Sunday Morning Dress Code

September 24, 2004 by

The Ann Arbor News has a balanced article about the casual trend in church attire. The piece includes both the pragmatic and anti-legalism pro that God cares more about the heart, as well as the traditional con that dressing up shows respect for God and is a carry-over from more formal days gone by.

What you wear to church seems like a pretty silly issues, but it’s caused many Sunday morning fights as families struggle to get out the door.

Personally, I’ve never understood the mandate to dress up. My mom always frowned when I tried to wear jeans (“But mom!” I’d exclaim, “They’re holy!”), but today I gladly relax in jeans, though usually opt for something better than a T-shirt. Wearing a suit at my church actually makes you stick out so bad you suddenly revist the awkward feelings of adolescence. Except for Easter. Then it’s okay.

Clothing and attire is such a funky issue for the church. Culturally there’s this tradition of putting on your Sunday best. And I can understand a desire to show respect for God. But where did we get this idea that we have to polish ourselves up for God? It seems pretty clear that God is interested in something else:

“Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me … Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.” (Isaiah 1:13,16-17 NIV)

When will churches reflect the reality to come as you are? When will churches reflect the importance of our hearts and our consistency over a single act of supposed righteousness?

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks

When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998, runs the hyperlocal site West St. Paul Reader, and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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27 Responses to “Sunday Morning Dress Code”

  • Lake Neuron Bait Shop
    September 24, 2004

    I seem to recall some sort of church growth study (which I’m sure I heard about second-hand) which said it was beneficial for a church to have both casual and dressed-up parishoners present on any given Sunday — the idea being that you want any visitor who shows up to find someone else in the sanctuary dressed similarly. (It would be embarassing to be the only one in jeans at a shirt-and-tie church, but it would also be embarassing to be the only one in a tie at a T-shirt-and-jeans church.)
    I understand the argument about dressed-up clothing displaying one’s respect for God, but I’m not sure that’s been the real motivation for wearing one’s “Sunday best” over the years. Church finery also opens the door for economic and class distinctions which we’ve been told to steer clear of.
    Of course, I’m a slob myself, so maybe I’m just rationalizing.

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  • Anthony
    January 19, 2006

    Wow. I’ve argued against so many people who have this exact argument against dressing up on Sunday. I’m a huge fan of dressing up for God, not only to show Him that we want to look our best for Him, but also to show others that we have a great love of God.
    Along other lines, God is the Supreme Being who created everything, right? He is our Lord and Master, correct? We say that we want to go to heaven and be with Him forever, don’t we? Why not show it, and make ourselves look really good for Him now? And on top of that, why not show everyone else how to dress for Him?
    You’d put on a suit to go see an ambassador, or a president, or some other dignitary, right? If you were to meet His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, would you want to be dressed in your casual clothes? If you answered, “Yes,” to either of these immediately preceding questions, then I would wonder why you would second guess yourself in putting on your best for God?
    During the week, it’s obviously hard to do so because of a job or whatnot but you should have Sundays off. Why not dress up?
    I’ll shut up now…

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    • K. Reux
      November 24, 2010

      The problem is, biblically speaking, that the only time the New Testament speaks of how one is dressed for assembly it is to condemn those who dress up. “Immodest clothing” has more to do with how much one wears, not how little (1 Timothy 2:9-10). James 1 condemns those who would give preferential treatment to those who are dressed nicely. If anything, dressing up is more likely to be condemned by the early church leaders than casual dress!

      The question is: Why do we dress up? To impress God? He doesn’t need to be impressed–and that attitude seems to carry with it an attempt to make God feel good about us because of our outward appearance. To impress others? That’s skewed motivation already.

      When did people start dressing up for assembly? In the first three centuries of the church? Not likely. They were trying to avoid being noticed due to persecution. The purpose of assembly was to help people stay true to God, to encourage each other, to remember the sacrifice of God on a cross–not to try to impress God with how well we could clean up.

      Does one dress up to see the president? Well that depends, doesn’t it? Are you going golfing with him? Are you going to jog with him? The arguments that are used really don’t apply. God sees us as we are. Our outward dress does not tip him off that we are especially grateful to him. It is not about how we look. It is about the condition of our hearts.

      Look at it this way: do you have your own private devotional time at home? Do you DRESS UP for that? Why not? If it is to show God how much we care, then we should dress up in special clothes whenever we pray or have private Bible study. You can say what you will, but I dare say it has more to do with the fact that other people are present in some special designated building than it does spending time with God.

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  • churchlady
    August 2, 2006

    This issue is one that I truly have re-thunk. I was raised up in a church where, yes, you wear your best. Working with the youth in our church has helped me to be flexible on this issue. At this point in my life… girls, just cover up your belly buttons… and your boobs, and guys I don’t care to see your underwear. Then we can take care of business. Sometimes the most dangerous place for the eyes of a young Christian man.. trying to keep himself pure.. is church

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  • Jonathan
    October 21, 2006

    I have given much thought to this issue and the answer seems to be clear. There is not a single scripture I have found that states anything about dressing up for God. Or that it is a impearitive given by God. It is merely a tradition and bears the great need to recognized as such. If someone wants to “dress up” for God and put his best clothes thats fine but the moment he or she tries to teach tradition as doctrine they are no better than a Pharisee. Mathew chapter 15, Jesus was speaking about the Pharisees verse 9’BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS (G)DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.'” The word preceps means commands These are things based on tradition and how people feel about a particular subject. It has nothing to do with the word of God. I myself dress up, dress down, and the one thing I have found God wants you to come to a place of repentance unto saving faith in Jesus Christ more than he desires nice clothing on Sunday. It says in the bible the is rejoicing in heaven when a person is saved. kind of like a big party. I don’t think it will be a cocktail party so I don’t think there would be any need to dress like it.
    Have a blessed day in Jesus Cchrist

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  • Drew
    December 15, 2006

    Thanks jonathan…
    Where in the bible does it say anything about dress?
    oh wait i remember. David could praise God with almost nothing on at all!
    I have never been a golfer but one time my best friend growing up and i went out to hit golf balls where he lives (a country club). He got some clubs and all of a sudden he informs me i’ll need to borrow some of his dress clothes. Dress shoes, nice shirts with a collar.
    WHOA! just like my church! But here at the golf corse people try to feel better than the least of these. Dress close is just a good way to be exclusive!
    I hate to say it, those who say God as anything to do with the way you dress need to feel good about them selves, need to feel they are better than even the new people, who still live in sin.
    but we all sin, Your no better than a drug addict and im no better than you. The difference is the blood of christ makes me free. Clothes have NOTHING to do with salvation.
    See even the idea that a tie, dress pants and a jacket is the so called “best” comes from the world. nothing to do with the bible thats the worlds influence on the church. We the church should spend less time being influenced by the world and more time influencing the world, following the bible, fullfilling the great commission.
    To be honest the list of reasons why this is nothing more than a silly tradition is long. A tradition started LONG LONG LONG LONG after Christ death. But if its important than why wouldnt it have been addressed in the gospels,or in acts, or the first church generations?
    What a sily thought that we should go out and spend money on clothes that look expensive, or worse are expensive… Christ was about helping people and for the price of the average tie you could free a captive in sudan. The gospel of freedom should not be compromised for a silly tradition started by the later generations of the church.
    Preach Christ not church doctrines…
    I dont mean to be harsh but i’ve been hearing this stuff for years and it really gets me going… I just hope people look at this in a biblial light.

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  • brandy
    April 7, 2007

    Hey, thanks guys that was actually helpful…
    I was puzzling over why I should wear something different on Easter Sunday when I normally wear a uniform T-shirt. I teach Sunday School at first sevice and don’t usually change for second service…I think my reasoning had more to do with showing off than showing respect.
    And in all honesty if I were to meet the Pope wearing my sunday school t-shirt, I think I might be pretty happy…He could identify me as easily as a lost 2 year old, which is why I wear the shirt anyway (so the little ones can spot me). And with the extra visitors on Easter, having easily identified staff is probably a bonus!

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  • juan
    April 12, 2007

    so I guess its ok for me to come in drag(a man in woman clothes)?There has to be limits.

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  • hotspur
    May 2, 2007

    I’m happy (and sad) to say I don’t have a dog in this fight anymore.
    Raised Christian and converted to Judaism after college. Very happy with the choice and very much respect my Christian friends.
    Let me tell you one of my inner-secrets (we’re all friends here, right?)
    One of the 2-3 straws that broke the camel’s back and influenced me to seek was the dress code issue.
    I felt you didn’t have to wear a tie every Sunday to seek the Allmighty; my priest and his vestry felt otherwise. They used every argument in the book, then they gave to me the “real” reasons (marketing and demographics – this was an old-style Episcopal church and wanted to attract the right crowd for a renovation fund, etc.)
    This was 1990 and about five years before the “come as you are” movement broke out (Jews sometimes are a little ahead of the curve ;-) I had just graduated from an Episcopal college that was emphasizing a more relaxed dress and liberal theology… and walked straight into a formal buzz-saw.
    In fairness, more than likely the powers-that-be were beginning to sniff out my real personal theology and were just upset because they couldn’t find a way to bring me back to the home team (and I respect that).
    Now I’m writing this from a “church marketing” perspective. As I said, I really don’t have a dog in this fight anymore.
    (That includes dress codes…)
    Followers of The Nazarene: The kids are coming to you seeking a relationship with G-d. Many of them are hurt, lost and in need of a compassionate soul. I confess not to be the expert on New Testament theology (ask the professor who flunked me, at an Episcopal college no less!) but last I checked Jesus really didn’t care how folks dressed or their personal lifestyle.
    Don’t bar the gate or make them feel bad if they wear a t-shirt, jeans and sandals to your church. If you welcome them as-is at the beginning (and then ask nicely after a respectful period of time) they might put on that tie or dress that some seek.
    Juan, if they come in drag…just compliment their taste in women’s clothes.
    Shalom :-)

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  • Anwar
    May 6, 2007

    If you want to dress up. Check out this website:

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  • Pastor Bubby Falvo
    May 29, 2007

    Jesus set a lot of examples while he walked on this earth,
    1. To love each other as he loved us
    2. To have forgiveness for one another
    3. Compassion for each other
    And many more examples but I can not find any where in the bible where he set the example of dressing up to worship God.
    If Jesus wanted to have set the example to ware your best on Sunday, he could have dressed so magnificently that you nor anybody else would be able to even looked upon, but he didn’t he came to dwell among us as without all the dress up we say he wants us to have, just thank about it for a minute where would all the people go to church that can not afford a suite and tie or a suite and tie that we would approve of.
    I pastor a church where no one has a suite and a tie so I preach in a T-Shirt with a pocket, a black t-shirt and blue jeans.
    Let’s get the inside dressed up because the outside does not matter.
    I Love you with a suit or without and so does Jesus.

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  • D. Carlton
    June 1, 2007

    Bottom line: God gave me His best. He deserves nothing less from me.
    If my best is jeans and a t-shirt, I can at least make sure they are clean and pressed. Those who focus only on personal physical or emotional comfort, are focusing on themselves and, frankly, that’s not what should happen during public worship. If we “die to self,” or completely surrender to God, then our desire to honor Him in all ways possible supersedes any aspersions cast by others and our own earthly comfort.
    I attend worship services in order to hear good preaching, to grow spiritually and to become more Christlike. This kind of growth can be painful, which is why many people these days settle for the “seeker-sensitive, feel good” kind of church; personal growth is neither required nor expected of them.
    God’s love for us is immeasurable regardless of how we’re dressed on Sundays; however, His Word is meant (among other things) to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” Because He loves us, God wants to change us for our own good and so we can be used Him. His grace is not an excuse for us to live (and dress) how we want to; we would be wrong to take liberties with it.
    Yes, the Lord has blessed me so that I am able to “dress up” for church services, and I desire to honor Him by doing so. It is one way of showing respect and gratitude to my Savior for all He has done for me. Anyone who assumes that this conviction has anything to do with “out-dressing” someone else might want to explore the nature of our relationship TO (not just “with”) our Father, the degree of His magnitude and greatness as well as the concept of reverent surrender.
    I know that God sees my heart, but my Bible also says that [1] man looks on the outside (1 Sam. 16:7) and [2] Christians are to come out and be separate from the world (2 Cor. 6:17). Therefore, while efforts should be lovingly made to help a non-believer feel welcome in a roomful of Christians, it would be wrong for me to dishonor God by ignoring my convictions to ease the consciences the world’s non-believers. Frankly, it would be a disturbing to me if the non-believer didn’t feel somewhat out of place among Christians who are truly separate from the world. After all, Christians have become “new creatures” (2 Cor. 5:17), and salvation makes that difference. God commands us to be different, so why would a Christian want to fall in line with the ways of the world? We sometimes forget that God has standards by which He expects us to live. To ignore those standards could cause a brother to stumble (Rom. 14:21).
    Unfortunately, I fear that some Christians stop growing after accepting Christ into their lives. They ignore the fact that He has a work for each of us to do, and they use His grace as a liberty to shirk that responsibility. This is very unfortunate and gives a false representation of true Christianity that non-believers are not able to discern. “Why should I trust Jesus?” he or she asks. “Christians don’t seem any different than me?”
    I come to church to worship with my focus on my Saviour, not to emcee a fashion show. It is not my place to judge those who come to church casually dressed; what they choose to wear is between them and God. (Although, in all honesty, I’ve been in churches where the dress was so casual that it distracted from the message.) What others are wearing may very well be their best attire. Maybe they are not yet saved or are new Christians. Perhaps God is working in other areas of their lives, and they haven’t yet come under conviction regarding dress as a way of reflecting Christ as Lord.
    It’s important to understand that we are all at different places in our spiritual walk with the Lord. I’m glad for anyone who is in church with a sincere desire to worship the Lord. As long as they’re getting true, biblical teaching there, that’s precisely where they should be in order to grow, develop and ultimately be used of God. Once they allow God to change their hearts, the way they dress will likely be only one of may ways their lives will change to reflect God’s love and greatness.

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    • Rev.Tie-Dye
      November 3, 2010

      I agree that modesty should be the rule.

      We have nothing to prove before God. Our very best is like filthy rags to him. So why waste money and time getting dolled up for someone who doesn’t look at our outward appearance? When God looks at us, he sees one of two things: our sin, or the blood of Christ.

      I can’t imagine how dressing in one fashion or another is “one way of showing respect and gratitude to my Savior for all He has done for me.” What God desires most is for us to live justly, to love mercy and walk humbly with him.

      I’m not saying that we shouldn’t take care when dressing for church. I am saying that our attire has nothing to do with the condition of our heart. The way we are dressed at church relates ONLY to the other church-goers.

      When Moses found himself on holy ground, what was the first thing God told him? To take OFF his shoes.

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  • Rebecca
    June 2, 2007

    I think this is like the “net or gross?” tithing issue. It is between you and God. If I am spending time in the word and praying earnestly to know God better, then I will follow His lead in my heart regarding how to dress at church. I admit, the first time my husband wore shorts to church, I had to adjust my attitude about it, but who am I to tell anyone what they should wear? It is between him and God.
    Forget about what people wear to church. Let’s just get them there to hear about Christ’s saving grace and have life more abundantly! Let’s avoid judging others and their clothing(myself included!), and spend more time finding new ways to serve our communities and offering ourselves as instruments for God to win souls to Christ.
    It is also a cultural issue. As Americans, we have so much – a closet full of clothes to choose from. Most of the people in the world do not have the wealth we take for granted, rather they are worrying about things like clean drinking water and medical care, and children orphaned by AIDS rather than what people are wearing to church. I know this discussion is based on a US article, but really, let’s put this in context – God loves Americans, but the rest of the world, whom he also loves, have many dire issues to take up with Him that do not include church attire. You know the saying “you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig”? Well, you can put a suit on a christian, but they are still a christian. Get it?

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  • Tim
    June 25, 2007

    the only clothing requirements in the New Testament are in regard to head coverings and that women dress moderately.
    historically, as referenced, dressing for worship was a mark of social station and a time to put one’s best on for meeting others. unlike most western countries now, people as little as one hundred years ago wore one set of clothing throughout the week and wash day was often on saturday and separate clothing was made for the next day or formal attire for social occasions was worn. sundays were the social meeting places and human insecurity often drives our appearance. over time the practice was rationalized as wearing one’s best for God when the tradition was born out of something that was completely the opposite. the tradition is only fueled by a culture that obsesses over clothing and appearance.
    the early church had no restrictions save head coverings for women in certain regions and moderate dress. the early church worshiped on the first workday of the week before going to work. they wore their work clothing. the whole notion of dressing for God is one that is soundly unBiblical.
    cultural arguments may be the only basis of support for any sense of a dress code. meaning that we would dress as those we would seek to reach 2 Cor 9. if the people we seek to reach wear ties everyday of the week it would make sense to do so but if we are dressing differently one day out of the week we send a very loud message to the world that it is a requirement and a part of our religion. it doesn’t have to be written or said because it is seen very clearly.

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  • Don
    July 12, 2007

    Jesus wore a robe and sandals while preaching the Holy Words of our Father! If anybody ever looks down on me for how I dress while attending church services I’m going to ask them ‘Who gave you the right to pass judgement on me?’

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  • Don
    July 12, 2007

    Sirach (Apocrypha), chapter 11
    “4”: Boast not of thy clothing and raiment, and exalt not thyself in the day of honour: for the works of the Lord are wonderful, and his works among men are hidden.
    It means: Do not show or boast your works outwardly with attitude or clothing. Both are outwardly appearances and do not truly show what is in the heart.
    To support this it also says:
    “14”: Prosperity and adversity, life and death, poverty and riches, come of the Lord.
    God wants to see you whether you’re rich or poor, whether you’re well dressed or unable to afford expensive clothes– He already knows what’s in your heart. We should feel sorry for those people that look down and pass judgement on others for not dressing to their satisfaction because God sees this sin also.
    Many of you might say, “well those quotes come from the un-used portion of the Bible.” It’s from the King James Version as it was originally translated. You can’t pick and choose from the Bible only what you want to follow–it’s all God’s words and laws.

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  • Kid Florentino
    July 24, 2007

    the sunday dress code has taken a long and seem endless road of arguments. i think, the best way to understand this issue is to foster PRUDENCE with ourselves. do not compromise decency with comfort. be presentable in going to church with the distinction that you are in a holy place. of course, the Lord does not judge us the way we dress but by the way we behave. however, the way we dress defines the way we treat and show respect to Him.

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  • Chuck
    April 21, 2008

    1. There is no New Testament precedent of “dressing up” when the ekklesia gathered. This is a TRADITION OF MEN.
    2. There is no New Testament precedent for the “Sunday morning tradition” that many call “church” in the New Testament. This is a TRADITION OF MEN.

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  • Bjay
    June 24, 2008

    I have always dressed up to go to church and I don’t see anything wrong with it. I don’t know why its an issue. If some want to dress up and some don’t just let everyone do their own thing. After all it really don’t matter what’s on the outside, since its the matter of the heart that counts to God. I am a kind person and I love people and it don’t matter to me what you have on, I treat everyone the same, but frankly if you want my honest opinion, I think some people are just to lazy to get dressed up because it does take a bit of effort. It is much easier to sleep until the last minute on Sunday morning and then grab the thing that’s the easiest to put on….jeans and a tee-shirt. But as long as we go to church for the right reason… worship God….. what does it really matter?

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  • gieselle
    July 19, 2008

    the best dress that you can wear is very important every time you will come in a celebration of worship for God.Truly heart realy mater most to Him. But we can show more respect to God if we will wear our best dress. Like when we’re attending a party, let’s say it is a formal event, will you wear a jeans? well it will just reflect what your heart feels about that party. If we can be in our best dress in some affair, why not also have it in most important event? Is it more important than the meeting with our God? Think about it.

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  • jamie
    August 25, 2008

    just wrote something for some church members and thought i might as well post it here
    John 10:27-30
    *1How can you be present without blemish in the eyes of God if you’re under regulation and/or the law.
    *2Because sin entered into man he is not perfect to keep God perfect law not even one of them the Israelites broke all laws and all regulation’s and they was in the presence with God, direct contact for generations, So what make us think we can do any better. Where free through the *3blood of Jesus who died on the cross and washed away our sins PAID IN FULL. *4Nobody comes to Christ but he draws them and *5God alone knows the heart He alone can *6renew the heart and purge sin from u
    U can’t preach “God accept u has u are” and then after change it to now ur nearly there u just have to change ur clothes and ur hair style a bit. By grace ye are save, God searches the inward parts,*11 don’t be scared of the one that can destroy the body but fear the one who can destroy ur soul
    What about the guy who *7wasn’t dreesed properly for the wedding when ALL was invited I think he was chained why?? Not because he wasn’t wearing a suit or hot pants it was because the bridegroom provides the clothing for the wedding and he came with his own covering. God does the covering for us so he will cloth them appropriately, *8He clothed the grass, flower how much more man
    God look at the inward not on the outward it’s the mans heart he want, he want him to *9present has a living sacrifices, live in God will(fellowship), to worship him inwardly not an outward thing to show like the Pharisee did and where called *10white wash coffins. (Looking clean on the outside but dead on the inside.)
    Inward change not an outward
    And concerning this thing I heard someone say “they saw someone flesh from behind and they couldn’t say anything to the person but it disturbed them and three or four others felt the same”.
    That is not love and I see a bit of gossip in there. (my opinion but that doesn’t count)
    If you other something on your heart that’s stopping u giving God the whole reverence He deserves then u best say something for ur sake not there’s, they are most probably not even concerned about it a their glorifying and in the spirit while ur busy trying to keep ur eyes off someone’s crack (sorry) and mumbling to urself how bad it is they came like that and u most probably missed half the service miss a few verses in the songs. Think u best check yourselves first. Where are U (genesis 3:9)
    If your brother sister offends u, u should tell them first instead of forming a gang
    And if they don’t hear good advice bring another to witness onto it
    Failing that bring it to one of the elders get the picture I’m sure your familiar with this. So before having a meeting about it take it to the prayer closet then to the person in question. These are the things that strength people strength the church to be able to speak to one another about anything and it’s not taken out of contents (family love).
    Imagine u are in church and the pastor is stressing this issue and the whole church is agreeing would u not feel an outsider imbraced ashamed u may never come back and the church is also *12responsible for the saints soul
    Poor, rich smart, elite dumb blind you separate the people u weaken them’ Society’ brings that to the church and it will fall so the devil would like to think.
    Going off evangelizing to other cultures and other belief wearing different clothing compromising
    Well I never saw Jesus do that and if Paul and other did so why can we travel hundreds of miles on a plane and change our clothes change what we eat to suit that culture and trend and where not willing to accept our young children’s young men women. culture and trend and they may live hundred of yards from the church? Half the risen why the younger generation fall away because what your asking is not there trend or culture. Most except Christ but not the church rules so they stop coming and fall into bad habits again.
    Let God make the change we can be an inspiration what they see us do they may follow but God knows there heart better than they know.
    Jesus freed us from rules of this world so why would we go and try and put ourselves back under bondage
    Lets put it this way the alter is at eye level, standing and that means when you sit down your head would be slightly tilted up, therefore there must be a few reasons why your looking down
    1 your heart is not on the Lord at that moment and your thinking over what ur gonna do when u get home
    2 up to late gossiping on the phone to stay awake in service
    3 to busy searching for mints in your bag
    *1 Ephesians ch1:4-8
    *2 genesis 3, Isaiah ch53:6
    *3 Exodus ch.12:13, revelation ch.1:5, Hebrew ch.10:12-19+
    *4 john 10:26, ephesians 1:11
    *5 psalms 44:21
    *6 psalms 51:7&10, jeremiah ch6:7
    * 11matthew 10:28
    *7matthew 22:1-14
    *8 matthew 6:25-28
    *9 roman ch12:1
    *10 mathew 23:27
    *12 thought I read it somewhere but just can’t find it now

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  • Charles
    September 27, 2009

    I believe it is important to be biblical about clothing, rather then just use raw emotions on the matter. What does scripture say? Jesus warns us to beware of scribes who wear long robes and desire greetings in market places. (Luke 20:46) I believe Jesus is warning us against pride in the heart. The long robes were a reflection of pride from the heart, not the clothing. However, wearing humble clothing does not make you a Christian. We are saved through faith in Jesus Christ not by works. It is equally prideful to say because I am wearing humble clothing that I am better then the person who is wearing nice clothing. It is not a sin to wear nice clothing or humble clothing; at least I have yet to find a scripture that wearing any type of clothing is a sin. God judges us from our heart. Jesus tells us out of the heart comes evil thoughts. (Matthew 15:19) God created us naked. God put clothing on us to keep us from shame of being naked after Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. (Genesis 3:21) Clothing is a symbol, that we are really naked before God and we need an advocate before God. That advocate is Jesus. You are not saved because you wear blue jeans and a t-shirt just as much as you are not saved because you wear a fancy tie and jacket. Christians need to stop judging people for clothing, nice or humble.

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    • K. Reux
      November 24, 2010

      I don’t know that anyone is suggesting that “casual dress” is a sign of being more spiritual or better. My thoughts are: just please don’t judge me according to my clothing (James 2:1-4)! As in my earlier post, the Bible does speak about clothing–in 1 Timothy 2:9-10 it advises women to not over dress (evidently men were just as fashion oblivious then as most are now).

      In my own opinion–the person who over dresses is drawing attention to themselves and the person who wears next to nothing (perhaps showing off their physique or body parts) is drawing attention to him/herself. Either way is taking focus off of God and off of the community and placing self as center of attention.

      America is no longer a monolithic culture (perhaps it never was). We should respect the clothing of the “tribes” among us as cultural expression and quit judging!

      To me: let’s just quit telling people how to dress–let them come and love on them when they are present. If their clothing is drawing too much attention to themselves, give a little more love and perhaps some gentle direction. But since the NT doesn’t give us a dress code for Sunday assembly, let’s stop trying to enforce one ourselves!

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  • Gian Erik M. Adao
    March 9, 2010

    Some of us could have thought, or even been taught, that we are to wear our best, a.k.a. the Sunday dress, on Sunday worship services because by then we are about to face God. We hear teachings like, “Kung sasamba tayo sa Diyos, wag parang mamamalengke lang ang suot.” (In the first place, isn’t going to the market likewise “worship” for a Spirit-filled believer?)
    Does God actually care? Does it really matter? I face God every morning and wear only shorts and a t-shirt. Maybe we have to wear the Sunday dress for some reason, but for facing God? Let’s think again.
    Aren’t we Christians facing God every day because He is in our hearts? Then, if we truly believe that we have to wear the Sunday dress when we are to face God, shouldn’t we be in our Sunday dress every moment of our lives? But we aren’t. We are aware that since Christ’s Spirit indwelt us, we have become presentable before God 24/7 no matter what we wear.
    I’m not saying we stop wearing the Sunday dress when attending worship services. What I am concerned at is that, mindsets like “we have to wear our best when facing God” may be rooted to some internal belief that could be limiting us in our experience of His grace. What I am actually trying to do here is to invite everyone to rethink their intentions in wearing the Sunday dress. This may be a petty thing, and I know it is, but if we still now think that the Sunday dress is for us to be presentable before God, maybe, we don’t need it.
    To some of us who say our Sunday dress is our expression of worship to God, I hope that we do the same with everything in our life. I hope that we would let our desire to express our worship to God be not limited to what we do or wear on Sundays, but be manifested in every detail of our lives. But not by “doing” the Christian life, but by “being,” by grace through faith.
    Read more. Click here.

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    • Rev.Tie-Dye
      November 3, 2010

      Gian Erik M. Adao–
      I am standing up in front of my computer, clapping my hands. Outstanding response to this topic. What you stated absolutely resonates with the words and actions of Christ.

      Thank you.

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  • talfonso
    September 6, 2010

    It depends on the type of Mass I go to. Despite the fact that a majority of people who attend it wear jeans and other casual (but modest) clothing, I wear my Sunday best. But I go with the flow at Youth Mass. I guess that they way people dress depends on how the church wants you to dress.

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