is, if you're a Christian, you should obey everything God says, God's word is the Bible, it says to wear a head-covering, therefore all Christian women should be veiled.
Here's my two cents, for whatever it is worth. Let's look at the context. Much of 1st Corinthians is about unity. There were big, big problems in the church (what do you know?, immorality and disunity are not anything new to the church), and Paul was writing to straighten them out. This is where we get the famous "love" chapter from. That's right, it wasn't just written to be read at weddings, it is actually sandwiched between two chapters discussing spritual gifts and tongues. Just a bit before the love chapter comes the exhortation for a woman to be veiled.
I will not get into detail on why it is a fabric veil and not a cap or the woman's hair. It is my opinion that if you honestly research you will find Paul is indeed talking about a woman wearing a cloth covering over her head and hair. If you have a different opinion, that's fine, but what I'm really wanting to get into is, why the obsession with the covering? At the end of the whole thing Paul clearly states that if anyone is "contentious", then don't push the issue, "we have no such custom."
The covering has clearly become a bone of contention in many of the plain groups. They use it to separate themselves from the world, and what's worse, to separate themselves from each other. The veiled people can look down on the capped people, and the capped people with the folds in the back look down on the ones without folds, and the floppy capped people can look down on the starched capped people. It goes on and on. Everyone thinks their covering is the most godly or right. What a sad testimony of the plain world.
In the first place, obviously not everyone was wearing a covering at Paul's time or even later on with Tertullian. If every woman had been veiled, what would the reason be for writing to encourage or, in Tertullian's case, condemn uncovered women. So it cannot be said that all Christian women in the early church wore a head covering. Even Paul calls it a custom, not a commandment, so why does Mark bullen and other preachers promoting the covering turn it into anything more?
Where did the custom originate? It originated with the Jews. Just like today, there were different kinds of Jews at the time of Christ's coming. Ultra-conservative or Orthodox Jews did not just follow the Law of the Hebrew scriptures, but also the rabbinical law or oral law. The head or hair covering was instituted by the rabbis as a requirement for women and is a part of these extra laws. The head covering is not once commanded in the Law of Moses. In fact, Jesus was continuously criticized for breaking parts of the rabbinical law, such as handwashing. Jesus referred to the rabbinical law as the commandments of men and rejected them.
Paul also goes to great lengths in other letters to encourage believers not to follow the rabbinical laws or even the Law of Moses. Why on this issue would he still encourage adherence to the laws of men? I believe it is much like being raised with the idea of a certain thing being proper. I have a friend that struggles with going out in public without earrings because her mother pounded it into head growing up that a woman is not properly dressed without earrings. Old habits and customs die hard.
There were also a lot of superstitious stories that surrounded the head covering, just as there are today in Amish and Mennonite circles. Women were said to have received many blessings for keeping their hair covered, one mother's explanation for why 5 of her sons had been high priest was that not even her walls had ever seen her hair. Some believed angels flew away from a woman praying with her head uncovered. Modern day stories include girls being saved from kidnapping because of their black bonnets and people receiving visions of relatives recently passed burning in hell because they donned a different kind of covering.
I believe Paul meant it when he said basically that he liked the tradition, but if people don't want to do it, don't worry about it. What is more important: Believers serving God and loving one another in unity or duking it out over women having a piece of fabric on their heads?