Know Your Bible

VOL. 15                                                                                               September 24, 2017                                                                                                              NO. 28



As to the question of whether Christians are to adorn/dress themselves modestly, there can be no doubt. “in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing,” (1 Timothy 2:9 NKJV). However, it seems the matter of modesty has fallen into the realm of indifference with far to many Christians. It reminds me of another Bible subject that has also become a matter of indifference - short hair on men and long hair on women (1 Corinthians 11:14-15).

By ‘leggings’ I’m referring to the elastic close-fitting garments worn over the legs typically by women. They have become the new fashion fad in the last few years. By their very definition, the answer to the question of this article is already answered if and when leggings are worn as the sole article of clothing on women from their waist down. What are we using to think with if we believe that elastic material worn from the waist down without anything covering them can even remotely be modest? Elastic is form fitting and reveals the form and curvature of the hips and thighs in great detail. They leave hardly anything to the imagination.

People of the world have no problem recognizing the revealing aspects of leggings worn without anything else but somehow many Christians don’t. Heather Taylor a principle at Stratford, South Carolina High School made this statement: “(Leggings are) meant to wear underneath a long shirt that covers your heinie, or a long sweater of some type, or a dress. It is not meant to be your actual pants, and if you have a shirt that comes to here, then you are showing everything. Yes, everything!”

If you try, as some do, to justify leggings as pants on the basis they are not sheer that still is ignoring the fact that they are skin tight. While I’m sure that leggings are comfortable and can keep a person warm in cold weather, let’s keep them modest by wearing a modest length dress or tunic like God made Adam and Even which reached to the knees (Genesis 3:21). If leggings worn by themselves are not immodest, then someone needs to explain to me what is. Ladies wear your leggings but make sure they are being covered from your hips down past your thighs. The revealing of the curvature of your thighs is nakedness in God’s sight (Isaiah 47:2-3).

But then there are the age old arguments and ‘come backs’ to be heard. Such as: “I’ll wear what I want because I like it.”, “You can’t tell me how to dress, that’s oppressive.”, “It’s comfortable.”, “If a man is lustful, that’s his problem.”, or “It’s the man’s job not to look.” All that these arguments have ever amounted to are attacks against modesty itself. When anyone responds in this manner, they are denying the very premise of modesty. They are beyond help and hope.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2) “Keep yourself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27).

—E.R. Hall, Jr.

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The Christian Chronicle carried an interview with LeGard Smith, who was at the time “scholar in Residence for Christian Studies” at David Lipscomb University in Nashville. One item caught my attention. Smith was asked what he would say if he had the undivided attention of every member of churches of Christ for 10 minutes. Included in his answer: ". . . I would call on the church to abandon youth ministries, which have toppled the spiritual hierarchy. Throughout Scripture, spiritual leadership is not only male, but it's elder. It's the wisdom of the years that leads and nurtures younger generations."

Abandon youth ministries. This is not the cry of some old fogey ultra-conservative who resists change at every turn. It is the counsel of one who is seeing among his peers the ripe fruit of an ill-advised tree.

Youth ministries typically feature two things: abundant recreational activities and shallow, entertaining instruction. What happens when teens who are accustomed to such things become adults? Will they immediately consider themselves too old for church-sponsored recreation, or suddenly insist on more sober worship and meatier preaching?  Of course not.  As a result, today's "adult church" has in many cases become just a slightly toned-down version of yesterday's "youth church."

The Bible, of course, knows nothing of youth ministries, youth church, or church-sponsored recreation for any age. And it emphatically warns against ear-tickling preaching (2 Tim. 4:3-4).

This warning is timely. In recent years, increasing numbers of congregations which have stood opposed to institutionalism and church-sponsored recreation (things readily accepted by Smith’s associates) are beginning to dabble in youth ministries. We don't call them that, of course, but the trend is cause for concern.

Special meetings for young people call for certain speakers, those whose presentations are more entertaining. The truth is slightly repackaged - less Bible reading and exposition, more stories and humor, and lessons that are mostly application with content limited to "relevant" (daily living) themes. Parents provide ample food and entertainment.

Do not misunderstand. No one opposes occasional sermons targeted at a particular segment of the audience, nor do we underestimate the value of young Christians getting together.  However, when meetings for young people consistently take on a more entertaining air, when the add-on recreation becomes expected, when we advertise it along with the worship (even though it is not paid for from the church's treasury), and when brethren begin to say that we may lose our young people without such events, we have gone farther than we think down the wrong path.

—Frank Himmel

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