Does it matter what you wear to church by sdfsb346f

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									                                  What not to wear
                       Does it matter what you wear to church?

On BBC One there’s a TV show called ‘What not to wear’ which used to be hosted by two women, Trinny
and Susannah. On the show they would tell a contestant what was wrong about the clothes they wore
and then tell them what clothes they should be wearing.

We’re going to do a ‘What not to wear’ with what we wear to church by asking the question ‘Does it
matter what we wear to church?’

If you ask different people this question and you’ll get a whole range of answers. Some will say ‘yes’,
some will say ‘no’, some will care about what people wear to church, others won’t be fussed.


Some examples...
Advice with Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee: Church Dress Code?1

Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,

My husband and I just moved to a new community. We found a church that we liked, but noticed that
several young people wore shorts to the service. Isn’t that improper in a church? Our former church
never had anyone wear such outfits. I was tempted to say something to one young lady, but my
husband told me to mind my own business. Don’t you think that it’s disrespectful to dress in that
manner? Isn’t there a church dress code?




Dear Abby – Debate on Church Attire: Show up or show respect?2

Here are some of the responses after a reader asked if people should be expected to dress up for church:

“Church is where you go to give praise to the Lord, not check out what others are wearing”

“My pastor says no one would consider dressing casually if they were going to be in the presence of our
president or any other dignitary. Why would we consider anything less for our Lord? Makes perfect
sense to me”

“More important than what people are wearing is the reason for being in church in the first place. Maybe
it would be better if we could all enter God’s house blind. If we can’t see what people are wearing, we
can leave our judgments and prejudices outside and use the time to learn more about God’s purpose for
our lives”

“That we worship is more important than what we wear...reminded me of the story of the old cowboy
who visited a new church in his jeans and boots. After the service, the pastor greeted him and
remarked, ‘We enjoyed having you here today, but before you return, you should have a talk with God
about proper attire in church’. The next week, the cowboy returned wearing the same clothes, so the
pastor approached him again. ‘I thought I told you to speak with God about what to wear when you
came here’ he said. The cowboy responded, ‘I did. But he said he didn’t know because he’d never set
foot in here!’”


1 (accessed 10 April 2008)
2 (accessed 10 April 2008)
Dress Code of the youth group of Fellowship Baptist Church3

This dress code will help to create a Spirit-filled learning environment that promotes Spiritual growth:

All Teens

Shorts should be at least mid-thigh length (trousers or jeans are the preferred dress).
No chains hanging from clothing.
No studded or leather bands.
No T-shirts with worldly advertising.
No hats/caps or hoods should be worn.


No tank tops or muscle shirts.
Trousers and shorts should be secured at the waist so that no under garments can be seen.
No body piercings.


No tank tops, halter tops or spaghetti straps.
No bare midriffs (front and back) – shirts should be long enough and jeans should be high enough that
no skin can be seen between the neck and mid-thigh even when raising arms and bending over.
Shirts should be tight enough so that no view of the chest can be seen when bending over; however
shirts should not be so tight that every curve is magnified.
Skirts or dresses should be at least knee-length even when sitting down.
No body piercings, except earrings.
For formals, no spaghetti straps or strapless dresses unless a shawl or other covering is worn. Also, no
low-cut or skin-tight dresses.


Where do we begin?
There are a number of things that we need to realise before we start looking at a specific answer to this

1. The clothes industry is ever-changing, and style and types of clothes people who are from one
generation wear will be different to what people from another generation wear.

2. Family and cultural upbringing will influence the types of clothing they are comfortable wearing, used
to people wearing, think it is appropriate for others to wear.

3. Unlike McDonalds’ employees who are all required to wear the same company uniform, God has not
given us a standard uniform which every person must wear to church. That is a good thing!

4. What we wear will not affect God’s love for us. God will love us if we turned up at church naked. This
doesn’t mean we shouldn’t wear clothes to church.

5. We will not be saved by what we wear. Only trusting in Jesus and His death and resurrection will.


What does God say?
So...does it matter what we wear to church?

Yes! It does matter what we wear to church, in fact what we wear at other times too!

God in His Word the Bible has given us some specific commands concerning how we are to dress.

Specific things God says about how we are to dress...if you like His dress code!

3 (accessed 10 April 2008)
1. Cover up!

1 Corinthians 12:23-24: “...and on those parts of the body that we think less honourable we bestow the
greater honour, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24which our more
presentable parts do not require...”

There are parts of the body that are unpresentable (don’t think I need to go into what parts of the body
these are). These body parts should not be on public display for all to see, so they need to be covered

Is it alright for people to turn up to church (or anywhere else in public) naked? No!
Is it alright for people to turn up in just their underwear? No!

The unpresentable parts of the body need to be properly covered up.

2. It is not a fashion show!

1 Timothy 2:9-10: “...likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with
modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10but with what is
proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.”

The apostle Paul was addressing women specifically (although in our current culture, I think it applies to
men too) and giving them a telling off because they were making church into a fashion show.

Paul is not saying you can’t wear nice clothes to church, but he’s warning against turning church into a
fashion show by going over the top with what you wear so that people will notice you.

3. Remember what’s really important!

Note what Paul says in 1 Timothy 2:10 about what is important, that is living a godly life! This is echo by
the apostle Peter.

1 Peter 3:3-5: “Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold
jewellery, or the clothing you wear— 4but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the
imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. 5For this is how
the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands...”

Again addressed to women (but applies also to men), Peter reminds them that they should be more
concerned with living a godly life than what they look like. That is what true beauty is.

Once again it is not saying that we should not look good, wear nice clothes and jewellery. Just remember
what’s important.

4. Don’t dress like the opposite sex!

Deuteronomy 22:5: “A woman shall not wear a man's garment, nor shall a man put on a woman's cloak,
for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.”

This verse says that women shouldn’t wear men’s clothes and men shouldn’t wear women’s clothes.
Does that mean women can’t wear trousers and jeans, that they must wear skirts and dresses?


The verse doesn’t specify that women can’t wear trousers and jeans and that they must wear skirts and
dresses. What is does say is that men should dress like men and women should dress like women.
That’s the principle!

So, God’s dress code could be summed up as, cover up the parts of the body that need to be covered up,
don’t make church into a fashion show, remember that true beauty is not looking good but living a godly
life, and if you’re a man dress like a man and if you’re a woman dress like a woman.

I’m free to wear what I want any old time! Or am I?
Now as long as I keep God’s dress code, can I wear what I want to church?


Romans 14:2: “One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables”
then Romans 14:5: “One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days
alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.”

If we are convinced that what we are wearing to church is not breaking God’s law, that wearing jeans or
flip flops to church is not a sin, it’s okay to wear them.

But also No!

There are also some more general principles that we need to think about too.

5. God is concerned about our hearts

1 Samuel 16:7: “But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his
stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward
appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.””

Whilst there may be nothing wrong with the actual clothes we are wearing, if we are wearing them
because of what’s going on inside our hearts maybe a wrong attitude, to make point, to rebel, to show off
we are sinning by wearing those clothes.

For example a girl wearing a nose ring because her parents told her she wasn’t to wear it, or a boy
wearing brand new £100 trainers in order to show off to his mates.

6. God commands us to love Him

Matthew 22:36-38: ““Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37And he said to him, “You
shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38This is the
great and first commandment.”

1 Corinthians 10:31: “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

We can show our love for God and glorify God by what we wear. This doesn’t mean we have to wear
Christian T-Shirts with slogans like ‘Body piercing saved my life’ or ‘I tune into God’. Rather it’s about
our reasons and motivation for wearing what we wear. Choosing what clothes we wear out of a desire to
please Him, to obey Him and so that we do not sin.

7. God commands us to love others

Matthew 22:39: And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself.”

Romans 14:13-19: “Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide
never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. 14I know and am persuaded in the
Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. 15For if
your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not
destroy the one for whom Christ died. 16So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. 17For
the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the
Holy Spirit. 18Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19So then let us
pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.”

Loving others means not wearing clothes that might cause someone else to sin that’s why it’s important
that we cover up.

Loving others means making sure we don’t distract people at church from worshipping God by what we
wear. For example it might be distracting if we turned up to church dressed as a clown or a character
from Star Wars.

Loving others means not dressing like a rich person if you go to a church which is full of people who are
poor and don’t have very much.
Loving other means taking into account the cultural dress of the country. For example, in rural Kenya,
women never wear trousers. Would it be loving for a woman to wear trousers to church which may
offend them?

Loving others means not being legalistic and having a dress code and insisting that people are only
welcome if they keep to it.

8. God commands us to not be like the world

Romans 12:1-2: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a
living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this
world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will
of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Christians are meant to stand out from the world.

How can we be like the world in the way we dress?

The world does not cover up; girls and women are not modest in the way they dress. The world is
governed by fashion; people spend hundreds of pounds trying to stay trendy. The world is all about what
you look like on the outside; image is everything. The world says it’s perfectly acceptable for men to
dress like women.


Does it matter what you wear to church?
Having looked at what God says in His Word, the Bible, let’s return to the question: ‘Does it matter what
you wear to church?’

The answer is YES!

Yes – if you are disobeying God.

There are some clothes that you shouldn’t wear to church (or in some cases Christians should not wear
out in public full stop!)

Yes – if you are wearing it for the wrong reasons.

Whilst there might not be anything wrong with the clothes the reason for wearing them could make it
wrong to wear them to church.

Wrong reasons include...   make people notice us.   attract the attention of that boy or girl.   show off to our friends that we’ve got this item of clothing.   make a point as an act of rebellion.   be like that pop star (or other celebrity) who wears these clothes.   fit in with our friends.


What can I wear then?
So what can I wear to church then? Well if your clothes are...


Comfortable (so you don’t get distracted from focussing on God by them);

Aren’t likely to distract other people (good reason for looking smart – although one person’s smart is
going to be different to another);

...and you have a heart that wants to please God, what you are wearing is probably okay!

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