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Featured Why Is It Acceptable for Christians to Dress Like Slobs to Church?

Discussion in 'Christian Philosophy & Ethics' started by Zatek, Sep 23, 2017.

  1. pat34lee

    pat34lee Messianic

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    That depends on why you go to church.
    (Generic 'you', not you in particular.)

    If you're going there to listen, and maybe fellowship with
    other Christians, hear some music and be entertained,
    then no, clothing doesn't matter.

    If you're going to meet with God, that is another thing.
    What would you wear to meet and spend time with
    your favorite athlete, actor/actress, political figure or
    the Queen of England? Does how we look matter then?

    Either way, it's not up to other people to judge.
    We should be doing that for ourselves anyway.
     
  2. pat34lee

    pat34lee Messianic

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    Another symptom of depression, you probably know,
    is expecting those looks from others and seeing them
    whether they are there or not.

    Christians are no different than anyone else. Some good,
    some bad; some would steal your last nickel.
     
  3. Elderone

    Elderone Senior Member

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    I have just skimmed the pages of posts so something to the effect of the following may have already been posted. Although there isn't anything hard and fast about dress there are some guidelines which this article brigs out.
    "

    What We Wear to Church: Does It Matter?
    Share on facebook Rev. Mark H. Creech , Christian Post Columnist | Sep 9, 2014 3:29 PM
    The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of The Christian Post or its editors.
    During a recent Sunday morning worship service, I noticed something a little unsettling. Although the church I was attending was a more traditional congregation, the vast majority of parishioners were dressed casually. There was hardly a man in the sanctuary dressed in a suit, or coat and tie. The women were mostly in slacks or jeans; some were even in flip flops. I couldn't help but query, "Whatever happened to putting on your 'Sunday best'?"

    [​IMG]Expand | Collapse
    Now, please don't jump to any conclusions, I'm not about to launch into some legalistic diatribe that argues for a church dress code. God forbid. Besides, I have often entered church worship services dressed for convenience and comfort. Nevertheless, there is something about this latest trend for casual wear during Sunday services, which is not only present in more contemporary fellowships, but everywhere that makes me a bit uncomfortable.

    Is it really sufficient to argue that when we come to worship all that matters is the heart? I Samuel 16:7 does read, "People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." I must say that during my twenty-year tenure as a pastor, I would have been mortified at the thought of some visitor avoiding church because a certain member had conveyed their clothing wasn't up to par. Yet, I would also add that because worship is a matter of the heart, which I believe is often reflected in our appearance, we cannot entirely conclude God doesn't care about what is worn to church.

    Granted, times change and so does fashion. There are no hard fast rules from Scripture about the way to dress for church. Still, there are biblical principles for worship acceptable to God that points us in the right direction. Each of us would do well to look into this mirror to see if we line up. If we do, chances are, so will our church apparel.

    Worship is essentially the offering up of our self to God as a sacrificial offering. This is the meaning of Paul's instructions when he writes, "Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship" (Romans 12:1). In other words, New Testament worship in contrast to Old Testament practice requires we not only bring our best offering to the Temple, but that we bring ourselves, our entire selves in a hallowed manner, for now we are the Temple of God (I Corinthians 3:16,17). This means we should come before the Lord in reverence, presenting our best to Him – bringing our best gift – coming with our best attitude – making our best appearance.

    I grew up in a small town where many of the people with whom I went to church were very poor. A lot of them didn't have expensive clothing to wear to church on Sunday. Yet they came dressed in their finest every Lord's Day. Some of the men would wear their best shirt and a pair of overalls that were clean and pressed with a sport coat, while donning a Fedora hat. It was a mixed-matched and unimpressive combination, but the point is they came dressed in their choicest garments. Some of the women had only one dress for church, but they came for worship every Sunday in that same dress because it was the most excellent pick of their closet. They did this because they believed worship "in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24), as Jesus commanded, required their noblest demonstration of deference to God.

    In an insightful Christianity Today article, "Clothing Matters: What We Wear to Church," Duane Liftin contends that every Sunday service ought to communicate to others that worship is an important event. He writes:

    "We all understand that the wrong clothes can distract our fellow worshippers. Elaborate, showy attire may reflect a prideful, elitist, egocentric display of wealth, status, and power…In this way our choice of clothing can be sinful. But this does not render our every day ('common') come-as-you-are attire as 'spiritual' or 'honest.' If we care for our fellow worshippers as we ought, we will take them into consideration as we dress for worship. We will clothe ourselves in ways that edify them and strengthen their own worship. We will attempt to avoid the nonchalant attitude that says this event is entirely routine; that it merits nothing special from me; that my only consideration in what I choose to wear is what is easiest and most convenient. Such a self-centered attitude is corrosive to a true spirit of worship. Instead, the goal in our choice of clothing should be to express to the Lord and those around us that this event matters, that I view it as a holy occasion, one which deserves our highest regard." [1]

    Liftin continues by asserting that we should avoid "the glib assumption that God does not care what we wear to church; or what I choose to wear for worship doesn't matter; or that how I dress is a purely personal affair; or that my own convenience or comfort are all that need concern me…Wittingly or unwittingly our clothing gives us away." In fact, the clothes we choose to wear for church, Liftin adds, may tell us a lot about our hearts that God already knows, but maybe we don't. [2]

    What does the way we dress for worship say about our relationship to God? Does it demonstrate we believe that He is high, holy, and lifted up, worthy of our deepest love, adoration, and respect? Which of us would plan to meet with the President of the United States or an international dignitary, without trying to make a stellar appearance? What would our attire reveal about our appreciation and honor for their esteemed position?

    Again, the purpose of this article is not to contend for church dress codes. But it is meant to say that it seems that our worship in many situations may be too laid back, too casual, too informal, yes, even indifferent.

    By our clothing we can display many things – the condition of our heart being one of them. When we bow before the Lord and venerate His name in public worship, He deserves our loftiest expressions from within and without.

    Dr. Mark Creech is executive director of the Raleigh-based Christian Action League of North Carolina, Inc. He also serves as president of the American Council on Alcohol Problems.
     
  4. Episaw

    Episaw Always learning

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    Reverence for God??? So if I wear a tie and suit to church I am reverencing God and if I wear a shirt and shorts I am not reverencing God??

    So what happens if you go as a missionary to a tribe that has not had the gospel brought to them before. The men wear virtually nothing, the women wear a grass skirt and the children go naked. (definitely saves on the washing powder).

    If they are converted are they not reverencing God because they come to a meeting nearly naked which is normal for them?
     
  5. RDKirk

    RDKirk Alien, Pilgrim, and Sojourner Supporter

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    God is offended by people being offended by people's attire. And that goes in both directions.

    God is also offended by people dressing specifically to be offensive.

    God is offended by offense.

    Avoid unnecessary offences. Avoid being unnecessarily offended.
     
  6. Zatek

    Zatek Member

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    What scripture are you suggesting prescribes particular worships styles that churches are commonly violating? If none, then your analogy is wrong.

    Would you come to church in your sweaty gym clothes? If clothes don't matter, then why not? Of course dress matters. I'm not prescribing particular dress items, but how do you normally dress for important things? As someone else mentioned, how would you dress if you were going to an important business meeting? To meet the president? To meet your spouse for an special date night? If you would meet your wife and your business clients and the president in a graphic t-shirt and jeans, and flip flops then fine, I won't argue you're disrespecting God, but if you do dress up for any of those then you'd better do the same or more for God.
     
  7. Zatek

    Zatek Member

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    You're completely straw-manning the issue. We're not talking about poor people who can't afford clothes like James is talking about. We're talking about people with smartphones, and cars, and TV, and houses. They can afford all the nice clothes they want, they just choose not to dress up for God because they lack respect.
     
  8. Zatek

    Zatek Member

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    So you're saying disrespect for God is not heresy?
    If people don't respect God, what would they respect his command to care for the poor?
    If people don't respect God, what would they respect his command to welcome strangers?

    All choices are a reflection of your heart. If how you dress isn't a reflection of your heart, then why is anything else?

    If you respect your employer you dress up for work, if you respect your spouse you dress up for dates, and if you respect God you dress up for worship. How you present yourself demonstrates how much respect you have. Not saying that you always need to dress up anytime you're in church or a Bible study, just like you don't need to dress up all the time around your spouse, but important events like date nights and Sunday worship you will look your best if you feel it worthy of your effort to do so.
     
  9. Paidiske

    Paidiske Bodily member Staff Member Supervisor Supporter

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    You know, I'm not sure it's true that the more dressed up you are, the more respect you have for the context you're in.

    I can think of contexts where respecting where you are might well mean not dressing up, because the purpose of the context is such that dressing up is ridiculous.

    So maybe, we show respect for something by dressing appropriately. The question then becomes, by what measure do we decide what's appropriate for worship?
     
  10. David_AB

    David_AB New Member

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    I decided to take notice of what others were wearing in church this morning.
    The older generation were more smartly dressed generally. The younger ones especially teenagers were in jeans etc.
    There was one chap I hadn't noticed previously.
    Big bruiser of a chap with a young family.
    Unzipped hoodie, and jeans.
    He was worshipping with all his heart. Much more so than anyone else.
    Then towards the end of the service the pastor asked if anyone wanted to share anything.
    This chap got up and asked for prayers for his ministry working with the homeless and drug addicts of the town where he lived and worked.
    I suspect a few people would judge him and write him off for not being as holy as them because they dress up more in church.
    I wonder how many of those judges in ties and dresses are doing valuable ministry work.

    God is everywhere not just in church on a Sunday.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2017
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  11. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

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    You're assuming that someone not dressed the way you think they should is disrespectful to God, or that they disrespect God. You're begging the question.

    Fair point, but these are examples of cultural expectations, rather than innate truths.

    -CryptoLutheran
     
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  12. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

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    Very good point. A suit and tie would likely be inappropriate attire for a farmer plowing the field.

    -CryptoLutheran
     
  13. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

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    That's an assumption you are making about them.

    Just an as example personally, I own very few "nice" clothes--no suits, no blazers. In part because these are usually rather expensive pieces of clothing to own and I tend to shop cheap due to my low budget--I can afford the occasional tshirt, button up, or discount pair of jeans from the big & tall at JC Penny's or Walmart; but that's about the upper limit.

    I don't go to church wearing jeans and a plain color tshirt because I have disrespect for the Lord, I wear jeans and a plain color tshirt because that's what my wardrobe consists of.

    -CryptoLutheran
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2017
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  14. alexatara

    alexatara Newbie

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    I think some people just don't know any better and take a more casual attitude with God. God, of course, still loves people regardless, but still, they should be taught to wear the best they have to come to God's house. It would be counterproductive to judge them, just simply teach them that it would be more respectful to dress a little better for church. Maybe even gifting them a pretty dress or a shirt and tie if they can't afford clothes. Sometimes life problems get in the way of putting on some dress shoes or fancy clothes. I can tell you for my situation, things are so crazy getting my 4 children ready for church (and I suffer from anxiety) that when they can't find their church shoes, for example, I just have them put on their sneakers (the girls do wear dresses, though). It makes me cringe a bit, but I figure it's better to get to church than not at all, all because their outfit is not just right! A few of them have sensory issues so the dress shoes just don't work out sometimes. As for clothing, our church does have a dress code. Ladies should wear dresses or skirts (if a visitor comes to the church in pants, and it's a modest style we leave them be. We do have spare skirts if needed), shoes are not so strict. After all, Jesus and the people of the day did wear sandals and flip flops are a form of sandal and they do come in fancy styles. In summary, people should be educated as to the proper dress for church. I mean, if they were invited to visit with the queen of England, I'm sure they would put on their fanciest clothes. How much more important is it to put on your best when you come to stand before God?
     
  15. Uber Genius

    Uber Genius "Super Genius"

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    Spoken like the religious leaders of Jesus' day!

    Outside they appeared as whitewashed tombs but inside they were filled with dead men's bones.

    This is more than just a preference. This is a heart condition that seeks to judge people based on their outward appearance.

    It is the best quick test of Chrisyian maturity or lack thereof.

    Give me than old time religion (that judges by outward appearance) it's good enough for me!
     
  16. Archivist

    Archivist Senior Veteran

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    Actually the idea of dressing up for church did not become common practice until the first half of the nineteenth century. Prior to that time nice clothes were only afforded by the wealthy. Most people had one or, at most, two sets of clothes. For the vast majority "dressing up" for anything was never an option for anyone but the wealthiest nobility.
     
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  17. Zatek

    Zatek Member

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    Spoken like someone who's never read the Bible. Matthew 23 where Jesus calls them white washed tombs on the outside is not talking about clothes, it's talking about behavior. The white washed clothes are a metaphor for being holy, not literal clothes. He's telling them they pretend to be holy but on the inside their thoughts are evil. That chapter has nothing to do with literal clothes.

    I'm judging people based on their heart. I'm pointing out their laziness and disrespect for worship time. The have houses and cars and cell phones, so it's obvious their dress is a choice, not desperation. Choices are inward heart issues, not outward appearance issues.

    If anyone is speaking like the religious leaders of Jesus' day it's you. You memorize the words of scripture but you are ignorant of their meaning. Sounds exactly like the religious leaders in Jesus' day to me.
     
  18. Phil 1:21

    Phil 1:21 Well-Known Member

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    And you think you can tell that by their clothing? How terribly sad.
     
  19. W2L

    W2L Well-Known Member

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    Matthew 3:4 Now John himself had a garment of camel's hair and a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.


    Matthew 11:7 As they departed, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?8 But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. 9 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. 10 For this is he of whom it is written:

    ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face,
    Who will prepare Your way before You.’

    11 “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
     
  20. Zatek

    Zatek Member

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    If you read all of what I wrote instead of taking it out of context you'd know how.
     
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