Sep20FriSeptember 20, 2019
One of my first unexpected experiences as a young Christian was the confrontation of dress code. I had never even pondered that modesty mattered until I happened upon an old-fashioned preacher who was persuaded that what we wore was a direct reflection of what was in our heart. I embraced the notion immediately. I look back and I ask myself, “Why?” What was it about this matter that was so captivating that I was immediately compliant?
I have now been saved for more than three decades and I admit that I still find myself suspiciously interested in dress code. I also have to confess that I still don’t know why. It is not a subject that is addressed frequently in Scripture. Quite frankly, almost every church around me has abandoned the matter and are now avoiding any discussion of it because it can be costly in terms of new additions to the church is concerned. So why is it still such a compelling issue for me?
Down through the years I have been careful to examine my motives for so many things. I have learned that the issue of motives is a fundamental matter and that Satan is constantly in question of our motives. Satan was persuaded that Job was serving God with the wrong motives. Satan felt that if he could take away the creature-comforts of Job that he would surely curse God.
In connection to dress code what are your motives? Are you motivated by what your friends are wearing? Are you motivated by what you see on today’s stars or models? Are you motivated by what you find prominently displayed in magazines and stores? How about What your parents told you to wear or not to wear? Maybe you are motivated to wear what you need to make the right impression? Maybe you want to be attractive. As you can see, there are a host of motives for dress code. In order to stop the madness we must rely only on the precepts and principles of Scripture to bring us to a thoroughly biblical verdict.
I am aware that many have overemphasized the subject of dress code and that has been a detriment. There were some preachers that, no matter what passage of Scripture they were preaching from, they would be preaching on dress code. There is nothing more confusing to young Christians than to hear a preacher announce that he will be preaching from John 3:16 and then commencing into a diatribe on dress code. That has been counterproductive for sure.
That habit has also left many people in the dark in terms of why dress code was ever made an issue to begin with. I recall a candid conversation that I had with a young man (who I will not name) that began when he contacted me specifically to have a conversation about why we enforce a dress code in conservative Baptist churches. He was a pastor’s son, and he was straight up confused about why this had been imposed on so many people. He asked about the Old ancient practice of men “girding up their loins”. This practice exposed the calves of men and possibly their upper thigh from below the hemline of their robes. They did this to free themselves from incumbrances in battle and for hard labor. He asked me if he was wrong to believe that that was the same thing as a man wearing a pair of shorts today. Rather than ignore that ancient practice, I told him that it was the same thing.
He then began to inquire about women wearing pants, or trousers, and we dialogued about that matter at length as well. Much of his inquiry was based on the new questions that many in his generation are asking about old traditions and practices that are not thoroughly supported by Scripture.
These conversations are refreshing for me. I enjoy the give-and-take of exchanging ideas and identifying the possible overlooking of certain things that are germane to the conversation and discussion. However, I think that we can all agree that what the Bible says is what matters most.
Recently a new Hollywood scandal emerged from Tinseltown. The Harvey Weinstein scandal includes all of the trademark sexual harassment and chauvinism that has become the norm for the movie-making industry. Actress Mayim Bialik opened herself up to some sharp ridicule from fans when she commented on the Weinstein scandal by saying, “I still make choices every day as a 41-year-old actress that I think of as self-protecting and wise. I have decided that my sexual self is best reserved for private situations with those I am most intimate with. I dress modestly. I don’t act flirtatiously with men as a policy [emphasis mine].” You might recognize Mayim Bialik from the hit TV show “Blossom” that aired from 1990 to 1995, and from other more recent sitcoms.
Mayim Bialik is being slammed on Twitter for her comments. They are being called, among other things, “problematic” and “misogynistic”. So now we know that the feminist agenda has no appreciation for modesty. If they castigate Mayim Bialik, who is by no means the model of biblical modesty, it is certain they will be stumped at the notion of what the Bible teaches on the matter.