Much has happened since writing my last post, but here’s a partial update and a wonderful excerpt that I found profoundly relevant.
I had intended on taking a break from Facebook this week so that I could devote more undivided attention to study, however it turns out that logging on and scrolling the news feed was too easy(surprise!), so I have temporarily deactivated my account.
I’ve been studying quite a bit of my Bible, as well as various books. I’ve actually just finished an eye-opening book by Paul K. Williams entitled The Headcoverings of 1 Corinthians 11 (stay tuned for an article on it ;)), which I simply must recommend to everyone. I’ll probably end up summarizing it in a later post, but one of his final chapters was incredibly helpful and in light of some recent differences, I thought it would be relevant to post:
“It has been the usual practice in churches of Christ for brethren who disagree on the meaning of 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 to worship and work together without distinction. Preachers who believe that women should cover their heads in worship work together with preachers who do not and women who cover their heads sit next to women with bare heads in the assembly. And I believe this is the correct thing to do.
…However, to those of us who have studied carefully and come to the conclusion that it is God’s will for women to cover their heads in worship, this is not a matter of liberty or free choice. It is a matter of God’s will.
…I do not know the entire answer concerning fellowship, and I doubt that anyone else does. I know that the consequences of refusing fellowship whenever we conscientiously disagree over the application of the Bible teaching will soon be a fragmenting too horrendous to think about.
I also think that those things where we have tacitly agreed to disagree and remain in fellowship are things which require a good many inferences, sometimes not necessary inferences. These things do not seem as clear as other matters. Thus we continue to try to teach one another and leave the judging to God. I think this is right. It seems the only practical course.
However this has resulted in brethren thinking that the questions on which we differ without breaking fellowship are not important. Instead of there being careful Bible study on those questions, they are dismissed because brethren differ and still get along. I have tried to get thoughtful articles on the head covering published by a leading brotherhood journal, but it has not been possible. Apparently brethren do not want to upset things. And I think this is a very bad attitude.
Brethren, we need to study, and we need to study questions wherein we differ. We must study in a brotherly way, with love for the truth and love for one another. But we must remember that God will hold us responsible for how we handle the truth. We must not stifle controversy when it is for the purpose of finding the truth.
Therefore, let us tolerate and work together with brethren who differ on these questions, while at the same time being willing to study and teach that the truth may always prevail.”