The Covering Requirement And The Prohibition Against Women Preachers Stand Or Fall Together

The covering requirement of I Corinthians 11:2-16 and the prohibition against women preachers in I Tim 2:11-12 stand or fall together, since Paul uses the same basic argument to make his case for both conclusions. The argument I am referring to has been termed/called the “order of creation” argument in the past. Notice how one of Paul’s arguments concerning the covering is put in I Cor 11:7-9: “For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch 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 wording of the argument against a woman teaching over a man is put in I Tim 2:11-13: “Let the woman learn in silence with all 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 Adam was created first, and then the first woman, Eve. Thus the 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 (the covering) does not apply anymore, then neither does the other (prohibition against women preachers).

To elaborate notice what gospel preacher and debater Alan Highers said about “women preachers” in “The Spiritual Sword” (January 1996): “With reference to I Timothy 2:11, 12, the most common approach is to contend that Paul was dealing with a situation that was unique to his culture, and that the principles do not apply to the culture in which we live now. Paul himself anchored his teaching, however, to creation, not culture (I Tim. 2:13, 14). He placed his instruction regarding the role of women in a context that makes it impossible for modern feminists to establish that it was merely cultural.”

Ben Vick agreed in “The Informer” (Jan 20, 2003): “Brethren, how can those who claim to be Bible believers and followers of Christ put a woman in a position of authority, teaching over men?  No godly woman would put herself in a position such as that!  Paul clearly said, “Let the women learn in silence with all 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.” … A woman, any woman, is not to teach over a man, nor is she to dominate him.  The passage is as relevant in the 21st century as it was in the 1st century, notwithstanding the changes in culture, country and time.  Paul showed that a woman is not to teach over a man based on the order of creation ….  If the inspired Paul could transcend culture, country and time in giving reasons why a woman is not to teach or usurp authority over man, then, culture, country and time cannot delete the divine dictate that a woman cannot teach, nor have dominion over a man!”

Now notice again the argument Paul made for the veil in I Cor 11:8-9: … 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.  Isn’t that also the “order of creation” argument?

Conclusion: Either we must accept the covering requirement as applicable and still binding today, or if we reject it claiming it was just cultural, then to be consistent we must reject the prohibition against women preachers upon the same basis, that is, we must teach that it was just cultural also. The contrary is true – both teachings still apply today.

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