What is fashion, which we are considering here as a tsunami of its kind? Two different dictionaries, Oxford advanced Learners Dictionary and the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language respectively defined fashion as follows:
- A popular style of clothes, hair, etc. at a particular time or place;
- The current style or custom, as in dress.
In our treatment of this topic we are going to list and consider relevant scriptures on dressing and hair, and compare what is recommended with what is obtainable today, so as to determine what is wrong or right.
- Genesis 3:2-10
This scripture tells us of the first provision of dress for mankind. Here God provided a covering for their nakedness, they having now lost the glory of God and known shame. This situation has continued to play out itself from then till now. Wherever things are normal, when a child is born, that child is oblivious of its environment and so does not bother about dress. But as the child continues to develop or grow, there comes the time he/she will become aware of his/her nakedness and will begin to cover same.
This provision of animal skins by God, strictly to cover the nakedness of the first man and his wife, to kill their shame, condemns all those wears of our day that expose the alluring parts of the body, be the mini or micro-mini skirts, see-thoughts and the like.
Some critical and logical mind may argue thus, it is like the animal-skin clothing God provided only covered their private parts and no more; what then is wrong if women in particular just cover their private parts with their mini and micro-mini skirts? Hear what one of those, whom we in the Pentecostal circles call the “un-born again”, has to say: “Men and women are not “wired” alike. This is why some signal would be sent and some sensation created in a man if he stares on the alluring parts of a woman, thereby creating sexual lust and making him sin against God (Matt. 5:27-28). Take it or leave it, this so-called “unborn again” is more heavenly bound than the Pentecostal argumentator “wise man”. Has anybody considered the numberless multitudes of men that go into sexual lust as they behold those who dress to kill on the streets, at the airports, on the tennis courts and tracks and indeed everywhere including the Churches? Such people who continue to make others to sin are as guilty as those who sinned through them (cons Matt. 5:27-28; Rom 14:13; Rev. 2:14).
This is the law given to the Church in the wilderness. It was a law against dressing like the opposite sex. It shows that men and women should not wear the garments of each other, or anything that would violate the distinction of their sexes.
Hear and consider this point of view: This law was made not only to preserve decency and the clear distinction between males and females but also because pagans were in the habit of erasing such distinction in idolatrous worship. Men wore the coloured dress of women when they presented themselves before the Star of Venus, and women wore men’s armour when presenting themselves before the Star of Mars. Idols were frequently represented with the features of one sex and the dress of the other, and their worshippers endeavoured to be like them. Even today, when idol worship is not involved, it is an outrage on decency and nature of men and women to seek to erase the distinction of their own sexes. Imitating each other fosters softness and effeminacy in the man, and impudence and boldness in the woman. It breeds levity and hypocrisy in both and opens the door to many evils which are an abomination to God and a disgrace to man.
But today’s dress fashion has thrown this rule in Deuteronomy 22:5 overboard and into the sea, even in the Church. Whatever the men are wearing, the women are wearing too. In some aspects and places, whatever the women are wearing, the men are also wearing.
These are some of the arguments of people in the Church today:- How do we know that slacks (also called trousers or pants) belong to men only? What about winter? What about the workplaces, such as the military, the police, cold rooms and the like? How can we prove that shorts are for men only? How do we know that piercing of the ears and hanging the jewels belong to women only? Who said that artificial curling of the air is not decent for men? Is God bothered about fashion and how we appear in Church? Are we living in the past or in the present? Are we not trying to put the people in bondage?
Now, let us try to provide answers to some of the above questions, as follows:-
Concerning the question on women wearing slacks, let us consider this extract from a researcher’s library from America.
“The Western world has a code of dressing for the women. Until the 19th-century women usually dressed up in floor-length dressed in gowns or skirts. Before this time, however, in the 1960s women wore slacks/trousers only when they were to play men’s roles in the theatre.
“In 1880, women felt they needed to be heard and liberated from men-dominated world. They must fight against inequality with men and change societal views about them. So sometime in the 19th century in America, a woman called Amelia Jenks Bloomer launched her “Regional Campaign” in her Feminist Paper, “The Lily”. She posed for a photograph wearing Cossack style trousers, advocating for a change in women’s code of dressing. Her dressing campaign hit the rocks and was greeted with amusement and ridicule whenever anyone wore such in the public.
“In 1910, Paul Poivet, a fashion designer, designed tailored trousers for women which he labelled ‘fashion for tomorrow’. His designs lacked popularity amongst women. They were loose and voluminous and could not give the mature and sensational look desired by women.
“In 1915- 1918, women were drafted into the military to lend their hand in some military activities. Some of them worked as bus drivers and in some other technical areas. Men’s clothes such as tunics worms as loose trousers or boiler suits with trousers were offered to them as proactive clothes for the kind of job they did, with an option of putting on the normal regular women’s attire. Though these women in the military preferred wearing these men’s dresses at work, it did not give them the boldness and freedom of wearing them in civilian life. Thus the military, because of its job nature becomes the only place where it was common to see women in men’s apparel. Those who had the boldness outside the military life to war trousers limited so-doing to the private (i.e. at home).
In 1920 a cult, known as the Cult of Open Air was formed. In this cult, highly influential and wealthy people in the society encouraged what is termed Healthy Sun Bathing in the sun, usually on the beach. Women of all classes were given the freedom to dress casually and to appear sexy; in other words, sleek and lithe. Tight trousers that greatly emphasized the body contours of women are worn to satisfy the burning passions of men lusting after women in trousers. Men found satisfaction in the obnoxious exposure of the women’s body and therefore took it as a worthwhile hobby going to the beach to feast their eyes on women in various forms of trousers and to solicit for illicit companionship. By the late 20s, men gradually felt comfortable seeing women in trousers either at fashionable resorts or in the pages of a society magazine.
“The period of 1927 ushered in another class of women in trousers; this time, the sportswomen. Star women in tennis began to wear men’s trousers in courts, but this never caught men’s attention until they began to put on trousers openly; contradicting the social conventions, adopting an entirely male look. They appeared in well-tailored suits with trousers, hairs cut shorter than that of men, assuming a more robust manly manner and even smoked cigars. Wonders they say never seized to happen; an unprecedented outrageous abomination had been launched, which would gradually engulf American in the near future. As a deterrent to women putting on men’s clothes, men began to ridicule women in trousers in papers like punch and other satirical magazines.
“The 1947-year marked the birth of the Youth Culture. The teenage girls wanted to have as much fun as the boys do. The idea of clothing for the fun became the Denim Jeans trousers, invented primarily as tough and durable work clothes from men. The invention was the brainchild of an émigré, Levi Strauss from Bararia who came to America in 1850 in search of gold. The jean trousers instead of being used for the purpose for which they were meant, work clothes, the girls converted them into their regular wears. Designers took advantage of the girl’s craze forth the jeans and came up with various jeans designed trousers in diverse multicultural styles with an emphasis on the hips and buttocks, tapering the trousers towards the legs for a more elegant and sensational outlook. Unisex jean trousers came into being, fashioned to the demand of women to compete with men in their dressing attire.
“The advent of colleges and universities gave birth to New Women Era fashion. Enlightened women, through college/university education, agitated for a change in their code of dressing. They succeeded in forcing their agitation down the throat of the society and changed their dressing from Victorian Fashion to what they called Modern Suit. This, as they claimed and desired, gave them an efficient outlook that commanded respect from their male employers and enabled them to finally begin participating in a men-dominated world. The society is completely beaten, men who could no longer enforce the proper dressing code for the women, threw in the towel and joined the crowd; accepting women in trousers as the norm of the society. If you cannot beat them, they say’ join them’. The women had achieved their status symbol, being in men’s trousers which meant to them, aspiring to a world where they would perpetually strive to keep ahead of the crowd; therefore, they had to carry the crowd with them”. (Culled from a researcher’s library in America).
From the above article, the following points can be lifted:-
- Long ago, women in the Western world from where the modernism of today came dressed decently and differently from men.
- Women’s departure from their code of dressing to put on that which belongs to men was the brain-child of women, who had sinful motives, who did not have anything to do with Christian values. This departure, which also has been long in existence, has now griped all the societies of the present world confirming the saying, “if an abomination lasts long unchecked, it becomes a norm”. In the light of the above points, men and women in the Church must be counselled to return to what is decent, honourable and rights in God’s sight. Copying evil is sin (I Sam 8:4-6).
- All our women should be informed that those jean/trousers and the like emphasize all the contours of their bodies, waist down to feet, and can be seductive (Cons Ex. 28:42; Prov. 7:10; Cp. Gen 38:13-22). Using the winter to justify such wears is like a basket that cannot hold water. Were there no winters before the ungodly entrance of these things?
- All those clergy men, who originally are tough-haired, but who now artificially curl them like women, or who do other things of this sort are both effeminate and lovers of the world (cons I Cor. 6:9; Jas. 4:4; Jn 2:2; 2:15-17). No wonder the press calls them “punk clergy men”.
- The issue of women in the Church wearing work dresses, the kind that men wear, is understandable.
- Anybody using the argument that we are not living in the past, but in the present, is just a lover of the world. And lovers of the world hate the Lord (Cons J. 14:15, 21-24; Jn 2:15; 5:2-3).
- Some argue that God is not bothered about what is outside, but what is inside, misapplying such scriptures as I Sam 16:6-7. The reason for such arguments is still the love of the world (Cons Ii Cor &:1; Rom 12:1; Phil. 3:18, 19, I Thess. 5:23; cp Rom. 8:1, 4-8).
It is possible that some ministers could get angry with all the above and remark thus: “But God answers the people’s prayers even in the state you are speaking against”. The answer to such a remark is this: in a world that is filled with numberless multitudes, filled with ungodliness and disregard for the Creator and His salvation offer, would the Father, who would have all men to be save (I Tim. 2:4; Rom. 2:1-11; 2 Pt. 3:9), throw these comparatively few away because they are involved in these things? Not at all! He must wait for a time like this, a time of preparation for that wondrous incident (the rapture). He must at this time remove all the dross that they have acquired and been polluted with.
Note well: going to heaven through the rapture experience is not the same as going to heaven through death. Those who have gone to heaven through death mostly did so through the pain of sickness etc. they had opportunity to search their lives while they were getting ready to die. Only a relatively few die without such time of reflection and preparation. The rapture is a glorious experience and there shall be no time for reflection and preparation. The preparation is what you are hearing now. He must remove all the dross, make them glories and take them away in a moment and that shortly (I Cor 15:51-52; I Thess. 4:5-17).
I Timothy 2:9-10; I Peter 3:3-6
The above scripture is a further yardstick for measuring true Christian women in the matter of fashion. There can be, and there are lots of arguments and practices, yet what is enjoined is clear.
It is like there are two groups in the wider Church in the matter of the application of these scriptures. The one group is the extremists on the right, who condemn anybody whose ears, neck or wrists have anything on them. The other is the extremists on the left, who wear every manner of make-up; every manner of jewellery; the heavily dressed in hair, ears, neck, wrists and body. Whichever way, the devil is using the situation of each group as a tsunami.
For the group on the extreme right, they could be so poorly dressed that their appearance can constitute a stumbling block and an offence to multitudes of the salvable who are yet outside (con. Rom. 14:13-22; I Cor. 10:31-32; 14:26, 40; 2 Cor. 6:3, 4; Cp Ex. 28:1-2; I Cor. 8:8-13). This kind of tsunami is working in the opposite direction of the ones we have hitherto been discussing, pushing out those who want to come in.
For the other group on the extreme left, their outlook can attract multitudes of all manner of people who just love the world and fashion. Having won them, they now Church them i.e. make them learn to sing to God, pray, confess Jesus on the lip, “speak in tongues”, etc., yet they remain as natural, semi-natural and in some cases, possessed as they had been. This situation is the conventional tsunami pushing in every manner of rubbish into Christendom.
The above situations notwithstanding, our scripture references are clear (as before stated). The first one (I Tim. 3:9-10) enjoins the women to adorn themselves with modest apparel (not very large or expensive); and not with all manners of hair do, attachments, gold, pearls or costly array (extravagance in ornaments and costly garments). The second scripture reference (I Pt. 3:12, 3-4) enjoins that the adoring (i.e. the lending to beauty; the enhancing; the decorating) should not be the outward adorning (of hairstyle; wearing of gold; wearing of apparel), but let it be the adoring (the lending to beauty; the enhancing; the decorating) of the hidden man; (the inward man or the spirit man of Rom. 7:22; 2 Cor 4:16; Eph. 3:16).
The two scripture references are complementary one to the other. The two are saying to the Christian lady, let your concentration, your focus, your concern, your pre-occupation, that which you really value, be the decoration, the beautifying, the enhancing of your spirit man with sobriety, shamefacedness, good works, quietness and meekness. On the other hand, let the outward decoration be moderate and secondary. How the Lord wishes that the women apply and practice these scriptures as above explained!