It’s been sometime since I’ve posted (I really don’t appreciate the argumentative aspects of discussing Christianity, especially when it seems to lack charitability. I am not excluding myself from such behavior.)
This morning, as I drove to work a 24 hour shift, I was listening to ‘Faith Radio’. I heard a ‘Bible only’ preacher teaching, based on his view/interpretation of scriptures, and a question came to mind. He referenced Paul’s writing about women wearing a head covering and clearly stated, ‘as was the culture of that time’. His teaching was on taking what was written in scriptures literally, of course it appeared it was based on his interpretation of what was written. This is when a question came to mind, **where in scriptures does it state that customs/traditions are allowed to change according to the progressive cultures through time? If scriptures state that women were to wear head coverings in Church, where does it state it would be permissable to change with time? **
This seems to be ‘adding’ to scriptures, the same as this particular preacher’s teachings accused others of having adding to scriptures because they did not conform to his interpretation of scriptures on another subject, which was angels and their place in theology/Churh/the faith.
As I’ve stated that I do not want to be a part of an argumentative discussion, please understand I mean no disrespect with my questions. It’s just that in several discussions with fellow Christians, of other denominations, I have heard it expressed that certain expectations/requirements written in scriptures were strictly based on what was the customs/cultures of a certain time period. I.E. women preaching/teaching in Church, etc.
I wouldn’t describe myself as a “Bible only” Christian: I am prima scriptura, but not sola scriptura. But cultural context has always been important, just as textual context is. God doesn’t change, but human societies and customs do. Remember also that most of Paul’s letters were not written to the church in general, but to the church in a particular time and place, and addressing that particular churches’ issues. Of course, most of it is generally applicable, but not all of it.
The head covering is an example of customs, or the culture, of that time period. There are numerous customs, or cultural, differences, since the time that the New Testament was written. My question was more of ‘where is it written that those customs, or what customs, are subject to change and approved by God?’ As Izdaari states, ‘God doesn’t change, but human societies and customs do…’
Since the op is a question of authority, how does your answer give us the authority to change what God prescribed? The issue of head covering is one that is, in scripture, tied to submission to God and really there is no basis for us to say it is just a cultural thing, such as using horses for transportation would be. So since God has ordained it, then what would give us the right to decide that we should or should not practice it?
As noted, it is a question of authority: of whether or not the authority of a magisterium is the basis for our understanding of Scripture. I say it isn’t. We are to use reason, scholarship, common sense and prayer, as well as a decent respect for tradition but not blind submission to it, and are not to just accept whatever some human authority tells us. Of course, if Paul were still around, we could just ask him what he meant… but he isn’t, and Mother Church ain’t him, claims to the contrary notwithstanding.
Respectfully, a ‘magisterium’ was always the basis of understanding scriptures for people, even prior to the New Testament even being written. This belief is easily understood by reading Nehemiah 8.
Was this a custom of the times that changed with the New Testament being written?
Paul told the Hebrews to obey their ‘prelates’ and be ‘subject’ to them. (Hebrews 13:17) I don’t know of anywhere that Paul caveated that teaching to exclude the understanding of scriptures as taught by the magisterium.
I’d like to point out that it was not my intention to discuss ‘authority’, even though that is clearly what answers my questions. Hearing that preacher on the radio confused me on his understanding and how he could determine that other beliefs, through different interpretations, were wrong, but it was acceptable for him to make certain scriptures only applicable to the ‘culture of those times’. It makes me want to ask if certain scriptures are no longer applicable to us today, and if so which ones? This seems to be contradictory to the teaching that nothing should be added, or taken away from His word.
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