Skip to comments.Modesty in the church
Posted on 11/13/2013 5:43:01 PM PST by Faith Presses On
The Bible clearly says that women should dress modestly. Why does much of the church in America not follow what the Bible says? (And I'm a woman myself, I should add). It's not so much new believers who dress immodestly who are a concern, but women in leadership.
"In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works." (1 Timothy 2:9-10)
Women in Leadership = non-Scriptural anyway so why the hub-bub over immodest dress?
I saw a picture a few years ago of the First Baptist Church in some city in Romania. It was a large church. I noticed every woman over maybe 12 had some kind of hat or covering on her head.
I immediately remembered where Paul said that women should have their heads covered in church. I guess even the conservative Southern Baptists don’t keep that requirement.
Didn’t Paul also say that a woman’s hair, if left to grow and not plaited, can serve as a veil in church?
One thing though, I would also add -- In the past, a certain amount of cleavage or tightness of clothing was a sure signal of an "easy" female. These days, immodest fashions are so ubiquitous, that its not an accurate measure of whether a woman is a lady or the other kind. Plenty of good, chaste ladies dress immodestly without intending to at all -- they've simply been desensitized/were never educated about modesty of dress.
You might be right although I don’t remember that.
I agree completely.
We learn in Genesis that clothing was intended to conceal, not to reveal.
But I assure you. You are fighting a losing battle. This section of the Word of God does not even prevail in my own house. No matter how much I’ve tried to teach modest apparel, my daughters are always pushing the boundaries to see how much they can get away with. And they’re home schooled.
Ever notice on Sundays in the church? Men wearing full buttoned shirts, often with neckties, sport or suit coats, sweaters, loose fitting trousers, etc.
But the women are wearing short sleeves, or sleeveless blouses, tight pants or short skirts, plunging necklines, etc. I don’t think this is appropriate attire for church meetings or reverent worship.
But it is definitely a losing fight. Try to mention any of this, and you’ll be accused of having a dirty mind.
> Didnt Paul also say that a womans hair, if left to grow
> and not plaited, can serve as a veil in church?
Read the passage again. If the hair were meant to be the covering of the head, then men would have to shave their heads to pray, because it is a shame for them to pray with their heads covered, as it is a shame for women to pray with their heads uncovered.
People actually used to know what this meant a few generations ago. Even the Catholic Church required women to have their heads covered as recently as 1959. Problem was, they weren’t covering their heads with Godly coverings, but with ridiculous caricatures of men’s hats.
Who defines what is modest?
Making girls wear burkas?
Making girls playing basketball wear knee length skortz?
My favorite was when I found myself unwittingly invited to a picnic with a group of Bill Gothard Institute types. The girls all wore long jean skirts. Then they got on the monkey bars and twirled upside down. Well at least they were in uniform but Oh. My.
So what is considered modest? Who decides? What century decides?
Is modesty defined by making sure everybody looks like a separatist freak? Amish women dress modestly. Is that wear it needs to be?
Does modesty mean all heads are to be covered? The problem is that this was written 2000 years ago with a diffrent set of societal norms and expectations. These expectations vary from one part of the country to another, and from one country to another yet many wish to impose provincial expectations on others that will seem silly with the passage of time. These sorts of discussions/distractions invariably promote self righteous attitudes and groups that are “in” and groups that are “out”. My advice is to relax, until women start wearing stripper gear.
Perhaps instead, Christians should quit worrying about how short a skirt is, or if (gasp) a bit of cleavage shows through and instead worship God together in peace.
Boy, does this message need to get out.
It’s unbelievable how I’ve seen women dress in church. They look like hookers or that they’re going out for a night on the town.
Dressing attractively is one thing. Dressing enticingly is another.
If we didn't have dirty minds, we wouldn't need salvation. It's yours. Own it.
I agree with the spirit of your argument regarding changes in norms and expectations. But the problem is, modern female fashion is quite often designed to sexualize the wearer.
ridiculous describes so much of what i see in what many women wear to church on Sundays... flip-flops, tank shirts, capris, yoga pants, hoodies, yuck... any one of these things might work, but two and three of these pieces together? no bueno... mis dos centavos...
Frankly, I think this topic is best suited for a small group Bible study or a one-on-one situation with an older (in Christ, if not age) believer instructing a younger believer.
I am an older woman believer.
Ok so how are you going to shut it down without it becoming a competition to see who can dress in the most austere manner? Who can demonstrate “holiness” the mostess through dressing like a puritan housewife?
I remember that. It is a few verses following the instruction to keep our heads covered.
A burka is overboard. Dressing like an Amish is overboard too.
Going to Church in a miniskirt is most likely not a good idea. Strolling the seaside in a fio dental (as much as I wish it were acceptable!) is not modest.
Like I said, common sense.
> If we didn’t have dirty minds, we wouldn’t need salvation.
> It’s yours. Own it
Yeah, I have a sin nature. I own it, indeed.
So knowing that men have this sin nature, then it’s perfectly alright for women to dress as skimpily as they can, even in the church, right?
Common sense never comes into play where religion and groups of people are concerned.
You won't alienate them by calling them trampy looking ...
Now if mama is on their side ... y'gutt'a problem
Are you going to keep them out of the House of God? Are you going to push for a law to be passed?
What are you instructed to do?
You’re so sweet.
But then, I’ve just been voted “the coolest teacher ever,” by my sixth graders. The pendulum swings. I definitely don’t have the energy I used to have.
I actually once asked our preacher about women covering their heads. His reply was basically that men should dress like men and women in a feminine style.
That sounded good tho I am not entirely sure he was right but again, maybe that was the point of Paul’s instruction.
> Now if mama is on their side ... y’gutt’a problem
Nope. Mama is on my side. In fact, Mama dresses very modestly. It’s just human nature for women to dress slutty and for men to think like pigs.
But we are supposed to be new creatures in Christ. Our hearts should be turning away from the weak and beggarly elements, right? Or do we just allow ourselves to succumb to our baser nature and rationalize that, “Oh well, God understands.”
People that wear clothing to swim are crazy.
And how is your monster. Last I heard he was a SGT or something.
Don't whine. It's undignified.
Which is a shame...Oh those Brazilian gals look good...It ain't always fun and games keeping a clean mind, is it?
> What are you going to do, but whine?
Who’s whining? Can’t we make observations that are not congruent with your worldview without being accused of “whining”?
Argumentem ad hominem.
> Are you going to keep them out of the House of God?
OK, I musta missed it. Can you point out where anybody said anything like that?
Argumentem ad absurdam.
> Are you going to push for a law to be passed?
We all know that you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. Mama and I live as closely as we can to our understanding of the New Testament. Our kids are not there, and we don’t push them. We just try to teach them and leave it in the Lord’s hands.
> What are you instructed to do?
Read the Book. It’s got a lot of instructions. But especially read Malachi. If you don’t have a heart for following God’s instructions, then He is offended if you do it for show or as a duty.
It is a matter of the heart.
What I’m wondering is where are the hearts of those professing to be God’s own?
Then again, the only person whose salvation I can be sure of is my own, so that’s the best I can really do.
I am overseas. At this moment, I am watching my 11 students write novels. I get interrupted enough to make productive time on a project of mine worthless, train of thought getting interrupted, but for the most part, things are quiet.
My monster is now back with his wife and daughter. PTL! Yes, he is a Master SGT, I think. He returned two weeks ago and that is a great relief to me. He tells me not worry! I tell him it is my privilege to worry; I’m the Mom!
How ‘bout you and your family? Do you still live near the Frenchman?
I can't gainsay that.
What are your options, ignoring my extremes?
Be an example.
They are children. They need pushed.
Imagine how bad I would be if I hadn't grown up in a strict household.
Lo these many years later... if my daughters and I are at a family function and the meal is to be served.... If I say "Let's bless this food"... my girls hold my hand and bow their heads, and the room quiets down.
And they are grown women with families of their own now.
All of mine are out of the military now, including that special friend who recently retired.
Spending a lot of time with the grandsons, teaching them games like "Waiting on the gals". and making small scale trebouchets.
You know... life.
That keeps me on my toes. I only want to teach the right lessons.
One of the lessons today is that grandpa isn't always asleep even if he looks like it, and you will get busted for not doing what mom said to do. ;)
Moms have spies everywhere...
God defines what is modest ... if you read and believe your bible.
Because I said so.
I do try to say "Because I said so, and do it now, I'll explain later".
Later sometimes turns out to be 20 years later when they can handle the explanation.
Men are heads of household. Patriarchs. They need to act like it.
Flip side is they have to be right, or it screws everything up.
No pressure, though.
> They are children. They need pushed.
Actually, most of them are young adults, now. When they were younger, we bought their clothes. Now they earn their own money and buy a lot of their own clothes, and their friends give them clothes, too.
We have had 11 children. Three are married, so 8 still live at home. Well, 7, as one is off at Bible college. To be sure, they are more modestly dressed than most of the young people their age. A couple of the girls are really good about it and have no problems dressing modestly. A couple others are rebels in that regard, though they are cooperative in every other respect. And a couple others are compliant, though they do try to press the boundaries and need to be reminded from time to time.
All our kids were homeschooled, except the two oldest. The gravitational pull towards more worldly apparel was introduced by “family friendly” movies, un-saved family, and, sadly, friends from church. But, as you point out, we aren’t going to forgo meeting with the saints of God just because there are temptations, neither can we shut out our extended families or the worlds of sports and entertainment.
We are hoping that as they mature and start families of their own, the teaching on modesty to which they’ve been exposed will enjoy a resurgence in their personal lives.
The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.
16 Moreover the Lord saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet:
17 Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord will discover their secret parts.
18 In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon,
19 The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers,
20 The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings,
21 The rings, and nose jewels,
22 The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins,
23 The glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the vails.
24 And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty.
1 Corinthians 11:14
Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?
1 Corinthians 11:15
But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.
1 Timothy 2:9-14
9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.
11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
Teens/young adults need standards. Own those standards and require those around you, regardless of age, meet them.
My neighbor's 13 year old grandchildren are frequent guests here. They act like adults because if they didn't, they wouldn't be allowed here.
We have a good relationship based on mutual respect and that I teach them things while they are here. Things they want to learn.
Physics/engineering for the boychild, including some dangerous stuff that I carefully monitor, and art for the girl twin, which I provide media for her to work with.
I share that to say that those kids know a certain standard of conduct is required in this house.
Those that don't comply, don't get to be here to benefit.
I provide the benefit. I control who gets it.
What benefits do you provide? Piper calls the tune.
Proper dress for Church goes beyond how much or how little someone wears. Dress well, but don’t draw undue attention to yourself. Jesus taught about the hypocrites who loved to show how religious they were, and this included how they dressed. They were doing it for their own glory, and not God’s. The same thing applies today. Who is being glorified by an outfit that leaves little to the imagination? Likewise, who is being glorified by an outfit that is too modest? Don’t dress in a way that says “LOOK AT ME!!!”
All is vanity.
I am going to pick and choose because I don’t wish to type an encyclopedia:
1st question is how do you apply this mish mash to today?
2nd The stuff from Isaiah. You know he was talking to his people at a specific time for a specific purpose. You surely don’t think that Isaiah was telling US to renounce “ changeable suits of apparel” whatever that means do you? Additionally are you saying that God wants women to stink? “And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty.” Pretty sure that was a punishment. what do you think?
3rd question: Paul, a Roman citizen, living in a Roman world says “Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?”
Betcha that King David had long hair. Bet Isaiah did too. Do you believe that cultural norms change over the eons and geography? I bet whatever your wife wears to church today would be scandalous 100 years ago if worn anywhere.
“But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering. “
This is an obvious cultural norm of his time. So what? If a woman has short hair she is not holy? If a woman finds pride in the glory of her long hair isn’t that a form of idolatry?
“Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.” I know a whole bunch of smart women. My wife is one of them. She has areas of expertise and I have mine. When she speaks from her areas of expertise I listen. She listens when in my wheel house.
Could it be that Paul existed in a particular time and place where women were not universally literate?
So we can be like the hajji and freeze our culture 2000 years ago or we can accept that things are a bit different for us than they were for Isaiah 3000 years ago or for Paul 2000 years ago. Betcha Paul didn’t own a toaster, have an SUV, or ever experienced global communication or Obamacare for that matter.
If you pull out Deut. then I expect you to adhere to every single jot and tiddle in it. NO EXCEPTIONS!
Apparently an older woman in the church had brought it up to him (from the sound of it, in regards to a particular woman, but I wasn't able to determine/guess who as most dressed rather conservative).
His response, and reiterated to the congregation on Sunday - older women are supposed to counsel the younger. If you see something like that, you don't need to gossip about it, or run and tattletale to the Pastor.....have the Christian fortitude to say, "that's really pretty, but I think it might not be appropriate for church."
And that said - church was a place for worship and respectable clothing.
To the other posters asking what defines "respectable" or "proper......"
No, it's not a burka. But if your tattas and/or rear end are hanging out, or your skirt barely covers your nether region, or your pockets hang below your shorts, or you needed a shoehorn to assist getting it over your ass - yeah it's inappropriate.
And I'm a guy. I'm a younger guy. I like to look. But, you don't need to look like a whore when you go to church.
If you have to ask......yeah it's probably inappropriate.
And if you're a guy - you don't need to wear a suit and tie......but gym clothes aren't appropriate either.