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Featured Defining Modesty

Discussion in 'Controversial Christian Theology' started by Johnny Boyd, Jul 16, 2017.

  1. Johnny Boyd

    Johnny Boyd New Member

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    What is our dress standard? I was prompted to question this for a couple of reasons, and a major reason is I read that until 1937, it was illegal for men to be topless. Now, society in general and I think most of the church is okay with it.

    First, I won’t accept 1Ti 2:9 because of the context, and the greek. Regarding the context: “modesty” is defined in the same verse: not with gold, pearls, etc. It’s not about the amount of skin showing, but about excessiveness. The argument for clothing could go both ways, if we use this verse. First, dressing with too much on (relative to who/what’s around) could be immodest because it draws attention to us (i.e. if you don’t show enough skin at the beach.) However, it could also be argued that showing too much (shorts that are very short at walmart) is immodest. In any regard, that’s not the primary context of this verse. Second, the greek word that people argue from is not translated as modest, but as apparel (of course, I’m not going to argue from what the translators did.) Apparel is the word καταστολη, and the standard argument is that the prefix κατα on στολη means long/cast down/flowing. Perhaps it does in general, I don’t know greek that well. But first, what would that mean? The στολη was already long, so this serves no purpose to the argument that our clothing must be long (and well-covering.) More importantly, though: καταστολη didn’t have the meaning they make it to. Καταστολη was a specific article of clothing, worn over the στολη, and it only came down about to the waist (see Clark’s commentary, I believe he’s the one that addressed this.)

    Second, causing others to stumble … This is a reasonable argument, but I don’t think it applies. Of course, we’re not to sin and teach others to do the same. We’re also not to tempt another to sin against his conscience by his seeing us do the very thing he thinks is wrong. However, I don’t think this extends to dress standard. For comparison: if I buy a Gallardo Lamborghini and then invite my brother to ride with me, have I tempted him to stumble and am I guilty for doing so? Because, of course – he’s likely to be jealous. Now, if my goal is to incite that – my heart is evil. But, if I’m merely sharing this beautiful creation with him, as I would if I invited him to visit the grand canyon with me during a sunset, I haven’t sinned even though I know he’ll be tempted to covet.

    Third, Genesis 3 … This is the strongest argument, in my opinion. Adam and Eve ate, and then they knew they were naked and they made themselves loin cloths. So, their initial (now ontological, you might say) reaction was to cover their genitals. However, after making these loin cloths, they still considered themselves naked (the reason they hid from God.) In addition, God clothed them with both tops and bottoms. I don’t see the tops being required as clear-enough, because there are other possibilities still. They covered themselves with fig leaves, and it’s possible (even probable, I imagine) they weren’t very well covered. I’ve seen videos of primitive people who cover their genitals with similar things, and if they bend forward -it’s not a pretty sight (this correlates well with the priests who had to wear relatively long bottoms so the people underneath them wouldn’t look up and see their genitals.) They may have seen themselves as still being in a relative state of nudity; as Saul was naked because he wasn’t in his kingly attire, or Isaiah because he was in his underwear (supposedly.) Also, God’s making tops for them may have related to the curse: now there would be thorns to cut them, etc. In any case, these counter arguments relate ONLY TO WHETHER A TOP IS REQUIRED. I think this verse is very clear that the genitals must be covered (and considering the priests wore long bottoms *in order to* hide the genitals shows that this region is either solely sinful to expose, or especially sinful to expose, in my opinion. I’m not sure which of those two, though) and I think that Rev 3:18 (I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.) implies that full nudity is not merely shameful, but also sinful. However, I acknowledge that it’s an implication and I might be stretching. In closing on this point, I’m not stating that Gen 3 is insufficient to prove tops must be required, but I’m throwing out ideas I’d like to have challenged. Right now, I’m not bold on this section one way or the other – and I’d like to be. Help me to understand it rightly.

    Note: I’ve seen no justification for men to be allowed topless and not women. I’m fine with whatever the scriptures teach, I’m fine with banning both men and women from being topless, but none of my studying has shown discrepancy to be allowed here. Either both men and women need to cover their chests, or neither do. Some people quote verses about breasts, but they’ve always been non-sequiturs. Or, they’re taken entirely out of context: a woman’s breasts are fondled and they use that to prove they shouldn’t be displayed.

    Second note: Please do not take our culture into account. That is: don’t tell me that men should be allowed to go topless in our culture but not in a more modest one because it offends the sensibilities of that culture. That may be true, and it may be a correct answer: but it’s not what I’m trying to learn. I’m trying to learn whether the scripture has a minimum standard that applies to all cultures, and what that standard is.


    I was also going to ask about defining lust, but I realized my post is very long. I hope to address that another time, in another OP.
     
  2. JackRT

    JackRT "Karma" can bite you in the butt

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    For the most part I regard modesty as being culturally conditioned and can vary from place to place around the world and from time to time in history. I am 74 and the standards of modesty have changed quite a bit in my lifetime.
     
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  3. Johnny Boyd

    Johnny Boyd New Member

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    Although I tend to agree with you, I'm looking for scriptures or arguments based on scripture to prove one way or another. It's entirely possible that society's standards have loosened due to humanity becoming more evil, as we know will happen in the latter times. :)
     
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  4. Victory-N-Christ

    Victory-N-Christ God:Mighty -N-Power!!

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    If a beautiful, well endowed,sexy looking woman were to sashay into the church in a tight red see through mini dress with a plunging neckline and a long split up both sides of this scrap of dress which exposed her thighs almost to her waist...
    Even other women will double take and most of the men ( well the heterosexual ones at least) absolutely Will Not be able to focus on the sermon.
     
  5. JackRT

    JackRT "Karma" can bite you in the butt

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    The bible is largely based on the cultural standards of patriarchy in which public nudity, even partial nudity, was taboo. They simply regarded all standards except their own as evil.

    Society is no more evil today than in the past and may in fact actually have improved --- patriarchy is dying and that is for the best. As for "latter times", that is very much an interpretation that is rejected by the majority of Christians.
     
  6. JackRT

    JackRT "Karma" can bite you in the butt

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    But at the beach it would not draw a second glance. Standards can vary according to the situation.
     
  7. Victory-N-Christ

    Victory-N-Christ God:Mighty -N-Power!!

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    When anyone male or female comes into the house of the lord they have to show respect and restraint.This goes for dress as well as manners.
    We have a dress code at my church where no short dresses,plunging necklines on women and no shorts or see through shirts without an undershirt on men.
     
  8. Victory-N-Christ

    Victory-N-Christ God:Mighty -N-Power!!

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    I agree.On the beach we expect to see skin.Not at church though.
     
  9. Johnny Boyd

    Johnny Boyd New Member

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    Can the men have a low neckline?
     
  10. Hillsage

    Hillsage One for Him Supporter

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    We had a dress code at our last church too...apparently. I was in the foyer when I heard an elder's wife say;"Oh my God, will you look at that. ". Looking out the doors I could see a woman who looked like a 'lady of the night' walking in. She was alone and looking a bit apprehensive. Everyone gave her a whore's distance. My heart broke for her so I went up to welcome her and talk...briefly ( to my shame). The eyes were now on US and not just her. She never came back. I'm sure she'll feel more comfortable in hell with those who 'looked their Sunday best' on the one day they had the courage to step into our world....never seeing Jesus, but only to feel the 'love bites' of religion.
     
  11. Johnny Boyd

    Johnny Boyd New Member

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    The elder's wife shouldn't take God's name in vain. :\

    Although this is off-topic, I feel it should be noted:
    Jas 2:1 My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality.
    Jas 2:2 For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes,
    Jas 2:3 and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, "You sit here in a good place," and say to the poor man, "You stand there," or, "Sit here at my footstool,"
    Jas 2:4 have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?
     
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  12. JackRT

    JackRT "Karma" can bite you in the butt

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    I hardly think that "oh my God" is taking the name in vain. I think that refers to much more serious use of "God" as in damning or cursing someone in a casual way.
     
  13. Hillsage

    Hillsage One for Him Supporter

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    ya think?
    ;)
    Rather than worry about seeing 'the skin' of others, I think we'd do bettter to worry more about them seeing us in the nakedness of our 'carnal minded flesh'.

    With all this, I do not have a problem with standards for those in a ministry position in church. Worship team bimbos, for an example. :doh:
     
  14. Hillsage

    Hillsage One for Him Supporter

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    I'd disagree etymologically, though your POV is widely used and accepted in the church. Any time we wrongly 'lift' his name to something, in regard to His authority or character, we have lifted it 'in vain'. And in the elder's wife's case, I'm of the persuasion she did.
     
  15. Johnny Boyd

    Johnny Boyd New Member

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    So we don't get side-tracked any more, I'll send a response to this in PM.

    Well, I was going to - but I don't see how.
     
  16. JackRT

    JackRT "Karma" can bite you in the butt

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    Click on my avatar then go to "start a conversation"
     
  17. SkyWriting

    SkyWriting Berean through and through Supporter

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    I would say any scriptural standards have no value.
    It could say that ankles should not show, and now
    men have stopped salivating over ankles.

    Likely the same will happen with any code.
    Halter tops were a big deal once due the amount
    of back skin revealed.

    So, regarding dress codes:
    Mathew 7: 12
    In everything then, do unto others as you would have them
    do unto you. For this is the essence of the Law and the prophets.
     
  18. JackRT

    JackRT "Karma" can bite you in the butt

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    Some clothing can be far more provocative than none at all.
     
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  19. Victory-N-Christ

    Victory-N-Christ God:Mighty -N-Power!!

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    Not if it's so low that their pectorals are showing
     
  20. Johnny Boyd

    Johnny Boyd New Member

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    Like the 'attire of a harlot?' ;)

    And aside from that, yep! Not to be crude, but most people's bodies (including the opposite gender) are not attractive; they're an eyesore. Clothing makes them beautiful.
     
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