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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
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Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Fit to be "Tied?"
A conversation I recently had about what constitutes "appropriate church attire" got me to thinking that I should interrupt my brief hiatus from blogging with a "quick" post on a form of legalism that is often overlooked (and perhaps even encouraged) in many conservative evangelical churches.

I am talking about “dressing up” for church – and perhaps in particular about men wearing neckties.

I am sure that most of us (by now) have heard the old stand-by:
"If you were going to meet with the Queen of England, you'd wear a tie – wouldn't you?"


But few of those who would ask this question would actually ask it if the comparison were made valid: Consider how I might answer that question were the Queen my own dear mommy - the woman who nursed me a babe, changed my nappies as an infant, and bathed me when we I was little! If I have eaten every meal with the Queen informally for the past forty years - Let me tell you right now – I most certainly would not put on my "Sunday best" to go and see her – and neither would you. I don't care how “conservative” you are!

Now some who hear me "dis" the sacred "Q of E" example will imagine that in doing so I am suggesting that Christians should feel "free to dress as provocatively and/or immodestly as they want" - to that I say:
"Pffft."


Seriously, if the Spirit of God is in a person, they really don't need anyone to teach them how to dress modestly because God will do that; I don't imply by that that everyone is going to be obedient to God's leading – only that deep, down genuine believers have had the truth etched into their hearts by the Spirit of God – and if they are willing to be obedient to that truth – they won't need any other instruction in the matter.

"Aaron's holy garments were made 'for glory and for beauty' (c.f. Ex 28:2) – likewise we too are 'a royal priesthood' (c.f. 1 Peter 2:9) – and therefore we ought to dress up when we come to church - 'for glory and for beauty'"


Okay – this one is sad because not only is it moot, but it uses scripture to make its moot point.

In case you don't have God's Spirit to help you understand what is being "pictured" by Aaron's garment, I will tell you straight out – it is the person of Jesus Christ.

The holy garment worn by Aaron during his priestly ministry is a picture of the Spirit of Christ in the New Testament believer. Just as Aaron was unfit for ministry until he was rightly dressed – so we in the New Covenant are unfit for ministry unless we are clothed in Christ.

I think its a crime to pimp these verses that way - but it happens. I have even seen (otherwise) godly men do this. To be sure - when someone asks me for a example of eisegesis – I usually use this gem for the illustration.

I am not on a rant against neckties however; I am actually making a more general point (a point I will get to in a minute once I wrap up the necktie thing.) I see nothing wrong with wearing a necktie to church – but I see nothing right with it either; and that applies to both pew and pulpit. There is a way to dress that is acceptable to God – and anything more than that is catering to men. Period.

But the issue at hand isn't really neckties – it is legalism.

"You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads the grain" – Deuteronomy 25:4

Paul saw the following "truism" in this verse: "the laborer is worthy of his wages" (c.f. 1 Corinthians 9:9; & 1 Timothy 5:18). Paul then (correctly) applied that truism to those who minister the word. The command for the ox can be applied to anyone who labors – whether the worker be an ox treading grain or a preacher preaching the gospel – the truth is still true: the laborer is entitled by God to eat from the fruits of his or her labor.

That is called arguing from the lesser to the greater – and I mention it because most legalistic arguments attempt to apply this style of reasoning using opinions rather than truisms – and thereafter insist that their conclusions are as binding on other believers as scripture itself.

Take this tie thing. In the conversation I mentioned earlier the fellow cycled through a small, memorized, list of reasons why you ought to wear a tie to church - but in only a few moments the well ran dry, and he hadn’t been able to biblical support his view. Never-the-less it was evident that his expectation was that every right thinking Christian male ought to wear a tie to church, and that failure to do so was “unchristian” (or at the very least – less than acceptable).

As he sounded off each of the various articles from his personal litany - I got the distinct impression that this was not some untried opinion he was testing - but rather a firmly rooted conviction drawing moisture (no doubt) from some ancient, central well in the congregation.

It didn’t really matter if neckties were biblical or not – what mattered was that my inclusion into his “group” suddenly rested upon my ability to accept speculation as doctrine – and a rather faulty speculation at that. In failing to acknowledge how biblical neckties are I was painting myself to this fellow as either an outsider, a troublemaker, or just plain “unspiritual.”

It was only minutes before I was about to preach, and to be fair, he had actually interrupted me while I was praying through that church’s prayer items (from the bulletin). There was no time for this conversation to play itself out, and so I cut to the chase of my position – I don’t care much what a man wears to church as long as he comes dressed in Christ. I excused myself and went back to prayer – but I thought it might make good blog fodder.

I am still on hiatus - so I am not going to be very active in the meta - just warning you now...
posted by Daniel @ 4:43 PM  
7 Comments:
  • At 5:45 PM, March 22, 2006, Blogger Jim said…

    Please don't tell me that was at our church?

    Welcome back...sort of..

     
  • At 7:50 PM, March 22, 2006, Blogger Sojourner said…

    As long as you don't have an ear ring we'll get along just fine with this.

     
  • At 8:39 PM, March 22, 2006, Blogger Jeremy Weaver said…

    I just came from my church where I wore jeans to the service. Will Moses ever forgive me?

     
  • At 12:53 PM, March 23, 2006, Blogger Even So... said…

    People ask me about what is the appropriate attire for church all the time, literally, I have someone ask me every week.

    I tell them all the same thing...my dress code and the dress code of this church is the same as God's..only one requirement....humility

    I talk of this at greater length@
    http://voiceofvision.blogspot.com
    look for the "God's Dress Code" article.

    Daniel, don't stay gone too long, but enjoy it while you do.

    Even So...

     
  • At 11:27 PM, March 23, 2006, Blogger Bryan said…

    I remember heard a very similar discussion in our own church Daniel ;)

    Bryan
    SDG

     
  • At 11:36 PM, March 23, 2006, Blogger pilgrim said…

    Well I've worn jeans (claen ones, in decent condition) and dreaa pants both casual and dressier ones.
    I've worn a tie, and not worn a tie (usually don't though.)
    I've worn various tyoes of shirts.

    But yes modest, and I make sure it's clean--and I wear clean clothes when I visit my parents.

    COme to our chirch services and you will see men in jeans and T-shirts, people in nice suits, and everthing in between.

    Some women will be dressed in fancy clothes, others in casual ones.

    And I've never heard a complaint that way.

     
  • At 12:18 PM, March 24, 2006, Blogger Frank Martens said…

    All I gotta say is... "Don't let preference turn into legalism".

    HOORAAH!

     
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