by David Reagan

In an age when shorts, sweatpants, and bare midriff (sometimes all at the same time) are considered acceptable attire for most churches, I stand out like a wooly mammoth. In this day of extreme casual, more and more men are throwing away their ties when they go to church.

Like some newly awakened Rip Van Winkle, I still wear mine. I thought I would tell you why.


Nothing in the nature of a necktie either compels us to wear it or condemns it—though some have tried to connect it to an evil beginning.  Those who use it practice the tradition of giving honor to our Lord by dressing up a bit when they go to meet with His people to worship Him. So I ask: Is this practice encouraged or discouraged in scripture?

In the parable told by Christ in Matthew 22:11-12, the king expected each of his guests to come with the proper “wedding garment.”  Not to do so was to show disrespect for the king and for the occasion.  In like manner, our forefathers felt it important to come to church with clothing that showed proper respect to the Lord and to the occasion.  In different times and places, that proper respect was shown in different ways.  But it was shown.  Even the Saturday night bath was established for the purpose of being physically clean and properly trim on the Lord’s Day.

Today we swerve boldly in the other direction. We energetically oppose dressing especially for church. Many even consider it hypocritical to do so. We should come as we are and avoid any pretense. But do the dress patterns of today prove that we have a greater sincerity and are more genuine than our predecessors? I think not.

The slouchy dress that we see in worship services directly corresponds to our flippant attitude toward meeting with our Maker and Saviour. We have lost our respect for the spiritual dimension of God meeting with His people. Now, we want to dress like we would at a backyard barbecue. God is everywhere. Why approach His house with any more formality than we would enter the neighborhood grocery store?

The Key Word For Today Is Comfort!


“Why shouldn’t I feel comfortable?  After all, my comfort is the main thing.  I’m not going to go out of my way for anyone–even God.” We exult in our come-as-you-are philosophy. Our services have become user-friendly for everyone except God. More and more, He seems to be left out in the cold. O how we love ourselves unto death!

The Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes may be a tradition that is quickly fading away.  But it was a good tradition and one whose parting is just another sign of the times–the last times.  Where is our sense of awe in the presence of God?  He says He dwells in the midst of us when we meet with Him (Matthew 18:20). The church is the people, not the building. When the people of the church meet, they become the “house of God” (1Timothy 3:15); they become His dwelling place. What a special privilege to enter into this presence!

Psalm 96:8-9 “Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts. O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.”

The Least We Can Do


When I meet with the congregation of the Lord, I count it not a burden, but an honor to give extra pains in preparation, in physical cleanliness, and in dressing up.  I count it a privilege to wear my Sunday best.  Any discomfort I may feel from a tie about my neck, from a coat about my body, or from clothes too good for playing kickball is offset by the solemnity and wonder of the occasion.

It is seldom that we in America get to suffer anything for the Saviour who suffered so much for us.  The least I can do (and I mean the least) is to honor Him by dressing more formally when I come to His church than I do for other events.  Certainly, I can suffer a necktie for Him.

3 Reasons Why I Wear Skirts Full-Time


Original article can be found at


  1. In Western culture especially in the United States of America. When some one says “Formal” or “Business Formal” dress, a tie and jacket are assumed by EVERYONE. I have a job that requires me to wear a tie. When I go to a Wedding or Christmas Party or High School Graduation, I wear a tie. Why wouldn’t I have the same respect for the fellowship of believers. Poverty keeps NO ONE from wearing a tie and jacket. You can buy a suit at a thrift store for $5-$10 (which is what I do). The point here is not to be judgmental of others but to follow a standard for oneself. In NE Tennessee where I grew up, I saw old farmers come to church in brand new bib overalls but they had on a clean white shirt and a tie. People have no respect anymore. No respect for life, so we have abortion. No respect for marriage so we have divorce. No respect for family so anyone can marry anyone male, female…. No respect for the King James Bible so everyone has their own version.

  2. You expressed my thoughts completely on this subject. While I did not read all of the comments from your critics, it appears that most of them want to wear whatever they want to church, regardless of whether it honors or dishonors God. There are times when I come to church directly from work and I am not dressed as nice as I should. God understands that I either dress nicer and don’t make it to church, or come as I am. But when we have time to dress however we want to dress, it is sad that too many people dress worse to appear before God in worship than they do to go to school. While we don’t need to put too much emphasis on dress, too many of your critics want no emphasis on dress, which is wrong. The Bible teaches that there will be a great departure from the faith in the end times, and part of that departure stems from not respecting God as we ought.

  3. I went to my first church service yesterday in 20 years. I had gotten tired of seeing everyone trying to outdo each other in dress and how holy they were and being told I needed to be like everyone else in the church. While I knew their hearts were in the right place their actions were more of what I have seen in so many churches.
    So I was invited to go to this church. I wore shorts, t-shirt, and sandals. I do not own a suit nor do I want to. I was impressed, no comments about my clothing but just big smiles and thanks for being there. Warm and caring is what I got.
    If you judge me by my appearance then I really do not want you around me. If on the other hand you will come up to me and say hi, encourage me, find out who I really am then I want you around as much as you are willing to spend time with me. Its not what you wear that I care about, its who you are, a sinner just like me. I am a sinner and always will be, but by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ my savior I am forgiven. Its nothing I did or could do. In fact I can not do anything to earn my way into heaven, it was done on the cross once and for all. No where in the Bible did Jesus ever tell us to dress in a certain way to follow Him. If you want to know what how He felt about all that read Matthew 23.
    So if you want to wear a tie or tuxedo go for it…but don’t measure someone’s relationship with Jesus based on their outside appearance. Jesus did not die for the tie He died for your soul.

  4. This is trying to impose western culture to the world of what is an appropriate attire for church. How very gringo of you. Every culture is different. In Japan wearing your shoes inside the church building is disrespectful. Are you willing to take of your shoes to worship our master? Or what the US standard is must be the world standard? Did Jesus wear a tie? Not everyone can wear a suit and tie. Which actually represents the elite. Jesus came for the poor and sick and those with a contrite heart. Wearing a suit and tie is not modest attire at all. It is quite the opposite. We should be humble and modest. Leave the suit and tie for the politicians and bankers and tycoons like Mr. Trump.

    • But my question would you come down hard on a Japanease Christian who wrote an article on why he still doesnt wear shoes in church. I mean is his article wrong because you find it legalistic or is it only bad because he is an evil white westerner?

  5. Unfortunately there was a lot of isogesis in the article. I certainly respect any individual who desires to wear formal clothing out of reverence for God, or believes it is a good tradition to practice this, however to try and form a doctrine surrounding neckties (formal wear) on the scripture given in this article is a stretch, and is something that will not be cross cultural. It will fail in other cultures outside the United States. I come from a very conservative evangelical background, and have lived and practiced strict dress codes my entire life, but to try and use passages like Matthew 22 for grounds to wear suits is Hermeneutical gymnastics. This is obviously an emotional issue for a lot of people, so argue the text, what is the proper interpretation of each passage dealing with the way believers should dress, and is there a difference in how we should dress in a church service verses a recreational gathering? It’s all about what scripture says, there is no reason for the aggressive comments on this feed. One of the biggest dangers to the progress of the Gospel is the divisiveness of members of the church.

  6. While I agree that attire that is ‘decent, gender appropriate attire, non-scandalous or nondistracting’ is a reasonable standard to expect a Christ follower to adhere to – outer attire does not necessarily reflect the ‘devotion/honor’ one bestows on God (nor how He sees us)- at any given point in time…. The article itself proves the point- that the practice of ‘Sunday-best’ dress is a *tradition* – adhered to by those that *choose* to show their inwardly devotion in an outward fashion through their attire, when congregating. However, fancy outerware (Sunday-best) is not a *Biblical* requirement nor necessarily an *accurate* indicator of a person’s heart-condition nor of the amount of devotion/honor they have for God (nor of how God sees them). I find that many denominations erroneously focus on outerware and physical appearance as *the* way to show honor and devotion – some to the point of shunning those that do not choose to follow in the same *tradition*. They have confused *dogma* with *doctrine*. Some Christians may find this method useful as a tool to make themselves *feel* ‘righteous and holy’…. I do not know other’s heart’s (only mine) – God knows and judges all though. But, if dressing up helps some to be closer to God, then by all means – I say – go for it. *However*, those that practice this should not hold it as a ‘standard’ for all other Christians (nor hold it as a measure of ‘Christianity’ – as if one can be more Christian than another). Christ’s blood and righteousness is bestowed on *all* that profess Him as Savior and follow Him as Lord of their lives – regardless of how they look. To ‘shun’ those that do not (or cannot) dress in comparable ‘Sunday-best’ garments (i.e. clean jeans and shirt vs. tie/suit) and equate them as ‘unclean’ or ‘backsliden’ or ‘disobedient’ is not only non-Biblical – but hypocritcal. I do not believe this parable is meant to teach Christians that ‘Sunday-best’ outerware pleases God, or as a means by which should we worship or honor Him…. The parable used as the quoted Scripture to enforce the idea of the ‘Sunday-best’ tradition, IMO, *does not* apply to the way we worship or to how we show devotion or to how we honor God. Read on, if interested…. The Parable of the Wedding Feast teaches about God’s righteousness and salvation and how it came to be made available to all… In Jewish society, during Jesus’ time, they practiced arranged marriages…The parents of the betrothed generally drew up the marriage contract. The bride and groom would meet, sometimes for the first time, when this contract was signed. The couple was considered married at this point, but they would separate until the actual time of the ceremony. The bride would remain with her parents, and the groom would leave to prepare their home. This could take quite a while. When the home was all ready, the groom would return for his bride *without notice*. The marriage ceremony would then take place, and the *wedding banquet would follow*…. The parable speaks of a King (i.e. God), who had prepared a wedding banquet for his son (i.e. Christ Jesus). He had invited many of his people to the banquet (Israel/Jews) to the feast. But they all refused to show up when the time came (for one reason or another, Luke 13:34)…Some even mistreated and killed the King’s (i.e. God) messengers (i.e.the Prophets, including John the Baptist). The King avenged his servant’s deaths (i.e. refers to the desolation of Jerusalem AD 70 and more broadly refers to the desolation in the book of Revelations – a just reward to those that rejected the inviation, per Heb 10:29-31, considering the cost of Salvation)…The invitation to the banquet was then extended to everyone – (Jews and Gentiles, good and bad – Acts 13:43)…The clothing referenced in this parable would have been one *provided by the King himself* for all His guests. They were required to wear it to be considered worthy to be in attendance of the banquet. This ‘outter clothing’ speaks of God’s salvation provided to mankind through Jesus’s sacrifice… It is through Him that we are ‘clothed in righteousness’… The clothing is in reference to the covering of the attendant’s ‘filthy rags’ (Isa 64:6)… God did the same for Adam and Eve ( Gen 3:7, 21)… It is God’s righteousness that allows us to come into His presence (Rev 7:9, Phil 3:9) and to enjoy ‘the banquet’- not our own self-righteousness (i.e. our Sunday-best isn’t worth anything and doesn’t substitute God’s clothing/righteousness). Even Pharisees understood the meaning of this parable, because soon after Jesus spoke this, they looked for ways to entrap Him with His own words (Matt: 22:15)…..I find *nowhere*, based on the *New Covenant laid down by Christ*, where God considers those wearing their ‘Sunday-best’ to be more honorable or more pious or more devoted to Him than someone not doing so….Why? Because, all references to honoring and worshiping God relate to doing so with a righteuous, attitude of the heart and demeanor. Because *God* doesn’t concern Himself with the outerparts (looks or titles) of man, but he cares about man’s heart and man’s actions (obedience)… And *yes*, modesty and gender appropriateness is a *reasonable expectation* for Christ-like dressing…And, *yes*, one cannot be clean on the inside and not show it on the outside (i.e by *actions*, behavior and attitude). And *yes*, God *does* deserve our best – *in all* we do.. However, *clothing* has little, to no bearing on how *God* would have us honor him or serve him – so long as it’s *our best* and it shows in obedience (a Godly behavior, action and attitude – towards those around us in our daily living – such that our lives point people to God). In fact, IMO, the ‘Sunday-best’ practice is a peripheral subject to which some denominations give too much creedance – one of *tradition* and *dogma* – not necessarily one of *Biblical* doctrine. I recall the day I first met a future Pastor, from Guatemala, (not a pastor at the time)… He attended our church and stood out like a ‘raisin on white rice’, on his first visit… He was wearing a serape, traditional Guatemala’s garb and chanclas… He sat way in the back and I can tell you that there was not a *shortage* of ‘looks and whispers’ and ‘rubber neckers’ looking back at him. I’m sure that didn’t make him feel comfortable at all – I’m surprised he didn’t get up and leave. But I’m glad he didn’t. He stayed and kept coming back. I’m glad God didn’t look at his outerwear then either and I know He still doesn’t. Though he no longer dresses like this on Sundays- God had plans for that simple, humble man that came on that one Sunday morning. He called him, over time, to His ministry. Many have been touched by God’s hand through this man’s life- I am one of them. May it never be said that someone, who doesn’t know Jesus like some more-steeped in the faith, skipped an opportunity to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ due to apprehension because of what they were wearing on a particular day.

  7. Ummmm, no…just no. Legalism is a slippery slope which leads to an absence of grace in our gospel. With how you’ve attempted to tie (pun intended) your opinion to a scripture you think is supporting your stance, it appears you have judgment towards those you don’t wear a tie on Sundays. May I offer a suggestion of reading James 2?

    Jesus said come as you are. That’s all we need. But then again, my church invites homeless into the sanctuary and creates a safe place where people who don’t really look like “church-goers” can come and hear the message of love, grace, forgiveness and eternal hope. Hundreds are saved each week. Let’s not get caught up in neckties ladies and gentlemen! There’s real work out there to be done. Do I want to be known as a Christian who spent time and breath with taking stances on silly stuff like this, or do I want to stand before God and say I tried to reach every corner of the earth, every being you breathed life into? I chased and pursued. I loved people just as they were in hopes I’d have the great privilege to tell them about THE saviour. If I wear flip flops and a t-shirt in this pursuit to make a nonbeliever feel more comfortable, then so be it.

    • So when I go to work at Staples I am going to refuse to wear a red shirt or my name badge because their forcing me to do it is legalistic. Those poor souls being abused by Target and Best Buy as well.

  8. You say the people are the church.It is also said that where 3 or more gather there I will be also.So if the people are the church then we would have to dress our best EVERDAY. I talk to the God everyday no matter how I am dressed.God looks at what is in our hearts not our outside.Would you not someone in your church because they didn’t have nothing but rags?I don’t know if you have ever heard this story or not but there was this church that had hired a new preacher (it was kind of a big church) and the congragation had not met him yet.So his first Sunday there he dressed like a homeless person and sat outside where all the people were going into the church and noone spoke or aknowledged that he was there.When he showed up in front of he church and said hello I am the new pastor that yall hired, he said you may all go home now that is the service for the day.So you see it is what you have in your heart that counts.God Bless You

  9. I’m a pastor. I ride a Harley. I listen to rock n roll. I have tattoos. I don’t “dress up” for church. People smoke in my church parking lot. My church sings “contemporary” music…and Jesus loves me. PERIOD. My acceptance before God comes through my RELATIONSHIP with Christ the RULES I keep. I hear Independent Fundamental Baptist heads exploding everywhere.

    • I am so impress, I think I will go buy a Harley and smoke in your parking lot and listen to rock and roll and get a tattoos so JESUS will love me! LOL. THIS IS SO I can make my Independant Fundamental heads explode ! That is your goal !? If so you are just as wrong and guilty of bashing as they are! I a. Sure there is a special place in heaven for Harley Christians LOL

    • 2 Corintihians

      17Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

      18And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

    • Pastor jackpickel I am a independent Fundamental Baptist and my head didn’t explode. I doubt that there were any heads that exploded by your comments. I read the article and I did not see anywhere where the author said that Jesus loved only men that wore a tie. I see where many that disagreed with this article imply that those who wear ties to church feel that they are better Than those who dress differently. I see also an attitude from those who dress casually that they are better than those who dress more formally. So those who accuse the formal dressing folks of being judgmental are being judgmental themselves. So how can you accuse one group of judging when you yourself are judging also? So Jack I probably believe that if I attended your Church in a suit and tie that you and your Church people would probably judge me of trying to impress people. I guess the question would be, How can you know what is in my heart unless you are God? I await your reply sir.

    • How about the rule that we are to love our fellow believers jackpickel. Or is there a fundamentist head exception clause that I did not see in scripture. Because you do hate one part of the body of Christ dont you.

  10. Stop trying to over think this! For God so loved the world that He gave…. God gave His best for us in the form of His only begotten Son Jesus Christ! Why would a Christian make excuses for not giving their best! Even in their dress! Your coming into the house of God to sit under the preaching of the inspired GOD BREATHED
    WORD OF GOD and we want to make excuses to not wear our best? If the best you have is a pair of worn out jeans then by all means wear them, but truth be told we generally dress for comfort or to impress when it comes to church. IT’S NOT ABOUT US OR HOW WE FEEL! Its about who he is! He sacrificed His Son so that we may have eternal life and yet Christians want to make excuses like its the culture or the environment or I don’t want to be uncomfortable! We dress nicer for weddings, proms, dinner dates etc. but wont wear the best to come into Gods house! SHAME ON YOU!

  11. Question is “what happens if you work with under privileged children in the inner city where a tie is out of order?”

  12. I very much agree with you David, and this has provided a good reminder for me. I will make sure from now on I am clean, tidy and smartly dressed for church on a Sunday, and smarter dressed for work during the week ( as we were reminded in church this morning, our main mission field). Thank you x

  13. If I have nice clothing, my heart is right with God, and I want to honor Him by looking nice for church, no problem. If the man sitting next to me does NOT have any nice clothing, his heart is seeking God, and believes he is not good enough to ‘give’ any honor to God and will not return to church – what does that solve? The way you dress is – I believe – not the real issue, but how you treat others. Love one another, regardless – or it is all worthless anyways…

  14. I believe the point is that wearing a tie is not the main objective, although Matt based his comment on the wearing of a tie, suit, etc. The main point is that we do dress in such a way that when someone sees us in church, they know that we are honoring our God, not looking like we’re going to a picnic or baseball game.

  15. I wanted to respond to two ideas here. #1 In light of 1 Corinthians 6, do you not believe that individuals are the house of God? If so, then there is no location of group the individuals could encounter that would put them more into the presence of God. #2 In the parable that you mention, do you really believe that the “wedding garments” are directly related to our clothes? I think you would agree that this parable is about entering the kingdom of heaven, and the necessities for doing so. And I also think you agree, that the necessity for Heaven is not a set of clothing. Saying all that, using this parable to describe our attire for the gathering of a church seems a little out of context. I hope you do not find this offensive, but I wanted to “contend for truth,” even in the face of tradition.

  16. The King of kings does ask in Malachi 1, “Where is my honor”? Leviticus makes clear that our God prescribes we bring to Him according to our resources. This, too, is the Word of God. We are to be a living sacrifice in likeness of the Savior’s sacrifice of Himself. It is only fitting – in the likeness of Chrsit – that we offer ourselves as an excellent sacrifice. If that concerns our outward dress, which is only a reflection of our inward condition, then it is glorifying to God that we wear the best attire according to the amount of gain He has given us – in which to serve Him. Our God is worthy of our standing before Him to His glory, not our own comfortable glory to the exaltation of man. Our outward appearance is an act of worship as much as our attitude about how we approach God. One is a compliment to the other.

  17. Here is what I find ironic about the whole thing. IFB pastors spend more time and energy worrying, spouting,and “preaching” on what we should wear, than preaching the Word of God.
    This why expository preaching is a must. If this is what you got out of Matthew 22, I would seriously recommend reading again, and reading it in CONTEXT. While your at it, learn the definition to the word context.

  18. God sees the heart. If we believe we please him by what we wear or do not wear we are only fooling ourselves and a few misguided “Christians”. I believe you could easily find in scripture that God would rather us wear rags and give the money for that nice tie to the poor.

  19. I believe that we all really know that at our cleanest and nicest dressed we are unworthy to come into God’s presense. It is only whenwe are clothed in Christ’s righteousness that we are acceptable regardless of our physical attire. Having said that we would do well to think about the fact that many church attenders would not be allowed in a typical court room or in some restaurants the way we dress for church. There is a basic reason for that: respect. This doesn’t end the discussion or settle anything, but it is something to think about. The heart is the important thing.

  20. Jim, the fact that you too have traveled some ought to confirm that every culture is different. The word “proper” does not address what is “proper” for church attire. Also, you have no idea how I feel about how people dress. Your comment “My church is open to all no matter how they dress.” Is what I have been advocating all along, even if they come in a t-shirt and blue jeans. I am thankful that God never allowed me to go down the road that passes judgment on how people dress when they come to church. People should be “modest” anyplace in public.

  21. Well Frank, I may be wrong, but I get the feeling you are venting at me. As I read your take on this subject, is am not as concerned about your attire, as I am what’s under it. I have discovered that all “bums” aren’t identified by their dress.
    If you had read all my post, you would discover that I never said a person or church should not have standards. I stated that “There is no ‘Biblical dress standard,’ day of worship, or diet for the Body of Christ. Here Are Just A Few Of The Divisive Issues Fostered By The Brethren. Neck Ties, Sideburns, Mustaches, Facial Hair, Hair Off The Collar Or Neck, Wire Rimmed Glasses, Women Sleeping In Pajamas, Prerecorded Music, Musical Instruments, Power Point, Holding The Microphone, Cowboy Boots, Bell Bottom Pants, Kitchen In The Church, No Nurseries, No Jr. Churches, Etc. Now, I believe a pastor has a right to stand on his head and preach, if he so chooses. But, to suggest that other pastors should do likewise it insanity. I guess we could demand that a preacher lay on his side for a while. I have a text. “Lie thou also upon thy left side…” Ezekiel 4:4.” If you know what the Biblical dress standards are, why not inform all of us, and settle the division on this subject? You will not, because you don’t know.
    I still maintain that when a church constantly harps on standards, it creates a judgmental attitude in the congregation, which becomes hypocritical in behavior. I remember a day when all men wore hats, and women had long hair. Frank, do you remember those days? Do you maintain that standard, or have you slipped a little? Have you gone “backward instead of forward for the Lord?”

    It is true, you don’t know my heart. I doubt you know your own, and you are grossly mistaken when you think others don’t measure up to “your standards.” And remember, not everyone who looks like a “bum” is one, and not everyone who puts on a suit and tie is a saint. So, perhaps we should leave the final evaluation the One who know all hearts.

  22. Jim, first of all, there is no “house of God.” Also, why are blue jeans and a t-shirt disrespectful? You fail to understand that dress is a culture matter. It has nothing to do with the Body of Christ. There is no day of worship, diet, or dress standards for the Christian. You need to get out more, and travel from Alaska to New York, and Calgary, Canada to the hills of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Arkansas. You will notice a great difference in clothing.
    Also, I have preached in the juggles of Venezuela, the mountains of the Philippines, the farm land of Korea, and many villages in India. Every country had a different culture. To make dress a spiritual matter for the body of Christ is an unscriptural, anti-scriptural and divisive, as this subject has so amply demonstrated.
    Oh, by the way, I got saved wearing a t-shirt and jeans. Thank God, the deacons did not stop me at the door. Also, I pastored for 40 years and wore a tie every service. It had nothing to do with God, or respect for anyone. It was a cultural habit.
    If you think the more “dressed up” you are, the more respect you show to God, why don’t you wear a tux to each service? All this issue, and others like is does is create discord among the brethren. It is sill, and childish.

    • Being that I have been a missionary in Korea for quite a number of years and after living in Texas, California, Alaska, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, and after having traveled to Europe, Israel, Japan, and Hong Kong, I would have to say that I have been out quite a bit.
      My point is not that everyone has to be super-formal. Just simply that there is a proper attire for a proper situation. I wouldn’t wear a tuxedo to go hiking and I would wear blue jeans and a t-shirt to church. You may disagree with me calling it the “house of God” but the fact that you do not see it as such tells me why you feel the way you do about the ways folks dress at church.
      My church is open to all no matter how they dress. But lets not lose sight of the fact that the true church is not a room full of people but a group of baptized believers. It is this group that I would expect to see dressing a little more modestly and conservatively as they come into the place we have set aside for worship. Our church building is set apart for the worship of the Lord, making it, not man’s house, but the House of God.

  23. Most people I know would never where blue jeans and t-shirts to a wedding. Why? It is simply not respectful. Yet we will excuse casual attire in the house of God?

  24. I don’t mean to harp on this subject, but I believe this should be said and understood by all. The comment by Brother Phillip, “The Spirit of God “The Holy Ghost” Will lead you and Guide you in All Truth.,” is a common mistake made by many. The text is not talking to you, or me, or any Christian about anything. It is specifically stated to the Disciples about future additional Scripture they would be given to write by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Go back and reread John 16 again.
    I am sure you mean well in your comment, but to give a primes statement of your beliefs, and then suggest that the Holy Spirit will lead other to agree with your interpretation is a gross abuse, and misapplication of Scripture. All Scripture must be rightly divided before we attempt to make is apply to others.

  25. Dear brother Phillip, I am sure those who have contributed to this subject read their Bible and seek to “give their best to God” as you do. I am reminded of a young preacher who told Charles Spurgeon that “God told him that he was to preach in Mr. Spurgeon’s pulpit.” Spurgeon said, “When God tell me, I will let you.”
    The idea that others are not following the “Holy Ghost” when they do not adopt your beliefs or standards is asinine. As i said in my previous article, there is no special day, diet, or dress for the body of Christ. Dress is a cultural matter. I have preached in most foreign countries, and I was ask to not wear a tie.
    Each church should set standards for staff and workers, and leave the rest alone. Harping on standards is divisive. It creates a church full of self-righteous people, and is silly.
    The Holy Ghost will not lead or tell all churches, pastors, or people that they should dress alike or have the same standards as you or anyone else. I have put up this kind of nonsense for over 40 years, and it accomplishes nothing. Again, it only produces division and self-righteousness. I will take the stand that Spurgeon took. When God tells me to adopt someone else’s standards, I will. Until then, I will ignore all of them, and live in the liberty of the Holy Spirit, and the Scriptures.

  26. I read my bible and was taught to give my best to God.The way I worship, and dress give Praise to The Lord. The Spirit of God “The Holy Ghost” Will lead you and Guide you in All Truth. Search out the Scriptures and Let God show you the way.He will.I also agree with this article . So Pray and read your Bible and Give God Glory . He is Worthy of Our Best . Praise ye The Lord .

  27. Some of the very pastors who write articles and contribute to this very web site will go to the Phillipines, Africa, South America, etc. and preach without a tie. How would you address this?

  28. If you feel that this brings honor to God, more power to you. However, it is vital that we remember that as man looks at the outward appearance, God always looks at the heart.

  29. I hate to bring this up but since this article was written I have personally seen INDEPENDENT FUNDAMENTAL BAPTIST preachers preaching without a tie!!! And I mean the ones who write articles in independent baptist. In the Phillipines, Thailand, Africa, and South America!

    I would love to see the day when the “fundamentalists” would really worry about the “fundamentals”. But, It will never happen.

  30. Wow. This makes me remember why I have run away from legalistic traditionalism. This totally misses the entire point of the Gospel and what it means to be redeemed from sin. Remember, Christ sought out the sinners and tax collectors and condemned those who added standards to scripture then looked down and condemned others for not following their un-biblical extra laws. I am by no means supporting a “come as you are” mentality, as that rejects the Gospel that changes us, but when externals like a tie become an issue, you need to take a big step back and ask God what He wants or risk being a dead man with a really nice looking grave stone.

  31. Well, the one point this topic demonstrates is the cause of division, and the condemnation of many pastors and churches by other pastors. There is no Biblical dress standard, day of worship, or diet for the Body of Christ.
    Here Are Just A Few Of The Divisive Issues Fostered By The Brethren. Neck Ties, Sideburns, Mustaches, Facial Hair, Hair Off The Collar Or Neck, Wire Rimmed Glasses, Women Sleeping In Pajamas, Prerecorded Music, Musical Instruments, Power Point, Holding The Microphone, Cowboy Boots, Bell Bottom Pants, Kitchen In The Church, No Nurseries, No Jr. Churches, Etc.
    Not, I believe a pastor has a right to stand on his head and preach, if he so chooses. But, to suggest that other pastors should do likewise it insanity. I guess we could demand that a preacher lay on his side for a while. I have a text. “Lie thou also upon thy left side…” Ezekiel 4:4.

    • You can take any scripture and make it fit your own views. When a Christains grows in the Lord, he will not continue to dress like a bum. If you want to honor God dress like a Bum and you won’t go to a job interview dressed like a bum, than you are a hyprocrite. Like I said God knows your heart and God Knows if you put self above him and his word. unmodest dress is of the world and you know it. If there is no standards and no conviction on how you dress than every one can dress in anything? Right. A place of worship the Lord can look like an ungodly world, just what Satan wants as you take a wet noodle stand. Keep lowering the standards. Come as you are is for the Lost, not the seasoned Christain with no growth? You are taking sides with the world and the devil by lowering yourself. If you know your history when America was great, most people went to church and didn’t dress like bums even during the depression. And not very mant ever put down people who didn’t have much why? because God knows your heart. My great Grandpa had people help him get a suit for going to church on sundays. Today America is rich in wealth and poor in spirit. And it shows when most Americans has access to better or nice cloths and choose to dress like a Bum. You can argue with me all day and think you have some special insight with the Lord and than show contempt to the Lord when you know you won’t give your best not that you can’t. It is this attitude why we have an apostacy in the church because there is no Christain dicipleship or even discipline. It shows lack of character and disrespect for the Lord. You call us self rightouse and Hyprocrites and you just became a judge of someone elses motives. And this is the wrong kind of judgement that you pass on. I personally have gone without things to dress appropriate in the meetings with the Church body. I done judge others by their dress, I pray that God helps them to grow and meet their needs. I think you may go backwards instead of forward for the Lord and it is not a good example of being a Christain, if God supplied you with your needs, a job, food , a house and so on, and you honor him by dressing like a bum, sounds very faithless to me. Like I said, That is between you and the Lord. If a man is poor, I would never ever want to pass judgement on him or her. In fact I would want to help.

  32. In everything we should bring our best as unto the Lord. How are we to know what someone’s best is. Come as you are Jesus says. This can only breed contempt and condemnation. Is it really more important than a soul… I think not. Man has defined the “attire” for church over the years, not God. When Adam and Eve were cast from the garden they clothed themselves in animal skin. If we come modestly there should be no issue, rather leave it up to a persons conviction between them and the Lord. This kind of stuff does nothing for the kingdom of God and winning souls.

    • My have we lowered our standards when honoring God. I doubt that most people who go to church can’t dress nice in the United States. As far as winning souls or just come as you are, Does that mean never change? And dress like a bum all the time. All I am saying is God knows your heart and atitude towards him. I believe when a person really gets saved he would want to do his best to please the Lord. I saw a Pastor once dressed in jeans and flannel shirt not even tucked in on a sunday morning getting ready to preach, So we left and went to another church years ago. Why? Because he didn’t look like he took the word of God serious. So would you do it for the Lord? I bet most wouldn’t.

  33. I notice a lot of selfishness in the answers. God see’s the heart. So if you for selfish reasons don’t want to dress your best,or put on your best. Like most people said God see’s your heart. God knows your motive. I suggest you personally take it to the Lord in prayer and dress the way the Lord God would have you to Dress. You can fool Man but you can’t fool God. In America I doubt there is any reason to Dress like a Bum. If the president of the United States came to your house, would you meet him in your Bathroom dressed in a bathrobe? Would a man wear a dress and high heels in the presents of the Lord? Would a woman dress in a skimmpy bathing suit to church? God knows your heart? Are you going to dress your way or God’s way? How many people hear are willing to let God change their hearts? That is what I am wondering.

  34. Thank your for your article. Many failed to read the title of the post to Why you wear a tie to church. Maybe you hit a conscious nerve?

  35. Here is something to think about. If you dress up to go out on a date with someone you are hoping or already have a relationship with because you are or hoping to fall in love with. But the only person in this world that completely and truly loves you, who gave his life for you so you could have eternal life, you don’t feel it important to dress up for? I know that dress does not determine our measure of love and thanksgving, but is it wrong for us to make an outward sign? But we should not judge, look down our noses at those you don’t or can’t dress as nice as us. The exact opposite should happen we should make those who are not as well dress as us feel that are just as important as others. By not judging people by the way they dress and accepting them as Jesus would that is important. For all those who want to judge me for my comments I do not own any expensive suits, I get mine from Goodwill and I have not paid more than $20 for a tie.

  36. Ties or no ties…really? There’s a dying world out there, there’s lost people to reach, Hell is real, and eternity lasts a long time. “Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ.” “Put on the full armor of God.” Worship Jesus. Do you really think Jesus is like, “wow, what a nice tie, how impressive…golly, look at that slob with jeans and t-shirt, how horrible…”? Come on, this is just ridiculous. Life is way too short and eternity way too long to waste time trying to figure out what I’m supposed to wear to church or not wear to church. Who cares?! You want to wear a tie, then wear a tie. Go for it. I’m sure you look great. But be careful that you’re not looking down on everyone else without a tie as though they’re all still on the Jr. Varsity Christianity team while you and your tie are on the Varsity team.

  37. The 1Sam 16:7 is an worn out ‘excuse’ they is pulled sooooo far out of context. Folks, read it…it has NOTHING to do with clothing, and everything to do with physical ‘stature.’ David didn’t look outwardly like Eliab and the others in his ‘physique’…NOT clothing. Secondly, why do so many adhere to ‘moral law’ of the old covenant, over a woman ‘wearing that which pertains to a man’ Duet 22:5…YET, pass right over 1 Cor 11 ‘a woman’s UNCUT hair is givin to her for a covering’…?? Also, pass right over Paul’s admonition AGAINST wearing outward ornamentation / jewelry…in 1 Tim 2:9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
    Q. How can so many Baptists omit such blatantly clear scriptures AGAINST outward Adornment be ‘passed over’?? And then gag over wearing or not wearing a neck tie…:( Come on folks, preach ALL of it!!

  38. Paul taught against traditions because while some people are worrying over the styles that come and go in church, there’s a much bigger picture that is being ignored. A lot of the people we should be reaching can’t afford ties or nice Sunday attire so they’re made to feel out of place and underdressed. Most people we should be reaching have no idea about the “traditional” ways of dress at churches, they just know there’s a void that they want to fill. This is silly….. Legalism at its finest!! So I take it on Wednesday nights when it’s more casual, your worship services are lacking since there’s less people with ties? Seriously….

  39. We need to be mindful of taking Scripture out of context. We need to flee from making Scripture fit into OUR needs or beliefs. As Christians, this is something we are notorious for. Rather we need to know God’s Word. Our need is to know God more.

    Lets take a look at what is going on in this parable. Since the king sent the slaves to round up common-people on the streets, because those who were invited rejected it, the king had to provide the “wedding garments”. Because they would have been wearing their common wear, their ordinary clothes. As we read this Passage we understand that “wedding garments” is a metaphor for the righteousness of Christ. But the man who came in “without wedding clothes” came in thinking he was righteous in and of himself. He was basically telling the king I don’t want to wear your “wedding garments”. Remember, the common people gathered are both good and evil. This parable is meant to illustrate how sometimes we enter the house of God thinking we have self righteousness, that we don’t need what God offers to us freely.

    Because if you are saying this passage is specifically talking about the way we dress to go to church, physically, then verse 13 says we are to “bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness…”
    You would be saying that all people who don’t dress with a shirt and tie are not welcomed in the church building.

    But see, this parable is talking about the heart of a person. Our King, Jesus, has already prepared the wedding. All we need to do is put on the righteousness of Christ.

  40. ‘The slouchy dress that we see in worship services directly corresponds to our flippant attitude toward meeting with our Maker and Saviour’.

    Tell that to John the Baptist, the wild man who wore camel hair tied by a leather belt. Would he be welcome in your church or would his ‘slouchy’ dress prove that he has a ‘flippant attitude’ toward God?

  41. I do not understand why one man who states his opinion has to be blasted with such negative toned comments simply for stating his opinion/standards. I think we can all agree that Christians of today have fallen away from the principles of God’s Word which have caused us to lower our standards. We have missed the entire message of the Bible which is salvation by faith in Jesus Christ and living a life of holiness (separation). We can all put our opinions on here, but that does not make any of them right. It should always be “THUS SAITH THE LORD!” I appreciate the simple fact that he took time to express it and state principles from God’s Word.

  42. I loved and totally agreed with this article. From what I gather from this writing is that it is not about the tie and coat, but more about what we can do for God and how we need to look. Also we need to sacrifice ourselves and be an example to others. What is wrong with dressing up for God who has done so much for us? We need to get away from OUR comfort and do extra for God. These days, it seems to be all about US and our comfort, what do I want. We need to put ourselves out more for God. I teach our children in Sunday School that we need to dress up as if we were going to a special wedding. I say special, because these days many go to weddings in overalls and jeans and tee shirts. Where is the respect? Have some respect for the house of God and do a little extra for Him. Get dressed, as in take extra time and dress up for the King! I could go on and on about this because this is an issue with me! I hate how people are dressed and then going to church like they are going to a ballgame. Lets get dressed for the King!!!

  43. I wear a suit and tie to church. I am also a preacher. I take my profession as seriously as a doctor or a lawyer. I do not think that people who come to church should feel like they need to dress up. I do so because my personal preference. I am just happy that someone made the effort, cared about their souls enough, and came to church. What they choose to wear their is not my concern, if they encounter the presence of God or not while they are there is my concern

    • Neither my lawyer, nor my doctors (any of them), wear a suit, sport coat or tie. So should I feel superior to them or just consider them unwashed pagans and look for new ones? (FTR, I am a pastor too. Those who think that being a pastor makes them somehow spiritual superior should study Paul’s discussion of the Nicolaitans.) NOTHING in Scripture suggests that Jesus or the Disciples wore anything nicer than the common man wore — perhaps not even as nice as some in the community. I believe He is quite disgusted with the whole of this debate and I actually have more Biblical support for such a contention than anyone who has insisted that ties and coats are a church “standard” have shown.

      • It is like you did not read any of my comment other than the parts you wanted to. I hope you do not approach the rest of your life that way. Should I copy and paste so you can understand?. “I do not think that people who come to church should feel like they need to dress up. I do so because of my personal preference. I am just happy that someone made the effort, cared about their souls enough, and came to church. What they choose to wear is not my concern, if they encounter the presence of God or not while they are there is my concern” I would like to see your lawyer show up in court like that by the way. You might want a new one. Also, you should probably stop seeing the doctor in the van down the road. I have cancer ( brain cancer ) and ALL of my doctors want to look professional as to appear that they take their job seriously. I also said it was my preference, and did not put it on you to do the same. I highly doubt you have a very educated opinion on the matter seeing as your reply barely met requirements to be basic English

        • Wow…you’re a preacher who takes his job seriously enough to want to *look* professional, but apparently not enough to *act* that way. A preacher who takes his job seriously would respond to someone with grace instead of insulting their intelligence.

  44. Perhaps another take on this debate or discussion. Lets look at the ministry of Jesus. Jesus and his disciples were not made of money nor did they come from money. They were very modest in their attire. Not priestly robes of any sort. In fact, no scripture really describes what He and his disciples wore in depth at all. But we understand through history and theologians that they were very modest. Their standard of dress would not have measured up our standard of “Suit” wearing in this day in age. This is our Lord we are examining. Jesus and his disciples looked like ” Common man ” so that they could reach ” Common Man “. Was it a mental note on their behalf to be conscience of their attire? I honestly can’t say for sure. But what they were preaching and teaching was WAY more important then what they were wearing. I remember reading that Jesus, out of all the things he would get upset about, was not about his disciples dress. But it was about how long they could pray, or the lack of faith they would exhibit.

    He concerned himself with the care of their souls. He was not concerned about how they dressed. If they wore the best on Sundays or Fridays or even Tuesdays. He was making sure that the spiritual man was fed. He knew, that to get to the Carnal man. It had to be through the avenue of reaching their soul.

    Scripture tells me that whatever my hands find to do. Do with all my might. As well as whatever I do, do as unto the Lord. Will I wear a suit? Sure. Are their Sundays and days of ministry that I MAKE sure I don’t? Absolutely!

    Wearing a suit doesn’t make you more “Holy” or more preferred to God. Some folks don’t have money to get a suit. Or the ones the have are outdated and they feel embarrassed to wear them. Do they not please God? Perhaps what they are doing is their best. If you take time to help work on the spiritual man, the outside appearance will take care of itself. Do we need to live modestly and not parade around looking like a bunch of heathens? Of course.

    But to assume, that people who don’t wear suits have apathy or lack of respect for the Lord Jesus. I believe speaks more about that person saying those words. Then the people he/she is trying to accuse….

    Just sayin’

  45. “But it was a good tradition and one whose parting is just another sign of the times–the last times. Where is our sense of awe in the presence of God? He says He dwells in the midst of us when we meet with Him (Matthew 18:20).” It is my belief that this following quote is based totally on opinion, not on scripture. For one, my mind instantly thinks back to the Moses of the Bible, and how he was quite literally closer to the physical presence of God than just about anyone else. The Bible never mentions Moses dressing up nice before going to the top of Mount Sinai, or before talking to a burning bush. If you are going to correlate the whole awe of God=dressing up nice out of awe (which sounds a lot like trying to impress Him to me) I would also have to ask if Jesus, while He was on earth, required his Disciples to dress nice when they were around him, out of respect or out of ‘awe’.
    Quite honestly, and I say this with all of the love I can muster, this is the most ridiculous article I have ever read from a Believer. Maybe it’s because I don’t own a suit or tie (I’ve only ever wore one once), maybe it’s because I’m going to a very large secular university and I see Christians struggling with pornography, substance abuse, their faith, and a whole other slew of actually important issues. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve seen Christians go to my very small, student based church, and break down and cry, not because they’re embarrassed that they’re not well dressed enough, but because they have been touched by the presence of a Living God who doesn’t care about the outward appearance. Maybe, instead of wearing nice clothes, we should focus more on having our hearts in the right place for worship and for sharing the Gospel. Granted, this all comes from the fact that I am around so many people that do not have the fulfillment that wearing nice clothes–er, excuse me, a relationship with Christ–brings. Maybe it’s the fact that I see Christians who seem to be more concerned about what they wear to church than sharing the Gospel (and I definitely count myself in this category, in that I often let things other than the Holy Spirit take precedence in my own life).
    I’m going to end this long post with a story. While working on a film crew up north, some crew members and I went to the park to play volleyball before the evening service of the very Independent Baptist Church we were attending. We left straight from the park and I didn’t bring a change of clothes, I had totally forgot. So I went to church in my sweaty Lebron James basketball shorts and T-Shirt. It was very intimidating. Now, I want to make clear one thing. No one made me feel uncomfortable or ‘judged’. I never felt like people were staring at me. Everyone was very nice and shook my hand (I actually wondered a few times if they thought it was my first time to visit church by how everyone greeted me). But it was intimidating. It was a large church of hundreds of people and I was the only one wearing shorts. I felt like I hadn’t gotten the memo, that I was the odd one out. And even though the congregation was non-judgmental, I remember thinking how even more intimidating it would be if it HAD been my first time to church. No one would have told me that I had to dress up. It was a sobering thought.
    In closing, what is considered ‘nice’ or ‘formal’ attire is something that differs across cultures and time periods. The suit and tie has really only been popular for the past 400 years (at the very most) and we obviously don’t wear wigs, or our nice kaminos, or best traditional Ethiopian garb when we go to church because we live in the US in 2013. Not to mention the fact that many people don’t have or can’t afford nice clothes (or some, if they did have them, they’d only use them once a week at church, like me). “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” -Philippians 2:3-4

  46. This coming Sunday morning I will drive around and see many men dressed up in suits and ties in their cars who will attend outright theologically liberal churches who believe in none of the fundamentals of the faith. I too, having been raised in 21st century America, have a difficult time seeing men come to church in shorts and flip-flops. But I have also found that some of these men are far more faithful and far more devoted to Christ and the Bible than some of the suit and tie crowd.

  47. Again, people keep saying that we are coming before God in church as if it’s the only place we stand before Him. Or saying “The House of God.” Where do we find that terminology or imagery in Scripture, specifically the New Testament Church. We are ALWAYS in His presence, and our bodies are His house now. There is nothing special about the building we meet in. We are the church. We should always be standing in awe of His glory and holiness, not on Sundays only when we gather in a building for a set period of time. The issue is not what we wear on Sunday, but our hearts and actions through out the entire week. Our dress should always fit the occasion of what we are doing and bring glory to God regardless of the day. Depending on the church you go to, the type of attire that is most appropriate and God honoring will vary greatly. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy dressing up and looking nice. But, sometimes, in the context of our church setting, my dressing up can be more of a distraction to others and draws attention to myself rather than bringing the glory and focus to God where it should be. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be neat and clean just out of a simple pattern of treating God’s temple (our bodies) with the respect and honor it deserves, but making people feel guilty for not dressing according to a standard that we deem as holy or right seems to be missing the mark.

  48. It doesn’t matter the religion. It doesn’t matter whether or not one believes God is in the building or the hearts of the people in the building.It doesn’t matter what paraphrase, bible verse, testiment, or gospel you want to quote. People have gotten lazy with thier attire over the last century or more. We have so few occasions to “dress up” any more. What, maybe 3 – 4 times a year if we have a wedding or party to go to. I was braught up to always dress up for church. Out of respect toward the church, my elders, and for myself. I may not wear a dress everytime or something super fancy but I leave my jeans and sweatshirts at home for 1 hr and look my best in the pressents of my Lords church. Ask yourself this question…… How would you want to dress if you were going to actually meet Jesus or God for an interview? Would you wear your pajama bottoms and old ratty sweatshirt? Would you wear your torn and holey jeans and your language explict concert tee shirt? There is a time and a place for everything….. including our wardrobe we wear.

    • I honestly would be so excited that I wouldn’t even care. Attire would be the last thing I would be thinking of. I’m not trying to impress Jesus so he can give me a job, it’s not an interview. It’s a relationship. Ultimately, I’d also have to ask, is dressing formally a part of Creation or is dressing formally a human creation? You can take that one all the way back to Genesis 1.

  49. Just wondering, how should one dress when having an audience with the President of the United States, the Prime Minister of Australia or the Queen of Great Britain. Oh the honor and privilege that is ours when we come into the presence of the King of kings and the Lord of Lords. Just saying . . . .

  50. Good piece. God clothed Adam and Eve, he told the people when was to meet with them at the foot of the Mount not to come unless then washed their clothes and bathed. God is going to cloth everyone in heaven so what you put on in front of Him is important. Read all the Bible and it will surprise a lot of people what God expects. Your article is exactly right.

  51. I agree with you 100%. You’re point that we don’t suffer enough for God anyway rang true to me!
    If I were somehow able to meet Princess Kate and Prince Will I would buy, beg, or borrow the finest, classiest outfit for the occation. Why less when I come before the Prince of Princes? The KING OF KINGS? People who think that the way they dress does not reflect the heart (excuse me for being blunt) are blind. We are the “Tabernacle of the Holy Spirit” not the tablernacle of Lady Gaga or ourselves. God deserves the best we can be, inside and OUT.
    And I don’t think that people who wear shorts to church are not saved: but it gives you an idea of where their hearts are at.
    Anyway, I LOVED your post!

    • Wearing shorts to church says nothing about your heart, absolutely nothing! You are soaked in tradition and cannot see anything past it. Your god is your tradition. Sinners don’t have a certain look, you should know that from scripture. The most religious people in the bible were referred to by Christ as “sons of hell”. You guys have got to be kidding me with this argument.

  52. Had this guy just stuck to the difference it makes in his own life when dressing up, it would have been fine. But with arguments as poor as these, it’s no wonder that the IFB movement is losing the hearts & minds of young people. We seem bent on proving that our extra-biblical standards are superior by impugning the intentions of those who have a different set of standards. We lose credibility with statements like “The slouchy dress that we see in worship services directly corresponds to our flippant attitude toward meeting with our Maker and Saviour.” The author cannot prove the “direct correspondence,” yet he asserts it nonetheless. It boggles my mind that we can look down our nose at others & make assessments of the spiritual condition based on outward appearance… I feel bad for this author. It’s as if he’s never read James 2, etc.

    On another note, since he believes that “when the people of the church meet, they become the “house of God” (1 Timothy 3:15); they become His dwelling place,” I wonder if he wears a tie to every occasion for which they meet. Does he dress up when the church has an outdoor barbecue that ends with worship? Does he expect teens to dress up for youth group activities that end with worship but start with kickball? The implications of his arguments are quite silly.

  53. Follow me and I will make you fishers of men. They dropped their nets and followed. Jesus didnt say go shower shave and take off those filthy fishing clothes. Should we also be free from sin before coming to meet God? We come as we are and we love God with all of our heart soul and strength. If we do that then our actions(inner) will speak louder than words or an outward appearance. White coffins are clean but dead inside.

  54. Fundamental flaw – we don’t go to church to meet God. That’s not what church is for. God does not live in a tabernacle and His interactions with us are not tied to a church building. We go to church to build the Body, to worship with Believers rather than by ourselves. We go to church for edification and discipleship. We do NOT come to church to meet God as though our meeting with him is more direct at our church than in our home. If you want to wear a tie that’s fine, but don’t every use the reasoning that it’s because you’re “meeting with God.” All the sales people, banker, funeral etc. comparisons are all therefore voided.

  55. IMO all of this depends on your view of God. Many people have a causal view of God. God is their Father and Christ is a brother and a friend. Others (like myself) have a higher view of God. He is holy, perfect and we live in awe of his purity. That doesn’t mean those who have a casual view of God do not see the higher view but it’s not their primary view of Him. Those that have a higher view of God take it upon themselves to show honor and respect outwardly as well as inwardly, but since man cannot see the heart we are called, plastic, Pharisaical and legalist. Those that have a higher view of God look at those with a causal view as being disrespectful and rebellious. Historically, a higher view of God took precedence but in the last 40 years the causal view has been gaining popularity due to the shift in culture brought on by the millennial generation.

    • Since man can’t see the heart, you get called legalist and a pharisee (and I suppose you don’t like that). But yet you CAN see the heart of the “casual” christians and therefore are completely justified in judging them as rebellious and disrespectful?
      Nice double standard. I see what you did there.

  56. The key is not men’s standards, but the Bible’s standards of appearance regarding wearing those things which are modest, appropriate, and which serve their gender role. One may find a tie appropriate. Others may not. One may find a day to be holy. Others may not. Let each be convinced in their own mind. Is that more of what Paul would say?

    Have we not all seen far better dressed individuals without a tie than with one? This “tie is spiritual” and “I attend three services” mentality in which they attempt to showcase their opinion as Biblical dogma is exactly the reason that people disregard pastors when they talk of other more important Biblical issues of modesty, holiness, music, separation, attitude, and the most important Biblical pursuit of doctrinal purity. Today, I see fundamentalists as becoming more and more isolated and for all the wrong reasons. Many of them act like tyrants regarding their “three services per week”, their ties, and their tithes, but none have firm Biblical footing. On the other hand, many of these same men are chasing after the Gospel Coalition, John Piper, Tim Keller, N.T. Wright, and many others whose official catechisms, creeds, and confessionals teach baptismal salvation. Let’s get the beam out first and then worry about the splinters.

  57. Did the early New Testament believers dress up when they gathered in each others homes? There was definitely no command in Scripture to do this and no record of it either. However, God, through Paul and the other apostles did write about judging based on outward appearance, wanting to be seen by others, following after traditions of men rather than God. As another commenter pointed out, we are told to be clothed in all humility, and we aren’t to be focused on the outward appearance (braiding of hair, putting on costly clothing) but instead (as women in particular) cultivating a meek and quiet spirit. (1 Peter) With God it’s always about the heart and not outward appearance. James and 1 Corinthians both deal with making gatherings that should be all about God into something that is man centered where the rich flaunt their wealth and people stand in judgement of others based on status.

    We don’t meet in a temple anymore. The Old Testament laws regarding the temple/tabernacle don’t apply. We don’t have to cleanse ourselves ceremonial before coming before God because Christ has already done that for us on the cross. The whole point of those laws was to show how Holy and set apart God is from us. Is He any less Holy today? Of course, not. However, the issue was never about the outward appearance. Christ came died on the cross to remove what separated us from God. It wasn’t wrong clothing choices, but the sin inside of our wicked hearts. We now can come boldly before the throne of grace anytime, just as we are. We are His child and God’s Spirit indwells us. Instead of going to a temple, we ARE God’s temple. So, is this really a question about once a week when we gather with other Believers? If you use the logic about meeting with God, we are technically always in His presence and should be in a continual state of worship. If it were about the clothes, than we would need to be dressed up 24/7. This is a heart issue.

    Yes, dress does matter because it reflects what’s going on inside our hearts. Everything we do is a reflection of what we believe. Being modest and appropriate to the occasion are a reflection on what we think about God, ourselves, and those around us. Are we trying to draw attention to ourselves in a sexual or flashy way? Do we want people to think better of us based on what we are wearing? Are we too lazy to take care of our clothes or bodies? The whole point of being modest is to not draw undue attention to one’s person. When we go to church, we are meeting with other Believers to hear God’s Word, remember together what Christ has done for us, and to encourage each other in the Lord. We are there to corporately do what we should be doing all week long individually. I’m not seeing the correlation of dressing up as a necessary part of doing this.

    There are a lot of other factors involved, too when it comes to what someone wears to church. How were you raised and what were you taught is acceptable or unacceptable attire for different occasions? Where are you at financially? Where are you at in your spiritual maturity? What was your morning/week like? What are your responsibilities at church? (When I’m working in the nursery I wear pants because it’s more modest and practical for chasing after little toddlers.) Would it not be much better to come as you are with a heart open and ready to hear God’s Word and a desire to be a blessing to other Believers? If the author feels he is giving a sacrifice to God by dressing up a bit, than that is great. But, does that mean we should be condescending to those who don’t as being nonspiritual or flippant because they choose to give different forms of sacrifice to the Lord on Sunday?

  58. There is something that you overlooked: image. If people see you on a Sunday morning wearing a tie and carrying a Bible, they assume you are going to church. They know you take Sundays seriously. It does my heart good when I see suits, nice dresses, and Bibles on my way to church.

    I used to be a member of a church that had no dress code. Some came in suits, but some didn’t bother dressing up at all. Kids who goofed off during the sermon were always dressed in unclean t-shirts and greasy hair. They hated being dragged to church and it showed.

    • Ken, you killed your own argument. Everyone is asking why is a suit and tie is biblical…and the answer is, it isn’t – it’s just something we do to make ourselves (and those around us) feel more spiritual and holy. (Like pharisees) And here you are saying it’s godly to wear suits because it “does your heart good”. Still no biblical evidence or precedent, and you totally proved what everyone else is/was saying.

    • Well, at least you are honest and say that we should wear a suit for you, and not for God. If God wanted us to, he would put verses in the Bible that outline that. Instead, he cautions us against it, and says that he is interested in the heart.

    • That comment is probably one of the WORST comments in the whole bunch!! How do you know where those childrens hearts were – sigh reminds me why I left hoity toity holier then thou Pharisaical based not on Gods word but our own sick twisted judgmental traditions – This comment has NO Christian Love in it. This is why I like Churches without a dress code – you are accepted for your heart not for what you wear – even if you are a greasy unclean child of God

  59. I get some of the sentiments here, about how the writers dress for him reflects his feelings towards God and meeting together with other Christians. I feel that’s great for him… But I just don’t think we can extend this to something to put on others.

    I’m glad he did clarify that we are the church, not the building. But he still seems to be confining it to one meeting on Sunday. I believe we are the church wherever we are, whenever that is.

    Dressing up may be an authentic expression for some and not for others. For me, giving away my clothes to people who need them expresses for me more of my heart and love for Jesus than what I wear on Sunday. But I wouldn’t say whether someone who does dress up for a meeting doesn’t have that same heart or not. All in all, I think worrying about clothes – whether fancy or otherwise – is the wrong approach.

    I wish the author had stuck to just explaining why he does it as an expression of worship – which is lovely and good – and not extended it to imply judgment on the attitude and heart of others who do not continue this Sunday, man-made tradition.

  60. So if I don’t have a suit and I don’t, I have to say WOW tomorrow is Sunday! I have to go buy a suit! That is going for a SHOW. To show people your new clothes or dress. I went to a Church one time in a suit FINALLY and preacher said now that is how you are supposed to go to Church. I quit that Church. Didn’t go to another one for 8 years. I used to go to Church to worship the Lord and King. Now we go to Church Just to be seen. Who drives a Cadallic or lives in a big brick home. All of the wagon tracks round the Church are gone!

  61.  6  He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.

     7  Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

     8  For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.

  62. A friend of mine posted a link to this article on their Facebook – so I decided to check it out. It seems like the writer is writing more for people inside the “club” who agree with his perspective.

    I appreciated David Luttrell’s comments. Our family has lived in several different states (Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan) and you would be hard pressed to find people who “dress up” to go to a funeral or meet the president. Their public attire is usually comfortable clothes. Sales people rarely wear ties and most professionals I know where polos to work. Maybe because so many of them work in the automotive/manufacturing industries.

    The church we attend now is a “come as you are” church. While some may see that as a lack of respect, our church tends to attract lots of unchurched people. For them, attending church is similar to attending a public event like they would for school performances, sporting events, etc. You can not tell by looking at people’s attire much about their socio-economic status or their occupation. Most people are focused on the message and the experience than focusing on other people’s attire.

    In our case, I would say dressing casually is being more concerned about making others comfortable about attending church.

    Deuteronomy 8:4 Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years.

  63. “The church is the people, not the building”

    If this is the case, why do we dress nicely when we go to the church building but not when we meet other believers throughout the week?

  64. This article reeks with the judgmental legalism that accompanies those who insist on the tradition of dressing in expensive attire for church meetings. There IS another side to the scriptural argument that has nothing to do with flippancy. We are cautioned more than once in the New Testmanent not to focus on costly apparel or array because there is a spiritual danger in that. The danger is thinking less of those who do not dress up or spend as much on their clothing, which is exactly what this author does. Sad. Sign of the Laodicean age maybe?

  65. I completely agree with this post. How can we want to worship a God who walks on gold as if he is supposed grateful we are there as we truly are. As if he can’t see the true nature of our hearts and minds if we come into his presence in the best that we have. I think an extremely humbling thing for you to do is to wear your best and realize it is nothing compared to the glory and majesty of God. It isn’t Pharisaical to put forth an effort, to put away with your comfort zone and attempt to do something at your best for God. let’s not forget the widow’s two mites, that’s someone bringing their best to the Savior. And the story of the alabaster box. I think it is always carnal to criticize someone for putting forth an effort to bless the Lord. There for to him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not to him it is sin. If you don’t have traditional church attire wear your best. You can’t work at McDonald’s in jeans and a t-shirt.

    • You do realize that your best is as filthy rags right? The widow that brought the 2 mites didn’t bring her best, she brought everything she had. We can’t bring God our “best” until man defines what “best” is, which obviously has no place in spiritual affairs. As I said earlier, my absolute best is my several thousand dollar wedding dress, would you suggest that I wear that each Sunday? Is our best based on price, or quality of material? Please let me know so I get it right by man’s standards. See, I have some jeans that cost more than my dresses, so I just need clarification on what is “best” so that God will love me more. Please note the heavy sarcasm. Your argument is ridiculous.

  66. I agree with the author. I also agree with those that say it is a cultural item. Our society, here in America, for special occations still wear coats and ties for men and mostly the women wear a very nice dress or skirt and jacket outfit. Look at any of the bridal magazines and that is still the cultural majority. Our very good friends are missionaries to the Philipines and he hasn’t worn a tie to preach in service in the 5 or so years they have lived there. He wears their traditional shirt (the name of it is escaping me) that the Philipino men wear for their special occations. The whole point is to give your best to the Master whatever it may be. I believe that if you are capable of wearing your best to gather together for the Lord you should. If you are only capable of wearing sweatpants and an old tshirt, than you have given God your very best.

    • Steve, that is what I am saying too. To wear your best, man has to set that standard. We see who well that worked for the Pharisees. Is a tuxedo better than a suit? If so, what makes it better? The material? Price? I know women how have swimsuits that cost more than anything they own, would that be their best?

  67. The whole issue reminds me of the issue of music – especially people not wanting to sing songs with a range that might become a tad uncomfortable for the not-particularly-good singer. God forbid that a “sacrifice of praise” should actually involve something that resembles sacrifice!

  68. While I have no problem with people wearing a tie to church, I think that the rationale is a bit off here. First of all, the Matthew 22 passage cited here has nothing to do with what you wear to church. Secondly, the church building is just that- a building. It doesn’t have the same function or purpose as the Temple or Tabernacle did, so any OT reference to Jewish requirements for coming into God’s presence at *any* of His dwelling-places is a non-issue. If you believe that giving your best to God is by putting on your “Sunday finest”, then that is fine. That is your conviction- your way of showing God you reverence Him. That is, after all, an issue we can agree on, I think: God deserves glory and reverence. He may be glorified and reverenced, though, in ways besides our cultural dress code, and those other ways are far more important.

  69. If we’re supposed to dress our best, why not dress in a tuxedo to church? Why should women not wear wedding dresses every Sunday? After all, wedding attire is the best our culture has to offer in clothing. I am also sure the proper “wedding garment” parable was totally about what clothes we wear to church anyway. Have we sold God short and not given our best by not dressing in wedding apparel to church? Why would we give our bride and grooms our best and not God Himself? Surely we can give God better clothing than than the Mormons do!

    Or maybe our best isn’t good enough for the One who is clothed in light and power Ps 93:1; Ps 104:2 . Or maybe God is looking for something else beyond a tie? Being clothed in humility for one? – 1 Peter 5:5-6

    I am thankful to be clothed by God in what really matters:

    I will greatly rejoice in the LORD,
    My soul shall be joyful in my God;
    For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
    He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
    As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments,
    And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
    Isaiah 61:11

    • Why don’t you wear a tuxedo then? If you are serious about your dedication to the Lord being seen through the clothes that you wear to a church service than your church service would require formal wear not just a neck tie. So either you are just following a tradition of men or you are not fully committed to the Lord.

    • How do you know if someone wearing jeans or sweatpants, if that isn’t their best? What if you have a Tuxedo hanging in the closet, should you be wearing that instead? Also, what determines our best? Price? I know many kids that have sneakers that cost more than their “dress shoes”. Same can be said for jeans vs. dress pants! Do we determine our best based on material? So, cotton blend is better than cotton denim? Do you not see how we impede man’s judgement to even determine what is “best” and to God everything we offer is just filthy rags to begin with? Do you think you are earning some bonus points with God because you are wearing a tie, suit or dress? This conversation is ridiculous!

    • John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

      I do not labor in the vineyard in the hope that God would accept me, God knows me and all my ways and has died on the cross for me, given his life for me, and has saved me; that is why I labor. But in laboring in His vineyard I realize it is His and I want to please Him in all that I do.

      This article is not talking about justifying yourself to God, it is talking about pleasing the Lord and not yourselves; Seeking his desire. The Bible prophesies in 2 Timothy 4:3, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears…”

      When you are debating these matters you need to look to your motivation. Is your motivation to please Him, or is it to please or justify your own actions.
      1 Thessalonians 4:1 Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.

    • Again, Pastor Carney’s statement is irrelevant to the point. It’s also incorrect. We should surrender everything we have to God, because we love Him. Pastor Carney’s statement comes across as one of those parental guilt trip statements meant to make us feel bad if we’re not doing what he suggests.

  70. One problem is that in this post you have taken the Matthew 22 passage out of context. That parable is speaking to believers and showing us that we are to be ready for the coming of the Bride-groom (Jesus). It is not talking about our physical dress. I urge you to be careful and make sure you use passages of the Bible in context, not just to fit what you want to say.

  71. Okay you “live and let live folks….. IF God were SO UNconcerned with our dress or outward appearence, WHY exactly did HE tell Moses to tell the people…..Ex. 19:10-17? Moreover, God even wanted a CLEAN camp Deut. 23:12-14. God sure did seem concerned with clean clothes and bodies (the meaning of sanctify or so Barnes wrote: Sanctify them – The injunction involves bodily purification and undoubtedly also spiritual preparation. Compare Heb_10:22. The washing of the clothes was an outward symbol well understood in all nations.) So what I have to add as a 31 year old IFB Pastor is as long as Clothes do not become a form of legalism it is proper and right to “dress” properly for the Services in the Lord’s house. We are admonished not to treat people differently due to their social status or clothing (James 2:3) but we ought to ensure that in the end we all are “clothed” spiritually with: The Righteousness of Christ (Salvation) and the Armour of God. Great Article!

    10 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes,

    11 And be ready against the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai.

    12 And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death:

    13 There shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount.

    14 And Moses went down from the mount unto the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes.

    15 And he said unto the people, Be ready against the third day: come not at your wives.

    16 And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.

    17 And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount.

    • God certainly IS concerned with our outward appearance; there are several NT passages encouraging His people to dress modestly, and how we dress certainly falls under the “whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God”.

      However, nothing says that we must wear a (coat and) I to His house.

    • God wanted a clean camp to avoid contamination. Basically, clean up and don’t poop around others so that you don’t have diseases. Besides, we aren’t Jews (although grafted into the promises and Abraham is our father in the faith CHRISTIANS AREN’T JEWS), and we aren’t under any of the ceremonial laws. The moment you say, “Well, we aren’t under the ceremonial/purification laws because we’re Christians, but we SHOULD be in principle because God never changes,” then we negate everything Paul/apostles ever said about Judaizers). If you want to wear a tie, do it. If other men don’t want to, don’t. (Paul dealt with this: if you want to consider one day a holy day, fine. If not, fine. Just make sure it’s out of faith and don’t impose it on others).
      Preach Jesus and the actual articles of the faith as seen in the gospels. The Holy Spirit can change hearts through that.

    • 1. Nothing said in the previous post even remotely applies to whether or not one dress up for church.
      2. Like many issues in the fun world of Independent Baptist teaching, the one of dressing up for church is one where Scripture is taken out of context and twisted around to make some nonsensical point about man made standards.
      3. The historical notion of “Sunday go-to Meeting” clothes actually came from a time in the short lived history of the United States, in which most people only had one good set of clothing, which was to be worn for church, weddings, funerals, parties, etc.

      The funny thing about wearing a tie to church is that it’s so overwhelmingly based on how one is brought up in the church. If this subject comes up in an Independent Baptist church, lots of people will jump in on the “you must wear a tie” bandwagon. But they’ve been taught this their entire lives in church. If the subject comes up in another Protestant denomination, people will be like ‘what are you talking about?” Yet, those who are for wearing the tie seem to take some superior position, even while they’re saying that they’re not, that they’re more spiritual – i.e. they honor the Lord more than those who don’t wear a tie.

      We should all be able to agree that we should dress appropriately/modestly for any activity/occasion – including church.
      But we should also be careful not to use God or the Bible to justify our preferences.

    • Creighton, the problem with quoting the Law from Deuteronomy is that you either take it ALL or you do not take any of it. It’s so very convenient for so-called and self-proclaimed theologians to take selective verses they hold dear from the Law because it ‘suits’ their purposes. The law also stated in Deut 22:11, “You shall not wear a material mixed of wool and linen together.” I could take the time to quote many more passages of the law that we do not adhere to today, but that would be to easy. If Jesus wanted the Law, he would have accepted the Pharisees. they followed the Law to the letter. This is something I hope everyone subscribing to legalism embraces: The Jews were SO caught up in their Laws and regulations and additional man-made standards that were added to the Law at that time, they didn’t even see Jesus for who He was. They were blinded by their own pride. So it is today with many who believe they are saved, but Jesus will say, “depart from me, for I never knew you.” Anyone can give money, some more than others. Anyone can dress nicely, and some more than others. Anyone can be talented, some more than others. But NO ONE can give Him what he wants like YOU can. Each of us has something God desires above all and that is a relationship with Him. There is no monetary value that can equal it. There is no suit or tie that can outshine it. There is no talent that can outperform it. I learned long ago that those who are prideful of their legalistic ways are the ones that staunchly defend it – even though they may realize their ways are nothing more than pride and elitism.

  72. Can I say to those who bring up the cultural issue, yes coat and ties can be said to be cultural, the principle is 100% Biblical. We should use our best for church, for we are going to worship the creator of the Universe. Should He be treated with any less respect than a president? How would you dress when meeting a president? Also think of the sacrifices in the Old Testament, they had to give the best they had.

    • I always thought this particular argument was the most comical of all of them. If I truly took what you were saying to heart, the absolute best that I still own is my wedding dress. My wedding dress was over $1000 and covered in silk and lace. According to your argument I should be wearing my wedding dress every time I attend church because it is my best. Realize this entire article is nothing more than man’s opinion and legalistic judgement.

    • Who defines “best?” 21st century American culture is, by no means, monolithic. And, in the OT, God defined what was acceptable and what was not for sacrifice. That being said, are you equating the purpose of OT sacrifices with what people of today wear to church? If so, the works soteriology implied in that is disturbing, and possibly heretical.

      I don’t understand why what I would or wouldn’t wear when meeting with POTUS has anything to do with how I approach my King. My King, unlike POTUS, is not bound by arbitrary social protocol as determined by fluid and fallible social constructs.

      One final thought (not necessarily directed at the above commenter), while growing up, “dressing up” for church was often defended with appeal to “all things *being* done decently and in order.” I grew up in Florida, and, for the life of me, could never figure out how wearing a coat and tie in 95 degree weather was decent and in order.

    • I have been asked that exact question before. “Wouldn’t you wear a coat and tie when meeting the President?” My response was, “It depends on whether or not I was his son and he was my father.” If he was my father, it wouldn’t really matter what I was wearing.

      • And besides, who cares what anyone wears to meet the president / queen or whoever else. That has absolutely nothing to do with going to church.

    • Judge not according to appearance…..pretty clear. Traditions of men corrupt the Spirit of God. Not once can we find a passage where Peter was told to dress like Paul or that they were gettin’ their Sunday best on….considering the sabbath was From Friday to Saturday, Sunday is the first day of the week. Jesus said we’d know HIS by their FRUITS, NOT SUITS…..Doesn’t matter what you’re wearing if your soul is stained with sin. That’s the problem with traditions of men an standards set by men. They aren’t based on scripture, but fears, control….lack of faith. You worry about what they have on instead of the pain that is in their hearts….does that quench the Spirit? Repent an be baptized in Jesus name for the remission of sins an you will receive the Spirit of the Living, loving, God that looks upon the heart of a man, not the attire or stature. Amen

    • This is a very shallow interpretation of a very deep principle and teaching of Jesus Christ. I was brought up in legalism and man-mad ‘standards’. I am so glad my father encouraged me to know the Bible for myself. It is so sad to see Pastors on here proclaiming the validity of the position of the author. So sad that you do not understand the meaning of the parable in Matthew 22 and yet you tend a flock of your own. I would encourage you to seek the deeper meaning Jesus intended by using this parable to teach us about the Gospel.

    • So I can’t worship God if I’m in the shower? After all, in the shower I’m wearing no clothes at all. What if I’m out shoveling after a storm and want to praise God for the beauty I see around me? Because I’m wearing snow gear and not heels and hose I can’t do that? Or should I not shovel snow at all because that would mean I can’t wear heels and hose? If you want to dress up for church I’m cool with that. Just don’t say it’s about going to the “House of God” and worship and all that. Church is the people, not the building. Praise and worship shouldn’t be set aside only for 10:30 and 6:00 on Sundays and 6:30 on Wednesday.

      Is there a verse in the bible about women having to wear nylons and men having to wear neckties? Didn’t think so. Quit worshiping your extra-biblical standards. Not everyone has fancy clothes that meet your standards.

  73. Yes, man looketh on the outward appearance! That’s the whole point, not the excuse.
    What happened to “Be not conformed to this world” ?
    American “christianity” is the climax of the Laodicean lukewarmness so despised by the Lord.
    What you wear, in ANY setting, reflects as much on YOU as it does on the person with whom you’re meeting with!

    • I can’t believe that you seriously equate wearing a tie to not being conformed to the world. Lost business men running casinos wear ties as well. It is a personal decision not Scripture yet you are willing to run people into the ground because they don’t see it like you do. You can keep your “authoritative opinions”. Jesus left His glory suit at home and came down to man, where he was, and dressed like them, talked like them and became like them in order to meet them and help them. He ate with the sinners, sided with the guilty woman caught in adultery. He became like us to reach us. He laid aside His glory to reach out to us. Maybe we should follow His example and lay down our glorious ties in order to reach the common man. In my opinion which you are free to take it or leave it.

  74. “for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” The heart can be masked by ties as well as by flip flops. To each his own.

  75. While I would not claim that dressing up for church is bad, I don’t believe that you can make the claim that it is needful or even something to be desired from Scripture.

    The author says, “Why approach His house with any more formality than we would enter the neighborhood grocery store?” I would be interested to know where the author gets an understanding of there being a “house of God” in the New Testament. In fact, every single mention of the church is specifically in relation to a group of people meeting together. There were no church buildings in the first 200+ years of the church. The “house of God” simply did not exist. Beyond this, there’s every bit of indication that people did not dress up for church at all in the early church. Churches were made up of slaves and freemen. The slaves simply didn’t have extra clothes to put on to “go to meetin’.” I can’t imagine that the church members would have specific dress-up clothes to go to meetings where they would be killed if people knew what they were doing. (I would challenge to read more about the early church. A good place to stay would be Christianity Through the Centuries” by Cairns. But, really any history of the early church would do. Churches as we would understand them today did not become commonplace until Christianity was made into a legal religion until Constantine in the 3rd/4th century.

    Thus, here’s where the argument breaks down. If there is no indication in the early church of a compulsory dressing up for church, where did this come from? Certainly, to trace it to one specific cause would be simplistic. I would argue that there were several contributing factors to the “Sunday-go-to-meeting” style. First, a high church understanding taken from the Catholic/Anglican church contributed to the idea of dressing up for church. Taking cues from the Old Testament temple commands, the Catholics/Anglicans viewed Sunday as specific times to perform rites in order to please God. Within this ritualistic mindset, they believed the services to be “holy” (again something not found in any New Testament epistle or in the book of Acts). Thus, “holy” services were not to be taken lightly. Second, a prosperity not found in much of common Europe allowed American Christians the ability to afford a second set of clothes. These clothes were always saved for special occasions – times when people should look special. Church, naturally, was one of those occasions as people often traveled long distances every Sunday, met with others on Sunday, etc…

    So, the early church did not dress up. But, early-American Christians, because of their prosperity and the influence of a “high-church” mentality, dressed up to attend church. Does this mean that it is wrong to dress up? Of course not, but let’s recognize that those are secular reasons not biblical reasons. What does that mean for us today? Before I say anything else, let me say that I dress up on Sunday (not just a tie, but a suit and tie). However, I do not think this is necessary. I also do not think that if I stopped dressing up the Lord would be displeased because I was supposedly taking worship “flippantly.” Why do I dress up then? Because doing so allows me to have better ministry in the city where I am ministering at (I’m a pastor by the way). Where I’m at, people still expect to dress up to go to church (although this is changing). In order to more effectively reach those in my community, I have chosen to wear a suit and tie.

    What about those who don’t dress up? Are they disrespecting God? I’m sure some could be. There are some who could be dressing down just because they can and they don’t want to go along with the “establishment” (a rebellious reason). But, I also believe that there are many that genuinely want to better reach the people where they live. Because of the more casual mentality of the culture, they realize that many people don’t own a suit. When that person comes to church genuinely seeking God, they may be hindered by the awkwardness of not having dressed up to an event everyone else is dressed up to. (Have you ever attended an event in which everyone was either [a] way more dressy than you or [b] way more casual than you? It’s super awkward and you’re aware of it the whole time) Thus, there are some churches in the which the pastors encourage their congregations to have be more casual in order to better reach the community. The visitors are not distracted and embarrassed by the failure to follow protocol and can, hopefully, listen to the gospel without hinderance.

    In conclusion, if the Bible doesn’t mandate dressing up for church (and in fact gives every indication that the early church didn’t), and if the “Sunday-meeting-clothes” are a relatively modern invention (250-300 years), and if your dressing up would cause a hinderance to reaching the lost, I would say it’s not at all wrong to dress down. In fact, you may be a better soul-winner because of it. This is up for every person to decide. Please don’t judge those who dress down. Instead, seek to become “all things to all men, that [you] might by all means save some…” 1 Corinthians 9:22.

    I really hope the author doesn’t take this as an attack. But, I would like to here any comments he may have regarding the matter.

    • David – You said most of what I was going to say. I would just add that we often take the “modesty” portions of Scripture out of context too. While I don’t think anyone should be dressing provocatively in public, the modesty that is spoken of in the New Testament is one of a financial modesty, not the Victorian concept of modesty. In other words, it seems the principle about dressing when meeting together is to not make a big show. For the small group I go to, I’d be causing a show if showed up in a suit and it would seem like I was trying to be “better” than the others there (many of them are laborers and while they dress neatly, they never wear ties or suits). It is definitely a cultural thing and while dressing up doesn’t automatically make us hypocrites, it can hinder our relationship with other believers and others outside the church. This was actually a difficult realization to come to a number of years back, because I would wear a suit everyday if a could (and could afford that much dry cleaning).

  76. This is a cultural issue; not a Biblical issue. In fact 1 Samuel 16:7 talks about how man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart. Our forefathers wore suits and ties when they went to baseball games and when they played golf as well. Was that to show respect? Of course not; it was the cultural norm. The dress a person wears does not necessarily reflect his/her “flippant” or “non-flippant” attitude towards God; how ridiculous. Again, God looks at the heart. For some people, their Sunday best is a nice pair of jeans. Similarly, it completely depends what part of the country you live in, as well as living in the city or the country. You can certainly come out here to Utah and live where I live and watch all the Mormons in the “Sunday best” white shirts, suits, and ties. Their hearts are in the wrong place, as is anyone’s whose focus is on the clothing. In fact, I’d challenge the writer that the more dressed up you are, the easier it is for you to look down and judge others that aren’t dressed as nice as you. Again, God looks at the heart.

  77. I have had lengthy discussions with friends and acquaintances regarding this topic. Like the author, I believe that the trouble we take over something shows how important it is to us, and even the small effort to wear a tie when going to church shows that it is important to me and to others. But the people I speak with don’t agree at all; they point out that the Scriptures nowhere demand that we wear a tie (or a coat & tie) to church. They point out that just because our forefathers did it does not make it right; those same forefathers also believed that the earth was the center of the universe and that bleeding people was good for them. If the Bible doesn’t command it or forbid it, it is up to each Christian’s conscience before God.

    The author is reading minds to say that people not wearing ties have a flippant attitude toward God. This sounds like the kind of judgment based on externals that Jesus condemned.

    They say “Why shouldn’t I be comfortable?” — but does discomfort commend us to God? Should we descend to whipping ourselves to get God’s favor? When then, go out of the way to be uncomfortable as though it brings us into favor with God?

    Does a sense of awe in God’s presence lead us to wearing a tie? If I’m not wearing a tie, can I not get a sense of the awe of His presence?

    You count it an honor to take pains to dress up (as do I), but I cannot point to Scripture for such a practice, and my friends dismiss merely how I feel about it: “It’s OK for you, but why should we live by YOUR standards, if they are not in the Bible?”

    I was hoping to find some answers for them here, but all I find is an appeal to US traditions and the author’s feelings.

    In closing, please refer to the opening sentences; I am in full agreement with the author, and I do believe in dressing up for church.

    • One problem is that in this post you have taken the Matthew 22 passage out of context. That parable is speaking to believers and showing us that we are to be ready for the coming of the Bride-groom (Jesus). It is not talking about our physical dress. I urge you to be careful and make sure you use passages of the Bible in context, not just to fit what you want to say.

      • I think he understood that about Matthew 22 it was the principal he was drawing out of the scripture. Whenever we come before the Lord on any occasion we should present ourselves in a reverent and respectable way. If anyone used the scripture out of context to say what they wanted it to say you just did.

      • Exactly right. The context in Matthew 22 is salvation, not our physical appearance. That being said, it is important to show reverence and respect in the way we dress when going to the house of God. Even when the point we are making is correct, we should never twist the Scriptures to prove it.

      • Although he might have taken the passage out of context, the message he was trying to get across was still true.. We dress up for weddings or funerals out of respect for those who are getting married or those who have died, but we refuse to dress up out of respect for the only person in the universe that truly deserves our respect? His point is valid..

    • If a person dresses in clean modest clothing then what’s the beef? and if they do not, then continue to leave them alone.

      As all of us IFB’ers know the meanest offenses happen with in our groups when we all only attend 3 times a week, Sunday morning, Sunday night & Wed night.

      Ironic is it not?

      Low life sinners that you lead to Christ will still never be accepted in your Baptist church groups even if you got them to put two ties on!

      There are many stiff necks that need to get fixed before we pulpit whip the general common people in the pew to wear a tie.

      The rapture is about to happen and the old cliques want a neck tie.

      Preach repentance, Hell is coming and that Christ forgives and will redeem those who are ashamed of their sin and want a pardon. Sanctification is a natural process. But offences from the Leadership and the prevailing groups in the church will undo Gods work.

      Preach and teach that, and God will let His Holy Spirit dwell in your congregations.

      • I pastor a Baptist Church I am the only one who wares a tie to church. I do it because of the way I was raised for respect for the calling. I have people who ware jeans and pull over shirts. It’s not what’s on the out side it’s the condition of the heart to JESUS. It’s a come as you are. They come clean in the best they have. These are as close to GOD as a man in a 3 piece suit.The HOLY SPIRIT dwells in the heart not the cloths they ware.

      • You are sooo right. In 1st or 2nd Samuel he said it all… Men look on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart. What you wear does not make you Holy…. Its what you God sees in your heart. Iv seen people that “look” Holy but have a black heart and judge people that don’t look the way they think should. The Bible is very clear when it says “JUDGE NOT LEST YOU BE JUDGED…”

    • Well said. This is exactly the reason I want my Sunday dress to be different. For all He’s done for me, I want to honor him with my best. Thanks!

      • Honor Him with your servitude, obedience and praise and worship. Most of all, have a relationship with him. This is SOOO not about what one physically wears.

      • Since Christians claim that God is everywhere, shouldn’t Christians dress to the nines every day, everywhere they go, no matter what they do? I mean, if you want to honor your deity with your best you should wear your best every day. Heels and hose for women (nothing sleeveless or showing the neck, shoes must not show toes), tuxes for guys. Works for me!

        Yeah, we really need a sarcasm font here.

    • I agree, I grew up very traditionally and still like those traditions I liked the more kind, proper society before the invasion of the slobs. But we need to remember God sees us at all times, in our finest, in our slovenliness and in our nothingness, and in our sin, but He still loves us. He cares nothing for our suits and ties, our knee length dresses….He sees the heart. He longs for our true worship of praise in who He is and not what we become when we put on our finery and our sorry to say, our pious faces.

    • I’m not much in the business of corecting others or being confrontational, but i have to disagree with this article. I am an independent baptist myself. i wear a tie to church most sundays mainly because that is the “unwritten dress code”. i do not condemn the author of this article or his heart or those who also hold to this opinion. But may i submit a few things:
      1. The NT if anything condemns dressing up. I Tim. 2:9-10 “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professiong godliness) with good works.” Here women are instructed to focus on good works, and not on extravagent dress. In the servce we are to focus on our Lord and the preaching of the Word and not on ourselves. It’s about Him, not us! 1 Peter 3:3-4 gives some similiar instruction.
      2. Dressing up can lead to segregation. James 2:1-6 gives the senario of a well dressed man getting preferential treatment, while a poor man with “vile raiment” is segreagated to the back of the cogregation. While attending Christian college, I often went street witnessing. Along with giving the gospel. I would simply invite them to our church. It took me back on how many said that they felt like they would not fit in because they did not have anything nice to wear. While trying to assure them that that was not the case, I could not help but think that they were right. I shutter to think of the amount of people who are looking for the truth pull into our church parking lots only to look around see the people and drive off before ever hearing the gospel.
      3. Misuse of Scripture to support a possiotion. The Matt. 22 passage is a parable with meaning and symbolism. It was also about a wedding not a church meeting. I also heard a pastor preach a message about When Peter was fishing and saw Jesus calling to him from the shore, and how Peter first put on his coat before he swam to Jesus. This pasor used that passage as a case text for coming to Jesus looking our best. BE CAREFUL PEOPLE ON HOW YOU USE SCRIPTURE!!!
      4. Shouldn’t we look our best for Jesus? ! Sam. 16:7 simply says that God does not look on the outward appearance but the heart. Lets not forget too that when God created Adam and Eve they were naked. So i don’t think God originally cared that much about clothing. Just saying
      5. Shouldn’t we be seperate from the world? I am all for BIBLICAL seperation. What happens when the Bible does not specifically deal with an “issue”? What’s right or wrong? One might say well Rom. 12:1-2, be seperate from the world and worldly things. ok, what’s worldly??? If the Bible doesn’t say than who? You? Your pastor? Well we just want to draw the line as far away from sin as possible, right? Convictions and standards are great things to have, but lets not spiritualize them or push them on others. I encourage everyone to read Rom. 14 very carefully. Good Christians will differ on different things, and IT’S OK.
      6. Be careful about evangelism through seperation. Matt. 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” notice that pople glorify God when they see your GOOD WORKS and not your “standards”. people can care less about your standards. They want to know that you’re real, and that your God is real

    • Well-said, David! I always tell my kids that they should dress for church as they would if they were going to have dinner at the White House with the President! After all the Lord is even more important than the President!!

    • While I appreciate where the writer is coming from and what he is (likely) trying to say, I must say, I’ve never seen a parable and direct teaching of Jesus’ such as this (Matt. 22) more twisted, maligned and misunderstood. To the author, @Matt is correct when he says, “I urge you to be careful and make sure you use passages of the Bible in context, not just to fit what you want to say.” This is what drives people FROM the house of God rather than TO it. Jesus is no respecter of persons. Come to Him as you are, not as others say you should be.

    • The matter at hand is one of principle. If I were going to meet a queen or a president I would probably try to wear my best in honor of the office. I would think no less to do so in the presence of God almighty. However we must be careful on the other hand of becoming too prideful in our attire and having the wrong motives for dressing up. The key is to present your self according to the protocol and wear your best even if that is overalls and tennis shoes and that is all you have. It is true that God looks on the heart and Jesus rebuked the pharisees for having the outside clean and the inside undone and full of dead man’s bones. However, he did go on to say that in taking care of the weightier matter of the inside not to leave the outside undone. No one should do one with out the other. Mature christians should not be compared to babies in the Lord. As a tree matures the fruit grows on the outside to represent what’s the condition on the inside. Even the Farakhan Muslim representatives wear a suit and tie to represent their movement to the world. Hypocrites can dress up too. Just sayin!

    • thank you david i have read a lot of the comments against your article and can only say we live in a sad day
      the dumbing down of america is here. most so called Christians don’t know what it means to give their whole heart and lives to Christ. they live their self-centered lives in bitterness and with hostile hearts. I should not have read so many
      I now feel unclean and must hurry back to my stream of cleansing
      God Bless you brother for exposing so many dark hearts I believe I will stay away from this sight

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