by Vance Bowman
The Bible charges every believer to give diligence in adding virtue to their faith (See II Peter 1:5.) Virtue seems to be a by- gone word in our culture. Virtue means moral excellence. Moral excellence includes many attributes. One particularly forgotten attribute of virtue in our day is modesty. The absence of modesty has had a ripple effect on all of society. It seems immodesty rules our times. I was recently in a service where the minister said he would be glad when cooler weather came because people around his city would begin to wear more clothing.
When I was a child it was a rare thing to see someone who wasn’t properly covered with clothing. Not so today. The attitude toward clothing appears to be “the less, the better.” In a recent article on FoxNews.com, it was revealed that the frequency of full frontal nudity on prime time television has increased dramactically over the same period just one year ago. Have we no shame? I recently purchased and downloaded a copy of a book by Steve Pixler titled Modesty. In this practical yet profound book, Pixler explores modesty and its effect on many aspects of life. The book began as a series of articles written for Pixler’s blog and later was put into book format. The reader will discover well thought out and excellently written words covering subjects like “Modesty and Scripture,” “Modesty and Maturity,” “Modesty and Intimacy,” “Modesty and Beauty,” “Modesty and Shame,” “Modesty and Insanity,” “Modesty and Authority,” and more.
Pixler is careful to set readers at ease by letting them know up front that the book is not a list of rules he espouses. Modesty does not contain the author’s personal convictions, nor those he may preach to the people he pastors. His book is simply an investigation into the biblical subject of modesty and its powerful influence in our world, especially in the lives of believers. Here are a few quotes from Modesty:
Barbarians and savages run naked in the jungle, but civilized people put on clothes. As cultures mature, they get dressed. This is because of the direct creational connection between modesty and maturity. This idea may be often suppressed in our neo-pagan culture, but it rooted deep in our psyche, and we cannot escape it. The return of our culture to casual, thoughtless public nudity is an indication of our decline back into slavish barbarity, not an indication of our advance into liberated enlightenment. In Bible times, when slavery was the norm, princes wore fine garments, and the slaves went about half naked. There is no glory in being a slave. True glory belongs to sons and daughters, to the heirs of the King. And if we are children of the King, we should dress like it.
When a tyrant seeks to strip a man or woman of their humanity, he strips them of their clothing. Nakedness is humiliating. Why? Why should the naked man care? Why not just laugh along with the crowd and enjoy the joke? Why do we all wake up in terror when we have “The Dream”? (You know the one!) Because we all know that our clothing is an emblem of our being, of who we are, a material projection of our existential nature. To be stripped of clothing is to surrender a part of our self. This is why the Nazis stripped people who were about to be gunned down into trenches or gassed methodically in the chambers. Why take away their clothing? They were about to be murdered. Why not leave them their last vestige of dignity and let them die fully clothed? Because public nudity is dehumanizing, and the Nazis had to strip the Jews of their humanity. They could not permit them one shred of dignity. This was the only way those butchers could reckon with their own dying conscience. The Jews had to be dehumanized in order to be slaughtered without regret. Nakedness is dehumanizing.
These excerpts do not tell the whole story of Modesty. This book is a masterful presentation of the subject of modesty and its effects on humanity. The author’s approach to the subject is not the ordinary, worn-out approach to the subject. It is written in a fresh contemplative style that digs deep into this ancient subject. The book both confirmed what I already believed about modesty and opened my eyes to its far-reaching influence in the world. Modesty is available both in hard copy and e-book through pentecostal- publishing. com.
Vance Bowman is the Senior Pastor at Shawnee United Pentecostal Church in Shawnee, Oklahoma.