The Narrow Way Bible Study Lessons
Christian Dress and Appearance - Part 1
This, for many, may be the hardest area to talk about, yet it is one which we must address. Sisters, this area of dress and appearance is one where many of us have fallen far short, and God is calling us to come up higher. I truly believe that Satan holds many of his captives by the chain “pride of appearance”, as I have seen almost no other area of Christian standards to which there is so much opposition, even among many who claim to be “conservative” or “historic” Seventh-day Adventists, as this area of dress. I plead with you to surrender to God in this area, and no longer build up your excuses and your walls of resistance. God is looking for a perfected people, who are willing to follow Him every particular. Will you be among them?
We are bombarded in stores, magazines, billboards, and sadly, even at church, with visual appeals to follow fashion. The world’s fashions have become so accepted in the church that one can often scarcely tell many a Seventh-day Adventist from someone of the world. This is very displeasing to God. God has given us very clear and specific counsel in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy on how He wants us to dress. That is what we will be looking at together here.
Keep in mind as you study, that the fashions in Ellen White’s day were very different from those we have today. In her time she was combating such things as restricting corsets, abundance of ribbons and ruffles, skirts dragging in the filth of the streets, hoops with their tendencies to cause indecent exposure in certain situations, the American Costume (consisting of a knee-length dress over pants) which arose with the feminist movement, layers of skirts hanging from the hips, and other such styles. None of these are still being worn in our country today the same as they were then. So you may ask, how can we then expect to find counsel in the writings of Ellen White which will be applicable for our day of short skirts, mini skirts, tight clothing, sleeveless shirts, cap sleeves, sheer clothing, pants for women, shorts, plunging necklines, bathing suits, bikinis, and a host of other such things? You will be amazed as we study to see how clearly God addressed each of these issues through the principles of dress He gave us in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. The counsel is as relevant for today as it was then.
1) How important is this subject of dress reform? ________________________________
“Whose ________________ let it not be that ______________ [adorning] of plaiting the ________, and of wearing of ________, or of putting on of ______________; But [let it be] the ____________ man of the __________, in that which is not corruptible, [even the ornament] of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:” 1 Peter 3:3-5
“In like manner also, that women __________ themselves in ____________________ ______________, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided ________, or ________, or ____________, or ________________________; But (which becometh women ________________________________________) with good works.”
1 Timothy 2:9-10
“Those who are truly seeking to follow Christ will have conscientious scruples in regard to the dress they wear;” MYP 345, 346
“The sum and substance of true religion is to own and continually acknowledge, by words, by dress, by deportment, our relationship to God.” 4T 582
“It is a shame to our sisters to so forget their holy character and their duty to God as to imitate the fashions of the world. There is no excuse for us except the perversity of our own hearts…. Our words, our actions, and our dress are daily, living preachers, gathering with Christ or scattering abroad. This is no trivial matter to be passed off with a jest. The subject of dress demands serious reflection and much prayer…. My sisters, your dress is telling either in favor of Christ and the sacred truth or in favor of the world. Which is it? ” 4T 641
“God will have a people separate and distinct from the world. And as soon as any have a desire to imitate the fashions of the world, that they do not immediately subdue, just so soon God ceases to acknowledge them as His children. They are the children of the world and of darkness.” 1T 137
“…if, when following out their convictions of duty in respect to dressing modestly and healthfully, they find themselves out of fashion, they should not change their dress in order to be like the world; but they should manifest a noble independence and moral courage to be right, if all the world differ from them.” 1T 458
2) For what purpose was the dress reform message given to our people? Read the quote, then write the answer in your own words below. _________________________________
“To protect the people of God from the corrupting influence of the world, as well as to promote physical and moral health, the dress reform was introduced among us. It was not intended to be a yoke of bondage, but a blessing;… It would distinguish God's people from the world, and thus serve as a barrier against its fashions and follies.” 4T 634
3) How does our dress reveal our character, and the true condition of our hearts? Write the answer in your own words: ______________________________________________
“But ye [are] a ____________ generation, a __________ priesthood, an ________ nation, a ______________________________; that ye should ________ forth the praises of him who hath called you out of ________________ into his marvelous __________:… Dearly beloved, I beseech [you] as strangers and pilgrims, ______________ from fleshly __________, which ______ against the ________;” 1 Peter 2:9, 11
Contrast with this: “And, behold, there met him a woman [with] the _________________
____________________, and subtle of heart.” Proverbs 7:10
“A person's character is judged by his style of dress.” ED 248
“As we see our sisters departing from simplicity in dress, and cultivating a love for the fashions of the world, we feel troubled. By taking steps in this direction they are separating themselves from God and neglecting the inward adorning.” 4T 628
“The love of dress endangers the morals and makes woman the opposite of the Christian lady characterized by modesty and sobriety. Showy, extravagant dress too often encourages lust in the heart of the wearer and awakens base passions in the heart of the beholder. God sees that the ruin of the character is frequently preceded by the indulgence of pride and vanity in dress.” 4T 645
“While you make yourselves appear like the world, and as beautiful as you can, remember that the same body may in a few days be food for worms. And while you adorn it to your taste, to please the eye, you are dying spiritually. God hates your vain, wicked pride, and He looks upon you as a whited sepulcher, full of corruption and uncleanness within.”
4) How serious is the problem of improper dress in our church today? _______________
“________________ the world, neither the things [that are] in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For ______ that [is] in the world, the ________ of the __________, and the ________ of the ________, and the __________ of ________, is ________________________________, but is ______________________. And the world ________________________, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God ________________________________.” 1 John 2:15-17
“ I was shown that the people of God should not imitate the fashions of the world. Some have done this, and are fast losing the peculiar, holy character which should distinguish them as God's people…. In these last days, fashions are shameful and immodest. They are noticed in prophecy. They were first brought in by a class over whom Satan has entire control,… If God's professed people had not greatly departed from Him, there would now be a marked difference between their dress and that of the world…. The inhabitants of earth are growing more and more corrupt, and the line of distinction between them and the Israel of God must be more plain, or the curse which falls upon worldlings will fall on God's professed people.” 1T 189
“The Lord is displeased with the pride manifested among His professed people. He is dishonored by their conformity to the unhealthful, immodest, and expensive fashions of this degenerate age.” CH 598
“Christ is ashamed of His professed followers. Wherein do we bear any resemblance to Him? Wherein does our dress conform to the Bible requirements?… The fact that worldliness and pride bear almost universal sway is no excuse for one Christian to do as others do. God has said: "Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil." Do not, my sisters, trifle longer with your own souls and with God. I have been shown that the main cause of your backsliding is your love of dress…. . Fashion is deteriorating the intellect and eating out the spirituality of our people. Obedience to fashion is pervading our Seventh-day Adventist churches and is doing more than any other power to separate our people from God. I have been shown that our church rules are very deficient. All exhibitions of pride in dress, which is forbidden in the word of God, should be sufficient reason for church discipline. If there is a continuance, in face of warnings and appeals and entreaties, to still follow the perverse will, it may be regarded as proof that the heart is in no way assimilated to Christ. Self, and only self, is the object of adoration, and one such professed Christian will lead many away from God. There is a terrible sin upon us as a people, that we have permitted our church members to dress in a manner inconsistent with their faith. We must arise at once and close the door against the allurements of fashion. Unless we do this, our churches will become demoralized.” 4T 647, 648
5) Who invents the fashions? ______________________________________
“Satan is constantly devising some new style of dress that shall prove an injury to physical and moral health; and he exults when he sees professed Christians eagerly accepting the fashions that he has invented.” 4T 634
6) How is the dress reform to us, as the ribbon of blue was to Israel of old? What was Israel’s reaction to the rules they were given, and how can we keep from making the same mistake today?
“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders _______________________ ________: And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring: That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God…. And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, [Ye take] _____________ ________________________, seeing ________________________________________ [are] ________, every one of them, and the ________ [is] ____________________: wherefore then ___________________________________________________ the congregation of the LORD?” Numbers 15:37-40, 16:3
“Many who profess to believe the Testimonies live in neglect of the light given. The dress reform is treated by some with great indifference and by others with contempt, because there is a cross attached to it. For this cross I thank God. It is just what we need to distinguish and separate God's commandment-keeping people from the world. The dress reform answers to us as did the ribbon of blue to ancient Israel. The proud, and those who have no love for sacred truth, which will separate them from the world, will show it by their works.” 3T 171
7) Is there a need for a change in our dress today? YES / NO
“The idolatry of dress is a moral disease. It must not be taken over into the new life. In most cases submission to the gospel requirements will demand a decided change in the dress.” CG 432
“Having before us the picture of the world's demoralization upon the point of fashion, how dare professed Christians follow in the path of the worldling? Shall we appear to sanction these demoralizing fashions by adopting them? Many do adopt the fashions of the world, but it is because Christ is not formed within them, the hope of glory.”
“Self-denial in dress is a part of our Christian duty.” 3T 366
8) What is the history of the dress reform message in the Seventh-day Adventist church? After reading the following, answer this question: Why was the specific dress pattern removed in the early days of the message, and how might we be in danger of repeating their mistake in regard to the dress reform message today?
In 1865, God gave Ellen White a vision about dress reform, after which she promoted a specific dress pattern among the Adventist sisters which she called the “reform” or “short dress”. This dress was designed by God to be a blessing and to bring greater uniformity in dress. It was a most modest, healthful, and simple style. It was adopted by many of our people, however some who adopted it began to think of it as a galling yoke and to complain of it, while others made the pattern according to their own ideas which manifested a great diversity and made a poor representation of that which God intended, and still others opposed it from the start. Because of the poor attitude of the people, which revealed the pride they cherished in their hearts, and greatly dishonored God, the specific pattern was removed, and a dress Ellen White called the “less-objectionable dress” was advocated in its place. This dress embodied all the same principles as the “reform dress” but was no longer made by one specific pattern only. Commenting on this experience, Ellen White wrote: “While none were compelled to adopt the reform dress, our people could and should have appreciated its advantages and accepted it as a blessing…. God has been testing His people. He allowed the testimony concerning dress to become silent, that our sisters might follow their own inclination and thus develop the real pride existing in their hearts. It was to prevent the present state of worldliness that the reform dress was recommended. Many scorned the idea that this dress was necessary to preserve them from following the fashions; but the Lord has permitted them to prove that pride was cherished in their hearts, and that this was just what they would do. It is now shown that they needed the restriction which the reform dress imposed.” 4T 639, 640
Following is a comparison of the “Reform Dress” and the “Less-Objectionable Dress” which were given to our people:
The “Reform Dress” or “Short Dress”
a) Made by a precise or definite pattern
b) From 8-10 inches from the floor
c) High neck, arms and legs covered. The latter by lined, full pants tapering at the ankle and reaching below the hem of the dress
d) Loose-fitting so as not to reveal the woman’s form (top or bottom)
e) Healthful and modest
f) Inexpensive, yet made of durable material
h) Raised much prejudice
i) This dress was later discarded. Instructions were given later not to promote the short dress with long pants unless given the word of the Lord for it.
The “Less-Objectionable Dress”
a) Made by no definite pattern or style
b) No precise length given, but longer than the “short dress” and avoided the mud of the street. Approximately ankle length; the dress meets the shoe or ankle boot.
c) Modest, covering the arms; with a loose-fitting jacket to cover the upper body. Did not reveal the woman’s form (top or bottom).
d) Healthful. Legs were to be as well clad as with the “short dress”, although the lined pants worn underneath the skirt did not show. The dress covered the pants completely. It was also loose-fitting so as not to restrict movement, and was suspended from the shoulders.
e) Simple and unadorned, free from large plaids and figures, plain in color
f) Neat and clean
g) Inexpensive, yet made of durable material
h) Convenient most of the time
i) Raised less prejudice
9) What does the Bible call nakedness? _______________________________________
“I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and [that] the ______________________________ __________________ do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” Revelation 3:18
“Come down, and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon, sit on the ground: [there is] no throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called tender and delicate. Take the millstones, and grind meal: __________________________________, make ________________________, __________________________________, pass over the rivers. Thy __________________ shall be uncovered, yea, thy ___________ shall be seen: I will take vengeance, and I will not meet [thee as] a man.” Isaiah 47:1-3
10) When Adam and Eve sinned, and realized they were naked, what attempt did they make at covering up, and did God approve of it? _____________________________
“And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they [were] ___________; and they _______________________________ together, and made themselves ____________…. Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD __________________ ________________ of __________, and ______________ them.” Genesis 3:7, 21
Before Adam and Eve sinned, they were clothed with garments of light. After their sin, the garments of light disappeared and they saw that they were naked. In shame, they tried to piece together fig leaves to cover themselves, but God did not approve of their scanty fig-leaf aprons, so He made them coats of skin instead. Today, Satan tries to sell us on the lie that there is no shame in nakedness (which represents living in sin, and not wearing the robe of Christ’s righteousness), and that we should be proud of our exposed flesh and revealed shape (our nakedness). He has so successfully deceived the majority of mankind on this point that people today seam to have no shame or embarrassment wearing clothes in public which are so revealing they would have caused the wearer to be arrested for indecent exposure not too many years ago! We must cry out against such evil, and by our own dress testify to the world of the better way God has for His children.
11) How is Jesus pictured in Revelation, and what does His clothing reveal to us of His standard of modesty? ______________________________________________________
“And in the midst of the seven candlesticks [one] like unto the Son of man, ______________ with a ________________________________________________, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.” Revelation 1:13
12) What can we learn about modesty from the story of the two demoniancs Jesus healed?
“And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had ____________ long time, and ______________________________, neither abode in [any] house, but in the tombs…. Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the ____________________________________, sitting at the feet of Jesus, ______________, and _______________________________: and they were afraid.” Luke 8:27, 35
These two men were running about without any clothes because they were
demon-possessed; but when Jesus healed them and restored to them their right minds, they immediately clothed themselves. What a lesson this is for us! Which master is controlling my life and my wardrobe?
13) How does the Biblical principle of modesty apply today?
Modesty can be defined as being fully covered (except, of course, for the hands and face), and as not wearing anything that attracts attention by sensual clothing or a “look at me” appearance. From a thorough study of the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy we see clearly that God considers the following to be immodest dress: makeup or nail polish of any kind, elaborate or fashionable hairstyles that draw attention to the hair, short man-like haircuts for women, jewelry, any clothing resembling that of the opposite sex, exposure of the legs, feet, or upper arms, clothing which is tight or formfitting, showy apparel, ornaments, or trimmings, sheer clothing, low-cut clothing, expensive clothing, anything that attracts attention to the wearer and says “look at me”.
Our dresses are to be long enough that they cover the leg and the pants worn underneath, but not so long that they drag the ground as you walk - this means around ankle length. They are to be loose enough (with plenty of fullness and gathers or pleats over the hips - not narrow A-line), and thick enough (not lacy, sheer, or semi-sheer) so as not to reveal the shape or the skin of the body when standing, sitting, squatting, reaching, or bending. The bodice of the dress should have some sort of loose cape, pinafore, vest, or jacket over it to cover the bosom better. The neckline should be high enough and small enough (not lower than the collar bone) that nothing of the chest or undergarments is revealed when standing or bending over. Clingy fabrics (such as thin knits or silky materials) should be avoided. Slits should not be worn in skirts. It is wise to wear a slip in order to avoid the skirt clinging to the legs or becoming see-through when you stand in a lighted doorway. The sleeves should be worn at least to the elbows for modesty. The bare or hose-covered feet and ankle should not be exposed. No clothing should be worn that resembles that of the opposite sex (we will look at this more specifically later on).
Here are some other ways in which we can preserve and encourage modesty besides dressing modestly ourselves: testify against immodesty and teach the importance of modesty on your own and in the church, uphold and require high standards of modesty among church members, avoid careless immodesty even in our own homes so that our children will develop high moral principles and standards, do not allow sensual clothing advertisements to come into our homes (this includes catalogues, magazines such as National Geographic and Reader’s Digest), do not intermingle unnecessarily with the world, strictly avoid attending or viewing places such as public swimming pools or beaches, overcome sinful imaginations, and keep your mind’s eye uplifted to heavenly things.
We must remember that God created men and women with very different sexual natures. The man is very easily stirred to sensual thoughts by the sight of a scantily clad woman, or one in form fitted clothes. Whereas, the woman is stirred more by touch. God has placed in women a sense of modesty in order to protect the men and aid them in their endeavor to keep their thoughts pure, but Satan has been hard at work and very successful in destroying this natural modesty in women and making them bold and provocative in their dress and behavior. We must not allow the devils’ lies to cheapen us, but must realize that we are our brothers’ keeper, and preserve that God-given gift of modesty and reserve.
“Any device designed to attract attention to the wearer or to excite admiration, is excluded from the modest apparel which God's word enjoins.” MH 287
“How contrary to the principles given in the Scriptures are many of the modes of dress that fashion prescribes! Think of the styles that have prevailed for the last few hundreds of years or even for the last few decades. How many of them, when not in fashion, would be declared immodest; how many would be pronounced inappropriate for a refined, God-fearing, self-respecting woman.” MH 290
“We judge of a person's character by the style of dress worn. A modest, godly woman will dress modestly.” CG 413
“…cherish the precious, priceless gem of modesty.” CG 417
“When once the barriers of female modesty are removed, the basest licentiousness does not appear exceeding sinful. Alas, what terrible results of woman's influence for evil may be witnessed in the world today!” AH 58
“Our example and influence must be a power on the side of reform. We must abstain from any practice which will blunt the conscience or encourage temptation. We must open no door that will give Satan access to the mind of one human being formed in the image of God.” 5T 360
Let us now look at what Ellen White wrote about hoops (and other clothing which led to immodest exposure), for although hoops are no longer worn today, the counsel gives us some important principles of just what kind of exposures God considers to be immodest.
(The problem with hoops was that the wearer had to lift and bend them when passing through tight spaces like train cars, and this exposed the form of the leg to the public.) “From what has been shown me, hoops are an abomination. They are indecent;… Were it not for fashion, those who thus immodestly expose themselves would be hissed at; but modesty and decency must be sacrificed to the god of fashion. May the Lord deliver His people from this grievous sin! God will not pity those who will be slaves to fashion.” 1T 277, 278
“Hoops, I was shown, are an abomination, and every Sabbathkeeper's influence should be a rebuke to this ridiculous fashion, which has been a screen to iniquity, and which arose from a house of ill fame in Paris.” 1T 270
“It is a common thing to see the dress raised one-half of a yard, exposing an almost unclad ankle to the sight of gentlemen, but no one seems to blush at this immodest exposure. No one's sensitive modesty seems shocked for the reason that this is customary. It is fashion, and for this reason it is endured. No outcry of immodesty is heard, although it is so in the fullest sense…. These exposures are disagreeable, if not shameful; and a style of dress which makes their frequent occurrence almost certain, we must regard as a poor safeguard of modesty and virtue.” HR, May 1, 1872
If God inspired Ellen White to write these things regarding a style of dress which at times exposed 18 inches of a stocking-covered leg to the public, what would she have to say about the styles that are commonly worn today?!
*List 10 articles of modern-day clothing which are not modest according to Bible standards:
14) What kind of clothing is healthful to wear?
The clothing should be perfectly loose so that you can move easily. There should be no tight bands at the waistline or around the chest (as with bras), as this impedes the circulation. The clothes should be, as much as possible, suspended from the shoulders. The arms and legs should be well-clothed to prevent any chilliness. High-heeled shoes should not be worn, as they throw the back and internal organs off balance and create health problems.
“In order to secure the most healthful clothing, the needs of every part of the body must be carefully studied…. Every article of dress should fit easily, obstructing neither the circulation of the blood nor a free, full, natural respiration. Everything worn should be so loose that when the arms are raised the clothing will be correspondingly lifted.” MH 293
“Every article of clothing should be suspended from the shoulders. The habit of fastening the skirts about the body with bands, allowing the weight to rest upon the hips to keep them from slipping off is decidedly injurious to health. For exactly where these bands girt are nerves, and large blood-vessels, which carry the blood into the limbs. These veins and nerves should not be pressed, but allowed the most perfect freedom to fulfill the purpose for which nature designed them.” HR, April 1, 1872
“Another evil which custom fosters is the unequal distribution of the clothing, so that while some parts of the body have more than is required, others are insufficiently clad. The feet and limbs, being remote from the vital organs, should be especially guarded from cold by abundant clothing. It is impossible to have health when the extremities are habitually cold; for if there is too little blood in them there will be too much in other portions of the body. Perfect health requires a perfect circulation; but this cannot be had while three or four times as much clothing is worn upon the body, where the vital organs are situated, as upon the feet and limbs.” MH 293
“The limbs were not formed by our Creator to endure exposure, as was the face. The Lord provided, . . . also, large veins and nerves for the limbs and feet, to contain a large amount of the current of human life, that the limbs might be uniformly as warm as the body. They should be so thoroughly clothed as to induce the blood to the extremities.” CG 426
*List the three areas specifically mentioned above, which characterize healthy clothing:
15) What counsel are we given regarding simplicity, plainness, economy, durability, and neatness in our clothing?
Our clothes should be simple, plain, economical, durable, neat, and clean. They should be modest in color, and free from large, bold plaids and prints. We should not use shiny or glittery material, or clothing with words and slogans or pictures displayed on them, as these things attract attention to the wearer. They should not present an expensive or extravagant appearance, or have showy buttons or unnecessary accessories. They are not to be patterned after or conformed to the fads or fashions of the world in any way.
“Puritan plainness and simplicity should mark the dwellings and apparel of all who believe the solemn truths for this time.” 5T 189
“The one who is simple and unpretending in her dress and in her manners shows that she understands that a true woman is characterized by moral worth. How charming, how interesting, is simplicity in dress,…” MYP 353
“Such madness concerning the changing fashions of the world should call forth an army of reformers who would take their position for simple and plain attire.” MYP 359
“The material should be free from large plaids and figures, and plain in color.” 4T 640
“Ever have your dress of good, durable material, and modest colors; let it be made plainly, without adornment.” Lt 7, 1894.
“I believe Sabbathkeepers should dress plainly and study economy in dress.” 1T 251
“Simple, plain, unpretending dress will be a recommendation to my youthful sisters. In no better way can you let your light shine to others than in your simplicity of dress and deportment.” 3T 376
“Modest colors should be sought for. When figured material is used, figures that are large and fiery, showing vanity and shallow pride in those who choose them, should be avoided.” CG 420
“Let the wearing of useless trimmings and adornments be discarded…. Our dress may be of good quality, made up with plainness and simplicity, for durability rather than for display.” HL 120
“Should we dress in plain, modest apparel without reference to the fashions;… it would show the sanctifying power of the truth, and would have a telling influence upon unbelievers.” 5T 206
“Our faith, if carried out, will lead us to be so plain in dress, and zealous of good works, that we shall be marked as peculiar.” 1T 275
“Our ministers and their wives should be an example in plainness of dress;… We should educate the youth to simplicity of dress, plainness with neatness. Let the extra trimmings be left out, even though the cost be but a trifle.” CG 422
“It would be pleasing to God if there was greater uniformity in dress among Christians. The style of dress formerly adopted by the Friends is commendable.” HR, February 1, 1872
“When told of their mistake, many will immediately exclaim, 'Why, such a style of dress would be old-fashioned!' What if it is? I wish we could be old-fashioned in many respects. If we could have the old-fashioned strength that characterized the old-fashioned women of past generations, it would be very desirable.” 1T 461
“We are nearing the close of this world's history. A plain, direct testimony is now needed, as given in the word of God, in regard to the plainness of dress. This should be our burden.” 5MR 404
*Write down some of the phrases Ellen White used to express the importance of our being a plainly dressed people: ______________________________________________
16) Has God given us any instruction as to whether or not women should wear pants?
YES / NO
“The woman ___________________________ that which ____________________ unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for _________________________ ________________________________ unto the ________ thy God.” Deuteronomy 22:5
Now let us look at the Spirit of Prophecy. You may be thinking, “How can I get counsel as to whether or not I should wear pants from the Spirit of Prophecy, since in Ellen White’s day, women only wore dresses?” In the 1850’s and 1860‘s, a situation arose about which God gave the prophetess some very pointed instruction, and it is from this instruction that we may clearly see God’s will regarding the issue of women in pants today. As you read the following counsels, bear in mind that although the specific style of clothing written about may not be worn today, the principles given in regard to that style of clothing are still fully relevant for us. Principles never change, and if God said that something was an abomination to Him 100 years ago, it is still an abomination to Him today. Following is what God had to say about the “American Costume”, an outfit which consisted of dress or coat, pants, vest, cap, and boots. The dress or coat reached to somewhere between mid-thigh and just below the knees, and the pants reached down to the ankles. It was created as a result of the feminist movement.
“"I saw that God's order has been reversed, and His special directions disregarded, by those who adopt the American costume. I was referred to Deuteronomy 22:5: "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.' God would not have His people adopt the so-called reform dress. It is immodest apparel, wholly unfitted for the modest, humble followers of Christ. There is an increasing tendency to have women in their dress and appearance as near like the other sex as possible, and to fashion their dress very much like that of men, but God pronounces it abomination…. Those who feel called out to join the movement in favor of woman's rights and the so-called dress reform might as well sever all connection with the third angel's message. The spirit which attends the one cannot be in harmony with the other. The Scriptures are plain upon the relations and rights of men and women…. With the so-called dress reform there goes a spirit of levity and boldness just in keeping with the dress. Modesty and reserve seem to depart from many as they adopt that style of dress….’ The foregoing was given me as a reproof to those who are inclined to adopt a style of dress resembling that worn by men;… "We do not think it in accordance with our faith to dress in the American costume…’” 1T 457, 458
“God's prohibitions are lightly regarded by all who advocate doing away with the distinction of dress between males and females. … God designed that there should be a plain distinction between the dress of men and women, and has considered the matter of sufficient importance to give explicit directions in regard to it; for the same dress worn by both sexes would cause confusion and great increase of crime. Were the apostle Paul alive, and should he behold women professing godliness with this style of dress, he would utter a rebuke.” 1T 459, 460
Let us summarize here 23 points regarding styles that resemble men’s clothing (these points were taken from quotations in 1T, 4T, and 5T about the “American Costume” ):
1- “It is immodest apparel”
2- “God’s order is reversed”
3- “Might as well sever all connections with the third angel’s message”
4- “With it goes a spirit of levity and boldness just in keeping with the dress”
5- “Modesty and reserve seem to depart”
6- “Wholly unfitted for the modest, humble followers of Christ”
7- “Confusion will be the result”
8- “His special directions disregarded” [Deut. 22:5]
9- “God’s prohibitions are lightly regarded”
10- “Would cause confusion and great increase of crime”
11- “This dress I have opposed from what has been shown me as in harmony with the word of God”
12- “God designed that there should be a plain distinction between the dress of men and women”
13- “God would not have His people adopt this style of dress”
14- It was “The extreme position taken by some dress reformers”
15- “Some are deceived in thinking there is much benefit to be received from this costume”
16- “Were the Apostle Paul alive and should he behold women professing godliness with this style of dress, he would utter a rebuke”
17- “The foregoing was given me as a reproof to those who are inclined to adopt a style of dress resembling that worn by men”
18- “God pronounces it an abomination”
19- “It would cripple our influence”
20- “Place them on a level with spiritualists”
21- “Destroy their own influence and that of their husbands”
22- “Would become a byword and a derision”
23- “Their influence is dead”
Some may argue that points 19-23 were related to how such an outfit would be perceived in that era when dresses were the acceptable clothes for women, but that now since pants are accepted modern attire for women, they are okay. But dear sisters, please stop and reconsider, for you cannot in any way honestly say that the first 18 points had anything to do with the time in which they were written. Instead, they are eternal principles, and they reveal to us clearly what God thinks of women wearing pants today: it is an abomination! It does not matter how loose your pants may be, or if they have a jacket over them which covers the hips, or if they are “women’s” pants; they are an abomination, and that is a pretty strong word which is not to be taken lightly. Dear sisters, I know this may not be a pleasant or easy thing for you to consider. Sadly, it is true that in our culture, pants have become totally acceptable women’s attire, and it is very hard for some of us to see this as God sees it, but we must accept that in God’s sight, in heaven’s “culture”, pants are not acceptable attire for women. Remember that whatever God requires, He is more than able to empower you to cheerfully obey, if you will surrender your will to Him and step out in faith to do what He has asked.
17) What kind of women in the Bible are pictured wearing jewelry and makeup?
“And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, ______________ heard [of it]; and she ______________ her ________, and tired her head, and looked out at a window.”
2 Kings 9:30
“And furthermore, that ye have sent for men to come from far, unto whom a messenger [was] sent; and, lo, they came: for whom thou didst wash thyself, __________________ thy ________, and ________________ thyself with __________________,… Then said I unto [her that was] old in ____________________, Will they now commit whoredoms with her, and she [with them]? Yet they went in unto her, as they go in unto a woman that playeth the ____________: so went they in unto Aholah and unto Aholibah, the ________ women.” Ezekiel 23:40, 43-44
“And [when] thou [art] spoiled, what wilt thou do? Though thou clothest thyself with crimson, though thou ______________ thee with __________________ of gold, though thou rentest thy ________ with _________________, in vain shalt thou make thyself fair; [thy] lovers will despise thee, they will seek thy life.” Jeremiah 4:30
“And I will visit upon her the days of Baalim, wherein she burned incense to them, and she decked herself with her ________________ and her ____________, and she went after her lovers, and __________________, saith the LORD.” Hosea 2:13
“And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and ____________ with ________ and ______________________________ and ____________, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her ______________________:” Revelation 17:4
“Moreover the LORD saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing [as] they go, and making a tinkling with their feet: Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will discover their secret parts. In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of [their] ____________________________________ [about their feet], and [their] cauls, and [their] round tires like the moon, The ____________, and the __________________, and the mufflers, The bonnets, and the __________________ of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the ________________, The __________, and nose ____________, The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins, The glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the veils. And it shall come to pass, [that] instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; [and] burning instead of beauty.” Isaiah 3:16-24
“And Gideon said unto them, I would desire a request of you, that ye would give me every man the earrings of his prey. (For they had ______________________________, because they [were] ______________________.)” Judges 8:24
18) What did God ask of His people in Bible times when He was going to meet with them, or to judge them? ____________________________________________________
“And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother. Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that [were] with him, Put away the strange gods that [are] among you, and be clean, and ________________________
________________: And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went. And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which [were] in their hand, and [all their] ________________ which [were] in their ears; and _________________________ under the oak which [was] by Shechem.” Genesis 35:1-4
“And when the people heard these evil tidings, they ______________: and no man did put on him his __________________. For the LORD had said unto Moses, Say unto the children of Israel, Ye [are] a _____________________________________: I will come up into the midst of thee in a moment, and ______________ thee: therefore now ______ __________________________________ from thee, ____________________________ ___________________________________________. And the children of Israel ________________ themselves of their __________________ by the mount Horeb.” Exodus 33:4-6
“Now all these things happened unto them for __________________: and they are written for our _____________________, upon whom the _______________________ ____________ are come.” 1 Corinthians 10:11
19) What does God say about wearing jewelry and makeup today?
“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; _________________ broided hair, or ________, or ____________, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.” 1 Timothy 2:9-10
“To dress plainly, abstaining from display of jewelry and ornaments of every kind, is in keeping with our faith.” 3T 366
“Those who cling to the ornaments forbidden in God's word cherish pride and vanity in the heart. They desire to attract attention. Their dress says: Look at me; admire me…. When the mind is fixed upon pleasing God alone, all the needless embellishments of the person disappear.” 4T 644
“An… outwardly adorned person bears the sign of inward poverty. A lack of spirituality is revealed.” BTS, May 1, 1908
“But what about my wedding ring?”, you may ask. The Inspired counsel gives us a clear answer to this question as well.
“Some have had a burden in regard to the wearing of a marriage ring…. The fact that a disregard of the custom occasions remark is no good reason for adopting it…. We need not wear the sign, for we are not untrue to our marriage vow, and the wearing of the ring would be no evidence that we were true. I feel deeply over this leavening process which seems to be going on among us, in the conformity to custom and fashion. Not one penny should be spent for a circlet of gold to testify that we are married.” TM 180, 181
“That ring encircling your finger may be very plain, but it is useless, and the wearing of it has a wrong influence upon others.” 4T 630
Following are 12 reasons why makeup and jewelry are not in harmony with the consecrated Christian life:
1- It’s a waste of money.
2- It fosters pride and vanity in the heart.
3- It destroys simplicity and modesty of demeanor and appearance.
4- It covers your natural beauty-as God made you.
5- It develops feelings of insecurity (you don’t look your “best” without it).
6- It is a waste of time (making up). Time is a talent, and every minute is from God.
7- It will encourage you into associations which are frivolous and un-Christ like.
8- It is unhealthful to clog the pores and risk damaging the eyes with these chemicals and dyes.
9- Make-up and jewelry are meant to attract, therefore you might attract-you know not what!
10- It’s a lie, and Satan is the father of lies.
11- It destroys love of eternal realities.
12- Your Heavenly Father doesn’t like it.
20) What are the “ornaments” a Christian wears? _______________________________
“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the __________________________________________, he hath covered me with the __________________________________________, as a bridegroom decketh [himself] with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth [herself] with her jewels.” Isaiah 61:10
21) How shall the Christian arrange his or her hair?
“For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a __________ for a woman to be __________ or ____________, let her be covered…. Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a ___________________________________, it is a __________ unto him? But if a ________________________________________, it is a __________ to her: for [her] hair is given her for ____________________.”
1 Corinthians 11:6, 14-15
“Whose adorning let it not be that ______________ [adorning] of _________________
_________________, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But [let it be] the ____________ man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, [even the ornament] of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:” 1 Peter 3:3-5
The Bible plainly teaches that it is a shame for men to have long hair, or for women to have short hair. A woman’s long hair is one of the coverings she is instructed to wear. Today it has become very popular for men to have long or shaggy hair, and even more so for women to cut their hair short. This is displeasing to God, and leads to gender and role confusion. A godly woman will let her hair grow long, at least past her shoulders.
Hair dying, perms, or showy hairstyles are also inappropriate for the Christian. These things, like jewelry and makeup, are done to make a person look “better”, “prettier”, or more “attractive”. They are worn to attract attention or admiration. In essence, they say that you’re not content with how God made you, and you want to try to make yourself more beautiful. These things really are deception, because they are not the way God made you to be.
22) List seven principles, as found in the paragraph below, which godly men should follow in the selection of their clothing.
Let us take a moment to look at how the dress reform principles we have been studying apply to men’s clothing as well. Oftentimes it seems that women have to bear the whole “cross” of dress reform alone, but this should not be so, for the principles apply equally as much to men. It is true perhaps, that the devil has had more success in corrupting and perverting women’s clothing over the years, but he has also been hard at work on men’s apparel. Brothers, your clothing is to represent in every way the dignity and nobility of your calling as a child of God, the priest of your home, and heir of the glories of eternal life. Your clothing is to be healthful: your arms and legs well-clad and warm, pants preferably suspended from the shoulders by suspenders, and without tight belts or elastics around the waist. It is to be modest: no tank tops, shorts, tight pants or shirts, or going without a shirt. It is to be plain and simple: not following the fashions or trendy styles, not displaying slogans or name brands, without gold or gaudy buckles/clasps/clips,
without bold or flashy colors or prints, and without gaudy or showy ties. The hair should be short and neatly arranged without spikes or fancy styling. Your clothing should be also economical, durable, neat (not the baggy, sloppy, careless look), and manly (avoiding all feminine colors or styles).
23) How important is it to be consistent in our dress reform? _______________________
God is calling us as his people to be true to our principles. Our manner of dressing is not to change with the styles, fads, and trends of the world. Neither is it to change according to the occasion or the company we are with. Let me illustrate: Have you ever known someone, or perhaps been such a one yourself, who generally holds to high standards of dress, but when taking part in a wedding or some such occasion, seems to feel that it is okay “just this once” to wear a little lower neckline than they usually would, to wear a skirt without much fullness, or to wear something with cap sleeves? Or perhaps it’s that situation where, “Oh, I wear dresses at home, but you see, I’m a nurse, so I do have to wear pants when I’m at work.” For some others, most likely those who have not accepted the dress reform message, but feel, none-the-less, that they are pretty careful about what they wear and that their clothes are pretty modest; yet somehow, they don’t seem to see any inconsistency with going to the beach or swimming pool in a “modest” one-piece bathing suit. My friends, there is no consistency in this kind of reasoning or practice. If God said something is proper attire for Christian women, that is what He meant. And just the same, if He said something is not appropriate attire, but rather an abomination, that is what He meant. We must learn to take God at His word and obey Him because we love Him and we trust that He knows what is best for us.
“Those who elevate the standard as nearly as they can to the order of God, according to the light God has given them through His word and the testimonies of His Spirit, will not change their course of action to meet the wishes of their friends or relatives, be they one or two or a host, who are living contrary to God's wise arrangement.” CD 35, 36
“Christians should follow Christ, and conform their dress to God's word…. They should humbly pursue a straight-forward course, irrespective of applause or of censure, and should cling to the right because of its own merits.” MYP 350
“Your salvation depends on your acting from principle--serving God from principle, not from feeling, not from impulse.” 1T 698
“God has established immutable principles, which He cannot change without a revision of His whole nature…. Those who disregard the requirements of God in this life would not respect His authority were they in heaven.” 4T 312
“We are always to be as firm as a rock to principle. Bible principles are to be taught and then backed up by holy practice.” 6T 418
*List some situations where a person might be tempted to be inconsistent in their dress reform principles: _________________________________________________________
24) The way we dress has such a tremendous impact on our own spiritual and moral life, and that of those around us. Because of this, Satan has been working untiringly to deceive the people of God on this subject, telling them that it is of little importance, and inventing countless other excuses for putting off obedience (some of which we will look at in the next lesson). But we are called to be among those who follow the Lamb “whithersoever He goeth”, who surrender our lives entirely to His leading, and willingly obey Him in whatever He asks us to do. Are you willing to be among that number? You can be if you choose to, but there is a cost - the sacrifice of every cherished idol. But remember that Jesus willingly sacrificed His life for you, so anything He asks of you in return is truly a little thing. What is God asking you to lay down and put away for Him? Are you willing to obey? Write your commitment below:
________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________
15) Christian Dress #2