Ask RC

Ask RC: What do you think about head coverings (I Corinthians 11)? What is meant by “because of the angels”?

I’m for them. Here are just a few thoughts on the matter. First, I am happy to concede that men of goodwill differ on this issue. Second, I’m also happy to boldly suggest that virtually every Christian, from the time of Paul’s epistle to about half a century ago, agrees with me on this issue. What potent interpretive insight, I wonder, did the church miss all those centuries? Third, one thing I’m certain of is that having our wives cover their heads at corporate worship is certainly not a sin. Failing to do so may be a sin. By resistless Pascalian logic, the choice should be obvious.

Fourth, I’m highly skeptical of the “Her hair is the covering” argument. It strikes me that if that were the case, Paul wouldn’t have had to say anything. As messed up as the Corinthian church was, I don’t suspect there was a strong husbands-with-bald-headed women contingent there needing to be rebuked. Fifth, please notice the grammar above. This is an issue for husbands, not wives. That is, no man will be able to stand before the throne of God, and when He asks why his wife worshipped uncovered, and say, “Yeah, what about that? Why don’t we get her in here?” Wives, that means that if your husband doesn’t want you to cover, covering is a sin.

Sixth, I really don’t like to make a big deal about this. About one third of the husbands at Saint Peter have their wives cover their heads. The elders are somewhat split on the issue. And no one is taking sides, or keeping score. As I often say when I am asked in person about this issue, and have probably proved in the past few minutes as I’ve been typing, “I’ll probably commit a more grave sin in the time it takes me to answer the question than it is to be wrong on this issue.”

So why did I bother to answer it? So I could get to the second part of the question. Here I have what may be the wisest answer I could ever give. What is meant by “because of the angels?” I don’t know.