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The Christian Burka

My wife and I recently attended a fund raising event for an international women’s charitable organization. Through wellness, educational, and economic programs they meet the most pressing needs of women in the developing world. As their founder and president shared her heart concerning the plight of the world’s poorest women, the Lord began to share His heart with my wife, Shelley. Afterward, as she discussed with me what came to her, we began to receive an even greater revelation.
At one point in her discussion, the founder of this organization shared a couple of stories about the ladies she encountered who were wearing what is called a burka. According to Wikipedia, the burka (also spelled burqa, or burkha) is described as “an enveloping outer garment worn by women in some Islamic traditions for the purpose of hiding a female’s body when out in public. It is worn over the usual daily clothing (often a long dress) and removed when the woman returns to the sanctuary of the household, out of the view of men that are not their husbands, fathers, brothers, uncles, sons and grandsons. The burqa is usually understood to be the woman’s loose body-covering, plus the head-covering, plus the face-veil.”
In her stories, the founder spoke mainly about the oppressive nature of, in particular, the face covering. Talking with the women behind the veil proved to be very difficult, not being able to see any type of body or facial expression. They are the faceless women whose identity is hidden behind a veil that separates them from the outside world.
They are not the only oppressed women in the world. Strangely, a similar tragedy is found within the church in America. Christianity has its own version of a face covering. The Christian “burka” has also been around for years, oppressing the Bride of Christ under its identity removing “head covering.”
Frank Viola, in his book “Who Is Your Covering?” states; “It is my contention that a great deal of confusion and subnormal Christian behavior is connected with a modern teaching known as ‘protective covering.’ This teaching holds that Christians are protected from doctrinal error and moral failure when they submit themselves to the authority of another believer or organization.”
In Matthew 20:25-28 Jesus said to His disciples, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Our leadership model in the church should be the opposite of the world’s. Presently, our leaders are on top of the organizational flow chart when they should be on the bottom, serving and under girding everyone else.
The Greek word for “lord it over” in this passage is “katakurieuo”. It means “to bring under one’s power, to hold in subjection, to be master of, to exercise lordship over.” Total control often lies in the hands of a select few who bring everyone under their control. Unfortunately, many of God’s children like it this way. They have less responsibility, choosing instead to sit complacently in their usual pew.
The Bible clearly teaches us to submit to one another, but never through a top-down, clergy-laity system modeled after the world. In the present system, a leadership’s positional authority becomes threatened when the sheep begin to grow up in Christ, realizing that they too have a face to bear and a voice to be heard. They are often told to kindly put their veil back on and be quiet, deferring to the “anointed authority” over them who knows what’s best. The Bible says that all true Christians have been anointed by the Holy Spirit, not just a select few. We must break the silence and remove the oppressive head covering in order for others to see the Lord’s glory through His Body. (To read the full article, go to http://capstone-ministries.com/articles.html)

Pastor Tim Bauer
Capstone Ministries

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