The Church’s Wardrobe Malfunction

“…women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel,
with modesty and self-control…”

1 Timothy 2:9

Why doesn’t the church address the issue of modesty?

On more than one occasion, I have pondered this question while sitting through church services that couldn’t swing a G-rating due to the amount of skin being flashed by the female members in attendance. The only answer I can come up with is that too many church leaders have neglected to take their calcium supplements, thereby weakening their spines to the extent that they are unable to address a topic about which many women are prone to get rather defensive, but that’s just my personal theory. ;)

In the following video, Randy Alcorn offers a more gracious answer. He addresses the stumblingblock that immodesty in the church places before men of all ages and challenges women to consider how they can better love their brothers in Christ by rethinking their wardrobe (as well as the full-frontal hug–another aspect of church life that puzzles me). While many would scoff at the content of Alcorn’s advice, let me encourage you to sincerely consider what he has to say. He is not overstating the dangerous temptations which spring from immodesty.

Here are the resources by Nancy Leigh Demoss that Randy Alcorn recommended:

The Look: Does God Really Care What I Wear? (booklet)

“Free to Be Modest” (transcript)

Illustration: Mario Alberto Magallanes Trejo

5 thoughts on “The Church’s Wardrobe Malfunction

  1. I am glad you are addressing the issue in this e mail. I’ve been thinking about my own modesty as I have been losing weight and when I get to my goal weight, I would like to remain pure on my outside while remaing pure in Christ on my inside. I really don’t want to let my weight loss go to my head.

  2. I am a Youth Leader and see some real problem’s with this. However it is with girls that are not believers. Should the Youth Pastor set a “standard” or how do you suggest I can handle this?

  3. Thank you all for your thoughtful comments on this issue. I’m glad to hear that many of you are concerned about promoting modesty in the church and are thinking about how you can model it in your own lives.

    Connie, that’s a very good question. I think that the youth pastor should address the topic when he has the opportunity to do so, but as a woman working with youth, you may have opportunity to provide direction in this area as well. Titus 2 talks about the vital role that older women (everyone is older to someone) play in teaching younger women in the church. I think it’s a good idea for young men and ladies to be separated into two groups on some occasions, so that women can provide teaching to young ladies on specifically feminine issues, and men can do the same for the young men. In a session with just the young ladies, you could provide teaching on modesty along with other topics that young women need to hear, such as sexual purity, etc. Perhaps you could also ask the youth pastor about distributing Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s booklet on modesty that I mentioned above or other good resources on the topic.

    I think it’s vital that when teaching on modesty, Christians focus on the heart, and the key role it plays in how we dress. We can easily fall into legalism by creating lists of dos and don’ts, but if we teach young ladies that dressing modestly is one way to honor God, evidence humility, and love their brothers in Christ, our teaching will be far more effective.

    Of course, with young ladies who aren’t saved, we can’t expect them to desire to live in obedience to God’s Word, yet it is still important that they hear gracious teaching on the subject. I think it is reasonable, however, that some dress standards be established for youth group activities. Even secular organizations will sometimes establish a dress code of sorts. A self-defense instructor recently told my husband that he warned a young lady in his class about the way she dressed, simply because her skimpy clothing made her a prime target for predators. Even unbelievers can understand the logic behind such advice and benefit from it.

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