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Modest Apparel
(part 2)

Modest Apparel

(part 2)

A sermon by J. Wayne McKamie

Published in
The Christian Informer
December, 1998

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Last updated:
December 2, 1998.

(Continued from last month...)

I pointed out, I believe, we are judged by our clothing by both God and man. They may be nonverbal, but there are some powerful, accurate, consistent, representations of self.  What you really are!  So, there is a relationship between dress and morals.  Clothing or the lack of it is symbolic of the moral standard of any given culture.  Pick out a culture, whatever it may be.  You can determine a great deal about the moral standard of it by the clothing or a lack of it in that particular culture.  I didn't find any exception to that. We cannot deny the sordid, sorry, evidence of the thing.  For this relationship, it seems to me, is based on three things: One, the degree of exposure, two, concealment, or three, manner of concealment or emphasis. Your mind can run wild with these three things.  What I'm saying is that it's involved, and you can't get away from these three things.  Some people will still insist in the face of all this that there is no relationship between dress and morals.  That I am a fine person, regardless of what my dress, or my manner of dress or garb may say... male or female.

I have never tried to defend David.  I think David absolutely sinned.  But brother, I want to tell you there are some other places for people to bathe too, other than where she was bathing in full view of the king's court, and she very well knew it.  There is a connection between dress and morals and what ensues.  We might as well face it.

There are two types of clothing that exist, or at least the Bible discusses for me!  This is not going to be very pleasant, but it's a fact, so far as I know -- the attire of a harlot and modest clothing.  That's a broad breach, but there they are.  Proverbs 17, talks about how they dressed themselves in such a fashion, that they were recognized as a certain person.  Read Genesis 38.  Tamar knew exactly when she was ready to do what she did.  She put off the clothing that she was wearing, and put on another garb, that advertised her as being completely something else.  She was quite aware of it.  We may as well wake up and be aware of these things in the time in which we live.  You know there is one question I never did answer for myself.  When I thought about that late one night I said, how would one tell.  I'm not throwing forth a slanderous statement; I'm just asking the question of myself, how would one tell such an individual?  We have lived to see the day when people like this have come to be the fashion setters of our time.  What clothing has been described as... and may I point out that the lady that described them is the lady that created them, Mary Quant in London, and she ought to know.  She began the style.  She said that mini clothing has been described as symbolic of those who want to seduce another.  She ought to know, she started the situation.  May I remind you that people look on the outward appearance, and it projects your self tremendously.

Maybe you are saying, why all this emphasis?  These are some questions I asked myself.  Why all the emphasis on modesty when talking to the women, instead of men?  The best answer I know is that God put it there.  God placed it there.  And I'm not saying that men and boys are not to be modest.  I would highly suggest as I have already mentioned in regard to swim suits in public places, a boy or a man going about shirtless or with skin tight garb is not doing anything to enhance his Christian image, I guarantee you!  Such a person needs to keep in mind the garden of Eden attraction, that they were clothed about the mid-section and God said they were naked.  Please, don't forget that.  God did place the greater duty with the woman as far as modest dress; to control the situation.  God knew the physical and mental make-up of man and woman and he did a tremendous job with it.  He knew what he was doing.

Let me point out this.  There is a connection between modesty, and sex identification.  You know, about this time in this study, I sort of got to the place, where I thought, well, now is modesty the result of clothing, or is clothing the result of modesty?  I sort of had to stop and think that over for a few minutes.  Then I realized that modesty is a thing that has to be taught to a person.  To wit, the little guy, when he's a certain age, he'd just as soon go next door without a stitch on!  It wouldn't bother him in the least. He has to be taught a few things, you know.  That just isn't acceptable behavior, and we try to dress them in such a way as they begin to take upon themselves identification.  I am persuaded that there needs to be some identification.

Well, we can say clothing is for what reasons?  We could reel off things such as protection, utility, status, ornamentation that's the big one.  Adorning is the major idea in every race and culture I considered.  But, there's one other big one and that is sex identification.  The clothing a child wears helps him or her identify his sex.  When a little boy dresses like his daddy, everything I have ever learned about human growth and development when he dresses like his daddy it is not just so he can look like his daddy, but so he can immerse himself in his daddy's world, in daddy's activities.  And, so it is with a little girl when she's brought up in a feminine world where she needs to be brought up so she may be immersed in the world and activities of her mother.  So there are some necessary props in this thing to help in teaching them.

Now, this brings up this thing of distinction between sexes.  This was one of the most dearly ingrained codes that I found in various groups, in sort of a sociological approach.  I'm not saying that's the best approach; I'm just saying that is one of the approaches.  I wanted to note something about that... one of the most deeply ingrained codes is for a boy to understand that he is a boy, and a girl to understand that she is a girl and to play that role!  There is a thing called transvestism.  For a lack of a better term I use the thing.  It just simply means trans-vest, simply means one sex wears the clothes of the other sex.  This is strictly taboo in about every culture I considered.  They have some distinct feelings and laws against the male dressing as a female, and the female dressing as a male in their particular culture.  There are some strict taboos, and there is a rule that exists, and believe me, they know what it is.

You know, even here in this country there are still laws, though they aren't enforced.  New York, for instance, has a law against transvestism.  It was very evident when I was there this last summer, they don't enforce all that up there [from] some things I saw.  I do understand from what I've read that men are still arrested in various states, in various places, for dressing themselves as women.  If this is not true you may correct me.  There are laws, on the civil code, that insist that it not be done.  Let me give you the reason.  They said to preserve moral, political, and social order.  They made this law for that reason.  The other big reason is that transvestism increases homosexuality among both men and women.  This is their big reason why at one time these things were written into the laws of the particular places.  My question is, as I thought and read those things, what's the basis of these laws?  Why?  They, of course, may have been approached from the standpoint that they saw the problem and said, "Look, we had better deal with the problem."

But, I submit, that so far as we are concerned, there is something better than that.  I'd like for you to listen to some things written aforetime, which the Bible states, that were written for our learning and admonition.  In Deut. 22:5 from the Amplified Version, "The woman shall not wear that which pertains to a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment; for all that do so are an abomination to the Lord your God."  The Revised Standard Version rendering is: "A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman's garment.  For whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God."

We point out the fact that there was a similarity in clothing.  But, I hasten also to point out to you the fact, there was exclusively a man's clothing. There was something that was exclusively a woman's clothing.  God said they shall not interchange those things.  In other words, God said, I want you to be able to visibly tell the male from the female of the species.  We should appear to be, He's saying, the sex that we are, by the way that we dress. Again, I repeat, the world does not have to carry around an x-ray to see who you are.  God doesn't intend that.  In fact, He's oppose to it.  You talk about a strong prohibition that he handed down to Israel, you listen to that! "The woman shall not wear that which pertains to a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment.  For all that do so are an abomination to the Lord your God."  That's a strong prohibition!

My question: Why that strong prohibition?  We are not told right here, in that verse, except what's evident.  I purpose, and you've got to take that, in the setting.  It's given in verses 9 and 12, with some other things that He mentions here.  I still think, as I said about two years ago, as we were studying a similar subject, at least in this respect of Christians marrying those that are unbelievers, not Christians, that the principle of 2 Corinthians 6, winds its way back and is based on an ancient principle of separation that God has required of his people in every age of time.  I do know this, Israel was to be unlike those around them, and their daily activities were to constantly remind them, you are not the same as those other people.  There was to be no unisex situation.  There was to be no exchanging of garments.  It was a strike at transvestism.  Every authority I considered still said the strike was mainly against homosexuality and such is sin!  Even the attempt has been made to elevate this thing to a degree of respectability. It is sin in God's sight!  Wearing the clothing of the opposite sex labeled one and placed an insignia upon him.  God said, I don't want my people in that place.

Now, you know, that donning certain apparel is to appear effeminate.  We know that.  Let me mention the word effeminate.  It means soft or soft to touch. It is used of raiment.  In Matthew 11 it talks about John the Baptist.  You remember, it talks of his clothing.  It wasn't the soft kind that may be found in King's houses.  Then, in a metaphorical sense, in 1 Corinthians 6:9 listen to the company the thing is found in: "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?  Be not deceived neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind..." God absolutely insists we will not have this thing!  We just won't.  Let me point out to you that in Deut.  22:5 this thing of exchanging was in God's sight abomination.  The word abomination simply means an object of great disgust!  I can think of a lot of words, but when I say I am disgusted that's pretty strong.  God said, I am disgusted with that kind of thing.  It was highly detestable in God's sight.  He promises that they who work abomination in Revelation 21:27 shall be forbidden entrance into that holy city.

I realize that what I quoted to you in Deuteronomy 22   that's the Old Testament.  But, I just want to raise this one question, as long as I can remember, we talk about the Patriarchal, the Mosaic, and the Christian age. Has God ever lowered a standard?  People, he has raised a lot of them!  But, has He ever decided that something that was an absolute disgust, highly detestable, then there would come an age in which that thing doesn't make any difference to Him...  that it's all right now?  My conclusion would be that men should be very much afraid of putting on a woman's clothing.  I mean not just afraid of the law of the land although they may pick you up   I mean afraid of God.  I would also suspect that a woman should be very much afraid of putting on a man's clothing.  We might as well raise this question, because you are going to ask me.  The thing is, what about women wearing pants?  I'm not going to go ahead and say what about women wearing pants suits?  I promise you that there won't be any difference farther on down the line.  Let's just use the word as it is.

First of all, let me say, that no one has ever asked me that question.  Nobody ever has.  Has anybody ever asked you?  Has anybody who was already wearing them, ever come up to you and asked you about them?  I wonder, of the elderly sisters, have any of the younger women ever come to you and asked you about them?  I wonder what your advice was.  I'm not saying that to be ugly about the thing.  When we deal with this situation, people, when we are talking about the world, and a person of the world came up to me, and she said, "Now look, I'm going to wear these pants or this mini-skirt," if I even answered in the situation, I would probably say, "Well, go ahead and do as you please." That's what they are going to do anyway.

The only justification I've ever heard on this thing is we say, these are better than, or more modest than, a mini-skirt.  I don't think we have to be reduced to those two things.  I think we can deal with modest clothing, and I simply believe this.  As I said, nobody's asked me, except in the sense they asked me to give this study.  If a conscientious, wholesome, godly, Christian woman, a person who wants to maintain the best possible influence, came to me and was to ask me, I would say, "No, don't!"  I don't believe for a minute you can go that route.  If you will sit down in your home and read these things for yourself, if you will in a prayerful attitude approach God in this matter, I don't believe that you can put them on and wear them without doubt in your mind.  That doubt is bound to be there.

Let me tell you, I have some reasons other than these.  I have some objections; and here is a pretty strong one to me.  I will pass it on to you for whatever it may be worth.  Pants reflect the unisex movement that now exists in our world.  If you think I'm dealing with something I've just made up, take a look at Compton's Encyclopedia Yearbook.  They have it under no less than the heading, "The Pants-Suits Hemline Controversy," that's on page 249.  Listen to what it says, and I quote, "this identification of the sexes in terms of clothes will become a thing of the past." That's current, he's talking about now.  He goes on to say...  please read it for yourself, he "designed identical tunic pants for father and mother and child." He labels them unisex clothing.  He said, "WE WILL ERASE LINES THAT EXIST BETWEEN MALE AND FEMALE!"

Hand-in-hand with this, again, is this age old problem that I've been mentioning of homosexuality.  That thing may repulse you and I hope it does. You may think I'm being a little rude with the thing.  We must, however, deal with the fact that the world says, (whether we face it or not), there is your number one problem that exists.  These people are simply saying, "That's our goal!"  Both goals are an abomination in the sight of God.  I am persuaded that men with long hair and ruffles, and women with short hair and pants, just don't fit the picture that I get when I study these things.

Let me say another thing, I am opposed to these things for this reason, they reflect the influence of the women's liberation movement.  I, of course, just alienated the feelings of several thousand people over the country when I said that.  That doesn't make any difference whoever you are.  This movement, let me point out, highly objects to any distinction between men and women.  They are out, dedicated to the proposition of erasing masculine and feminine roles. They reject: number one, that woman was made for a help meet; two, that a woman is honored as the weaker sex; three, that a woman is to be discreet, chaste, a keeper of the home, good, obedient to her husband.

I suppose that the new, so called liberation, isn't a thing in the world, but the extension of a movement back in the world war, that began to put women into slacks, with a cigarette in one hand, and a cocktail in the other hand, with curses and obscenities on her lips.  I tell you, it ought to bother us! It bothers me.  For such people to stand and blatantly cry, "You know, I'm free; I'm liberated in spirit; I'm liberated in body.  See my mini-skirt!  See my tinted aviator glasses, all our glorious splendor!  See my hip-huggers, and my poor-boy sweater!  See my see through blouses!  I've come a long way!" And we sure have; we've come a long way!  These are not anything in the world but slavish attempts to imitate the liberated look.  If that's not a contradiction, I've never heard one.  What I'm saying is that Christian women should want to avoid any appearance of sympathy with that sort of thing.

May I mention this one other thing.  It encourages a situation we cannot handle.  I want to speak for just a moment, if you will pardon the personal reference, of a school situation.  I realize we are dealing with the world. In the area in which I live there are jobs that you, as a woman wearing pants- suits, could not hold.  You would not be allowed to teach.  It's not my school, either, my school board saw fit to do otherwise, but there are job situations in my area, that you could not, as a woman wearing pants-suits, hold a job.  I wanted to know their reason.  That was pretty hard to find out from my particular vantage point.  But their reason was, (I did find out they said), "We don't want our teachers looking like a bunch of men."  That was their reason.

There's another school I read about, that does not allow their girls to wear pants to school.  Their reason, they said, "We cannot control the situation! No way!"  Let me tell you what they meant.  I want to say that if you feel I am being rigid and too straight about the whole thing, once you allow this thing in your house or your life, (whatever the case may be, and it's up to you), I guarantee you, people, we are going to live to see anything under the sun that may be called pants!  It begins with pants suits which may be fairly decent looking things.  But, I guarantee you, if won't last long.  You are going to live to see things worn that'll make you despise the day you ever started, and that I promise you!  You are going to deal with things like this: "Mr.  McKamie, what's a pants-suit?"  Well, what is one?  Pretty hard to define.  You are going to deal with, "What cut are you talking about?"  "How tight can they be?"  "Can we cut these pants suits off and wear them as shorts?"  Now deal with that one!  We are going to live, people, to deal with some things we don't want to deal with.  You are going to deal with it, because if that constitutes modest apparel then we can wear them to worship, can't we?  We are going to deal with immodest posture, immodest habit.  You are going to deal with a courser more boisterous, less feminine disposition and bearing.  I guarantee it, because I've seen it happen, in that little society of the world.

--1921 McKamie Road
McGregor, TX 76657

[This is the second and last article taken from this study of the subject by Bro. McKamie.  The study was done when "pant-suits" began to appear on women of the world.  Popular styles change but Christians prove all things, hold fast to that which is good.  We call attention to Brother McKamie's statement in the first portion of this study about our need for concern about the wearing of modest apparel: "It is to be a studied art among God's people." -- R. N.]