Several years ago, I shared my thoughts about whether or not people should dress up for church (click here to read it). Even though it’s over 3 years old, the post still gets views and comments. It has generated some good discussion, but one point seems to be repeated by those who are in support of dressing up for church. The point is simply, “We should give God our best.”
On the surface this seems like a good point, but the more I think about this, the more I think we are completely missing the mark of what church should be. Let me explain. I don’t think we are answering questions like these by using the Bible. In today’s society, people make decisions in several different ways:
- pragmatically, focusing on the end result
- experientially, focusing on what they have seen and experienced
- emotionally, focusing on what seems right
- logically, focusing on what makes the most sense
But instead of making our decisions and answering questions based on these four factors, shouldn’t we be making our decisions Biblically. When we have a question about how church should function or how we should do something in church, don’t you think that the Bible should be our ultimate guide. If we base our decisions on feelings or logic or experience, then we will be in constant conflict with other believers. It’s fine to have your own personal convictions, but when they are made to be the standard by which others are judged, we have wandered down a dangerous path of legalism.
When we look at this issue of how we dress for church, I simply cannot find anywhere in Scripture where what we wear is considered a sacrifice or an offering to God. And when I read through the book of James, I come away feeling that how we treat those who are poor among us is a much better indicator of our maturity than the way we dress. Why have we made expensive clothes the litmus test for Spiritual maturity and orderly worship! I know there are standards of decency and modesty that must be adhered to, but shouldn’t we be more concerned about becoming disciples of Jesus? I understand that many churches say that all are welcome, but perception is reality in most cases, and the perception of outsiders is that they are not welcome to attend unless they have expensive and fancy clothes.
In my previous post, I stated that this is a secondary issue, and I still believe that to be the case. My prayer is that we will focus more on what the Bible actually says, and recognize our own presuppositions that we bring into discussions like these.
and yes, for those of you who don’t believe I own a tie, the picture above is proof that I do 🙂