How should a preacher dress in the pulpit?

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Joseph Scibbe

Puritan Board Junior
First of all: The church building is not the house of God "Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands" Acts 7:48. I don't like the comments that say that people that don't "dress up" means that what I wear is simply picked out in a flippant manner. There is no correlation between the reverence in my heart toward the worship of God and the clothes I wear. If I were to wear a suit to my church and do all the exact same things with the same motivation then I really don't think God would look down and say "Finally he really wants to worship". That is legalism plain and simple.
Joseph,

FIRST allow me to take exception to your absolute distinction between the "church building" and the "house of God". Where a congregation owns, or has the use of a building for worship it ought to be recognized that when they are assembled in said building for the worship of God they are, at that time "the house of God"(1 Peter 2:4); they are where the special presence of the Lord is among His worshipping people.

SECOND, some in this thread have fixated upon the Western culture's preference for a suit. This is to miss most of what has been carefully presented showing how every culture recognizes when someone has chosen a more casual attire over a more formal attire.

THIRD, you must not expect me to take you seriously when you say:

There is no correlation between the reverence in my heart toward the worship of God and the clothes I wear
.

If this were true then we might well find you attending in swimming trunks and flip-flops, all well intentioned and unaware that your attitude toward the worship of the Almighty was suspect.

Also, your use of 1 Peter is really bad form. The text even specifies that is a spiritual house and not any type of physical house. You must not expect me to take you seriously when you miss plain Scriptural meaning like that.
 

JoannaV

Puritan Board Sophomore
I'm not meaning for this to, well, have any implied meaning, it's just a statement: when I dress up for a social occasion it is because I know that that is how my host expects me to dress.
 

Mushroom

Puritan Board Doctor
It gets laughable to see the evident careful thought given to dressing in the greatest possible irreverence on the part of those so unconsciously affected by the existentialist bent of this culture. We are so determined to throw off the constraints of the traditionalist herd mentality that we make complete fools of ourselves.

If we are christians, rather than 'rebels without a clue', then isn't the fact that the older sister sitting in the pew behind us would be offended by the ballcap stuck sideways on our head be enough reason not to insist that we 'let our freak flag fly'?
 

raekwon

Puritan Board Junior
Gracious.

It seems to me that we've become a bit too focused on "formal vs. informal" when it comes to what is more or less reverent. Maybe those are the wrong categories to even think in when it comes to this question. Reverence, as far as I can tell, is a function of modesty and humility, not of formality.
 

Philip

Puritan Board Graduate
It seems to me that we've become a bit too focused on "formal vs. informal" when it comes to what is more or less reverent. Maybe those are the wrong categories to even think in when it comes to this question. Reverence, as far as I can tell, is a function of modesty and humility, not of formality.
Indeed---and reverence looks very different depending on the culture.
 

but3leftsdo

Puritan Board Freshman
We still haven't gotten our pastor to wear a kilt, even though some of us do on occasion. It's acceptable men's dress, formal enough for the pulpit, and comfortable too. Oh yes, and very Presbyterian.
 

Don Kistler

Puritan Board Sophomore
Yes, the look of reverence may indeed vary from one culture to the next.
But appealing to other cultures doesn't address the issue of what is appropriate in THIS culture. Those of us here in the US should answer that for us. Those in other cultures can answer that for their particular situation. I don't think anyone is suggesting that what a minister wears into his pulpit in Africa or Istanbul is the norm for us, or vice versa.

It should be dignified, God-honoring, and appropriate for the occasion. If we are to "give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name," then the question should be, "What is due God in His worship?"
 

Joseph Scibbe

Puritan Board Junior
What you have to address is the ABSOLUTE(!!!) lack of dress code put forth in Scripture and the multiple times we are told that God despises outward conformity being the stressed aspect instead of reverence of heart. We are told not to let out "adorning be external". The wardrobe of a preacher does not necessarily show his level of reverence toward the Word of God. His time studying, praying, and preparing do that.
 

Philip

Puritan Board Graduate
But appealing to other cultures doesn't address the issue of what is appropriate in THIS culture.
But I think we need to also address the various situations that arise within the various cultures of the US. For example, the pastor of a church in inner-city Baltimore may dress differently from one in suburban California, and both may dress differently from one in rural Iowa and all may be equally reverent in their attitude. Paul was a Roman Citizen and his best garment would have been the toga (the ancient equivalent of a three-piece suit)---but I imagine he didn't wear it to teach in the synagogue.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
the multiple times we are told that God despises outward conformity
There is a bit of humor when that is juxtaposed with your avatar.

---------- Post added at 09:55 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:52 PM ----------

We still haven't gotten our pastor to wear a kilt, even though some of us do on occasion. It's acceptable men's dress, formal enough for the pulpit, and comfortable too. Oh yes, and very Presbyterian.
A guy at work has a kilt that he wears on special occasions (hasn't worn it to work yet). He's studying for ordination as a Catholic deacon.
 

Andres

Puritan Board Doctor
The correlation between the wearing of a suit and the reverence one has for Lord's Day worship seems (to me) roughly analogous to the correlation between physical circumcision and circumcision of the heart.
I would agree with you here Rae, but it seems we have gotten a bit off topic for the OP specifically addressed the dress of the minister. For example, I often wears jeans and a polo shirt to church. I don't see any problem with it and no one else has ever mentioned it being an issue. However, if a minister were to step into the pulpit in jeans and a polo, I would probably think it to be inappropriate as it's too informal for the pulpit.
 

raekwon

Puritan Board Junior
The correlation between the wearing of a suit and the reverence one has for Lord's Day worship seems (to me) roughly analogous to the correlation between physical circumcision and circumcision of the heart.
I would agree with you here Rae, but it seems we have gotten a bit off topic for the OP specifically addressed the dress of the minister. For example, I often wears jeans and a polo shirt to church. I don't see any problem with it and no one else has ever mentioned it being an issue. However, if a minister were to step into the pulpit in jeans and a polo, I would probably think it to be inappropriate as it's too informal for the pulpit.
In some settings, sure. There's just no way to make that statement across the board.
 

nicnap

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Umm, excuse me? I don't know what you mean.
I think the reference is to your uniform.

---------- Post added at 11:48 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:47 PM ----------

Ooops ... should have read further down; didn't see Anna's reply.
 

Manuel

Puritan Board Freshman
What you have to address is the ABSOLUTE(!!!) lack of dress code put forth in Scripture
Everybody has a dress code, so if a believer's dress code doesn't come from Scripture, where does it come from? TV? Hollywood magazines? the mall?
 

Manuel

Puritan Board Freshman
I agree. So, going back to the topic, I think that a preacher should dress following the general principles that God has established in his word concerning the clothes that we wear and that are common for every christian. For instance, and this is just one example of many that we find in the Scriptures, the Lord said in Luke.

Luk 16:19 "There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day.

we all now the rest of the story, this man, even though he was a Jew and was familiar with the law and the Scriptures, didn't live for God. He lived for himself and for his money, that was his god whom he served. The Lord Jesus tells us that, among other things, one of the ways in which we could tell what was going on in his heart was by the way he dressed: he dressed in purple and fine linen; his garments were a profession of his faith. His choice of clothing was pompous and ostentatious, he wanted others to know by just looking at him that he was a rich man. It is obvious by the way the story ends that his man was wrong and that God did not approve his lifestyle. So, I think that we can extract a very good principle from this: A preacher should dress in such a way as to make evident to all that his heart is not attached to the things of this world, that his gods are not money, fame and luxury.
 
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