A Reply to Brother Plyler's Review

W. E. Warnock
Bowling Green, Kentucky

Must a woman have something on her head in the public assembly of the church? Brother Leo Plyler in the July (66) issue of this paper maintained that she does in his review of an article that I had written on this subject. My article appeared in the February (66) issue.

There are four (4) things at least that brother Plyler completely and totally failed to show in his reply to my article. They are as-follows:

First, he failed to show that a public assembly of the whole church is in I Cor. 11: 1-16. I maintain that no public assembly of the church is indicated. His efforts to prove that a public assembly was involved consisted of seven commentaries and two translations. He quoted from McKnight, Barnes, Clarke, Matthew Henry, Johnson, Jamieson Fausset and Brown and David Lipscomb. Brother Plyler suggested that perhaps the commentators should have T had me to help set them straight. However, it is interesting to notice that all of the commentaries, except the one by Lipscomb, state that the matter of an artificial covering was- simply a custom or an act of propriety. It looks like that they needed brother -Plyler to help them too.

David Lipscomb made this observation on verse 13 in "A Commentary on New Testament Epistles," page 168, "It is as wrong for a man to approach God with covered head in the closet as it is to do it in the public assembly. So also of women. God makes no difference as to how he shall be approached in public or in private." Was Brother Lipscomb presumptive iii these remarks, brother Plyler?

The two translations, Goodspeed and Amplified, that brother Plyler used failed to substantiate a public assembly as the words, "in worship" and "in church" are parenthetical and not in the original whatsoever. What the translators thought is one thing, and what the apostle said is another.

Commentators are divided on I Cor. 11: 1-16 as to whether a public assembly is involved or not. I quote from the following sources:

Commentary on First Corinthians by F. W. Grosheide: "This lead us to the conclusion that Paul in ch. 11 speaks of a praying and a prophesying (of women) in public rather than in the meetings of the congregation. This interpretation has in its favor that it avoids a conflict with the absolute language of 14:34."

Commentary on First Corinthians by W. E. Vine: "The meaning of I Cor. 14:34 is quite unmistakable. Therefore this statement (I Cor. 11:5, W. W.) cannot refer to the gatherings of an assembly."

R. C. H. Lenski, commenting on verse 5, "Paul is said to contradict himself when he forbids the women to prophesy in 14:34-36. The matter becomes clear when we observe that from 11:17 onward until the end of chapter 14 Paul deals with the gatherings of the congregations for public worship and with regulations pertaining to public assemblies.-"The transition is decidedly marked: 'that ye come together, i. e., for public worship, v. 17; 'when ye come together in church (Ekklesia, no article), v. 18; and again: 'when ye assemble together,' i. e., for public worship, v. :20."

R. L. Whiteside in Reflections, page 111: "In I Cor. ' 11: 1- 15' where Paul speaks of veils and uncovered or bare heads, nothing is said about coming to a meeting. The young brother and a lot of older ones read that into the text. If he makes that Scripture apply to the public assembly, he will have to allow a woman to teach and pray in the public assembly, if she has on a veil." Brother Whiteside was replying to a question sent him concerning what a young preacher had taught. Pretty good answer, isn't it brother Plyler?

We can see, therefore, that neither commentaries nor parenthetical translations set le anything. The issue must be resolved by a fervent study of what the text says. The text says that a woman is to be veiled when praying or prophesying. The public assembly of the church is not in the text. Brother Plyler, if I Cor. 11: 1-16 is speaking of a public assembly, would you harmonize it with I Cor. 14:34? 1 would like to see how you do it.

Second, he failed to show that all women in I Cor. 11 are obligated to wear a veil. Paul said, "But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head . . ." Where do you get from this chapter brother Plyler that every woman was to wear a veil? The passage says that those women who prayed or prophesied were to be veiled. You are not going to be permitted to assume anything.

Third, he failed to show that a hat is permissible in the place of a veil. Brother Plyler tried to find justification for a hat in Thayer and several translations. On "katakalupto" Thayer said, "to veil or cover one's self: I Cor. 11:6." Do you think a hat fits Thayer's definition? Goodspeed, one of the translations brother Plyler used, rendered verse 10 thusly, "That is why she ought to wear upon her head something to symbolize her subjection . . . ... Are you sure that you want to accept Goodspeed on this verse, brother Plyler?" Something" takes in a lot of territory. How about a feather, hair net, ribbon or bow? These are "something." They fit what Thayer said about as well as the hats women wear and call them "coverings."

On the word "kata" on page 329, Thayer stated, ". . . likewise in verbs naming that which is, covered, concealed, overwhelmed, etc., as katakalupto . . . .

A. T. Robertson, commenting on katakalupto on page 160 in "Word Pictures in the New Testament," said, "Let her cover up herself with the veil (down, kata, the Greek says, the veil hanging down from the head)." Berry's Interlinear-Lexicon defines katakalupto, "to wear a veil."

The Greek and English Lexicon of the New Testament by Edward Robinson states on katakalupto, "to cover with a veil which hangs down, and hence to veil; in N. T. only Pass. or Mid. to be veiled, to wear a veil, absol. I Cor. 11:6 . . . ."

Harper's Analytical Greek Lexicon says, "to veil; mid. to veil one's self, to be veiled or covered, I Cor. 11:6,7." Young's Analytical Concordance defines katakalupto, "to cover fully." Vine's Word Studies states, "to cover up . . . . to cover oneself."

R.L. Whiteside wrote as given in Reflections, page 111, "If one will consult the American Standard Version he will see that the head covering mentioned is either a veil or long hair. Nothing is said about a hat. A veil is not a hat, and a hat is not a veil. Is it not strange how some preachers read into a passage of Scripture things that are not there, and then severely criticize those who do not agree with their perversion? If a man says a woman must wear a hat in public, he says what Paul does not say."

Before someone accuses brother Whiteside of being worldly, a man-pleaser or "trying to get meetings," I quote from the preface of "Commentary on Romans" by R. L. Whiteside, penned by C. R. Nichol, Cled Wallace and Foy Wallace, Jr. "Brother Whiteside has been a close student of the Bible all of his life. His critical mind and power of reasoning have afforded him an insight into the teaching of the Bible as a whole that few men have. His implicit faith in God has led him to seek to know only what the will of God is, that he might comply with it and teach it without faltering."

The preceding information should leave no doubt as to what the apostle Paul meant concerning the woman's covering' To say that the covering is still binding puts one who so advocates in the position of altering, substituting and perverting what the Bible says when he teaches that women are to come into the assembly with hats on their heads or something other than a veil. Paul said, "veil."

Too, I don't understand why bare-headed women aren't withdrawn from in the congregations that bind something artificial on the heads of women during the worship of the church. Brother Plyler said that such is the law of God. Brother Plyler, do you teach that women who come into the assembly bare-headed should be disfellowshipped? If not, why not?

Fourth, he failed to show a charitable attitude. He stated that my application of a couple of passages reminded him of a couple of drunks. I don't know which drunk was to have represented me. He accused me of fudging, being desperate and purposefully holding back part of what Thayer said. Here my motives were impugned. He continued by saying that I was making a big play, sliding and gliding, being foolish, and implied that I took such a position on I Cor. 11 in order to be popular and to get to' hold more meetings. This kind of writing is in poor taste and is beneath the dignity of brethren in Christ.

I know preachers who hold brother Plyler's position, yet are well received among brethren everywhere. I would imagine that attitude and disposition make a big difference concerning "popularity" and affect the number of meetings a preacher conducts.


Brethren, I pray that our differences on "the covering" will not become intensified to the place where it hinders our brotherly relationship. May we have the same forbearance and generosity toward each other on this issue in the future as we have had in of Paul years that have passed.

Let us continue to study and discuss our differences in this matter, and at the same time, permit -each individual to follow his own conscience as he understands I Cor. 11.

TRUTH MAGAZINE, XI: 8, pp. 6-7
May 1967