Sunday, June 16, 2024

Biblical Dress- Is There More To The Issue?

by Bob Gray Sr.

Same-sex marriage, mothers no longer working in the home, families going their separate ways with no time together, the feminization of men, the masculinization of women. These are the things I see as I look out over the landscape of our country. I find myself asking, “Where has manhood gone?” and “Where has femininity gone?”

As I read the messages preached and the books written by my mentor, Dr. Jack Hyles, I sense in him a concern for the direction in which our country was moving with regards to manhood and womanhood. He even preached a sermon, which later was published in booklet form, on the subject of the unisex movement.

Today we seldom even think about it yet so many of the things about which he warned us have now come true and for the most part we have accepted them. We have lost the distinction between the sexes. We’ve lost the pride of masculinity and femininity. In fact, society derides both.

Perhaps nothing has brought more criticism to Dr. Hyles than did his strict position on women wearing pants for those in church leadership. He never wavered on that position, however he never treated women who wore pants with disrespect or unkindness. He NEVER made the issue of a woman wearing pants as proof of whether or not she was a Christian, or whether or not she loved the Lord. The issue really was not as much about the individual as it was with the whole.

He saw us moving away from the distinctiveness of the sexes towards a homogenous sameness that he felt was wrong. He saw the issue in ways that others did not. It was more of a philosophy that he preached. Deuteronomy 22:5 meant more to him than just a matter of women wearing pants. It stood for something much bigger. It stood for the fact that men should dress like men and women like women. Even in Bible days the distinctions were very clear and he wanted for them to remain clear in our day.

Did we somehow become lost and confused as to what the issue was really about? Does it really not matter if men dress differently than women and women than men? Is it really important that there be a distinctiveness between masculinity and femininity? The issue wasn’t as much about pants as it was principle. He was looking at a much bigger picture than most. Perhaps we saw the issue to vaguely. Perhaps we missed the point entirely.

Many men who once agreed on the issue of pants have now changed their position. Perhaps the position was too small or too narrow in the first place. Perhaps pants in and of themselves was not the issue. Perhaps the real issue was the matter of the distinctiveness between the attire of men and women. Pants gave us a focal point for the real issue, which was that men ought to dress like men and women like women.

Has that changed? Does it matter? Should we care if boys dress like girls? Should it matter to us if girls dress like boys? Is it really relevant? There has always been a focal issue that rallied us behind a principle. Long hair on men rallied us against rebellion, which was the bigger issue. Pants was the focal point for the principle of women not dressing like men. Yet when it comes to the issue of women wearing pants we seem to have missed the point. What is the point? The point is the Bible principle.

What is the Bible principle? The principle is that men should dress like men and women should dress like women. Has that changed or is the Bible still true? Should men wear clothing that pertains to a woman? Should women wear clothing that pertains to a man?

If you are an honest person you will have to admit that females in public have taken the half off sale seriously. Hip hugging skinny jeans revealing mid riffs. I travel every week of the world around this great nation of ours. It is embarrassing for a man who is doing the best he can to keep his heart right with all of the female flesh on display.

Then I go into some of our churches and find myself wondering who is standing for the Bible principle of distinction in God’s house. The decline of American morality is reflected in our distinction. The decline of our churches is also reflected in our dress distinction. 50 years ago it was not so in public and for sure it was not so in our churches.

The Mrs. Cleaver look was in almost every home in 1950’s. Not so in either the home or the house of God, in a lot of cases, in this new Millennium. If God wanted a distinction in the Old Testament how much more does He desire it in the New Testament.

Murder was brought to a higher level and was identified in the word “hate.” (Matthew 5:21-22) Adultery was brought to a higher level by Jesus Himself in the New Testament to the word “lust.” (Matthew 5:28) This “second mile” level we find in the New Testament I am afraid is certainly not prevalent in this new Millennium.

Distinction was brought to a higher level in the New Testament. (I Timothy 2:9) Deuteronomy 22:5 has been elevated to “modest” clothing. No skinny jeans here! The Bible principle is for today.

So, if the principle is still true why are we criticizing those who took a stand regarding women wearing pants? I for one must allow others to disagree on the issue, but I’m concerned when they ignore the importance of the Bible principle upon which we built that position. If we lose the principle then we lose the purity of the Scripture.

If we begin to criticize those who took a stand then we should be explaining how we then are carrying out that principle. What should women wear that which a man shouldn’t? What should men wear that women shouldn’t? Does it matter? It has to because it is covered in his word.

Should we fight over the issue of pants? No, however many of the ones who are fighting the most are the ones who are fighting against those who took or still take that stand. I do not fight the women who wear pants or the preachers who allow it nearly as much as they fight me.

They don’t know my heart because they haven’t taken the time to understand why I take my position. My position on this issue is based on principle not preference. I am tolerant of those who disagree with my application but should we be tolerant to those who ignore the principle entirely?

The principle is not up for debate, so why would you criticize my commitment to a principle even though you may not like my application of that principle? The principle is that men are to dress like men and women like women and there must be some distinction.

What is the distinction? If you tell me my position is wrong then simply explain to me what the distinction is that you are making between the attire of men and the attire of women. I’ll be satisfied with that.

If you’re going to criticize me because I have put some kind of distinction into the principle then tell me what your distinction is based upon that same principle. Whether Deuteronomy 22:5 means pants on women or not it must mean something? What does it mean? Explain it.

Don’t tell me that men wore robes in the Bible as your excuse? Trust me, the attire of men and women’s clothing was very distinctive. There was no question as to what was a man’s clothing and what was a woman’s clothing. My challenge to you is not proof of whether pants on women is right or wrong but whether or not you know what it means to you.

Let’s face it the breaking down between the sexes has taken place. We no longer have the distinctions we once had between men and women’s clothing. Dr. Hyles and others warned us of this danger more than they warned us of women wearing pants. He warned us of the danger of losing the distinction between the sexes. Pants was a symptom of the issue, but many have turned this against those who warned of the true danger.

We’ve been called legalists because of a standard based upon a Scriptural principle found in Deuteronomy 22:5. We were not trying to set the standard for everyone. There was a time when public schools made the same distinction and female students were prohibited from wearing pants. There was a time when only women that society considered loose wore pants.

I’m not suggesting that’s true today, but what I am suggesting there is a Bible principle that we are not discussing honestly. Those who take a position are being ridiculed by those who have no position on a very clear principle.

I remember in 1959 when the PTA of our public school held a meeting discussing whether or not they should promote a “Slack Friday” for the girl students. I have often wondered why they did not allow “Skirt Friday” for the boy students? Now in the public work places it is “Slack Week.”

Tell me pastor what should women wear, or does it matter? What should men wear? Does it matter? This is not legalism. This is applying principles to our lives. There’s a legitimate reason that we took the positions we took. I’m saddened by the condition of our country, but I am not surprised. Same sex marriage is a result of the casual way we have dealt with issues in our country and even in many churches.

This smacks of a “oneness” move in fundamentalism that wants to absorb all issues into a “distinctness lessoning” position. I read the BLOGS and it worries me that if you take a contrary stand or an aggressive stand on issues you are causing the cause to not dwell in unity. We are not Catholics! We are not a part of a “universal body.” When the cause becomes greater than the truth we are on a downward spiral spiritually.

We are a nation that has completely lost its mind and its morality. Yet we are criticizing men who say women shouldn’t wear pants, because women are commanded to dress differently than men? How dare you be so concerned about a man who preaches against women wearing pants that you neglect to acknowledge that the distinction between the sexes has been broken. Yet, it is a distinction God gave us.

So, now I put the responsibility back on your shoulders. Tell us what to do? If there’s no problem then there’s nothing to worry about, but I think we all know there is a problem. Dr. Hyles was right. The unisex movement is a satanic pursuit to blur the lines between the roles and identity of men and women. How do we fix it? What’s the standard going to be? Is there going to be no standard? I think it’s time to give it a second thought.

If the pastor’s wife has no distinction in her dress, then no wonder the pastor has lock-jaw and is like the Ant-Artica and frozen at the mouth. This makes it difficult to lead a local church let alone a movement.

Christians who believe in traditional marriage were shocked at the in your face sodomy display at the NFL draft. The truth is they may have to look in the mirror and figure out what happened to the distinction of the sexes as having laid the foundation for this and other woes. This is NOT hate speech, this is Scriptural speech. We are losing ground because we have lost the distinctiveness God gave us!
by Bob Gray Sr.

Original article can be found at

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  1. I say make all women wear cardboard boxes with suspenders. This is more IFB nonsense. Good Christian Men are looking at women in the same way in full length dresses or pants. An attractive woman is going to be viewed the same way in any attire. I question any preacher who is referencing the Jack Hyles gang given their long & recent history of abuse.

    • Please tell me what church it is you go to so I can find their blogs and troll them like you do on this one. if you aren’t a Fundamentalist, you shouldn’t be posting here. If you don’t believe God is Sovereign, then your father the devil is waiting for you outside.



    I NEEDED A BIBLE VERSE TO JUSTIFY THIS STANDARD, SO I PULLED ONE OUT OF THE OLD TESTAMENT. (“The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.” Deuteronomy 22:5. We hope no one sees “Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woollen and linen together.” Deuteronomy 22:11. We would look like hypocrites, and we could not explain why we don’t obey it.)



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  3. The author should at least proofread his own article. “Ant-artica” and “I travel every week of the world”? Haha I can’t take you seriously if you write like a sixth grader. And yes, I am critiquing something unrelated to the topic.

  4. I find it interesting that the author substituted the word “principle” for standard. That’s a new twist for fundamentalism. Paul is the Apostle to the church, and he wrote all the church epistles. He never set “standards” for a day of worship, diet, or dress. I have discovered when you fail to rightly divide the Word of God, you can make it teach anything you like. Brother Ingham, your question will not be answered because no one applies it to themselves as a “principle” of separation. The naïve may allow preachers and evangelist to handle the Word of God deceitfully. This, is done to establish any “principle” they choose. But, those of us who know it when we see it are not impressed. Rather, we are amused at the ignorance or dishonesty.

  5. It amazes me the silly things that get a reaction out of people. The comments on this post pretty much prove the point. People are attacking a man for demanding standards in the church (How dare he?!?) When they don’t have any other argument than that they disagree. Fine disagree. But don’t jump someone else for having standards that you can’t refute.

    Is there a problem with dress in churches? Yes. People treat it like a fashion show. Women push the envelope on what they reveal or how tight their clothes are. Men use it as an opportunity to flash their style or money. It takes away from the purpose of why we come together in the first place (That would be Jesus Christ) and a lot of times, it sows sin such as lust or covetousness.

    It’s fascinating that the same people, when asked whether schools should institute dress standards, are often in agreement. Their arguments are that it cuts down on cliques and removes issues of bullying. But when the man of God institutes dress standards, we get up in arms. It’s hypocrisy.

    If you get so upset about dress codes, you probably need to spend more time reading your Bible. It will help you grow. I would say you probably shouldn’t be giving your opinions very much because children should be seen and not heard. I would also suggest submitting yourself absolutely to the preacher for the next two to three years because that sort of submission will help you grow.

    If you can’t do that, I recommend you find another church because you’re just going to hurt the church you’re in and bring down judgment on yourself with your rebellious attitude. Churches aren’t about being an individual and doing what you want. They are about unity and submitting yourselves to each other in the name of Jesus Christ and for the gospel.

    • Evertte stated “I would also suggest submitting yourself absolutely to the preacher for the next two to three years because that sort of submission will help you grow.”

      No offense friend, but this statement is sickening. As a parent, I believe that God expects me to protect and train the precious little ones that He has entrusted to me. He expects me to protect them from sexual predators and sodomizers. So I will never, ever teach them to blindly submit to “authority” — including “authority” within the church. You suggested that people read their Bibles more. I absolutely agree! The Berean Christians “searched the scriptures daily” to see whether the things Paul was teaching were so. There are all kinds of dangerous people out there — sexual predators, false teachers, tyrants, wolves in sheep’s clothing, clouds bearing no rain — who infiltrate local churches in order to gain power and influence and to gain access to children and other vulnerable individuals.

      I don’t want my sons to grow up to be little robots who blindly obey some preacher, nor do I want them to be bullied by false teachers, or raped by some youth pastor and intimidated into silence. Nor do I want them to become tyrants or false teachers themselves. I want them to grow up to be courageous disciples of Jesus. What does the Bible say about being followers Jesus?

      I want my sons to grow up to be men who love mercy and justice, who walk humbly before their God. Men who show their faith BY their works (not their man-made standards). Men who understand the priesthood of every believer. Men who follow the Jesus of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John — the Jesus who not only gave His life for us, but who also preached the good news to the poor, had compassion on the sick, spoke with the woman at the well, who wept when he spoke of the eminent destruction of Jerusalem and wept with Mary and Martha at the tomb of Lazarus — the Jesus who I believe still weeps with us today when we are hurting and will someday wipe every tear from our eyes. I want them to be men who are willing to suffer for the sake of righteousness. Men who treat women, children, and elderly people with dignity. Men who feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit those who are sick or in prison. Men who protect widows and orphans and other vulnerable members of society. Proverbs 31:8 men who will fearlessly “open [their] mouth[s] for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction” (this means speaking up for the rights of the voiceless — the voiceless includes unborn babies, abused children, victims of domestic violence, the mentally handicapped, etc). But right now they are children so their father and I are their voice, their protector. Not the preacher. Not the Sunday School teacher. Not some internet blogger who wants to get the pants off women.

      What I just described above — what I hope and pray to see in the lives of my children, is what being a Christian is all about. Not submitting oneself absolutely to a preacher for two or three years. Not following some man-made set of rules like the pharisees of Jesus’ day. It’s about following Jesus, my friend.

    • Well said! Pastors have a position in which they head the church and therefore there should be standards given by the pastor in which the church should submit to…through Go.

  6. This article is mundane, blaming gender problems on an article of clothing!
    I guess the child molestation problems in the IFB has to do with that as well.
    IFB beats down women, always has!
    This is another classic example.
    The real issue is not women, it’s men like the one who wrote this article who are egotistical, arrogant, and proud. We need repentance in the IFB! We need Pastors leading people instead of hobby horsing on issues.

  7. Really??!!! I’d like to say that I wear pants, I win souls all the time! I know people know I am a woman, God created, God fearing and God loving!! I believe that small minded people like you, give God a bad rap! First and foremost it is about LOVE….read the most important commandment, then read how Jesus lived…yes, he was accused of being one of THEM but HE wasn’t was he!? He stood apart because he showed LOVE!!! Try it, it is so rewarding! It results in souls!

  8. This article is very frustrating to me. There is for sure a movement to end gender differences, however, whether a woman is or isn’t wearing pants is not the cause of the problem. There are untold numbers of children being physically and sexually abused, women(and men) suffering domestic violence and this within the church. Somehow, I think the TRADITIONS of attire are of less importance than teaching people how to treat each other in the manner that God intended. It is this straining at gnats while swallowing a camel that caused me to leave the church for a while. The underlying cause for the gender problems can be traced back to a failure within the home where each person is treated as the child of God they are. It is the most lost and broken souls that end up “gender confused” and are in the greatest need of God’s healing. To me, if there is enough time to worry about whether women are wearing pants, there has not been sufficient time spent dealing with domestic violence, child sex abuse and substance abuse within the congregation. These topics are in dire need of addressing specifically and directly.

    • This! Exactly!

      I have attended IFB churches for over a decade and heard many sermons about how people ought to dress, and a handful of sermons about the dangers of substance abuse (only a couple that were Biblical and made sense — the others were sensational), but never once heard a sermon about the evils of domestic violence, or the evils of child abuse.

      Growing up, I witnessed both spousal abuse and child abuse in my home in horrific ways. Honestly, I feel much more comfortable in pants then in dresses/skirts. The only way I feel comfortable in a skirt is if it comes down to my ankles and I’m wearing shorts or leggings underneath. Who wants to run around with nothing on the lower half of their body except for a loose piece of fabric hanging from their waist, and nothing but their panties underneath? Not me. No thanks. No way.

      Another thing. Nothing that Bob Gray Sr has written has any credibility, because he was a known child molester. He admitted before his death to French kissing little girls. His mentor Jack Hyles had a number of affairs with women in his congregation — women who (while responsible for their own actions) were vulnerable because they were under his “authority.” Both of these men just wanted to get women’s and girls’ pants off. They were not just men who “stumbled” into sin — they were evil men who purposely put themselves in positions of trust and authority so that they could take advantage of the sheep.

  9. Mr. Gray makes a number of very disturbing statements in the article above, but I think this one takes the cake:
    “I do not fight the women who wear pants or the preachers who allow it . . .”

    Really? The “preachers who allow it”? So a preacher gets to decide what all the women in his congregation wear, both in the church and at the grocery store and maybe even in their own homes? Even from an extreme “fundamentalist” like Gray, this is really disturbing. I thought the New Testament said something about husbands being the heads of their homes, and about wives being submissive to their OWN husbands. So unless you’re married to the preacher, the preacher is NOT the head of your home.

  10. Why are the arguments turning over into religion here. Yes, every church should have their standards but not every church will have the same standards. What is MOST important is that we follow what the Word of God says. The Old Testament was given to us to teach us as well as the New Testament. We can learn a lot from the Word of God as a whole. I truly believe a godly woman will be modest in her apparel and that a truly godly man seeking a woman to marry will look for modesty in her and be able to see it not just in her inner apparel of the heart but her outer apparel as well. She will not dress as this world cause she will set herself apart from it in submission to her Lord Jesus Christ. Our pastors are here to bring the Word of God to us and to help guide us in the right way to live according to the Word. We should model a listening ear to our children when it comes to our pastors sermons. If anyone be at fault for abusing a child in a position as a pastor, they should step down or be made to step down from their position. That should never be tolerated anywhere! However, if the pastor is a true man of God, we should in a sense submit to his God given leadership.

  11. This is both a poor exegetical and hermenuetical argument. In both the Old and New Testament God makes it clear where he looks when he examines people – the heart. Taking your own cultural standard and trying to connect it to a Biblical principle is the definition of Spiritless religion.

    What about in the Pacific Islands where men wear lava lava’s and have long hair? What about in Scotland where some of the manliest of men where kilts? If they came to your church would you accuse them of dressing like women? As proof of genuine faith would they need to assimilate into a 1950’s standard of American culture?
    Please, stick with preaching the Gospel and stop imposing your own outward standards.

  12. Oh shut your pie holes up. It means to try to make yourself look like a man. Where this all started was the blame game in the Garden. Eve said she was beguiled by Satan, Man blamed women and God women because she offered it to Adam, and God for creating women in the first place. God cursed the serpent, then told man and women what their punishment was to be. Satan flusher. God gave His Son and wiped Satan’s buttocks with it and cleansed us from sin. ENTIRELY!!!

  13. I recently viewed some old yearbook pictures from the early 1960s at the high school I used to attend and it was eye opening to say the least. All the young men wore suits in their pictures and all the young women wore dresses and both sexes were well groomed with the boys having short hair and virtually all the girls having beautiful long hair (It’s a good thing the writer of this article did not condemn short hair on a woman, because he would really have been eviscerated EVEN THOUGH THE BIBLE CLEARLY CONDEMNS IT JUST AS MUCH AS LONG HAIR ON A MAN). Fast forward to today when most people dress and look like they fell out of a tree. Looseness in dress and grooming had already started later on when I was in high school, but boys and girls both still dressed mostly according to their sex. and most were still well groomed. Also most all of the girls still had lovely, long, feminine hair and NONE had any abominable tattoos covering their beautiful skin. Yes, we definitely need to get back to the Bible way of dressing and grooming with men being masculine and women being feminine. AMEN!


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