The question of who provides a “covering” to a ministry, a group, or an individual is one that has arisen in the church over the past years. The term “covering” refers to a “spiritual covering” and the underlying assumption to the question is of course that any ministry without a covering provided by a church, denomination, or ministry board of some variety must be somehow rogue, unsoundly-founded, in doctrinal err, experiencing unprotected exposure to the wiles of the Evil One, or at least at risk to one or more of the foregoing. A thorough consideration of this teaching on “spiritual covering” will reveal these matters to be red herrings. I have titled this article, “The Church Uncovered: A new answer to the question, ‘Who is your covering?’.”
Toward a Structure for Church, Part 3
by Brother Maynard | Jan 3, 2005 | Articles, Ecclesiology, The Sojourn | 5 comments
Interesting links — I’ve always considered the “covering” idea to be unbiblical in its typical usage. However, as you noted, there seems to be few resources out there that aren’t (a) just as charismaniac in their own way, or (b) not simply raging rants — there’s a place for ranting, I agree, but it’s not a good theological resource for others. Would you consider writing more on this topic? Len Hjalmarsson’s work is excellent in this area as well, but differing perspectives are always helpful.
Also noted that the content of the introduction to Frank Viola’s book and the Vieira’s article are virtually identical, and in places are word-for-word — so who really wrote it? I consider Paul Vieira’s article the better of the two, since he is speaking with grace instead of harsh judgment, which (as I note from the samples of Viola’s books via the link you provided) seems to pervade Viola’s writings — even the titles of his books and chapters are harsh and vindictive.
I don’t know Frank Viola, although the name is vaguely vaguely familiar, but after reading his sample chapters, and even just seeing the titles of his books, he sounds really judgmental and authoritarian — except that his authoritarianism is based in being anti-church. Again, I don’t know Viola nor have I read his books, but what I saw on his site suggested that being under his “covering” would be no better than those he writes against.
Please go deeper into this topic, it has deep meaning for women. If the doctrine of covering is unbiblical for individuals in a church setting then it is unbiblical a woman to be under authority to her husband.
These same scriptures ought to be unbiblical for women in a marriage because the SAME scriptures used to support being under authority of a church are the exact same scriptures used for submission in marriage. Paul Viera supported this view when he reference 1 corinthians 11, about headcoverings which he said they signified God’s authority in her marriage. WRONG! Headcoverings in ancient times, were worn in some cultures because it was shameful for women to speak in public to a man with her head uncovered to do so would disgrace herself and her husband, so Paul was just telling the women to put their
veils on when they prophesied. Simple. The church has turned that simple chapter into a whole treatise on subjugating women to their husbands. do a little digging into the concept and you’ll see exactly what I mean.
Thanks Vicki Smith
What About Accountability without control?
Accountability without control… this seems to be a reasonable ideal, of course. I think one problem is that accountability often gets tied to structure or position, as in being accountable to your pastor etc. because of their position. I don’t think this is helpful, or healthy. I think accountability is better understood in the context of relationship, which may have nothing to do with position. In order to make it work, you have to equalize both sides of the relationship, so that neither has more “power” than the other… and position or authority adds an inherent kind of power to the relationship, which lends itself to being controlling. Not that it has to be, just that it’s already in danger. Servant leadership is the way Jesus modeled avoiding this problem: try to take up the “lower” position in the relationship where someone may be accountable to you; if there is any authority of this type, I think it comes through serving and loving never through position. In fact, ‘accountability’ is inherently a ‘power’ word how can one person ‘hold’ another accountable unless there’s some kind of power or threat of consequence?
In short, it seems like a good ideal, but I’m honestly skeptical about how it works out in practice. But of course, I could be wrong. ;^)
This side of the ‘covering debate’ that I havewatched and observed for the past few years scares me.
I grew up in a home where my Mother was doing drugs all day and my Father was either in jail, or sleeping with another woman, just down the road. I had no protection, nurturing, stability, security, affection, provision, etc. None. Parents provide a covering for their children, it nurtures them up in the faith and in the world.
The ‘concept’ of spiritual covering is very important. Maybe the word covering’ needs to be dismantled and reimagined. Maybe our hearts our still inclined towards rebellion.. But if I had not submitted to someone, when I first began to be discipled, I would not be where I am today.
Sorry man, but your refining of this ‘precept, principle, concept’ whatever we call it, ccocould lead many into lawlessness. I think we do need some good conversatiion around this entire subject. To save souls.