Head Covering: Principle or Custom?

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-2xqgg-cfcd72

In 1 Corinthians 11, we see Paul give instructions for praying and prophesying in the gathering of the church. These instructions include what’s on, or off, our heads. Many faithful teachers have disagreed on the continued use of head coverings. Is it a principle that transcends time and culture? Or is it a custom of that age, subject to change in application to fit the current culture? Betsy and Michelle struggle together through this depthy passage of scripture – taking stances for themselves and providing both cultural and transcendent principles behind it. Join us at the table, bring your Bible, and have more clarity on whether this passage presents a custom or principle!

 

Make sure to subscribe and like/rate. If you are blessed and want to partner with us, you can support us on patreon at patreon.com/womenofthetable

 

Let us know your thoughts on this rich passage of scripture!

 

Clarifications:

Oops! Michelle and Betsy were having so much fun and forgot to discuss consistently handling scripture when it comes to head covering and women preachers. Are we to handle both of these portions of scripture the same? You may find two articles below investigating both sides of the argument. We pray you think through this portion of scripture and come to a Spirit-led conviction that glorifies God.

 

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/should-women-wear-head-coverings/

 

https://www.headcoveringmovement.com/articles/should-women-wear-head-coverings-a-response-to

 

Below are the sources we spoke of and used while studying this passage on head covering:

 

https://www.headcoveringmovement.com

 

https://www.gty.org/library/bibleqnas-library/QA0219/head-coverings-for-women

 

https://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/principle-or-custom/

 

https://www.monergism.com/topics/gender-issues/headcoverings

 

Bibliolatry: is it lurking beneath your Bible study? And how you do you even say it?

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-py9pv-ceae0e

“Bibliolatry” aka Bible worship. Is there a way we can turn Bible study into a sinful habit? Can we elevate scripture to a point where we are worshiping the Bible? What about the possibility of knowing the Bible, but not knowing Jesus?

Betsy and Michelle discuss two common origins of this thought: Christian liberalism and hyper-charismatic camps. We also briefly touch on pastors who apostatize and KJV-onlyism.

Make sure to subscribe/rate/review.

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Below are some further clarifications for this particular episode:

WOTT holds to to the 5 Solas, including Sola Scriptura; meaning that the only authoritative, divinely inspired text, is the Bible. The Bible is infallible and inerrant in its original text and is fully sufficient for salvation and godliness. We also believe that it is beneficial to utilize the knowledge and wisdom that God has gifted faithful biblical scholars to better understand scripture, but that scripture is illuminated to the believer by the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives, we would be hopeless to understand scripture to a salvific end.

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In line with Sola Scriptura, WOTT believes that the office of apostle and prophet are no longer active and that the only sure place we can hear the voice of God is through the Spirit inspired text of the Bible.

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For further information on what WOTT believe regarding these matters, you may benefit from listening to our earlier episode on prophecy, called: fortune cookie prophecy – https://www.podbean.com/ea/pb-csqah-c1eb07

Committing the Sin of Bibliolatry

Over the course of being a Christian, I’ve been called numerous things: bigot, hypocrite, self-righteous, judgemental, unchristlike, etc. Now, there’s no doubt that I have been these things at one time or another, but this name calling was mostly resultant from holding to a biblical worldview. Also, I was being called these things by those who didn’t claim to hold to such a position. However, soon after publishing a podcast episode called “Fortune Cookie Prophecy”, I was accused of something I have never been accused of before: being a Bible idolater.

I was told to be cautious, that I was wandering into “bibliolatry”. Now if you’ve listened to “Fortune Cookie Prophesy”, you know that Women of the Table hold to Sola Scriptura. We also believe that the prophetic and apostolic offices have ceased. For more on that topic, feel free to take a listen (or relisten) to that episode here: https://www.podbean.com/eu/pb-csqah-c1eb07 . For now, and to accompany our latest topic, I want to talk about bibliolatry.

First things first, what is it? Well, it’s not idolatry in the sense where you literally bow down to a Bible and pay homage. It is rather more natural, like other forms of idolatry – placing your Bible in a position over God – the only One worthy of worship.

But can we actually commit the sin of Bible worship? I’m not one to say that any sin is impossible. We know that as fallen man, we are able to take any good thing and make it a “god-thing”, but can you do that with the very word of God? What would that look like? Is this really a danger that lurks beneath our study of the Bible? Yes, and no. Next I’ll lay out my negative position to the question.

Oftentimes this term, bibliolatry, is used in a derogatory sense. It’s even used by other “Bible-believing Christians”. However, the crux of the issue lies with our view of scripture. Even many self-professed Christians that claim the necessity of the Bible, don’t hold it as the very Word of God: infallible, inerrant, and always applicable regardless of the time and cultural context. There are also professing Christians who don’t credit the Bible with special authority, believing that new revelatory words of prophecy are equally as authoritative. So, then of course if you don’t believe ALL of the Bible is true, infallible, the very word of God, and the only sure place the word of God is found today, then it would only make sense that someone could fall in to the sin of Bible worship. By solely relying on scripture, or studying it too much, we would be “limiting” God, hindering the Spirit’s work in prophesying “new words from God”. We also would be rejecting today’s gift of advanced reason and science – replacing it with errant, archaic, far-removed scripture. Herein lies the problem with the accusations of bibliolatry. One could fall into worship of the Bible if you believe there is greater truth and greater words of God to be attained or discovered. But, when we believe the truth about scripture, we know that we can’t possibly pit true reason against it. True reason and objective truth find it’s origin in God, and God has chosen to reveal Himself most fully in Christ Jesus. Where can we know and learn of Him? You guessed it – scripture.

There are even some liberal Christian ministers who conflate the idea of Bible worship to build a case for their own preferred, worldly, wisdom: rejecting the miraculous, the fantastic and supernatural found within the Bible. Some of these include: the creation account, the virgin birth of Jesus, and Jesus’ miracles.

In addition to the distrust for the fantastic, revealed in scripture, it is also proposed that one worships the Bible – rather than Jesus – if you give equal weight to the moral law, given in the Old Testament, as you do the commands that Jesus spoke. Not realizing that Christ not only obeyed the law, but gave us an even greater understanding of it’s demands. Demands that only He could fulfill.

Most of all I answer “no” to the danger of Bible worship, because I don’t see a generation that is so dedicated, so hungry, so enamored with the study of God’s word, that they would even come close to elevating it over even their own opinions and/or comfort. It is quite the contrary, it seems we create any excuse, to not read, study, and memorize scripture. Excuses range from: “I don’t want to be legalistic!”, “I’m not in ministry, so I don’t need to”, “I just have a simple faith”, “I just love Jesus”, or “I feel closer to God through other means” (music/experiences/others teaching the Word). As soon as I see a generation elbow deep in study every day, maybe I’d consider bibliolatry as an eminent threat. But in all reality, the more you study the word of God, the more you will be sanctified, seeing more clearly your sin and thus killing that sin.

Which leads to my final reason for the negative: when you truly know your Bible, you will truly know Jesus. When you truly know Jesus, it means that you are regenerated and gifted with the very Spirit that inspired the text of the Bible. Even if you are accused of bibliolatry, we must remember that apart from scripture, we won’t know Jesus. And if we don’t know Jesus, our problem isn’t just being called an idolater by another person, but BEING an idolater by rejecting Christ – before God – leading to everlasting punishment and torment, the just punishment for the crime.

One caveat to my negative position, is to the positive – yes you can be a bibliolater. You can be a bibliolater by reading scripture to the wrong end – to merit salvation, becoming righteous by your own efforts, feeding your ego, or like Francis Scaeffer says, “religious tripping.” Of course we can approach the Bible and study, sinfully, not seeking truth about God but our own satisfaction in our achievements of knowledge. However, this shouldn’t frighten you out of studying the Bible.

Instead, approach your time in the word humbly. Realizing that it is the very Word of God, that you have access to this text while a vast number around the world doesn’t. In this Book you can learn of salvation and that left to your own power you are blind, deaf, and ultimately dead. Only by God’s action will you be able to see the truth of His word. Only with His Spirit will you be renewed in your mind as you read. So if you are a believer – remember this great, unmerited gift and study – drawing near to God through his word, taking refuge and trusting it; it never changes. And to the believer and unbeliever alike: ask God for eyes to see and ears to hear. He doesn’t turn any away that seek Him, for He drew them in the first place.

Take up and read, memorize, share what the Lord has taught you and give glory to God.

A Year for Change

Ahh.. New Year’s Eve!

With the beginning of a new year comes the motivation to start something new! We all know the feeling and excitement that a blank canvas has to offer. We picture the possibilities, buy our planners, imagine the accomplishments we will fulfill in the coming season, and make plans for future endeavors. We often pick a word or phrase with the intention to encapsulate the coming year’s trajectory of improvements. We all want a fresh start – to leave behind the mistakes, struggles, and sufferings of the previous year. I know when I gaze out on the precipice of a new year, I envision a healthier, wiser, more in control woman. 

This wishing and hoping isn’t just a woman thing, a secular thing, a Christian thing – but a human thing. We see the possibility of betterment and dive in head-first saying “Goodbye!” to the failures of the previous year. 

While this thought pattern and expectation may be naive or rose-colored, it is a clue to what our deepest desire is – renewal and righting of things gone wrong, a shedding of the old yucky stuff that has attached itself to us over the previous year. Yes, but the reality of it goes deeper. 

You wonder why every year you hope for new and better? It’s not merely from the previous year’s failures or disappointments – it comes from within us, not something that’s merely infected an otherwise good mind and body. We are so enamored with the possibilities of the future, because we need a new future. We long for this new future. So, let me tell you of a solution.

Instead of the typical, “I will do better at x, y, and z” (which are most likely good habits to develop), let’s stop the endless cycle before it begins again in 2020. Let me remind you or tell you for the first time, what (or rather, whom) 2020 can really be renewed by: 

His name is Jesus. 

Jesus is the only begotten Son of God – the second person in the Trinity – the one who made all things and through all things were made.

“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.” – Colossians 1:16

“All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” – John 1:3

God, who created the universe, you and I, the birds of the air and the fish of the sea, can create in you a new heart. Did you know that the yucky stuff that was a part of last year isn’t our biggest problem? Our biggest problem is that we rejected the Creator and worship things in his place. 

“For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking and darkened in their foolish hearts. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images of mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles”

 – Romans 1: 21-23

Yes, we all worship – ourselves, our careers, our dreams and aspirations, etc., but none of these things are worthy of worship. So while God created us out of an overflow of his own Divine qualities and glory, we fashioned for ourselves broken cisterns that hold no water and crafted idols of created things. But God did something miraculous and extraordinary! He took on flesh and lived in perfect obedience on our behalf. 

He didn’t just give us an example to follow, he earned our righteousness for us and willingly went to the cross – taking the punishment for all our sin. Defeating death, he rose again and now intercedes for the saints(believers). Isn’t that incredible? 

We are stained with sin, corrupted at the heart, so no matter how many new years we have left on this Earth, we can’t – of ourselves – create something new and truly better. But, by believing and trusting in the work of Christ, he can! He can change you completely. Not only does he start a good work in you, but he brings the work in us to completion (dissimilar to how we often start resolutions only to quit them two months in)!

“being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will continue to perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

 – Philippians 1:6

So, I admonish you this year, don’t fret about with mere self-improvement. Don’t try to accomplish some kind of renewal that only Christ can accomplish. Don’t trick yourself into thinking you can solve your real problem with a little kale, more books, or positive thinking. Trust in Christ this year. Submit to Christ’s word this year. Believe on Him for salvation and know that he will never fail. Once your real problem is solved, you will be made new, you will be entering a new year with real, lasting, change.

Happy New year! 

In Christ,

Michelle

The Cure for Apathy

I know I’m not the only one who struggles with apathy in my faith. Just to make sure that I wasn’t one of only an obscure few, I posted a poll on our WOTT Instagram to measure the amount of responders’ own professed struggle with apathy. The results were what I expected – with only one responder answering that they didn’t struggle with apathy, while all the rest were regularly struggling. Like I said the responses were expected, but the amount of interest in this topic was greater than I had predicted. It seems that many of us who struggle with apathy, actually care about this fact. How ironic! We are apathetic toward our faith, and yet we are concerned (and rightly so) about our apathy. 

First, this is a grace of God. Only by the power of the Holy Spirit working in your heart will you be awakened to the ill state of your affections for Christ and God’s word. In our natural state, we have no care or concern regarding the things of God. Even more so, we care about temporal, worldly things, in their stead. So, if you saw the poll and responded that you struggle with apathy – take heart. God has shown his immeasurable grace to allow you to feel the pain of wrong thinking and lack of joy in Him. His Spirit has given you a glimpse of your sin nature, that you would trade the Creator in for the created things, the temporal for the eternal. 

But this brings us to our question, why do we struggle with apathy? Now I’ve already mentioned our sinful nature and its effect on our being. However, a core aspect of our apathy lies in a misunderstanding and perhaps misapplication of the Gospel. In Psalm 51, David describes that his joy stems from knowing God and the salvation he has been given by Him. From this passage we see that our greatest joy and delight, the feelings that propel us to cheerfully serve and please God, is rooted in the salvation that He has worked for us.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;

    wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Let me hear joy and gladness;

    let the bones that you have broken rejoice.

Hide your face from my sins,

    and blot out all my iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,

    and renew a right spirit within me.

Cast me not away from your presence,

    and take not your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation,

    and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Then I will teach transgressors your ways,

    and sinners will return to you.

Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,

    O God of my salvation,

    and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.

O Lord, open my lips,

    and my mouth will declare your praise.

For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;

    you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.

 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;

    a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Psalm 51:7-17

Many times we can find ourselves feeling apathetic and our immediate response is that we just aren’t doing enough. But this psalm says that God delights in a broken and contrite heart, not in sacrifice – as if we can repay God. It is the condition of the heart God sees, not just the outward action. While, yes we should be doing things for the Lord, our neighbors, and for the spread of the Gospel; we must have the right type of fuel to power those good works. Our heart will be far from pleasing God if we are working out of a works-righteousness framework, or even from a far too liberal, self-indulgent, framework. 

Let me explain a little more. Apathy can be a great signal to reevaluate if we are actually living consistently with the reality of the Gospel we believe. When operating from a works-righteousness framework, we often get bogged down with demands that we can’t meet, burnt out by working to gain merit that we could never earn. Conversely, from a hyper liberal Christian framework, we may indulge or excuse sin and thus become apathetic to the word of God as it convicts us – calling us to holiness, good works, and evangelism. Both frameworks fail because we are self-focused. One with earning merit and one with self-indulgence. 

However, the Gospel is the cure for our apathy. When we understand the full Gospel, we see that we are incapable of earning righteous standing by our own efforts, and that left to our own devices we are consumed with self and worldliness. But in the midst of our rebellion and apathy toward our Creator, the Son of God condescended to human frailty, to give us unspeakable joy, assurance, righteousness, holiness, and freedom. When we see that we have been given such an immeasurably rich gift in Christ, while we were not just neutral, but at enmity with God, it’s just the type of flame we need to consume our sin of apathy. 

So as we discussed some practical tips and causes of apathy in our episode this week, know that the only cure for your apathy is repentance and belief in the Gospel. Understand that even in deep throes of apathy, we can trust God to renew our hearts and minds, because he made them alive in the first place. We can come to His word and find refreshment, conviction, and hope to combat an apathetic heart. And we can trust that the Spirit of God will finish what he started in us (Philippians 1:6) even in the midst of apathy and wrong affections. Know the truth in spite of our fleeting emotions and know that God has you brethren, He never fails, He never grows weary, and He never is apathetic toward our apathy. 

in Christ,

Michelle

Fight the Good Fight: Enduring Spiritual Apathy

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-hxus4-cbe369

Many Christians struggle frequently with spiritual apathy. Sometimes we find it hard to feel joy in reading God’s word, serving others, fighting sin, and loving God. Betsy and Michelle investigate why we need to fight the sin of apathy, common causes, and how the Spirit gives us the ability to contend with Apathy.

If you enjoyed this episode and were encouraged, would you subscribe/like/rate and share? Make sure to check out our blog at wott.blog and follow us on Instagram for more content. You can also support us at patreon, where you will find bonus content only for partners!

18:00 Shout out to Morgan W. for her support on Patreon!

19:00 what are you reading segment