Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Question of Pants

I received a question from a Filipina sister in Christ concerning the appropriateness of women wearing pants:
I was asked this question some 7 years ago when the Church where I am now serving was interviewing me. There was a congregation in our city where the pastor was telling women what they could where. I joked that I don't pick my own clothes (my wife does), so the women of the congregation definitely didn't want me picking their clothes! 
Seriously, I think this is a very cultural thing. I was happy to notice in my visit to Mindanao that Filipinas are more modest in their clothing than American women. Very good. BUT the Bible (especially the New Testament) does not give us clear teaching about exactly what to wear, for the Bible is true in every age and clothing styles change with different cultures and times. 
The most important thing is a desire to be modest in the heart. I have known women who wore skirts but did not have a modest attitude. I know many women who wear pants who have a modest spirit and attitude and are very godly. It is "the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God" (1 Peter 3:4). 
Also, I believe that the Christian husband is the one who should be the ultimate guide for his Christian wife's clothing. The desire of the husband is to please his wife, and the desire of the wife is to please her husband (1 Corinthians 7:33,34). I don't see the pastor or church having the authority to tell a Christian woman what to wear as long as she is modest in spirit and is in loving subjection to her husband. 
We have to be very careful about making our cultural preferences or opinions equal in authority to the Word of God. Jesus Himself probably wore a robe and sandals - does that mean all men today should? If your husband (or father if you were single) approves of your clothing and your desire in your clothing is to be pleasing to him alone, and your clothes are an expression of love to him alone, then I would say you are honoring him and displaying the type of relationship the Church has to Christ (Ephesians 5:22-24). Also, the Church as the Bride of Christ is clothed with righteous deeds (Revelation 19:7,8), which reflect His character (Revelation 15:4), not their preferences or opinions. Similarly, the wife should dress in a way acceptable, pleasing, and honoring to her husband above all other opinions. In this way the Christian wife models what the Church's attitude toward the Church should be.

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