This past Sunday we looked at a passage that deals with men worshipping without head-coverings and women worshipping with them together. Paul re-affirms the creation of Men and Women as both made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27) and of having equal value and standing before God as Christians (Galatians 3). Paul makes it clear that for Christians there is no confusion or sliding scale in gender. Additionally, men and women are to bring God glory but in different ways.
Human beings are part of a hierarchy (which Saint Paul reminds us with reference to the angels in 1 Cor 11:10). Within that hierarchy are all sorts of relationships. God’s fatherhood to the Son, Jesus’ sonship to the father, the love between them and the Holy Spirit. Paul teaches us that superior position and inferior position has nothing to do with our created value. He reminds us that Jesus submits to the Father even though they are equals.
the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. (1 Cor. 11:3)
In this passage the word translated “head” is “κεφαλὴ” – (literally the body part) and also the origin, master and authority. He does not use the word for ruler or lord. What does this say? That in relationship there is a hierarchy and order, but not one of power. It is something else - loving submission to authority = (goodness + dominion).
Paul also reminds the Corinthians that God created a natural order and that order is good. It does not need changing. While the Gospel did change many things, it did not change created natural order.
7 A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. 8 For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; 9 neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. 10 It is for this reason that a woman ought to have authority over her own head, because of the angels. 11 Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. 12 For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God. (1 Cor. 11:7-12)
Men and women depend upon each other and both are dependent upon God. Paul believes our worship and daily life should reflect this. There are many implications. Roles change in time and place. Customs change (such as head-coverings). But God’s order does not change and this transcends our changing customs and ideas about roles for men and women.
In our current culture, we would do well to embrace the gift of God’s hierarchy and recognize that any attempt to obliterate men and women’s wonderful differences, confuse their purposes, or set them against one another in some kind of competition is not of God. Such attempts are from another source - a certain fallen angel - who (coincidentally?) was thrown out of heaven for rebellion against…you guessed it…God’s created heirarchy. How can you better honor God with all your substance?
If you would like to listen to the sermon it can be found here: