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Pushing the Edge on Dress Standards, Borderline Modesty vs. True Modesty

Republished November 13, 2013 (first published June 6, 2007) (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, fbns@wayoflife.org) -

The following is from the book, “
Dressing from the Lord,” which is available in print and eBook editions from Way of Life Literature in print and eBook editions.

dressing
In my preaching conferences I have had occasions, sadly, to observe that though a church or Christian school might have pretty good dress standards (written or unwritten) for workers and youth, many of the girls and young women dress immodestly.

I am not the only one to notice this. One pastor wrote as follows:

“In 2006, I visited the campus of --------- Christian College and attended a chapel service. I was grieved as I watched the students assemble. Many of the girls were wearing tight, form fitting blouses and skirts. There were a lot of skirts above the knee as well as slits that went above the knee. One pastor friend refers to the slit skirt as ‘peek-a-boo’ skirts. How can the young men possibly keep their minds pure as they train for the ministry when so many of the girls are dressing like strange women all around them?”


Another man wrote:

“Our church teaches and preaches separation. Our pastor has even compiled a small booklet on modest dress. Having said all that, we have had and still do have problems. In order to be a choir member or teach Sunday School, etc., we must sign a form saying we agree to the dress standards as well as many other standards of conduct. WHAT I HAVE SEEN IS, YES THEY ARE WEARING DRESSES, BUT MANY ARE FAR FROM MODEST. ... FORM FITTING CLOTHING [IS ONE OF THE PROBLEMS]. A lady can be actually wearing a reasonably nice dress that meets the standard, at least in their mind it does, but the problem is that it is at least a size too small for her! These folks are rarely confronted because they are wearing a dress, you know! I believe we easily forget modesty and become lost in ‘I’m wearing a dress attitude.’ To be honest I have seen more modest pants on many lost ladies than the ‘dresses on our standard-signing church ladies.’ I'm not for pants; I’m just referring to our hypocrisy! It shows either a lack of discernment on their part or a worldly desire to show off the body, maybe both.”

Continue reading this article……

Survey of Christian Men on the Subject of Women's Clothing

SURVEY OF CHRISTIAN MEN ON THE SUBJECT OF WOMEN’S CLOTHING

Updated August 6, 2008 (first published May 1, 2007) (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, fbns@wayoflife.org; for instructions about subscribing and unsubscribing or changing addresses, see the information paragraph at the end of the article) -

This article is from the author’s book, “Dressing from the Lord,” which is available from Way of Life Literature. It can be ordered via the online catalog or by phone or e-mail (866-295-4143, fbns@wayoflife.org).
______________________

I sent out a notice to the Fundamental Baptist Information Service e-mail list and asked the following question of the men on the list who are members of fundamentalist and independent Baptist churches:

“In your opinion, which of the following items of female dress cause a real potential for lust?”
short skirts tight skirts slit skirts long skirts with slits to the knees sleeveless blouses low cut blouses and dresses tight blouses sheer blouses
T-shirts
V-neck dresses form-fitting jeans looser-fitting pants shorts one piece bathing suits

[We included pedal pushers and capris in the original survey but most of the men did not know what they are, so it turned out that the comments on those items were too irrelevant to include in this book.]

My objective in this is to help girls and women in strong Bible-believing churches to understand how men think, not only men in the world or men in churches in general but men in the very churches that they attend.

I received a flood of response to this survey. In just one day I received well over 100 responses from men ages 24 to 74 and from many parts of the world, and that was on a weekend, and they are still coming in a week and a half later. This tells me that there is a readiness on the part of men to let women understand how they see this issue.

As you will see, the responses were very earnest. The men are discouraged that lust is such a powerful temptation in their lives, and they admitted that it is so. Some of the men literally begged me to tell the women that their manner of dress is important and that they need to understand how men look at things.

One man wrote: “Thank you for this request. This area is the greatest challenge in my life -- in all honesty to a brother-in-the-Blood.”

The following was also typical:

“I have been saved for about eight years and the lust issue is huge for me and for all men. ... I need God every day to help me stay away from lust. Short Skirts, tight blouses, slit dresses are all over. You can’t look at billboards, grocery store waiting line magazine racks, Internet advertisements, walking in the park, or any store. You get my point; it’s everywhere. ... I have to pray everyday for God to keep lust out of my way. I wish I was born into a good Bible believing church and was brought up to stay away from lustful sin. To answer your question it would have to be anything short or tight on a woman. I look forward to the cold winters up north when women cover everything up.”

Another man said:

“That our society drenches every inch of media in sexually explicit advertising is a source of much temptation, sadness and concern for this man. Facing that sort of issue with Christian sisters in a church setting is most grievous.”

Most of the men observed that their response to a woman’s immodest dress depends on their spiritual condition and acknowledged that they have a responsibility before God not to lust after women regardless of how they are dressed.

For example, one man said: “Men are sight oriented creatures. The Lord has so equipped men to be sexually stimulated visually. ... Men must govern their own hearts.”

Another man said: “My response to immodesty is often dependent on the environment, situation and my spiritual defense mechanism at a particular moment. If I have had a wonderful prayer time and clothed myself with all the spiritual armor, I am usually just about OK for anything. But more often then I would like it, I am not prepared or I am in a vulnerable situation; then I better run for my dear life (Gen. 39:12).”

Another man said: “While I feel that the Lord has helped me overcome in this area [of not lusting after women], the enemy knows my weakness and still attacks me. In my opinion, the key to overcoming lust are: 1) Obey God’s Word, especially the command to abstain from the very appearance of evil; and 2) don’t put yourself in situations where you will encounter women scantily dressed (i.e. the beach, certain television programs, etc.). Since we are in the world, I know that there is no way to completely avoid the things that tempt us, but if we will stay true to the Word of God and allow Him to help us, we can be ‘more than conquerors through Him who loved us’ (Romans 8:37).”

Many of the men also observed that this is a heart issue. The following statement by a pastor is typical of those made by many others:

“I believe the most important issue in female modesty is the issue of a chaste heart. If the woman desires to please her Saviour and honor her brother in Christ, there is seldom an issue with the clothing she wears. Mandating modest clothing without focusing on creating a chaste heart does little good. If the woman wears ‘modest’ clothing but is sensual in the way she walks or conducts herself, it will invariably cause a man to lust. I don’t need to see skin to cause me to lust. We men have pretty good imaginations.”

As to the individual items of dress, the men made the following points:

First of all, many of the men replied that
all of the aforementioned female dress styles hold a real potential for lust. The following two statements were typical:

“I believe that ALL you had listed cause a ‘potential’ for lust.”

“I think that ALL of the listed items can cause lust. The bottom line for me is that anything that is form fitting, exposing, sheer, or clinging to a woman is immodest and can cause men to lust.”

Comments on the specific items of apparel fell along the following lines:

SHORT SKIRTS AND SHORT DRESSES AND SHORTS hold a very serious potential for lust for men. One man said, “The higher up on a woman’s leg, the more lustful/tempting it becomes.”

TIGHT CLOTHING is at least as much of a potential problem for men as skimpy clothing. Most of the men indicated that TIGHT SKIRTS AND TIGHT BLOUSES AND FORM-FITTING JEANS AND ONE-PIECE BATHING SUITS hold a “VERY great potential” for lust. One man said tight skirts are “very inviting and a potential for lust.” Another said of tight clothing, “You don’t even need to see skin; they provide all the curves.” Another said: “I would say the number one problem is any garment that is form fitting, be it jeans, pants, skirt, dress, shirt, whatever. Anything that is tight, no matter how long it is, leaves nothing to the imagination, and that defeats the whole purpose of covering the skin in the first place!” Another said: “One thing I see in my church is tight clothing. Oh, it may very well be covering but it is revealing the shape in a woman. This can be even more tantalizing to a man.” Another wrote: “The point is that it is not the type of clothing that can trip a man up, rather it is the amount and the level of cling to the body.” One man said that since one-piece bathing suits are “skin tight” he does “not think any red blooded normal man could look purely on a woman attired like this.” Some of the men also mentioned LOW-RIDING JEANS as a cause for serious concern, because not only do they totally emphasize the woman’s figure but they are also suggestive of a bare midriff even if covered with a T-shirt. The T-shirt in such a case is invariably tight, of course.

SLIT SKIRTS AND SLIT DRESSES are a problem for many men. One man answered the question of whether slit skirts are a real potential for lust with the reply, “Oh! Yes.” One man said that slit skirts “tempt your imagination.” Another called the slit skirt the “peek-a-boo” skirt, while another said the slit is “designed to catch the eye.” A pastor said, “They are a teasing game, catching the attention of a guy’s eyes with the promise of more; it is an enticement to sin.” One man said: “My belief is that any slit (whether it be a long, medium, or short skirt) provides a flash of skin that is enticing to the eye and the flesh of men. It is the ‘forbidden fruit,’ so to speak, that is covered and when the woman sits or moves just right, that part of the leg is exposed and it is all a man needs to think about what he just saw or what else he could see.” Another man said: “I know that many women cannot begin to understand how that a skirt or dress that is 2 inches off the floor in length, but has a long slit anywhere on it, front, back or side, can cause a man to lust. They think that we are pathetic, and unfortunately I have to agree.” Another man said: “For me personally, slits draw my eyes where they shouldn’t be drawn. If anyone knows anything about advertising, he would know that advertisers use lines to draw people’s eyes where they want (company logo, name, whatever). Slits in skirts do exactly the same thing.” Another observed, “If the slit is there because the dress or skirt is too tight, why not wear a loose skirt?” Some men said that the slits are not a problem if they are not above the knee.

SHEER BLOUSES OR DRESSES are a problem for the vast majority of men. One man said, “I see a lot of Christian women wearing sun dresses in the summer because they are cool. They are also revealing and alluring. Most summer clothes are thin so as to be more comfortable. But you let that woman wearing these clothes stand with a light source behind her (such as the sun) and there is nothing left to the imagination. You can see her form in every detail and it will get men frothing at the mouth, lusting after that woman. Is it the man’s fault for not controlling his flesh and desires even though it is there for him to see? Absolutely! But it is equally the woman’s fault for not having enough godliness about her to dress modestly in the first place.”

Even
LOOSER-FITTING FEMALE PANTS, while not as much of a problem as form-fitting jeans, hold a potential problem for many men. One man said, “While it is true that some things on your list will draw your attention quicker and cause you to look longer, even ‘looser-fitting pants’ direct a man’s gaze to the area of the hips.” Another wrote: “A few years ago, I preached a message about standards (including music, dress, and others). I asked for a show of hands as to how many men would admit their eyes were drawn to a woman’s crotch when she wore pants instead of a skirt or dress. More than two dozen hands went up (and who knows how many more were hesitant to make the public confession with their wives right next to them?). The group included many of the finest Christians I know, some of whom are ordained ministers and missionaries.” Many men mentioned the unisex aspect of looser pants on women.

As for
V-NECK DRESSES, most men said they are not a problem as long as the V is shallow. A few said the V-neck itself, even if not too low, can be a problem because it acts like an arrow pointing to a place where their eyes should not roam.

As for
SLEEVELESS BLOUSES, many of the men mentioned that they can be a problem because they can allow a man to see something he should not see and “the potential for peeking is there.” A pastor commented, “There is too much of an opportunity for parts of a woman’s anatomy to inadvertently show through to the public that are only to be revealed to her husband in private.” One man said: “One word about sleeveless dresses or tops. When the woman has her arm raised or in a certain position, the sleeve hole will open in just a way that you can see inside her shirt and see the woman’s underwear or even more. No woman, much less a Christian woman, should ever wear clothing that reveals her body!”

When it comes to
T-SHIRTS on females, the men said they are not a problem unless they are tight or expose the midriff or you can see through them or they have writings/logos/pictures at the breast level. One pastor said: “It depends on the fit, cut, thickness of the material and color. A modest T-shirt would be loose fitting, non-see-through, of a thick enough material to truly be modest. Unfortunately very few T-shirts fit these qualifications.” One man said: “My wife sews attractive vests that she and our daughter wear over T-shirts. It’s a way of using clever camouflage to be modest.” One woman mentioned another problem with T-shirts: “I have a problem with smart-alecky T-shirts. I have a hard time finding T-shirts for my daughter sometimes, not so much from a tightness standpoint, but they have inappropriate sayings on them that encourage a worldly attitude, rebellion against parents, etc.” A man wrote along similar lines in regard to “Christian T-shirts,” warning about “Jesus T-shirts like ‘This Blood’s For You,’ etc., that really degrade the message of Scripture.”

CONSIDER SOME EXCERPTS FROM THE COMMENTS MADE BY THE MEN:

“I do believe most women just do not know how men think. Period. I believe that there is a whole segment, group, class of women, who, if they really understood men, would change their dress code, because they do want to please God. Not all women, by far, but some would.
They just need to understand it’s not just a list of do’s and don’ts set forth to force them in to ‘frumpiness,’ but a desire of godly men to gain their cooperation in helping them NOT lust, and to not be stumbling blocks, because they just want to please God.”

“MANY WOMEN, USUALLY YOUNGER, DRESS TO ATTRACT MEN AND DO NOT KNOW HOW DANGEROUS IT TRULY CAN BE FOR THEM. … I am a retired criminal investigator and worked criminal work for 17 1/2 years of my career. I think many homicides and serious physical assaults in addition to the obvious sex crimes are brought about by immodest dress and any born again Christian woman should never dress as such. A sexual predator can be turned on and be as dangerous as a hand grenade with the pin pulled by a women that has the one turn on factor for his mind (which is a variable with such criminals) which could be any of the listed ways of dressing.”

“I am glad you are addressing this issue. This issue along with worldly music has come into fundamental churches like a tidal wave. Thank you for being a watchman!”

“I have to admit some of the dresses that are worn even though the dress hits the floor, and some of the blouses, even though it goes all the way to the neck, are very form fitting. I don’t think that women are out to stumble the men of the church, and nor am I saying that women need to walk around in sacks. There are sometimes when a lady is doing a special music or something that I have to look away that I may not stumble. In summation I think that all of the clothing you have listed that is form fitting and shows the curves of a woman is a real potential for lust.”

“I am a 24-year-old, unmarried man. I am very glad that you are asking us men about this issue, because it has been my experience that women truly do not understand the things that can run through a man’s head when he sees an immodestly-dressed woman. For a God-fearing man, this is a true concern. Fashionable clothing is not, as far as I can tell, designed by God-fearing Christians with any interest in modesty. Sex sells, and sexy clothing sells. … I have talked to women I know about the dress issue and told them that when they wear certain things, no matter how ‘covered up’ they may be, the fit of the clothing still makes a huge difference. Some women have told me that it is a man’s fault for having such a dirty mind or for letting it get to a point where lust becomes a problem, but the fact is men seem specifically prone to these types of thoughts. In North American culture we are inundated with sex. Everywhere we look there is a provocatively dressed (or practically undressed) woman selling something, and I think that women (and men) need to seriously consider the way they dress and how it affects members of the opposite sex. The last place I want to have to worry about lust is in my church. AS CHRISTIANS, IT IS NOT OUR PLACE TO SAY, ‘WELL, I JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY MEN CAN’T LOOK AT ME DRESSED LIKE THIS AND NOT BATTLE WITH LUSTING THOUGHTS.’ INSTEAD, WE NEED TO TAKE IT FOR TRUTH WHEN A PERSON OF THE OPPOSITE SEX INFORMS US THAT OUR DRESS IS CAUSING PROBLEMS FOR THEM, AND DO WHAT WE NEED TO DO TO PROTECT OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS FROM STUMBLING.”

“I am 64 years old now and walking with the Lord Jesus through life. Earlier in my life I was a womanizer as a single man for a long time. MY FEELINGS OF WOMEN DRESSING IMMODESTLY ARE STRONG, AS I KNOW THE SADNESS THAT INFIDELITY, LUSTFUL SIN AND ADULTERY BRING ABOUT TO MANY, AND IMMODEST DRESS IS A PRECURSOR TO THE AFOREMENTIONED ACTIVITIES.”

“All men are aroused in one way or the other over revealed flesh. That is exactly why these clothes are made this way. I know some men are more easily aroused than others but normally any man is naturally inclined (by our sinful nature) to take notice of a woman wearing any garment that is revealing flesh. I THINK IT IS A SHAME TO COME TO CHURCH AFTER A WEEK IN THIS EVIL WORLD AND WANT TO ENJOY A SERVICE OF WORSHIP AND PRAISE TO THE LORD AND FELLOWSHIP AMONG SEPARATED PEOPLE AND SEE WOMEN DRESSING LIKE THE WORLD AND WHEN YOU CONFRONT THEM ABOUT THIS YOU ALWAYS GET THE SAME OLD LINE ‘WELL IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT, YOU’VE GOT THE PROBLEM.’ Well, I always wonder why a woman who loves the Lord and wants to please the Lord would want to dress like the world and have men looking at her in a carnal way. When I see a woman in a store in town and she is dressed a certain conservative way, I always think, ‘I bet she is a Christian.’ IT SAYS A LOT ABOUT THE CHARACTER OF A WOMAN WHEN SHE SHUNS THE STYLES OF THIS WORLD AND WALKS IN SUCH A WAY THAT SHE WANTS TO LET PEOPLE KNOW THAT SHE IS DIFFERENT.”

“One of the sad things I observe in church is the control that the fashion world has over women and the lack of communication between man and wife. I have been saved for 45 years come August and have been in an independent Baptist Church for 40 years. … I see women and teenagers in our church and have to look away or up so as not to be seen looking at how they are dressed. Modesty seems to be an archaic word to many and it grieves me.”

“I am 55 years old and I am BROKENHEARTED over the dress of a great number of females in the churches I visit. Oh, if I could only talk to moms and dads. I have never been married but lived in the world many years. I beg you, preacher, tell them that wearing ANYTHING that draws attention to a particular area, accentuating ANY form or flesh, is a great distraction for me. Please, stop wearing TIGHT clothing, exposing flesh, and wearing articles of clothing with writing on them. How many times have I had to turn my eyes away, or worry, did I look too long, did somebody notice me looking? I wish I could talk to a group of women and just tell them, because I know many don’t really realize what a distraction it is. [Surely] they don’t want the brethren to sin. I can’t believe how some of these young girls dress. Don’t they know the things we cherish, we must protect. I don’t care about peer pressure; clothing is an opportunity to share your faith when people see a difference. Remember that man and (wo)man looks at the outward appearance. We have to be separated and yes a ‘PECULIAR’ people. Men are tempted and aroused by the things they SEE. David was tempted when he SAW Bathsheba; Herod was tempted when he SAW Salome dance; when Samson ‘saw a women in Timnath,’ he wanted her because her looks ‘pleased’ him.”

“I want to mention the present trend of embossing brand names across the seat of women’s trousers/pants/shorts/skirts. No imagination needed to explain that.”

“I travel a bit, and as I’m walking through a crowded airport looking around, I tend more to notice things like short skirts, skirts or dresses with slits that come to or above the knee, low-cut blouses or dresses, sheer blouses, or tight-fitting anything. Clothing that accentuates or draws attention to one part of the body seems more noticeable to me. I believe that clothing absolutely can draw attention to the woman’s body and that once attention is there, the potential, perhaps even likelihood, for lust isn’t far behind.”

“From what I see in the way many woman and teens dress, Christians included, many act like they are ‘for sale’ or are very ignorant of what they are doing to their image. That’s the way I see things on this issue.”

“The more skin I see, the more I have to force myself to look away from that individual. It brings back the past [before I was saved]. It seems like some women flaunt their bodies. What they are saying by their clothes, ‘Don’t look at my face, look at my body!’ … I am all for modesty and I wish all churches had a dress code. Not just in church but also out of church. Skin is a distraction! More skin; more sin.”

“I agree with you about the lack of understanding from most women about the male weakness in the area of lust. The average Christian woman today seems to think, ‘If you’ve got it, flaunt it.’ I actually had one woman who used to be in my church saying that. … God’s final act of creation was His most beautiful. A normal man would agree with this. This sets us apart from the animal kingdom. In animals the male is the most attractive. The female is often rather dowdy. Humans are reversed. … A godly woman can dress attractively and properly by following a few simple thoughts. Do the clothes she is wearing draw a man’s eyes to her face or to her other body parts? Is the clothing she is wearing obviously feminine and modest and not made for men?”

“Thanks so much for addressing this issue. I am a Christian who has been doing street ministry for many years, and full time now for 20 years. I am also a single dad (wife died of cancer almost 9 years ago) of four sons, three under 18. I have concentrated on work in the public housing areas. To say I have seen it all would be an under statement. ONE OF THE SADDEST THINGS AND HARDEST TO FIGHT AGAINST HAS BEEN THE FACT THAT THE ‘STREET’ AND THE CHURCH NOW SEEM TO BE EQUAL IN THEIR APPROACH TO FEMALE SEXUALITY AND ITS EXPRESSION. THERE SEEMS TO BE NO BOTTOM TO THE LEVEL THAT MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH ARE WILLING TO ALLOW IN THE WAY OF WHAT CAN BE WORN TO CHURCH AND CHURCH FUNCTIONS. As a man who is deeply concerned that my sons do not get exposed to this type of thing I find myself upset a lot about what goes on. It is obvious that many of these girls are not only NOT taught to be modest, but their parents have bought them the clothes that they wear to flaunt their sexuality in. Sadly enough, I would have to say that there is no part of the female body that I haven’t seen in church. Short skirts, low cut blouses, halter tops, tiny two-piece bathing suits, and bathing suits with high cut in back seem to prevail in church activities. ... To go to the heart of the issue I would have to say that there appears to be many church men who revel in their daughters’ budding sexuality.”

“To answer your request on women’s dress and modesty, I have to paraphrase a statement made many years ago by a Christian minister of national acclaim. His subject was Christian women and the way they dress that would tempt Christian men as well as worldly men to lust after them. It’s been so many years ago that he preached the message that I can’t quote directly, but in essence what he said was that any Christian man that said he wasn’t affected by seeing a Christian sister in the short skirts, tight skirts etc. (in other words most of all of the items on your list, in fact I would include one or two more) the preacher would pay for that man’s physical exam. Blunt but to the point. … We as Christians are not to do anything to cause our Christian Brother or Sister to stumble, but THIS SUBJECT OF MODESTY (BOTH WOMEN AND MEN) IS NOT OFTEN PREACHED ON. … I remember reading an article in a book about how culture has changed in the USA. In the early 1940’s, a man could be reprimanded on the beach at Atlantic City for not wearing a top to his bathing suit. What we have now is close to nudity, especially for the women. My wife and I will not vacation at a beach so that we don’t subject ourselves to the near nudity of the people there. … One of the biggest mediums for temptation is the nudity that is seen on television (which we got rid of close to 30 years ago because of commercials and programming). Next to that are 99% of the magazine articles and advertising. But yet little if anything is mentioned from the pulpits about the influence of these two mediums.”

“All of those items of female dress cause a real potential for lust. WHY SHOULD A MAN HAVE TO BATTLE WITH LUST DURING A CHURCH SERVICE WHEN IT IS HARD ENOUGH JUST TO WALK IN A WORLD FULL OF SENSUALITY? IF WOMEN ONLY KNEW THE SNARE OF TEMPTATION THAT IS SET BEFORE OUR EYES. Even if it is a fraction of a second and a man turns his head away, the battle can still rage in the mind just from a mere glimpse. I honestly believe that many of them know exactly what they are doing. Why else would they dress like the rebellious world?”

“It seems the last few years as the churches have grown more liberal and the women show more skin, I HAVE TO FIGHT HARDER TO KEEP MY MIND STRAIGHT. I am happily married. I do not and will not stray. … I wish women could just take the Bible for what it says. Yes, the Lord made us men this way. … I think the most beautiful thing God created on this earth is a woman, and Satan knows it to. That is just the way I feel.”

“As a Christian come back in from 20 years in the world, I can see this situation very well. I still tend to ‘rate’ (if you will) women physically by shape and presentation in my mind. This is a battle that must constantly be fought by one who gave in to lust in the past. A WOMAN IN A NICE DRESS WITH LITTLE EXPOSED IS PLEASING TO THE EYE AND STOPS AT THAT.”

“I attend a very conservative independent fundamental Baptist church, where the pastor and his wife lead by example. Unfortunately, I see that oftentimes, some of the women in our church, though they always wear dresses or skirts to church and though they are always below the knee, THEY ARE STILL A BIT TOO CONCERNED WITH ‘FASHION,’ AND SOMETIMES COMPROMISE TRUE MODESTY FOR ‘LOOKING GOOD’ OR BEING FASHIONABLE. It is often an ‘issue’ for me. Many of these ladies are dear sweet Christian women, devoted wives, dedicated servants, and I don’t believe they INTEND to be a distraction. I just don’t think they realize!”

“My wife and I are the nursery directors at our church, and we are constantly having to interact with workers and mothers. Sometimes I find myself having to do a ‘check’ on where my eyes are being drawn, and where my thoughts are headed, and I have to PURPOSE to not think that way, or to just not look at them while I’m talking to them, to distract myself with something else (hmmm, that wall needs a new coat of paint, or that floor needs vacuuming, or we’re out of paper towels). How do I tell them? I’m sure they would be mortified if they realized they were even remotely emitting a ‘sexy’ quality. That’s not to say some women don’t intend to look sexy. … One woman in particular, who is very attractive (even my wife says so), USED to dress very stylish, in expensive, designer clothes that were hip, cool, young, modern, but seemed clueless as to the biblical boundaries she was overstepping. After our pastor preached on the subject of modesty, my wife and I noticed - IMMEDIATELY - that this lady’s wardrobe changed completely. It was like the light went on and she responded with humility and gratitude for the message. Now, she still looks stylish, but is much more conservative, appropriate, and modest in her attire. It’s truly a relief. Now when we see her coming, we’re actually glad to see her because we know she’s not going to make us feel uncomfortable because of her sexy-ish clothes.”

“I would agree that while some women are out and out Jezebels there are others who do not understand how a man is affected by a woman's modesty (or lack thereof). One of my major concerns is that we have strayed from the question of how to standardize modesty. Almost anywhere I go anymore I hear the argument on the length of skirts. ‘It’s below the knee.’ When did the definition of modesty begin with how far below the knee it goes? ... Why is it just length? Form-fitting, slit-skirted, bare legs, and everything else you mentioned in your list are a magnet for a man’s eyes. While this has not been a problem at our church, it is becoming an issue with churches I would never have expected. I get irritated when I have to look in another direction rather than see an immodest woman in church. The point of the irritation is not that I am looking away but the fact that I have to do so in Independent Fundamental circles. ... I guess I get more and more frustrated with dress standards. We preach of the immorality of the world, television that is filled with homosexuality, nudity, and the internet filled with almost any type of perversion you want. OUR SOCIETY HAS DEGENERATED TO ANIMAL-LIKE SEXUALITY WHERE THERE ARE NO RULES AND LITTLE DISCUSSION OF CONSEQUENCES, AND OUR ANSWER SHOULD BE TO SHOW HOW DIFFERENT WE ARE FROM THEM (which is less and less). I do not care how different our ladies are from the world; this is not the standard of comparison. The standard of comparison is how much they are like Christ -- and He is nothing like this world. ‘Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know [these things] before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness’ (2 Peter 3:17).

“Almost all of the styles you listed serve to in some way accentuate, reveal, or tantalize the senses of men. Men are very liable to visual temptation. Even Job realized that (Job 31:1). The Psalmist did, too (Psa. 101:3). The ladies need to know that there is a need to have a heart of modesty that will give them the desire to strengthen and honor their brothers in Christ. If that happens, modesty will be a matter of heart and dress, and not simply a legalistic issue.”

“I suspect I have to deal with this most every day of my life. Consider the magazines in the grocery store checkout area. Most Christian women are oblivious to modesty, but the folks that design most of the clothes in most clothing stores where Christian women make purchases are not ignorant of what they are doing. The modestly dressed individual is a rare breed in this part of the country. I do know a few families, very few, who have decided to be different. But they cause me to look in amazement.”

“I am a red blooded, fully functional, American man, who desires to have his thoughts and words be acceptable to God. I have been happily married for 28 years. THE BIBLICAL ISSUE OF MODESTY IS BEST UNDERSTOOD BY AN UNDERSTANDING OF DEFRAUDING. No one should take any action whereby he causes desires to be raised in another that cannot be righteously satisfied. ... That our society drenches every inch of media in sexually explicit advertising is a source of much temptation, sadness and concern for this man. Facing that sort of issue with Christian sisters in a church setting is most grievous. I believe the phrase ‘long, loose and lots of it’ should be the motto of Christian women’s apparel. ... Before knowing her husband, my bride had no idea of how men think, or how easily stimulated they are. I hope my candor may be of some value to Christian sisters who are trying to live holy lives. I try to tell young ladies that I can influence for good, that the kind of fish you catch depends on what you bait your hook with, and where you cast your line. If you can’t catch a man in church with a modest dress on, you don’t want him anyway!”

“You are absolutely right about women not seeing these dangers. THEY CAN DEMAND BIBLE VERSES TO BACK UP THE ASSERTION THAT CERTAIN CLOTHES CAUSE LUST ALL DAY LONG, BUT THE TRUTH IS THAT IF THESE CLOTHES CAUSE MEN TO LUST, THEY ARE PARTICIPATING IN THE PROBLEM whether there are specific Scriptures to exclude every piece of clothing that designers can conceive.”

“In my personal opinion, I think the styles that expose the bosom or the tight form of the bosom present the majority of the problem because it is more accepted to show that area in our society as opposed to the upper thigh or lower buttocks.”

“Personally, I see women (including independent Baptist church-goers and staff) causing potential for lust in all the clothing you listed. The point is that it is not the type of clothing that can trip a man up; rather it is the amount and the level of cling to the body. … when I see women dressing as I described above, I can’t avoid wondering why they are ‘advertising’ their flesh. Is it because they are lacking in Christian character?”

“My wife was taught as a little girl that all attention should be drawn to her face, and that rule has been a great guideline.”

“It’s not always what the attire is but how it is worn and the woman herself. … Excessive use of perfume and make up -- both designed to draw men; they should be used with wisdom. Also, flirtatious natures and wanting to be noticed by the opposite sex should be reigned in.”

“It is the duty of every husband to make sure his wife is properly dressed, not only for Church but all the time. … I have been blessed with a modest wife. Men are weak in the area of sex and need ‘the handbrake’ of a modest woman to keep him on track and his thoughts in line.”

“I am certainly not proud to have to say that all of the above items of clothing on women cause a real potential for lust, but for me it is the case. OF ALL OF MY CLOSE BROTHERS IN THE LORD WHOM I HAVE TALKED WITH ON THIS SUBJECT OVER TIME, ALL ARE IN AGREEMENT THAT THEY STRUGGLE WITH LUST; and it is so few women, at least where I am, that dress modestly or even have a single clue that there is a Biblical instruction for them to do so. I am so thankful for my Pastor’s wife (they are new here and have planted a new Church in my city) and her decision to dress modestly.”

“Maybe I just have a problem with lust, but I know my own heart. There is no godly, good reason that I should ever see from ‘the neck to the knees’ of any woman other than my wife.”

“IT IS AMAZING TO ME THAT HUSBANDS, FATHERS, ETC., WOULD ALLOW THEIR WOMEN OUT IN PUBLIC WEARING SOME OF THE THINGS WOMEN WEAR. Have they no idea the thoughts of other men? Shame on them.”

“There is a term ‘not leaving anything to the imagination.’ Our Father knows, as does any man, that men do not need any encouragement at all, let alone a less than reverent dress style. The fleshly man is full of imagination. … I cannot think of even one of the styles listed that are appropriate for women. Unfortunately, I see them in churches and ‘Christian Schools’ every day.”

“Blessings to you for writing on this subject. There is nothing I detest more than women dressed immodestly anywhere, but most especially in church. This is one more way for Satan to take men’s minds off of the worship of their Heavenly Father! Women should not wear anything which exposes or draws a man’s attention to [those] areas [that are] conducive to male lust. OH HOW I WISH MODEST DRESSING WOULD COME BACK INTO STYLE -- THAT BOTH MEN AND WOMEN WOULD HAVE MORE SELF RESPECT IN GENERAL, AND PARTICULARLY MORE RESPECT OF THE LORD’S HOUSE.”

“Whatever standard the parent lives before and requires of his/her children, the easier it will be for the child to maintain that standard. Usually the child never has higher standards than the parent. If we expect lawyers, ambassadors, etc. to look respectful and above the normal standard, shouldn’t Christians do the same?”

“Another apparel item that may be worth mentioning is knee-high leather boots. These seem to be more and more prevalent among Christian women. In my opinion, these boots scream sensuality and area real potential for generating lust. I may be completely off base on this as my view is certainly tainted from years of pornography, womanizing, immorality, spending a lot of time at bars…etc. (from my teen years until my mid twenties when I was saved). During those days, however, when a woman wore knee high boots, it would certainly attract attention for all of the wrong reasons. Perhaps Christian women are not aware of this? Overall, on the issue of modesty, I COMPLETELY AGREE THAT MANY WOMEN DO NOT UNDERSTAND HOW MEN LOOK AT THINGS IN THIS REALM. I SUSPECT FOR MANY MEN, INCLUDING ME, THAT LUST IS A DAILY BATTLE. I DESIRE FOR MY CHURCH FAMILY AND CHRISTIAN FRIENDS TO BE A SAFE HAVEN FROM TEMPTATION.”

“If such things draw the attention of normal, godly, Christian men, by definition they are immodest, no matter what the women think.”

“It is my conviction that all of the female dress items listed are immodest for women. I am 68 years old and have been married to a wonderful, modest lady for 49 years. I am appalled at how so many women dress even in church. My mother is 88 years old and worked in the cotton fields alongside my father back when we did it all by hand. I’ve never seen my mother or either of my grandmothers in pants or shorts and they all worked in the fields. I have never seen any of the women who raised me in any of the items that you mentioned. I thank God for the example they were to me. By the way, they all washed their clothes by hand and I never saw any women’s undergarments hanging out on the clothes line for all that passed by to look at. Proving that their modesty went far deeper than what they put on their bodies. It was in their heart.”

“When my wife and I were first married, she wore pants. I didn’t tell her to stop, although she would have if I told her to. She would have quit wearing pants but she would have resented me for telling her to do so. She had to quit wearing them because she was convicted by the Holy Spirit and God’s Word. She was convicted and she quit wearing pants. In fact, she dresses so modestly that people stare at her because she dresses differently and not because she’s showing something off. I am proud of her stance as a Christian because she dresses this way in obedience to the Word of God and not only in obedience to me.”

“I don’t know how women can ‘not’ know the impact their dress has on men. In fact I believe they do (more than they say or let on). One thing I see in my church is tight clothing. Oh, it may very well be covering but it is revealing the shape in a woman. This can be even more tantalizing to a man. I once was at a conference and the preacher asked a very strong Christian couple (wife modestly dressed) who do you dress for (question to the wife) and she said her husband. The preacher and the congregation gave their amens. I thought about that answer and it was an answer I would have wanted my wife to give until to a few years before. Now she knows I would want her to dress for the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. I have the potential to be carnal, and in the flesh and to want to see her in less modest apparel. That would never be the case with our Lord. Thus I told her to dress for Jesus Christ.”

“Our church teaches and preaches separation. Our pastor has even compiled a small booklet on modest dress. Having said all that, we have had and still do have problems. In order to be a choir member or teach Sunday School, etc., we must sign a form saying we agree to the dress standards as well as many other standards of conduct. What I have seen is, yes, they are wearing dresses, but many are far from modest. I have had my wife ask me, ‘Did you see what so and so was wearing?’ I am honest with her and I tell her of course I did! I am a man and when a lady exposes 50% of her breasts I can't help but notice. I told her I don’t ogle but it is a part of a woman that men find attractive, so there I am in God’s house trying to worship God and hear from His Word and I see these things. But she is wearing a dress!! Form fitting clothing is another area that is a problem. A lady can be actually wearing a reasonably nice dress that meets the standard, at least in their mind it does, but the problem is that it is at least a size too small for her! These folks are rarely confronted because they are wearing a dress, you know! I believe we easily forget modesty and become lost in ‘I'm wearing a dress attitude.’ To be honest I have seen more modest pants on many lost ladies than the ‘dresses on our standard-signing church ladies.’ I’m not for pants; I’m just referring to our hypocrisy! It shows either a lack of discernment on their part or a worldly desire to show off their body, maybe both. ... Sorry to vent but this has hit close to home as I have tried to protect teenagers from what they see ‘in church.’ I BELIEVE THERE IS A TREMENDOUS LACK OF UNDERSTANDING ON THE PART OF MOST WOMEN ABOUT WHAT THEY WEAR AND WHY. ... As I said, our church teaches and preaches on these things and they do a good job teaching it. It is a spiritual issue. They know the facts. It is accepting them and living by them that is the problem. I have heard, ‘They just want us to look like old women.’ If that means to dress modestly, then, yes, please try to look at the older women who are trying to teach the younger, as Titus says, through example.”

“As I was not saved until I was an adult, I was like most men; I enjoyed the sight of the female form. Without Christ, I had no reason not to indulge my lusts when I looked at immodestly dressed women. There is no shortage of flesh in our culture; the movies, TV, music videos, internet, etc., all promote it. After I was saved, God began to show me through his word to flee youthful lusts and to be like Job who made a covenant with his eyes not to look upon a maid. You listed several types of clothing and asked which ones were areas of temptation. My answer would be ‘all of them!’ As my wife and I began to grow in the Lord, I made the comment to her that IF THE AVERAGE WOMAN KNEW HOW THE AVERAGE MAN THINKS IT WOULD CAUSE HER TO DRESS A LOT DIFFERENTLY. I don’t think women realize just how much they expose themselves by the style of the clothes they wear (or don’t wear, as the case may be).”

“The stark difference between Biblical modesty and femininity was illustrated one night as another preacher and I, along with our wives and families, were on the street in a large city near our home preaching and passing out gospel tracts during a music festival. Two young women, who were dressed very provocatively, walked by and received the cat-calls and lewd remarks of a couple of young guys. The boys then turned and saw my wife standing there (she is 32), dressed in a modest skirt and top and said, ‘Oh, sorry ma’am!’ Ladies need to understand, that how they are dressed says a lot about who they are, and determines to some extent how they will be treated. Scripture backs this up (Proverbs 7, Genesis 38:15-16).”

“PASTORS NEED TO DEAL WITH THIS ISSUE AS MORE THAN JUST A ‘WHEN YOU COME TO CHURCH’ THING. I believe we have created a double standard in our independent Baptist churches in that the only time dress is dealt with is when people are taught that they ought to come to church ‘dressed right,’ but not many deal with the fact that believers are to glorify God in all things, everyday, including how we dress. Christian women have a responsibility before the Lord to be obedient to the Bible’s admonitions concerning dress. They also have a responsibility to their brothers in the Lord, not to cast a stumbling block before them in the way that they dress.”

“I am 60 years old and even as a younger, unsaved man, it always seemed strange to see church-going women dressed in that manner (and I understand many felt they needed to do so to attract a man) and now, in many of the more liberal churches, and some so-called fundamental ones, the manner of dress seems to be according to one’s own preference and not based on the Bible’s teaching of decent dress. I’m also still amazed that some church-going men like their wives to dress in that way.”

“I became a born again believer in Jesus Christ when I was 34. Our family left the Methodist church and switched to a large popular Southern Baptist Church. We eventually left the Southern Baptist Church, and one of the biggest reasons is because women dressed so immodestly, I felt I was in a lingerie show. I would have to walk the halls of the church with my head hung to avoid the display of flesh. ... We became quickly disappointed that the church often undermined our own family’s standards. ... Two years ago, our family finally switched to a Fundamental Independent Bible believing Baptist church and we really love serving the Lord and being with believers of like precious faith and with standards. ... I believe if godly women understood the effect they can have on a godly man they would dress differently. I have daughters and I constantly have to instruct them on what men think of immodestly dressed women and correct their dress.”

“Thank you for addressing this serious problem. I agree that most Christian women do not seem to understand how that the way they dress affects men. Unfortunately, some do understand and they enjoy dressing in a way that attracts the attention of men. ... We are living in the last part of the last days. Demon influence and demon possession is rampant. Evil triumphs when the church does nothing. ONE SIGN OF DEMON ACTIVITY IS NUDITY AND LEWD DRESS. MEN RESPOND BY SIGHT. Sight arouses their sexual drive. Anything that exposes highlights or outlines the torso and thigh is lustful dress. The Word of God is clear that a man who lusts after a woman is guilty of adultery along with her. I told my people last Sunday that if the women dress inappropriately and go to town, causing four men to look and lust, they will be held accountable for participating in committing adultery.”

“As a man, a Christian, and a pastor, I believe modesty is perhaps the most important issue in dress, whether among the church or otherwise, because, I’M TELLING YOU, MEN NOTICE, MEN LOOK, AND MEN LUST, EVEN THE GOOD ONES. I know many women say, ‘Well, that’s their problem, not mine!’ But while we men will answer for our lust, the ladies will answer for doing something that causes another to fall into sin. Ladies, understand, your dress DOES effect us, and as such, you should prayerful consider what you wear. Men are created in such a way as to be stimulated by sight--so when we see a lady, pretty, or sometimes not, we are stimulated by the sight of their flesh. It’s just the way we are.”

“Ladies, please, dress with modesty. DRESS AS YOU WOULD IF JESUS WERE SITTING NEXT TO YOU. And He is, by the way, both because the Christian is indwelt by the Holy Spirit and because He has promised to be there when two or three are gathered together in His name. Jesus is sitting next to you!”

“I am a member of a fundamental church and am sad to say that many of these worldly ways are finding their way into our church. MAY GOD SEND HIS HOLY SPIRIT TO MOVE IN OUR MIDST SO THAT A REVIVAL WOULD BREAK FORTH.”

[This article is from the author’s book, “Dressing from the Lord,” which is available from Way of Life Literature. It can be ordered via the online catalog or by phone or e-mail (866-295-4143, fbns@wayoflife.org).]

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Follow-Up About the Girl and the Pants and the Church Discipline

FOLLOW-UP ABOUT THE GIRL AND THE PANTS AND THE CHURCH DISCIPLINE

August 15, 2008 (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, fbns@wayoflife.org; for instructions about subscribing and unsubscribing or changing addresses, see the information paragraph at the enf of the article) -

On August 14, I sent out a notice to the pastors on the FBIS mailing list asking the following question:

I have a problem that you can help me with. All I ask is that you write and let me know what you would say to the following situation. It might even sound humorous to you, but I can assure you that it is a serious matter. There is a teenage girl in a church. The church teaches that pants are not the most appropriate and modest attire for women. The girl is from a very poor family (six people living in one room), but she was the first member of her family to come to Christ about three years ago. She has been growing in the Lord and is faithful to church and prayer meetings. Recently she got a scholarship to a school that requires the female students to wear loose pants. Though someone from the church approached the school leaders and asked them to make an exception for her, they refused. Since the girl has decided to attend the school anyway, the church won’t allow her to teach Sunday School because she will no longer meet the standards for workers. But there is a prominent person in the church who is not content with this. He thinks she should be disciplined after the fashion of 1 Corinthians 5 and she should not be allowed to take the Lord’s Supper. What do you think?
______________________

I have received a deluge of responses to this, and I am thankful for each one who took the time to write. Most of the responses expressed a great deal of Christian wisdom and compassion, and it has been a blessing to read them.

I want to make the following comments in order to clarify the situation a bit. In hindsight I realize that I didn’t give enough information.

First, the church in question is a missionary church in South Asia. The school the girl is planning to attend is a high school operated by Hindus. There are no Christian ones.

Second, though the girl is from a poor family, the issue in question has nothing to do with an inability to afford a certain kind of clothing. The church would be more than happy to purchase any clothes the church members might need, but that is not the issue.

Third, the church has no intention of disciplining the girl. By God’s grace, they are going to continue to love her and teach her and encourage her and be patient with her and hopefully see her grow up to be a strong Christian woman who will be a bright light in that dark place.

Fourth, the “prominent man” is not a church leader and is not representative of the rest of the church, though he has been trying to promote his opinion to some of the members. His thinking is legalistic and grossly lacking in the love of Christ, and we wanted to show him that the pastors with whom we are in fellowship will not agree with him on this issue. Generally speaking, my readers doubtless represent the stricter side of fundamentalism; yet we do not lack in compassion and godly wisdom. In spite of what our detractors presume, we are not mean-spirited Pharisees. The e-mail responses demonstrated this.

Fifth, a few of those who replied used this as a soapbox to take a swipe at standards in general and at dress standards in particular and at the issue of pants on women even more particularly, but that is to be expected. This is a very touchy issue, and some people persist in making their opinions known even when no one cares to hear!

FOLLOWING ARE SOME OF THE COMMENTS WE RECEIVED FROM READERS

“The prominent person in the church has no Scripture for such an action. Her difficulty is already extremely hard on her and he would make it even worse. This would be cruel treatment and something the Lord would not do. I recommend someone discipline the prominent member.” [Note from Bro. Cloud: I put this one first, because I like it the best. Amen.]

“I would allow the girl to teach as long as she only wore the pants required at school and dresses or skirts the rest of the time, and I would discipline the Pharisee that wants her disciplined for being a cruel, callused, graceless boor.”

“The grace of God does not break fellowship and throw a teenage girl out of a church for wearing loose fitting pants to a school that she can’t afford to go to but chose to because she got a scholarship. I believe in standards and I believe in convictions BUT I don’t believe in extremes that do this. Maybe this church member should go read 1 Corinthians 13 and examine how much he cares for others. Where would any of us be if it weren’t for God’s grace in our lives AFTER we accept Christ?”

“I would say, from what you told me, that the GIRL wants to do right and the CHURCH wants to do right. ... I would certainly not discipline her further. It sounds like she has a heart to do right and needs to be encouraged, not further discouraged.”

“The standards for workers and decision to remove a person from a place of ministry sounds right and just. But 1 Corinthians 5 is dealing with fornication. I’d have to educate that ‘prominent person.’ If that prominent person does not receive instruction but pushes the issue (Prov. 30:33) then he would be sowing discord and find grounds to have himself separated.”

“From what I understand from the information you listed, I think church discipline is a bit extreme in this matter. If the church standards are such that a teacher cannot wear pants at any time, then that is their standard. I have standards in our church for staff and workers, also, and I think it is prudent to do so. If she violates that standard then I guess they can go ahead and not let her teach. As far as not taking the Lord's table, I think that is too far. In this instance, it doesn’t sound as though this young lady is rebellious or stubborn. The church contacted the school, and they have their dress standards also. I also assume this may be the only opportunity this young lady has at the present time to go to school because of her family and financial situation. It seems clear that most, if not all of this, is not under her control. The only choices she seems to have is to follow the school’s standards of dress, or not to attend the school. Is that the choice the young lady must face? That seems to be the root of the matter to me. A time in serious prayer by the pastor seeking the Lord’s will is the best solution. Pastors have to make tough decisions, but once bathed in prayer and led by the Lord those decisions are better made. It is easy to sit on the sideline and coach this one; it isn’t in my church. But in summary, I believe church discipline is not proper in this case.”

“1 Corinthians 11: 24-34 teaches that a person is to examine themselves before partaking of the Lord’s Supper. This is a self examination. ... As a pastor of a church all we can do at this point is teach the proper way to observe the Lord’s Supper and that individual has to examine his/her self to see if they are partaking of it worthily. This has nothing to do with dress, but our reflection and remembrance of the suffering of Christ. With the information provided below, I see nothing that should keep this lady from teaching her Sunday school class as long as she is modestly dressed, spiritually minded, faithful, and prepared to teach. Neither do I see anything here that should warrant discipline from the church. I would encourage the prominent individual to study the mentioned scriptures and pray for understanding.”

“Obviously the Word of God is the final authority. Let’s talk consistency and favoritism. EVERY person should then be held to the same form of discipline. This is extremely hard to do. Since SIN is SIN and in God’s eyes one sin is not greater than another, this form of discipline could be administered evenly across the board. What if the tithing records were made public? Failing to tithe is sin. Could it be reason to forbid participation in the Lord’s Supper?”

“Nowhere in scripture we will find that our Lord will have us sin in order to conform to the world’s ‘rules.’ It is not our Lord’s will for us to attend ANY school that demands of us to follow unscriptural beliefs. Almighty God has a perfect plan for this young lady and for each and every one of us.”

“Seems to me that ‘standards for workers’ is a different thing than ‘standards for attendees.’ I would advise the girl to graciously submit to no longer being qualified to teach in the church AND to go ahead and attend the school. As she continues to grow in the Lord, she will develop her own convictions based upon her understanding of Scripture ... Concerning the prominent person in the church, is his name Diotrephes? Perhaps he should be disciplined because of his insensitivity to the growth rate of babes in the Lord. If the girl wants to be an attendee rather than a worker, that is her business. The prominent person in the church is the real problem--not the spiritually growing girl who appears to be walking in the light. If we offend or anger anyone, let’s offend and anger the prominent person--not the babe in Christ.”

“I can see why the church would not allow her to teach in Sunday School, since not wearing pants at all is the churches policy or standard. I do not, however, see the gross immorality as 1 Corinthians deals with. She should be disciplined no further by the church. It seems to me that this ‘prominent person’ in the church is taking it a bit too far, especially for a young person who needs to be nurtured. Also, I would consider her unsaved family. Great care should be observed. To go to such an extreme as to turn her out of the church or withdraw fellowship could have a drastic effect on them. Though I agree with the standard of the church or its pastor, wearing loose pants is not on the list of 1 Corinthians 5:11. As to not allowing her to partake of the Lord’s Supper, as I understand the Bible the only way anyone can eat or drink ‘worthily’ is to be saved by the grace of God. Washed in His precious blood. Who is worthy to partake of any of God’s blessings outside of salvation? None of us should be able to partake of the Lord's Supper, if sinless perfection is a prerequisite.”

“This situation is unfortunate, but there are a few Scriptural considerations here. First, and I think the over-riding concern for INDIVIDUAL members is that whatever course of action is followed the members’ response must be based on love for this girl and a desire to see her become more like Christ. We know that Christ said the mark of true disciples is their love for one another. Also, Christ give the 2 greatest commandments, both of which center on love. I believe it is important to maintain standards of righteousness, but failure to do so in a spirit of love fails the test of Scripture. Perhaps some pastoral instruction on the proper attitude towards restoring an errant brother might be in order for the ‘influential’ member (Gal. 6:1). Second, I agree with you on the issue of biblical modesty. Your description of the pants in question seems to indicate that they are ‘relatively’ modest for pants; though I will not dispute they are still pants and not the best choice. Unfortunately, the school will not bend and the decision from this child’s perspective is almost impossible. ... Our partners on the field have taken an instructive approach, dealing with the subject of modesty regularly and allowing time for the Holy Spirit to convict on these issues. They have seen a great deal of success, but as new believers enter the fellowship, they require the same instruction, so he has a number of women in his church plants who wear pants at any given time, each of whom require the same instruction. As for this particular situation, I agree that if she fails to follow the church’s standards for dress she may not hold a teaching position in the church, but I find the idea of church discipline to be overkill. It may be, in time, she will grow spiritually to the point that the decision becomes easier, but until that time, a bit of Christian charity, while not endorsing her decision, will go a long way to helping her grow spiritually.”

“As to the ‘prominent person’ in the church who is calling for church discipline, such an action could possibly destroy this girl’s faith, not only in the church, but in Christians as a whole. Aside from that, what kind of a testimony would it send to this girl’s family, whom, I’m sure, the church is endeavoring to win to the Lord? I believe that a bit of grace might be extended here. Thank God for His amazing grace which He gives to us each and every day! I Corinthians 13.”

“If the issue as you described it happened for us, the person would be removed from leadership because of failing to meet the Leadership Standards. However, putting the person under church discipline seems to be harsh. I would sit down with the person and explain that we cannot use them any more in a leadership capacity. I would also make sure to explain scripturally why we are taking that position. I would also seek to find out why she is choosing to attend a school that will take her out of a leadership position in the Lord’s house. ... At the moment, I would think she has done nothing worthy of church discipline. Although there seems to be a desire to go in a wrong direction spiritually, she needs to rethink the schooling situation and encouraged to do so. What does God really want for your life? To honor and glorify Him, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. Sometimes schooling in a wrong place leads to many other problems. I would probably discuss church discipline with the prominent member scripturally and seek to help him understand why this is not a church discipline issue. I would let him know we will keep an eye on it and we will monitor the situation and take appropriate action as needed.”

“If the young girl came home and immediately changed into the ‘proper’ attire then her heart is right, If the school has asked for this dress code for some form of ‘moral’ issues and or it is freezing cold in the middle of winter and snow is 3 ft deep then the ‘church’ and this particular member is unfair and unyielding to her plight and no Christ like love, understanding is being shown to her.”

“I would not use church discipline. We allow people of all kinds of backgrounds and levels of their Christian growth to attend. Lost folks, baby believers, backslidden believers, struggling believers. If she insists on leadership then a line must be drawn. But I would not discipline because she or her family have not grown enough spiritually to match others convictions. While I do not know her or all details you must decide if it is real rebellion or a growth issue.”

“Church discipline is for very serious transgressions. While we do hold modesty up as very important in our churches and concerning our members and leadership, the girl was already disciplined by losing her teaching position. I hardly think the Lord would have you give her over to the devil for the destruction of the flesh over such an issue as this. I see no sexual explicit thing this girl has done to warrant such behaviour from this prominent man in the ministry. Seems to me that this man though wanting to make sure there is purity in the church is somewhat stretching this out to a big ordeal. I am not sure that we have authority to forbid her in such cases from the Lord’s Table. She does have individual soul liberty to make decisions that she feels are best for her life and if her testimony is strong than he should give her time to grow and not cut her off at the knees. Besides the Pastor is the one to make such choices in the ministry; he is the overseer and that man is out of bounds, I believe. She will not put a mark of embarrassment on the ministry if she does not represent them as a teacher. We have to be careful not to get Papal in such matters. This by no means excuses the fact that we believe she is wrong, but it is her choice to make. We are not puritans and should not attempt to ‘burn her at the stake.’”

“Said ‘prominent’ person is not exhibiting anything remotely close to the love and wisdom of Christ, but rather has the spirit of a Pharisee. The term Pharisee gets overused, but it is applicable here. I hate religious spirits. I hate ‘religion,’ i.e. that of the ‘prominent’ person, when said religion is without the Spirit.”

“I do not agree with the wearing of pants by women unless they are loose enough to not emphasize the body parts that men are attracted to. At the same time, I have never found the issue of pants wearing to be an issue to which the Scriptures speak in regard to her ability to teach Sunday School. It certainly does not fall into the category of a gross immorality such as 1 Corinthians 5 requires to be disciplined. ... [Churches] can hold to convictions about women not wearing pants (and I think they would be right), but they must show mercy, too.”

“The real thing that matters, on all sides, is to have the right spiritual attitude and walk in true fellowship with God. To put a godly girl out of fellowship because she (has to) wear(s) pants, is absurd. This is legalism to the max. How can one equate the evil of 1 Corinthians 5 with this girl’s situation!”

“As to the matter of the prominent person in the church thinking that the girl should be banned from partaking of the Lord’s Supper, that is not what the Bible teaches. The Bible does not teach that the church is to ‘police’ the Lord’s Supper. The Bible teaches that the preacher is to clearly preach the warnings about partaking of the Lord’s Supper unworthily, and then let God will do the ‘policing’ (1 Corinthians 11:17-34). ... Paul describes a very carnal scene in Corinth in regard to partaking of the Lord’s Supper (divisions, heresies, selfishness, drunkenness, etc.), but not once does he name a name in regard to the problem, and tell them to be banned from the Lord’s Supper. Church leaders are never told to ‘police’ the Lord’s Supper -- that is clearly left to the Lord to do. The preacher is to warn the whole congregation as to the seriousness of the matter, and then it is to be left between the person and God. This is where the fear of the Lord must be preached, and then leave the matter with God. ... The church in question has a case in regard to removing the young lady from teaching a Sunday School class, but the church has no business saying that the girl cannot partake of the Lord’s Supper.”

“As far as the individual that thinks she should be disciplined after the fashion of 1 Corinthians 5 and she should not be allowed to take the Lord’s Supper, I DO NOT agree with that.”

“My suggestion is that the man who wants to impose church discipline pay for her schooling at another institution which would NOT require the wearing of pants.”

“My question is on what scripture is this prominent person basing that this fits the matter of church discipline? As a matter of fact, I am curious as to how other churches that practice discipline determine the criteria for such action beyond immorality, doctrinal heresy, or other blatant disobedience. Where does it get into secondary issues or preferences? I do believe in discipline. I am solidly fundamental and conservative, KJB, etc. But this matter of this young lady concerns me that there is a violation of the spirit of God’s Word in this area. We must remember the whole purpose of discipline is not what we do to get rid of those we do not like or who are trouble makers, but the goal is reconciliation.”

“First of all I Corinthians 5 is talking about fornicators that were rampant in Corinth and had gotten into the church. I believe Jesus condemned Pharisaistic attitudes as I’m afraid this dear brother has. ‘[Jesus] unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.’ It seems the dear brother has no compassion for her. ... If I run everyone that does not do as I say out of the church I would have to quit preaching and close the doors. Oh, how many souls would be lost because one of Christ’s churches strained at a gnat and swallowed a camel. Leave her alone and pray for her, and thank God for another witness at a college.”

“This attitude is what has driven many good people away from the church and even from the Lord. May God help us to realize there are many other problems to face that a young lady being force to wear pants. I dare say the man casting the stones at this young lady has issues in his life that someone could judge him for also.”

“It sounds like someone is making things harder than it needs to be for this young lady. Unfortunately, this type of behavior by mature Christians is just what Satan loves to instigate in trying to discourage young believers in being dedicated to their faith.”

“We are faced with this more now than ever. We have adopted the avenue of when an individual comes into our church, not blasting them or being brutal (I have known churches to be this way.) (Instead we have tried to get them close to another godly lady who builds a confidence in the person’s heart and then we do three things. First, we instruct as to why ladies need to dress modestly at God’s house and not just at God’s house but everywhere. Second, we purchase clothes for them if they have not the means to do so. Concerning the member who is influential and disagrees, approach him about purchasing her clothes. We have no right to condemn something we ourselves are not trying to correct. Third, we exercise patience to allow God to change people’s hearts. How many times I have witnessed this happening in our church and they have become great Christians and great members of our congregation.”

“She should attend the school suitably attired. If they remove her from school, that is their prerogative. By bowing to school rules contrary to biblical rules she is making decisions on how she lives.”

“Can the church help this girl with money to attend a school that will not undermine the standards of the girl or the church? Sure it will be a sacrifice but this may be what the church ought to do. We have tried helping people at times who even had some resources so that we could show in a positive way that we were for them and wanted to help them make the right decision. It sounds like this is a good girl who wants to do right. We ought to do all we can to help her. I believe there are options available to help and church discipline, which we practice and believe in, is too stringent in this case from the details that I have been given.”

“If the church has made a decision about the matter, this other ‘prominent person’ ought to submit to the leadership and leave it in God’s hands. This ‘prominent person’ seems to be in the wrong. Hebrews 13:17 Humbly submitted.”

“I believe that church discipline in this situation is going a little too far. I am a strong believer in church discipline but I also believe we had better be careful in our administration of it. As for the Lord’s Supper that young lady needs to be made aware of the danger of partaking with known sin in her life, but I don’t believe that the church can stop her from partaking.”

“I believe 1 Corinthians 5 type of discipline is reserved for false doctrine, immorality, or disorderly behavior. In my opinion, although I do not believe a woman ought to wear pants, the wearing of pants does not fit into either of those categories. The dismissal from the SS teaching position (a matter of Christian service standards as set by the local church) is sufficient discipline.”

“Church discipline in this matter is way out of bounds.”

“I would have the following questions for the fellow causing the disturbance. Is he ready to declare the wearing of pants by a girl to be equivalent to any sin in the list of heinous crimes cataloged in 1 Corinthians 5:11? I would ask the gentleman to provide a complete list of his convictions that would cause the censure of I Corinthians 5. Movie-theater attendance, card-playing, hair shorter than shoulder length on a lady or touching a man’s ears or collar? How about computer solitaire? Use of Nyquil? While we all hold our own convictions and standards, and all draw the line somewhere on each of these, with some room for disagreement on exactly where that line is, the lines drawn in Scripture are plain and clear and obvious to anyone who is honest with the text. Does the gentleman believe that if every member of his church were to make a list of their convictions, that he would be squeaky clean with no violations? Which convictions would rise to the level of a shunning offense, and which would be a matter of Christian liberty? And who gets to decide that? We are wise to stick with what the Scripture plainly says when it comes to a matter of church action.”

“It seems to me that bringing this girl before the church for discipline is overkill at the highest level. This young lady has been in Christ for three years. Praise the Lord for her growth, but when churches start making issues like this akin with blasphemy, heresy, and immorality, I think they have gone way overboard. And BTW, neither my wife nor my daughters wear pants. Don’t misunderstand me. I believe the issue of modest apparel is an important one. Is this good church going to bring every lady in the church that wear pants before the congregation? It just seems mighty extreme to me.”

“I am only an old grandma, but here is my reply. This is unbelievable! ... Keeping her from taking the Lord’s Supper sends a terrible message to the rest of her family.”

“If the church has standards then it is justified to not allow the young lady to teach but to bring her before the church in discipline is really ridiculous. I would suspect (with my thirty years as pastor of the church I founded) that the man wanting to do so needs to look into his own self and allow the Holy Spirit to make the decision; besides, this is the pastor's decision, anyhow.”

“I would tell the ‘prominent member’ in the church to mind his own business. 1Th 4:11 ‘And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you.’”

“I would be in full agreement that if the church has modest clothing as a requirement for Sunday School teachers, the young lady has disqualified herself to remain as a teacher. She, of course, should be told in the spirit of love, complete with an explanation. I would be in total disagreement with the man in the church who wants her disciplined for this issue. As I understand the scriptures, church discipline is reserved for certain types of issues which bring great reproach on the individual and the church, if allowed to continue. This is also spelled out in 1 Corinthians 5:11. It is this type of attitude that gives our Fundamental, Independent, Baptist Churches a bad name, a name for harshness. While I strongly agree that church discipline is necessary within the parameters of the Scripture, the type of issue dealt with here would only create a ‘witch hunt’ within the church. Of course, I do not know the man in question, I would dare say that he may also struggle in some areas of his life as well. In the lesser issues, not covered in 1 Cor 5:11, mercy and prayer is often the answer. I am so thankful for the mercy of God in my life, as I often fail Him and come short of His glory. Lu 6:36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Jas 2:13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment. Wisdom and discernment come from Christian growth. This young lady has not been saved very long and needs to be commended for the growth she has experienced and encouraged to continue to grow in the Lord.”

“Since she does not meet the standard, fine; don’t let her teach, but church discipline over that? I think is going a bit too far. Is she being immodest or seductive? We do not have a practice of wearing pants in our home but does this mean she is living in sin? I am all for separation and standards but this seems to be making mountain out of a mole hill sort of speaking. Does she need to be delivered unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh? Or according to verse 13 is she really a wicked person because she is wearing trousers? I think it is simply going beyond the bounds of Scripture.”

“I feel this teenager girl needs guidance, love and understanding, not persecution. Compassion for our brethren should be paramount!”

“Since when do the beliefs of a ‘prominent person’ usurp the authority of the church? I understand about ‘prominent people’ and puffed-up arrogance and their willingness to wield their influence over God’s flock, but a church is not governed by an oligarchy. ... If she has agreed to ‘standards for workers’ and now cannot fulfill those, then she should not teach in a Bible Class/Sunday School, but Church Discipline...over pants???”

“The verse about causing a little one to stumble comes to mind. I spent seven years away from the Lord because I was judged harshly by people like him, when all I wanted was to serve and please the Lord.”

“It is the best example I have heard of transitioning from the ridiculous to the sublime. It is the epitome of legalism!”

“How many of us have sin in our lives?  Let him who is without sin amongst us cast the first stone.”

“The prominent member of the church should be shown the door not the girl.”

“Since when are a pants on women issue the criteria for partaking in the LORD’S supper? No, I'm not in favor of men's clothing on (Christian) women, including pants. My wife and two girls don’t own any pants. However, all new believers must be taught from the Word of God (i.e. The LORD) that women should maintain themselves as women, and not to wear that which pertaineth to a man. The (new)
believer must be dealt with in much patience, to say the least. The LORD I believe has ‘no problem’ molding a teachable Christian who is going to lovingly obey the LORD in all areas of life.”

“I think the prominent person in the church should be disciplined and not allowed to take the Lord's Supper for his harsh spirit until he repents. And by the way I don't feel pants are modest.”

“I would also suggest that the prominent person in the church that is seeking to have the young lady excluded from the Lord's Supper restore her by paying her way to school or organizing a joint effort to pay her way through school so that she would not need the scholarship and therefore not be obligated to follow the rule that he finds so offensive.”

“That she has been barred from teaching Sunday School seems sufficient a measure. In such a case as this, the men need not think they would compromise their zeal by exercising sweet moderation. ‘Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand’ (Philippians 4:5). W.E. Vines defines the word translated moderation thus: ‘equitable, fair, moderate, forbearing, not insisting on the letter of the law’; it expresses that considerateness that looks ‘humanely and reasonably at the facts of a case.’ May the Lord give us wisdom (James 3:17).”

“It seems to me that if she is saved then she is saved and she is well and truly in the Lord's will. The next step is to decide if we adopt the Regulative or the Normative principle of worship. If we are of the Regulative side then we will do as the Bible alone teaches. If of the normative -- well you can do what you want. 1 Corinthians 5 refers to fornication and this is not what the girl is about so she should not be judged from that perspective unless the person desiring it is wishing to persecute her. You can't do anything about her work commitments but she should not wear them at church if the church has a dress code. Perhaps enforce the dress code and ask her not to take Sunday school until she wears a skirt or whatever. As a born again Christian she has a perfect right to partake of communion and should NOT be refused because of something like this. Be careful that your molehill does not become mountainous and put you all in the shade. Do any or the other women wear lipstick, heavy makeup, have bright shiny jewelry, wear up to date fashion? Maybe they should be spoken to as well...”

“Woe to the one who by bitter harshness destroys her faith.”

“This teenager needs love to help her on her Christ walk and to cement a brick into her calling.”

“In all seriousness, this member should be approached by the pastor to back off. The pastor has an obligation to tend to the weak in his flock (if she is even truly a weak Christian. She seems to be coming to church for all the RIGHT reasons. This is not an issue to remove the girl over. It doesn’t sound like an obtuse girl or a girl in rebellion. Also, it sounds like the prominent member could be a thorn in the pastor’s side. I will be praying for the pastor. ... I cannot believe that Paul intended 1 Cor. 5 to be interpreted and used in the case as you described it. She is a fornicator? ... Someone ought to follow the prominent man around like a hawk and scrutinize his every move. Scan his computer drive! The man beating this drum, as described is probably guilty of one of the sins listed in 1 Cor. 5. I would spend my time analyzing his life. Some people will never be happy unless they can execute judgment. How about, since it is a sensitive/serious issue, pray and allow the Lord to work in the girl’s heart about the whole thing? How about the prominent member exercise FAITH that God can fix whatever may ail the young girl. I realize all cannot be fixed in this manner, but I have pastored long enough to realize that some things the Lord is better at handling without some folks’ personal involvement. My final vote is to vote out the prominent member!”

“I'm all for the girls and women not wearing pants. My wife and our girls don’t wear pants at all, and our church knows our stand, but on the other hand I’m not going to stop them from coming. I will let God deal with them (I just preach the word). As far as the Lord’s Supper I think that is taking it too far. ...This is a big delicate concern. You don’t want to lose her, and at the same time we have to keep the standards high.”

“In my opinion this is a difficult case because we do want to maintain Biblical dress standards in a world that is always working against Biblical values. I think the church discipline already implemented in removing her from her S.S. class is as strong of an action as should be taken.  The opinion of the man who wants to keep her from the Lord’s Supper is, I think, unwise & uncharitable.  I think this church should stand with the girl as she attends school by lovingly caring to see her grow in grace.  A spiritual lady in the church should become a very close friend to her.  That would be very important. If there is no sign of rebellion in this girl, I would stand with her as she goes through her education experience.  If there is a rebellious spirit present, she may well be lost to the world and her new opportunities for an education. Obviously, standards that are based on the word of God are very important.   But love, grace, and mercy are also important to be exercised by those in authority when there is a genuine desire in a young believer to walk pleasing to God. May God help this church to be led by the Spirit in all aspects of God’s Word.”

“She’s caught in a battle between standards, those of the school and those of the church. Either way she decides to go, it makes things difficult for her. If they side with the ‘prominent person’ simply because of his status, they've blown it because of their failure to heed James 2:1-4. Brother Cloud says that man is prominent, but does not say he is spiritual. Even a marginal Christian could try to force such an issue. He does however say that the girl’s growing in the Lord and faithful to the services, including prayer meeting. It seems they're at risk of causing her to stagnate in her faith rather than continue growth. And being they say that her wearing pants is a part of the school dress code, and not her disregard of Christian church standards (it says nothing of her wearing pants to the services, or while teaching Sunday School), I believe they've caused more harm than good. That prominent member used 1 Corinthians 5 as his justification for seeing her disciplined. Yet in that chapter, Paul writes of sins of rebellion. Verse 13 tells us, ‘But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.’ I hardly see her as wicked. When the writer notes the school’s standards are ‘loose pants,’ it’s my belief he’s noting pants that may be baggy, not those that are form-fitting, taking away from her modesty. Nor am I led to believe that they’re low, showing anything they should not. Surely we must be of good testimony among those that are unsaved to have them see Christ in us. Likewise, also show that same testimony among the saved, lest we cause someone to stumble. But to force her to wear something not beyond the pale of decent clothing while not in a church setting seems at best dictatorial, not something that would be helpful to the young lady, nor to the other members of the church.”

“It is a classic example of ‘straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel.’ The ‘prominent person’ sounds like Diotrephes of III John 9 & 10.”

“It seems to me that the brother who would enact further discipline is the kind who would bring the world’s accusatory of ‘self-righteous Christian’ upon all our heads.”

“There were prominent people in Christ's time called Pharisees whom Christ dealt harshly with because their heart was not right. Outwardly they looked the part but inwardly they were full of dead bones, Matt 23. Discipline done right with a heart of love seeks to draw back a person, not to destroy or run off from our membership or flock. In dealing with this problem, try to mimic Christ and how he worked with patience John 8: 3-11, not the attitude of Pharisees.”

“Sounds like Diothrepes to me. Church discipline is surely not for these infractions of dress. What does the Pharisee’s wife or daughters wear when not at church? ... Thanks for listening to my rant. I’ve been preaching for almost 40 years and these things surely gripe me.”

“I would almost say that the prominent person if not careful could be brought up for church discipline for causing discord among the brethren. I think perhaps the key problem is the ‘prominent person.’”

“If the man is the only dissenting voice in the assembly, this needs to be pointed out to him as well, along with Scripture that speaks of the danger of schismatic and divisive persons within the body. Maybe he is the one that needs to be disciplined. Finally, maybe someone can suggest that this ‘prominent’ man undertake to finance the destitute young lady’s secondary education in its entirety at another institution more to his preference.”

“With reference to the Lord’s supper, 1 Corinthians 11:28 reads, ‘But let a man examine HIMSELF, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.’ We are told by scripture to judge ourselves, and we can infer from this verse that we should not be a judge of others when it comes to the Lord’s supper. That prominent person has no liberty to judge or determine the girl’s eligibility or ineligibility to partake of the Lord’s supper. Let’s hypothetically turn the tables and, say, the Lord decides to publicly reveal every thought from the heart of that man on a large screen in his church. If that man were totally honest, I’m pretty sure he would judge and disqualify himself from taking part in the Lord’s supper, too. Matthew 7:3, ‘And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?’”

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Girls' Fashions and Dolls

GIRLS’ FASHIONS AND DOLLS

July 17, 2008 (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, fbns@wayoflife.org; for instructions about subscribing and unsubscribing or changing addresses, see the information paragraph at the end of the article) -

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

This verse reminds us that training in modest attire best begins in childhood. Many married women in Bible-believing churches did not have an opportunity to grow up in a godly Christian home and were not taught how to be modest when they were young, but now they have the opportunity to provide such a home for the next generation. This is a great blessing as well as a large responsibility.

The best time to teach a girl how to dress modestly is when she is a toddler. When she reaches teenage years she will be habituated to dressing in a feminine and modest manner and will not feel strange wearing a nice dress. She will also know how to be decent wearing a dress, because she learned it from her mother (and hopefully grandmother, aunts, etc.) from childhood.

One of our granddaughters is three years old, and her mother dresses her in nice dresses all of the time except when she is bathing and sleeping or getting ready for bed and is in her pajamas. She is learning how to sit properly in a dress. She is learning that her brother wears pants but she wears dresses, because she is different. My earnest prayer is that she will never turn aside from this modest and lovely and scriptural way of dressing.

Of course, the key is not merely dressing a child properly but teaching her why she is dressed that way, and instilling in her the Bible principles of modesty throughout her childhood, and praying that she will be saved and take these principles into her heart because she wants to please the Lord. Female fashions change constantly, and the Christian woman must learn how to apply Bible principles to whatever comes along.

BEWARE OF THE GIRLS’ FASHION INDUSTRY

The fashion industry today is morally perverted and is seeking to sexualize children from very early ages. The following warning is very timely:

“It was a hot summer’s day in 2002 when I decided to buy sandals for our 4- and 6-year-old daughters. I never anticipated our retail excursion would prove to be so educational. We’re talking sandals, now. Plain, ordinary sandals, the kind every one of us grew up in. But after going to eleven different stores I still couldn't find anything even remotely suitable. Why? Because every pair of sandals I found--every single pair--had high heels.

“High heels for a 4-year-old? How can a child run and jump and play wearing high heels? I'll tell you the answer: She can’t. Apparently, girls’ sandals aren’t meant for running and jumping and playing. They’re meant to make little girls look like tarts. ...

“It amazes me that 40 years after the sexual revolution that was supposed to ‘free’ women from the ‘oppression’ of men, we find ourselves teaching our daughters that their only worth is in looking slutty. Boys don’t respect girls anymore because girls don’t require and demand it. And it all starts by buying 4-year-olds high-heeled sandals and Bratz dolls.

“So, who is at fault for pre-sexualizing our kids? Sure, we can blame a lot of things. Society. The fashion industry. Hollywood. Public schools. Pick one.

“But what it boils down to is you, the parent, allowing it. Yes, allowing it. ...

“I’ve heard some parents say they can't ‘stop’ pre-sexualization because kids will learn it in school or from peers. Many parents feel victimized, swept helplessly along the tide of society and unable to do anything about it. Hogwash. It’s parents who are permitting inappropriate clothing, toys, posters and music into their homes” (“Sexy Six Year Olds,”
WorldNetDaily, May 31, 2008).

BEWARE OF THE TOY INDUSTRY

It is equally important for parents to beware of the toy industry. When our kids were growing up we never allowed Barbie Dolls or any other such thing in our house. Now there are Bratz (franchised by MGM) and a slew of other sexualized dolls.

The following timely warning is from a concerned grandmother:

“I attend a fundamental church but have noticed that some parents don’t seem to have any qualms about allowing their young daughters to play with Barbie dolls. And even Polly Pocket dolls are becoming more immodest in their clothing. Also the accessories for both Barbie and Polly Pocket dolls promote a worldly look and a worldly lifestyle. ... I believe that these kinds of dolls are too immodest for girls of any age to play with, much less little girls around the ages of 4 and 5. They definitely promote the wrong message and wrong focus in a young girl’s life, and I really don’t even want our granddaughters to bring their scantily dressed dolls into our home because I feel that by allowing them to bring their dolls into our home, we’re also condoning and promoting a wrong focus and mindset in the lives of our granddaughters.”

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