Paul Thompson blogs at “The Bridge.” 

I just finished an essay by Jeff Pollard, entitled Christian Modesty, the Public Undressing of America. For a thorough examination of the history of how public opinion has shifted in America in regards to clothing you should read this. Informative and interesting to see the intention of the fashion and movie industry methodically marching a nation toward the undressing of men and women.

“The fashion industry does not believe that the principle purpose of clothing is to cover the body; it believes that the principle purpose of clothing is sexual attraction. This is the very opposite of Christian modesty.” Jeff Pollard

Neither the fashion industry or Hollywood in general are neutral in this undressing. I want to take a moment to address this with a more directed address, and consider how this undressing of America has had an influence on the church.

I’m not the historian to site the shifting of how church attendees clothing has shifted over the past 200 years. I’m not the statistician with numbers to prove a point. I’m simply a local pastor who stands before a people week in and week out and notice that once a person dresses down or less they are slow to return to the previous standard of conservative.

I’m not looking to call for a formality of clothing and I’m not suggesting that one should dress more conservative at church than the other six days of the week. I find the teaching of modesty in Scripture to be lifestyle instructions rather than Sunday only fashion.

I accept that this kind of talk in our day potentially puts the label of legalism on me rather than speaker of truth. There is a danger of legalism with any matter and I want to always be careful of a legalistic spirit. I realize that not all will agree that the undressing of the church is as serious of a matter as I do. I pray for grace on my writing and speaking and upon the hearing.

First: let’s acknowledge that the spirit of this age has had more influence on all of us than we like to admit. In knowing that the agenda of the flesh is contrary to the agenda of the Spirit will only help us. If what Jeff Pollard argues is true, the principle purpose of fashion and Hollywood is sexual in nature and will even use this sexual attraction to lure in the church. To not know this will explain why there is less clothing on men and women of faith today.

Second: to not know this or to refuse to consider the likely influence the spirit of this age has on the church will show a lack of submitting to the Lordship of Christ in your life and the church toward the Lord. For a man or woman to have little concern of how their dressing effects others shows little interest on why Scripture would even address this matter. When Scripture speaks to a matter as directly as it does to clothing, then the follower of the Lord should consider it with great interest.

Third: for a believer, adorn yourself with the glory of God rather than the glory of the day. It has become increasingly complicated when fewer people within the household of faith appear to express care in the effects of this matter. Men and women alike know what clothing attracts attention. You know it by the comments people make, you know it by the way people look at you, you know it by the reaction you get. Don’t appear naive on this matter. There is an agenda and you are taking part in it.

Conclusion: I plead with believers (primarily at the local church I pastor) to give serious consideration to this. We accept that there is a moral dress code that even unconverted people adhere to. Nudity is a public crime and not accepted in the public. But the more sexual the clothing becomes the less imagination a man or woman has to have. The increasing distraction of the physical body that God declared “very good” becomes more attractive, especially to our children. If the body is the temple of the Lord, and it is, then of those in our culture who should understand how important it is that our clothing display the glory of God and not the attraction of the eyes of a passer-by. If all that we do should be committed to the Lord, and it should, then even the way our clothing effects others should be considered.

Then, also, follower of Christ… because there is an agenda to undress the culture, don’t be so foolish to think that there is not an agenda to undress the church. There is. You may likely be participating in that agenda.

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