The World Mission Society Church of God (WMSCOG) claims that the practice of women covering their heads during worship is a commandment from God. The WMSCOG actually lists this practice under “Commandments of God” on their website. Here is the direct link to the sermon online.
“God gave us this veil regulation as a sign representing God’s authority. Even though this regulation seems minor, it cannot be neglected. None of God’s commands were instituted meaninglessly. All of the regulations were given to God’s people because they are necessary for our salvation and allow us to enter the kingdom of God.” © WMSCOG English WATV.org – Accessed on 03.29.2011.
The WMSCOG says that men with long hair are ugly under their Truth of Life > Fundamental Truths section of their web site. Don’t believe me? It’s right on their official web site under the heading “Woman’s Veil is Shown Through the Very Nature of Things“. I’ll quote it for you below:
“This verse implies that it is not proper for a woman to worship God with her head uncovered. We unconsciously know that if a man has long hair he looks ugly, and it can even become his disgrace. God gave men “the nature” not to cover their heads…Contrary to man, if a woman has short hair, she is not seen as beautiful. This is only because God gave women the “nature” to feel beautiful when their heads are covered with long hair.” © WMSCOG English WATV.org – Accessed on 03.29.2011.
There you have it, straight from the official web site of the World Mission Society Church of God: “if a man has long hair he looks ugly”, and “if a woman has short hair, she is not seen as beautiful”. Does your church preach this as a “Fundamental Truth” or a “Truth of Life?” Doesn’t sound anything like the message of Christianity to me.
Now let us examine what the Scriptures have to say about the regulation of the veil. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Apostle Paul addresses the custom of head coverings (1 Corinthians 11:3-16). Apostle Paul appears to be clarifying an issue of contention among the Corinthians regarding the regulation of head coverings during the time of worship.
Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14 Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, 15 but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering. 16 If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice—nor do the churches of God. 1 Corinthians 11:13-16
Perhaps, it is a little unclear in the NIV (a notoriously poor translation). Let’s look at it in the KJV where the Apostle Paul refers to head coverings:
Here is the same verse in the KJV:
But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God. 1 Corinthians 11:16
It is then very clear then that the Apostle Paul is referring to a custom, and not a command.