By Nathaniel J. Wilson
Nudist colonies declare that man wasn’t made to wear clothes – that clothes are in fact unnatural. They will tell you that man, to be perfectly natural, should not have to wear materials foreign to his/her created state. After all, none of the other animals wear little jackets with ties, or little dresses with pretty bows and high-heel shoes, and they look perfectly fine. Indeed, we don’t give it a second thought. No one gets up in the morning and worries what the family dog (or cat) should wear today. They look “complete” with no clothing other than what nature provides. Whether it be in the form of fur, hair, scales, feathers, or whatever, all of them are provided by nature with what they need. So the nudist “buff’ says, “Why the fuss about clothes for people? If we had been meant to wear clothes, they would’ve been provided by nature”.
This is not just silliness. This is an important subject. One only has to think of the multi-million dollar clothing industry to realize how basic the subject of clothing is to our humanness. Also, consider how closely tied one’s sense-of-self is to how one is dressed. Lastly, we all know that clothing, and how it is used, is a highly sophisticated form of communication to those about us. Clothes talk. How one dresses makes a statement about an individual. This is true whether one is “dressing down”, or “dressing up”. The whole fashion industry understands and depends upon this fact that “clothes talk”. Fashion designers are manipulative experts. Fortunes are spent in the most sophisticated kinds of research to learn and master this art. The populace at large is kept jumping like a puppet on a string, breathlessly rushing from the old to the new, trying to make sure they are “up-to-date”. Millions, screaming at the top of their lungs that “I am an individual!”, hurry from one magazine to the next making sure they are buying what is fashionably correct so that they can be sure to express their individuality the exact same way that everyone else is expressing theirs. Yes, indeed, clothing plays a very, very, large role among us financially, socially, and psychologically. It also plays a role spiritually.
I agree with the nudists that clothes are not natural. The animals are proof of this point. The life within the animals naturally provides them with a covering. So why should man be different? The answer to this lies above in the first two sentences of this section called “Dress”. First, we stated that clothes are “unnatural”. Second, we stated that man shouldn’t have to wear them in his “created state”.
The problem is, man is not presently in his “created state”. The present state in which we find ourselves is not the created state. This can probably be expressed better by using different terminology.
Man as he was created in the garden (before the fall) was in what is called his “essential” state – that is, he was found there in his undiluted “essence” (from which we get “essential”). After the fall, we find man as he “exists”, or in an “existential” state. Obviously, his “existential” state is quite different from his “essential” state, for he has lost the glory, and therefore recognizes himself as being naked. In his “essential” state, man was as God created him complete, whole, completely alive. As such, we have before stated that there is much evidence that he was not naked at all, but was rather clothed with the glory of God.
One very strong proof of this is that Christ is called “the second man”, and “the last Adam” (I Cor. 15:45,47). He is portrayed as having regained the essence for mankind that the first Adam lost through disobedience. In re-attaining this essence, scripture clearly declares that “the glory” (which Adam had lost) is restored to Him (Rev. 5:13). There is no reason to believe that the restored glory appeared any different than the original glory. Thus, repeatedly we see Him whether in His divinity or His victorious human state as being glorious.
“…His countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength” (Rev. 1 :1 6)
“His face did shine as the sun, and His raiment was white as the light” (Mt. 17:2).
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it Both not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as he is” (I Jn. 3:2).
We are not like Him physically yet. Even though our spirits are re-born, and are “like Him”, our bodies are still “subject to vanity” (Rom. 8:20), and have not yet been redeemed (Rom. 8:23). Thus, we still catch colds, we grow old, we are attacked by diseases, etc. – and, we still have to wear clothes. However, when we get our new bodies, our clothing will be a new material called “Shekinah”. If you are a child of God, you are going to be clothed with this unbelievable white glory-garment!
“And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean” (Rev. 19:8,14).
If our fine linen is like His garment (and it is), then this fine linen will be the glory that comes from the righteousness of God, which Adam lost in the garden.
We earlier saw that anything that lives has, as the source of its beauty, the life from God that dwells within it. Things inanimate must have artificial beauty applications from without. At the fall, there is no indication that the animals lost any of their original life – but man did. Something died in Him. God had promised that, “in the day that ye eat thereof, ye shall surely die” (Gen. 2:17). When Adam and Eve ate thereof, they did die – that. is their spirits died. Their outward covering had emanated from the life within their spirits. When their spirits died, the glory departed from their spirits, for the glory is always associated with only the living, for it is indeed the source of life. For thousands of years, men lived with their spirits dead to God (i.e., separated from the source of life) – but in Christ, the last Adam, we are “re-born” (or “born again”)! Where is this birth? It is in our spirits! That part which died in Adam, and hence in all of us, is “re-born” in the last Adam, and through Him in us! (Acts 13:33; Eph. 2:1). Ye must be born again.
“…Except a man be born…of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (Jn. 3:5).
“God is a Spirit, and they who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth” (Jn. 4:24).
Jesus, with anointed incisiveness, described this event of the fall of man in the story of the good Samaritan. It is evident that Jesus intended to teach them this great lesson in this little story. It is interesting to note that he gives prominence in the story to (of all things) clothing!
Five things are mentioned about the traveller in verse 30 of Luke chapter 10.
1. He was on a journey. Life is such a journey.
2. He “fell among thieves”. The devil and his hideous minions are the thieves of mankind, robbing man of every good thing.
3. He was “stripped of his raiment”. This indicates that, before the fall, man was indeed clothed, but discovers himself naked after the fall. He was stripped of his covering and left exposed. Had he not been stripped, the nudist philosophy would be right (i.e., man doesn’t need clothes). However, in his stripped state (and because of it), God provided the temporary bodily covering of clothing until the body is redeemed and “re-clothed” with the glory of God. Thus, the source of clothing is the fall, and every clothing store is a like a trumpet, declaring the fall of man.
4. Man was “wounded”. That we now operate short of the potential capacity latent within our humanness is evident everywhere. It is because the race is “wounded”, and man’s capacity thereby subjected to opposition.
5. The thieves “…departed, leaving him half dead”. Man is not fully dead after the fall. His body (and soulish self) lives on, but that part in which with God takes place (union with God is another term for “life”) has been left destitute Human history had to await the of “the second man” (I Cor. 15:’17 bring a resurrection of the human spirit from the dead back to life.
“And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening (i.e. life-giving) spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from Heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly” (I Cor. 15:45-49).
Bearing the “image of the heavenly” will be equivalent to being clothed in the glory of God.
The brief thumb-nail sketch above should be carefully understood, for it reveals clearly that the subject of clothing is not only the fabric “on” man, but is connected to the very fabric of what was “in” and was lost, only to be restored in Christ. Clothing is a temporary covering of the body until such time as this body is changed. Even though we are spiritually redeemed, the body is still not so (Rom. 8:23). Unlike the animals, we are not (physically) as we were when we were created. However, the time shall come when “…the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (I Cor. 15:52,53).
“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, and house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up in life” (II Cor. 5:1-4).
When one looks at the bigger biblical picture of clothing, we are made aware of what a juvenile mistake it would be to get caught up in the transitory fashions of this world. Thus, when God inspired the New Testament writers to admonish believers to dress “in modest apparel”, it is not some sadistic attempt on His part to suppress us. Nor is it intended to convey the idea that dress is unimportant. The idea seems to be that, if one ever truly discovers what God is preparing in “His” clothing business, they will then understand how getting caught in this world’s fashion is simply out of fashion – “for the fashion of this world passeth away” (I Cor. 7:31). As in the case of other externals for the christian, the attention should be drawn to the glory of the internal and not the sensuousness (or ostentatiousness of the outward). In respect to the human body being the temple of God, the face is the primary window for the shining forth of the glory. Here, the inner person manifests itself, and the beauty of the Lord shines forth. The face of Moses shining, the face of the Lord shining (Rev. 1:16), scriptural prayers for “the Lord’s face to shine upon you” (Num. 6:25), etc., all emphasize this point. The body should be clothed in such a manner and modesty as to lead the eye to the face from whence the glory emanates. Nudity and all sensual dress does just the opposite.
There are other considerations in dress.
Scripture presents a consistent pattern of emphatic insistence concerning distinctions between the sexes. It is equally emphatic regarding these distinctions when it comes to dress. That God regards man and woman as two aspects of a single comprising of His own image is seen in Gen. 1:26, 27. To the extent one blurs the distinctions, one removes the manifestation of the divine. Therefore, when artificial means are used to reduce and remove these distinctions, the beginnings of such fashions are invariably from the world which the Bible says to “love not” (I Jn. 2:15).
The biblical directive to maintain these distinctions between men and women is consistent with God’s people both in the Old Testament as well as the New Testament. This is true not only of dress, but in many areas which we have seen (i.e., domestic roles, social roles, spiritual roles, as well as spiritual deportment and external symbols of submission to authority). It is important to understand that each of these alone may not seem extremely significant, but scripture portrays each of these as filling a vital role in a bigger framework which even reaches cosmic proportions beyond human understanding (I Cor. 11:10). When one digs deep enough into scriptural teaching regarding humanness, a dawning comes that there is a delicate but very, very real other-worldliness intrinsic to being a human. It is something which living like a beast doesn’t eradicate. It is inherent. It is God-like. It is mystical (I use the word carefully). We only see into it obscurely, or “through a glass darkly”. The light is dim by which we peer into this hidden mysterious side of our reality. However, it nevertheless is very, very real. Furthermore, it is the part of us that is eternal. It is in this hidden area where the God who hides Himself is found. It is a “secret” area where the “Father which is in secret” is (Mt. 6:6).
When the believing christian comes to this realization, it causes them to give great pause to following leaders who lightly dismiss living life carefully. Following someone who, with considerable disdain, casually relegates life-style questions to the domain of the radical or the ignorant can be a sure ticket to an increasingly empty and shallow existence. Once one has centered their life on trinkets and other trivia for awhile, the serious person will realize the vacuousness of such, and long for the deep probing spiritual flow of divine life. Most assuredly, when the Bible directs us to avoid the world of pretensions and embrace the world of spiritual reality in everyday life, it is directing us to fulfillment and joy.
Thus, a scripture such as Deuteronomy 22:5 takes on additional significance to us.
“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 their God” (Dent. 22:5).
Because this scripture affects everyday life-style, it comes under considerable scrutiny.
In attempting to discount the impact of this scripture for us today, a common position taken is that this scripture is in a setting of many other scriptural instructions to Israel which we do not apply to our lives today, such as putting protective fences on our roofs to prevent injury, sowing a vineyard with different kinds of seeds, etc. The point is often made that since we don’t do these other things (many of which would be quite ridiculous and even impossible in our society today), why should we regard 22:5 which deals with distinctions of dress? In answer to this, there are several things to consider.
First, we should consider that Israel was an earthly people with primarily earth-centered promises. Having come out of slavery, and having no concept of even the most basic social and hygiene directives necessary as a responsible people, God provided them with the necessary essentials to create an understanding of the prerequisites for national life. The vast majority of all of the directives in Deuteronomy given in this regard are obviously meant to form a framework for healthy relations between the Israelite and his/her fellowman, as well as his relationship with his animals and his environment. They are given instructions on how to protect their neighbor when he/she comes to their house (22:8), how to protect and nurture the environment (22:6,7), sexual and gender relations (22:13-30), parent-child relations (21:18-23), caring for domestic animals (25:4), etc. There are very, very few directives given that deal with other than relational subjects having to do with Israel and their relationship with their God and their fellowman. For this reason, Jesus summed up the primary teaching of Deuteronomy (and the Law) in Matthew 22:37-40.
“…Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Mt. 22:37-40).
When we read the book of Deuteronomy, we see how true this is. I think most Bible students would agree that this declaration makes clear that the few incidental domestic directives included in Deuteronomy (and they are very few), that do not have a broader relational connection (e.g., “making fringes on the four corners of thy vesture” – 22:12), were not intended to be confused with those issues of broader significance, even though they may appear side by side. However, even these kinds of seemingly innocuous commands were obviously intended to convey, in every way and at every juncture, important general truths of what it meant to be God’s people. For example, the making fringes on the four corners of their garments mentioned above was to be a symbolic reminder to Israel to remember God’s commands (Num. 15:39). In the same way, the prohibition of sowing different kinds of seeds together (22:9) and 11w blending of different cloths in a garment were everyday reminders that they were to be a separated, unmixed, unblended people. Their holiness unto the Lord made thorn His exclusive property, and by virtue of that they were to be separate and reserved unto God from all others.
However, when we come to verse 5 of chapter 22 there are other factors to consider. One that we have already elaborated upon is that scripture i consistent in insisting on distinctions between Ow sexes in many areas of life. Another is that, when we carefully ferret out the sources of styles and fashions which create a “unisex” society (both in looks and life-styles), the source is always one which gives no credence to the Bible or regard for pleasing the holy God with a holy life. These alone ought to make the servant of the Lord avoid all such – but there is a more sobering reason. That is, for a woman to wear that which pertaineth to a man, or a man to wear that which pertaineth to a woman is (to use scriptural terminology) “an abomination”.
The words “abominable”, “abomination”, and “abominations” appear 39 times in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, once in Exodus, and none in Numbers. Of these 39, there are five Hebrew words
translated into English as abomination, abominable, or abominations. Four of the five words mean virtually the same thing and share common roots. They mean “disgusting filth, abhorrent”. One other word is translated “abominable” and simply means rotten (or fetid) meat (Lev. 19:7), and wasn’t used in the context of being abominable to the Lord.
Scripture does not mention many things as being an “abomination to the Lord”. In the above-mentioned books, there are only nine things spoken of as being an abomination in the sight of the Lord.
1. Bringing the price of a prostitute or a homosexual prostitute into the house of the Lord to pay a pledge (Deut. 23:18).
2. Homosexuality (Lev.18:22).
3. Idolatry, including sacrificing children to walk in the fire (Deut. 18:9,10, 20:18 and many other references).
4. The occult (Deut. 18:10-12).
5. A woman wearing that which pertaineth to a man, or a man wearing that which pertaineth to a woman (Deut. 22:5).
6. Using unjust measuring devices to cheat (Deut. 25:13-16).
7. A husband divorcing a woman, then remarrying her after she had been married to another in between (Deut. 24:1-4).
8. Offering blemished sacrifices to) God (Deut. 17:1).
9. Eating unclean animals (Deut. 14:3) (This one is clearly changed in Acts 10:11-16).
It is evident from the above list that violation of Deut. 22:5 casts us into very unsavory company. Sodomites, prostitutes, pimping money, twisted marital relations, idolatry, child abuse, cheaters, and tainted offerings – that’s not good company for a child of God. It is the company in which violators of Deut. 22:5 find themselves.
There are many other prohibitions, directives, commands, etc., given in the Law as recorded in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. However, only the eight above (minus #9 which the New Testament itself erases) qualify as an abomination – that is being disgustingly abhorrent in the eyes of the Lord. The question is, if the other seven are obviously still wrong, the prohibition’s still in effect for today, and still qualify as abominable in the sight of the Lord, then how is it suddenly logical to expect #5 (listed above) to be any different than the others? Thus, to attempt to disqualify Deut. 22:5 on the basis that there are other prohibitions in Deuteronomy that we do not heed is not sound reasoning, for these other things do not come under the over-arching umbrella of being an “abomination to the Lord”. Incidentals were never listed as abominations. Anything which qualified as an abomination under the Law in Deuteronomy, and not explicitly removed in the New Testament, remains an abomination now.
Others who have attempted to negate Deut. 22:5 have proposed the idea that the Hebrew word which was translated “man” in Deut.22:5, should actually be translated “soldier”. This is based upon the fact that the word “man” used here comes from a root meaning “strong”. However, we should be careful here not to automatically connect “strong” to the idea of a soldier only, for this also applies to masculinity and the biblical definition of manhood. That the word here translated “man” is not translated “soldier” in our English version (not even once) seems strange, if the above is true, especially when it is translated “man” at least 48 times throughout the Old Testament! We have seen that the actual origin of the word comes from the meaning “to be strong”, and originally meant a valiant, or strong man. However, that it came to mean simply man, and was a synonym for other words which meant “man”, is clearly obvious from its Old Testament usage elsewhere. For example, Prov. 30:19 speaks of “the way of a man with a maid”. The word “man” is the same as is used in Deut. 22:5, and obviously should be translated as it is, rather than “warrior”, or “soldier”. Psa. 34:8 (speaking of the Lord) says, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in Him”. Again, this is the same word as in Deut. 22:5. Once again, it is obvious that it is correctly translated (for other examples,), 18:25, 37:23, 40:4, 127:5, etc.).
The Hebrew And English Lexicon Of The Old Testament, by Brown, Driver, and Briggs (which, I suppose, is as authoritative as it is possible to get) defines this Hebrew word “geber” ( which is translated “man” in English in Deut. 22:5) as simply “man”, and goes on to explain that it means “man as strong, distinguished from women, children, and non-combatants whom he is to defend”. They also point out that this “strong” idea is chiefly poetic, and cite examples of the same. It is man as “strong” as compared to women and children, not man “strong” as a soldier compared to other men.’ A number of resources make the observation that not only does Deut. 22:5 address the issue of dress, but it includes the extended idea of a man’s implements (i.e., masculine things that obviously are “man things”. Of this, Keil-Delitzch, in their highly respected Commentary on the Old Testament, make the following observation:
Deut. 22:5: “As the property of a neighbour was to be sacred in the estimation of an Israelite, so also the divine distinction of the sexes, which was kept sacred in civil life by the clothing peculiar to each sex, was to be not less but even more sacredly observed. The wording does not signify clothing merely, nor arms only, but includes every kind of domestic and other utensils (as in Ex. 22:6; Lev. 11:32, 13:49). The immediate design of this prohibition was not to prevent licentiousness, or to oppose idolatrous practices (the proofs which Spencer has adduced of the existence of such usages among heathen nations are very far-fetched); but maintain the sanctity of that distinction of the sexes which was established by the creation of man and woman, and in relation to which Israel was not to sin. Every violation (or wiping out) of this distinction (i.e., emancipation of a woman) was unnatural, and therefore an abomination in the sight of God”.
The above not only makes it clear that the verse includes a man’s “things” in its prohibition, but also makes clear that the verse is not referring to some supposed heathen rites which Israel would be tempted to emulate. More evidence that this verse should not be narrowly understood to apply to some connection to heathen rites, but rather has a broad and general ethical application, is further seen in the following:
“The divinely instituted distinction between the sexes was to be sacredly observed, and in order to this, the dress other things appropriate to the one were not to be used by the other – ‘That which pertaineth to a man’ (literally, the apparatus of a man, not merely dress, but implements, tools, weapons and utensils). This is an ethical regulation in the interests of morality. There is no reference, as some have supposed, to the wearing of masks for the purpose of disguise, or to the practice of the priests (at heathen festivals) wearing masks of their gods. Whatever tends to obliterate the distinction between the sexes tends to licentiousness; and that the one sex should assume the dress of the other has always been regarded as unnatural and indecent”.
In regards to whether men and women could do certain activities better if allowed to wear the attire of the other, perhaps someone said it best in stating “Whatever forbids my robe, forbids my presence”.’ Utilitarian considerations are never given preference over holiness considerations in scripture.
So just what is men’s apparel and women’s apparel? The answer to this question is not complicated. Biblical society (and virtually every other society) has always had feminine and masculine distinctions in dress. Historically, men and women have worn robes of one kind or another for almost all of human history. The robe has been the accepted form of dress for rich and poor, for ruler and ruled, for men and for women. Thus, the distinctiveness of masculine and feminine attire was reduced to distinguishing markings, cuts, and lengths, as well as having to do with the degree of delicateness, daintiness, and fineness of texture. This is well-documented in history, and is hardly subject to question.
The other major distinction in dress between men and women was not simply what they wore but how they wore it. There were “man ways” of utilizing the robe for dress that were distinctive to maleness, just as there were feminine distinctive exclusive to femininity.
By virtue of being a man (and thus physically stronger), the man was the one primarily responsible for provision and protection of his family. He engaged in masculine activities that the women were not required to do, and in fact were instructed not to do. These were things that had to do with physical exertion and activity which required a high degree of movement. Included in this were activities such as vigorously tilling the fields, hurriedly travelling over dangerous roads in the pursuit of business responsibilities, and/or military duties, and preparing for battle. In order to be effective in these (and other areas like them), men had to find ways to deal with their clothing in such a way as to keep it from tripping them, or hindering their dexterity of movement. Their business successes, and sometimes their very lives depended upon suitable solutions in dealing with the cumbersomeness of their robes. To manage their robes in such a way that their movements would be unimpeded, they devised a system of folds and tucks t4 which transformed the robe into a snug-fitting, flexible garment. From this came the practice known as “girding up their loins”. Women had ways of girding themselves. However, when a man girded himself, it was a way distinctive to men. A woman would never so gird herself, for it would have been considered grossly immodest. The strong, active man, to avoid getting entangled in his garment, would reach down and pull his robe up tucking all of this lower material into his waistband. This drew the robe up against his body, creating a snug-fitting kind of trouser-like effect. With the robe so tucked, it provided him with the freedom of movement necessary for strong physical exertions. This devising was in alignment with his manly responsibilities. In conjunction with this, when God wanted Job to stand up and take his manly accountability, he commanded him to “Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me” (Job 38:3). While God here demanded Job to gird up his loins “like a man”, nowhere does scripture so instruct a woman – for such girding was inappropriate for a woman. This girding created a somewhat form-fitting effect and was a distinctively masculine thing to free him to do his duties. Peter later uses this analogically when he instructs: “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober…” (I Pet. 1:13). Of this verse, Charles Ryrie, in the footnotes of the Ryrie Study Bible, states: “A figure of speech based on the gathering and fastening up of the long, eastern garments so that they would not interfere with the individual’s activity”. The idea here again is for the mind (like men’s girded bodies) to be so freed from encumbrance as to be able to act quickly and decisively. “With the long, loose robes which were commonly worn in the east, a girdle was very necessary when a man wished to do any active work. When men were at ease, their robes fell loosely around them, but the first thing in preparing for walking (or for work) was to tighten the girdle and tuck up the long skirts of the robe.”‘
“The figure is oriental. The orientals wore a loose and flowing robe, which dangling about the feet hindered swift straight motion. When they would move quickly and with precision, they must needs gather the trailing garment into the girdle about the waist” .
Historically, the fact that the first men’s trousers were “knee-britches” may be connected to the actuality that this is approximately where a girded robe struck the leg as it was pulled upward and tucked in the front waist band. This may be why pants have historically been men’s apparel – not only in secular history, but (in this sense) in biblical history as well. It is remarkable that when God demanded that Job face Him in a masculine posture of accountability, He did so by addressing the state of his robe! The masculine action of girding up his became God’s symbol of his manhood loins in man-like fashion and his acceptance of manly responsibilities. Perhaps, we do this this too (in a way) when we ask, “Who wears the pants in this family?”
From the above, it seems there is little question of what is and isn’t “man’s apparel”. These distinctions do not go unnoticed in the world. It is ironic that just last week the news reported that a lesbian is bringing formal protest against the use of the present male/female symbols on public rest rooms. This is being done on the basis that it discriminates between the sexes by picturing one in trousers and the other in a dress. She wants this distinction removed. David Bernard points out that feminist Susan Brownmiller, as part of her revolt against God-given distinction between male and female, stopped wearing dresses and skirts altogether.’ In her protest of “imposed limitations” of femininity, she is victimized by the imposed limitations of rebellion!
To the author’s knowledge, there is no society or culture in recorded human history where trousers were the natural, normal dress for women. If one wants to say it doesn’t matter, they may do so. However, to propose the idea that trousers are not men’s apparel, but women’s apparel, is farfetched.
To reiterate what was earlier stated, our purposes for going this deeply into these areas of scripture, and their resulting ethical implications, is because there are many who want to know more about these things. There is a deep and keen interest in life-style issues. Increasingly in our society, there are fewer and fewer cultural norms to give guidance. That there is a marked and very recognizable destabilization of historically accepted values is easy for any observant person to see. When a society’s mores and values are shaped by forces which are hedonistic and godless, the godly must be committed to biblical values and spiritual realities. On the other hand, those who are overly concerned of what non-Christians think of them become increasingly world-and-acceptance conscious. As for me, I can testify that I have no interest in being re-enslaved by anything that leads towards the insatiable appetites of the flesh. Some of those who talk most about bondage have been raised in a “hothouse” of Christian protectionism, and don’t know what real bondage is. Like the “goofy goose”, they waddle into each new wind of doctrine unaware of the vicious and insidious forces that lie in wait to rend them. Their children often pay an even greater price. Unfortunately, they do not realize that what they think of as an emancipating lark is, in fact, the beginning of a long, long walk down a steeply declining path – the end of which is a pernicious bondage in a place of unspeakable darkness.
“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of… For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that
were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption of whom a man is overcome of the slime I N lie brought in bondage. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb,
The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire” (II Pet. 2:1, 2,18-22).
In contrast, the clean, powerful, love-filled world of God’s presence holds the promise of one’s becoming the full person God intended each of us to be. In this process, some things are obviously of greater weight than others. However, all of God’s ways, including life-style issues, build us upon Jesus Christ.
“In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Eph. 2:21,22).
The above article, “Reflecting God’s Glory in the Clothes We Wear” is written by Nathaniel J. Wilson. The article was excerpted from Wilson’s book In Bonds of Love.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.