Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Veil

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?

19 comments:

  1. Thank you, Noelle. Well said.

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    1. Thank you, any other comments would be appreciated as well.

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    2. The muslims wear headcovering and modest dress.....they do not follow Christ. Women need to follow Christ and HIS WORDS to find truth strength and spiritual growth in life. Membership at church doesn't save a person. To me a headcovering is like woman's hair styles always changing and those with unattractive ones are "kicked" out.

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  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. Johannes3.36 your comment was removed because it did not offer relevant content, only a link to a Living Faith Christian Fellowship Church member's web page. If you wish to offer something that would be of interest to the other readers, feel free to do so in another comment, but no affiliate links are permitted on this site. Thank you! :) Besides, I'm sure anyone reading here has already researched Mark Bullen's opinion on the subject, and most likely already agree with him. Grace to you.

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    2. PS.....from my above comment.

      I do agree that wearing a headcovering is good even for today. It eliminates those feminist tendencies and adrogenous stuff that causes excessive divorce. A woman can keep her "sexy" hair covered and out of sight of the lustful men. She can have the freedom to keep one style and perhaps change it a little bit with a different headcovering rather than spending thousands of dollars per year on beauty..... Jezabel was an evil woman you must remember.....

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  3. Thank you for providing the other side of the story on this group. I myself am a covering Christian woman and I am the only woman in my church who covers full time, not just at Sunday service.

    In reading the LFCF website on divorce, near the bottom of the page Mr. Bullen writes:
    "What about a person who divorced for the wrong reason (incompatibility, physical abuse, etc.); and then remarries while they are still under obligation to reconcile?"
    Is Mr. Bullen stating that physical abuse is a "wrong reason" to divorce?

    I certainly hope I read that incorrectly. I have worked with women who were abused physically and terribly. There were several that followed their pastors' advice to reconcile with their husbands, returned home and were killed by their husbands.

    Does this LFCF condone "wife beating"?

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    1. I did ask Mark Bullen the question, "What would you do as the bishop of the church if a man in the church was abusing his wife?" I asked because we had come from an Amish group where the man was abusing his family physically and sexually and when the wife reported it, the bishops did nothing about it. The man did go jail because the abuse was real, but the church still stands behind the man. As a man I think it's appalling that that church still today supports the husband.

      Mark's reponse was "it depends on the situation because sometimes a woman brings it on herself." I don't feel he condones wife beating, and I don't sense, personally, that he beats his family. It seemed like he's very loving and caring toward his own family, very affectionate.

      I did visit another member's house, we were invited for dinner. For me it was an uncomfortable situation because the house was set up for the men, the husband and sons, to sit at one table, and the wife and the daughters to sit at another table. This was not because there were guests, this was how the family ate every day, the mother with her preschool daughters and the father with his table full of sons.

      When I asked Mark about that his reaction was that Paul was very abusive to his wife and she really wanted to come here so Mark could help them and work with their situation. But I will say I experienced seeing Paul as still a very controling man, though he was very affectionate with his young children, he could be very harsh to the older ones.

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    2. As a man, I would be very leery of any group that does not seem like they have the womens salvation just as important as the man's. One problem I had was that they just didn't have the woman's salvation as important as the man's. It was just the women's job to say "Yes, sir," and "No, sir."

      It was difficult to have women much older than me referring to me as 'sir.' The women in the church, for the most part, refer to their husbands as 'sir.' Not all, but the majority. Mark's wife, Angela, is considered the example for the women of the church, and she refers to Mark as 'sir.'

      But keep in mind Mark teaches the daughters are the property of the father until they are married. Then they become the property of their husbands. That mindset does open it up for abuse. And, once you're a part of his church, physical abuse is not grounds for divorce. Unless he has changed his policy. He would accept people who divorced for that reason and are now remarried, he never asks couples to separate. In my studies, our Lord does say there is no divorce except for fornication, but saying that, I feel, as a human no lady should have to live or stay with a man and be mentally or physically abused in any way. Keep in mind, a lady's salvation is just as important as a man's, and it would be really hard to keep your salvation in a situation like that. I would recommend any woman with an abusive husband should leave him. Our God is loving and has grace for us and I do not see him supporting some man that would abuse his spouse, that would be unloving.

      For me as a father of 3 daughters and one little boy, I just could not see myself raising them in a church that does not show love to people unless you're in that church. There is no grace for anyone unless you're one of them. And I will say this, when I chose to leave that church with my family, they all talked to me to try to save me, at first. Not ONE PERSON called or tried to talk and see if my wife was ok. They told me that since I was ex-communicated I was going to hell unless I came back and repented to Mark's church. And my thing is, they all talked to me, but if my wife and I are ex-communicated and going to hell unless we repent and go to their church, and they really believe we're going to hell, and be judged, with Mark there at my judgement to remind God of the things I did (as Mark told me), I just cannot understand why not one person was concerned about Noelle's salvation. What if I was an abusive husband and keeping her from a godly church? Didn't they care? What if I had been a controlling ungodly man that was keeping Noelle from the church, shouldn't they have tried to help her?

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    3. My experience with plain churches has been that there is a lot of pornography addiction and wife abuse. In Kentucky I worked as a deputy and I had many reports from members in the community about seeing women with head-coverings being beat by men. And it's just shocking that leaders of those churches would even put up with that. They all looked the other way. If I was the bishop, that man would be ex-communicated and I would not consider him as a Christian.

      I guess in my time as a deputy it was very hard to deal with the domestic violence. Women go through hell on earth for years, in many cases, until a deputy or officer truly believes them, in some cases. And women sometimes just have blind love and will put up with it. There is a difference between two people arguing verbally and a man, or a woman, putting their hands on their spouse. There is no reason for it.

      The young men in that church, I feel, really have no respect for young ladies. And I feel they're being taught to become abusive to their wives because they're taught the women are to obwey the husband NO MATTER WHAT. And if one of their wives thinks for herself, the young man is just not gonna know how to handle it, and he's gonna lose his temper. I just could not as a father raise my daughters in that environment. And raise my son to not love and respect women as equals. Even though the man is the head of the house, but I don't feel our savior, our God, meant that the man is to think for the wife. If he did, then she'd be able to ride on his coattails to heaven.

      I'm sorry if I went on too much and went kind of off on this. But for me one of the biggest decisions for leaving was really the way they treat women.

      That was a good question, I had been meaning to address it. It is very important for ladies coming to this church that they will be expected to not just submit, but obey their husbands. And if they're single ladies they will have to obey Mark or their father.

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  4. You summed it up nicely and I particularly appreciate your statement:
    "I would recommend any woman with an abusive husband should leave him. Our God is loving and has grace for us and I do not see him supporting some man that would abuse his spouse, that would be unloving."

    I agree, Jesus' sacrifice is also for the salvation of women. Jesus Himself taught Martha and Mary as well as the Samaritan woman at the well who in turn, went home and witnessed about Jesus. In Acts 16:13-15 Lydia was also a great example of discipleship in the Bible.

    As a deputy I think you have seen the best and worst of human behaviors-heroes and cads and are qualified in evaluating these situations.

    Sadly it's the fallen nature of man that there are bad communities of plain people but then there are some good communities too. I can say I have been in Amish communities where the women were treated with respect and were able to have something of a voice even in church decisions. There will be variances between different Amish communities in the behaviors just as there are in any other denomination. It's all about the leadership and whether or not the leadership is TRULY Biblically grounded, just treading water with his own pov or somewhere in-between those two points.

    I think the most important consideration is to visit for a couple of years before making the leap to join a community. The Hutterites have the same situation regarding good communities and bad; so do Baptists, Methodists, and just about any other group out there.

    Personally, when faced with such statements as "you are excommunicated and going to hell" I just respond with "I will pray for you". And I do pray for them. Sometimes I just tuck my head right then and there and start praying for them. That really stops the conversation.

    Again, thank you for being willing to share the other side of the story.

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  5. Just want to add that in the Bible, striking another person is not permitted the Christian so abuse is out of the question. 1 Tim 3:3 says that the Bishop should "Not given to wine, NO STRIKER, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;"

    If the community is to look to the Bishop as an example, none of the community should be subjected to physical abuse either be it man, woman or child.

    A swat on the backside of an out of control child is not abuse if done without anger and in a limited way, not using an object. But beatings are abuse and should not be condoned.



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  6. Shame on you Ragas’ for saying that LFCF is not concerned with the salvation of women. You know that is not true.
    The young men are being taught to be abusive to their wives???? For shame to you Jason. Not even LFCF’s worst enemies have stooped that low.
    Exactly what sort of sadistic joy do you get out of such blatant mendacity? You should be ashamed of yourselves!

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    1. Hi Jeff,
      I feel no shame in what was posted because it is still my opinion. I find it shameful that people who called me "sister" did nothing when my husband was considering leaving. He may have stayed if even 1 person had made an effort to call.

      But the night my husband was put on trial it was called a member's meeting, but only men were invited. Was I not a member? Were the things being discussed not of consequence to me?

      And yes, all that have left LFCF, have stooped so low because everyone sees the abuse of women there, we're just the only ones that put it out in the open. And it was actually my understanding that child services had actually been called by others that had left, and we certainly have not done that.

      I am in no way ashamed, except that I don't know what mendacity means, and nope, I will not even spend the time to look it up. If I don't know what it means, most others probably don't, so what's the point of knowing such a word? That's my thinking anyway :)
      Hope you can manage to still have a good week, you seem pretty upset. Hope it all works out,
      Noelle

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  7. @Jeff: Breathe in and reread. I asked a question regarding one of Mark Bullen's statements in his own words at the website. Jason graciously gave me de facto observations and clearly indicated that which are his personal opinions. Huge difference between the two.

    Jason gave facts and his opinions based upon those facts grounded in his experiences as a deputy sheriff. You, Jeff, are resorting to name-calling and detraction. Which do you think carries more credibility?

    The old saying goes a kicked dog yelps the loudest. It means those who feel guilt in such conversation yell louder using name calling and other smoke screens.

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  8. @ Anonymous. I wasn't referring to your questions nor Jason's experience as a “deputy sheriff”, but to his specific and direct accusations about LFCF. If you would like to Breath in and reread, you will see that is the only thing I addressed in his comments.
    I didn't call any names, (not that I'm against that, Jesus did it quite often), and I wasn’t yelling. I was typing in quite a civil tone of voice. (Although, I am not against yelling either. Quite often the Bible talks about things being said in “a loud voice”.)
    Also, I don’t smoke. I AM against that. It is a wicked vice, God hates it!
    Detraction? You have got to be kidding! (Please note: this exclamation mark is intended for emphasis, not volume.)
    This entire blog is an exercise in detraction.

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  9. Wow Jeff! You've just given the perfect example of the unChristian behavior that proves everyone right who's ever left your group. Such hatred and animosity! Such pride and pomposity!

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  10. Agreed! Jeff you come across as a very angry man. The old cliche works well here, "It's not what you say, but how you say it." Jeff, you will continue to turn people off to both your church and to Jesus! Because you come across as a condescending arrogant Pharisee. Regardless of how much truth you think your spreading, it will fall on deaf ear. No one wants to be apart of a group of judging jezebels. Count the numerous families who not only have left marks church, but fled it like it was the Black Plague. Ask Marky how many churches he's lost? Mark has done a good job over there! A good job at creating clones of himself. Because you and his children sound just like him. You don't know how to talk to people! You don't know how to reach people! You look down on those who disagree with you! You judge those who oppose you! You condemn those who differ with you! Classic bullenite in"doctrine"ation!!!

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  11. Jeff, take off them bullenite glasses! Then you will be able to see the ditch mark has led you too!

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