Dressing Down to go to Church: An Audience with the King of Kings
January 2, 2014
Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061
The following is by Pastor Buddy Smith, Grace Baptist Church, Malanda, Queensland, Australia --

We almost never hear anything said these days about how we should dress when we go to church. Shorts, muscle shirts, t-shirts, shirt tails hanging out like we used to see lazy louts wearing, see-through dresses, miniskirts, spaghetti strap dresses, bare feet (for grown ups!), scruffy jeans, almost anything goes.

I fear we will soon see pajamas worn to church, just in case the sermon is boring and the wearer decides to catch up on the sleep they missed on Saturday night when the teens had an all night movie blitz!

Most preachers are running scared, and get the shakes whenever God speaks to them about the need for sermons on certain topics, like the way Christians dress.

I have a theory that you can tell how secure a pastor is in his church by whether he is courageous enough to preach on the C4 topics. C4 topics are those explosive subjects that tend to blow pastors clean out of their pulpits. Subjects like Giving, Witnessing to the Lost, Missions, Church Attendance, How to Raise Your Kids, Rock Music, Fasting and Prayer, Why Christians Should Avoid Hollywood Like the Plague, Total Abstinence from Alcohol, Gambling, TV, Addiction to Social Media, Separation in All Its Forms, Why Holiness is Not Legalism, etc.

But the most divisive subject of all is probably How Christians Should Dress When They Come to Church. If pastors want to save money on air conditioning the church during the summer, just let them preach a three-month series on Christian Standards of Dress and the temperature will drop by at least twenty five degrees the first Sunday and stay there till Christmas.

Does It Matter to God How We Dress?

It would do us good to read everything God says in the Holy Scriptures on Dress, like the following passages:

1) That point out the difference between fallen man's and God's standards for dress --

Genesis 3:7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

Genesis 3:21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

2) That tell us that a harlot's immorality is seen in the way she dresses and behaves --

Proverbs 7:6-10 For at the window of my house I looked through my casement, And beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding, Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house, In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night: And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart.

3) That reveal that a nation's apostasy is displayed in its women's styles of clothing, hair, and jewelry!!!!!

Isaiah 3:8, 16-24 For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen: because their tongue and their doings are against the LORD, to provoke the eyes of his glory. Moreover the LORD saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet: Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will discover their secret parts. In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon, The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers, The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings, The rings, and nose jewels, The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins, The glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the vails. And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty.

4) That teach that God would have us know that making bare the leg and uncovering the thigh is nakedness in His sight --

Isaiah 47:2-3 Take the millstones, and grind meal: uncover thy locks, make bare the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers. Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen: I will take vengeance, and I will not meet thee as a man.

5) That set the standard, not in stylishness, but in modesty --

1 Timothy 2:9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array.

But What about the Way Men Dress?

Most of what is said by preachers on the subject of Christian Dress is said about women's clothing. Why is this?

1) Because most of what is written in Holy Scripture about clothing addresses women's dress. It is quite clear that women are MUCH more interested in the way they look than men are. Admittedly, men nowadays show more interest in being fashionable than they used to. I remember when my dad came home from WWII with his khaki uniforms, he took the patches off them and wore them to work, wore them at home, and wore them to church. The earliest photos of our family show my dad dressed in khaki. That's all he had and it didn't worry him at all. Fashion simply wasn't important for men 65 years ago, or not the men we knew. If it was clean and modest, it was in style. I still hold to that approach.

2) The impact of fashion designers on the styles worn by Christian women today is amazing! Hemlines, necklines, tightness, sheerness, colour, and cut are mostly determined, not by dress standards derived from Holy Scripture, but from clothing designs worn by the immodest supermodels who strut and prowl the catwalks at fashion shows. And since IMAGE (not godly modesty) became the driving agenda for Christian women, many Sunday morning church services are often slightly sanitized versions of the world's catwalks.

3) Man is much more visual in his sexuality. In Jesus' warning in Matthew 5:28, it is the man who lusts after the woman. Thus it is doubly important as to how women dress. 

The Sermon of Slouch

So what about men's styles? At present, where I pastor, our men have adopted the casual look. Ties and shirttails are OUT. (My mother cured me of leaving my shirttail out by threatening to sew lace on it so everybody would think I was a pansy. I never did it again.) Shoes are mostly left unshined and jeans are all the go. The congregation is largely composed of casual men, dressy ladies, and scruffy kids.

Is it important how men dress when they go to church? I believe it is. We men are to be leaders, trailblazers for our families. We are to set the standard. When we are too casual in our dress, we unknowingly send signals to our wives, to our children, and to those who know nothing of God. The "SERMON OF SLOUCH" is an eloquent oration on carnal slothfulness, and our wives, daughters, and sons are listening closely. If we dads let the flesh have its way in OUR sloppy dress, then we must not be surprised if our wives follow our lead and "dress to kill,” our daughters mimic Britney and Gaga, and our sons copy Snoop Dog's latest outfit.

Our carelessness in dress preaches to them that the worship of God is not something we need to be serious about. In most churches we fathers are so "laid back,” we are so lacking in reverence that it bothers us not at all to slouch into the house of God late and looking like a "mob of swaggies on holiday." (For you non-aussies, a swaggie is a tramp, a bum.)

I wonder if God's people dress better to go a wedding than they do when they go to worship their Saviour? Does that tell us how highly we esteem the object of our affections?

An Audience with the King of Kings

If the fear of God ever falls upon us again, if an Awakening is sent from Heaven, if God visits His people in Divine Intervention, our hearts and mouths will be hushed with a godly fear so that all the trivial yabbering will die away, and we will begin to dress in a manner befitting our audience with the King of Kings.

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