Principles of Christian Dress - McClure, page 98
Isaiah 47:1-2 "The Lord will take vengeance on the daughters of Babylon and make bare the leg and uncover the thigh. Their nakedness shall be uncovered, and thy shame shall be seen." This spiritual application exposes the adulterous acts of the Israelites with astrologers, stargazers and monthly prognosticators. However the physical application of dress is consistent in meaning with other Bible texts.
Luke 8:27-35 The demonic "ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs." The lack of clothing here is closely tied with his spiritual condition...indicating insanity, and demon possession. 'Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind, and they were afraid."
It is interesting also to note that the demonic clothed himself after his meeting with Jesus. With true conversion comes a clothing or covering of the body. It is a realization of one's shame and rebellion. Notice nakedness and adultery are closely related in the spiritual as well as in the physical sense.
" Please read Ezekiel 23 and Numbers 25 and Leviticus 18 and 20.
"And in the midst of the seven candlesticks, one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot." Rev. 1:13
To say "down to the foot" is consistent with the Bible principle of modesty. It could have read just clothed with a garment-but God is particular! Reading further, the description is clear as to color, eye expression, feet appearance, and the sound of his voice. God is just that particular with the dress of those called by His name.
"Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea thy shame shall be seen." Isaiah 47:3
"And of others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh." Jude 23
"Behold I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame." Rev. 16:15
"I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness." Isa 61:10
The physical meaning of these texts are consistent with what God reveals through the books Genesis 2 and 3 is immodest and shameful. It is simply nakedness.
"And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you that even Solomon, in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." Matthew 6:29
The dictionary has several definitions of nakedness: Without clothing or covering; nude; bare of any covering; without ade quate clothing.
The Biblical definition of nakedness rules out half-nakedness. Nakedness may be referred to as uncovering the body, especially the limbs, (see chapter "Dressing From Principle (Health)."
If the principle of modesty is an eternal one, the definition must be consistent from Genesis to Revelation and what is revealed in the writings of E. G. White on modesty must also present a clear, harmonious picture with the scriptures.
The dress principles stated by Sister E. G. White are not new, or of her devising, but of God.
The eternal God has eternal principles. Our dress principles are the same as were those of Adam and Eve; the original or first of the human race: TOTAL AND COMPLETE COVERAGE of the human body (that is of course, minus face, neck, and hands.) Its exposure was reserved for the marriage partner only. This was and is God's plan. "I know that whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him." Ecclesiastes 3:14
"Many have written to me stating difficulties, which I have not had time to answer; and now, to answer the many inquiries, I give the following statements, which it is hoped will forever put the subject at rest, so far as my testimonies are concerned." [In reference not only to pants but all the dress counsel] 1T 457
Let us therefore conclude: Nakedness became a sin after sin entered this world. Nakedness will always be a sin until this world and sin are done away with. And in the new earth whatever God chooses to cover us with we can be sure it will be a complete covering.
"That thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear." Revelation 3:18
How naked is naked? If partially covered, then how partial? The Lord has ever made it clear in the spiritual and physical application that the covering is full and complete.
"But the enemy who got them to sin devised a scheme exactly opposite in nature; he said I will help you to arrange garments which will be beautiful, of which you can be proud and which will make you look very attractive so that you will have no shame; you have done nothing wrong, and why should you not be both beautiful and proud of it? Then he said, Inasmuch as you are not sinners and have no shame, it won't hurt you if you do not cover the body; there is no reason why you should not exhibit your beauty when you wish to do so.
"And thus the controversy between God and Satan over the fundamental principles included all the clothing and decorations used either to protect or adorn these fallen images of the Creator from that day to this. The principles involved chiefly are two:
Cover our nakedness in shame because we are sinners, or
Foster pride by making a show of our garments or of our nakedness, as the case may be, and so repudiate the thought that we are sinners."
Elder Julius Gilbert White
The Christian Experience of the Medical Missionary in the Remnant Church
Hoops (For more information and pictures of hoops, click here)
Let us now consider the subject of hoops. We bring this up at this point to emphasize the sinfulness of being inadequately, improperly or partially covered at all times.
"From what has been shown me, hoops are an abomination. They are indecent." 1T 277
"But Sabbathkeepers have a work to do. Hoops, I was shown, are an abomination, and every Sabbathkeeper's influence should be a rebuke to this ridiculous fashion which has been a screen to iniquity, and which arose from a house of ill fame [house of prostitution] in Paris." 1T 270
"Among these pernicious fashions were the large hoops, which frequently caused indecent exposure of the persons."4T 635
"If a cord [hoop], or anything answering the place of cords, is placed directly around the bottom of the skirt, it distends the dress merely at the bottom, making it appear very unbecoming when the wearer is sitting or stooping." 1T 533
"He that framed us never designed that we should be deformed with hoops or anything to look like them." 1T 277
The hoop skirt mania continued among the non-SDA population in the United States during the 1860's and even later. These skirts could measure as much as five or more yards at the hem. In the later part of the sixties the hoop skirts were smaller.
Lessons from the Hoops
Several principles which are not in harmony with decency, modesty and Christian dress emerge as a result of the counsel to SDA sisters about hoops.
1. The female form was exposed briefly for a few minutes or maybe more. This was an evil.
2. The clothes distended from the body chilling the limbs. Many lost their lives to this unhealthful practice.
3. We are not to follow worldly fashions which contradict Biblical principles of health and modesty.
What fashions can you think of today that reveal the woman's form? Have we learned any lessons from the hoops?
'The hoops are a shame." 1T 189
"Because, under certain circumstances, it is, to say the least, not the most modest, on account of exposure of the female form. This evil is greatly aggravated by the wearing of hoops. Ladies with long dresses, especially if distended with hoops, as they go up and down stairs, as they pass up the narrow door-way of the coach and the omnibus, or as they raise their skirts, to clear the mud of the streets, sometimes expose the form to that degree as to put modesty to the blush."
The Health Reformer 8/1/88
"While traveling in the cars and stages, I have often been led to exclaim: O Modesty, where is thy blush. I have seen large companies crowding into the cars, and in order to make any headway the hoops had to be raised and placed in a shape which was indecent. And the exposure of the form was tenfold more with those who wore hoops, than with those who did not. Were it not for fashion, those who thus immodestly expose themselves would be hissed at; but modesty and decency must be sacrificed to the god of fashion. May the Lord deliver His people from this grievous sin!" 1T 277,278
"Neither shall thou go up by steps unto mine altar that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon," Ex. 20:26
"Those who profess to be God's chosen, peculiar people, should discard hoops." 1T 277
"Individuals were shown me who will despise instruction, even if it comes from heaven; they will frame some excuse to avoid the most pointed testimony, and in defiance of all the light given will put on hoops because it is the fashion, and risk the consequences." 1T270
The hoop dresses were so long they trailed the ground. The objection to this style of dress was that the form of the legs, which was covered with ruffled or cotton drawers, pantaloons, etc., was exposed momentarily when stepping into the cars. The underclothing and form of the woman's leg was exposed. Read again Exodus 20:26.
Let us review the pointed and straight word of the Lord about this:
1-It was a grievous sin
"The hoops distended the skirts that they could not fall naturally about the form and give warmth to the body. The extremities were chilled. Thousands of innocent victims were sacrificed to the hoop fashion." The Health Reformer 1/01/77
"And the exposure of the form was ten-fold more with those who wore hoops, than with those who did not; and were it not for fashion, those who immodestly expose themselves would be hissed at, but modesty and decency must be sacrificed to the god of fashion. May the Lord deliver His people from this grievous sin." Spiritual Gifts 4b, p. 68
"How do we as God's people in these last days even consider that we can dress as we do without receiving the same pointed denunciations. Sister White was shown some who would despise the instruction when they knew it was from heaven, and frame excuses to avoid the truth. What will it be with you, my friend?
"Only the judgment day will reveal the evil brought about by women in exposing parts of the body which God intended should be more fully clothed."
"And then is mentioned a style which frequently caused indecent exposure of the person." 4T 635. I know of no possible fashion ever invented as the present style adopted by thousands of our Adventist sisters, [skirts were then worn to the bottom of the knee]. No one can sit facing a company of women without being confronted with a show of bare arms, legs, and underwear. It is a shame to women. I say it at the risk of the caustic criticism of some, or of the oft-repeated statement that men are impure or they would not speak of such things, since a text says To the pure all things are pure.' But the Bible nowhere teaches that immodesty or impurity is ever pure or modest. Many of the purest men and most godly in all denominations condemn the present short dress."
Review & Herald
"The bared arms, the 'Peek-a-boo front,' and decollete waist, exposing the charms sacred to womanhood, appeal directly to man's sexual instinct. In consequence many men are weakened in moral restraint, and led into low ideals of womanhood. Knowingly to exert such influence is declared by Professor Gregory to be downright immorality. It is evident from the importance of man's higher nature, that the one who attempts to weaken the moral and religious restraints which keep men from moral evil, is guilty of a most atrocious vice, and is one of the worst enemies of mankind."
Elder J.E. Fulton
Review & Herald
Sept. 6, 1928
Taken from, Principles in Christian Dress, pages 101,102
"Every man, woman, and child in the world has a carnal nature by birth. But the male struggle to keep the thoughts straight is based upon more than the fleshly nature. It is rooted in the fact that God created men with a completely different sexual makeup than women.
"God made man in the beginning with a very sensitive sexual nature that could be quickly aroused by the SIGHT of female nudity. Woman, on the other hand, was created with a sexual nature which would not be so easily stirred, especially by sight. She was made to be more responsive to touch and tenderness. Her more subtle sexuality could be drawn out by the physical attentions involved in the conjugal relationship.
"God gave man his emotional sex nature for the purpose of making marriage more pleasurable and happy. The husband was to be the aggressive one in the relationship. Under this beautiful plan of God, the sex instinct of both husband and wife could be lawfully stirred. But mark this: God never intended for man's sex emotions to be stimulated outside the marriage chamber. And in order to protect him God placed within the woman a delicate sense of modest reserve, so that she would not expose her body except to her own husband.
"The plan was perfect, but it has been broken down in one area. Satan has managed to destroy to a very great extent that inherent modesty with which the Creator endowed womanhood. Under the growing curse of transgression, women have thrown off the moral restraints. Uninhibited nudity or provocative half-dress has become the accepted norm of modern fashion. On every side the Christian as well as the non-Christian is forced to look upon scenes of nakedness which are utterly foreign to the original plan of the Creator.
"What has been the effect of this perverted order of things? It has produced a sex-saturated society whose moral qualities just about match those of the antediluvians. Jesus said, 'For as the days of Noah were so shall also the coming of the Son of man be,' Matthew 24:37. And what were the conditions of Noah's day which would be duplicated in the end of time? Genesis 6:5 says that 'every imagination of the thoughts of his heart were only evil continually.'
"We have only to look at the sorry state of today's entertainment and communication media to know how fully this prophecy has been fulfilled. Pornography has been legitimized. The TV channels are crowded with lewd sex, either implicit or explicit. The world of advertising, and even the daily news commentaries are sprinkled with profanity and suggestive double talk. The imagination of modern man seems obsessed with the subject of sex, often deviant and perverted. Homosexuality has not only received the tolerant coexistence which it sought after, but has been given recognition by the majority of psychiatrists as normal sex behavior.
"And what about the Christians who are surrounded by this glorification of the flesh? Unfortunately it has not been left outside the church doors. Slowly the world edged into the remnant church. By degrees the sight of knees and thighs even in the sanctuary began to be tolerated. The sense of outrage disappeared as we got used to the weekly display.
"What about the Christian men whose inherent sex nature is so easily influenced by this nudity? Do they respond to the external stimuli by thinking evil thoughts and committing mental adultery. By the grace of God true Christians can lay hold of victory, even over the imaginations of the heart. Through submission and prayer any man can claim the power of a pure mind, but the styles of dress make it a more difficult struggle.
"Jesus made it clear that men are easily led into wrong thinking. He said 'Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shall not commit adultery: but I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart' Matt. 5:27, 28.
"And what can be said for the women who dress in such a way that they stimulate this kind of thinking? They are equally guilty before God. For this reason no true Christian woman, who understands the effect of such a course, will wear the revealing clothes which create such illicit desires. As the dress inches above the knee, the climate of sin is created. For the carnal man, who has not the power of the gospel in his life, there is no chance whatever to resist the temptation. Every mini skirt is fuel which triggers the mind to think the most debased thoughts of which the carnal nature is capable. Christian women should have no share in this kind of excitement.
"Indeed the second greatest commandment of Jesus would be violated by such a course. Christ said, Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself.' How could a woman wear clothing that was designed to cause her neighbor's husband to commit mental adultery, and not be guilty of breaking that law of love? Would she love her neighbor as herself if she willfully did something to cause her neighbor's husband to sin against his wife and against God?
We are dealing here with actions which cause others to sin. Moral issues are directly involved. We are counseled to close every door of temptation.
" 'Our example and influence must be a power on the side of reform. We must abstain from any practice which will blunt the conscience or encourage temptation. We must open no door that will give Satan access to the mind of one human being formed in the image of God.' 5T 360
"Because the female reaction to nudity is so different from that of the male, women often minimize the spiritual problem we are talking about here. Too often their attitude is that men ought to just use more power of self-control, and stifle their mental images. They fail completely to grasp the significant difference which God Himself put into the male nature. That nature cannot be reversed by any human effort or determination. It can be controlled by complete Christian commitment, but the Christian women must cooperate in closing the avenues of the soul to temptation."
Joe Crews, Creeping Compromise. Included by permission. This excerpt comes from the chapter "Is Nudity Modest?" "Our only safety is to be shielded by the grace of God every moment and not put out our own spiritual eyesight so that we will call evil good and good, evil. Without hesitation or argument, we must close and guard the avenues of the soul against evil. It will cost us an effort to secure eternal life. It is only by long and persevering effort, sore discipline, and stern conflict, that we shall be overcomers." 3T 324
NEW YORK TIMES, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 30,1973
Department Store Fire in Japan Kills 100
KUMAMOTO Japan, Nov. 29, (AP)-Fire and smoke stampeded thousands of panicky shoppers in a department store here today and the police said more than 100 were killed and 100 injured in the worst such blaze in Japan's history. Casualties were expected to mount.
There were conflicting reports but the police said that 107 persons, 67 of them women, were killed. Many were burned beyond recognition.
The fire raged for eight hours through the seven-story building in the center of this southern provincial city of 480,000 on the island of Kyushu, about 560 miles south-west of Tokyo.
The fire occurred on a day when the store normally would have been closed and when sprinklers were not working because they were under repair for fire prevention week, officials said.
Smoke and fumes continued to hamper rescue work as building materials used in remodeling the 20-year-old Taiyo Department Store still smoldered.
'It Was Like an Inferno'
Only about 1 per cent of Japanese are Christians, but since World War II Christmas has been celebrated with major gift giving in addition to the traditional New Year's holiday.
The fire broke out in the bedding sales department on the third floor around 1:20 PM. and raced up the stairs of the building.
100 Stranded on Roof
The shoppers and store employees headed for the windows, then ran for the stairs and escalators, adding to the confusion. Hundreds ran out of the store, witnesses said.
About 100 persons managed to reach the roof, where they screamed for help.
Fire-fighting equipment was rushed to the store. Ladders were raised to rescue those on the roof, but the police said there were not enough fire trucks with ladders to handle the job. Helicopters were brought into service.
Witnesses said some people on the lower floors of the building tried to escape by climbing down dangling ropes, others tried to leap to a nearby shop awning.
Firemen, soldiers and policemen wearing oxygen masks had difficulty forcing their way into the building because of fumes caused by the building materials used to line the walls and floors of the store, the police said.
Witnesses said many customers were choking and kept covering their faces with handkerchiefs and towels.
Japan's worst previous department store fire destroyed the old Shirokiya in Tokyo in December, 1932, killing 14 persons and injuring 82. The dead were all women in kimonos who refused to jump into fire nets because of modesty.
Think it through: why were these Japanese women so convicted on modesty? They were not Christians. Only one percent of the Japanese are Christians. Someone once said, "If you are not willing to die for what you believe, it's not worth living for."
Jesus said: "If any man will come after me let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" Matthew 16:24-26
"...seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame." Hebrews 6:6
Dear friend, what is the "open shame?" May I suggest to you that open shame was partly the fact that the Creator of the Universe and of every living thing would allow His created sinful beings to strip Him completely naked (without a loin cloth) and nail Him to a pagan cross on a hill close to a main thoroughfare, to be mocked and ridiculed and looked upon by all; men, women, and children, friend and foe, rich or poor, all had a ringside view of the "open shame" of this God-man, who dared not resist the overt and bold exposure of His person, which was uncommon in His day, and thereby resist His Father's will.
"...who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame..." [of the cross, the nakedness, the sin, the separation from the Father] Hebrews 12:2
Yes, it was insulting, despicable, and shameful. Our God hanging naked for hours, nailed to wood, bleeding, thirsty, and heartbroken. But, He endured it, He took it all for you and for me. And what shall be our response? Let us do His will. The highest form of reverence to our Creator is loving obedience. Let us pray not my will, but thine be done, O Lord I pray.
Just before going to press one of my dear sisters in Christ, Elaine Tucker, handed me a pamphlet. It so beautifully presented some of the same thoughts presented in this book,—only the Amish are saying it. We appreciated it so much we wanted to share it with you; The Plague of Public Immodesty, Rod & Staff Publishers, Inc. Crockett, KY 41413:
The enjoyable summer weather intensifies the problem of people appearing in public with abbreviated clothing. This plague of public immodesty has accelerated the breakdown of morals in our society, and tends to also condition our minds to accept what God has declared to be sinful.
Many forces are at work, propelling this demoralizing situation. First of all, the nominal church has gone down the road of shameful immodesty. The tolerant attitudes and acceptance of this perversion by many professing Christians have undoubtedly weakened the conscience of society. From secular viewpoint, many of the clothing designers, commercial advertisers, Hollywood producers, television programmers, and magazine publishers seem to be, for a profit, intent on removing all modesty and decency from our society. Also, the current emphasis on physical fitness and beauty has planted the notion that the body is for public attraction and display.
The Bible speaks very explicitly about clothing. In the context of end-time developments, the child of God is commanded, "Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame" (Revelation 16:15). A curse is pronounced upon those who bare the leg and uncover the thigh (Isaiah 47:2, 3). Women are commanded to adorn themselves with modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety (1 Timothy 2:9). Sinful women are pictured in gay, gaudy clothing that draws attention to their bodies and reveals their sinful motives (Proverbs 5; Revelation 18). In contrast, God's people are always pictured modestly and fully clothed.
The Bible equates nudity with moral degeneracy and demon possession. The demoniac of Gadara dwelt among the tombs, had an unclean spirit, and "ware no clothes" (Luke 8:27). After the evil spirit was cast out of him, and he came to know the Lord, he was found "sitting...clothed, and in his right mind."
But some will reply that Adam and Eve were unclothed in the Garden. True, but in their unfallen state, they were clothed as God is clothed, "with honour and majesty" (Psalm 104:1, 2). They were clothed with a veil of purity and light, which was lost in the Fall. Immediately after they had sinned, they were ashamed of their nakedness and hastily prepared aprons of fig leaves. Adam said, "I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself" Genesis 3:10). God was not satisfied with their makeshift aprons, but made coats of skins and completely clothed them (verse 21). This act of God carries redemption types, but also reveals His will for the covering of the body.
Satan is the father of the "undress" parade of our day. The Bible describes Satan as subtle (Genesis 3:1). The Hebrew meaning for this word suggests nakedness—"to be, or to make bare" (Strong's Concordance—compare #6175 and #6191). Satan, like Adam and Eve, was made naked through transgression, but no covering was provided for him. In contrast to Satan, Christ is portrayed modestly dressed in His earthly life, and in heaven He is pictured with full garment down to the foot (Revelation 1:13). Immodesty and undress are most prevalent where Satan is most active. This is the reason people do not wear clothing in some dark, superstitious, heathen cultures of the world. It is also the reason our society is rapidly approaching this same point. Although immodesty is now considered acceptable and cultured in western society, it is no less satanic than before, and God is no less tolerant of sin, but will surely bring judgment upon it.
There is a definite relationship between immodesty and the moral corruption of our day. The eye gate is a direct route to the mind and soul. The power of sensory perception is well understood and utilized by the devil. David, the man after God's own heart, committed adultery by first of all lusting with his eyes. The Proverb writer gives many warnings against the allurements of the "strange woman" attracting her prey by her clothing and her body (Proverbs 5:3-6; 7:10). Social and moral sins, such as infidelity in marriage, adultery, and sex crimes, can often be traced to perverted visual exposures. This does not excuse the person sinning with his eyes, but the seducer is likewise guilty.
Much of what we have discussed here will not be changed. The ungodly world is headed on a downward course toward judgment. But the Christian's outlook must remain positive. God has the believers here in our day for a purpose. Jesus has already prayed for us, that we may be kept from the evil of this world. He has given His Word as the sanctifying agent in our life (John 17:15-17).
The following guidelines will help us in properly relating to the problems we have discussed.
1. We must continue to testify against the immodesty of our day rather than adapt to it.
We will leave our testimony by dressing modestly ourselves, and by explaining Bible principles and applications to others. The tendency to become insensitive to unscriptural practices is real in our own lives.
2. We must maintain the needed reserve and protection in our own homes.
Careless, rather then planned, immodesty may be a danger for us. Children learn social and moral values in the home. For this reason, family members should be well-clothed. The wearing of nightwear should be confined to the privacy of the bedroom. Catalogs, magazines, newspapers, and advertising flyers should be closely guarded. Clothing advertisements have become extremely sensual, and they must not become an influence in our homes.
3. We must guard our exposures to the world
We cannot isolate ourselves completely from the prevalent immodesty of our day, but we should not intermingle unnecessarily with the world. Attending or viewing places such as swimming pools must be strictly avoided. Occupational exposures must also be guarded. In the past, many employers had dress regulations for their employees, but today it is different. The intermingling today of men and women on the job actually requires more caution, and more, rather than less, regulation.
4. We must maintain a Scriptural church that continues to speak to the dress issue of our day.
Bible teaching and church regulation are needed to maintain a standard of modesty. If the church does not regulate the standard of modesty, the world will. Even in regulated groups, the tendency is to follow the standards of the world at a measured distance, rather than maintaining a truly Biblical standard. The hemline of the Christian women's dress will not go up and down with the current styles; it will stay down.
5. We must employ the power of God in resisting temptation and lust.
We cannot help seeing some of the immodesty around us, but as Christians we must not look for it, and must close the eye of the mind and the soul to it. Sinful imaginations must not be allowed to fasten themselves to the mind. Victory and cleansing can be experienced through prayer, Bible readings, and meditation on "whatsoever things are pure."
The plague of public immodesty need not affect us—it must not. God is looking for a separated people to convey a consistent witness to the world. As one person has wisely said, "If we want men to see the image of God in our faces, we will need to keep our bodies clothed."
Eby W. Burkholder
"Thy Nakedness" from another point of view written by a non- Seventh-day Adventist.
The Hazards of Immodest Dress
by Harold S. Martin
The days of the short skirt are not over. Thousands of women are defying the fashion experts, and are determined to continue exposing their bodies and showing their legs. Immodest dress includes any type of clothing which tends to expose the nakedness of the body--transparent fabrics, plunging neck lines, sweaters and blouses that emphasize the bustline, and skirts that are not long enough to modestly cover the knees even when sitting.
The word "modesty" implies that clothing must provide enough covering for the body so that others are not embarrassed or tempted. Jesus clearly condemned the lustful glance-and while men are admonished to "flee youthful lusts"-- there is no question but that the revealing clothing worn by women today contributes to the depravity of our time. The word "modesty" also implies dressing with restraint, avoiding dress that is designed to call attention to oneself, whether it be attention getting because of its color, its styling or its nudity. Superfluous clothing indicates an inner carnality that is not pleasing to God.
That God expects people to wear sufficient clothes is clear from Genesis 3:21. When Adam and Eve became conscious of their nakedness, "They sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons." But God took coats of skins and made them clothes to cover their bodies. It is helpful to note that the Hebrew word for "coats" (In Genesis 3) means literally "a covering robe" The clothes that God made for Adam and Eve were not primarily for adornment, nor even for keeping warm. Their chief object was to cover the nakedness of the body. God clothed the first pair in the Garden--and it seems like the devil has been trying ever since to get men and women to unclothe.
The Scriptures always condemn nakedness and commend modesty. When Moses had been away in the Mountain for many days, and he came back to the camp, and found people dancing around a golden calf in nudity, (Exodus 32:25-26) God severely punished Israel because of her idolatry and nakedness. In the New Testament, it was the demon-possessed man who wore no clothes. (Luke 8:27) The Christian woman is to wear "modest apparel with shamefacedness and sobriety." (1 Timothy 2:9) Nakedness is a calamity to be avoided. Immodesty is a sin which God hates.
Modern fashions are designed to catch the attention of the male, and to concentrate that attention on the female body. In fact, one of the major intents of the short skirt is to accentuate sexuality. The short skirt suggests nakedness. It conveys the impression of full exposure of the body, without actually quite completely exposing it. Thus it is even more provocative than total nakedness. There are hazards that accompany the wearing of revealing attire.
Nothing seems too ridiculous for many to put on the body. The kinds of clothing that many women are wearing today are outrageous beyond words. The clothes are usually tight and uncomfortable and immodest and inadequate. Women seem to be constantly tugging and stretching and pulling and changing positions--uncertain of what is visible. The person wearing a short skirt often cannot relax. Some finally give up their efforts to cover their knees, and simply expose their legs as freely as their face.
Girls that wear immodest clothes (shorts, short dresses, see through blouses, low-cut dresses) are somewhat embarrassed at first, but as they grow older, their blush is gone, their modesty is gone, and in some cases their virtue is gone too. The young girl may not be aware of the temptation she presents to a man by revealing her body with scanty or too tight fitting clothes. But her father surely knows, and he should have enough moral character to insist that his daughters cover themselves. This is one of his responsibilities as a husband and father in the home. In fact modesty should be taught from earliest childhood. Even little children should not be left to play in "sun-suits" (and other improper clothing), or they may grow up without the modesty of heart which God intends. The Bible declares that we should "train up a child in the way he should go." (Proverbs 22:6) -not in the way the world goes.
Granted that a man should not look with lust upon a woman, (Matthew 5:28) still it is wrong for women to dress in such a way as to cause that temptation in a man.
The sex-drive in men is very strong. It can be ignited into flames by the mere sense of sight. God created the man in such a way that when he sees the exposed body of an attractive girl or woman (or when he sees a woman dressed so that every line of her figure is seen in bold relief) there's an immediate, automatic charge set off in his body that stimulates sinful thought and action. Men are built that way. Any man who denies it is either dishonest or abnormal.
A woman often does not have the same strong sexual urge that a man has. The woman's drive toward marriage is just as strong as the man's, but the urge that a woman craves, is the love and attention of a man.
Why do we speak about modesty and about the matter of women conducting themselves in a decent manner? The answer is because of the heart of man. When women and girls expose themselves (and men see them) the evil nature within immediately seeks to express itself. Time and time again, God-fearing men and boys have stated that one of their sorest temptations is the sight of improperly dressed women.
A survey conducted among policemen and other law enforcement officers (from thirty-seven states) included these questions:
Is a girl more likely to be a victim of crime if she dresses immodestly, especially if she wears short skirts?
Do boys and men generally consider short skirts an invitation to sex-oriented attentions?
Nearly all the officers answered these questions with an unqualified "YES." Women simply cannot parade about, exposing their bodies to the opposite sex -- without inviting abuse.
It must be clearly stated, however, that men will answer to God also for their pre-occupation with evil glances and smutty remarks and immoral conduct.
Men, too, should avoid tendencies toward nakedness. When men strut around wearing only the briefest of shorts, this is far from modesty. When at picnic tables or at their places of work, they appear stripped to the waist, it is hard to believe that such an appearance represents an attire that "becometh saints."
We want to salute those women who have not bowed their knees to Baal, nor bared their knees to Jezebel. A properly attired woman is a witness to God and is an aid to man in conquering temptation. It is understandable that the unsaved will follow the immodest fashions, but Christians follow the guidelines given in the New Testament, and every day seek God's face saying, "Lord what will you have me to do?" In Exodus 32 we read "And when Moses saw that the people were naked...(he) stood in the gate of the camp and said, Who is on the Lord's side?" One who tramps around in semi-nude clothing can hardly say he is on the Lord's side! We urge that each of us turns his back on the immodest styles of this age, lifts up the flag of purity, and dedicates his life to Jesus Christ anew - and steps out on the Lord's side.
On the following pages is a picture file of the bathing suit evolution from the 1860's and each 10 year period there after until 1892. Fashions and styles are ever changing, God's principles never change.
There is a direct correlation between—
Immodest dress and