What should we follow as authentic guide for the Church’s standards in such matters as fashion, worship veil, marriage and sexual morality, women ordination to the Presbyterate and Episcopacy, etc? Should we follow the Apostolic revelation in the Scripture? Or follow cultural modernity, ecclesiastical innovations and media bandwagon statistics of today?
FASHION is a CULTURAL preference trend or popular bandwagon with the MOTIVES of either revolt against certain detested values or pursuit of certain desired values (Rom 1:20-25; Eph 2:1-2). The new skimpy-hippy culture is a protest against shamefaced temperance and a pursuit for shameless exhibitionism and sexual liberalism. It is part of the militant anti-Christian, new-age, counter-culture movement of rebellious godlessness, shamelessness and lawlessness. The Bible calls this “the course and cares of this world” and the “MYSTERY OF LAWLESSNESS” of perilous end times (2Thes 2:3-12; 2Tim 3:1-5). What is the motive of your attire? Is it to look reverent and respectable or to look decadent and seductive?
Today’s culture of fashionable nudeness must never be brought into the Church fellowship and worship services. Even in the society, fashionable nudity, salacity and decadence is not the shamefaced modesty, sobriety and reverence that Christians should be known for (1Tim 2:9-10; Tit 2:11-13; 1Pet 3:3-4). THE PURPOSE OF DRESSING IS DIGNITY AND DECENCY NOT NUDITY AND OBSCENITY.
Adornment is meant for godly beauty and dignity (Exo 28:40-43; Job 40:10) not for dissipation and dishonour. Over the years adornment has degraded from honourable decency to elegant stylishness and now to fashionable salaciousness. Beauty and adornment are of two types:
1. inward moral and spiritual beauty of virtue and holiness (2Chr 20:21; Isa 61:10; 1Pet 3:4), ADORNED WITH SUPERNATURAL GRACE AND GLORY (1Tim 2:10; 1Pet 3:5; Rev 21:2) and
2. outward physical and material beauty of figures and looks (Gen 6:1-4; 29:17), ADORNED WITH SUPERFICIAL/SYNTHETIC CLOTHING AND COSMETICS (2Kin 9:30; Isa 3:16-24; 1Tim 2:9; 1Pet 3:3).
While maximizing the inward adornment, Christians should purpose in their hearts to agree with the Apostles (1Tim 2:9-10; 1Pet 3:3-5) by insisting that their outward adornment must be done
i) soberly not seductively,
ii) for respectable decency and dignity not for fashionable nudity and discourtesy,
iii) with shamefaced modesty WHICH COVERS NAKEDNESS not with shameless madness WHICH FLAUNTS NAKEDNESS.
Our outward beautification must be guided by our inward motives. THE CHURCH SHOULD REGULATE AND PUBLICISE ITS TOLERABLE MODERATION (Php 4:5). Whatever you wear matters always: it is either a manifestation or a manifesto, a portrayal or a proposal. What is the motive of your attire? Is it for sobriety and moderation or for salacity and ostentation?
Superficial and synthetic cosmetics or outward decoration with costly ornaments should be MODERATED because it neither saves nor commends us to God (Rev 17:4; Rev 18:16); it produces either temporal decency or degeneracy and may lead to eternal judgment (Eze 16:8-19). On the other hand spiritual, moral and inward transformation with holy ornaments should be MAXIMIZED because it regenerates, redeems and commends us to God (Rev 21:2); it always prepares for eternal blessedness in God’s presence (Rev 21:9-24).
Today’s couture is fast getting dominated by crazy (indecent) fashion designers and sexy (seductive) fashion models, through ready-made junks, aggressive marketing and militant licentiousness. The modest clients and their seasoned tailors are getting compelled to join the trend of crazy disarray rather than godly array, with intemperance fast overriding decency. The mass media hypes the notion that costly and crazy fashion is trendy and cool, while decency and dignity is mocked and jettisoned. Christians must not allow themselves to be pressured into the sexy fashion craze nor the ostentatious glamour vogue, but boldly insist on decency and moderation. Our calling is to do God’s will on earth as it is done in heaven and so bring His Kingdom’s counter-culture to bear on earth.