By David Gray
A book entitled Women’s Adornment-What does the Bible Really Say by Ralph Woodrow has recently been passed out among our young people and new converts. Its purpose is to refute all of our standards on dress, hair, jewelry, and cosmetics, and it claims that the verses of Scripture we use such as Deuteronomy 22:1-5 and I Corinthians 11:1-15 do not apply to us today. This book has shaken the faith of quite a few, and our pastor is deeply disturbed. Have you seen this book? Can you help us?
I have seen the book and read it in its entirety. I can understand why some, particularly new converts, and others who are looking for an excuse to compromise on these issues would be influenced by it. I do not have space to refute every point on all the different subjects the book deals with, but I will confine these remarks to the first chapter of the book and show you the twisting of the Scripture, the false interpretations, and the downright untrue statements the author makes concerning women wearing men’s clothing. May I assure that you the book is equally false and spurious in all the other chapters dealing with women’s hair, jewelry, and cosmetics.
Chapter 1 is headed “Should Women Wear Slacks?” To support his contention that Christian women can wear slacks the author tries to destroy the credibility of Deuteronomy 22:5.
He uses five arguments. The first is that this verse refers only to a time of worship, not to everyday use. Second, he interprets the Hebrew word for men, geber, as a warrior or soldier so that, he says, Deuteronomy 22:5 should read, “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a [soldier], neither shall a [soldier] put on a woman’s garment.” Third, he says that none of the surrounding verses are in effect today; therefore verse 5 is also no longer in effect. Then he argues that in Bible days both men and women wore robes so that there was very little difference in their dress. He claims that even though slacks are shaped like men’s pants they are still women’s dress. Finally, he contends that wearing slacks in many situations is more modest than a dress. He cites gym at school, sports activities, and women in certain kinds of work.
Sounds logical, doesn’t it? There’s only one problem-Deuteronomy 22:5 is still in the Bible and God means exactly what He says: ‘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.”
Let us take the points of chapter 1 of the book one at a time and see how false these arguments are, how inconsistent, unscriptural, and absolutely untrue every one of them is.
The book’s first argument is that wearing the clothes of the opposite sex is prohibited only when worshiping. Where the author gets this idea he does not say. He does not get it from the Bible, for there is no mention of worship in the verse used, or even in the context. He has simply added this out of his own imagination. Listen to what God has to say about those who would so manipulate His Word: ‘For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Revelation 22:18-19). It is serious business to tamper with God’s Word. To add to or take away from the Word of the Lord results in that soul’s destruction.
Then the book says that the verse refers to a soldier, that he is not to wear women’s clothes in battle.
The author has just stated that it applied to God’s people in the act of worshiping. Which interpretation is correct? If one is true, the other one is untrue; if on argument that he presents is false, can you believe anything the author says? Why must we believe either one? Why not believe what the Bible says just like it is?
Actually, the word geber does not mean soldier. It is used of an unborn baby in Job 3:3. The Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible says that geber means “man, valiant man, male person, boy, husband, warrior; everyone, each…. It has the flavor of prevailing in a virile manner.” Virile means “having the characteristics of manhood; masculine. This is in contrast to effeminacy.”
What God is saying in Deuteronomy 22:5 is that no real, masculine man should every wear women’s clothing, and no real, feminine woman should ever wear clothing that pertains to a man. God intends men to be real men and women to be real women! Amen!
This should be enough for you to see the absolute falseness of this book; however, let us go on to the other points the author makes. The next point refers to the context: since none of the surrounding verses apply to us today, neither should this verse apply to us today, according to this book.
We must understand that in Deuteronomy, after laying down laws to Israel pertaining to witnesses at a trial, rules of warfare, unsolved murders, and family matters, we come to this section where God is presenting miscellaneous laws, with each verse or couple of verses dealing with an entirely different subject, none of which have any bearing on any other. Verse 4 speaks of helping to lift up a man’s fallen beast of burden, and verse 6 speaks of not capturing a mother bird who is in her nest caring for her eggs or her young. Neither of these have any connection with each other or with verse 5. Each of these laws to Israel must stand by itself, and none has any bearing on any other.
But there is something totally different about verse 5 that makes us know that what it is saying applies to all times and all generations, no matter whether the laws in the surrounding verses still apply to usor not. The last phrase of verse 5 sets this verse apart from all the rest, for it says, pertaining to those who wear the clothes of the opposite sex, “all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.”There are eleven verses in Scripture that speak of something that is an “abomination unto the Lord.” Every one of them is in effect today, for each reveals what God thinks and feels about that particular sin, and He never changes. He is the same yesterday, and today, and forever; and if God hated something yesterday He still hates it today and will hate it tomorrow. An example is found in Proverbs 6:16-19.
The final two arguments that chapter 1 of the book presents-that both sexes wore robes in Bible days and that slacks are more modest than a dress in many situations-hardly seem worth answering. Briefly put, it is true that both sexes wore robes, but they were distinctively different, and God wanted to preserve that difference. The modesty of slacks is open to question. Today they are skin tight for both men and
women and are called “unisex” clothes. Whatever activities and jobs a woman can do in which a dress would be immodest should not be indulged in by godly women in mixed company. In almost all endeavors a dress is far less revealing than slacks.
The statement that slacks are women’s clothes is simply not true. A couple of years ago I saw a large advertisement in the newspaper addressed to women. The caption read something like this: “Now that you ladies have adopted men’s pants you should finish the job and wear men’s shirts and ties-they go so well with your pants.” The ad then gave the prices of the men’s shirts and ties for the ladies to wear, and the illustration was of women wearing men’s pants, shirts, and ties. The world is sometimes more honest than some Christians who want to compromise. They know, even though some carnal Christians argue otherwise, that women’s slacks were actually taken over from men’s pants.
How important is all this? Revelation 21:8 declares that the abominable, those who do what is an abomination unto the Lord, will be cast into the lake of fire along with murderers, whoremongers, sorcerers, idolaters, and liars. Evidently God considers wearing the clothing of the opposite sex to be terribly significant, because He calls it an abomination unto Himself.
If someone who wears the clothing of the opposite sex protests and says, “But I’m going to make it to heaven,” may I call your attention to what God says in Revelation 21:27: “And Neither shall in no wise enter in not be it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”
Any book that leads people astray should be rejected, lest some gullible, unstable soul be influenced by it. We should help those who are weak by encouraging them to obey God’s Word. This is a narrow way, but blessed be God, it leads to the New Jerusalem, heaven itself! May I conclude by saying once again that the arguments the book presents against our standards relative to women’s hair and the wearing of jewelry and cosmetics are false, spurious, and easily disproven. Let us simply believe the Bible, believe it with all of our hearts, and love it and its doctrines. For if we do not love it, God’s Word warns us that we will be turned over to fables, that we will believe a lie, and that we will be doomed to the lake of fire. I choose God’s Word every time!
Brother Gray is pastor emeritus of Revival Tabernacle in San Diego, California, and a member of the Board of Publication. This article is excerpted from Questions Pentecostal Ask, Volume 2, published by Word Aflame Press. It not only serves as a response to Women’s Adornment by Ralph Woodrow, a non-Pentecostal minister, but also to the more recent book Neo-Phariseeism by David Wasmundt, who based much of his argument on Woodrow’s work.
The Above Material Was Published In The April-June 1994 Issue Of Forward Magazine, And Was Written By David Gray. This Material Has Been Copyrighted And May Be Used For Research And Study Purposes Only.