Dress codes and Church Discipline

Discussion in 'Church Order' started by Julio Martinez Jr, Oct 1, 2009.

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  1. Knoxienne

    Knoxienne Puritan Board Graduate

    Amen. I know of one pastor who approached a young girl and told her she was dressed too immodestly and please don't return next week to church like that. He was very nice about it. He didn't tell her she was a gutter slut and was going to hell. Of course it would have been better had a woman admonished her, but it was what it was. And that congregation ran that pastor out of the church for encouraging that girl to obey the seventh commandment. That's absolutely wicked.
  2. matt01

    matt01 Puritan Board Senior

    This is where you lost me.
  3. Montanablue

    Montanablue Puritan Board Doctor

    Not to get off topic, but for his own protection, he should have at least had a woman present when he did this. I'm sure this wasn't his intent at all, but approaching a young girl to talk about the modestly of her clothing this could be interpreted as sexual harassment. Pastors and elders must be so careful in situations like this - especially if they are approaching a young girl as opposed to an older woman.
  4. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    Really, I would be quite content to wear a burka so that I wouldn't have to get dressed up or do my hair or make-up for church. However, I'm thinking that would draw too much attention..........seriously!!!! High heels and jewelry is a problem?? I use to be this legalistic until I realized that it wasn't a sin and that I should actually identify my sins and work on those instead of making up laws that I could live up to on my own. This is even worse than other threads I've been apart of in the past. Well, almost....I did have to defend my wearing of pants on another site. I am glad my pastor and others in my church are not this legalistic.....at least most of the time I'm glad as there are some days when I'm really lazy and don't feel like dressing up....then hand me the burka! :)
  5. Knoxienne

    Knoxienne Puritan Board Graduate

    Absolutely. It was definitely not handled correctly.
  6. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    That is good, and hopefully that will serve as a reminder that we should not be legalistic over this.

    Just to clarify for the sake of the subject of this thread, church disciple does not pertain to sins per se, but to scandals, which may or may not include sins. In Acts 15 the elders of the church came to a decision which also seemed good to the Holy Ghost that certain things should be omitted even though they were not sinful in themselves.

    I suppose this is why the idea of dress reflecting servanthood appeals to me. It avoids legalism and at the same time takes seriously the demand to deal charitably with all men.
  7. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Graduate

    sarah...I read an article by two female missionaries in a muslim nation. They said that in the marketplace men pinch and grope and touch worse than anything you'd ever see in the west. The muslims are crazed with lust and they don't even know what's under that burka, if it is a pretty girl or an 80 year old withered woman. They grab anyway. Disgusting, but the point is, women have to work on clothes and men have to work on lust. You can cover it all up and some guys will still have trouble.
  8. Julio Martinez Jr

    Julio Martinez Jr Puritan Board Freshman

    Wow. I am really impressed by the amount of attention I galvanized here. Quick clarification, though. It seems that people are taking my example at face value, so let me clear the air. I do not think that all high heels are wrong or immodest. Like I said in the first post, this area is difficult to diagnose. By allowing you guys to respond--women especially since the post is very much concerned with the decorum of women in the church--I think that there is a lot that needs to be revisited. By all intents and purposes, I think that we can all agree that there is a problem in the church and that it is in desperate need of attention. Can we all agree? Second, What I propose is something similar to what raekwon suggests:
    The method is just as important as the manner which the woman's dress (=decorum). I don't think that every instance of "immodesty" is similar in all cases; and I believe this is the reason why this is difficult to diagnose. Ultimately, I think that if there's an overwhelming problem, then I definitely think that the elders should be apprised of the situation. I will post more responses as I will read all your entries.

    -----Added 10/1/2009 at 11:09:30 EST-----

    OK. It could possibly be due to my rhetorical style. Let me see if I can clarify this point for you. In my debate with those who hold what I call a "cavalier" approach, I set forth their argument in the first two headings or subheads. A rough paraphrase would run like this: No one, even elders, should have the right to tell its member how to dress or correct their dress. If someone has an issue with a sister in the church, it is a personal sin and should be treated (=medical verb or a practical form of "treatment," e.g., I have a headache, therefore you should take an aspirin) personally. I granted that point only to a certain degree; and I even mentioned that there is a disparity in diagnosing this problem. It isn't easy; it is a hard issue as there are different definitions of "modesty." Hope that helps.
  9. nicnap

    nicnap Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    If a heel broke, she'd do more than stumble, she would go straight to the ground with an injured ankle. Sorry, couldn't resist. :lol:

    Okay, back to the serious discussion.
  10. Brian Withnell

    Brian Withnell Puritan Board Junior

    Some of the high heels I've seen I can't understand how women can walk in them, and I'd think they would be much more prone to stumbling (and the same can be said for platform shoes). :rofl:

    -----Added 10/1/2009 at 11:14:53 EST-----

    Sorry, I didn't see you caught the same funny I did!
  11. Montanablue

    Montanablue Puritan Board Doctor

    :lol: I kind of asked for this with my phrasing... I'm surprised it took so long for someone to catch it!
  12. Julio Martinez Jr

    Julio Martinez Jr Puritan Board Freshman

    Again, I would recommend that you read my latest responses. I never said that wearing high-heels is bad. I do, however, object to the cavalier attitude that some sisters take in their manner of dress. I happen to like girls in high-heels. I think it exemplifies femininity. But there are those other heels that portray a very sumptuous repertoire in physical appearance. And that is the problem that I am raising. There is nothing inherently evil about wearing them. However, I think that women should be mindful as my subheads A-B under number two in my original post suggests.

    -----Added 10/1/2009 at 11:24:59 EST-----

    No. I don't think it is inappropriate. You should read the latest response. I think it answers that question in detail.
  13. Montanablue

    Montanablue Puritan Board Doctor

    Julio, I think I did misunderstand your post. You seemed to be criticizing women who wore heels. I'm glad to see that's not the case.

    I think the issue goes far beyond certain garments or accessories and into attitudes. As to cavalier attitudes, as I said, my comment about liking to wear high heels because I am tall was made in jest. (Although I do wear heels - I view them as a more formal type of footwear and flats as less formal and a little less feminine - but that's another discussion for another time)

    I'm certainly not suggesting that women be cavalier (IN fact, I don't think anyone is suggesting that). On the other hand, we cannot make women responsible for every man that may stumble.
  14. Brian Withnell

    Brian Withnell Puritan Board Junior

    Objective criteria?

    The funny aside, I'd have to say that there isn't much in the way of objective criteria for saying what is or what is not modest. If you think of tribal women in places that are hot nearly all the time, it would be normal for them to go around topless and it would not be considered "sexy". If a woman here did the same, they would likely be arrested.

    What I'm getting at is cultural norm. If wearing a loincloth is the cultural norm, then it would not be considered immodest. If wearing a burka was a cultural norm, then having ankles uncovered would be considered immodest. The reaction of men to what is different is more to do with what is common verses what is commanded.

    Clothing: you must wear some.

    The only reason I have for saying this is that after the fall (if we were innocent, we would not need clothing) all of mankind is aware of our nakedness, and it was God that provided clothing (more than fig leaves) for Adam and Eve. We are not told what is modest or not in scripture, and therefore I would tend to think it is heart attitude (and cultural norms) that control.

    I would not want my wife or daughters to show up in church in thong bikinis, but I would not want them to feel like they had to wear a burka either.
  15. Julio Martinez Jr

    Julio Martinez Jr Puritan Board Freshman

    I can see where your logic is going. So would you suggest that the women in the church should have some kind of sponsored study by the church on being a godly woman and perhaps a future godly wife? I would like that to happen. I do think, though, that generally, the elders should admonish the church in proper church order. It doesn't mean that they should draw up a codex in what women are to wear. I think that breaches so many ethical boundaries. I would, at that point, just refer people to their creeds. One example was posted in the original post (HC 85). But at the same time, a local body will ultimately have to govern itself and follow the Scriptures as best as they could. This is where good sound judgment of the pastorate and the session should be noted and practiced.
  16. Houchens

    Houchens Puritan Board Sophomore

    I would have to say that we should "ALL" search our motivation for how we dress, whether in worship, or in the work place, or even to the market. God has called us as "Christians" to a higher standard than that of the world. However, I am not saying we should become legalistic, or extreme about it.
    I do think we should be intentional about how we present ourselves to the world, but more importantly before God.
    I may look at things somewhat different than others, both here and abroad, but I think about my appearance before the Lord even outside of Church. Again, I am not saying one should have to dress in a feed sack(women), or in coveralls(men), but to consider the intention of our heart.
  17. Julio Martinez Jr

    Julio Martinez Jr Puritan Board Freshman

    I respect your candor. See, this is exactly what I was aiming for. There are some people, however, that would elicit a very cavalier approach. For instance, the argument would run like this: It is his personal problem, therefore I don't need to appease everyone. There are so many logical inconsistencies in this statement that I don't think I really need to analyze it, do I? What I responded to her (I will leave her unnamed) was this: if there is a significant number of men in the church who stumble at her sight--be that whatever her intentions are in her dress--I think at that point there is a problem. I used a narrative to illustrate that point. I said that if you are walking down the street and you smelled smoke (maybe they saw smoke) and they heard sirens, then there is a fair assumption via the use of induction, that there is a fire. The fact that there are more than three (any number above the norm really) people who struggle in a given church is clearly an instance of trouble. All I am saying is that there is a problem and perhaps someone needs to mention it. I would first suggest that a mature sister in the church should talk to the offending (I'm using that term loosely) sister, lest the pastors be apprised and deal with it individually. I don't think it needs to come to that. After all, unity in the church is a primary concern, is it not?
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2009
  18. Brian Withnell

    Brian Withnell Puritan Board Junior

    I believe this hits the nail on the head. What one culture thinks immodest, another will think modest.
  19. Archlute

    Archlute Puritan Board Senior


    I don't think that is what he was getting at, as much as condemning the drift away from a conservative biblical understanding that was held by a previous generation.

    The problem with the statement that you made is a common one in our day, it presents no fixed moral standard, but one that shifts according the dictates of culture. Even cultures will be judged in accordance with God's word and character, and just because a particular culture does not see a thing as immodest does not make it chaste in God's eyes.
  20. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Well noted, Adam.

    Cultural standards should be framed according to the precept to honour father and mother. Those in positions of responsibility set the standards. Sadly we are about to face a third generation which abdicates parental responsibility, which means the cultural standards can only slip further.
  21. kevin.carroll

    kevin.carroll Puritan Board Junior

    Of course! But the Bible does specifically speak to the issue of female modesty in dress, likely because of the weaknesses of men. Our society has become increasingly sexualized and I am sometimes apalled at what Christian women will wear and how equally clueless they are as to its effect on men.

    As an aside, no one seems to have commented on the fact that the brother who began this thread is clearly from a different culture. Modesty is to some extent driven by culture, which may have something to do with why he mentioned shoes.

    Ladies, adorn yourselves with godliness. The guys will still notice.
  22. Brian Withnell

    Brian Withnell Puritan Board Junior

    Okay, so were in scripture are the objective moral standards of dress? I cannot find them.

    God's word is our only infallible standard of faith and life (and more, cf WCF chapter 1) and so we should find within its pages those things which are explicitly expressed or through good and necessary conclusion can be deduced. Length of dress (or even a dress as opposed to pants), height of heels, and many other things we do not find.

    What we do find is a command to be modest. We find commands to self-control. We find commands to love one another. I may be mistaken, but I don't know as there is a command to women to cover their breasts (though I'm not advocating for topless woman!) If it can be concluded by necessary deduction from scripture, then I'm willing to hear the syllogisms and detachments that force the conclusion. I just have never seen them presented other than from a cultural context, which is not objective, but subjective.
  23. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    I think you would have to define what you think is immodest. Is it pants, high heels, jewelry, etc? I know that I once went to a Baptist church and all the women were wearing skirts down to their ankles....I was wearing pants bc I didn't know that I was suppose to wear a skirt down to my ankles....I don't even have one and never will. So they clearly felt that pants or even shorter skirts were immodest. Is this your thinking?
  24. kevin.carroll

    kevin.carroll Puritan Board Junior

    Sarah, as far as I am concerned if a women's dress distracts me from worshipping Christ we both have a problem.

    This thread has increasingly distressed me because the majority of women commenting seem not to care a whit about the moral struggles of their brothers in the Lord. What they seem to care about is what they want to wear.

    Romans 14 has been batted around. Remember Paul taught that we should limit our liberty out of love for God's people.

    I love my wife with all my heart but ladies, don't place a stumbling block in front of me with clingy clothes, high hemlines, and low necklines no matter how fashionable. I don't want to lust in my heart as I stand before God's people to preach. It is easier to do than you could possibly imagine.
  25. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    How am I suppose to know how weak some men are? I don't wear plunging necklines, I don't wear high hemlines bc I don't wear dresses, I wear pants which might be considered clingy just as pants cling to men. So am I suppose to wear the ankle length skirt just to cover my bases in not making some men stumble? Do not those same men have the need to develop self-control?
  26. Sean Strupp

    Sean Strupp Puritan Board Freshman

    Hi everyone, this is my first post woo hoo! Anyway, my wife and I were just talking about this and I would have to agree with Knoxienne on the heels issue. I believe that a godly woman in heels is drawing unnecessary attention to herself and not in keeping with a gentle and quiet spirit. Not all heals obviously and there is a time and place for them i.e. with a wedding dress or some formal gown. But I have always thought that a large majority of them come across to me as an attempt to be sexy. You hear the term often when someone complements particular heels. "Sexy" is not something a woman attending a Lords day service should be concerned with. But those were my thoughts when speaking with my wife...I thought I was just a bigot haha.
  27. Brian Withnell

    Brian Withnell Puritan Board Junior

    Perhaps, though some men might have a problem regardless of what is worn.

    If the attitude of a woman is what you are saying, then it is a problem. It is also a problem if men not only are tempted, but sin.

    Agreed. Both men have an obligation to control their thoughts, and women have an obligation to show Christian love to their brothers within the church. Christian love does not tell someone that arrives at your house that is a teetotaler because of conscience that he should be able to drink because it is perfectly okay and serve wine with a meal (when one knows the person has scruples against drinking).
  28. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    You can't even see my high heeled shoes except for the toes of them bc I wear pants so I don't see how your theory could hold up. I think this is your own opinion and not based on Scripture. If high heels are sinful, then they shouldn't be worn with anything. You can't decide when all women should and shouldn't wear high heels unless you have Scriptural support.
  29. Julio Martinez Jr

    Julio Martinez Jr Puritan Board Freshman

    It is very interesting that you mentioned the generational divide. You're right. I am from a different generation. I do agree that different generations will deal with different denotations of what constitutes "modest apparel." However, I do think that there is a trans culture/generational divide that would allow for some ethical commentary on the situation. I do think that a heel that accentuates too much of the female figure does exhibit an attitude of mutiny. It might not be explicit mutiny, but considering the generational divide, I think that the influences that are imbued in the female who wears these heels--again, I'm using that example loosely--should consider her presuppositions about what she wears. Again I would refer her to my rebuttal and subheads in the original post.
  30. Sean Strupp

    Sean Strupp Puritan Board Freshman

    I never said it was a sin and I thought I was making it clear that those were just thoughts I had. However, the response of the woman after being confronted about something such as heels can be sinful.
    There is a time for everything and I was expressing that a Lord's Day service in my opinion is not the place to wear heals. I may not be able to see your heals and that is irrelevant. Many heals can be seen and if it stumbles a man or woman, it is to be abstained from. But it is also their responsibility of the individual stumbled by your dress to call it to your attention. At that point the ball is in your court and it is at that point that sin can be present.
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