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. 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 .

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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…

  15. 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

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

  17. 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!

  18. 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.

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