How should a preacher dress in the pulpit?

Discussion in 'Preaching' started by Josh Williamson, Aug 2, 2011.

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  1. Andres

    Andres Puritan Board Doctor

    Good. Every man looks terrible in those. Joseph, I edited my above comment, so you may not have seen it, but why do you say Driscoll would look completely foolish if he wore a Geneva gown? I think he'd look quite respectable.
  2. Joseph Scibbe

    Joseph Scibbe Puritan Board Junior

    Again, I think it comes down to the context. In Seattle, no one wears a gown and it would alienate him from the congregtion. It would actually be a distraction to many people that come to Mars Hill.
  3. raekwon

    raekwon Puritan Board Junior


    Exile Presbyterian Church

    Just sayin'. :)
  4. Zach

    Zach Puritan Board Junior

    I think both the Pastor and the attendees should dress themselves in a manner worthy of whose house they are going to. Forgive me for sounding post-modern, but that looks differently for everyone. Some will show their reverence and humility by wearing a Geneva gown and others something less formal. All the formality in the world would not be good enough for God, so dress should be less about formality than conveying a respect and reverence for God.

    On a side note, I saw Piper preach in a Geneva gown on Ligonier Sunday at St. Andrew's Chapel and I swear it was like 4 sizes too big for him. It was certainly different to see him preach in one, but I wouldn't say he looked foolish. I'm with Andrew in saying that Driscoll would look respectable in a Geneva gown.
  5. Andres

    Andres Puritan Board Doctor

    By no one, whom do you mean? No one who attends the church? Well I doubt any attendee other than the pulpit minister would be wearing a gown, so that doesn't make sense. Do you mean no other ministers? I've never been to Seattle but I find it hard to believe that no other minister in the whole city of 3 million people doesn't wear a robe. As far as the gown being a distraction, I just don't buy it. How in the world would that be a distraction?
  6. raekwon

    raekwon Puritan Board Junior

    It'd certainly be a distraction for a while, anyway, considering the culture of MHC. Folks could get used to it, but I just don't see it happening, considering his previous quips about "dudes in dresses" (referring to ministers in gowns). :)

    Not really a big deal either way, though, since Scripture doesn't exactly dictate what a pastor is to wear.
  7. Constantlyreforming

    Constantlyreforming Puritan Board Sophomore

    I agree...scripture doesn't have anything to say regarding what a pastor is to wear. Interestingly, Christ does talk about how we should not give special attention to one who comes into the congregation who wears nice linens and has fine things. That would be one argument for trying to not draw special attention to oneself with a Ralph Lauren $10,000 suit. However, the martyrs are clothed in fine robes in heaven (Romans 8). I can see where coming to worship, we would seek to honor God with the best of what we have. It would make sense to me to wear my best Jeans if that's all I had as a congregant, and it would make sense to me to wear my best suit if I had suits. If I can get dressed up for my job during the week, shouldn't I give my God the same honor and respect as I do my employer?

    In regard to the pastors, though, I'd argue that a robe or a suit has in the past been symbolic of the education and time it has taken for them to get to the point where they have been in the position over a congregation. Wearing a pair of shorts and a Hawaiian shirt will likely be too distracting for many people who have come to worship God. I believe a suit to be the least distracting, and will get in the way of worship the least. The focus is to be on Christ, regardless of the outfit of the preacher.

    Really, the attire of the preacher should be no more distracting than the accent he has.
  8. raekwon

    raekwon Puritan Board Junior

    Oh hey, Ethan. I didn't see you there. :)
  9. Constantlyreforming

    Constantlyreforming Puritan Board Sophomore

    I found that post helpful.

    :thumbs up:
  10. Rich Koster

    Rich Koster Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    in my opinion clothes should be clean, modest and a non-distraction. Personally, I'm tired of some people pretending that Christianity is a rich man's religion by instituting dress codes.
  11. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    Ironically, in most modern American churches, the Genevan gown would not identify the office of pastor, and would be a distraction about sartorial choice.
  12. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritan Board Doctor

    I agree. Ironically, in our culture many attribute to it the very ostentatiousness that proponents of its use here are saying it avoids.
    I think that wearing a decent but modest professional clothing sends the kind of message that is in keeping with the point that was being made by going to the academic gown in the first place.
  13. Andres

    Andres Puritan Board Doctor

    I disagree. How would it not identify the minister? Is he not sitting up on the stage and leading the entire service? Isn't it a bit obvious when the man in the robe preaches the sermon that he's the minister? Sure, perhaps modern evangelicals aren't used to the gown, but I still don't see how it's a distraction. Are we Americans really that dumb?
  14. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    Yes, buttressed by the fact that the "academic gown" is no longer ever used in the academy.
  15. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    The point being made about the gown is that per se it identifies the minister. Your point could be made with the minister wearing an Hawaiian shirt.

    The gown is a distraction because no one, anywhere, ever, wears a gown outside of those in the pulpit who choose to wear one.
  16. Scottish Lass

    Scottish Lass Puritan Board Doctor

    Again, I think his location does that for him as much as his clothes might. A gown might be a temporary distraction for someone unused to the sight, but I imagine the person would recover eventually. And yes, many Americans react negatively to whatever doesn't fit their preconceived notions of how things should be.
  17. AThornquist

    AThornquist Puritan Board Doctor

    Depends on if the preacher is a man or woman.

  18. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    Tuxedos are not worn to church ever. Morning dress is the appropriate formal attire. Tuxedos and other evening attire are never to be worn on the Lord's Day. Even at weddings, evening attire is a technical faux pas.
  19. Joseph Scibbe

    Joseph Scibbe Puritan Board Junior

    I was merely pointing out the problem with his question. Also, where in scripture does it prohibit wearing a tuxedo on Sunday?
  20. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    Nowhere---just in etiquette manuals. Tuxedos and other evening attire are worn for entertaining, theater, and at clubs. However, since these activities were traditionally not done on the Lord's Day, evening attire was traditionally deemed incorrect on it at all times. The correct attire for a formal Church service, historically would have been morning dress (long since abandoned in the US---Ronald Reagan was the last President to wear it for his inauguration).

    And yes, I am a bit of a nerd when it comes to this.
  21. Don Kistler

    Don Kistler Puritan Board Sophomore

    Rather than mandate specifics, such as a Geneva gown or a suit, ought it not to be something that manifests the regard the preacher has for his calling and the dignity of the office? When I preached in Hawaii, I was told NOT to wear a tie since "only lawyers and undertakers wear ties here." So I did not do so (and felt uncomfortable in the not doing so). But it is my conviction that the preacher makes a statement to his congregation and his God by his apparel, so let that statement be that he believes what he is doing is of eternal significance.
  22. rbcbob

    rbcbob Puritan Board Graduate

    Brother, if you would be so kind as to first answer my question, I will most eagerly address yours.
  23. Christopher88

    Christopher88 Puritan Board Sophomore

    Scott, I was going to say, If I were a Pastor in the Pulpit I would dress like Mr. Roper with that cool 1940's hat and tux. Love the picture brother, tell Mrs. Roper hi for me, and next time your in town, I would love to get coffee with you my friend.

    To the OP:
    It does depend on the settings a lot. My Pastor comes in a nice shirt and kakies but no tie. (Salem is a Blue jeans. nice pants, polo shirt wearing crowd)
  24. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    Your pastor is over forty years of age and not a 20-something. I will be 44 tomorrow, and In my humble opinion would look quite silly in skinny jeans and a t-shirt in such an important office as that of preacher. I did notice that your pastor sported a nice suit when he preached at the Crystal Cathedral, however.
  25. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    Where is that 'touche' emoticon?

    Suffice it to say that no matter how you dress in the pulpit someone will be offended.
  26. Joseph Scibbe

    Joseph Scibbe Puritan Board Junior

    Yes, I would look out of place at a state dinner hosted by the President.
  27. SRoper

    SRoper Puritan Board Graduate

    I meant that it removes the choice that must be made weekly. "I can't believe his wife let him out of the house with that tie," etc.

    ---------- Post added at 08:19 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:16 PM ----------

    Thanks, Chris! I'm actually in town--sending you an email now.
  28. uberkermit

    uberkermit Puritan Board Freshman



    Nobody, not even the Queen of England, can pull off those funnel pants.

    Worst. fashion. trend. ever.

  29. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritanboard Commissioner

    Dress in the pulpit? Personally, I stay clear of wearing dresses.

    Generally I wear a suit. In a contemporary service, I have worn Dockers and a Golf type shirt. However, I would agree with those who think that the preacher ought to fit without attracting too much attention to himself. In most American settings, a suit is still a respectful type of attire, even if some of the folks are dressed more casually. My tradition has never done robes, but I would gladly wear one for all of the reasons given by several in this thread.
  30. rbcbob

    rbcbob Puritan Board Graduate

    Thanks, Joseph. And as you may have suspected I am drawing attention to the correlation between the dignity and majesty of Our Lord, His house, and His service which call for an attire corresponding to the occasion. Also, as per my first post in this thread, our particular culture informs us as to what attire in our generation conveys the due respect and reverence we have when assembled before our Majestic King.

    Such attire will vary from Boston to Lusaka, from Singapore to Sydney, from Islamabad to Kiev. But every culture recognizes within its own setting when there is a particularly solemn and dignified assembly and how its people reflect that in their attire.

    Sadly there are many in our generation who have lost the sense of reverence for the sacred assembly of the Lord's people in the Lord's house on the Lord's day. That casual attitude is reflected in the clothing selected for worship in God's House.

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