3159 21st Street N.
St. Petersburg, FL
Elder Steve Shelton
(727) 822-1918


The Divine Order of the Sexes

By C. D. Cole

There is a Divine order of the sexes. To deny this order is to deny the Bible. To deny the Bible is to plunge into the sea of human experience without any real hope of surviving. This, many are willing to do in order to be in the swim. Much of the Bible is a dead letter to the average church member. He has no more use for the Bible as the rule of faith and practice than a hog has for breeches. What a settlement many are going to have to make with God for their arrogant setting aside of His holy word as im­practicable! and out of date!
     According to the Divine order, the woman is subordinate to the man. This can be established by many passages of Scripture. "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore, as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything" (Eph. 5:23,24).  "The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to be keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed" (Titus 2:4, 5). See also Gen. 3:16; I Cor. 11:3; 14:34, 35; I Tim. 2:11, 12; I Peter 3:1-6. 


This subordination does not involve personal character.  It does not imply personal inferi­ority of the woman to the man. The writer does not hesitate to say that in many things woman is superior to man; in the nobler qualities that go to make up character, in patience and endurance, in gentleness, in unselfishness, in ministering to the suffering, in love, the woman is superior to the man.
     Nor does this subordination touch the question of salvation. In respect to salvation, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free; there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:28). To quote this verse in an effort to overthrow the doctrine of woman's subjection to man is to ignore the context and oppose Scripture with Scripture. This verse teaches that all are saved alike, namely, by faith in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:26).
     Neither is it a question of ability. It is often claimed for some women that they are able speak­ers.  This is not denied, but ability is not cri­terion of what is right. A man may be skillful as a gambler, but this is no reason why he should be licensed to gamble.   The success women have had in the pulpit has deceived and turned many away from the once delivered faith. By such parity of reasoning, it can be proven that Moses did right when he struck the rock (Num. 20:11).   He was successful in getting water, but he disobeyed God, and thereby, forfeited the privilege of entering the promised land. It will be through his marvelous success that the Anti-Christ will command the worship of men. Read II Thess. 2:1-11 and Rev. 13.
     The subordination of the woman to the man is a matter of position. It is inferiority of rank rather than of person.   President Hoover is superior to every other man in our country in position and authority, but this does not nec­essarily mean that he is superior to every other man in character and ability.  The woman is subordinate to the man with respect to authority and its corresponding obligation. We miss the mark entirely when we talk about woman's rights. It is not a question of equal rights, but of identical duties. Whether in the state, in the home, or in the church, woman is to occupy a subordinate place.  This means that the man has a greater measure of responsibility before God
     In public worship the responsibility for speak­ing and teaching is not placed upon the woman but upon the man. "Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home; for it is a shame for women to speak in the church" (I Cor. 14:34,35).   "Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence" (I Tim. 2:11,12). What a need there is for the men of our churches to realize that the chief responsibility for the condition of the churches rests upon them. They cannot escape this responsibility. This thing of turning the work of the churches over to the women and children, as is often done, is con­trary to the Word of God. Let us make some observations:  God never made provision for a woman to occupy the throne of Israel. Woman had no part in the priestly ministrations in the tabernacle or the temple.  God never made a covenant with a woman. When the government of Israel had broken down. God described the conditions in a figurative way by saying, "As for my people, children are their oppressors and women rule over them" (Isa. 3:12). The same principle applies to women in the new dispensation as in the old. Christ never called a single woman to be His apostle. Christ never called a woman to preach His gospel. All the deacons of the Jerusalem church were men. If Christ calls women to a public ministry, how do we account for his waiting nearly 1900 years before doing so? Until recent times, no woman claimed such a call.  The practice of women speaking to mixed assemblies in Baptist chur­ches is an innovation that has been decried by such men as Broadus, Eaton, Carroll, Lorimer, Harvey and Hawthorne, and others too numer­ous to mention.  The scholarship of Baptists from Paul to Boyce Taylor is practically unani­mous in its opposition to this innovation.
     In the home the place of authority is vested in the man. To talk of equal authority between man and wife is to talk nonsense. Equal author­ity, no authority. Authority must be placed either in the man or the woman. Where has God placed it?  With the husband or the wife? The Bible says it is with the husband. The father is more responsible for the conduct of the children than is the mother.   "And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath:  but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Eph. 6:4).  In his song of thanksgiving, after his life had been lengthened 15 years, Hezekiah said, "The father to the children shall make known thy truth" (Isa. 38:19). The Lord said of Abra­ham, "For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him" (Gen. 18:19). The father and not the mother is chiefly responsible for the daughter's dress, for where she goes, and for the company she keeps. The responsibility of the husband and the father, in the light of God's word, is a tremendously solemn matter. And this responsibility is the result of divinely ordained authority.


     The subordination of the woman to the man has its origin and ground in creation. "Adam was first formed then Eve."   The man and woman were not created simultaneously.  The man was created first and the woman was created for the man (I Cor. 11:9). Another reason given for the subjection of the woman to the man is in the fact that the woman was deceived in the transgression (I Tim. 2:14). These are the only reasons found in the Bible for the subjection of the woman to the man. To talk about local conditions at Corinth or anywhere else as the ground of the command for the women to keep silence in the churches is to add to the word of God. It is a case of the wish being father to the thought.
     Much skill is being used today in an effort to set aside the plain teachings of the Bible. Those who have a conscience upon the question are ridiculed and browbeaten. They are called woman haters and non-cooperants because they will not support that which is obviously opposed to the word of God. The commands of the Bible may be classed as moral and positive. A moral command is a command for which a moral rea­son can be seen, such as, "Thou shalt not kill," and "Thou shall not steal," etc. A positive command is a command for which no moral reason is apparent.  It lies in the sovereign pleasure of God.  God's command to Moses to speak to the rock rather than to strike it is a positive command. The prohibition against touch­ing the ark, for which Uzzah lost his life is a positive command. The command to baptize is a positive command. The command for women to keep silence in the churches is a positive command.  The only reason that can be given for obedience to positive commands is that God has given them. The greatest test of spirituality is not obedience to the moral commands for the unregenerate  may observe them. But to keep God's positive commands is to walk by faith. 


     The truth of the subordination of the woman to the man has a divinely appointed symbol. This truth is to be symbolized by the woman wearing long hair, and when in church, an add­itional covering.   This covering is a sign of headship.   Headship means authority.   Long hair is the sign by which the wife acknowledges the authority of her husband, who is her natural head; and a hat or veil as an additional covering, when in church, to acknowledge the authority of man in religious matters. Let us examine I Cor. 11:3: "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the wo­man is the man; and the head of Christ is God." This verse tells us that order and subordination pervade the entire universe.   The woman is subordinate to and under the rule of man; the man is subordinate to and under the rule of Christ; and Christ, in His mediatorial character, is subordinate to and under the rule of God.
     "Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoreth his head. But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven" (I Cor. 11:4,5).  The fifth verse is sometimes given as a warrant for women leading in public prayer and speaking in the church.  To this it has been replied, that when the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write this, He knew what He was going to move him to write in Chapter 14, verse 34. He merely refers to prayer and prophecy here without either approving or con­demning.   His object here is to condemn the failure of symbolizing the truth of headship. My personal belief, however, is that public worship is here expressed by prayer and prophecy. The men are to worship with uncovered heads, while the women must be covered.  Failure of the woman to wear a hat or veil is the same as if she were shaven.  "For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn; but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered" (I Cor. 11:6). The word "if" here does not express a doubt.  It does not open the door for debate.  It has the meaning here that it frequently has in the New Testament. "If I go away I will come again," that is "Since I go away I will come again." "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above," or "Since ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above." Thus, we see the meaning "Since it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered." As further proof that I am not giving an arbi­trary meaning to the word "if", let me cite verses 14 and 15: "Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?  But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering." Here it is declared to be a shame for a man to have long hair, but for the woman, it is her glory. Observe that Paul did not appeal to custom but to nature. God's law upon the question is in harmony with the law of nature.  Lest the reader does not dis­cover it for himself, let me say, that in the passage before us, there are two coverings in view. This is clear from Verse 6: "For if the woman be not covered (veiled), let her also be shorn: but if (since) it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered (veiled). In the original, the word translated "covering" in the 15th verse is a different word from that translated "covered" in the other verses. The Revised Version maintains this distinction.
     "For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God:  but the woman is the glory of the man (v. 7).  Behold the accuracy of Scripture. It is not said here that man is the likeness of God, but the image of God.  There is a difference between image and likeness. Image means rep­resentation; likeness means resemblance. Man was originally created in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:26).  In the fall, man lost his likeness to God, but he is still the image or representative of God — he occupies the place of authority as God's representative. This mean­ing of the word "image" is enforced by a ref­erence to Matt. 22:20: "And he said unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar's." The Jews had asked Christ if it was lawful to pay tribute to Caesar. He answered by calling for a coin and, when given him, He asked whose image or authority did it represent, and they said Caesar's. Now since a covered head was a sign of subjection, man, being in a position of authority, must not have this sign on his head. But the woman, being in the place of subjection, is to have this sign on her head: long hair as a permanent sign of the headship of her husband; and a veil or hat when in church as a sign of headship of man in public worship.
     "For this cause ought the woman to have a sign of authority on her head because of the angels" (v. 10, R.V.).  This opens up a field of study which we cannot enter for lack of space. This is a clear inference that angels attend church services in the hope of learning of the mysteries of human redemption. Read I Peter 1:12 and Eph. 3:10.
     What God appoints is best. Obedience to the Divine order concerning the sexes will result in blessing to both men and women. As the spirit of lawlessness increases, the word "sub­jection" becomes more and more despised. Many associate the word "subjection" with the thought of degradation.   It is claimed that woman is degraded by the position given her by Paul. On this point. Atheism makes a bid for woman's patronage by seeking to prejudice her against Christianity.  I now quote from "The Bible in the Balance," by Charles Smith, President of the American Association for the Advancement of Atheism:
     "Elizabeth Cady Stantor: 'I know of no other books that so fully teach the subjection and degra­dation of woman.'
     "Helen Gardner: 'Women are indebted today for their emancipation from a position of hope­less degradation, not to their religion nor Jehovah, but to the justice and honor of the men who have defied His commands. That she does not crouch today where St. Paul tried to bind her, she owes to the men who are grand and brave enough to ignore St. Paul and rise superior to his God' (Men, Women and Gods, p. 30)."
     What an awful thing it is to become an ally of Atheism!  But this is exactly what Baptists are doing in their effort to set aside the plain teachings of Holy Scripture regarding the position of women in our churches and religious assem­blies.
     Woman is given the place of subjection, not for her degradation, but for her honor and protection. And her safety and happiness lie in her acceptance of that place. In Romans 13, all Christians are commanded to be in subjection to the civil authori­ties. Are they thereby degraded? Who but anar­chists will say so? In Eph. 5:24, the church is said to be subject to Christ. Is the church thereby degraded? No, a thousand times no! The relation between husband and wife is illustrated by the relation that exists between Christ and the Church. "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it" (Eph. 5:25).  Is a woman degraded by being in subjection to the man who loves her enough to die for her? And the woman who has promised to obey any other is pitied. And no woman ought to marry a man whom she cannot promise to obey