C.H. Spurgeon

Sinners, let me address you with words of life; Jesus wants nothing from you, nothing whatsoever, nothing done, nothing felt; he gives both work and feeling. Ragged, penniless, just as you are, lost, forsaken, desolate, with no good feelings, and no good hopes, still Jesus comes to you, and in these words of pity he addresses you, "Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out."

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Dressing for Abomination

I was once told by a young lady I know that she went to church with a friend of hers one Sunday and apparently the Sunday school teacher told them that Jesus did not love them dressed like they were.

Now I am not going to defend what they were wearing because I wasn’t there, but she didn’t describe anything vulgar to me. I am also not going to defend the words of the teacher either. Christ’s love is not based on what clothes we wear. This may sound like good preaching to those of like mind, but it doesn’t witness well and isn’t very scriptural.

Let me begin by saying that with this article, by no means am I giving the authority to any woman to rebel against their husband’s desire for their apparel. God has put the husband over the wife, not because they deserve it, but because of His own good pleasure [Ephesians 5:22; Colossians 3:18]. So wives, remember, if you rebel against your husband on this issue, you are also rebelling against God who has chosen to put you in subjection to your husband [1 Samuel 15:23].

I would also say to the men that we are to love our wives “even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” [Ephesians 5:25]. In being the head of the wife, as Christ is head of the church [Ephesians 5:23], we are to mimic Christ. Christ tells His church, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” [Matthew 11:30], so lets us lay no more burdens than necessary upon our wives; especially in things that are not scripturally based.

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“The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.” [Deuteronomy 22:5]

It would indeed be much simpler if the entire chapter gave context and a multitude of more information, yet the verse is actually easier to understand than we make it.

The verse says:
1. “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man”
2. “neither shall a man put on a woman's garment”
3. “all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God”

I won’t really cover item #3 since men pretty much agree on that point. It comes easy to men and women to cast judgment and look at others as abominations when we judge them all the day long. It is when we are judged ourselves we ask for mercy and grace; yet cry out “crucify them” to others.

We won’t really cover item #2 either because I don’t believe I have actually ever heard anyone talk about that issue except in the context of homosexuals or transvestites. Come to think of it, I have never even heard a sermon against kilts.

I do find it interesting as to the fact that I have yet to hear someone consider item #1 in the context of homosexuals or transvestites. Why it is almost always only mentioned in the context of women in general just wearing the attire that one [or group] seems to believe is man’s clothing? To the point, pants [jeans] is the most likely to be preached against by using this verse. I can’t think of much else it is used against except for in the pants verses skirts. “Men wear pants - women wear skirts.”

The verse is usually preached so strong and so forceful that it is often passed without any true context or scriptural support, and becomes legalism at its best [or worst]. Most children will rebel it in their hearts while most women fear ridiculed from others in the church more than actually fearing that they will be an abomination to God. Some women will also rebel this within their hearts, so men, are we the cause for their sin due to an unwarranted yoke?

Let it be known that usually the contenders of this verse are not merely speaking of modest apparel, but indeed preach that scripture says pants are only for men and that no woman should place them upon her body lest she be an “abomination unto the LORD thy God”. I have seen both immodest women in skirts and modest women in pants.

For the moment, for the sake of instruction, let us take the verse to the legalistic extreme.

I find it funny [for with this the argument easily begins to crumble] that when one is questioned as to the fact that Old Testament people all wore robes, they easily dismiss that to say it is not the same as pants today. But I say, “NOT SO” – If there be men and women robes in the Old Testament, why can their not be men and women pants of today?

Why do we then stop with pants only? What of socks and of sneakers, what of t-shirts and button down shirts, what of polo shirts and belts? Oh the list could go on. That which was first created for a man, how then can it be made also for a woman? This is not limited to pants only, but to even things the women of preachers of this context wear. Do their wives wear button down shirts, white socks, or sneakers?

Why do we become hypocritical in our thinking and allow substitutions for certain occasions as ski suits for skiing, tights under skirts so when they flash others only the tights are seen, coolots that are so flared it is like wearing a skirt on each leg and shows more skin than pants would?

I once saw a strong contender of this verse to the strictest degree place his suit coat over his wife’s shoulders. I asked him if he had just made his wife and “abomination unto the LORD thy God.” I do not believe he considered the meaning behind my statement, but I know he was not pleased by it.

This is the problem when we become too legalistic. When we are backed into a corner we are confronted with how hypocritical our thinking really is, then our pride swells our minds past scriptural understanding and we refuse to listen or admit we were wrong. Why? Simple: For the fear of ridicule from others in our camp.

Scripture clearly teaches that it is God that works in us to change first our hearts which leads to our outward appearance. Would you rather a lady of the heart with a desire to please both husband and God [which would lead to the changing of her outward appearance] or a woman “which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.” [Matthew 23:27]?

One last thought. Do you also follow Deuteronomy 22:11, 12? “Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woollen and linen together. Thou shalt make thee fringes upon the four quarters of thy vesture, wherewith thou coverest thyself.”


Are we to push one away from God by placing strict legalistic yokes upon people by demanding "white page" Christianity or should we show mercy and grace while leading them to see the love of Jesus Christ? I pray that this lady I know does or will return to church, and more importantly may the Spirit convict her and God draw her to Christ, and that she accept Christ as Savior by faith regardless of what she may have been told in the past.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi,

You seem like a really intelligent, and certainly very articulate man, unlike some of the people who leave you comments here. However, I am an atheist, so I am usually inclined to disagree with most everything you say, as well thought-out and eloquently phrased as it is. I was just wondering if, in fact, you actually believe women to be inferior to, and thus completely under the control of, men. Do you feel that way about your own wife? (I believe I read that you have one). Do you tell her how to dress, or where to go, or who to talk to? Would you stone her to death if she went against you? I find it very difficult to believe that such an apparently intelligent man could be so enamoured with an outdated, hypocrital, fictional text that he would put a passage from said text before loving and respecting women as his equals.

Writer, Splinters of Silver.com said...

Do I believe:

1. “women to be inferior to, and thus completely under the control of, men”

No, I do not believe that women are inferior to men, nor do I believe (all) women are to be completely under the control of (all) men. What I do believe is that the Scripture clearly teaches that a wife is to submit to her (own) husband as the God appointed authority of the home, and that a woman is not to usurp authority over the man in biblical teaching. This does not mean that the woman may not be equally intelligent, etc. as the man, and that the man cannot adhere to the advice of the woman, but that God has made the man responsible over the home and therefore each decision (whether the man chooses to take the advice of the woman or his own) holds the man responsible to God.

2. “Do you feel that way about your own wife? (I believe I read that you have one). Do you tell her how to dress, or where to go, or who to talk to? Would you stone her to death if she went against you?”

No, I do not tell my wife how to dress, where to go, or who to talk to like a slave. A wife is not a slave, but a equal help meet as Scripture describes. But if my wife were to dress inappropriate, go to the wrong places, or talk to the wrong type of people, yes, it is my duty to talk to her with respect and show her in Scripture whereby I believe she should refrain from such. She is well in her authority as my help meet to do the same for me.

I find it most interesting that atheists often dwell on the stoning aspects of the OT law. Remember the Jews were a theocracy, and the laws they setup were for them. Christ, as the example to the woman caught in adultery, clearly shows that we of the NT are not commanded to stone those which sin. We are to ask them to repent and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior to receive forgiveness of sin.

John Bunyan

To be saved is to be preserved in the faith to the end. 'He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.' (Mt. 24:13) Not that perseverance is an accident in Christianity, or a thing performed by human industry; they that are saved 'are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation.' (1 Pet. 1: 3-6) But perseverance is absolutely necessary to the complete saving of the soul…. He that goeth to sea with a purpose to arrive at Spain, cannot arrive there if he be drowned by the way; wherefore perseverance is absolutely necessary to the saving of the soul.