Common question: My pastor, elder, friend, Bible study teacher, paper boy ... are telling me that head covering is legalistic. What do I say to that?
Do try to keep a sense of humor if possible. Do try to be as light-hearted as you can be when facing any opposition to covering. Quite often people are not teachable about the topic. Be sensitive to see how they are speaking.
The word Legalism is thrown around regarding the covering all the time. The sad thing is that folks don't very often just ask me or directly accuse me (to my face) of legalism. Instead they use the word an awful lot and just hope that I'll get it.
If anyone asked me I'd say, "I have heard of 3 different definitions of legalism but not one of those ever said that obeying the New Testament is legalism."
When I've said or written those words people are surprised! Sometimes they don't even know that covering is taught in the New Testament. I'm thinking that most pastors know the teaching is there. The only excuse I can make for a pastor is that he was influenced by some incorrect commentary on the passage.
My NIV Study Bible had a lengthy commentary on how women don't need to cover. I used to read that and think that some expert knew something that I did not know.
The passage in English is pretty clear and in Greek it's REALLY clear. There is no way out of covering. I looked. Look at I Corinthians chpt. 11 once again and pray.
What other New Testament obedience is legalistic? You might want to ask your detractors that. Giving money? Hospitality? Loving the brethren? Praying? Meeting with other believers?
I'd ask for an example. Chances are the detractor will site the VERY few verses that are directed at women---modesty, teaching men, covering---and say those are passe.
Why would anyone teach that? Because of feminism. It changed the Western world.