Articles of value that are lost or may be lost

I've been dressing modest and feminine for at least ten years.  I've had a modesty blog for quite some time.  Over the years many sisters have passed on and no one took up their work.  Some have decided to no longer dress modest and they have sites still up but they are dead sites.  No one has done anything on the site for many years.  Some ladies who have decided to stop their blogs or websites just took them down and the valuable information they had is gone with them.  It is for this reason that I am placing information on here from dead sites so other ladies can get information that may be useful to them.



This information is from a Seventh Day Adventist church member.  I'm British Orthodox but I still like her information.  She uses a lot of information from the Bible and from history.  I because I am not SDA don't go along with that part but the part I can use I do.  The old saying: don't throw out the baby with the bath water.

Overview of Moving Toward Modesty

Sisters, we are in the end times! Jesus said the end of time would be like the days of Noah. In the days of Noah, “every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” Genesis 6:5. Are the thoughts of the men of the world evil continually? Do you think the way women are dressing these days has anything to do with this?
On this web site there are various ways of presenting the same message, a very important and urgent message for every Seventh-day Adventist woman. Where do you begin? What does God want to say to you today?
Here is something to consider as you explore this site.
  1. The first step has to do with your heart. Faithful heart work will bring you to the point where you are willing to say, “Lord, what do you want me to wear?” When your heart is willing, then you are ready for the next step.
  2. The second step is education. God provides the information we need, but it is up to us to take it in, to listen attentively to what He has to say to us. The articles and presentations on the RESOURCES page will provide you with excellent instruction.
  3. The third step is commitment. The Holy Spirit is faithful in His work of convicting our hearts. Our part is to respond with a commitment. Without a spiritual commitment, light is resisted and rebellion increases. Or, with a mere outward compliance without a spiritual motivation, Pharisaical legalism develops. Both attitudes are deadly to our spirituality.
  4. The fourth step is the follow-through, obedience to what He has called us to do. God gives us the strength and desire; we make the necessary changes.

Four Basic Principles

This web site is all about the Modesty Movement. What does this include? First of all, The Modesty Movement includes so much more than our outward appearance. The external attire reveals what is on the inside. So true modesty must begin in the heart, with a meek and quiet spirit, with shamefacedness and sobriety, not flitting around desiring the attention of men and the admiration of women. Only God can change our hearts so that we are modest on the inside.
Then, the inner transformation becomes outwardly obvious. God has given us inspired principles. To make it simple, we have put them into four major categories. These are:
  1. Modesty
  2. Simplicity
  3. Femininity
  4. Healthfulness
Just about every principle of dress that we find in inspiration will fit under one of these major areas. If an article of clothing, or decoration practice does not pass these qualifications, the other minor principles are moot points. These four major principles are broken down into specific practical application at the end of this section.
These principles are found in the Bible and in the Spirit of Prophecy, and have been compiled into various articles on the RESOURCES page. An excellent Bible study on Christian Dress can be found here.

The following section is Chapter 2 from the book, "Thy Nakedness, Lord, What Shall I Wear," by Gwen and Rick Shorter. Used by permission.

How Important Is My Dress?

"Thus saith the Lord, stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein." Jeremiah 6:16
"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31
"For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins." Hebrews 10:26
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever." 1 John 2:15-17
"Dear Brethren and Sisters: My apology for calling your attention again to the subject of dress is that some do not seem to understand what I have before written; and an effort is made, perhaps by those who do not wish to believe what I have written, to make confusion in our churches upon this IMPORTANT SUBJECT. Many letters have been written to me, stating difficulties, which I have not had time to answer; and now, to answer the many inquiries, I give the following statements, which it is hoped will forever put the subject at rest, so far as my testimonies are concerned." 1T 456

How Shall We Treat Each Other?

While God is wanting to draw us ever closer to Him and to each other, our enemy is trying to cause division between us. As some of us make choices to dress more modestly, others may feel increasingly uncomfortable around us. There is an uncertainty that is unsettling. There is the concern that this may turn into fanaticism. And there is also the concern that those who change their way of dressing may look down on those who don't.
The good news is that God's love is all inclusive! He gives us time to investigate, and the opportunity to grow. He gives us the freedom to choose not to change also. He knows everything about us. He understands our background, our concerns, our fears, our reluctance to change. We can't possibly know each other as He knows us.
Love and acceptance of each other in our differences is a gift we receive from God. Wherever we stand in the matter of dress, we need that gift. If we are the ones who are changing, we need to love and accept our sisters who choose not to change. And if we notice our sisters changing how they dress, we also need to love and accept them in their choices.
We need to assure each other that our clothing has absolutely nothing to do with how we love and accept each other. We need each other. What we wear should not affect the Christian bond between us.
That is not to say what we wear is unimportant. The point is, we need to give each other time and freedom to make choices for ourselves. God isn't through with any of us yet. He values the inward responsiveness to Him, and it's the Holy Spirit's work to deal with the outward. We can't fix each other.
What we wear is between us and God. This isn't to downplay the messages on this web site. This is just a reminder to all of us to love and accept each other where we are right now. God wouldn't be a bit impressed with a modestly dressed woman who judged her sisters for their immodesty. It would grieve His heart tremendously.
The message on this web site is a very personal and individual message, to be applied only to the reader. We need to let God speak to us, and let the Holy Spirit speak to our sisters. One may be weak in one point where the other is strong. How can we compare ourselves with each other, especially by what we wear?
This is just a reminder that we are all special and loved by God. So let's remember to treat each other that way!

Our Mission Statement

The purpose of this web site is to provide information, inspiration, encouragement and balance in the pursuit of glorifying God in our appearance. Written from a woman's perspective, for women, we also seek the counsel and support of godly men.
We strive to present, not the opinions and preferences of humans, based on pride and worldly conformity – but divine principles for our appearance based on inspiration. We attempt to apply these spiritual principles to our present time through the study and consensus of godly individuals whose primary intent is to glorify God!
While we want to guard against fanaticism, extremism, and eccentric personal preferences, we also want to pull far away from the influence of worldly society and the corrupting goddess of fashion. We do not want to become gazing stocks, but rather reflections of the glory of God. We want others to see Jesus when they see us. We want to stand apart from prideful and immoral society, at the same time flavoring our interactions with grace and the beauty of holiness.
We do not seek to force these principles upon anyone, because God has given us all the freedom of choice. But we have experienced the beauty and blessing of following God's will in this area, and lovingly share it with our sisters in Christ. This is a spiritual matter, a subject for prayer and contemplation, asking for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. He will lead you step by step.

 

Our Pledge

Because of our deep love for the Lord Jesus Christ, we desire to please Him in all things. We recognize that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, and we want to glorify God in our bodies, including in the way we dress and conduct ourselves. We are willing to listen to the Holy Spirit, and to be sensitive to His voice. We are willing to investigate inspired counsel so that we may know how God would have us clothe ourselves. Indeed, He has promised that He will clothe us, (Matt 6:30) and He invites us to accept His robe of righteousness. (Rev. 3:18)
Our Spirit led decision to dress for Jesus is not based on self-righteous, legalistic motives, but rather on loving trust that draws us even closer to our Lord. By raising the standard, we do not exalt ourselves or look down on others. Rather, we humble ourselves in the dust at the foot of the cross, recognizing our great unworthiness to be considered daughters of the King. It is Jesus who lifts us up in heavenly places, clothed in the robe of His righteousness, to sing praises to His name.
As we learn of Jesus, and His selfless ministry, as we contemplate the magnitude of His sacrificial death, and try to wrap our minds around the power of His resurrection, our hearts are overwhelmed with love and appreciation toward Him. He has given all for us. His grace and mercy is beyond comprehension.
There is not one thing that we can do to merit His saving work in our behalf. All we can do is make a complete surrender of our hearts to Him, and accept the indwelling of His Spirit. Thus, our response of gratitude toward Him does not inspire in us a desire to earn His favor, because we recognize that as a complete impossibility. We have shamed Him, dishonored Him and rebelled against Him. And yet He receives us, and cleanses us from our impurity and infidelity. Sensing our neediness and helplessness, we reach out to Him, becoming recipients of His saving grace. By entrusting ourselves completely to Him, we give Him the authority to reign and rule over every aspect of our lives, which includes the way we dress.
We ask the Lord Jesus to fill us with His love, especially for our dear sisters in Christ. We want nothing to do with a judgmental spirit towards anyone. We want to look through the eyes of Jesus, loving each other with His love and acceptance, and esteeming others better than ourselves. We want to draw the attention of others to Jesus, not to ourselves.
We are preparing to be clothed in heavenly apparel for eternity. We do not want to say with the professed followers of God, “ We will… wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.” Isa. 4:1 No! We are weary of our own unsanctified apparel. We are weary of dressing according to the dictates of our proud and lustful hearts. We have beheld Jesus, and we long to please Him. We desire godly apparel, approved by God! That is our prayer. That is our pursuit.

God's Way or My Way?

We can give our selfish, prideful carnal wills to Jesus, and say, “The choice is not mine, but GOD'S!” What will GOD'S choice for us include in our attire?
GOD'S =
G – Godly purity
O – Optimal health
D – Distinctly feminine
S – Simplicity
When we choose God's way, others will be able to tell.
Or, we can rebelliously declare, "I want to choose for myself how I will look. The choice is all MINE!" What can be included in this “MINE”?
MINE =
M – Masculine attire
I – Immodesty
N – Not healthful
E – Extravagance

MY PRAYER

My precious Heavenly Father,
I praise You for Your loving kindness and mercy toward me. Thank you for the gift of Your precious Son, my Savior Jesus Christ.
Because of Your love for me, I want to respond in full surrender to You.
Fill me with Your Spirit, so that my entire body is Your temple, including the visible part. I want every aspect of my appearance to bring glory to Your name.
Lay my pride in the dust. Keep me from vain thoughts and pursuits. Keep me from loving the world, following its fashions, desiring its approval.
May I portray a meek, chaste, humble spirit. May my outward image reflect the image of Jesus that is formed within me by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit.
Make me into the woman You designed me to be, holy, undefiled and distinctly feminine in my manner and appearance.
Help me to shine with Your glory, not the artificial glamour of the world.
Cover me with the robe of righteousness, that the shame of my nakedness does not appear. Cleanse my heart, purify my motives, sanctify my affections that my heart may be tuned to sing Your marvelous praise.
In Jesus' precious name, Amen

May your modest appearance reveal that you are truly eagerly longing for His glorious appearance, so that you may enjoy eternity with Him!

 RESOURCES:
The Process of Moving Toward Modesty:
The goal of this web site is to plant seeds of truth in your mind, to encourage you to make decisions to move toward modesty. We recognize that we all have our unique perspectives and practices. What we need is God's perspective. That's why we need to have a willingness to listen and respond, as the Holy Spirit leads us.
In the following articles, books and various types of media, Seventh-day Adventists and Christians of other faiths have written and spoken about this topic of dress from their hearts. Some come at it from a more spiritual angle, and others focus on the practical aspects. Some express their feelings with great intensity and forcefulness, others are mild and extremely tactful in their approach. Not all methods of presenting this subject can appeal to all people. That is why there is a need for variety.
As you sample these presentations, please pray for the spirit of a learner. Don't let one person's approach turn you away. Move on and taste the next one. There is a message here just for you! God does want to speak to your heart about your appearance. He wants you to understand His will regarding your clothing.
If you are a beginner in the concept of modesty, remember that God loves you just as you are. But He loves you too much to leave you just as you are! He has many wonderful things to teach you, as His precious daughter. He will lead you on step by step. This is all about an adventure with Jesus, so cling to Him, and let Him show you how you can please Him in all things.
Please note: The following articles focus on one or more of four major topics: Modesty, Femininity, Healthfulness & Simplicity. You will find this designated in parenthesis following the general description.
On this page, we will endeavor to make a practical application of the inspired principles God has given to us. 

http://www.remnantraiment.com/Application.htm

What is Modesty:

Modesty is the opposite of trying to attract attention, elicit admiration or arouse sensuality. Modesty encompasses purity, humility and godly reserve.
The Bible teaches modesty in dress. "In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel." 1 Timothy 2:9. This forbids display in dress, gaudy colors, profuse ornamentation. Any device designed to attract attention to the wearer or to excite admiration is excluded from the modest apparel which God's Word enjoins. Self-denial in dress is a part of our Christian duty. To dress plainly and abstain from display of jewelry and ornaments of every kind is in keeping with our faith. Child Guidance, 423
Virtue and modesty are rare. I appeal to you as followers of Christ, making an exalted profession, to cherish the precious, priceless gem of modesty. Child Guidance 417
In the Modesty Message, the four basic principles that are emphasized on this web site are: Modesty, Simplicity, Femininity and Healthfulness. These are expanded below, not to establish man-made rules, but simply to provide a practical application of the principles God has given us. You are encouraged to FIRST educate yourself with the material on the resources page, and then make the practical application. This list that follows is not comprehensive, nor is it divinely inspired. It is up to each one of us to read the inspired counsel, and then make practical application as the Holy Spirit leads us.
•  Modesty (Chaste, Pure)
What is NOT modesty:
  • Anything designed to arouse sensuality
  • Clinging clothes that reveal the female form
  • Low necklines
  • Loose and low neckline – revealing when bending over
  • Sleeveless
  • See-through material
  • Slits, causing a flashing effect when walking which is tantalizing
  • Peek-a-boo
  • Short skirts

•  Simplicity (Plain, Natural)
What is NOT simplicity:
  • Designed to attract attention
  • Time consuming
  • Showy, flashy
  • Extravagant
  • Expensive
  • Flamboyant
  • Gaudy colors
  • Ornamental
  • Profuse sparkles, sequins
  • Profuse lace, ruffles, ribbons
  • Making a fashion statement

•  Femininity
What is NOT femininity:
  • Men's wear
  • Uncovered Pants or jeans
  • Men's styles
  • Men's accessories
  • Similar to men's clothing
  • Men's hairstyles

•  Healthfulness (Wholesome, not harmful)
What is NOT healthful:
  • Allows limbs to become chilled
  • Tight around body
  • Compresses lungs
  • Unstable shoes, high heels
  • Not breathable material
  • Not free movement
  • Uncleanliness
Other principles that may not be included in the above would be: Tasteful, tidy, mended, pressed, appropriate for occasion and weather, durability, and comfort. While these are important considerations, if the article of clothing or practice doesn't pass all of the first four basic principles, these other principles become irrelevant.
Do we live in an immodest society today?
Listen to what a Seventh-day Adventist man of God, Carlyle B. Hanes preached in a sermon in 1934 regarding modesty among the church members at that time:
“A marked characteristic of this time is immodest exposure of the person, a display of physical charms, an accentuation of every bodily part which is calculated to create—what shall I say? admiration?—on the part of the beholder. O dear friends, if the desire to create admiration in this matter stopped with admiration, it would be going too far. But it is more than that. I do not need to tell you. Your flesh is as my flesh. The impulses and cravings inherent in fallen human nature are not unknown to you. No one can dress in such a way as to call attention to and accentuate the sensual, the fleshly, the physical, and then look with apparent innocence into my eyes and tell me [s]he does not know what [s]he is doing. [S]he does know what [s]he is doing. No one is a dumb as that. [S]he is cultivating and encouraging and ministering to the earthly, the passionate, the sensual, the lower nature. O people of the church of God, let us return in practice to the time when modesty and chastity and sweet simplicity were more than words, and carry out in our lives what the principles of the gospel demand—separation from the world and its fashions, adornment of its evil practices, and entire following of our Lord in all matters pertaining to life and godliness.” RH, April 26, 1934
Have you checked out what the fashions were in 1934? Why, even prostitutes of that time would be considered modest compared to what is commonly worn today. The picture on the left is a picture of 2 prostitutes in 1930. The picture on the right is of a fashion show in 1930. Remember the comment in the sermon above that "a marked characteristic of this time is immodest exposure of the person"!


Dress: An Issue of My Heart
By Staci Osterman

When people look at me, what do they see?

When people look at me, what do they see? It is a question I often ask myself. What first attracts them? Is it my hair color, my hairstyle, my clothing? Or is it the radiant glow on my face? Is it something on the outside or something shining from within?
    Our world puts great emphasis on a woman's outward beauty. Constantly we are invited to wear the latest fashions, style our hair in the hottest new looks, and display the most darling adornments. We are tempted to feel that if we don't, we will never feel good about ourselves. We will never be noticed. We will never find the true love and admiration we desire–and deserve.
    The Scriptures, however, tell us that it is not the make-up, the adornment, or the stylish dress that God longs to see. He is not so much concerned about what attracts superficial admiration as He is to see “the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price” (1 Pet 3:3, 4). It is the authentic beauty of modesty and virtue that He values.
    Beauty within. As a young girl I was quite preoccupied with my looks. I wanted to look pretty. I wanted my hair to be just right and my clothing to be like my friends'. So much of my self-worth stemmed from my perception of how I would be seen! Did I look like the others? Did I fit in? I remember the day I told my mother I didn't want to dress the way she had been dressing me anymore. I wanted to wear the cute clothing all the other girls wore. I praise God for a very wise mother who said to me, “Staci, before making any important decisions we need to ask God what He thinks. I want you to study this topic on your own and then come tell me what God showed you.”
    Surprise! When I began my study of the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy on the dress topic, I wasn't convinced that God was all that concerned about how I dressed. But as I read more and more, I began to realize that He was very specific about which dress styles were appropriate for me as a Christian young lady and which were not. I was surprised by the amount of counsel given. More than anything, though, I began to recognize that the dress issue was really an issue of my heart. My focus had been on the externals while Jesus was concerned about the inside—my personal relationship with Him. I remember the struggle I went through as I talked to God about my clothing and whether or not it pleased Him. As I prayed He began to fill my heart with a longing to be truly beautiful by allowing Him to give me beauty within.
    Clothing in the Bible. Since the time of the Garden of Eden, a person's dress has been a symbol of something much deeper than just cloth covering skin. Adam and Eve in their pre-sin state were clothed with a garment of soft, white light. “This robe of light was a symbol of their spiritual garments of heavenly innocence. Had they remained true to God it would ever have continued to enshroud them. But when sin entered, they severed their connection with God, and the light that had encircled them departed. Naked and ashamed, they tried to supply the place of the heavenly garments by sewing together fig leaves for a covering” ( Christ's Object Lessons , p. 311). These fig-leaf aprons were symbolic of their self-righteousness. “The fig-leaves represent the arguments used to cover dis obed ience” ( Review and Herald , Nov 15, 1898).
    God knew that these immodest garments were inadequate for clothing so He fashioned for the guilty pair coats of skin (Gen 3:21). Because a lamb had to die in the process, these coats symbolized the righteousness that could be theirs through faith in the Savior.
    Mandatory blue ribbon. During the time of the Exodus, the clothing worn by the Israelites had special symbolic meaning. Moses was commanded to tell the people to “make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue: … that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the Lord, and do them” (Num15:38, 39). The blue ribbon symbolized the people's commitment to be obed ient to God.
    God gave remarkably detailed instructions regarding the garments worn by Aaron, the high priest. “God specified every detail concerning the garments of those who ministered before Him. Thus we are taught that He has a preference in regard to the dress of those who serve Him. Very specific were the directions given in regard to Aaron's robes, for his dress was symbolic” ( Testimonies for the Church , 6:96). His garments declared to everyone that he had been set apart and consecrated for a holy work.
    Finally, the book of Revelation depicts two women, a virgin and a harlot, representing two systems of worship, one true and one false. John describes them by their apparel for it symbolizes their doctrine.

A SYMBOL


    The Bible calls us “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people” (1 Pet 2:9). As such our dress is symbolic. Speaking of the symbolic nature of Aaron's garments, Ellen White writes, “ So the dress of Christ's followers should be symbolic . In all things we are to be representatives of Him. Our appearance in every respect should be characterized by neatness, modesty, and purity” (Ibid., emphasis added).
    What does our clothing symbolize? First of all, it symbolizes the condition of our heart. If pride, vanity, or rebellion is in the heart it will be revealed in gaudy or immodest clothing. On the other hand, a heart that is humble and surrendered will choose a modest, simple, appropriate style of dress. “Dress is an index of the mind and heart. That which is hung upon the outside is the sign of what is within” ( Mind, Character, and Personality , 1:289). I found that when I allowed God to examine my clothing, I really had invited Him to search my heart and see if there was any wicked way therein (Ps 139:23, 24). “When the heart is converted, everything that is out of harmony with the Word of God will drop off” ( Evangelism , p. 272).
    Our dress is also symbolic of God's Lordship in our lives. Just as the blue-hemmed garments of the Israelites announced to all who saw them that the Israelites were a commandment-keeping people, so our clothing may announce to the world that we are God's obed ient children, following His standard and not the world's. One of the major ways the world should recognize us as God's remnant people and be drawn to the Christ living within us is by the way we dress. This, I believe, is why God has given us so much counsel on the subject!
    “The dress reform is treated by some with great indifference and by others with contempt, because there is a cross attached to it. For this cross I thank God. It is just what we need to distinguish and separate God's commandment-keeping people from the world. The dress reform answers to us as did the ribbon of blue to ancient Israel” ( Testimonies for the Church , 3:171).
    “The children of Israel, after they were brought out of Egypt, were commanded to have a simple ribbon of blue in the border of their garments, to distinguish them from the nations around them, and to signify that they were God's peculiar people. The people of God are not now required to have a special mark placed upon their garments. But in the New Testament we are often referred to ancient Israel for examples. If God gave such definite directions to His ancient people in regard to their dress, will not the dress of His people in this age come under His notice? Should there not be in their dress a distinction from that of the world? Should not the people of God, who are His peculiar treasure, seek even in their dress to glorify God?” (Ellen G. White in Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary , 1:1114, emphasis added).
    Pure in heart. When we realize that our dress symbolizes whether or not we have submitted our heart to the Lordship of Christ, we begin to view other issues, like modesty, differently. We see modesty in clothing as a way to express our love for Christ and our brethren. 

A NICE COMPLIMENT


    Not long ago I met a friend of mine in the Andrews University library. After our usual greeting, he asked if he could pay me a compliment. I blushed a little and said, “OK.” He said, “Staci, I just wanted to thank you for the way you dress. It is so refreshing to see a young lady dressed modestly. This afternoon in the cafeteria I had to avoid looking at several young ladies seated at my table because their clothing was so revealing. I don't have to do that when I am around you, and I want you to know how much I appreciate it.” His words surprised me a little, but they also made my heart glow with joy. They reconfirmed in my mind a principle the Lord had shown me several years before—that I am the keeper of my brother's heart.
    We live in a society where various degrees of nudity are accepted. Most clothing, especially summer wear, leaves little to the imagination. I am not a man, but I have talked with enough male friends to realize that the sight of a woman's body affects a man much differently than it does a female. While God created women to be aroused by touch and tenderness, men often need only a visual stimulus.
    Let us help the boys! Recently I had an enlightening conversation on this topic with one of my close male friends. My heart ached as he explained to me the struggle he and other godly men face as they see professing Christian ladies dressed in provocative ways. Unfortunately, they can't talk to anyone about the problem because they fear they'll be perceived as having perverted minds. “It is not that way at all,” he told me. “I pray constantly for Christ to help me keep a pure heart. It is just that when I am talking with a young lady with a gaping neckline or a tight shirt, I feel terribly uncomfortable. I am the one that feels exploited! I don't think she has any idea how hard it is for me to see her.” Having heard his pleading cry to God to save him from the temptation of lust, I told myself that never again would I argue for my right to dress as I please!
    The Psalmist asked an important question. “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart” (Ps 24:3, 4). It is only the pure in heart that will see God (Mat 5:8).
Young ladies, we have a responsibility to help our brothers keep their hearts pure. We should never wear anything that would be enticing, for if by our clothing we lead a brother to sin, even in his thoughts, we are held at least partially responsible! (See Mat 5:27, 28.) “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Cor6:19, 20). We do not glorify God by exposing our body or even certain parts of it to the eyes of others.
    Modesty in dress is a reflection of modesty in the heart. The woman who is trying to gain a man's attention will flaunt her sexuality by her clothing, or lack of it. A virtuous woman, however, will expose her body to only one man—the one God leads her to marry. Purity in her heart will be seen in purity in her dress and actions. I constantly pray that God will help me to dress in a way that honors my future husband and also protects the men that God brings into my life in the meantime. It is my privilege to help them keep a pure heart. This, I believe, is included in Christ's command to “love thy neighbour as thyself” (Mat 22:39).

Disappointment . Unfortunately, today's fashion-design business is not based on love for others, but on self-love. The book Fashion and the Unconscious reveals some startling facts about the four principles influencing today's clothing design. The first is the utility principle, the activity for which the clothing is intended, such as sportswear or uniforms. Next is the hierarchical principle, an appeal to human pride, enabling the wearer to feel proud and haughty. The autonomy principle is intended to give the wearer a sense of total self-expression. Finally, there is the seduction principle, or sex appeal, which is used particularly in the design of women's clothing.
    This book further states that many of today's prominent male fashion designers are homosexuals who design “punishment fashions” for women. The motive for this is that the designer is either afraid of women or hates women and intentionally designs for her clothing that is uncomfortable or so provocative that she falls victim to sex crimes. Years ago God warned us about these fashions. “Satan is constantly devising some new style of dress that shall prove an injury to physical and moral health; and he exults when he sees professed Christians eagerly accept the fashions that he has invented” ( Testimonies for the Church , 4:634).
    Ladies, if we dress according to the common fashions of our day we are not dressing modestly. These fashions are specifically designed to arouse sexuality, whether that is our intention or not. Anything that accentuates our form or leaves us partially naked has no place in the dress of a woman professing godliness. This would seem to eliminate short dresses, low necklines, sleeveless blouses, sheer or tight clothing, to say nothing of bikini bathing suits. We must do right even if the world does differently. It may seem like nothing to us, but if we cause a weaker brother to sin we cannot plead innocence!
    Nakedness. Because our senses have been desensitized by the age of nakedness in which we live, how do we determine what is and what is not modest? We need to make the Bible our standard and not the trends of an ever-changing society. In the Bible, nakedness is always a sign of sin and degradation. After Adam and Eve sinned, they realized they were naked, stripped of the robe of light that had completely clothed them. In Isaiah 47:1-3 God describes the virgin daughter of Babylon as being in a state of nakedness and shame. Her legs are bare and her thighs uncovered.
    Nakedness is the result of sin and rebellion towards God, but once a person is converted the result is a full clothing of the body. As soon as the demoniac met Christ and the devils departed from him, he sat “at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind” (Luk 8:35). We are each counseled to buy of the Lord “white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear” (Rev 3:18). This is the robe of Christ's righteousness, which covers us completely from our sins. We see here again the symbolic nature of our dress. A godly man or woman will not want to wear anything that reveals nakedness, but rather clothing that appropriately covers the body, symbolizing the spiritual covering they have received in Christ.
    Distinction between the sexes. Modest clothing, however, does more than just cover our nakedness. It is also an affirmation of the differences God made between male and female when He created us. In the beginning God gave men and women distinctive roles that would be complementary to each other's, allowing the two to serve God in beautiful harmony. However, Satan hates God's plan and has done his best to blur the distinctions between the sexes by creating fashions and hairstyles that are almost identical to each other. He has led men and women to look upon their distinct roles in disdain and to adopt the fashions he has designed.
    “There is an increasing tendency to have women in their dress and appearance as near like the other sex as possible and to fashion their dress very much like that of men, but God pronounces it abomination.” “God designed that there should be a plain distinction between the dress of men and women, and has considered the matter of sufficient importance to give explicit directions in regard to it; for the same dress worn by both sexes would cause confusion and great increase of crime” ( Testimonies for the Church , 1:457, 460). Could the rise in homosexuality and sexual perversion be linked to this loss of distinction between men's and women's clothing?
    The American costume. God spoke against one dress style popularized in the 1850s because it blurred this sexual distinction. When Elizabeth Smith Miller launched the dress reform movement to free women from the tyrant of unhealthful dress, she put on a short skirt over pants, a style later known as the American costume. Her outfit created quite a stir in Seneca Falls, NY, where her cousin Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and a neighbor, Amelia Jenks Bloomer, joined her in the movement. What started as a reform for the improved health of women soon became a women's rights issue and part of the growing feminist movement. Though it received a lot of opposition at first, this dress style became more popular over time, and eventually the skirt was eliminated, leaving only the pants.
“Dress reform was much more than a change in fashion. It was an organized social movement that attacked one of the fundamental structures of society, that of clothing as a key indicator of both gender and social position. … Dress reform was clearly a transgression of true womanhood because woman's clothing, from which her femininity emanated, was being attacked. In addition, the new style proposed that women wear trousers, a proposition that met with widespread and vehement disapproval.” [i]
    While the American costume was healthier than the fashionable dress of the day, God objected to it for two main reasons: it was immodest, and it was patterned after the clothing of men. Ellen White wrote, “I saw that God's order has been reversed, and His special directions disregarded, by those who adopt the American costume. I was referred to Deuteronomy 22:5: ‘The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.' God would not have His people adopt the so-called reform dress. It is immodest apparel, wholly unfitted for the humble followers of Christ” ( Testimonies for the Church , 1:421). Instead, God gave His people a dress style that was both healthful and modest, while not resembling the clothing worn by men. [ii]
    One of the warnings God gave about the American costume was the spirit that was associated with it. “With the so-called dress reform there goes a spirit of levity and boldness just in keeping with the dress. Modesty and reserve seem to depart from many as they adopt that style of dress” (Ibid., 422).
    Summer camp girls. I experienced this first-hand when I worked several summers as a camp counselor. The camp guidelines included modest skirts or dresses for the girls. I repeatedly noticed that when sassy, bold, and flirtatious girls came to the camp in their tight jeans, and changed into camp clothing their attitudes immediately shifted. They began to act like young ladies and to manifest more reserve around the young men. When I saw it I marveled at how God had spoken of this over a century before! His dress for women affirms their femininity and leads them to act with grace and dignity.
    In a world where fashion trends take precedence over Biblical counsel, God calls for a people who have purity of heart exemplified in a modest, simple, appropriate style of dress. He knows that our clothing symbolizes our heart condition, and this is why He asks each of us, “My son, [my daughter,] give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways” (Prov 23:26). When I see myself as His beautiful princess, a daughter of the king, I consider it a joy and honor to glorify Him in my dress.
    “Many dress like the world in order to have an influence over unbelievers, but here they make a sad mistake. If they would have a true and saving influence, let them live out their profession, show their faith by their righteous works, and make the distinction plain between the Christian and the worldling. The words, the dress, the actions, should tell for God. Then a holy influence will be shed upon all around them, and even unbelievers will take knowledge of them that they have been with Jesus” ( Testimonies for the Church , 4:633).
    I am still asking myself the question: When people look at me, what do they see? I pray that my dress will in no way distract from the peace and joy radiating from my face—a reflection of the living Christ who has captured my heart.


NOTES

[i] 2 Kathleen M. Torrens, “All dressed up with no place to go: rhetorical dimensions of the nineteenth century dress reform movement,” Women's Studies in Communication , v. 20 (Fall 1997) pp. 189-210.
[ii] 3 For a description of this style of dress read Testimonies for the Church , vol. 1, 456-466, and vol. 4, p. 640.


A Letter from the Guys

 

Girls, could we talk to you right out of our hearts for a few minutes? It is awkward for us to talk about something of this nature, in person, so we thought we would write our feelings.
We are young men who have been saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit. We desperately want to live for Christ and not follow the ways of the world. Since we have been baptized (immersed) in a Holy Spirit, we feel in our hearts that we should live holy lives. After all, our bodies are the temple, the sanctuary, the place where the Holy Spirit lives and makes His home.
We know that guys and girls are affected differently, so since we desperately want to follow hard after God, could we kindly and respectfully ask you to help us with a few things? We realize that girls are primarily stimulated or turned on by touch. Did you know that guys are turned on by sight? So when you are aroused (sexually awakened) by a guy's "touch," we are in the same way aroused by mere sight.
Let us explain. When we see girls who are dressed in a suggestive, revealing, provocative, teasing, tantalizing manner, our sexual desires are aroused. Our bodies are then affected. To be absolutely candid, let us give you some examples of what we are referring to. If you are wearing a blouse that barely meets the waist of your slacks and some of your skin shows while you are moving around, or simply while you are walking, sitting, or kneeling, our minds are geared to wonder what more of your body would look like further up....This causes our bodies to respond biologically, and suddenly we are fighting a war in our minds and bodies. And that war of lust is continuing often long, even hours, after you are gone. We hate this, because our righteous man wants to think pure thoughts....
When you wear low-cut tops which are in any degree revealing, or when you bend over, and they are revealing, this again causes us big problems in the flesh. Or if the back is out of your top, we automatically think that you do not have the undergarment on, and the Spirit and the flesh begin to fight again. Or when we see any glimpse of straps and the like, we have trouble.
What we are trying to say is this: If it is not for sale, don't advertise it. We really feel that the still small voice of the Holy Spirit speaks to you and nudges you when it is too tight, too short, too low, or too revealing. Will you listen to that voice? For the Scripture says, "Quench not the Spirit." (1 Thess. 5:19)
Girls, do you know what we would really like? We would like to come among our Christian sisters and not have to fight and struggle in the flesh. We do not need to have to wrestle in the flesh at church or at church activities. We men, whether young, old, single or married, are faced with this every day among girls of the world . But we would like to have rest in our Spirit man when we come among Christian girls . After all, doesn't the Scripture tell us to "come out from among the world and be you separate, saith the Lord." (2 Cor. 6:17) It also tells us that "all that is in the world, the lust of the eye, and the lust of the flesh, is not of the Father, but is of the world." (1 John 2:15)
We are the church, not the world. We know that people often use the verse, "Man looketh on the outward appearance, but God looketh on the heart," (1 Sam. 16:7) to condone anything they wish to wear. This is one of the most misused/used out-of-context verses in the Bible. Conversely, the fact is, if your heart is pure, your outward appearance will be modest ....
Girls can be fashionable and modest at the same time. To be honest, we respect you more when your appearance is modest, as the Scripture commands in 1 Timothy 2:9. We really do not want the kind of girl who dresses provocatively, for we know that if we marry her, she will still be that way in the presence of other men once we are married.
We know that we have Christian responsibilities toward girls, too. We must be careful to portray ourselves properly. We must treat you like ladies. If we are really committed Christian guys, we will strive to treat you like Jesus would. After all, you are daughters of God.
Thank you, dear Christian sisters, for hearing our hearts on this subject. Once we have conveyed the truth of the matter to you, you become responsible before God for what you do with the truth. We really are our brother's keeper . (Genesis 4:9.) We know that there is a "cult of conformity" in our generation, but we as Christians march to the beat of a different drummer.
Please, girls, do not say, "I don't care," but help us in these last days to live as close to Jesus as we can.
Thank you so much.
Sincerely,
Committed Christian Guys
http://fearlesslyfeminine.blogspot.com/2006/01/letter-from-christian-guys.html

 An Open Letter to Seventh-day Adventist Women

What the Men Are Saying Tempts Them the Most


Dear Sisters in Christ,
This letter is lovingly written to the women who are baptized members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. What a blessed privilege is ours, to be preparing for the glorious appearing of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Oh, if only we could each catch a glimpse of our high calling as daughters of the King, royal princesses, set apart as pure, holy and undefiled, waiting for our Bridegroom to return. The blessed hope, burning brightly in our hearts, will help us keep our focus on Jesus, so we gladly will turn away from the glamour and deceptions of this world.

True to Our Baptismal Vows

Our sacred baptismal vows are a testimony of our love and appreciation for what Jesus has done for us. With loving hearts, we “renounce the sinful ways of the world” and we feel a higher, holy calling above the empty attractions this world has to offer. We believe that “ we are called to be a godly people who think, feel, and act in harmony with the principles of heaven….our dress is to be simple, modest, and neat, befitting those whose true beauty does not consist of outward adornment but in the imperishable ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit.”
It is only through the power of God's indwelling presence, that we are enabled to keep these vows faithfully. Our deep love and commitment to Him is what keeps our hearts sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit. Only His continual presence can empower us to obey and follow His promptings.
Our loving Jesus is now our Great High Priest, who is interceding in the Most Holy Place in the heavenly sanctuary for us. With a heart filled with incomprehensible love, He is praying for us, that we will be faithful to our vows, so that nothing will deprive us of the place He has prepared for us in Heaven. He wants us to continually open our hearts and let Him in each and every day, so His love can shine out to the world through us. He wants to do this through our radiant smiles, kind and loving deeds, by our meek and quiet spirits, and by the modest clothes we wear. Our godly lives will shine forth as a saving testimony of God's love and forgiveness, and reveal His overcoming power in our personal lives.

Our Laodicean Condition

Dear sisters, this is God's ideal for us. But God has a sobering message for us that reveals a rather serious problem. His beloved worldwide church is lukewarm—Laodicean. There are some very vital realities regarding our spiritual condition of which we may be oblivious.
This Laodicean state, as noted in prophecy, is the pervading condition of the last-day church. As a people, we have been immersed in the world, following the ways of the world, and comparing ourselves to the world for many years, and without realizing it. The Holy Spirit comes to each one of us individually, presenting the loving words straight from the heart of Jesus, as found in Revelation chapter 3. Laodicea does not perceive her lukewarm condition.
Until we are aware of our problem, we don't know that we need a solution. Our Savior desires for us to know our condition, that we are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked, so that we will be willing to accept His beautiful counsel. This is the only way we may become acceptable in His sight, purified from love of the world, and clothed in His robe of righteousness.
Because of our lukewarmness, we have inadvertently adopted some of the ways of the world. Therefore, God has some timely counsel for us, to help us correct our mistakes. It is time for us to wake up, become alert, and make sure we have our lamps trimmed and burning, lest we be the foolish virgins who are unprepared for their Lord's return.
God desires His daughters to be clothed in His purity, holiness and faithfulness. These are His garments of righteousness. Holy garments cannot cover the defilement of sin; Jesus has provided the remedy to cleanse us of all sin. His daughters must be clothed in garments that only He provides. He has promised that He will clothe us, and He wants us to lay aside our filthy garments, and accept His righteous raiment. As our faith and trust in Him grows, we will be willing to accept His inward adorning and to wear the garments that please Him and have His approval.

The Demands of the World and Fashion

As the world intensifies its headlong rush to perdition, it calls Laodicea to follow. The pull of the world is strong, and its voice can be deafening, except for the grace of God.
The world cries, Fashion is beautiful, fashion is sexy, you are out of touch if you don't follow the fashions. But the still small voice of the Lord calls to us, saying, Modesty is beautiful, purity and holiness are beautiful. It is only by the divine anointing that we desire the beauty of simplicity and choose God's way. It is through the gold of faith and love, gained through the purifying fire of self-denial that we will choose the voice of God over the voice of the world.
Love is that self-less principle that leads us to choose God's will over our own. Love to God leads us to consider how our dress and behavior affects not only our own spirituality but our brothers' in the Lord as well.
Because the world demands that we dress to please the carnal nature, immodest dress greatly pleases ungodly men. We may have been tricked into thinking we're doing men a favor by fashionably revealing our bodies. This may come as a surprise to most, but we can honestly say that Seventh-day Adventist men who love Jesus, and who are earnestly preparing for His soon return, are much grieved and troubled by the immodest dress and unholy demeanor of some of us Seventh-day Adventist women.

Our Dress on Sabbath Morning

Our dress reveals what is in our hearts, and it also influences all those who see us, particularly our brothers. Many of us have no idea of the struggle that Christian men, young and old, have every Sabbath morning as they come to church, all over the world. Godly men everywhere are trying to keep their hearts pure, while some of us Seventh-day Adventist sisters who appear in immodest apparel take their thoughts into forbidden paths. Immodest dress is very distracting and the Holy Spirit must actually vie for the attention of men and even women in God's church on His holy Sabbath day.
The divine worship service is our weekly sacred appointment to meet with Jesus. As we prepare for Church, our primary thoughts should be of Him. We are going to worship our Savior, the King of kings! How should we come into His presence? What does He want us to wear? How can we honor Him, and show our intense love for Him? These thoughts should be foremost in our minds. If we were going to meet a famous dignitary, would we be thinking about what is appropriate to wear for the occasion?
Surely, Jesus wants us to modestly cover our bodies. Church should be the one place where our brothers have a safe haven from the immodesty of the women of the world.
If the world wasn't shouting so loudly, nothing more would need to be said. But the problem is that the world's voice has become so loud that many have lost the ability to hear the message of Christian modesty. The idea is foreign to them. For so long, the world's fashions have been followed that some of us just can't see a problem at all.
That is the reason we need to listen to what godly men are saying about what it is that tempts them to stumble. We can't argue with these consecrated Christian men. They are the ones with the struggle. And these righteous men have been willing to speak out in an appeal to Seventh-day Adventist women. They are asking us to consider them, especially as we get dressed for church. What they are saying is in complete harmony with the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy.

An SDA Pastor Speaks Out

“And what about the Christians who are surrounded by this glorification of the flesh? Unfortunately, it has not been left outside the church doors. Slowly the world edged into the remnant church. By degrees the sight of knees and thighs even in the sanctuary began to be tolerated. The sense of outrage disappeared as we got used to the weekly display.
“What about the Christian men whose inherent sex nature is so easily influenced by this nudity? Do they respond to the external stimuli by thinking evil thoughts and committing mental adultery? By the grace of God true Christians can lay hold of victory, even over the imaginations of the heart. Through submission and prayer any man can claim the power of a pure mind, but the styles of dress make it a more difficult struggle.
“Jesus made it clear that men are easily led into wrong thinking. He said, "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." Matthew 5:27, 28.
“And what can be said for the women who dress in such a way that they stimulate this kind of thinking? They are equally guilty before God. For this reason no true Christian woman, who understands the effect of such a course, will wear the revealing clothes which create such illicit desires. As the dress inches above the knee, the climate of sin is created. For the carnal man, who has not the power of the gospel in his life, there is no chance whatever to resist the temptation. Every miniskirt is fuel which triggers the mind to think the most debased thoughts of which the carnal nature is capable. Christian women should have no share in this kind of enticement.
“Indeed, the second greatest commandment of Jesus would be violated by such a course. Christ said, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.' How could a woman wear clothing that was designed to cause her neighbour's husband to commit mental adultery and not be guilty of breaking that law of love? Would she love her neighbour as herself if she willfully did something to cause her neighbour's husband to sin against his wife and against God?
“We are dealing here with actions which cause others to sin. Moral issues are directly involved. We are counseled to close every door of temptation.
“ ‘Our example and influence must be a power on the side of reform. We must abstain from any practice which will blunt the conscience or encourage temptation. We must open no door that will give Satan access to the mind of one human being formed in the image of God.' Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 360.
“Because the female reaction to nudity is so different from that of the male, women often minimize the spiritual problem we are talking about here. Too often their attitude is that men just ought to use more power of self-control and stifle their mental images. They fail completely to grasp the significant difference which God Himself put into the male nature. That nature cannot be reversed by any human effort or determination. It can be controlled by complete Christian commitment, but Christian women must co-operate in closing the avenues of the soul to temptation.” By Joe Crews , Creeping Compromise, pp. 24-26, Homeward Publishing 2008. Used by Permission

So, what are Seventh-day Adventist men saying?

The following comments were made to us personally, in writing or in seminars on dress.
These areas are the most tempting and alluring to unholy thoughts:
•  Form fitting or tight clothing
“Passionately provocative and exciting articles of clothing such as tight tops, sweaters—especially knit—T-shirts, dresses, pants or jeans which reveal the form of the upper or lower body lead to impure thoughts. Some say tight is almost as sexy as naked.”
Note: Sisters, it is also our responsibility to keep the eyes of men from staring at private areas of our body as well. Have you noticed when an immodestly dressed woman walks by, most men struggle to keep their eyes away. Anything that is tight or slinky, and shows the form of the hips, so that the female anatomy is observable, would fall into this immodest category. Clothing should be modest in every respect, not just some aspects.
•  Sleeveless dresses or tops
“So close to the breast of a women, the bare skin of underarms in sleeveless or loose sleeved blouses has much sex appeal and is a great snare. The desire for a man to see more when the arms are outstretched or uplifted is a great temptation. Many times underwear and part of the breast are exposed in this scanty apparel.”
•  Low necklines, cleavage revealing
“The breasts, the most provocative and tempting part of a woman's body, tantalizes the passions. Low cut clothing which reveal cleavage are totally inappropriate for the God-fearing woman. Cleavage is flaunting one's sexuality. It is very distracting and a ‘wicked fashion.' Low necklines invite the eyes to an area that should only be revealed to one's husband.” Loose hanging tops or necklines that are revealing when bending over also fit in this category.”
Note: It is important for us as women to understand that our breasts are probably the most tempting area of our body. The eyes of any normal man, even a godly Christian man, are strongly tempted to look at a woman's breasts when they are revealed in any way. And when men look lingeringly with lust, they sin against God. Our Christian responsibility is to keep them from being tempted to lust, and to not to lure their eyes to our breasts. We are to cover and disguise our breasts in such a way that men's eyes are drawn to our faces, and not our chests.
•  Sheer or slinky apparel
“This type of clothing arouses unwholesome curiosity, because it is designed to reveal and not conceal the most private areas of a woman's body. Men's minds will wonder what is under there. Imagination will be excited because sheer and slinky is a teaser!”
•  Peek-a-boos and slits
“These are also “teasers” because they target areas that should be hidden, drawing the eyes of men to that particular area. They are more revealing because it exposes just a little bit for a moment, but arouses the intense desire for more and more of what you are hiding.”
Note: Sisters, we need to make sure we are modestly covered when we stand, walk, sit, bend or kneel, and especially if we are up front on the rostrum on Sabbath morning. Slits are designed to give a flashing effect, and many men have spoken out against women wearing slits in their skirts, especially high slits.
•  Short dresses
“Nude legs and thighs are a ‘provocation to lust' in the eyes of men. Bare back, bare midriffs, bare thighs, and bare legs are all flagrantly suggestive. What happened to the God-given shame a woman naturally feels when her body is exposed?”
•  Slacks
“In their very nature, slacks are apt to reveal and display your form. Women contend for modest slacks, but who wears them? In the very nature of the case, it is difficult to make a pair of modest slacks (especially for a woman who has a full figure), and as a matter of fact, it is an extremely rare thing to see a woman in slacks which are not too tight. Why is this? Why may men wear slacks which fit loosely, while the slacks of women must cling to every inch of their thighs and hips and buttocks and crotch? Verily it is because the god of this world who inspires these styles, and he knows his business only too well. He knows only too well that it is a snare to a man's heart to have displayed before his eyes the form of a woman's legs, thighs and buttocks.
“You ought, by all means, to keep your private parts carefully concealed at all times, and there is nothing that will do it so well as a dress . A loose-fitting skirt or dress, provided it is not too short , is also the best possible clothing with which to conceal all of the tempting parts of the anatomy which reside between your waist and your knees.
“You must believe it on the word of a man, though you may not be able to understand it. The sight of the form of your thighs and buttocks and private parts will tempt the heart of a man, and it is the nature of slacks to display the form of those parts.” by Gwen and Rick Shorter, Thy Nakedness, Lord What Shall I Wear? pp. 159-160, Homeward Publishing 2004. Used by permission.
Note: Long, loose and flowing skirts and dresses made with substantial material are by far the most modest clothing we can wear. Especially in God's house, we should be seeking that inward and outward modesty in which God delights.
•  Jewelry and colorful cosmetics
“A woman who paints her face and nails, wears elaborate hairstyles and decks herself with ornaments appears to be trying to attract sexual attention. These things reveal a proud and vain heart, and contradict the Christian standards of purity, meekness and simplicity.”
Note: If we look like the world, we will attract the world, or the worldly minded in the church, which contradicts spiritually mindedness. This is a stumbling block to young and old in the church. Instead of trying to draw attention to ourselves, let's pass it on to Jesus. This is a time for heart searching, and putting away of worldly adornment. Everything we can do to prepare the way for the blessing of God and the latter rain, we must do now.

Take Jesus With You When You Shop!

It's important to realize that most of the modern clothing, shoes and accessories designed for women is inappropriate for the Christian woman to wear. They were designed by worldly fashion designers for people who love the world. We are not of this world. We are citizens of a heavenly country. Therefore, we need to shop with anointed eyes, that we may not purchase any thing designed for the purpose of vanity or seduction. We need to remember that Jesus wants us to keep Him close at all times.

What Does Our Mirror Tell Us?

What do men see when they look at us? It would be a good idea to use a mirror, or have a family member do a modesty check on every part of our clothing before we leave the house. We need to bend over, sit, walk, and make sure every sensitive part of our bodies is modestly covered. We should be sure to wear sufficient undergarments so that light cannot shine through our clothing. We need to safeguard our brothers' eyes!
As one writer noted, if God sends to hell the man who lusts in his heart and does not repent, what about the woman who caused the man to lust in the first place? God wants us to repent and turn from immodesty.
A godly influence that is exerted by women who dress modestly will be a blessing to our sisters as well, especially our younger sisters. The mutual love and respect that is shown through modest dress will allow the Holy Spirit to work with increased power in our churches.
When visitors come into our churches, it will be clear to them that we, as a church, believe in and practice biblical modesty. Because of our example, in time, they will also cover themselves appropriately as they continue to fellowship with us.

A Warning and an Appeal

These specifics are meant to provide helpful instruction to our beloved sisters, not to offend in any way. We believe the warnings in God's Word are given because our Heavenly Father is trying to point us to a higher and holier path, even the narrow way. The world has strong appeal for the masses, and only a few are willing to listen to the voice of the Loving Shepherd.
Because our Lord Jesus values us so highly, He warns us about the dangers of following worldly fashions. He wants to protect His beloved daughters from getting pulled into Satan's traps. He has a much higher purpose for us. O ur bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit, set apart for holy use. The Holy Spirit wants to dwell in us, so we can lead others to Jesus, not into sin. God's love is truly exemplified when we care enough about our brothers to avoid causing them to stumble. “He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. 1 John 2:10
Dear sisters, we have a high and holy calling—ambassadors for the King of kings! “God does not require us to give up any thing that it is for our best interest to retain.” Steps to Christ, p. 46 . He has a special mission for us, and that mission can only be accomplished as we are clothed in the robe of His righteousness. Every morning He will cover us as we completely surrender our hearts to Him. This includes every aspect of our lives, including what we wear. He is willing to take over the management of our wardrobe, and show us what is pleasing in His sight.
As we give the Lord Jesus complete control, His incredible love will fill our heart in such a way that we will see our previous vanity and pride as sins that crucify our Lord afresh and put Him to an open shame. We will have a higher purpose as daughters of God. His approval is all we desire. As we submit to Him, revealing His loving principles of modesty and simplicity, He will be able to use us in a more powerful way in His holy service. Our dress will not contradict our profession, but will be in harmony with and give credibility to our witness. As we realize our inestimable value to our Savior, our sense of worth, uniqueness and specialness in His eyes will far outweigh the cheap thrill of any vain attention we may have sought in the past.
Dear sister in Christ, are you willing to join this modesty movement for God's glory, to support our brothers in Christ, and be a humble servant and holy witness to other sisters? If so, we invite you to print this open letter and circulate it among your Seventh-day Adventist friends.
We are encouraged as we see the incredible response to this message all over the world. This web site that shares the message of modesty has been visited by over 8,000 individuals in just 4 months, from 114 countries of the world (including the Vatican) and every state in United States. The Holy Spirit is touching hearts and lives, and drawing His daughters closer to Him. Won't you join us in sharing this loving message of modesty. Please pray for us as we are praying for you.
In Christian and sisterly love,
Linda KirkGwen Shorter & Yolanda Palmer (formerly known as Ullanda Innocent)
printable copy good for all other churches

Survey of Christian Men on Women's Clothing



Source

Updated August 6, 2008 (first published May 1, 2007) [This article is a portion of a chapter from the book, “Dressing from the Lord,” which is available from Way of Life Literature. It can be ordered via the online catalog or by phone or e-mail (or call 866-295-4143)]
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I sent out a notice to the Fundamental Baptist Information Service e-mail list and asked the following question of the men on the list who are members of fundamentalist and independent Baptist churches:

“In your opinion, which of the following items of female dress cause a real potential for lust?”
short skirts, tight skirts, slit skirts, long skirts with slits to the knees, sleeveless blouses, low cut blouses and dresses, tight blouses, sheer blouses, T-shirts, V-neck dresses, form-fitting jeans, looser-fitting pants, shorts, and one piece bathing suits.

My objective in this is to help girls and women in strong Bible-believing churches to understand how men think, not only men in the world or men in churches in general but men in the very churches that they attend.

I received a flood of response to this survey. In just one day I received well over 100 responses from men ages 24 to 74 and from many parts of the world, and that was on a weekend, and they are still coming in a week and a half later. This tells me that there is a readiness on the part of men to let women understand how they see this issue.

As you will see, the responses were very earnest. The men are discouraged that lust is such a powerful temptation in their lives, and they admitted that it is so. Some of the men literally begged me to tell the women that their manner of dress is important and that they need to understand how men look at things.

One man wrote: “Thank you for this request. This area is the greatest challenge in my life -- in all honesty to a brother-in-the-Blood.”

The following was also typical:
“I have been saved for about eight years and the lust issue is huge for me and for all men. ... I need God every day to help me stay away from lust. Short Skirts, tight blouses, slit dresses are all over. You can't look at billboards, grocery store waiting line magazine racks, Internet advertisements, walking in the park, or any store. You get my point; it's everywhere. ... I have to pray everyday for God to keep lust out of my way. I wish I was born into a good Bible believing church and was brought up to stay away from lustful sin. To answer your question it would have to be anything short or tight on a woman. I look forward to the cold winters up north when women cover everything up.”

Another man said:

“That our society drenches every inch of media in sexually explicit advertising is a source of much temptation, sadness and concern for this man. Facing that sort of issue with Christian sisters in a church setting is most grievous.”

Most of the men observed that their response to a woman's immodest dress depends on their spiritual condition and acknowledged that they have a responsibility before God not to lust after women regardless of how they are dressed.

For example, one man said: “Men are sight oriented creatures. The Lord has so equipped men to be sexually stimulated visually. ... Men must govern their own hearts.”

Another man said: “My response to immodesty is often dependent on the environment, situation and my spiritual defense mechanism at a particular moment. If I have had a wonderful prayer time and clothed myself with all the spiritual armor, I am usually just about OK for anything. But more often then I would like it, I am not prepared or I am in a vulnerable situation; then I better run for my dear life (Gen. 39:12).”

Another man said: “While I feel that the Lord has helped me overcome in this area [of not lusting after women], the enemy knows my weakness and still attacks me. In my opinion, the key to overcoming lust are: 1) Obey God's Word, especially the command to abstain from the very appearance of evil; and 2) don't put yourself in situations where you will encounter women scantily dressed (i.e. the beach, certain television programs, etc.). Since we are in the world, I know that there is no way to completely avoid the things that tempt us, but if we will stay true to the Word of God and allow Him to help us, we can be ‘more than conquerors through Him who loved us' (Romans 8:37).”

Many of the men also observed that this is a heart issue. The following statement by a pastor is typical of those made by many others:

“I believe the most important issue in female modesty is the issue of a chaste heart. If the woman desires to please her Saviour and honor her brother in Christ, there is seldom an issue with the clothing she wears. Mandating modest clothing without focusing on creating a chaste heart does little good. If the woman wears ‘modest' clothing but is sensual in the way she walks or conducts herself, it will invariably cause a man to lust. I don't need to see skin to cause me to lust. We men have pretty good imaginations.”

As to the individual items of dress, the men made the following points:

First of all, many of the men replied that all of the aforementioned female dress styles hold a real potential for lust. The following two statements were typical:

“I believe that ALL you had listed cause a ‘potential' for lust.”

“I think that ALL of the listed items can cause lust. The bottom line for me is that anything that is form fitting, exposing, sheer, or clinging to a woman is immodest and can cause men to lust.”

Comments on the specific items of apparel fell along the following lines:

SHORT SKIRTS AND SHORT DRESSES AND SHORTS hold a very serious potential for lust for men. One man said, “The higher up on a woman's leg, the more lustful/tempting it becomes.”

TIGHT CLOTHING is at least as much of a potential problem for men as skimpy clothing. Most of the men indicated that TIGHT SKIRTS AND TIGHT BLOUSES AND FORM-FITTING JEANS AND ONE-PIECE BATHING SUITS hold a “VERY great potential” for lust. One man said tight skirts are “very inviting and a potential for lust.” Another said of tight clothing, “You don't even need to see skin; they provide all the curves.” Another said: “I would say the number one problem is any garment that is form fitting, be it jeans, pants, skirt, dress, shirt, whatever. Anything that is tight, no matter how long it is, leaves nothing to the imagination, and that defeats the whole purpose of covering the skin in the first place!” Another said: “One thing I see in my church is tight clothing. Oh, it may very well be covering but it is revealing the shape in a woman. This can be even more tantalizing to a man.” Another wrote: “The point is that it is not the type of clothing that can trip a man up, rather it is the amount and the level of cling to the body.” One man said that since one-piece bathing suits are “skin tight” he does “not think any red blooded normal man could look purely on a woman attired like this.” Some of the men also mentioned LOW-RIDING JEANS as a cause for serious concern, because not only do they totally emphasize the woman's figure but they are also suggestive of a bare midriff even if covered with a T-shirt. The T-shirt in such a case is invariably tight, of course.

SLIT SKIRTS AND SLIT DRESSES are a problem for many men. One man answered the question of whether slit skirts are a real potential for lust with the reply, “Oh! Yes.” One man said that slit skirts “tempt your imagination.” Another called the slit skirt the “peek-a-boo” skirt, while another said the slit is “designed to catch the eye.” A pastor said, “They are a teasing game, catching the attention of a guy's eyes with the promise of more; it is an enticement to sin.” One man said: “My belief is that any slit (whether it be a long, medium, or short skirt) provides a flash of skin that is enticing to the eye and the flesh of men. It is the ‘forbidden fruit,' so to speak, that is covered and when the woman sits or moves just right, that part of the leg is exposed and it is all a man needs to think about what he just saw or what else he could see.” Another man said: “I know that many women cannot begin to understand how that a skirt or dress that is 2 inches off the floor in length, but has a long slit anywhere on it, front, back or side, can cause a man to lust. They think that we are pathetic, and unfortunately I have to agree.” Another man said: “For me personally, slits draw my eyes where they shouldn't be drawn. If anyone knows anything about advertising, he would know that advertisers use lines to draw people's eyes where they want (company logo, name, whatever). Slits in skirts do exactly the same thing.” Another observed, “If the slit is there because the dress or skirt is too tight, why not wear a loose skirt?”

SHEER BLOUSES OR DRESSES are a problem for the vast majority of men. One man said, “I see a lot of Christian women wearing sun dresses in the summer because they are cool. They are also revealing and alluring. Most summer clothes are thin so as to be more comfortable. But you let that woman wearing these clothes stand with a light source behind her (such as the sun) and there is nothing left to the imagination. You can see her form in every detail and it will get men frothing at the mouth, lusting after that woman. Is it the man's fault for not controlling his flesh and desires even though it is there for him to see? Absolutely! But it is equally the woman's fault for not having enough godliness about her to dress modestly in the first place.”

Even LOOSER-FITTING FEMALE PANTS , while not as much of a problem as form-fitting jeans, hold a potential problem for many men. One man said, “While it is true that some things on your list will draw your attention quicker and cause you to look longer, even ‘looser-fitting pants' direct a man's gaze to the area of the hips.” Another wrote: “A few years ago, I preached a message about standards (including music, dress, and others). I asked for a show of hands as to how many men would admit their eyes were drawn to a woman's crotch when she wore pants instead of a skirt or dress. More than two dozen hands went up (and who knows how many more were hesitant to make the public confession with their wives right next to them?). The group included many of the finest Christians I know, some of whom are ordained ministers and missionaries.” Many men mentioned the unisex aspect of looser pants on women.

As for V-NECK DRESSES , most men said they are not a problem as long as the V is shallow. A few said the V-neck itself, even if not too low, can be a problem because it acts like an arrow pointing to a place where their eyes should not roam.

As for SLEEVELESS BLOUSES , many of the men mentioned that they can be a problem because they can allow a man to see something he should not see and “the potential for peeking is there.” A pastor commented, “There is too much of an opportunity for parts of a woman's anatomy to inadvertently show through to the public that are only to be revealed to her husband in private.” One man said: “One word about sleeveless dresses or tops. When the woman has her arm raised or in a certain position, the sleeve hole will open in just a way that you can see inside her shirt and see the woman's underwear or even more. No woman, much less a Christian woman, should ever wear clothing that reveals her body!”

When it comes to T-SHIRTS on females, the men said they are not a problem unless they are tight or expose the midriff or you can see through them or they have writings/logos/pictures at the breast level. One pastor said: “It depends on the fit, cut, thickness of the material and color. A modest T-shirt would be loose fitting, non-see-through, of a thick enough material to truly be modest. Unfortunately very few T-shirts fit these qualifications.” One man said: “My wife sews attractive vests that she and our daughter wear over T-shirts. It's a way of using clever camouflage to be modest.” One woman mentioned another problem with T-shirts: “I have a problem with smart-alecky T-shirts. I have a hard time finding T-shirts for my daughter sometimes, not so much from a tightness standpoint, but they have inappropriate sayings on them that encourage a worldly attitude, rebellion against parents, etc.”

CONSIDER SOME EXCERPTS FROM THE COMMENTS MADE BY THE MEN:

“I do believe most women just do not know how men think. Period. I believe that there is a whole segment, group, class of women, who, if they really understood men, would change their dress code, because they do want to please God. Not all women, by far, but some would. They just need to understand it's not just a list of do's and don'ts set forth to force them in to ‘frumpiness,' but a desire of godly men to gain their cooperation in helping them NOT lust, and to not be stumbling blocks, because they just want to please God .”

“MANY WOMEN, USUALLY YOUNGER, DRESS TO ATTRACT MEN AND DO NOT KNOW HOW DANGEROUS IT TRULY CAN BE FOR THEM. … I am a retired criminal investigator and worked criminal work for 17 1/2 years of my career. I think many homicides and serious physical assaults in addition to the obvious sex crimes are brought about by immodest dress and any born again Christian woman should never dress as such. A sexual predator can be turned on and be as dangerous as a hand grenade with the pin pulled by a women that has the one turn on factor for his mind (which is a variable with such criminals) which could be any of the listed ways of dressing.”

“I am glad you are addressing this issue. This issue along with worldly music has come into fundamental churches like a tidal wave. Thank you for being a watchman!”

“I have to admit some of the dresses that are worn even though the dress hits the floor, and some of the blouses, even though it goes all the way to the neck, are very form fitting. I don't think that women are out to stumble the men of the church, and nor am I saying that women need to walk around in sacks. There are sometimes when a lady is doing a special music or something that I have to look away that I may not stumble. In summation I think that all of the clothing you have listed that is form fitting and shows the curves of a woman is a real potential for lust.”

“I am a 24-year-old, unmarried man. I am very glad that you are asking us men about this issue, because it has been my experience that women truly do not understand the things that can run through a man's head when he sees an immodestly-dressed woman. For a God-fearing man, this is a true concern. Fashionable clothing is not, as far as I can tell, designed by God-fearing Christians with any interest in modesty. Sex sells, and sexy clothing sells. … I have talked to women I know about the dress issue and told them that when they wear certain things, no matter how ‘covered up' they may be, the fit of the clothing still makes a huge difference. Some women have told me that it is a man's fault for having such a dirty mind or for letting it get to a point where lust becomes a problem, but the fact is men seem specifically prone to these types of thoughts. In North American culture we are inundated with sex. Everywhere we look there is a provocatively dressed (or practically undressed) woman selling something, and I think that women (and men) need to seriously consider the way they dress and how it affects members of the opposite sex. The last place I want to have to worry about lust is in my church. AS CHRISTIANS, IT IS NOT OUR PLACE TO SAY, ‘WELL, I JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY MEN CAN'T LOOK AT ME DRESSED LIKE THIS AND NOT BATTLE WITH LUSTING THOUGHTS.' INSTEAD, WE NEED TO TAKE IT FOR TRUTH WHEN A PERSON OF THE OPPOSITE SEX INFORMS US THAT OUR DRESS IS CAUSING PROBLEMS FOR THEM, AND DO WHAT WE NEED TO DO TO PROTECT OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS FROM STUMBLING.”

“I am 64 years old now and walking with the Lord Jesus through life. Earlier in my life I was a womanizer as a single man for a long time. MY FEELINGS OF WOMEN DRESSING IMMODESTLY ARE STRONG, AS I KNOW THE SADNESS THAT INFIDELITY, LUSTFUL SIN AND ADULTERY BRING ABOUT TO MANY, AND IMMODEST DRESS IS A PRECURSOR TO THE AFOREMENTIONED ACTIVITIES.”

“All men are aroused in one way or the other over revealed flesh. That is exactly why these clothes are made this way. I know some men are more easily aroused than others but normally any man is naturally inclined (by our sinful nature) to take notice of a woman wearing any garment that is revealing flesh. I THINK IT IS A SHAME TO COME TO CHURCH AFTER A WEEK IN THIS EVIL WORLD AND WANT TO ENJOY A SERVICE OF WORSHIP AND PRAISE TO THE LORD AND FELLOWSHIP AMONG SEPARATED PEOPLE AND SEE WOMEN DRESSING LIKE THE WORLD AND WHEN YOU CONFRONT THEM ABOUT THIS YOU ALWAYS GET THE SAME OLD LINE ‘WELL IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT, YOU'VE GOT THE PROBLEM.' Well, I always wonder why a woman who loves the Lord and wants to please the Lord would want to dress like the world and have men looking at her in a carnal way. When I see a woman in a store in town and she is dressed a certain conservative way, I always think, ‘I bet she is a Christian.' IT SAYS A LOT ABOUT THE CHARACTER OF A WOMAN WHEN SHE SHUNS THE STYLES OF THIS WORLD AND WALKS IN SUCH A WAY THAT SHE WANTS TO LET PEOPLE KNOW THAT SHE IS DIFFERENT.”

“One of the sad things I observe in church is the control that the fashion world has over women and the lack of communication between man and wife. I have been saved for 45 years come August and have been in an independent Baptist Church for 40 years. … I see women and teenagers in our church and have to look away or up so as not to be seen looking at how they are dressed. Modesty seems to be an archaic word to many and it grieves me.”

“I am 55 years old and I am BROKENHEARTED over the dress of a great number of females in the churches I visit. Oh, if I could only talk to moms and dads. I have never been married but lived in the world many years. I beg you, preacher, tell them that wearing ANYTHING that draws attention to a particular area, accentuating ANY form or flesh, is a great distraction for me. Please, stop wearing TIGHT clothing, exposing flesh, and wearing articles of clothing with writing on them. How many times have I had to turn my eyes away, or worry, did I look too long, did somebody notice me looking? I wish I could talk to a group of women and just tell them, because I know many don't really realize what a distraction it is. [Surely] they don't want the brethren to sin. I can't believe how some of these young girls dress. Don't they know the things we cherish, we must protect. I don't care about peer pressure; clothing is an opportunity to share your faith when people see a difference. Remember that man and (wo)man looks at the outward appearance. We have to be separated and yes a ‘PECULIAR' people. Men are tempted and aroused by the things they SEE. David was tempted when he SAW Bathsheba; Herod was tempted when he SAW Salome dance; when Samson ‘saw a women in Timnath,' he wanted her because her looks ‘pleased' him.”

“I travel a bit, and as I'm walking through a crowded airport looking around, I tend more to notice things like short skirts, skirts or dresses with slits that come to or above the knee, low-cut blouses or dresses, sheer blouses, or tight-fitting anything. Clothing that accentuates or draws attention to one part of the body seems more noticeable to me. I believe that clothing absolutely can draw attention to the woman's body and that once attention is there, the potential, perhaps even likelihood, for lust isn't far behind.”

“From what I see in the way many woman and teens dress, Christians included, many act like they are ‘for sale' or are very ignorant of what they are doing to their image. That's the way I see things on this issue.”

“The more skin I see, the more I have to force myself to look away from that individual. It brings back the past [before I was saved]. It seems like some women flaunt their bodies. What they are saying by their clothes, ‘Don't look at my face, look at my body!' … I am all for modesty and I wish all churches had a dress code. Not just in church but also out of church. Skin is a distraction! More skin; more sin.”

“I agree with you about the lack of understanding from most women about the male weakness in the area of lust. The average Christian woman today seems to think, ‘If you've got it, flaunt it.'

“Thanks so much for addressing this issue. I am a Christian who has been doing street ministry for many years, and full time now for 20 years. I am also a single dad (wife died of cancer almost 9 years ago) of four sons, three under 18. I have concentrated on work in the public housing areas. To say I have seen it all would be an under statement. ONE OF THE SADDEST THINGS AND HARDEST TO FIGHT AGAINST HAS BEEN THE FACT THAT THE ‘STREET' AND THE CHURCH NOW SEEM TO BE EQUAL IN THEIR APPROACH TO FEMALE SEXUALITY AND ITS EXPRESSION. THERE SEEMS TO BE NO BOTTOM TO THE LEVEL THAT MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH ARE WILLING TO ALLOW IN THE WAY OF WHAT CAN BE WORN TO CHURCH AND CHURCH FUNCTIONS. As a man who is deeply concerned that my sons do not get exposed to this type of thing I find myself upset a lot about what goes on. It is obvious that many of these girls are not only NOT taught to be modest, but their parents have bought them the clothes that they wear to flaunt their sexuality in. Short skirts, low cut blouses, halter tops, tiny two-piece bathing suits, and bathing suits with high cut in back seem to prevail in church activities. ... To go to the heart of the issue I would have to say that there appears to be many church men who revel in their daughters' budding sexuality.”

“All of those items of female dress cause a real potential for lust. WHY SHOULD A MAN HAVE TO BATTLE WITH LUST DURING A CHURCH SERVICE WHEN IT IS HARD ENOUGH JUST TO WALK IN A WORLD FULL OF SENSUALITY? IF WOMEN ONLY KNEW THE SNARE OF TEMPTATION THAT IS SET BEFORE OUR EYES. Even if it is a fraction of a second and a man turns his head away, the battle can still rage in the mind just from a mere glimpse. I honestly believe that many of them know exactly what they are doing. Why else would they dress like the rebellious world?”

“It seems the last few years as the churches have grown more liberal and the women show more skin, I HAVE TO FIGHT HARDER TO KEEP MY MIND STRAIGHT. I am happily married. I do not and will not stray. … I wish women could just take the Bible for what it says. Yes, the Lord made us men this way. … I think the most beautiful thing God created on this earth is a woman, and Satan knows it to. That is just the way I feel.”

"One woman in particular, who is very attractive (even my wife says so), USED to dress very stylish, in expensive, designer clothes that were hip, cool, young, modern, but seemed clueless as to the biblical boundaries she was overstepping. After our pastor preached on the subject of modesty, my wife and I noticed - IMMEDIATELY - that this lady's wardrobe changed completely. It was like the light went on and she responded with humility and gratitude for the message. Now, she still looks stylish, but is much more conservative, appropriate, and modest in her attire. It's truly a relief. Now when we see her coming, we're actually glad to see her because we know she's not going to make us feel uncomfortable because of her sexy-ish clothes.”

“Almost all of the styles you listed serve to in some way accentuate, reveal, or tantalize the senses of men. Men are very liable to visual temptation. Even Job realized that (Job 31:1). The Psalmist did, too (Psa. 101:3). The ladies need to know that there is a need to have a heart of modesty that will give them the desire to strengthen and honor their brothers in Christ. If that happens, modesty will be a matter of heart and dress, and not simply a legalistic issue.”

“I am a red blooded, fully functional, American man, who desires to have his thoughts and words be acceptable to God. I have been happily married for 28 years. THE BIBLICAL ISSUE OF MODESTY IS BEST UNDERSTOOD BY AN UNDERSTANDING OF DEFRAUDING. No one should take any action whereby he causes desires to be raised in another that cannot be righteously satisfied. ... That our society drenches every inch of media in sexually explicit advertising is a source of much temptation, sadness and concern for this man. Facing that sort of issue with Christian sisters in a church setting is most grievous. I believe the phrase ‘long, loose and lots of it' should be the motto of Christian women's apparel. ... Before knowing her husband, my bride had no idea of how men think, or how easily stimulated they are. I hope my candor may be of some value to Christian sisters who are trying to live holy lives. I try to tell young ladies that I can influence for good, that the kind of fish you catch depends on what you bait your hook with, and where you cast your line. If you can't catch a man in church with a modest dress on, you don't want him anyway!”

“You are absolutely right about women not seeing these dangers. THEY CAN DEMAND BIBLE VERSES TO BACK UP THE ASSERTION THAT CERTAIN CLOTHES CAUSE LUST ALL DAY LONG, BUT THE TRUTH IS THAT IF THESE CLOTHES CAUSE MEN TO LUST, THEY ARE PARTICIPATING IN THE PROBLEM whether there are specific Scriptures to exclude every piece of clothing that designers can conceive.”

“Personally, I see women (including independent Baptist church-goers and staff) causing potential for lust in all the clothing you listed. The point is that it is not the type of clothing that can trip a man up; rather it is the amount and the level of cling to the body. … when I see women dressing as I described above, I can't avoid wondering why they are ‘advertising' their flesh. Is it because they are lacking in Christian character?”

“My wife was taught as a little girl that all attention should be drawn to her face, and that rule has been a great guideline.”

“It is the duty of every husband to make sure his wife is properly dressed, not only for Church but all the time. … I have been blessed with a modest wife. Men are weak in the area of sex and need ‘the handbrake' of a modest woman to keep him on track and his thoughts in line.”

“I am certainly not proud to have to say that all of the above items of clothing on women cause a real potential for lust, but for me it is the case. OF ALL OF MY CLOSE BROTHERS IN THE LORD WHOM I HAVE TALKED WITH ON THIS SUBJECT OVER TIME, ALL ARE IN AGREEMENT THAT THEY STRUGGLE WITH LUST; and it is so few women, at least where I am, that dress modestly or even have a single clue that there is a Biblical instruction for them to do so. I am so thankful for my Pastor's wife (they are new here and have planted a new Church in my city) and her decision to dress modestly.”

“Maybe I just have a problem with lust, but I know my own heart. There is no godly, good reason that I should ever see from ‘the neck to the knees' of any woman other than my wife.”

“IT IS AMAZING TO ME THAT HUSBANDS, FATHERS, ETC., WOULD ALLOW THEIR WOMEN OUT IN PUBLIC WEARING SOME OF THE THINGS WOMEN WEAR. Have they no idea the thoughts of other men? Shame on them.”

“There is a term ‘not leaving anything to the imagination.' Our Father knows, as does any man, that men do not need any encouragement at all, let alone a less than reverent dress style. The fleshly man is full of imagination. … I cannot think of even one of the styles listed that are appropriate for women. Unfortunately, I see them in churches and ‘Christian Schools' every day.”

“Blessings to you for writing on this subject. There is nothing I detest more than women dressed immodestly anywhere, but most especially in church. This is one more way for Satan to take men's minds off of the worship of their Heavenly Father! Women should not wear anything which exposes or draws a man's attention to [those] areas [that are] conducive to male lust. OH HOW I WISH MODEST DRESSING WOULD COME BACK INTO STYLE -- THAT BOTH MEN AND WOMEN WOULD HAVE MORE SELF RESPECT IN GENERAL, AND PARTICULARLY MORE RESPECT OF THE LORD'S HOUSE.”

“Whatever standard the parent lives before and requires of his/her children, the easier it will be for the child to maintain that standard. Usually the child never has higher standards than the parent. If we expect lawyers, ambassadors, etc. to look respectful and above the normal standard, shouldn't Christians do the same?”

“If such things draw the attention of normal, godly, Christian men, by definition they are immodest, no matter what the women think.”

“When my wife and I were first married, she wore pants. I didn't tell her to stop, although she would have if I told her to. She would have quit wearing pants but she would have resented me for telling her to do so. She had to quit wearing them because she was convicted by the Holy Spirit and God's Word. She was convicted and she quit wearing pants. In fact, she dresses so modestly that people stare at her because she dresses differently and not because she's showing something off. I am proud of her stance as a Christian because she dresses this way in obedience to the Word of God and not only in obedience to me.”

“I don't know how women can ‘not' know the impact their dress has on men. In fact I believe they do (more than they say or let on). One thing I see in my church is tight clothing. Oh, it may very well be covering but it is revealing the shape in a woman. This can be even more tantalizing to a man. I once was at a conference and the preacher asked a very strong Christian couple (wife modestly dressed) who do you dress for (question to the wife) and she said her husband. The preacher and the congregation gave their amens. I thought about that answer and it was an answer I would have wanted my wife to give until to a few years before. Now she knows I would want her to dress for the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. I have the potential to be carnal, and in the flesh and to want to see her in less modest apparel. That would never be the case with our Lord. Thus I told her to dress for Jesus Christ.”

“As I was not saved until I was an adult, I was like most men; I enjoyed the sight of the female form. Without Christ, I had no reason not to indulge my lusts when I looked at immodestly dressed women. There is no shortage of flesh in our culture; the movies, TV, music videos, internet, etc., all promote it. After I was saved, God began to show me through his word to flee youthful lusts and to be like Job who made a covenant with his eyes not to look upon a maid. You listed several types of clothing and asked which ones were areas of temptation. My answer would be ‘all of them!' As my wife and I began to grow in the Lord, I made the comment to her that IF THE AVERAGE WOMAN KNEW HOW THE AVERAGE MAN THINKS IT WOULD CAUSE HER TO DRESS A LOT DIFFERENTLY. I don't think women realize just how much they expose themselves by the style of the clothes they wear (or don't wear, as the case may be).”

“The stark difference between Biblical modesty and femininity was illustrated one night as another preacher and I, along with our wives and families, were on the street in a large city near our home preaching and passing out gospel tracts during a music festival. Two young women, who were dressed very provocatively, walked by and received the cat-calls and lewd remarks of a couple of young guys. The boys then turned and saw my wife standing there (she is 32), dressed in a modest skirt and top and said, ‘Oh, sorry ma'am!' Ladies need to understand, that how they are dressed says a lot about who they are, and determines to some extent how they will be treated. Scripture backs this up (Proverbs 7, Genesis 38:15-16).”

“PASTORS NEED TO DEAL WITH THIS ISSUE AS MORE THAN JUST A ‘WHEN YOU COME TO CHURCH' THING. I believe we have created a double standard in our independent Baptist churches in that the only time dress is dealt with is when people are taught that they ought to come to church ‘dressed right,' but not many deal with the fact that believers are to glorify God in all things, everyday, including how we dress. Christian women have a responsibility before the Lord to be obedient to the Bible's admonitions concerning dress. They also have a responsibility to their brothers in the Lord, not to cast a stumbling block before them in the way that they dress.”

“I became a born again believer in Jesus Christ when I was 34. Our family left the Methodist church and switched to a large popular Southern Baptist Church. We eventually left the Southern Baptist Church, and one of the biggest reasons is because women dressed so immodestly, I felt I was in a lingerie show. I would have to walk the halls of the church with my head hung to avoid the display of flesh. ... We became quickly disappointed that the church often undermined our own family's standards. ... Two years ago, our family finally switched to a Fundamental Independent Bible believing Baptist church and we really love serving the Lord and being with believers of like precious faith and with standards. ... I believe if godly women understood the effect they can have on a godly man they would dress differently. I have daughters and I constantly have to instruct them on what men think of immodestly dressed women and correct their dress.”

“Thank you for addressing this serious problem. I agree that most Christian women do not seem to understand how that the way they dress affects men. Unfortunately, some do understand and they enjoy dressing in a way that attracts the attention of men. ... We are living in the last part of the last days. Demon influence and demon possession is rampant. Evil triumphs when the church does nothing. ONE SIGN OF DEMON ACTIVITY IS NUDITY AND LEWD DRESS. MEN RESPOND BY SIGHT. Sight arouses their sexual drive. Anything that exposes highlights or outlines the torso and thigh is lustful dress. The Word of God is clear that a man who lusts after a woman is guilty of adultery along with her. I told my people last Sunday that if the women dress inappropriately and go to town, causing four men to look and lust, they will be held accountable for participating in committing adultery.”

“As a man, a Christian, and a pastor, I believe modesty is perhaps the most important issue in dress, whether among the church or otherwise, because, I'M TELLING YOU, MEN NOTICE, MEN LOOK, AND MEN LUST, EVEN THE GOOD ONES. I know many women say, ‘Well, that's their problem, not mine!' But while we men will answer for our lust, the ladies will answer for doing something that causes another to fall into sin. Ladies, understand, your dress DOES effect us, and as such, you should prayerful consider what you wear. Men are created in such a way as to be stimulated by sight--so when we see a lady, pretty, or sometimes not, we are stimulated by the sight of their flesh. It's just the way we are.”

“Ladies, please, dress with modesty. DRESS AS YOU WOULD IF JESUS WERE SITTING NEXT TO YOU. And He is, by the way, both because the Christian is indwelt by the Holy Spirit and because He has promised to be there when two or three are gathered together in His name. Jesus is sitting next to you!”

“I am a member of a fundamental church and am sad to say that many of these worldly ways are finding their way into our church. MAY GOD SEND HIS HOLY SPIRIT TO MOVE IN OUR MIDST SO THAT A REVIVAL WOULD BREAK FORTH.”

[This article is a portion of the chapter from the book, “Dressing from the Lord,” which is available from Way of Life Literature. It can be ordered via the online catalog or by phone or e-mail (or call 866-295-4143)]



The Modern Modesty Question

 

By Anna Wood,
Copyright © The Cross Is All @

http://annawood.wordpress.com

1 Timothy 2: 9, 10,  “likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire,  but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.” 
Luke 6: 46, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”
John 14: 15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
Modesty has fallen out of style because the church has married the world. Being modest in our lives and in our clothing is a commandment. Dare we tell God that we love Him if we aren't willing to obey Him in all things, including in the way we dress? We are God's people, the bride of Christ. We are to be holy–that is, set apart unto God. Let's live like it.
Ladies, men are vision driven. We have a responsibility to help our brothers to live a holy life. We must not cause them to stumble by our words, by our actions, by our deeds or by our clothing.
I've heard young women say that if they were wearing a bikini and a guy lusted after them, it was his problem and his alone. These young ladies suggested that guys should simply avert their eyes when confronted with their near-nakedness. Yes, men have to take responsibility for their actions and if they give into lust, God holds them accountable. However, if you as a woman have dressed in such a way as to cause a man to lust, God will hold you accountable, also. Luke 17: 1, 2 says, “Then he said unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than he should offend one of these little ones.” God takes our responsibilities as His children seriously. We ought to, also. As Christian women, we have got to realize what our immodesty does to guys:  we can cause our brothers in Christ to stumble; by doing so, we  mar our witness and blaspheme God's holy name.
I've seen my sons have to repeatedly advert their eyes while standing among the ladies at church. This ought not to be. Women have a responsibility to men. These men who might struggle when confronted with your improper dress, they are your brothers in Christ. God will not take it lightly if you cause them to sin. There are many, many men out there like my sons who want to go to church and be free from things that will tempt them so that they can be free to simply worship the Lord. Help them.
We do not belong to ourselves, we belong to God. It is God alone that we must please. I Corinthians 6: 20 says, “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” Everything about our lives should glorify our Savior. A woman's clothes ought to frame her face and not her body. Ladies, our clothing should show that we are women of God rather than suggest that we are on display for men to enjoy. It is a sin for your clothing to shout, “Look at me!”.
Immodesty is a sin. Men are looking at you and they are undressing you with their eyes. Men are feasting on you with their eyes. They are sinning because of you. You are partakers in their sin because you are setting them up for it. God will hold you responsible. If you dress in such a way that men will lust after you–it is your fault and your problem when they lust. If your clothes show off your belly, your hips, your breasts (by clinging to them or displaying them), it doesn't shout, “I'm a Christian. I'm a godly woman.” It shouts, “I'm on display. Look at me! Enjoy what you see!”
I know this sounds harsh, ladies, but someone has got to say it. I speak out because I love you. I care for your souls. I care what you are doing to the holy name of God. I care that men can't come to worship their Lord without fearing that their sisters in Christ will dress in such a way that they have to avert their eyes. I care that the witness that you are giving to the lost says, “My God doesn't have any standards. Just come to Him and you can do what you want.” God has standards so high that, were it not for the blood of Christ and the grace of God none of us would be able to stand before Him. Don't abuse Him. Don't prostitute yourselves with the world. Don't sin.
Please think about this: what kind of example do you want to be? If you desire to be known as a woman of God then don't dress like a harlot. Think about your daughters. What kind of example are you being to them? And, what are you allowing them to wear? Are men, young and old, undressing them with their eyes? Does that not bother you? Does it not break your heart that men are stumbling because of what you allow your daughters to wear?
It's not too late to change. I beg you, go through your closet and drawers. Get rid of anything that is sheer, tight, revealing, cut too low or cut too high. Don't give them away so as to cause someone else to stumble, throw them away.
Modesty begins in the heart. A modest woman will exhibit qualities such as gentleness and humility (Colossians 3: 12). She will not strive to be “front and center” and gather attention for herself. Her clothing, like everything about her, will point to God.




History of Women's Dress in Pictures

 
History of Women's Dress in Pictures
The History of Pants on Women/The American Costume
As we consider the history of women's dress, and the development of pants on women, we go back to a time when Ellen White was still living. Consider the prevailing fashions of the day:
Prevailing fashions of 1850s and 1860s included corsets, dragging skirts, and hoops. These dresses were unhealthful and impractical.
"We do not think it in accordance with our faith to dress in the American costume, to wear hoops, or to go to an extreme in wearing long dresses which sweep the sidewalks and streets. If women would wear their dresses so as to clear the filth of the streets an inch or two, their dresses would be modest, and they could be kept clean much more easily, and would wear longer. Such a dress would be in accordance with our faith." {1T 458.2}
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It was in the 1850's when Elizabeth Smith Miller first put on a "short" skirt over pantaloons, launching a revolt to free women from their "clothes prison." Her cousin was Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who, along with her friend Amelia Bloomer, also wore similar attire. This particular style, which consisted of pants under a dress went through various changes, and was eventually dubbed the American Costume.
In May 1851 Amelia Bloomer introduced Susan B. Anthony, a spiritualist, to Elizabeth Cady Stanton as depicted in these life-sized bronze figures. These ladies were all women's rights advocates.
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Ellen White spoke out against the "American Costume" as well as the rebellious spirit of the women's rights advocates, which was incompatible with true Seventh-day Adventist Christian women.
"Those who feel called out to join the movement in favor of woman's rights and the so-called dress reform might as well sever all connection with the third angel's message. The spirit which attends the one cannot be in harmony with the other." {1T 457.3}
(Photo is Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a women's rights leader and advocate of the American Costume)
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http://www.remnantraiment.com/images/amelia.jpgThe message was clear that this style of dress was not approved by the Lord:
"God would not have His people adopt the so-called reform dress [American Costume]. It is immodest apparel, wholly unfitted for the modest, humble followers of Christ." {1T 457.1}
"The Scriptures are plain upon the relations and rights of men and women. Spiritualists have, to quite an extent, adopted this singular mode of dress [American Costume]. Seventh-day Adventists, who believe in the restoration of the gifts, are often branded as spiritualists. Let them adopt this costume, and their influence is dead. The people would place them on a level with spiritualists and would refuse to listen to them." {1T 457.3}
(Pictures: Statue and cartoon of Amelia Bloomer)
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Ellen White spoke out against the prevailing fashions as well as against the American Costume, but it was not because she was against dress reform. She clearly declared, "My sisters, there is need of a dress reform among us. There are many errors in the present style of female dress." {2SM 473.1} The present style [1850s-1860s] of female dress included hoops, and dragging skirts. While there were some obvious health and practical advantages to the American Costume, there were also some negative features.
At its worst, the American Costume was too masculine. This prompted Ellen White to write: "There is an increasing tendency to have women in their dress and appearance as near like the other sex as possible and to fashion their dress very much like that of men, but God pronounces it abomination." {CG 427.2} She stated that this style disregarded God's special directions to have a "plain distinction between the dress of men and women," and those who promoted it advocated doing away with that distinction. The distinction between men and women was plainly that men wore pants and women wore dresses. When more than a few inches of pants were showing, the pants became a focal point of the outfit, and the distinction was blurred. Thus, the American Costume was masculine, not only in the style of the dress, but because of the amount of the pant leg that was revealed. The short dress [American Costume] that came about to the knee and above the knee was declared to be immodest.
When the first ladies put on the "short" dress over their bloomers, the dresses came approximately to the knee. Within a short while, the dresses got shorter, until finally some were about half way from the hips to the knee. Many of the pictures we have below show the knee length dress.
(The words of Ellen G. White are enclosed in quotation marks below.)
The Dress Reform Movement in America
The American Costume - pants under an approximately knee-length dress
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(Photo on right: Dr. Lydia Sayer Hasbrouck, hydropathist, lecturer, and editor of The Sibyl: A Review of the Tastes, Errors and Fashions of Society , the official newsletter of the National Dress Reform Association (NDRA) Hasbrouck adopted the short skirt [American Costume] worn over pantaloons, the "Bloomer" dress, in 1849.)

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Now we will look at various styles of the American Costume, and see how it became increasingly masculine. The pictures were from the 1850s and 1860s.
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"This is the style and influence of the "American Costume," taught and worn by many at "Our Home," Dansville N. Y." {RH, October 8, 1867 par. 7} ["Our Home-Danville" was a secular health sanitarium.]
"They have all styles of dress here. (Our Home-Danville) Some are very becoming, if not so short. We shall get patterns from this place and I think we can get out a style of dress more healthful than we now wear and yet not be bloomer or the American costume. Our dresses according to my idea should be from four to six inches shorter than now worn [touching the ground] and should in no case reach lower than the top of the heel of the shoe and could be a little shorter even than this with all modesty. I am going to get up a style of dress on my own hook which will accord perfectly with that which has been shown me. Health demands it. Our feeble women must dispense with heavy skirts and tight waists if they value health. {5MR 380.2}
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"There is an increasing tendency to have women in their dress and appearance as near like the other sex as possible, and to fashion their dress very much like that of men, but God pronounces it abomination. . . . . The foregoing was given me as a reproof to those who are inclined to adopt a style of dress resembling that worn by men; {1T 457.2}
"I saw that God's order has been reversed, and His special directions disregarded, by those who adopt the American costume. I was referred to Deuteronomy 22:5: "The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.'" {1T 457.1}
"There is still another style of dress which is adopted by a class of so-called dress reformers [American Costume]. They imitate the opposite sex as nearly as possible. They wear the cap, pants, vest, coat, and boots, the last of which is the most sensible part of the costume. Those who adopt and advocate this style of dress carry the so-called dress reform to very objectionable lengths. Confusion will be the result." {1T 459.7}
"God would not have His people adopt the so-called reform dress [American Costume]. It is immodest apparel, wholly unfitted for the modest, humble followers of Christ." {1T 457.1}
http://www.remnantraiment.com/images/harrietaustin1.jpg"We shall never imitate Miss Dr. Austin or Mrs. Dr. York. They dress very much like men." {5MR 380.4}
(Photos: Dr. Harriet N. Austin in the American Costume of her own design, with straight trouser legs.)
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The photos above are of Dr. Mary Walker. She started out wearing the regular American Costume, but became increasingly masculine in her attire. She was proud that she was arrested several times for ‘impersonating a man' – she had taken to fully wearing men's clothing, from the top hat, wing collar and bow tie to the pants and shoes.

"God designed that there should be a plain distinction between the dress of men and women, and has considered the matter of sufficient importance to give explicit directions in regard to it; for the same dress worn by both sexes would cause confusion and great increase of crime." {1T 460.1}
"In this style of dress God's order has been reversed and His special directions disregarded. Deuteronomy 22:5: "The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.' God would not have His people adopt this style of dress. It is not modest apparel, and is not at all fitting for modest, humble women who profess to be Christ's followers. God's prohibitions are lightly regarded by all who advocate doing away with the distinction of dress between males and females. The extreme position taken by some dress reformers upon this subject cripples their influence. {1T 459.8}


(Photo to the right: Mary Tillotson, spiritualist, charter member of the National Dress Reform Association; c. 1866-1870. She first adopted a short dress [American Costume] in 1842, then shortened it 12 inches when she heard about Amelia Bloomer.

"It does not reach to the knee. I need not say that this style of dress was shown me to be too short." {RH, October 8, 1867 par. 7}
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"In wide contrast with this modest dress [the Seventh-day Adventist reform dress] is the so-called American costume, resembling very nearly the dress worn by men. It consists of a vest, pants, and a dress resembling a coat and reaching about halfway from the hip to the knee. This dress I have opposed, from what has been shown me as in harmony with the word of God; while the other I have recommended as modest, comfortable, convenient, and healthful." {1T 465.1}




The American Costume was popular in the 1850s and 1860s but lost popularity in the 1870s. In the 1890s the bicycle craze again brought back pants-like outfits into the wardrobes of some American women.
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"With the so-called dress reform there goes a spirit of levity and boldness just in keeping with the dress. Modesty and reserve seem to depart from many as they adopt that style of dress." {1T 457.4}
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“Satan is leading them on to be a proverb in the mouth of unbelievers because of their boldness, their lack of reserve and womanly modesty . {AH 52.2}

http://www.remnantraiment.com/images/bustle1.jpgIn the 1870s, after the hoops went out of style, the bustles came in. The dresses were still dragging, and still required corsets.
"We are urged by the Spirit of the Lord to bear a pointed testimony against the idolatry of dress in this age. If we are right with God, we will discard everything of a deforming character, such as paniers, bustles, unnecessary plaiting, and fashionable arrangement of the dress upon the body. " Testimonies on the Case of Elder E. P. Daniels (1890)
(Paniers were a type of bustle)
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The Dress Reform Movement in the Seventh-day Adventist Church
The SDA Reform Dress - 1865 - 1881
Now, we will look at the Seventh-day Adventist Reform Dress, advocated and worn by Ellen G. White. We will see clearly that this dress ishttp://www.remnantraiment.com/images/reform%20sisters.jpgdesigned to be feminine in style, with a longer length than the American Costume.
Very little of the pants-like undergarment was visible, so that the dress was the main feature, not the pants. It's advantage over the prevailing fashion of the very long dress is that it didn't drag in the dirt, it was looser at the waist, hanging from the shoulders, and it was plain. Thus, it was in full harmony with the 4 basic principles of dress reform that Ellen White advocated: Modesty, Simplicity, Femininity and Healthfulness.
"God would now have His people adopt the reform dress [SDA Reform Dress], not only to distinguish them from the world as His "peculiar people," but because a reform in dress is essential to physical and mental health." {1T 524.2}
"The Lord has let light shine, and in His providence a style of dress modest, healthful, and convenient [SDA Reform Dress], has been proposed and adopted by those who were conscientious to follow the light." Testimony to the Church at Battle Creek - 1872, p. 61
"While none were compelled to adopt the [SDA] reform dress, our people could and should have appreciated its advantages and accepted it as a blessing." {4T 638.5}
The length of the "American Costume" dress compared with Ellen White's SDA Reform Dress
"My views were calculated to correct the present fashion, the extreme long dress, trailing upon the ground, and also to correct the extreme short dress [American Costume], reaching about to the knees, [about 19-21 inches above the floor] which is worn by a certain class. I was shown that we should shun both extremes. By wearing the dress reaching about to the top of a woman's gaiter boot [about 9 inches from the floor] we shall escape the evils of the extreme long dress, and shall also shun the evils and notoriety of the extreme short dress [American Costume]. " {1T 464.1}
The Reform Dress Had an Approved Pattern
"Before putting on the reform dress, our sisters should obtain patterns of the pants and sack worn with it." {1T 521}
Ellen White wanted to make it clear that the SDA Reform Dress had a specific pattern. Just shortening any dress didn't qualify it as an SDA Reform Dress. It needed to be made by the approved pattern.
"Anything eight or nine inches from the floor is not the reform dress. It should be cut by an approved pattern, and fitted and made by directions from one who has experience in this style of dress." {HR, September 1, 1868 par. 18}

Ellen White wrote:
"I put on the [SDA] reformed dress September, 1865, when I visited Dansville with my sick husband. It was the same length I now wear, and I was distinctly given to understand that it was not the "American Costume." I have worn this style of dress ever since that time, excepting at meetings, in the crowded streets of villages and cities, and when visiting distant relatives. Since I commenced to write No. 11, in January, 1867, I have worn no other than the reformed dress." {RH, October 8, 1867 par. 13}
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"I put on the dress [SDA Reform Dress], in length as near as I had seen and described as I could judge. My sisters in Northern Michigan also adopted it. And when the subject of inches came up in order to secure uniformity as to length everywhere, a rule was brought and it was found that the length of our dresses ranged from eight to ten inches from the floor. Some of these were a little longer than the sample shown me, while others were a little shorter." {RH, October 8, 1867 par. 10}
"Reports have been circulated that 'Sister White wears the American costume,' and that this style of dress is generally adopted and worn by the sisters in Battle Creek. I am here reminded of the saying that 'a lie will go around the world while truth is putting on his boots.'" {1T 463.1}
(Notice how Ellen White discredited the rumor that she was wearing the American Costume, so that none would be confused in this area. The SDA Reform Dress was designed to correct the errors of the American Costume)
(Photo: Ellen G. White in God's version of the Reform Dress)
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A vision given to Ellen White in 1867, confirmed God's approval of the Reform Dress.
"But three companies of females passed before me, with their dresses as follows with respect to length:" {3SM 277.5}

"The first were of fashionable length, burdening the limbs, impeding the step, sweeping the street and gathering its filth; the evil results of which I have fully stated. This class, who were slaves to fashion, appeared feeble and languid." {3SM 278.1}
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"The dress of the second class which passed before me was in many respects as it should be. The limbs were well clad. They were free from the burdens which the tyrant Fashion had imposed upon the first class; but had gone to that extreme in the short dress [American Costume] as to disgust and prejudice good people, and destroy in a great measure their own influence. This is the style and influence of the 'American Costume,' taught and worn by many at Our Home, Dansville, New York. It does not reach to the knee. I need not say that this style of dress was shown me to be too short." {3SM 278.2}
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"A third class passed before me with cheerful countenances, and free, elastic step. Their dress was the length I have described as proper, modest and healthful. It cleared the filth of the street and sidewalk a few inches under all circumstances, such as ascending and descending steps, etc." {3SM 278.3} -- Review and Herald, October 8, 1867.
Note: While we cannot know for sure exactly what Ellen White saw in this vision as the acceptable dress to God, we do know that it cleared the ground by a few inches.
The dress pattern that was developed averaged 9 inches from the floor.
"And when the subject of inches came up in order to secure uniformity as to length everywhere, a rule was brought and it was found that the length of our dresses ranged from eight to ten inches from the floor. Some of these were a little longer than the sample shown me, while others were a little shorter." {RH, October 8, 1867 par. 10}
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The Reform Dress Laid Aside in 1881
While the approved Reform Dress received some acceptance from the Seventh-day Adventist sisters, it was not widespread, and serious difficulties developed. Around 1868 she said,
"As I travel from place to place I find that the [SDA] reform dress is not rightly represented...."
Lack of uniformity, wrong attitudes--both by those who adopted it and those who resisted it--cause many problems. Therefore, in 1881, the SDA Reform Dress was laid aside.
"The [SDA] reform dress, which was once advocated, proved a battle at every step." {SpM 91.1, 1885}
Therefore, our sisters were not encouraged to adopt this style of dress after 1881
"The Lord has not moved upon any of our sisters [after 1881] to adopt the [SDA] reform dress. The difficulties that we once had to meet are not to be brought in again. There was so much resistance among our own people that it was removed from them. It would then have proved a blessing." {5MR 405.1} 1885
"...do not again introduce the short dress and pants [SDA Reform Dress] unless you have the Word of the Lord for it." {SpM 92.2} 1895
"The Lord has not indicated that it is the duty of our sisters to go back to the [SDA] reform dress." {1MR 33.2} 1897

A Less Objectionable Style of Dress Advocated in 1881
"As our sisters would not generally accept the SDA Reform Dress as it should be worn, another, less objectionable style is now presented. It is free from needless trimmings, free from the looped-up, tied back overskirts. It consists of a plain sack or loose-fitting basque, [bodice] and skirt, the latter short enough to avoid the mud and filth of the streets. The material should be free from large plaids and figures, and plain in color. The same attention should be given to the clothing of the limbs as with the short dress [SDA Reform Dress]." {4T 640.1}
It was to be a simple, unadorned dress of modest length. But there was no specific pattern or style to follow. It was to be longer than the Reform Dress, reaching close to the ankle. The limbs were to be covered.
"The dress of our people should be made most simple. The skirt and sacque or sac [a modest bodice that covers the upper part of a woman's body, feminine jacket] I have mentioned, may be used,--not just that pattern and nothing else should be established; but a simple style, as was represented in that dress. {1MR 33.1}
"Some have supposed that the very pattern given was the pattern that all were to adopt. This is not so. But something as simple as this would be the best we could adopt under the circumstances. No one precise style has been given me as the exact rule to guide all in their dress. . . .The Lord has not indicated that it is the duty of our sisters to go back to the reform dress. Simple dresses should be worn. Try your talent, my sisters, in this essential reform." Letter 19, 1897, pp 2, 3. (To Brother J. H. Haughey, July 4, 1897.) {1MR 33.2}

Lessons From the Past

God guided Ellen White to call for a dress reform, that corrected the errors of the prevailing fashion, but also guarded against the extreme fashion of the American Costume. The Seventh-day Adventist reform dress was laid aside because of the lack of acceptance and uniformity among the Seventh-day Adventist sisters. We can learn from this experience what is acceptable to God, and what is not acceptable to Him.
By the early 1890s, the prevailing fashion was coming more into line with God's principles on dress--modesty, femininity, and healthfulness. It was a "more sensible style of dress." It didn't drag on the ground, it didn't require corsets, and it wasn't so heavy, but hung from the shoulders. Extravagance was still an issue, but God's daughters were counseled to leave off the extra trimmings, and dress with simplicity.
"But the more sensible style of dress now being adopted does not embrace the objectionable features. The fashionable part may be discarded, and should be by all who will read the Word of God. The time spent in advocating the dress reform should be devoted to the study of the Word of God." {SpM 91. 1}
The following secular source, written in 1913, describes how the unhealthful issues that Ellen White spoke against were no longer fashionable:
In the one-piece dresses now in vogue the weight is borne from the shoulders, and the hips are relieved by reducing the skirts in weight, length, and number. The skirt no longer trails upon the street. The women who, for conscientious reasons, refused to squeeze their waists, and in consequence suffered the scorn of their sex, now find themselves on the fashionable side. A thirty-http://www.remnantraiment.com/images/1890c.jpgtwo-inch waist is regarded as permissible, where formerly a twenty-inch waist was thought proper. A fashionably gowned woman of the present day can stoop to pick up a pin at her feet.--New York Independent, Oct. 23, 1913
We can understand why Ellen White made the following statement when we consider how prevailing fashion actually provided a style of dress that could be worn while still upholding God's standards.
"If the world introduce a modest, convenient, and healthful mode of dress, which is in accordance with the Bible, it will not change our relation to God or to the world to adopt such a style of dress." {CG 414.3}
In other words, Ellen White was counseling Seventh-day Adventist women that they could now wear the modest, convenient and healthful style that was currently in fashion in the late 1800s and early 1900s, as long as they kept it free from extravagance. During the late 1800s, it was much easier to find clothing that was compatible with God's principles than previously. However, worldly fashion generally has certain aspects that cannot be conscientiously followed by God's people.
We can learn from the experiences of the past that, regardless of the prevailing fashions, God wants His daughters to dress modestly, femininely, simply and healthfully. We need to reject those areas that are not in compliance, making sure we uphold God's principles.

Now we will look at the progression of fashion from 1870 to our current day
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1870
1880
1890
1900
1910
The five decades depicted above were tending toward a more healthful style of dress. No more hoops, no more dragging dresses, no more heavy weight on the hips, no more corsets.
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1920
1930
1940
1950
The next four decades made startling changes to the hemlines. Pants and tailored suits were becoming popular in the 1950's.
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1960
1970
1980
1990
Pant suits, mini skirts, bell bottoms, unisex styles became popular in the next four decades.
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Unisex style jeans in the 1970s

Here is a sample of what we see around us today.
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Where is the "plain distinction between the dress of men and women" that God designed?
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"The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God." Deuteronomy 22:5
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Is it not obvious that the line of distinction between the dress of men and women has been increasingly blurred?
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Are we willing to learn the lesson that God was trying to teach us many years ago through His prophetess?
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God's prophetess, in speaking about the American Costume, said, "There is an increasing tendency to have women in their dress and appearance as near like the other sex as possible, and to fashion their dress very much like that of men, but God pronounces it abomination." {1T 457.2}
What does God pronounce about today's fashion?
May God help us to wake up, and return to His principles as given in His inspired testimonies!





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The History of Pants on Women/The American Costume

As we consider the history of women's dress, and the development of pants on women, we go back to a time when Ellen White was still living. Consider the prevailing fashions of the day:

Prevailing fashions of 1850s and 1860s included corsets, dragging skirts, and hoops. These dresses were unhealthful and impractical.

"We do not think it in accordance with our faith to dress in the American costume, to wear hoops, or to go to an extreme in wearing long dresses which sweep the sidewalks and streets. If women would wear their dresses so as to clear the filth of the streets an inch or two, their dresses would be modest, and they could be kept clean much more easily, and would wear longer. Such a dress would be in accordance with our faith." {1T 458.2}


It was in the 1850's when Elizabeth Smith Miller first put on a "short" skirt over pantaloons, launching a revolt to free women from their "clothes prison." Her cousin was Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who, along with her friend Amelia Bloomer, also wore similar attire. This particular style, which consisted of pants under a dress went through various changes, and was eventually dubbed the American Costume.

In May 1851 Amelia Bloomer introduced Susan B. Anthony, a spiritualist, to Elizabeth Cady Stanton as depicted in these life-sized bronze figures. These ladies were all women's rights advocates.



Ellen White spoke out against the "American Costume" as well as the rebellious spirit of the women's rights advocates, which was incompatible with true Seventh-day Adventist Christian women.

"Those who feel called out to join the movement in favor of woman's rights and the so-called dress reform might as well sever all connection with the third angel's message. The spirit which attends the one cannot be in harmony with the other." {1T 457.3}

(Photo is Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a women's rights leader and advocate of the American Costume)




The message was clear that this style of dress was not approved by the Lord:

"God would not have His people adopt the so-called reform dress [American Costume]. It is immodest apparel, wholly unfitted for the modest, humble followers of Christ." {1T 457.1}

"The Scriptures are plain upon the relations and rights of men and women. Spiritualists have, to quite an extent, adopted this singular mode of dress [American Costume]. Seventh-day Adventists, who believe in the restoration of the gifts, are often branded as spiritualists. Let them adopt this costume, and their influence is dead. The people would place them on a level with spiritualists and would refuse to listen to them." {1T 457.3}

(Pictures: Statue and cartoon of Amelia Bloomer)


Ellen White spoke out against the prevailing fashions as well as against the American Costume, but it was not because she was against dress reform. She clearly declared, "My sisters, there is need of a dress reform among us. There are many errors in the present style of female dress." {2SM 473.1} The present style [1850s-1860s] of female dress included hoops, and dragging skirts. While there were some obvious health and practical advantages to the American Costume, there were also some negative features.

At its worst, the American Costume was too masculine. This prompted Ellen White to write: "There is an increasing tendency to have women in their dress and appearance as near like the other sex as possible and to fashion their dress very much like that of men, but God pronounces it abomination." {CG 427.2} She stated that this style disregarded God's special directions to have a "plain distinction between the dress of men and women," and those who promoted it advocated doing away with that distinction. The distinction between men and women was plainly that men wore pants and women wore dresses. When more than a few inches of pants were showing, the pants became a focal point of the outfit, and the distinction was blurred. Thus, the American Costume was masculine, not only in the style of the dress, but because of the amount of the pant leg that was revealed. The short dress [American Costume] that came about to the knee and above the knee was declared to be immodest.

When the first ladies put on the "short" dress over their bloomers, the dresses came approximately to the knee. Within a short while, the dresses got shorter, until finally some were about half way from the hips to the knee. Many of the pictures we have below show the knee length dress.

(The words of Ellen G. White are enclosed in quotation marks below.)

The Dress Reform Movement in America

The American Costume - pants under an approximately knee-length dress


(Photo on right: Dr. Lydia Sayer Hasbrouck, hydropathist, lecturer, and editor of The Sibyl: A Review of the Tastes, Errors and Fashions of Society , the official newsletter of the National Dress Reform Association (NDRA) Hasbrouck adopted the short skirt [American Costume] worn over pantaloons, the "Bloomer" dress, in 1849.)




Now we will look at various styles of the American Costume, and see how it became increasingly masculine. The pictures were from the 1850s and 1860s.

                                               
"This is the style and influence of the "American Costume," taught and worn by many at "Our Home," Dansville N. Y." {RH, October 8, 1867 par. 7} ["Our Home-Danville" was a secular health sanitarium.]

"They have all styles of dress here. (Our Home-Danville) Some are very becoming, if not so short. We shall get patterns from this place and I think we can get out a style of dress more healthful than we now wear and yet not be bloomer or the American costume. Our dresses according to my idea should be from four to six inches shorter than now worn [touching the ground] and should in no case reach lower than the top of the heel of the shoe and could be a little shorter even than this with all modesty. I am going to get up a style of dress on my own hook which will accord perfectly with that which has been shown me. Health demands it. Our feeble women must dispense with heavy skirts and tight waists if they value health. {5MR 380.2}





"There is an increasing tendency to have women in their dress and appearance as near like the other sex as possible, and to fashion their dress very much like that of men, but God pronounces it abomination. . . . . The foregoing was given me as a reproof to those who are inclined to adopt a style of dress resembling that worn by men; {1T 457.2}

"I saw that God's order has been reversed, and His special directions disregarded, by those who adopt the American costume. I was referred to Deuteronomy 22:5: "The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.'" {1T 457.1}

"There is still another style of dress which is adopted by a class of so-called dress reformers [American Costume]. They imitate the opposite sex as nearly as possible. They wear the cap, pants, vest, coat, and boots, the last of which is the most sensible part of the costume. Those who adopt and advocate this style of dress carry the so-called dress reform to very objectionable lengths. Confusion will be the result." {1T 459.7}

"God would not have His people adopt the so-called reform dress [American Costume]. It is immodest apparel, wholly unfitted for the modest, humble followers of Christ." {1T 457.1}

"We shall never imitate Miss Dr. Austin or Mrs. Dr. York. They dress very much like men." {5MR 380.4}

(Photos: Dr. Harriet N. Austin in the American Costume of her own design, with straight trouser legs.)




                                               
The photos above are of Dr. Mary Walker. She started out wearing the regular American Costume, but became increasingly masculine in her attire. She was proud that she was arrested several times for ‘impersonating a man' – she had taken to fully wearing men's clothing, from the top hat, wing collar and bow tie to the pants and shoes.


"God designed that there should be a plain distinction between the dress of men and women, and has considered the matter of sufficient importance to give explicit directions in regard to it; for the same dress worn by both sexes would cause confusion and great increase of crime." {1T 460.1}

"In this style of dress God's order has been reversed and His special directions disregarded. Deuteronomy 22:5: "The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.' God would not have His people adopt this style of dress. It is not modest apparel, and is not at all fitting for modest, humble women who profess to be Christ's followers. God's prohibitions are lightly regarded by all who advocate doing away with the distinction of dress between males and females. The extreme position taken by some dress reformers upon this subject cripples their influence. {1T 459.8}





(Photo to the right: Mary Tillotson, spiritualist, charter member of the National Dress Reform Association; c. 1866-1870. She first adopted a short dress [American Costume] in 1842, then shortened it 12 inches when she heard about Amelia Bloomer.



"It does not reach to the knee. I need not say that this style of dress was shown me to be too short." {RH, October 8, 1867 par. 7}


"In wide contrast with this modest dress [the Seventh-day Adventist reform dress] is the so-called American costume, resembling very nearly the dress worn by men. It consists of a vest, pants, and a dress resembling a coat and reaching about halfway from the hip to the knee. This dress I have opposed, from what has been shown me as in harmony with the word of God; while the other I have recommended as modest, comfortable, convenient, and healthful." {1T 465.1}
                                                 
The American Costume was popular in the 1850s and 1860s but lost popularity in the 1870s. In the 1890s the bicycle craze again brought back pants-like outfits into the wardrobes of some American women.

                               

"With the so-called dress reform there goes a spirit of levity and boldness just in keeping with the dress. Modesty and reserve seem to depart from many as they adopt that style of dress." {1T 457.4}
                               


“Satan is leading them on to be a proverb in the mouth of unbelievers because of their boldness, their lack of reserve and womanly modesty . {AH 52.2}


In the 1870s, after the hoops went out of style, the bustles came in. The dresses were still dragging, and still required corsets.

"We are urged by the Spirit of the Lord to bear a pointed testimony against the idolatry of dress in this age. If we are right with God, we will discard everything of a deforming character, such as paniers, bustles, unnecessary plaiting, and fashionable arrangement of the dress upon the body. " Testimonies on the Case of Elder E. P. Daniels (1890)

(Paniers were a type of bustle)


The Dress Reform Movement in the Seventh-day Adventist Church

The SDA Reform Dress - 1865 - 1881

Now, we will look at the Seventh-day Adventist Reform Dress, advocated and worn by Ellen G. White. We will see clearly that this dress isdesigned to be feminine in style, with a longer length than the American Costume.

Very little of the pants-like undergarment was visible, so that the dress was the main feature, not the pants. It's advantage over the prevailing fashion of the very long dress is that it didn't drag in the dirt, it was looser at the waist, hanging from the shoulders, and it was plain. Thus, it was in full harmony with the 4 basic principles of dress reform that Ellen White advocated: Modesty, Simplicity, Femininity and Healthfulness.

"God would now have His people adopt the reform dress [SDA Reform Dress], not only to distinguish them from the world as His "peculiar people," but because a reform in dress is essential to physical and mental health." {1T 524.2}

"The Lord has let light shine, and in His providence a style of dress modest, healthful, and convenient [SDA Reform Dress], has been proposed and adopted by those who were conscientious to follow the light." Testimony to the Church at Battle Creek - 1872, p. 61

"While none were compelled to adopt the [SDA] reform dress, our people could and should have appreciated its advantages and accepted it as a blessing." {4T 638.5}

The length of the "American Costume" dress compared with Ellen White's SDA Reform Dress

"My views were calculated to correct the present fashion, the extreme long dress, trailing upon the ground, and also to correct the extreme short dress [American Costume], reaching about to the knees, [about 19-21 inches above the floor] which is worn by a certain class. I was shown that we should shun both extremes. By wearing the dress reaching about to the top of a woman's gaiter boot [about 9 inches from the floor] we shall escape the evils of the extreme long dress, and shall also shun the evils and notoriety of the extreme short dress [American Costume]. " {1T 464.1}

The Reform Dress Had an Approved Pattern

"Before putting on the reform dress, our sisters should obtain patterns of the pants and sack worn with it." {1T 521}

Ellen White wanted to make it clear that the SDA Reform Dress had a specific pattern. Just shortening any dress didn't qualify it as an SDA Reform Dress. It needed to be made by the approved pattern.

"Anything eight or nine inches from the floor is not the reform dress. It should be cut by an approved pattern, and fitted and made by directions from one who has experience in this style of dress." {HR, September 1, 1868 par. 18}



Ellen White wrote:

"I put on the [SDA] reformed dress September, 1865, when I visited Dansville with my sick husband. It was the same length I now wear, and I was distinctly given to understand that it was not the "American Costume." I have worn this style of dress ever since that time, excepting at meetings, in the crowded streets of villages and cities, and when visiting distant relatives. Since I commenced to write No. 11, in January, 1867, I have worn no other than the reformed dress." {RH, October 8, 1867 par. 13}


"I put on the dress [SDA Reform Dress], in length as near as I had seen and described as I could judge. My sisters in Northern Michigan also adopted it. And when the subject of inches came up in order to secure uniformity as to length everywhere, a rule was brought and it was found that the length of our dresses ranged from eight to ten inches from the floor. Some of these were a little longer than the sample shown me, while others were a little shorter." {RH, October 8, 1867 par. 10}

"Reports have been circulated that 'Sister White wears the American costume,' and that this style of dress is generally adopted and worn by the sisters in Battle Creek. I am here reminded of the saying that 'a lie will go around the world while truth is putting on his boots.'" {1T 463.1}

(Notice how Ellen White discredited the rumor that she was wearing the American Costume, so that none would be confused in this area. The SDA Reform Dress was designed to correct the errors of the American Costume)

(Photo: Ellen G. White in God's version of the Reform Dress)




A vision given to Ellen White in 1867, confirmed God's approval of the Reform Dress.

"But three companies of females passed before me, with their dresses as follows with respect to length:" {3SM 277.5}



"The first were of fashionable length, burdening the limbs, impeding the step, sweeping the street and gathering its filth; the evil results of which I have fully stated. This class, who were slaves to fashion, appeared feeble and languid." {3SM 278.1}


"The dress of the second class which passed before me was in many respects as it should be. The limbs were well clad. They were free from the burdens which the tyrant Fashion had imposed upon the first class; but had gone to that extreme in the short dress [American Costume] as to disgust and prejudice good people, and destroy in a great measure their own influence. This is the style and influence of the 'American Costume,' taught and worn by many at Our Home, Dansville, New York. It does not reach to the knee. I need not say that this style of dress was shown me to be too short." {3SM 278.2} 
"A third class passed before me with cheerful countenances, and free, elastic step. Their dress was the length I have described as proper, modest and healthful. It cleared the filth of the street and sidewalk a few inches under all circumstances, such as ascending and descending steps, etc." {3SM 278.3} -- Review and Herald, October 8, 1867.

Note: While we cannot know for sure exactly what Ellen White saw in this vision as the acceptable dress to God, we do know that it cleared the ground by a few inches.

The dress pattern that was developed averaged 9 inches from the floor.

"And when the subject of inches came up in order to secure uniformity as to length everywhere, a rule was brought and it was found that the length of our dresses ranged from eight to ten inches from the floor. Some of these were a little longer than the sample shown me, while others were a little shorter." {RH, October 8, 1867 par. 10}




The Reform Dress Laid Aside in 1881

While the approved Reform Dress received some acceptance from the Seventh-day Adventist sisters, it was not widespread, and serious difficulties developed. Around 1868 she said,

"As I travel from place to place I find that the [SDA] reform dress is not rightly represented...."

Lack of uniformity, wrong attitudes--both by those who adopted it and those who resisted it--cause many problems. Therefore, in 1881, the SDA Reform Dress was laid aside.

"The [SDA] reform dress, which was once advocated, proved a battle at every step." {SpM 91.1, 1885}

Therefore, our sisters were not encouraged to adopt this style of dress after 1881

"The Lord has not moved upon any of our sisters [after 1881] to adopt the [SDA] reform dress. The difficulties that we once had to meet are not to be brought in again. There was so much resistance among our own people that it was removed from them. It would then have proved a blessing." {5MR 405.1} 1885

"...do not again introduce the short dress and pants [SDA Reform Dress] unless you have the Word of the Lord for it." {SpM 92.2} 1895

"The Lord has not indicated that it is the duty of our sisters to go back to the [SDA] reform dress." {1MR 33.2} 1897


A Less Objectionable Style of Dress Advocated in 1881

"As our sisters would not generally accept the SDA Reform Dress as it should be worn, another, less objectionable style is now presented. It is free from needless trimmings, free from the looped-up, tied back overskirts. It consists of a plain sack or loose-fitting basque, [bodice] and skirt, the latter short enough to avoid the mud and filth of the streets. The material should be free from large plaids and figures, and plain in color. The same attention should be given to the clothing of the limbs as with the short dress [SDA Reform Dress]." {4T 640.1}

It was to be a simple, unadorned dress of modest length. But there was no specific pattern or style to follow. It was to be longer than the Reform Dress, reaching close to the ankle. The limbs were to be covered.

"The dress of our people should be made most simple. The skirt and sacque or sac [a modest bodice that covers the upper part of a woman's body, feminine jacket] I have mentioned, may be used,--not just that pattern and nothing else should be established; but a simple style, as was represented in that dress. {1MR 33.1}
"Some have supposed that the very pattern given was the pattern that all were to adopt. This is not so. But something as simple as this would be the best we could adopt under the circumstances. No one precise style has been given me as the exact rule to guide all in their dress. . . .The Lord has not indicated that it is the duty of our sisters to go back to the reform dress. Simple dresses should be worn. Try your talent, my sisters, in this essential reform." Letter 19, 1897, pp 2, 3. (To Brother J. H. Haughey, July 4, 1897.) {1MR 33.2}



Lessons From the Past



God guided Ellen White to call for a dress reform, that corrected the errors of the prevailing fashion, but also guarded against the extreme fashion of the American Costume. The Seventh-day Adventist reform dress was laid aside because of the lack of acceptance and uniformity among the Seventh-day Adventist sisters. We can learn from this experience what is acceptable to God, and what is not acceptable to Him.

By the early 1890s, the prevailing fashion was coming more into line with God's principles on dress--modesty, femininity, and healthfulness. It was a "more sensible style of dress." It didn't drag on the ground, it didn't require corsets, and it wasn't so heavy, but hung from the shoulders. Extravagance was still an issue, but God's daughters were counseled to leave off the extra trimmings, and dress with simplicity.

"But the more sensible style of dress now being adopted does not embrace the objectionable features. The fashionable part may be discarded, and should be by all who will read the Word of God. The time spent in advocating the dress reform should be devoted to the study of the Word of God." {SpM 91. 1}

The following secular source, written in 1913, describes how the unhealthful issues that Ellen White spoke against were no longer fashionable:

In the one-piece dresses now in vogue the weight is borne from the shoulders, and the hips are relieved by reducing the skirts in weight, length, and number. The skirt no longer trails upon the street. The women who, for conscientious reasons, refused to squeeze their waists, and in consequence suffered the scorn of their sex, now find themselves on the fashionable side. A thirty-two-inch waist is regarded as permissible, where formerly a twenty-inch waist was thought proper. A fashionably gowned woman of the present day can stoop to pick up a pin at her feet.--New York Independent, Oct. 23, 1913

We can understand why Ellen White made the following statement when we consider how prevailing fashion actually provided a style of dress that could be worn while still upholding God's standards.

"If the world introduce a modest, convenient, and healthful mode of dress, which is in accordance with the Bible, it will not change our relation to God or to the world to adopt such a style of dress." {CG 414.3}

In other words, Ellen White was counseling Seventh-day Adventist women that they could now wear the modest, convenient and healthful style that was currently in fashion in the late 1800s and early 1900s, as long as they kept it free from extravagance. During the late 1800s, it was much easier to find clothing that was compatible with God's principles than previously. However, worldly fashion generally has certain aspects that cannot be conscientiously followed by God's people.

We can learn from the experiences of the past that, regardless of the prevailing fashions, God wants His daughters to dress modestly, femininely, simply and healthfully. We need to reject those areas that are not in compliance, making sure we uphold God's principles.



Now we will look at the progression of fashion from 1870 to our current day

                                                               
1870       1880       1890       1900       1910
The five decades depicted above were tending toward a more healthful style of dress. No more hoops, no more dragging dresses, no more heavy weight on the hips, no more corsets.
                                               
1920       1930       1940       1950
The next four decades made startling changes to the hemlines. Pants and tailored suits were becoming popular in the 1950's.
                                               
1960       1970       1980       1990
Pant suits, mini skirts, bell bottoms, unisex styles became popular in the next four decades.

Unisex style jeans in the 1970s

Here is a sample of what we see around us today.
                                               
Where is the "plain distinction between the dress of men and women" that God designed?
                                               
"The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God." Deuteronomy 22:5

Is it not obvious that the line of distinction between the dress of men and women has been increasingly blurred?

Are we willing to learn the lesson that God was trying to teach us many years ago through His prophetess?

God's prophetess, in speaking about the American Costume, said, "There is an increasing tendency to have women in their dress and appearance as near like the other sex as possible, and to fashion their dress very much like that of men, but God pronounces it abomination." {1T 457.2}

What does God pronounce about today's fashion?

May God help us to wake up, and return to His principles as given in His inspired testimonies!




Are the Standards Too High?

 

Some people have complained that the standards set forth on this website are too high. Are they? In order to answer that, we need to know if the principles presented on this web site are human opinions or are they God's standards?
How will we know? Only by the Word of God and the Spirit of Prophecy can we know for sure which are God's standards, and which are man's standards. “It is the first and highest duty of every rational being to learn from the Scriptures what is truth, and then to walk in the light and encourage others to follow his example. We should day by day study the Bible diligently, weighing every thought and comparing scripture with scripture. With divine help we are to form our opinions for ourselves as we are to answer for ourselves before God.” {DD 38.3}
Without this diligent study, we merely have human opinions. The purpose of this web site is to provide resources that will educate and enlighten God's people regarding God's true standards concerning dress, and to inspire a desire for deeper study into these matters. “There is need of a better understanding of the principles of health reform. Temperance in eating, drinking, and dressing is essential.” {20MR 4.4}
God's standards are high. How high are they? “The Lord bids you to come up higher, to reach a holier standard. You must have an experience much deeper than you have yet even thought of having.” Testimonies, vol. 8, p. 318. {ChS 238.6} In fact, “God's ideal for His children is higher than the highest human thought can reach.” {8T 63.3}
That is why, when God's principles are presented, our human opinions must be laid aside. We dare not pull down what God wants to be lifted up. He has better ideas than our earthly goals and desires.
God wants us to keep growing in our Christian experience. “We are to be ever advancing from light to a greater light, holding fast what we have already received, and praying for more. Thus we shall never be left in darkness.” {RH, April 12, 1892 par. 10} “As a people professing to be reformers treasuring the most sacred, solemn, purifying truths of God's Word, we must elevate the standard far higher than it is at the present time.” {7MR 210.2}
Many people have a tendency to label standards that are higher than they currently practice as fanatical. You hear this all the time: Brother and Sister So-&-So are fanatical because they don't eat cheese, go to movies, swim in mixed company, and so on. Likewise, when the standard of dress is raised higher than people are accustomed to, many cry, “Fanaticism!”
Fanaticism is caused by exalting man-made standards, and ignoring God's standards. Man-made tests which endeavor to compel people to follow stringent rules that are not based on Bible principles have plagued religion for centuries. In fact, this policy will lead men to enforce the mark of the beast. We do not want to have any part in promoting man-made rules!
If the standards presented here are based on human opinions, they can lead people astray. If, on the other hand, they are based on God's principles, it would behoove every Seventh-day Adventist sister to carefully consider what is presented here. God's true principles will inspire and encourage those who are sincere about knowing and following the will of God. And we do need courage to follow God's standards! “Let women have courage to dress healthfully and simply.” {PH022 2.5}
The purpose of this site is to expound upon God's standard of dress. We are told that these standards affect our physical and spiritual health. “ ‘Above all things,' God desires us to ‘be in health,'--health of body and soul. And we are to be workers together with Him for the health of both soul and body. Both are promoted by healthful dress.” {PH022 1.2}
To the carnal mind, God's standards are way out of reach. They call for self-denial, which is contrary to our nature. It is the natural state of humanity to resist godly principles and war against God's ways. Opposition to God's standards will increase as ungodliness increases. “You may say that there are many Sabbath-keepers who dress just like the world. This has always been so and always will be so.”{PH096 14.1}
Why do people resist God's standards, and want to lower them? Selfish, prideful motives lie behind all rebellion. Satan presents plausible excuses to disguise our true motives. Some think that by lowering God's standards, they will have more influence on others. They don't want the narrow way to be quite so narrow. If it is made a little broader, it is urged that more people will be able to comfortably walk therein. The thought is that by pulling down the standards, more will accept the truth. Making the gospel more attractive to the world than it is presented in God's Word may seem like a worthy goal. But the end result will bring bitter disappointment.
If we endeavor to smooth out the narrow way, so that it isn't so steep and rugged, so it doesn't rub so hard against our desires, we will find we are not in the narrow way after all. We may think that we can “enjoy” our religion more if the standards are better suited to our liking. But at what a cost!
Jesus Christ came into this world to give us power to meet God's standard! “God has called us to glory and virtue. We have no right to assimilate with the world--dressing, talking, and living as worldlings do. God has given us a high standard to reach. To enable man to reach this standard, God sent into the world His only begotten Son. In our behalf Christ made an infinite sacrifice.” {2SAT 194.3} “We must lift the standard higher, and still higher, and in and through the grace of Christ we must attain unto it.” {RH, July 7, 1891 par. 5}
The world's standards are pleasant and comfortable to the carnal nature. Ellen White wrote, “My heart is pained to see those who profess to be followers of the meek and lowly Saviour, so eagerly seeking to conform to the world's standard of dress. {RH, December 6, 1881 par. 4} But, for the true follow of Christ, “The world, its customs, its fashions, will not be our standard. We shall not have a desire to conform to its practices; we shall not permit our inclinations to control us.” {PH096 68.1}
What happens when we refuse to follow God's principles? “The neglect of sister ______ to live up to the light on health and dress reform has been a stumbling-block to others. This should not have been. Men and women professing to be followers of Christ should be governed by principle instead of inclination and appetite.” {PH123 44.1}
“When Christians and worldlings are brought together, the Christian element is not to assimilate with the unsanctified. The contrast must be kept sharp and positive between the two. They are servants of two masters. One class strive to keep the humble path of obedience to God's requirements,--the path of simplicity, meekness, and humility,--imitating the Pattern, Christ Jesus. The other class are in every way the opposite of the first. They are servants of the world, eager and ambitious to follow its fashions in extravagant dress and in the gratification of appetite. . . We are not to lessen the distance between us and worldlings by coming to their standard, stepping down from the high path cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in. But the charms exhibited in the Christian's life,--the principles carried out in our daily work, in holding appetite under the control of reason, maintaining simplicity in dress, and engaging in holy conversation,--will be a continual light shining upon the pathway of those whose habits are false.” {PH100 55.3}
“We are urged by the Spirit of the Lord to bear a pointed testimony against the idolatry of dress in this age….The children of Sabbath-keepers who have had their own way, and have been gratified in all their wishes, will, in consequence of their selfishness, idolatry, and unrighteousness, be unfit for heaven, but they will be fit for the last plagues. Unless parents arouse from their present condition, and do their appointed work, they will perish with their children.” {PH096 17.1}
On this web site, 4 main principles, or standards of dress are presented. They are 1.) Modesty, 2.) Simplicity, 3.) Femininity, and 4.) Healthfulness. Other principles generally fall under these main categories.
In the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy these 4 principles are described in detail. We cannot afford to pick out select quotes, molding them to fit our opinions and ignore the rest. We need to take everything that is written into consideration if we truly want to be pleasing to God.
“By the things of nature Christ illustrates the beauty that Heaven values,--the modest grace, the simplicity, the purity, the appropriateness, that would make our attire pleasing to Him.” {PH022 1.1}
Only when our dress is modest, simple, feminine and healthful dress does God consider it appropriate and pleasing to Him. These are His standards. We would do well to seek His indwelling power, which will enable us to live up to all the light He has given us.



The Sin of Bath-Sheba

An Open Letter from a Brother to Christian Sisters
We hear a great deal about the sin of David, but seldom does anyone mention the sin of Bath-Sheba. And it is true enough that David's sin was deliberate and presumptuous, and Bath-Sheba's only a sin of ignorance. David committed deliberate adultery and murder; Bath-Sheba only carelessly and undesignedly exposed herself before David's eyes. We have a natural tendency to classify David's sin as enormously great, and Bath-Sheba's small.  
Yet it remains a fact that Bath-Sheba's “little sin” was the cause of David's great sin. Her “little sin” of ignorance, her little thoughtless and careless exposure of herself, was the spark that kindled a great devouring flame. “Behold how great a matter a little fire kindleth!” (James 3:5). On the one side, only a little carelessness – only a little thoughtless, unintentional exposure of herself before the eyes of David. On the other side, adultery and guilt of conscience; murder and loss of a husband, besides the death in battle of other innocent men; great occasion for the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme; the shame of a publicly known, illegitimate pregnancy and death of the child; the defilement of David's daughter, Tamar, by her half-brother, Amnon; Amnon's death; the uprising and death of Absalom; the defiling of David's wives in the sight of all Israel; and the sword never departing from David's house (see 2Samuel 12:11-18). Again, I say, “Behold how great a matter a little fire kindleth!” None of this great evil would ever have taken place if Bath-Sheba had only been careful not to display her body in the sight of a man. Observe: she neither designed nor foresaw any of this evil, yet she was the occasion of it all. She did not display herself purposely or wantonly . She only did it ignorantly and thoughtlessly . Yet the results of her “little sin” of ignorance were just the same as if it had been purposeful wantonness.
Now the reason for my writing all of the above is this: there are many Christian women today who are guilty of the same carelessness as was Bath-Sheba. Godly women, who would recoil with horror from the very thought of wantonly displaying their bodies, do nevertheless carelessly and thoughtlessly display themselves habitually, by the manner in which they dress. I do not write to accuse them of intentional wantonness. I believe many of them are as innocent of that as was Bath-Sheba. But neither can they be altogether excused from blame in the matter. The whole world is well aware that certain kinds of feminine dress are provocative and tempting to the eyes and heart of a man – and are Christian women alone altogether naive and ignorant? This can hardly be; and yet I do not write to blame you, but, where it is possible, to instruct you – to provoke you to love and good works, to help you be thoughtful where you have been thoughtless before, to make you careful for the spiritual welfare of the weakest of both your Christian brethren and non-Christian men, where you were careless about it before, to provoke you to be wise where before you were simple.
The first thing that must be understood is that nakedness before the eyes of others is wrong. It is wrong in a man, and it is wrong in a woman. When Adam and Eve sinned, God made “coats of skins, and clothed them” (Genesis 3:21). The sole reason for His clothing them was to cover their nakedness, as the Genesis account makes plain. Observe, He clothed them with coats . They were already wearing aprons, which probably covered as much as, or more than, much of the clothing that is worn today; yet in spite of their aprons they were still naked in their own eyes and in God's. And God did not clothe them with shorts, or swimming suits, or tank tops, or halter tops or anything of that sort, but with coats , long coats, or robes , as the Hebrew word might properly be translated. Observe further, He clothed them with coats. He did not clothe Eve with a coat and Adam with a pair of shorts. He clothed them both with coats - whence we may assuredly gather that nakedness is just as wrong for a man as it is for a woman.
When a woman exposes herself only a little, she becomes a fiery dart to tempt the heart of every man who sees her. Like it or not, this is the plain fact. And because this is a fact, you are not at liberty to dress any way you please. “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's”. (1Corinthians 6:19) But if you dress in such a way as to expose your body, or parts of it, to the lustful gaze of every man who chooses to look at you, you certainly do not glorify God in your body. And if you fear God and love your neighbor, you dare not dress so. You dare not use the temple of the Holy Ghost as an instrument of unrighteousness to allure the eyes and tempt the hearts and tantalize the passions of men.
Many men are wicked, and will lust after you in spite of anything you can do to prevent it. They have “eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin”. (2Peter 2:14) Should you therefore help them sin? Will God excuse you if you do?  Other men, godly men, are not wicked, but only weak. David was not wicked. He was a man after God's own heart. But in the presence of an unclothed woman, he became weak – he let go of God's protecting hand as many men would. But after he lost control over his passions and committed adultery with Bath-Sheba, he did wickedly design her husband's death.
Your Christian brethren may not be wicked, but they may be weak. And the devil does all he can to weaken them further. His ultimate goal is to make them wicked. They are forced to live in a world where they are continually bombarded with sights, which are designed by the enemy of their souls to weaken their morals and destroy the purity of their hearts. And must Christian women be instruments in the hand of the devil to facilitate his dirty work? Must they make themselves a temptation to their brethren even in the congregation of God? Oh, that you could understand the fierce and bitter conflict in the souls of your brethren, when you arouse their desires by the careless display of your feminine beauty. Oh that you could hear their pleadings with God for help and deliverance from the power of those temptations! Oh that you could see their tears of shame and repentance when the temptation has overcome them, and they have sinned with eyes and heart and mind! Never again would you plead for your right to dress as you please.
The fact is, you have no such right. You have no right to destroy, by your careless dress, the brother for whom Christ died. You are bought with a price, and you are not your own. You are duty-bound to glorify God in your body – to clothe that body, not as you will, but as God wills. And a little bit of real love for the souls of your brethren would remove forever from your heart the desire to dress as you please. For, “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves . Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not Himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me”. (Romans 15:1-3) Christ was willing to deny Himself all of the glories of heaven, and bear all the reproaches of the ungodly for your sake, in order to save your soul; and will you plead for your right to please yourself in your dress? Can you not deny yourself a little of comfort in pleasing yourselves to save another man's soul? Can you not bear a little reproach for being “old fashioned” or “out of style” in order to help your brother in his battle against sin?
You may think I'm making too much of too little. You may suppose the case is not so serious as I have represented it to be. But consider: you are a woman, and cannot experience the passions of a man. You have your own passions, but they are not the same as men's. Nor are they excited in the same manner as those of men. If you would understand the workings of a man's passions towards a woman, you should take a man's word for it. Those of you who are not willing to do this don't need to read any further, since it would be just a waste of your time. You cannot experience it yourself. And the plain fact is that the sight of a woman's body easily excites man's passions, as was plainly the case with David and Bath-Sheba, when he beheld her washing herself. Most men, ‘tis true, will be better able to resist your allurement than David did Bath-Sheba's. They will not go so far as to seduce or rape you. But how do you know they can resist the thought and desire of it? How do you know that they do not sin with their eyes and heart and imagination? There is great pleasure for a man in merely looking and lusting, even though he goes no farther. You know very well that the Bible says, “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28) And will you say that this is not a serious matter? It is serious, for it is sin , and sin is serious. Sin blights and ruins and deforms and destroys and damns. The ultimate result of sinning is death. And if you would know just how serious a matter this is, you need only read the very next verse, which says, “And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” Here is probably the most solemn statement in the Bible concerning the seriousness of sin, and it is spoken with reference to the very sin which you may so lightly and thoughtlessly occasion by your careless dress. This is not a light matter, and you dare not treat it lightly.
At this point you may say, “Amen; all true; but I do not need to hear it, for I dress modestly.” Are you quite sure of it? If you follow the fashions and practices of this age, you assuredly do not dress modestly, for modesty is ignored by many of them, and purposely thrown to the winds by many others. And it may be that you, being a woman, and not able to see yourself through a man's eye, are unable to perceive that which may be really tempting and provocative in your own dress. God would have you to be “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” (Matthew 10:16) But if you unthinkingly dress as the rest of the world does, you are assuredly neither wise nor harmless. Not wise, for however ignorant and innocent you may be, you are following a system of fashion designed by wicked men, women, and devils to break down and destroy the morals of both men and women. Not harmless, for however little you may intend it, you thus make yourself a fiery dart in the hands of the wicked one to tempt every man who sees you. You will pardon my plain speaking then, if I give you some specific instructions in order to help you find wisdom in the matter. That being done, I have confidence that the godliness of your own heart will make you harmless.
As said before, the obvious design of God in making clothing for Adam and Eve was to cover their nakedness, and any clothing which fails to do so, cannot be right. Bare backs, bare midriffs, bare legs and thighs, are wrong – wrong in the sight of that God who clothed Adam and Eve with coats to cover their bare bodies. Shorts, halter tops, swimming suits, and anything else which intentionally leaves you partially nude, have no place in the dress of a woman professing godliness. Whatever the rest of the world may do, you are bound to do right . And whatever the rest of the church may do, you are bound to do right. And the things which I have just mentioned are so obvious and so flagrant a violation of the purpose of God in clothing you, that there ought not to be a moment's question as to what is right. But (alas) the standards of the church are sunk so low in our day that there are actually Christians and preachers who will defend such things. They will actually defend what they call “mixed bathing” – that is, men and women freely mixing together in a state of almost nudity. Have they no shame? Have they no sense? I wonder if they will defend such things when they stand before the judgment seat of Christ. If they have no shame now, will they have some then?
Meanwhile, we need say no more about forms of dress which so obviously thwart the purpose of God. Let us turn our thoughts to some things which, while less flagrant, nevertheless violate the evident purpose of clothing.
Short Dresses . You need no one to tell you that these are wrong. The whole world knows that they are provocative to a man's eyes. But women who profess godliness, women who ought to know better, will simply follow the current fashions of the world, whether long or short, without any reference to what is right . Others will quibble about how short is too short. Rather than making sure their dresses are plenty long, they will make them as short as they dare, while still persuading themselves that they are long enough. You may stand at attention in front of your mirror, and convince yourself that your too-short dress reveals nothing, but only let you sit down, only let you bend over, only let you get in or out of a car, and what a spectacle of nudity you present. And whether you design it or not, and whether you like it or not, those nude legs and thighs of yours are provocation to lust in the eyes of men.
For the same reason, you ought to have nothing to do with those skirts that are slit halfway up the sides, back or front, however long they may be. Who could be so foolish as not to see that the very design of such a fashion is to expose your thighs to view? Or is it to enable you to walk? So much the worse if it is. If your skirt is so tight that you cannot walk without cutting the sides, by all means throw it away and get something with a little more material, so the wrath of God doesn't get kindled against you as it did against the women of old for the same reason: “The Lord saith: Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet ; therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord will discover their secret parts... and it shall come to pass that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty.” (see Isaiah 3:16-24) We shall have more to say about tight clothing further along.
Do you ask how long your dresses ought to be? See that your legs are well covered below the knee, front and back, while you are bending over or sitting down, and you will be safe enough. But be careful here: it is not enough that your legs should be covered only from the vantage point of your own eyes. When you bend over, the front of your dress will naturally hang lower, so as to cover more of your legs, but the back will be drawn up so as to cover less. Very often I have seen women sit down and carefully arrange the front of their skirt so as to cover the topside of their thighs or knees from their own view, while leaving the sides and undersides of their thighs completely exposed to the view of anyone sitting across from them. And this will be unavoidable if your dresses are so short that they only cover you down to the knees while you are standing erect. If you would be safe, your dresses should cover you well below the knee in all postures. This can be assured when the edge of your dress rests closer to your ankles than to your knees.
Low Necklines . Again, the whole world knows very well that these are a great temptation to the eyes of men. And if you were a godly woman, no doubt, you would never dream of purposely wearing a neckline too low. But you may be doing it nevertheless through thoughtlessness or ignorance. It is not only low necklines that offend, but also large or loose ones. You may stand erect in front of your mirror wearing a large or loose neckline and think it perfectly modest. But bend over a little so the material of your blouse falls away from your body, and immediately the most provocative view is offered to the man who happens to be standing in front of you. The same is true, of course, when you dress with the top two or three buttons of your blouse unbuttoned. This looks provocative, even if nothing were exposed by it. It looks seductive . It looks to a man as though you must design to expose and tantalize his passions. What else can he think? “For what other purpose could this woman leave two or three buttons of her blouse unbuttoned?” Do you say it is for comfort? Because you cannot bear a tight choking collar? My counsel to you is: don't wear anything with a choking collar – it is unhealthy anyway. And if you have to wear it for some reason, make yourself comfortable by unbuttoning one button only. There can be no possible excuse for leaving two or three buttons open. It will add nothing to your comfort. It is simply following a wicked fashion of a wicked world. Your collar will no more choke you with one button open than it will with three. One button will always be a great plenty for comfort's sake, and with some blouses even that will be too much. If you can leave your top button open, yet not expose your breasts when you bend over and the material of your blouse falls away from your bosom, very well. This may depend upon the nature of the blouse, as well as the size of your bust. But if there is any danger of exposing yourself, you better button all your buttons. You might set the top button down an inch or so, and make another buttonhole for it, and thus provide for both comfort and modesty. If this does not help, then I advise you to present your blouse to someone who is a smaller size than you and provide something that fits yours. You can scarcely be too careful here, for there is no part of a woman's body so alluring to a man as her breasts. When a man sees a woman with the top two or tree buttons of he blouse open, he will probably conclude that it is her intention to start a frivolous game. Is this the impression you wish to give? If not, button your buttons, snap your snaps, and zip your zippers.
If you happen to bend over in front of a man, and he sees your breasts actually exposed because of your large, loose, low, or open neckline, unless he is a godly man who turns away from the sight, he will be tantalized, whatever you may think or intend. And even the godly one will be exposed to that view for a fraction of a second unintentionally before he recognizes it as temptation and turns away. Believe me, even that short glance stays in the files of his memory for a very, very long time. Therefore, you cannot do what the rest of the world does. Let your neckline be high enough and small enough to be in fact a neckline and not a chest of shoulder line, and you will be safe. Your neckline should be of the sort that you can close up with buttons or snaps after you put the garment on.
Sleeveless Blouses . Sleeveless blouses always reveal too much. Little as you may be able to understand it, your shoulders, underarms, and the parts of your chest or your back which immediately adjoin them, are very attractive to men; and a sleeveless blouse cannot help but display those parts. You must also bear in mind that others will see you from all angles and in all positions. And the armholes of a sleeveless blouse will often allow a man to see inside the blouse, especially when your arms are uplifted or outstretched. Thus part of your chest and probably some of your breasts are displayed. Also, there is no need for other people to see the upper parts of your arms and parts of your shoulders.
A godly woman should refuse short sleeves that do not reach at least to the elbows. Remember that you cannot see yourself as a man sees you. I am a man, and know what it is to be tempted by such sights. And if only the weakest of your brethren might be tempted by your sleeveless or short-sleeved blouse, ought you not to deny yourself a little of comfort or of fashion, and conceal your body a little better for his good?
Sheer Clothing . It ought to be unnecessary to say anything about clothing that is so light or so sheer that everybody may see through it. The obvious and undeniable design of such clothing is to thwart the purpose of clothing, and expose your body (and your underwear) rather than covering it. This you cannot help but realize. Everyone else knows it also, and when a man sees a woman thus attired, what can he think but that it is your intention to display your body to his sight? And yet so low are the standards in the church today that it is not uncommon to see Christian women wearing see-through clothing. What a shame to see that some women in the world dress with a high degree of modesty and taste while many Christian women by their appearance leave an impression of a very low standard of both morals and taste. If you have been guilty of this, your first business is to repent – to reject at once everything which is obviously and purposely sheer. You ought to be careful also not to wear any material which is so light or so thin that it may be seen through when you are standing in direct light, such as in front of a window. Finally, reject any material with a very coarse weave: wear clothing , not netting .
Tight Clothing . Dress, which explicitly reveals your form , is as bad as that which reveals your nakedness. The whole world knows that such a dress is provocative. When a worldly man sees a woman dressed in tight clothing that reveals and displays every curve of her form, the sight will certainly excite his passions. A newborn man who is exposed to such a sight feels abhorrence and disgust and he will gladly leave your presence. At times he feels that you need a good thrashing. The world calls tight clothing “revealing” which is exactly what it is – and as such, it is an obvious violation of the purpose of God in clothing you. Every woman who professes godliness, therefore, ought religiously to refuse every form of dress which reveals and displays her figure. Specifically, you should avoid tee shirts and anything made of knit, stretchy, or soft clingy material. Things of that character will serve you well as underwear but never as the visible layer of your dress. Woven material with some stiffness and body to it will conceal your form much better. This is of the utmost importance, especially for a woman who is large in the bust. There is no sight on earth, which will surely tempt a man's eyes, and so quickly inflame his passions, as the sight of a woman's breasts – whether they are actually exposed, or their form displayed by tight or clingy clothing. This is a fact which the world knows very well. Forty years ago the world was singing a popular song about the pleasure of seeing a woman in a sweater and tight skirt. The natures of men and women have not changed in forty years...
When a man looks at you, he should see your clothing and not the shape and form of everything that is inside it. Tee shirts and knit blouses, by their very nature, cling to your body and reveal and display the shape and form of it. And you should take a man's word for it that the shape and form of a woman's body, even though it is covered with clothing, will naturally draw his eyes and tempt him, as well as the sight of her actual skin. I do not mean to say that it is impossible for a woman to wear a sweater or a knit top that is not too revealing. What I do say is that the sweaters and knit tops which American women usually wear are almost always too tight. A woman who is very small in the bust may fairly easily wear sweaters which are loose enough to conceal her form, but the larger her breasts are, the more difficult this will become. A woman who is large in the bust should avoid knit clothing altogether. She will have a hard enough time of it to conceal her form without wearing sweaters. I cannot emphasize this too much, or insist upon it too strongly. A woman must understand, must take a man's word for it, that the sight of her bust may take away a man's heart in a moment. If she would please her God and help her brother in his fight against sin, she should dress in such a way as to hide and conceal the form of her breasts. She should, therefore, wear loose-fitting blouses of woven (not knit or stretchy) material. I am writing for godly women who would rather please God than the world.
Understand also that you will accomplish little by exchanging tight sweaters for tight blouses. A blouse of woven material, by its very nature, will conceal your form much better than a sweater, but it may still be provocative enough if it is too tight/small. And it is nothing but foolish pride that keeps you from wearing a larger size. Your blouse should never be stretched tight across by your bosom, but should be slack enough in the fit that when a man looks at you, he sees the blouse and not the form of what is inside of it. For this reason, you should also learn to avoid provocative positions and postures, at least in the presence of men. By this I mean any position which makes your bust too prominent, or stretches your clothing tight over it – such as standing with your hands on your hips and your elbows thrown back and stretching with your back arched. You should likewise refuse to be dressed with what is called an “empire waistline” which girds your garment around your body immediately below the bust, instead of at the waist. The unavoidable effect of this is to prominently display your bust. Again I tell you, I am a man, and know very well what it is to be tempted by such sights – and it may take only a moment's involuntary sight to turn a man's heart or imagination into the wrong channels.
Slacks . Here we come to the bone of contention that divides churches, families, and friends. The background is this: historically, in our culture the men have worn pants, and the women dresses. This is an undisputed fact, which is embodied in the proverbial expression that a wife who runs the house “wears the pants in the family.” The “women's liberation movement” which is more than a hundred and fifty years old, has sought to put the pants on all the women (figuratively but also literally speaking.) It has sought to “liberate” the woman from her God-appointed place of subjection to the man, and to give her “equal rights” or, to do whatever the man may do. It is a movement that has virtually enslaved women and put undue stress and unholy ambition in their lives, leaving their families and the whole society in pitiable condition.
One of the results of this movement's spirit has also been to put upon the woman's body the man's clothing – namely slacks. One of the prominent preachers of “women's liberation” was Dr. Austin. I possess a picture of her as she posed for the camera in 1851, dressed in the so called reformed dress or American Costume. The white shirt has a neck opening that makes a very masculine impression. The rest of the dress is dark. Masculine top (a kind of a long-sleeve vest) with widely open chest, masculine-like pants, masculine shoes. On the top of this is a knee-long skirt supported with some braces, so the whole looks quite wide. A watch chain is hanging from the vest button hole to a little pocket as it was used by men in those days. The features of her face are such that you really doubt that she is a woman... And there were more protagonists. Some of them had a masculine appearance but some looked quite like females. In 1865 Garret Smith, a member of the Congress, said: “A reformation in the dress of women is very much needed. It is indispensable to her health and usefulness.” His daughter Elisabeth Smith Miller was one of the first women to wear the American Costume in public.
It is interesting that the first groups of people to accept this singular dress (American Costume) were different types of spiritualists and other adherents to anti-Christian teachings. A Christian writer of those days wrote about Christian sisters: “Let them adopt this costume and their influence is dead... With the so-called dress reform there goes a spirit of levity and boldness just in keeping in the dress... Modesty and reserve seem to depart from many as they adopt that style of dress... Let the sisters adopt the American Costume and they would destroy their own influence and that of their husbands. God's prohibitions are lightly regarded by all who advocate doing away with the distinction of dress between males and females... In these last days fashions are shameful and immodest. They are noticed in prophecy. They were first brought in by a class over whom Satan has entire control, who ‘being past feeling [without any conviction of the Spirit of God] have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness...' Were the apostle Paul alive and should he behold women professing godliness with this style of dress, he would utter a rebuke.” (Quotations from Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, pp. 457-460. ) If this writer says the apostle Paul would rebuke women wearing the American Costume, what do you think he would say if he saw the way women, professing Christianity, dress today, and even shamelessly venture to grace the house of God in such abominable dress?
But the church has followed the world in so doing. Many of the older and stricter men and women of God, less influenced by the world, take a strong stand against women wearing pants. Slacks, they say, are men's clothing, and (on the basis of Deut. 22:5) it is an abomination for women to wear them. The younger set, most of whom have grown up wearing slacks themselves, and who probably know nothing of the historical background of the question, can see no point in the stand which their elders take, and so regard it as narrow-minded and petty. “The slacks which I wear,” they say, “were made for women and are not men's clothing.”
On the one side it may be argued that God made neither slacks for Adam, nor a dress for Eve, but coats for both of them. Yet Deuteronomy 22:5 certainly assumes that the same clothing is not to be worn by both men and women, and it is also certain that historically in our country slacks have been the men's clothing. Our culture was received from that of the medieval age, which in turn, was received from the Latin culture. The latin culture was strongly influenced by all the cultures that lived around the Mediterranean Sea, including that of the Hebrews. The Pictorial Bible Dictionary by Merill C. Tenney says: “Among the Hebrews neither sex was permitted by Mosaic law to wear the same form of clothing as was used by the other (Deut 22:5.) A few articles of female clothing carried somewhat the same name and basic pattern, yet there was always sufficient difference in embossing, embroidery, needlework, and color so that in appearance the line of demarcation between men and women could be readily detected.”
It may be argued that the culture has changed and slacks are now acceptable clothing for women also. Yet when we consider the sinister forces which have wrought to change the culture in this corrupted age, we may plead that the change is in no way recognized by God, but is an abomination to Him. I say no more than this, for it is outside of the purpose of this article to settle the controversy. I do not ask here, is it wrong in the eyes of God for a woman to wear slacks? I ask, What effect are her slacks likely to have on the eyes of men ?
And first, by their very nature, slacks are apt to reveal and display your form. Women contend for modest slacks, but who wears them? By the very nature of the case, it is difficult to make a pair of modest slacks (especially for a woman who has a full figure), and as a matter of fact, it is an extremely rare thing to see a woman in slacks that are not too tight. Why is this? Why may men wear slacks that fit loosely, while the slacks of women must cling to every inch of their legs and thighs and hips and buttocks and private parts? Verily because it is the god of this world who inspires these styles, and he knows his business only too well. He knows only too well that it is a snare to a man's heart to have displayed before his eyes the form of a woman's thighs, buttocks, and private parts. You ought, by all means, to keep your private parts carefully concealed at all times, and there is nothing that will do it so well as a dress.  A loose-fitting skirt or dress provided it is not too short , is the best possible clothing with which to conceal all of the tempting parts of the anatomy, which reside between your waist and your knees.
But some women suppose that because their slacks are not skin tight, they are therefore modest. Well, now, suppose that your slacks are loose enough that they leave some space between the material and your skin. Still they basically display the form of your legs and thighs and buttocks. This is the nature of the garment, and can hardly be avoided. And further, as soon as you bend over, or sit or squat, those “modest” slacks of yours will be stretched just as tight over parts of your form as the skin-tight slacks which other wo-men wear. So unless you are so thin that you have no form with which to attract a man, or so obese that your form will only disgust him (and you are no competent judge of this), you better leave slacks alone. Though you may not be able to understand it (for the sight of a man may not affect you in the same way,) it is the sight of the form which will arouse a man's passions. What a man's touch is to a woman, the sight of a woman is to a man. This is plain enough in the Bible account of David and Bath-Sheba, and every honest man will tell you the same thing. You would do well if you believe on the word of a man, though you may not be able to understand it. The sight of the form of your thighs and buttocks and private parts will tempt the heart of a man, and it is the nature of slacks to display the form of those parts.
Some, who believe it is wrong for a woman to wear slacks, but who wish to accommodate their ladies for engagement in the more masculine type of activities, recommend the wearing of culottes, which are sort of a cross between a skirt and slacks. Our only question concerning them is, Are they modest or immodest? They may be either, depending upon several things. If they are fashioned so as to look like a loose-fitting skirt, and are long enough, they may be as modest as a skirt. Unfortunately, many of them more nearly resemble slacks, or even shorts, than a skirt. If yours are long enough and loose enough to keep you well covered and concealed in all postures, they may be as acceptable as a modest skirt.
Enough of specific instructions! We must next answer some objections:
“What right does this fellow have to prescribe all of these legalistic rules for women?” I answer, if we lived without sin in the Garden of Eden, you could dress just as you please, or not dress at all, and hurt no one by it. But in this world you cannot, and if you do, you will only be contributing to swell the tide of sin which is flooding the whole world. I write for godly women, who want to do what is right, but who are not likely to know how to do right without some instruction from a man. I only seek to shed the light on the subject, which only a man can do, concerning the effects your dress will have on the men who see you. And I suppose that truly godly women will be happy to receive such instruction. It is usually the worldly , who are unwilling to do right at any cost, who raise the cry of legalism.
You may object “But this is a small matter, and not worthy of so much ado. We ought to be occupied with the weightier matters of the law, the matter of the heart, and not make such a fuss over little outward things.” This may be an outward thing, but in no way is it a little one. Can you read Matthew 5:28,29 and yet contend that this is a little matter? “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” But suppose it is a little matter, can you, therefore, lightly pass over it or ignore it? Not so, for “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.” (Luke 16:10) The Lord does not rebuke the Jews for attending to small matters, but only because they did so to the neglect of weightier matters. “These [the weightier matters] ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other [the small matters] undone ”. (Luke 11:42)
In the past, our country was a wonderful example of godliness for the whole rest of the world. The first settlers and those who followed them fled Europe to escape intolerance and persecution done by Papal Catholicism. They sought to worship God according to pure Biblical religion. Our spiritual ancestors knew very well that there must be a marked distinction between male and female dress as there is a marked distinction between the roles of man and woman. They knew that disregarding this principle would open floodgates of immorality which would eventually result in the collapse of the whole nation. Did not our Redeemer say that in the last days before His coming, the world would resemble Sodom and Gomorrah?
Who has the leading influence over the rest of the world today? Is it not the United States? All who have traveled to foreign countries can testify how much other cultures have accelerated their race in imitating everything that is American. They criticize us at every occasion, yet they follow everything we do. And that includes the bold, ambitious, and manly conduct of the American woman who knows nothing any more about Biblical shamefacedness, sobriety, submission, patience, and longsuffering. The “Liberation of Women” in America began only about 150 years ago. Just a few generations passed and the whole face of the society is entirely upside down. Crime, especially the crime of fornication is steadily increasing. Unfaithfulness between husband and wife and a loose concept of marriage has resulted in more people being divorced than married today! Some people have been married more than 10 times. Incredibly, if you talk to the “reformed women” of these days, many of them would contend that the current decadence of society has nothing to do with nakedness, half-nakedness, and their appealing, inviting behavior... How blinded a human being can be!
Years ago, a European friend of mine told me about a young lady who came to London for the first time. She complained about local men trying to treat her as a prostitute. She had to be told that as long as her dress and colorful cosmetics resembled those of the prostitutes, she could not expect them to treat her as a decent woman.
Sorely, today's decent women try to show as much, or even more, of their nakedness than those who have their bodies for sale...
“But any man who views women so must be perverted.” Yes, be it known unto you, my sister, that men are perverted. All men. And women also. We are sinners. Our pristine purity is lost, and our hearts are naturally and strongly inclined to sin, especially the sin of lust. Sin easily besets us (Hebrews 12:1.) But understand: though all men are perverted from their original purity, and though the passions of all men are alike in this matter, I would not want to leave you with the impression that the practices of all men are alike. You don't need to feel uneasy in the presence of them. If you dress right , and act right , and associate with the right kind of men, in the right kind of situations, there will be little occasion for you to be uneasy or uncomfortable. But there will be great plenty of occasion for you to be careful , even in the presence of the best men. Why? Because though the godly “have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Galatians 5:24) and have renounced the unlawful indulgence of those desires – they are not mortified and crucified forever yet. It is not one act, one decision to stay faithful that makes the sinful tendencies incapacitated for the rest of your life. Walking with Jesus is a daily experience that needs to be invigorated every day, every hour, and every moment because of the sinful nature that we possess. “The flesh lusteth against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary one to the other.” Galatians 5:17. Both men and women are corrupt and can be safe only through the mercy of God who offers you to walk by His Spirit because only then are we His. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit … because the carnal mind is enmity against God… so then they that are in the flesh cannot please God … if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” Romans 8:1,7-9. In this biblical language “walking after the Spirit” equals “crucifying” or “mortifying the flesh.” A man who does that may well be called by God “a man after my own heart”. Acts 13:22, 1Samuel 13:14.
But what happens if a man of God, for some reason, loosens his firm grip of God and lets His merciful hand go for a moment? In that very instance he loses the only possible protection against his own lusts. The divine power is taken from him, and he is left to himself , that is, he becomes a sport of his own passions and outward circumstances. This is what happened to king David and this is what can happen to every godly man if he forgets to hold tight God's hand continually . There is no condemnation to those who walk after the Spirit, but only as long as they walk . As soon as the connection is broken, sin stands in the door.
Do you understand now why it is wise to be careful even in the presence of the best godly men? And again, I don't mean that you need to feel uncomfortable in their presence. A godly man means that he is striving for divine excellence, he spends much time in prayer – private talks with Christ, receiving strength to destroy the works of Satan and reflecting God's image in any situation. He is a man who will not be sold or bribed at any instance, a man who will do and say that which is right, regardless of consequences. He is compassionate and loving because Christ is on the throne of his heart and is radiating His character from him to all who come in contact with such a man. To meet people like that is very desirable. Staying in their presence as long as you can results in refreshing and strengthening your faith. If you are a godly woman who has the same goals like a godly man, you will experience a very special spiritual communion that the world cannot offer. No need to feel uncomfortable.
If you happen to be a woman who does not care for God very much, well, you will feel uncomfortable in the presence of a godly man because the principles that rule your life and his principles are irreconcilable. It relates to the teaching of Jesus about serving two masters. But I would highly recommend that you stay in the presence of the godly man anyway. And it does not need to be a godly man only; it can be a godly woman also. Because through their presence, the Lord may awake your dormant spiritual life.
Now back to the above mentioned carefulness. There is a serious reason for a woman to be careful here, namely that you don't want to be held accountable for sins of men who behold you as you dress in a seducing way. We know for sure that every man is responsible for his own sins whether they were committed physically or only in his imagination. There is no excuse for a man if he sins as a result of his unrestricted lust. No excuse for king David, neither for any other man who committed this sin before him and ever after. What a tremendous host of men will burn in the final judgment, losing their eternal bliss only for yielding to the lusts of the flesh!
But have you ever thought of losing your eternal life for such a trifle as having your neckline a little lower, or your shoulders naked while wearing a sleeveless top? Our Savior says: “Woe unto the world because of offences! For it must needs be that offences come, but woe unto that man by whom the offence cometh” Matthew 18:7. And I hope that none of us is so naive as to think this woe relates to men only. To women also! The English word “offence” here used means in Greek a snare, occasion to fall, a stumbling block. We could also use the word temptation here because that's what the Lord Jesus is talking about - an occasion to sin. The one who sins is responsible for it, but woe unto you who are a snare to sin! What a tremendous host of women will burn…!
To return to the original question. Whether men are “perverted” or not is really beside the point. How far his desires are normal or how far they are the result of his sinfulness may be difficult to determine. And, perhaps there is no reason to analyze it. We must deal with the facts as they are, not as we wish they were. The real facts are: many men do not possess the ravishing fulfillment of love which they cannot help but crave, and they are therefore weak, and easily tempted by the sight of the feminine form. Suppose that some men are strong, or so fully satisfied in their own marriage that you could not tempt them if you would – what then? The fact remains that many men are weak and unsatisfied and burning. With the strong you need not concern yourself. But you are bound by duty (as you ought to be moved by love) to “bear the infirmities of the weak” – yes, even of the weakest – “that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his [her] brother's way.” (Romans 15:1; 14:13)
 “But if a man looks upon me to lust, that is his sin, not mine.” Nay – “Now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat [or with thy dress] for whom Christ died” … “It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor anything whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak. ” Romans 14:15, 21. David was made weak, he was made to stumble by Bath-Sheba's careless exposure of herself, and the display of your feminine beauty will have the same effect upon your brethren. After reading this article, I think, you can hardly plead that you do not know this, and “to him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” James 4:17. Can you honestly say you were completely ignorant of those effects?
“But if I were to follow all these instructions, I would have to buy a whole new wardrobe, and that I cannot afford.” My sister, you cannot afford to sin. If you are a real Christian, you came to Christ resolving to forsake every sin, and do the whole will of God, at any cost. If you have a will to do right, you will find a way – or cry to God to provide one. It will be shown to you. You can afford to call unto God to show you how to change the way you dress. You cannot afford to sin, or to provoke others to sin.
“But I am not attractive or shapely. No man is likely to be tempted by the sight of me. Therefore I may dress as I please.” In the first place, you are no proper judge of what is attractive to a man. It is of course true that a shapely and beautiful woman is more likely to be a temptation to a man than a plain woman. It is also true that a woman who is not attractive to one man probably will be to another, and even the homeliest will be attractive to somebody.
And what about your example to other women? What about your example to babes in Christ, who have dressed improperly through all their ungodly life, and who may now be looking to you to teach them and lead them in the right way? Do you want them to look at you and excuse their own improper dress on the basis of your example?
Finally, unfortunately, some women are so naive, so ignorant of the nature of men, that they suppose that because no men are actually making advances or propositions to them, they must be no temptation to any man. Let them understand that a man derives a great deal of pleasure – sinful pleasure – from looking at women, from looking at any and every woman who is personally attractive to him. Why do you suppose that men spend millions of dollars every year for pornographic pictures? Let the pictures be left out of pornographic magazines, and see how many copies they would sell! What pleasure is it that men continually purchase at so great an expense?
What pleasure can pictures afford them, except the pleasure of looking? It is sinfully looking at a woman's body that inflames a man's passions and regales his imagination, and there is a great sinful pleasure in that looking. Many men will freely indulge in that pleasure, with little or no restraint. They will feast their eyes upon the feminine form wherever they may find it, and this of course will include your form if you dress so as to expose and display it. Godly men will recognize that pleasure as sinful and they will fight hard to resist the temptation and conquer sin. The spirit is willing, but in the face of strong temptations, the flesh is weak. The will is present with them, but sometimes how to perform it they find not. In spite of all their determination and praying and striving, they may find their eyes involuntarily drawn to the sight of a beautiful and shapely woman, and a moment's involuntary sight may be enough to take the heart away. A man who, with the divine help, has gained some mastery over this kind of temptation may easily resist the initial onslaught, but constant exposure to such allurement may weaken and break him down unto his destruction. Not always may the victory be won as it was won of Joseph. Therefore we are told to “flee youthful lusts” (2Timothy 2:22) – to flee from the very presence of such temptations. But whither shall we flee in this wicked world? Must we flee from the very congregation of God in order to keep our hearts pure? Shame! Shame! If we cannot find a safe asylum there !
To conclude: there is nothing either wrong or evil about your female physical form. It is the creation of God, and we know everything He created was “very good.” The woman was created “for the man” (1Corinthians 11:9) to be a “help meet for him.” Her role in the life of mankind was to be different from that of the man. That's why there are both physical and mental differences between these two. But the differences were designed to work in natural harmony as they certainly did before the Fall. The first man was greatly delighted when God first brought his wife to him. She was taken from a part of his own flesh, and he treated her as that for the whole time they remained innocent. There was no shade of carnality in their minds.
When God creates differences, the purpose is harmony, happiness, and peace. From the moment of the first fall, Satan's effort has been to use these differences to foster strife, hatred, envy, self-exaltation, covetousness, jealousy, and lust.
This is the time when the controversy between Christ and Satan reaches its climax. We are deciding our own eternal destiny by the side on which we choose to stand. Both men and women! If you want to serve self and the devil, you can continue to display your body to the world, be the same as others are, do as others do, trying to capture the attention of others to yourself, thus satisfying your pride. And at the end, Jesus will tell you that you had received your reward in this world, and there is no portion for you in the eternal life, however “religiously active” you may have been. Through your influence you have disseminated only temptation, sin, infidelity, and anguish.
If you want to stand on the side of Christ and make Him and His word your “man of counsel,” then you will certainly create a holy atmosphere around you through obeying His word. You will certainly pray for God's help to find how to tastefully “adorn yourselves in modest apparel with shamefacedness and sobriety." 1Timothy 2:9. The extravagance in which the world abounds will be refused and you will “lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.” Matthew 6:20. And, in the end, you will be counted among the wise virgins. May God help you!
Sincerely, your brother in Christ.
P.S. This letter is meant to be an instruction to Christian women. However if it happened that a brother read it, I have something to tell you too. There is a wonderful word in the book of Job 31:1 “I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?” The word translated here from Hebrew as think means “fix attention” or “watch thoroughly”, as it reads in the translations of some other languages: “why then should I gaze upon a maid [woman]?” I made this verse mine own many years ago and did make a covenant with mine eyes. And believe me, dear brother, with daily prayer, being strengthened by the power of God, it works miracles. It works for me as it worked for Job and Joseph, and it will work for you too - that is if you are serious about it. Only make a distinction whether you really mean to be a son of God or a son of the world.
The other thing I wanted to tell you is that what you have read about women's dress and its temptations is essentially true about men's dress too. Nakedness is nakedness, regardless whether you deal with male or female. Tight clothes, naked legs, and upper arms and shoulders, open shirt buttons, etc. – all these things attract the eyes of women, and have an impact on their hearts. They may not gaze at you as freely as men often gaze at women but the impression is made. I am not a woman but I took the word of women when I discussed this with them. With blush in their faces they said these things affect them physically and emotionally.
Let us then be men and women of God, let us obey His word, let us not be overwhelmed by the huge majority of those who are in rebellion against God, and let us not be afraid to be distinct from them. The sons and daughters of God are only those who refuse to accept anything that is based on pride, display, and rebellion. Let us submit ourselves to God, resist the devil and he will flee from us (see James 4:7.) After we do this, we may with confidence ask the Lord to make us a savor unto life to those who may still be saved. There is not much time left. God bless you!
The text of the above article was taken from a brochure of the same name (The Sin of Bath-Sheba), published by Pra del Torno Publishing . It has been rendered here in unchanged form as it appears in that brochure. Should you need printed copy(ies), please contact the editor at pradeltorno@gmail.com

 http://www.remnantraiment.com/subpages/SinofBathsheba2.htm



THE SIN OF BATH-SHEBA  

       2 Samuel 11:2 
       An Address to Christian Women 
       By a Brother in Christ   
Note: This article has been widely distributed anonymously, as the author prefers not to be known. Understanding these issues from a man's perspective gives added insight as to the reasons for modesty.
       We hear a great deal about the sin of David, but seldom does anyone mention the sin of Bath-sheba. And it is true enough that David's sin was very great and Bath-sheba's very small. David's sin was deliberate and presumptuous, Bath-Sheba's only a sin of ignorance. David committed adultery and murder; Bath-Sheba only carelessly and undesignedly exposed herself before David's eyes. We have no doubt that David's sin was great and Bath-Sheba's small. Yet it remains a fact that Bath-Sheba's little sin was the *cause * of David's great sin. Her little sin of ignorance, her little thoughtless and careless exposure of herself, was the spark that kindled a great devouring flame. "Behold how great a matter a little fire kindleth!" On the one side, only a little carelessness--only a little thoughtless, unintentional exposure of herself before the eyes of David. But on the other side, adultery and guilt of conscience; murder and the loss of a husband, besides the death in battle of other innocent men; great occasion for the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme; the shame of an illegitimate pregnancy, and the death of the child; the uprising and death of Absalom; the defiling of David's wives in the sight of all Israel,; the sword never departing from David's house (II Samuel 12:11-18).
        Again I say, "Behold how great a matter a little fire kindleth!" None of this great evil would ever have taken place if Bath-Sheba had only been careful not to display her body in the sight of a man.
         Observe: she neither designed nor foresaw any of this evil, yet she was the occasion of it all. She did not display herself *purposely* or *wantonly*:she did it only *ignorantly* and *thoughtlessly*. Yet the results of her little sin of ignorance were just the same as if it had been purposeful wantonness.
        Now the reason for my writing all of the above is this: there are many Christian women today who are guilty of the same carelessness as Bath-sheba was. Godly women, who would recoil with horror from the very thought of wantonly displaying their bodies, do nevertheless carelessly and thoughtlessly display themselves habitually, by the manner in which they dress. I do not write to accuse them of intentional wantonness. I believe they are as innocent of that as Bath-Sheba was. But neither can I altogether excuse them from blame in the matter. The whole world is well aware that certain kinds of feminine dress are provocative and tempting to the eyes and heart of a man--and are Christian women alone altogether naive and ignorant? This can hardly be; and yet I do not write to blame you, but to instruct you--to provoke you to love and good works, to make you thoughtful where you have been thoughtless before, to make you careful for the spiritual welfare of the weakest of your brethren, where you were careless about it before, to make you wise where before you were simple.
        The first thing that must be understood is that nakedness before the eyes of others is wrong. It is wrong in a man, and it is wrong in a woman. When Adam and Eve sinned, "God made coats of skins, and clothed them". The sole reason for his clothing them was to cover their nakedness, as the Genesis account makes plain. Observe, he clothed them with *coats*. They were already wearing aprons, which probably covered as much as, or more than, much of the clothing that is worn today. Yet, in spite of their aprons, they were still naked in their own eyes and God's.
         And God did not clothe them with shorts, or swimming suits, or tank tops, or "halter" tops, or anything of the sort--not with jackets, either, but with coats, long coats, or *robes* as the word might be properly translated: .Observe further, he "clothed *them*" with coats. He did not clothe Eve with a coat, and Adam with a pair of shorts. He clothed them *both* with *coats*--whence we may assuredly gather that nakedness is just as wrong in a man as it is in a woman. 
       But if it is equally wrong for a man to expose his nakedness as it is for a woman, it is not equally dangerous, for the passions of women are not so easily or thoroughly aroused by the sight of a man's body--and many women affirm that the sight does not arouse them at all. A man may therefore (though he ought not to) go three-fourths naked, and not do so much damage by it. But when a woman exposes herself only a little, she becomes a fiery dart to tempt the heart of every man who sees her. Like it or not, this is the plain fact. And because this is a fact, you are not at liberty to dress any way you please. 
       "What? Know ye not your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. " as well as your spirit. (I Cor. 6:19-20)
        But if you dress in such a way as to expose your body, or parts of it, to the lustful gaze of every man who chooses to look at you, you certainly do not glorify God in your body. And if you fear God and love your neighbor, you *dare* not dress so. You dare not use the temple of the Holy Ghost as an instrument of unrighteousness to allure the eyes and tempt the hearts and tantalize the passions of men.
        Many men are wicked and will lust after you in spite of anything you can do to prevent it. They have "eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin" (II Pet. 2:14). Should you therefore help them to sin? Should you put further temptation in their way? Will God excuse you if you do? Other men, godly men, are not wicked, but only weak. David was not wicked. He was a man after God's own heart. But in the presence of an unclothed woman, he was weak--and it would be a rare man who was not. Brethren in Christ are not wicked, but they may be weak. And the devil does all he can do to weaken them further. They are forced to live in a world where they are continually bombarded with sights which are designed by the enemy of their souls to weaken their morals and destroy their purity of heart. 
       And must Christian women help the devil do his work? Must they make themselves a temptation to their brethren even in the congregation of God? Oh, that you could understand the fierce and bitter conflict in the souls of your brethren, when you arouse their desires by the careless display of your feminine beauty. Oh, that you could hear their pleadings with God for help and deliverance from the power of these temptations. Oh that you could see their tears of shame and repentance when the temptation has overcome them, and they have sinned with eyes and heart and mind. Never again would you plead for your right to dress as you please.
        The fact is, you have no such right. You have no right to destroy by your careless dress the brother for whom Christ died. You are bought with a price, and you are not your own. You are duty-bound to glorify God in your body - to clothe that body, not as you will, but as God wills. And a little of real love for the souls of your brethren would remove for ever from your heart the desire to dress as you please. For, "We then that are strong ought to bear with the Infirmities [that is, weaknesses] of the weak, and *not to please ourselves*. Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself, but as it is written, " the reproaches of them that reproached thee fell upon me ". (Rom. 15:1-3) Christ was willing to deny himself all the glories of heaven, and bear all the reproaches of the ungodly for your sake, in order to save your soul, and will you plead for your right to please yourself in your dress? Can you not deny yourself a little of comfort to save another man's soul? Can you not bear a little reproach for being "old-fashioned" or "out of style", in order to help your brother in his battle against sin?
        You may think I'm making too much of too little. You may suppose the case is not so serious as I have represented it to be. But consider: you are a woman, and cannot experience the passions of a man. You have your own passions, but they are not the same as a man's. They are (generally speaking) not so strong as a man's. Neither are they so easily excited or inflamed as a man's. Nor are they excited in the same manner as a man's. If you would understand the workings of a man's passions towards a woman, you must take a man's word for it. You cannot experience it yourself. And the plain fact is, a man's passions are easily excited by the *sight*of woman's body, as was plainly the case with David and Bath-Sheba, when he beheld her washing herself. Most men, 'tis true, will be better able to resist your allurement than David did Bath-Sheba's. They will not go so far as to seduce or rape you. But how do you know that they can resist the thought and desire of it? How do you know they do not sin with their eyes and heart and imagination? There is great pleasure to a man in merely looking and lusting, even though he goes no farther. You know very well the Bible says, "Whosoever *looketh* on a woman to *lust* after her, hath committed adultery already with her in his heart"(Matt 5:28), and will you say that this is not a serious matter? It is serious, for it is *sin* , and sin is serious. 
       Sin blights and deforms and ruins and destroys and damns. And if you would know just *how* serious a matter this is, you need only read the next verse, which says, "if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee; for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body be cast into hell". Here is probably the most solemn statement in the Bible concerning the seriousness of sin, and it is spoken with reference to the very sin, which you may so lightly and thoughtlessly occasion by your careless dress.
        This is not a light matter and you dare not treat it lightly. At this point, you may say, "Amen: all true, but I do not need to hear it, for *I* dress modestly". Are you quite sure of it? If you follow the practices and fashions of this age, you assuredly do not dress modestly, for modesty is ignored by many of them, and purposely thrown to the wind by many others. And it may be that you, being a woman, and not able to see yourself through a man's eyes, are unable to perceive that which may really be tempting and provocative in your own dress. God would have you to be "as wise as serpents and harmless as doves" (Matt 10:16). But if you unthinkingly dress as the rest of the world does, you are assuredly neither wise nor harmless. Not wise, for however ignorant and innocent you may be, you are following a system of fashion which is designed by wicked men and devils to break down and destroy the morals of men. Not harmless, for however little you may intend it, you thus make yourself a fiery dart in the hands of the wicked one to tempt every man who sees you. You will pardon my plain speaking then, if I give you some specific instructions in order to make you *wise*. That being done, I have confidence that the godliness of your own heart will make you *harmless*.
         As said before, the obvious design of God in making clothes for Adam and Eve was to cover their nakedness, and any clothing which fails to do so cannot be right. Bare backs, bare midriffs, bare legs and thighs, are *wrong*   wrong in the sight of that God who clothed Adam and Eve with coats to cover their bare bodies. Shorts, halter tops, swimming suits, and anything and everything else which intentionally leave you partially nude, have no place in the dress of a woman professing godliness. Whatever the rest of the world may do, *you* are bound to do *right*. And whatever the rest of the *church* may do, you are bound to do right. And the things, which I just mentioned, are so obvious and so flagrant a violation of the purpose of God in clothing you, that there ought not to be a moment's question as to what is right. But (alas) the standards of the church are sunk so low in our day that there are actually Christians and preachers who will defend such things. They will actually defend what is called "mixed bathing"--that is, men and women freely mixing together in almost a state of nudity. Have they no shame? Have they no sense? I do not believe they will defend such things when they stand before the judgment seat of Christ. If they have no shame now, they will have some then. Meanwhile, we will say no more about forms of dress which so obviously thwart the purpose of God. Let us turn our thoughts to some things which, while less flagrant, nevertheless violate the evident purpose of clothing.
        *Short dresses*
       You need no one to tell you that these are wrong. The whole world knows they are provocative to a man's eyes. But women who profess godliness, women who ought to know better, will simply follow the current fashions of the world, long or short, without any reference to what is *right*. Others will quibble about how short is too short. Rather than making very sure their dresses are plenty long, they will make them as short as they dare, while still persuading themselves they are long enough. You may stand at attention in front of your mirror, and persuade yourself that your too-short dress reveals nothing, but only let you sit down, only let you bend over, only let you get in or out of a car, and what a spectacle of nudity you present. And whether you design it or not, and whether you like it or not, those nude legs and thighs of yours are provocation to lust in the eyes of men. 
       For the same reason you ought to have nothing to do with those skirts which are slit half-way up the sides. Who cannot see the design of such a fashion is to expose your thighs to view? Or is it to enable you to walk? So much the worse if it is. If your skirt is so tight, that you cannot walk without cutting the sides, by all means throw it away, and get something with a little more material. We shall have more to say about *tight* clothing later on.
        Do you ask how long your dresses out to be? See that your legs are well covered below the knee, front and back, while you are bending over and sitting down, and you will be safe enough. But be careful here: it is not enough that your legs should be covered only from the vantage point of your own eyeballs. When you bend over or sit down, the *front* of your dress will be naturally hang lower, so as to cover more of your legs, but the *back* will be drawn up so as to cover less. 
       Very often I have seen women sit down and carefully arrange the front of their skirt so as to cover the topside of their thighs from their own view, while leaving the sides and undersides of their thighs completely exposed to the view of anyone sitting across from them. And this will be unavoidable if your dresses are so short that they only cover you down to the knees while you are standing erect. If you would be safe, your dresses should cover you well below the knee *in all postures*.
        *Low necklines*
       Again, the whole world knows very well that these are a great temptation to the eyes of a man. And if you are a godly woman, no doubt you would never dream of purposely wearing a neckline too low. But you may be doing it nevertheless, through thoughtlessness or ignorance. It is not only low necklines which offend, but also *large* or *loose* ones. You stand erect in front of your mirror wearing a large or loose neckline, and think it perfectly modest. But only bend over a little, so that the material of your blouse falls away from your body, and immediately the most provocative and tempting part of your anatomy is exposed to the view of any man who happens to be standing in front of you. 
       The same is true, of course, when you dress with the top two or three of your buttons of your blouse unbuttoned. This *looks* provocative, even if nothing were actually exposed by it. This *looks* seductive. It looks to a man as though you must *design* to expose yourself and tantalize his passions. What else can he think? For what other purpose could you leave two or three buttons of your blouse unbuttoned? Do you say it is for comfort? Because you cannot bear a tight , choking collar? I believe you could *learn* to bear it. as the men of the world do in order to display their stylish neckties. 
       But waive that. It may be legitimate to leave your blouse open at the neck for comfort's sake, and it may even be modest(depending upon the garment), provided you unbutton *one button only*. There can be no possible reason or excuse for leaving two or three buttons open. It will not add to your comfort. It is simply following a wicked fashion of a wicked world. Your collar will no more choke you with one button open than it will with three. One button open will always be a great plenty for comfort's sake, and with some blouses it will be too much. If you can leave your top button open, yet not expose your breasts when you bend over and the material of your blouse falls away from your bosom, very well.
        This may depend upon the nature of the blouse, as well as the size of your bust. But if there is any danger of exposing yourself, you had better button all your buttons. You might set the top button down an inch or so, and make another buttonhole for it, and thus provide for both comfort and modesty. You can scarcely be too careful here, for there is no part of a woman's body so alluring to a man as her breasts, and when a man sees a woman with the top two or three of her buttons open, he will probably conclude it is her intention to tempt and tantalize men. Is this the impression you wish to give? If not, button your buttons, snap your snaps, and zip your zippers. And if you happen to bend over a little in front of a man, and he sees your breasts actually exposed because of your large, loose, low, or open necklines, unless he is a very rare man, he *will* be tantalized by the sight, whatever you may think or intend.
        Therefore you cannot do as the rest of the world does. Let your neckline be high enough and small enough to in fact be a neckline, and not a chest or shoulder line, and you will be safe. Note well: this means if the neck hole of your garment is large enough to slip over your head, it is probably too large. Your necklines should be of the sort that you can *close up* with buttons or snaps after you put the garment on.
        *Sleeveless Blouses*
       Sleeveless blouses always reveal too much. Little as you may be able to understand it, your underarms, and the parts of your chest or back which immediately adjoin them , are very attractive to a man; and a sleeveless blouse cannot help but display these parts. You must also bear in mind that others will see you at all angles and in all positions, and the armholes of a sleeveless blouse will often allow a man to see inside of the blouse, especially when your arms are uplifted or outstretched, thus displaying part of your chest, and probably some of your breast.
        The same is true of a short sleeved blouse which has very large or loose sleeves. This may be perfectly modest as long as you keep your elbows at your sides, but as soon as you raise your arms, you create an opening through which a man may see inside your blouse, and this is a great snare to his heart. Remember you are a woman, and cannot see yourself as a man sees you. I am a man, and know what it is to be tempted by such sights. And if only the weakest of your brethren might be tempted by your sleeveless or loose-sleeve blouses, ought you not deny yourself a little of comfort or of fashion, and conceal your body a little better for his good?
        *Sheer clothing*
        It ought to be unnecessary to say anything about clothing, which is so light or sheer that a man may see through it. The obvious and undeniable purpose of such clothing is to thwart the purpose of clothing, and expose your body rather than covering it. This you cannot help but realize. Everyone else knows it also, and when a man sees you thus attired, what can he think but that is your *intention* to display your body in his sight? And yet are so low the standards in the church today that it is not uncommon to see Christian women wearing see-through clothing. If you have been guilty of this, your first business is to repent   to reject anything which is obviously and purposely sheer. You ought to be careful also not to wear any material which is so light or so thin that it may be seen through when you are in direct light, such as in front of a window. Finally, reject any material of a very coarse weave: wear *clothing*, not *netting*.
         *Tight clothing*
       Dress which explicitly reveals your *form* is as bad as that which reveals your nakedness. The whole world knows that such dress is provocative   notoriously and proverbially so and when a man sees a woman dressed in tight clothing that reveals and displays every curve of her form his passions will certainly be excited by the sight--perhaps not so quickly or strongly as they would be by the sight of your naked form, but excited nonetheless. The world calls tight clothing "revealing", which is exactly what it is and as such it is an obvious violation of the purpose of God in clothing you. Every woman who professes godliness, therefore, ought religiously to refuse every form of dress which reveals and displays her figure. 
        Specifically, you should avoid sweater, sweat shirts, tee shirts, and anything made of knit, stretchy, or soft, clinging material, unless perhaps the fit is *very loose*.
        *Woven material*, with some stiffness and body to it, will conceal your form much better. This is of the utmost importance, especially for a woman who is large in the bust. There is no sight on earth which will surely attract a man's eyes, and so quickly inflame his passions, as the sight of a woman's breasts--whether they are actually exposed, or their form displayed by tight or clinging clothing. This is a fact which the world knows very well. Twenty-five years ago the world was singing a popular song about the pleasure of seeing a woman in a sweater and a tight skirt. Now the natures of man and woman have not changed in twenty-five years. When a man looks at you he should see your clothing, and not the shape and form of everything which is inside it. Sweaters, tee shirts, and knit blouses in their very nature cling to your body and reveal and display the shape and form of it. And you must take a man's word for it that the *shape and form* of a woman's body, even though it is covered with clothing, will draw his eyes, inflame his passions, or arouse his imagination, just about as quickly and surely as the sight of her actual skin. I do not say it is impossible for a woman to wear a sweater or knit shirt which is not too revealing. What I do say is that the sweaters and knit tops which American women usually wear are almost always too tight. They might do better if they would wear their sweaters several sizes larger than they usually do. A woman who is very small in the bust may fairly easily wear sweaters which are loose enough to conceal her form, but the larger her breasts are, the more difficult this will become. A woman who is large in the bust had best avoid knit clothing altogether.
        She will have a hard enough time of it to conceal her form without wearing sweaters. I cannot emphasize this too much, or insist upon it too strongly. A woman  especially a woman who is large in the bust  must understand, must take a man's word for it, that the sight of her bust may take away a man's heart in a moment. If she would please her God and help her brother in this fight against sin, she must dress in such a way as to hide and conceal the form of her breasts. She must therefore wear *loose-fitting* blouses of woven (not stretchy or knit) material. If she wishes to wear a sweater for warmth, she can easily wear a loose cotton blouse *over* (not under it), and be warmer yet. True this would not be *stylish*, but no matter about that. I am writing for godly women, who would rather please God than the world. Understand also that you will accomplish little by exchanging tight sweaters for tight blouses. A blouse of woven material in its very nature will conceal your form better than a sweater, but it may still be provocative enough if it is too tight. You ladies who are overweight often offend in this, by wearing the same clothes you would if you were twenty or thirty pounds lighter. And it is nothing but foolish pride, which keeps you from wearing a larger size.
        Your blouse should never be stretched tight across your bosom, but should have enough slack in the fit that when a man looks at you he sees the blouse, and not the form of what is inside of it. For this reason you should also learn to avoid provocative positions and postures. By this I mean any position which makes your bust prominent, or stretches your clothing tight over it--such as standing with your hands on your hips and your elbows thrown back, or yawning and stretching with your back arched. You should likewise refuse dresses with what is called and "empress waistline" which girds the garment around your body immediately below the bust, instead of at the waist. The unavoidable effect of this is to prominently display your bust.
        Again I tell you, I am a man, and know very well what it is to be tempted by such sights and it may take only a moment's involuntary sight to turn a man's heart into the wrong channels.
        *Slacks*
       Here we have come to a bone of contention which divides churches, families, and friends. The background is this: historically in our culture, the men have worn pants, and the women dresses. This is an undisputed fact, which is embodied in the proverbial expression that a wife who runs the house "wears the pants in the family". The "women's liberation movement", which is more than a century old, has sought to put the pants on all the women, figuratively speaking. It has sought to "liberate" the woman from her God-appointed place of subjection to the man, and to give her "equal rights" to do whatever the man may do . The spirit of this movement has also put upon the woman's body the man's clothing   namely slacks. And the church has followed the world in so doing. Many of the older and stricter men of God, less influenced by the world themselves, take a strong stand against women wearing pants. Slacks, they say, are men's clothing, and (on the basis of Deut. 22:5) it is an abomination for a woman to wear them.
        The younger set, most of whom have grown up wearing slacks themselves, and who probably know nothing of the historical background of the question, can see no point in the stand which their elders take, and so regard it as narrow-minded and petty. "The slacks which I wear", they say, "were made for women and are not men's clothing".
        On the one side it may be urged that God made neither slacks for Adam, nor a dress for Eve, but coats for both of them. Yet Deut. 22:5 certainly assumes that the same clothing is not to be worn by both men and women, and it is also certain that historically in our country the slacks have been the men's clothing. Or it may be urged that the culture has changed, so that slacks are now acceptable clothing for women also. Yet when we consider the sinister forces which have wrought to change this culture, we may plead that the change is in no way recognized by God, but is an abomination to Him. I say no more than this, for it is outside the purpose of this article to settle this controversy. I do not ask here, is it wrong in the *eyes of God* to wear slacks? I ask, what effect are her slacks likely to have on the *eyes of men*?
        And first, in their very nature, slacks are apt to reveal and display your form. Women contend for *modest* slacks, but who wears them? In the very nature of the case, it is difficult to make a pair of modest slacks (especially for a woman who has a full figure), and as a matter of fact, it is an extremely rare thing to see a woman in slacks which are not too tight. Why is this? Why may men wear slacks which fit loosely, while the slacks of women must cling to every inch of their thighs and hips and buttocks and crotch? Verily it is because the god of this world who inspires these styles, and he knows his business only too well. He knows only too well that it is a snare to a man's heart to have displayed before his eyes the form of a woman's thighs and buttocks and crotch.
        Your crotch, your "private part" you ought to by all means keep carefully concealed at all times, and there is nothing that will do it so well as a *dress*. A *loose-fitting* skirt or dress, *provided it is not too short*, is also the best possible clothing with which to conceal all of the tempting parts of the anatomy which reside between your waist and your knees. But some women suppose that because their slacks are not skintight, they are therefore modest. Well, now, suppose that your slacks are loose enough that they leave a little space between the material and your skin. Still they basically display the form of your legs and thighs and buttocks. This is the nature of the garment and can hardly be avoided. And further, as soon as you bend over, or sit and squat, those "modest" slacks of yours will be stretched just as tight over parts of your form as the skintight slacks which other women wear.
        So unless you are so thin that you have no form with which to attract a man, or so fat that your form will only disgust him (and *you* are no competent judge of this), you had best leave slacks alone. Though you may not be able to understand it (for the sight of a man will probably not affect you in the same way), it is the *sight* of the *form* which will arouse a man's passions. What a man's touch is to a woman, the *sight* of a woman is to a man. This is plain enough in the Bible account of David and Bath-Sheba, and every honest man will tell you the same thing. You must believe it on the word of a man, though you may not be able to understand it. The *sight* of the *form* of your thighs and buttocks and crotch will tempt the heart of a man, and it is the nature of slacks to display the form of those parts. Some, who believe it is wrong for a woman to wear slacks, but who wish to accommodate their ladies for more masculine type activities, recommend the wearing of culottes, which are a sort of a cross between a skirt and slacks. Our only question concerning them is, are they modest or immodest? They may be either, depending upon several things. If they are fashioned so as to look like a loose-fitting skirt, or are long enough, they may be as modest as a skirt. Unfortunately, many of them more nearly resemble slacks, or even shorts, than a skirt. If yours are long enough and loose enough to keep you covered and concealed in all postures, they may be as acceptable as a modest skirt.
        Enough for specific instructions. We must next answer some objections.
         First: "What right has this fellow to prescribe all of these legalistic rules for women?" I answer, if we lived without sin in the garden of Eden, you could dress just as you please, or not dress at all, and hurt no one by it. But in this world you cannot, and if you do, you will only be contributing to swell the tide of sin. I write for godly women, who want to do what is right, but who are not likely to know *how* without some instruction from a man. I seek only to give you some instruction, which only a man can give, concerning the effects your dress will have on the men who see you. And I suppose that truly godly women will be happy to receive such instruction. It is usually the worldly, who are not willing to do right at any cost, who raise the cry of legalism.
        But "This is a small matter, and not worthy of so much ado". We ought to occupied with the weightier matters of the heart, and not make such a fuss over little outward things". This may be an outward thing, but it is not a little one. Can you read Matthew 5:28-29, and yet contend that this is a small matter?
        But suppose it is a little matter: can you therefore lightly pass over it, or ignore it? Not so, for "he that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much, and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much". (Luke 16:10) The Lord does not rebuke the Jews for attending to the small matters, but only because they did so to the neglect of the weightier matters. "These (the weightier matters) ye ought to have done, and *not to leave the other* (the small matters) undone." (Luke 11:42)
        But, "Any man who views women so must be perverted". Yes: be it known to you that men are perverted. All men. We are sinners. Our pristine purity is lost, and our hearts are natural and strongly inclined to sin, and especially the sin of lust. Sin *easily* besets us. (Heb.12:1) But understand, though all men are perverted from their original purity, and though the *passions* of all men (except those who are perverted in a worse way) are alike in this matter, I would not want to leave you with the impression that the practices of all men are alike, or with feelings of uneasiness in the presence of men. If you but *dress right* and *act right*, and associate with the right kind of men, in the right kind of situations, there will be little occasion for you to be uneasy or uncomfortable. But there will be plenty of occasion for you to be *careful*,even in the presence of the best men. Why? Because though the godly "have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts"(Gal.5:24), have renounced the unlawful indulgence of those desires   yet the desires themselves remain. It is in the godly that "the flesh lusteth against the Spirit" (vs. 17).
        Men may strive hard to mortify those passions, but it is a matter of plain historical fact, attested also by virtually universal experience, that the most sincere and diligent endeavors to mortify those passions are usually not very successful. The most of men, even the best of men, are likely to be overcome by those passions. It was a man of God who was overcome by the allurement of Bathsheba. And since those passions are usually not to be subdued by mortification, God himself prescribes a more effectual method, which is *satisfaction*. "It is better to marry than to burn"(1 Cor. 7:9) "To avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband" (vs.2) He advises further, that being married, we could in moderation, indulge in the satisfaction of those passions, "that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency" (vs. 5).
        "Incontinency" is lack of self-control. It is, in plain English, the lack of ability to control those passions. And Paul, writing by inspiration of the Holy Ghost, simply *assumes* that even the godly are likely to be *incontinent*" when it comes to the matter of sexual desire. And history and experience unite to prove that many of the godliest of men--including men who are godly and *married*   have a very hard struggle against the unlawful indulgence of those passions, in look or in thought.
        Why is this? I believe it is most often to be accounted for in the fact that their passions have never been laid to rest by the satisfaction which marriage is designed to give them. Their own marriage, for whatever reason, is not what a marriage is designed to be. Mere physical gratification can never satisfy the heart of a man (any more than it can the heart of a woman).For a man to be fully satisfied, and his passions fixed upon an object, and so be laid to rest, he must be "ravished always with LOVE" (Prov. 5:19).And yet if you go through life with your eyes open, you must be well aware that this ravishing love is the very thing, which is missing in many marriages among both the godly and ungodly. Some have been led to marry without ever possessing that kind of love in the first place. Others had it when they married, but from various causes have lost it. Now whether you wish to pity such persons, or blame them, or both, the fact will still remain that there are many marriages, which fall short of providing that ravishing romantic fulfillment which will satisfy a man's passions and lay them to rest.
        And it is another fact that a man who finds himself in such a position, however he may have gotten there, will have a very bitter struggle to try to subdue those passions, which are still longing for fulfillment, but cannot obtain it. 
       Proverbs 5:19 says ,"let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou always ravished with her love." There are two kinds of satisfaction spoken of here, the one "by her breasts" and the other "by her love". The former is obviously *physical*, the latter is, for lack of a better term, *emotional*. The first engages the body; the second engages the soul. Every *normal* man's sexual desires embrace both of these things. (And so , by the way, do every normal woman's. The physical desires may often predominate in men, while the emotional may predominate in women; but neither man nor woman can be satisfied without the fulfillment of both).
        No man's passions are ever satisfied and laid to rest until he possesses *both* of these things together, in the same woman. You know very well that the most ravishing love on earth will never satisfy a man until he actually possesses the object of his affections in physical lovemaking. But it is equally true that physical gratification alone, without a deep and delightful romantic love, will ever satisfy a man either. He must have both together. If he lacks one or the other (or both) he will find his passions still persistently longing for fulfillment, in spite of all his endeavors to subdue them. And those desires are easily excited by the sight of the feminine form.
        The battle is a hard one, and a man who is very strong spiritually, but who lacks the fulfillment of those desires, may in fact fare worse in the struggle than a much weaker man who has found the fulfillment which every man craves. David, we know, was a man of God, and through out the Old Testament histories, he is held up as a standard of godliness by which all of his successors are judged. But the fact that he took many wives is a pretty sure indicator that he never found that *complete satisfaction in ONE*, which every man craves, and which is the strength of every man who possesses it. Therefore his desires still burned, and David was weak.
        To return to the original question: whether men are "perverted" or not is really beside the point. How far his desires are normal and right, or how far they are the result of his sinfulness, may be difficult to determine. But what difference does it make? You must deal with the facts as they are, not as you wish they were. The real facts are: many men do not possess the ravishing romantic fulfillment, which they cannot help but crave, and they are therefore weak, and easily tempted by the sight of the feminine form. Suppose that *some* men are so strong, or so fully satisfied in their own marriage, that you could not tempt them if you would, what then? The fact remains that *many* men are weak and unsatisfied and burning. With the strong you need not concern yourself, but you are bound by duty (as you *ought* to be moved by *love*) to "bear the weaknesses of the weak"  yes, even of the weakest and not to put stumbling blocks in their way.(Rom.15:1)
        But "If a man looks on me to lust, that is his sin, not mine". Nay--"Now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat [or thy *dress*]for whom Christ died...It is good neither to eat flesh, nor drink wine, *nor any thing which thy brother stumbleth or is offended and made weak* ". (Rom. 14:15,21) David was made weak, David was made to stumble, by Bath-Sheba's careless exposure of herself, and your display of your feminine beauty will have the same effect upon your brethren.
        After reading this article you can hardly plead that you do not know this, and "to him that *knoweth* to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin" (James 4:17). If you were completely ignorant of the effects your dress might have upon a man, you might dress as you please without sin, but not otherwise. Every man is fully responsible for his own sin, but you will certainly be held in some sense responsible for another man's sin, if you provoke him to it. To Ezekiel, God said, "When I say unto the wicked , O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; *but his blood will I require at thine hand*" (Ezekiel 33:8). The wicked is fully responsible for his own sin, and shall surely die for it. But the watchman is held accountable also, merely because he failed to do what he could have done to turn the other man from sin. How much more will you be held accountable if you put stumbling blocks in another man's way, and actually provoke him to sin? 
       But "If I were to follow all of these instructions, I would have to buy a whole new wardrobe, and that I cannot afford". My sister, you can not afford to sin. If you are a real Christian, you came to Christ resolving to forsake every sin, and do the whole will of God, at any cost. If you have a will to do right--you will find a way--or cry to God to provide one. You can afford to change the way you dress. You cannot afford to sin, or to provoke others to sin.
        But "I am not attractive or shapely. No man is likely to be tempted by the sight of me. Therefore I may dress as I please". In the first place, you are no proper judge of what is attractive to a man. It is of course true that a shapely and beautiful woman is more likely to be a temptation to a man than a plain woman, but it is also true that a woman who is not attractive to one man will probably be to another, and even the homeliest will attract somebody. But just suppose that you are actually so ugly that no man would ever look twice at you. What about your example to other women? What about your example to babes in Christ, who have dressed improperly through all their ungodly life, and who may now be looking to you to teach them and lead them in the right way? Do you want them to look at you, and excuse their own improper dress on the basis of your example?
        Finally, some women are so naive, so ignorant of the nature of men, that they suppose that because no men are actually making advances or propositions to them, they must be no temptation to any man. Let them understand that a man derives great pleasure--sinful pleasure--from *looking* at women, from looking at any and every attractive woman. Why do you suppose that men spend millions of dollars a year for pornographic *pictures*? Let the *pictures* be left out of the pornographic magazines, and see how many copies they would sell! What pleasure is there which prompt men to continually purchase at so great an expense? What pleasure can pictures afford them, except the pleasure of looking? It is looking at a woman's body, which inflames a man's passions and regales his imagination, and there is great pleasure in that looking.
        Most men will freely indulge in that pleasure, with little or no restraint. They will feast their eyes upon the feminine form wherever they may find it, and this of course will include your form if you dress so as to expose and display it. Godly men will recognize that pleasure as sinful, except when it is confined to their own wife, and they will fight hard to resist the temptation and conquer the sin. But because of the extreme strength and intensity of the male passions, they find this to be a very hard battle. The spirit is willing, but in the face of strong and continual temptations, the flesh is weak. To will is present with them, but sometimes how to perform they find not. In spite of all their determination and praying and striving, they may find their eyes seemingly involuntarily drawn to the sight of a beautiful and shapely woman, and a moment's involuntary sight may be enough to take the heart away. A man who has gained some mastery over this kind of temptation may easily resist the initial onslaught, but constant exposure to such allurements may weaken and break down even the strongest. Therefore we are told to "*flee* youthful lusts"(II Tim. 2:22)   to flee from the very presence of such temptations. but whither shall we flee in this wicked world? Must we flee from the very congregation of God in order to keep our hearts pure? Shame! Shame! If we cannot find a safe asylum there!
        To conclude: there is nothing at all evil or wrong about your physical beauty. It is the creation of God, and is, like all that He has created, "very good". It was designed by God for a specific purpose: the woman was made "for the man"(1 Cor. 11:9) The perfectly obvious design of your beauty is to ravish and satisfy the heart of a man but *a* man, not of every man. If God has joined you to that one man, then by all means give that beauty to him with all your heart, and say to him, "make hast my beloved, and be thou like to a roe or to a young hart upon the mountains of spices" (Song of Solomon 8:14). Let him be, as God commands him, satisfied with you at all times, and always ravished with your love (Prov 5:19) . Thus satisfied, he will be the less susceptible to the beauty of charms of other women. Thus used, the beauty of your body will glorify the God who gave it to you, and serve the man for who it was given. But if you put it on display and prostitute it to the gaze of the whole world, you only glorify yourself and serve the devil.
       Postscript. If you are as most woman are, much of the material in this article may be new and strange to you. You may not be able to understand it, and may be reluctant to believe it. Some of the woman who have read the manuscript can scarcely be persuaded to believe that the male passions are as I have represented them, but the *men* to whom I have submitted it, have fully endorsed it. One of them (a godly man, and a preacher) said, "I wish I had about 2 million copies". I beg you therefore to *believe* these things, though you may not be able to understand them. Secondly, I beg you not to be content with a single reading of this paper, but rather to study it thoroughly several times through, so that you may fully grasp and remember all that it says. Then, by all means, act upon what it teaches you. And finally, do everything in your power to teach all these things to your sisters in Christ. In doing so you will very much oblige,
        Your Brothers in Christ.
        Notice: this may be freely photocopied and distributed. 
         Every soul in every conference, in every part of the Lord's vineyard, has the privilege of knowing the truth. But truth is not truth to those who do not practice it. Truth is only truth to you when you live it in daily life, showing the world what those people must be who are at last saved. GCB, April 3, 1901 par. 10



Discovering God's Rare Gems for Women

A trusting relationship with Jesus is a necessary component of salvation. He wants us to trust Him so completely that we have absolute assurance that anything He asks of us is for our ultimate best good. Without this deep faith, we cannot rest in His love, but instead we resist His counsel. As we learn to trust Him completely, there is no area of our life that is withheld from His management. His love in our hearts makes us willing to do whatever He asks.
As we submit our wills to Him, setting aside our desires, our preferences, our opinions, God is able to reveal wonderful truth to us. If we are ready to listen, He has abundant blessings and lessons to share with His us.
Gems of truth are like hidden treasure. We have discovered some wonderful and beautiful truths we would like to share. We would also invite you, after reading this article, to be a Berean and see if you can concur with these rare and very precious spiritual gems and principles that have become almost lost to our sight. WARNING: to understand these rare gems requires (1) a willing heart and (2) diligent individual effort to search these things out.
In our quest to draw closer to Jesus, some questions arise that should to be settled within our own hearts. In this article, we will explore four vital but rare principles of dress for Seventh-day Adventist women. Let us testify: we have searched diligently for the pearls, and upon finding them, have rejoiced exceedingly, for our thirsty souls have been abundantly refreshed and watered. For it has provided a divine antidote against the spiritual poison called worldliness and empowered our spiritual growth.
The first question under consideration is one we may have never asked ourselves before. Nevertheless, it is a very important question.

 

AM I A FOLLOWER OF FASHION?

In the Spirit of Prophecy we can find many references to fashion. This was a frequent topic in the writings of Ellen White. The dangers of becoming followers of the fashions of the world are clearly pointed out. We read of the slavery of fashion, the devotees of fashion, and about those who worship the goddess of fashion. We read about the idolatry of dress, the absorbing fashions, the mania and the feverish desire to follow fashions. We see that to be a follower of fashion is equivalent to being unconverted, and ultimately lost. Strong language is used to warn the followers of fashion of their spiritual danger.
In the Spirit of Prophecy we read of the folly of fashion, the frivolous, vain and foolish fashions. We are warned about demoralizing and immodest fashions, satanically inspired fashions, and degenerate fashions. We are urged not to imitate prevailing fashions, ever changing fashions, and ridiculous fashions. Strongly condemned are unhealthful fashions, extravagant, expensive and time-consuming fashions. Women are warned not to follow abominable fashions such as mannish fashions [resembling very nearly the dress worn by men] and unisex fashions [lack of distinction of dress between males and females]. All of these are called the fashions of the world, and we are clearly warned against following them.
The fashion goddess is not just out there in the world; she has marched right into our church:
“All matters of dress should be strictly guarded, following closely the Bible rule. Fashion has been the goddess who has ruled the outside world, and she often insinuates herself into the church.” {CG 430.2}
Can we see the evil effects of fashion around us? How are we to know which fashions are acceptable for a Seventh-day Adventist Christian, and which are deadly traps of the devil?
“No Christian can conform to the demoralizing fashions of the world without imperiling his soul's salvation.” {RH, March 31, 1891 par. 7}
With all this strong language, it would seem that we should have a clear picture in our minds of what it means to follow the fashions of the world. But we find just the opposite in our church today. This concept is vague and confusing to most. But the Spirit of Prophecy seems to make a clear distinction between the followers of fashion and those who are walking closely with God.
“Have we exerted our influence on the right side? Have we set the proper example, or have we been following the fashions of the world?” Ms 29, 1886.
Either we are setting a proper example by following God's principles, or we are ignoring God's principles to follow the fashions of the world. And there are many excuses to justify following the fashions:
“As we bear testimony against pride and following the fashions of the world, we are met with excuses and self-justification. Some urge the example of others…. It is the inventions and fashions of the world that have led God's people, and they are unwilling to move out independent of the fashions and customs of the world. While I study God's word, I am alarmed for the Israel of God in these last days. They are exhorted to flee from idolatry. I fear that God's people are asleep, and so conformed to the world that we can hardly know them, or discern between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not. The distance is widening between Christ and his people, and lessening between them and the world. The marks of distinction between Christ's professed people and the world, have almost disappeared. They follow after the abominations of the nations around them, as did ancient Israel.” {4bSG 66.1}
Do we know what these abominations are? If there are fashions out there that are abominations to God, we need to know what they are, don't we? What fashions are approved by God? Who will provide us with these answers? Are there guidelines that we can follow regarding this very important topic?
Some may think that in order to avoid being a follower of fashion, we just need to wait until the fashion is fully accepted by society. Then, when it's been in style for a while, some think it's perfectly alright to adopt it. That is surely faulty reasoning. It's not the passing of time that makes a style acceptable to God. If it was unacceptable to God when it first came into style, it will still be unacceptable to Him 10 or 50 years later.
There are clear guidelines given to the women of the Seventh-day Adventist Church about what God desires His daughters to wear, and what they are not to wear. We will find the divine principles on dress clearly outlined in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, so that we can make sure that we are pleasing God. Following the fashions of the world is so displeasing to God, that He prompted His prophetess to pen this serious warning:
“As soon as any have a desire to imitate the fashions of the world, that they do not immediately subdue, just so soon God ceases to acknowledge them as His children.” {1T 136.1}
How can we subdue an evil desire if we aren't sure what it is? This is serious, and we must find the answer! Following the fashions and customs of the world was considered to be such a serious sin in Ellen White's day that loss of membership could result from continued worldliness.
“But when they show that they are following the customs and fashions and sentiments of the world, they are to be faithfully dealt with. If they feel no burden to change their course of action, they should not be retained as members of the church.” {PH086 22.1}
How is it with us today? Are the fashions of the world more modest, more healthful, more feminine, more simple today than they were in her day? Has society improved and reformed, so that we can now safely follow the fashions of the world, and still be pleasing to God?
“Having before us the picture of the world's demoralization upon the point of fashion, how dare professed Christians follow in the path of the worldling?” {MYP 359.3}
We have learned that being a follower of the fashions of the world is a very spiritually devastating condition, and it will ultimately keep us out of heaven. Therefore, it would seem that every serious Seventh-day Adventist woman should be willing to investigate to find out if she is a follower of fashion or not.
As we read the Spirit of Prophecy, we discover many changeless principles. It is true that the fashions have dramatically changed from Ellen White's day to our day. Many of the problems that she specified no longer exist. We don't generally deal with tight corsets, dragging dresses, hoops, bustles and excessive feathers in our large hats. But we have other issues of which she never dreamed. What we need to do is to take the principles God has given us, and apply them to current fashions.
God's guidelines regarding dress can all fit into 2 basic categories: Modesty and Healthfulness. The word modesty is used in a very broad sense in the Spirit of Prophecy and in the Bible. It covers everything that tends to draw attention to self, in contrast to glorifying God. Many of the customs of the world, such as artificial cosmetics, unnatural hairstyles, jewelry, tattoos and piercing are therefore immodest in this broad meaning of the word, as well as any clothing or lack thereof designed to draw interest to self.
We are expanding these categories to four basic principles for the sake of clarity. These are the priceless gems God is wanting to give us. You can find these four principles in the Bible as well as in the Spirit of Prophecy.
It is through embracing these principles that we find freedom from the slavery of fashion. We find peace in submitting our wills to our Wise Counselor, and joy in the fellowship of obedience.
God has provided us with these precious principles so that we may know how to please Him in our dress. Human wisdom is not sufficient for these matters. All our decisions regarding dress must become subordinate to God's will. As we evaluate the clothing we wear, and test it against these four principles, we have a clear picture of God's desire for our dress. In order to be approved by God, the clothing must meet the standards embraced by all four principles. This is the key to knowing whether we are following the fashions of the world. A devotee of fashion consults the fashion. One devoted to God consults His principles.
When, after applying God's principles, we find a style that meets God's criteria, we can safely wear it. And when our hearts are adorned with a meek and quiet spirit, then we can know for sure that we are not followers of the fashions of this world. This is the only way we can really know for sure.
Without consulting these principles, we're left to our own opinions. We consult our preferences. Does this look good on me? Do you think this is cute? Does this flatter my figure? Is this my style? Does this look elegant on me? And so on. These questions, apart from principle, are all based on pride and vanity. The followers of fashion seek to please self, not God.
On the other hand, a genuine Christian woman, when consulting God's principles, will ask, Is this modest? Will it shield me from attracting sexual attention? Is it distinctly feminine? Will it reflect purity and enhance my womanliness? Is this style simple and plain, free from extravagance and excessive adornment? Is this garment conducive to my health? Will it properly cover my limbs? Is it free from constriction? Then, if it passes all those standards, we can consider the lesser standards, such as: Is it becoming, clean and neat, durable, appropriate, comfortable, practical, and so on. And the ultimate test is, Will this attire help me to reflect the glory of God, and not draw attention to self?
When we neglect to consult God's principles, we may go into a clothing store and think that 90 percent of the clothing is appropriate for us to buy, if we so desire. After consulting God's principles, we may realize that 10 percent or less of the clothing would be appropriate for a Seventh-day Adventist woman to wear. While we may find new clothing in the store that passes all of God's standards, most of the clothing simply will not qualify. It is “of the world,” not fit for a citizen of the heavenly kingdom.
How thankful we should be to the Lord for giving us these inspired principles! In His great love for us, He is seeking to protect us from our greatest enemy—self! He longs to empower us to overcome the worst of sins—pride! He wants us to help guard our brothers from their greatest struggle—lust! He desires to purify us from all worldliness, so that our hearts are knit to Him, and not to the world.
The destroyer hates God's principles, and he wants to hide them from every Seventh-day Adventist woman, if possible. He knows that if these principles are understood, intense spiritual warfare will be waged against him, and lives will become transformed. When the pull of fashions lose their hold, and an entire surrender is made to Jesus, Satan loses, and he is furious! Only the power of the Holy Spirit can purge us from the spirit of worldliness. Only God can give us the victory over the love of the fashions of the world.
When we turn from the fashions of this world—self is crucified with Christ! Then He can live in us! This is the desire of every sincere Christian. When self is dead, we are willing to give up anything and everything for Jesus. We are not focused on what the world thinks of us, but rather, what God thinks of us. We are hidden in Jesus. We are willing to be different from the world, if need be. An unconverted heart would not tolerate this, but a surrendered heart is made willing to be rare in the eyes of the world.
“When we reach the standard that the Lord would have us reach, worldlings will regard Seventh-day Adventists as odd, singular, strait-laced extremists. ‘We are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.'” {FE 289.1}
God has promised to give us all the strength we need to overcome the world, the flesh and the devil. As we draw closer to the end of time, our need to separate from the world becomes even greater.
“Seventh-Day Adventists profess to believe that the day of this world's history is far spent, and the night is at hand. . . If when we first heard the message of warning we endeavored to live in accordance with our faith, if the convictions of the Holy Spirit led us to shun the habits and fashions of the world, should we not be more earnest and zealous and faithful now that we are so much nearer the great consummation?” {RH, March 28, 1882 par. 1}

 

THE FOUR RARE PRINCIPLES OF DRESS

The principles of that God has given us are precious and rare. Satan has successfully suppressed them so that they are virtually unknown, even among Seventh-day Adventist women. And they are rare in that not very many practice them, even in the church. How sad God must be that something so very important should become so neglected by His church, who should be earnestly preparing herself for the wedding supper.
Since these four principles, modesty, femininity, simplicity and healthfulness are not commonly practiced, finding all four principles combined in a woman's attire is extremely rare! Yet, that is what God wants from His daughters.
It's very interesting to notice that all four of these inspired principles can be found in 1 Timothy 2:9, God's special directions to women regarding dress:
“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest [modesty] apparel [femininity-lowering, letting down attire] with shamefacedness [simplicity-plainness] and sobriety [healthfulness-self-control] ; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
How succinctly God has summed up these beautiful principles, so that we can become rare, shining examples of His purity and holiness in this morally darkened and corrupt world. Although this article does not specifically address the wearing of jewelry, we can clearly see in this verse how it goes against God's inspired counsel. God's inner beauty in a converted heart does not need artificial adorning that takes away from the beauty of holiness.
As we unpack these principles of dress, we will see how rare they are today. How is it that we have gotten so far from God's standards? It is largely through the wrong influence of those who lived before our time, some of which were leaders in the church. And this wrong influence continues today:
“Some in responsible positions have exerted an influence in favor of worldly customs and entirely at variance with the Bible standard. They have done their part in bringing about the present state of worldliness and backsliding.” {4T 639.2}
Did you know that a wrong influence is 10 times more powerful than a good influence?
“The natural heart is ever pleading in favor of worldly customs, and any influence tells with tenfold power when exerted in the wrong direction.” {4T 638.4}
So we have wrong influence added upon wrong influence, with over a hundred years elapsing, which has brought us to a severely worldly and backslidden state.
“The church is weakened, her power is enfeebled, her influence is limited, because church-members fail to live in accordance with the directions of the Bible. The example of those who follow the fashions of the world has a disastrous effect upon other members of the church.” {RH, June 2, 1891 par. 8}
We will be discussing these four principles as they revealed in the Spirit of Prophecy, so that we can understand clearly how we may apply them to our own apparel. The first principle is Modesty.

 

WHAT IS MODESTY?

The only time the word modest appears in the KJV Bible is in 1 Timothy 2:9, the verse that contains all four principles of dress:
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;
The first principle, modesty, sets the tone for all the rest. The truly modest woman will follow all of God's principles. Here are some definitions for the word modesty that have been gleaned from several dictionaries: Reserve or propriety (correct, proper, appropriate behavior) in speech, dress and behavior. Lack of pretentiousness (Pretentious means self-important and affected: acting as though more important or special than is warranted), simplicity. Unassuming or humble behavior, moderation, decency, decorum (propriety and good taste in behavior, dress, etc. an act or requirement of polite behavior), Absence of self-assertion. Freedom from vanity or conceit. The quality in a woman of dressing or behaving in a way which is intended to avoid attracting sexual interest .
The last phrase is the one we commonly think of today when we use the word modesty . But it constitutes much more than that. Modesty relates to clothing, speech and behavior. It encompasses the godly principles of humility and purity. Therefore, biblical modesty would include an inward submission and outward obedience to God's principles of dress, speech and deportment for the purpose of glorifying God. What a lofty goal for us as women!
The next question we need to ask is: Is modesty relative? In other words, does the definition of modesty change as society changes? Do God's principles change along with the fashions and customs of the world?
It is clear that the fashions and customs of the world do change. Especially in the last days, they are heading to moral degeneration as never before. Are we safe in setting our standards just a little higher than the world's standards? If that is the case, we just need to keep our eyes on the world, and make sure we're a few steps behind. But if God's principles of morality and modesty are unchanging, we are safe only as we keep our eyes on Jesus, and fill our minds with His Word.
Unfortunately, as a church, we have largely accepted Satan's lie that modesty is relative. The thought is that we can be less modest today than in former times, because it's acceptable to society. We think, if the world says it's OK to reveal certain areas, we just make sure we cover up a little more than the world, and we think we're being modest. We can keep in close step with society that way, and not feel out of place. Is there danger in that perspective? With each generation, more shocking apparel is introduced, and we just keep a few paces behind. We merely adjust our standards with the times. Unfortunately, this has led us far away from biblical modesty.
Modesty will keep God's daughters from dressing in any way that is designed to attract attention to themselves, especially sexual attention.
“The Bible teaches modesty in dress. "In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel." 1 Timothy 2:9. This forbids display in dress, gaudy colors, profuse ornamentation. Any device designed to attract attention to the wearer or to excite admiration is excluded from the modest apparel which God's Word enjoins.” {CG 423.2}
Several articles on this web site, written from a man's perspective, are quite specific on what articles of clothing and styles are likely to tempt a man to lust. Since man's weakness for lust hasn't lessened over the years, but has in fact increased, we must realize that, as God's daughters, we need to be extra careful to dress in such a way so as not to tempt our brothers. Lack of modesty is related to lust, and men are lusting more today than ever! As in the days of Noah, “every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Genesis 6:5
Another question we should ask ourselves is: If something is deemed wicked and continues through many years, can it be turned into something righteous simply because, with the passing of time, it becomes an acceptable practice in society?
Through each successive generation, Satan is able to effectively pull standards increasingly lower. A lowered standard creeps up on the unwary, who are not standing solid on God's unchanging principles. Without God's principles to safeguard the heart, the lowered standard eventually becomes accepted and then passed on to the next generation. We inherit the lowered standards our parents accepted. We generally don't stop to question if the standards adopted by the former generation were acceptable to God. Since those “old-fashioned” standards were generally higher than society's current standards, we tend to assume that they were heaven-approved. So, generation by generation we become increasingly oblivious to the high moral principles God has designed for His people.
Remember that these principles of dress are rare. They were rare in Ellen White's day, and they are even more rare today. When we study the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, we discover God's high standards. The problem is that the standards seem so high and old fashioned compared to today's customs, that we tend to conclude that they certainly can't apply to our day. So we make excuses and rationalize away the standards. We go back to comparing ourselves with the world, and just keep a few steps behind. And that is right where we are now as a church.
But, God has a standard! Modesty is God's standard. And what does the Spirit of Prophecy say?
“Virtue and modesty are rare.” {2T 458.1}
“True dignity of character is very rare. True modesty and reserve are seldom seen.” {HP 197.2}
While that was true in Ellen White's day, without a doubt it is more rare in our day. Rare means uncommon, extraordinary, exceptional, infrequent, odd, singular. That means that you're not generally going to see modesty displayed as you look around in society. It's seldom seen, out of the ordinary. How often do you come across something that is rare? Not very often. If you look over a crowd of women, there may be a rare, modest one among them. But by far the majority will not be virtuous or modest.
God wants his daughters to value modesty, because it is a precious, priceless gem!
“I appeal to you as followers of Jesus Christ, making a high and exalted profession, to cherish this precious, priceless gem, modesty .” {2T 458.1}
If you treasure modesty, how will it be apparent in your behavior and apparel? You will guard it, and keep it, and practice it! You will dress and behave in such a way that you are one of the rare ones. You won't be looking like the crowd. A moral man would be able to pick you out of a crowd, and admire your inner virtue. And even more importantly, God, our King, will desire the inner beauty of His modest daughter, and greatly delight in it!
“So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.” Psalm 45:9
What is it about the inner beauty of a modest Christian woman that causes God to delight in her?
“The king's daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold.” Psalm 45:13.
Isn't that beautiful! The woman who has treasured God's principles is glorious within! She has accepted the inner raiment of righteousness, and the gold of faith and love, and she becomes glorious in His eyes! She is a true golden girl, glorious within, and modest without. That's what God wants from each one of His daughters. Unfortunately, this is a rare condition even in the church, for “not one in twenty of the sisters who profess to believe the Testimonies has taken the first step in the dress reform.” {1T 465.2} Let's make a covenant with God that we will allow Him to make us beautiful and glorious within, so that our modest appearance will glorify His name!

 

WHAT IS FEMININITY ?

Sadly, modesty is rare. What else is rare? True femininity is rare, because true womanliness is a godly characteristic. The whole trend of society is to rob women of their womanliness. The feminist movement has made huge inroads into the thinking and practices of society in general. To take away the womanliness of women, and the manliness of men is Satan's plan.
As women, God has a special gift for us—womanliness! True sanctified womanliness is a rare godly quality, another one of God's gems. Do you know that God wants us to pray for womanliness? We can receive this gift from the life-giving Fountain – Jesus!
“From the life-giving Fountain draw physical, mental, and spiritual, energy. Manliness, [for men] womanliness [for women],--sanctified, purified, refined, ennobled,--we have the promise of receiving. {ST, August 24, 1904 par. 8}
What does Satan want to steal from us women? Modesty and womanliness, or femininity. In talking about how parents are failing to train their daughters to deny self, Ellen White states,
“Satan is leading them on to be a proverb in the mouth of unbelievers because of their boldness, their lack of reserve and womanly modesty . {AH 52.2}
Tragically, lack of womanly modesty is all too common today, because denying self is rare. Self leads to unwomanly immodesty. True womanliness keeps women where God designed them to be. Let us consider these words:
“In their efforts to reach positions for which He has not fitted them, many are leaving vacant the place where they might be a blessing. In their desire for a higher sphere, many have sacrificed true womanly dignity and nobility of character, and have left undone the very work that Heaven appointed them.” {PP 59.1}
“A neglect on the part of woman to follow God's plan in her creation, an effort to reach for important positions which He has not qualified her to fill, leaves vacant the position that she could fill to acceptance. In getting out of her sphere, she loses true womanly dignity and nobility.” {3T 484.1}
In studying the agenda of the feminist movement, we recognize that their goal is to take the woman out of her God appointed role in the home, and place her into the work force, in competition with men. While it may sometimes be necessary for godly women to be employed outside the home, they need to be very careful in regards to this trend, so that they are not robbed of their womanly dignity and femininity.
God's role for women is superior to society's role for women. If only we could see that!
“Woman, if she wisely improves her time and her faculties, relying upon God for wisdom and strength, may stand on an equality with her husband as adviser, counselor, companion, and coworker, and yet lose none of her womanly grace or modesty .” -HR, June 1, 1880.{DG 151.3}
Dear sisters in Christ, let not the world strip us of our womanly dignity, grace and modesty, by shaping us into society's mold. What a shame that would be!
Where will we find these rare gems of modesty and womanliness? Only one place: “All that makes men manly or women womanly is reflected from the character of Christ.” {CT 541.2}
The closer a woman comes to Christ, and the more fully she reflects His character, the more modest and womanly she will become. Both of these spiritual attributes for women are reflected in her clothing. Therefore, every genuine Christian woman will increasingly strive to dress in a modest and womanly manner.
Please notice that we are using the words womanly and feminine synonymously. However, the word feminine can sometimes be used in a worldly sense to mean something other than womanly . The seductive, sensual elements of an immodest woman may be seen as revealing her femininity, but this is not the femininity of which we speak in this article. Rather, godly femininity is the opposite of carnal sensuality. True womanliness or godly femininity exhibits modesty, dignity and reserve, not base immodesty.
A Dictionary.com definition of the word womanly is as follows: “Womanly is usually a term of approval, suggesting the display of traits admired by the society, such as self-possession, modesty, motherliness, and calm competence: a womanly consideration for others; with womanly skill and efficiency.” This is the meaning we are attaching to the synonymous words womanly and femininity as used in this article.
It is interesting to notice just how diligently Satan has been working through his demonically inspired fashions to strip modesty and femininity from women. We are in absolute danger of losing our femininity if we have adopted the idea that God's principles are relative, based on changing society. In effect, we are left without standards, where each does what is right in her own eyes. We allow the world to conform us into its mold.
"Women can be the instruments of righteousness, rendering holy service. It was Mary that first preached a risen Jesus. . . . If there were twenty women where now there is one, who would make this holy mission their cherished work, we should see many more converted to the truth. The refining, softening influence of Christian women is needed in the great work of preaching the truth."--Review and Herald, Jan 2, 1879. {Ev 471.5}
"Sisters, we may do a noble work for God if we will. Woman does not know her power. God did not intend that her capabilities should be all absorbed in questioning: What shall I eat? what shall I drink? and wherewithal shall I be clothed? There is a higher purpose for woman, a grander destiny. She should develop and cultivate her powers, for God can employ them in the great work of saving souls from eternal ruin." {4T 642.2}

 

A PLAIN DISTINCTION

Now, we are ready to consider, is there a particular fashion that tends to diminish women's modesty and femininity? Let us take a closer look at the wearing of pants by women.
Can pants can be worn by women and still be modest and womanly? In order to answer this accurately, we must turn to God's changeless principles, the four rare gems regarding dress. Remember, in order for a style of dress to be approved by God, it must meet the criteria of all four principles, not just one or two principles. These God-given principles will guard us from becoming followers of the fashions of this world.
It is necessary to study many references in the Spirit of Prophecy in order for these principles to become crystal clear. This brief study presented here should not take the place of diligent study by every Seventh-day Adventist woman into this topic. This is too important of a matter for hearsay. The opinions of humans, no matter how high their position, must all be tested by the inspired Word of God.
The issue of pants on women is hotly debated by some, mostly because it is such a widely accepted practice in society today. To go against this fashion would be thought of as extremely radical. The wearing of pants has become deeply entrenched and widely practiced among our women, and continues to gain increasing acceptance by almost all.
In discussions with those defending the “right” of women to wear pants, you will hear many justifications for the practice. Some will declare that Ellen White herself wore pants, which contains a half truth. It is true, she did wear pants under the Reform Dress, with approximately 3 to 5 inches of pants leg showing. That's not very much compared to the 35-40 inches of regular pants.
To say that Ellen White wore pants would be misleading, as is this illustration: If a modest woman puts on a tank top which has a high neckline, and then covers it with a jacket, so that only small portion of the tank top is visible, can we truthfully say she is wearing a tank top? Yes, but not in such a way as to be immodest. Her tank top is used to increase her modesty by wearing it under modest clothing. That is how Ellen White used pants, wearing them under modest clothing in order to increase the modesty and healthfulness of her clothing. Our words must be carefully chosen in order to represent truth accurately.
We reiterate the fact that it requires careful study in order to understand the principles of dress that God has given to us. We must remember that Satan is trying to steal something very precious from us. He wants to remove the protective shield that God has given us. And he is able to do that if we ignore God's principles in dress.
“Chaste simplicity in dress, when united with modesty of demeanor, will go far toward surrounding a young woman with that atmosphere of sacred reserve which will be to her a shield from a thousand perils.” {CG 417.3}
Can feminine, modest and simple dress help to protect us from a thousand perils that await those who ignore God's principles? It can certainly protect us from immorality. It can also protect us from unbecoming behavior. And it can guard us from being pulled into the ungodly agenda of the feminist movement. God uses our obedience to His principles as a safeguard from Satan's many snares.
As stated, God wants us, as women, to be womanly, or feminine. God wants men to be manly, or masculine. He wants a clear distinction between men and women, both in their demeanor and in their dress. We are going to look at a significant quotation, line by line, to discover a timely message God has for us today.
"God designed that there should be a plain distinction between the dress of men and women…” {1T 460.1}
From this we understand that God doesn't want just a tiny difference between the dress of men and women, He wants a plain distinction. Those words, plain distinction , mean that God wants a clear difference between the dress of men and women.
If we believe these words are true, then they were true for all times, not just for yesterday, but for today and tomorrow, also. Because of this truth, we can be assured that God made a clear distinction between the coat or tunic He made for Adam, and the one He made for Eve. In Bible times, when God's people were following His plan, there was a plain distinction between the dress of men and women. And Jesus, who always pleased His Father, wore men's clothing, which was clearly distinct from the women's clothing of His day. While we don't have all the particulars of how men and women dressed in Bible times, we do have God's word that He designed that there should be a plain distinction, a clear difference, between the dress of men and women.
Now, let's read the rest of that sentence we started above: “"God designed that there should be a plain distinction between the dress of men and women and has considered the matter of sufficient importance to give explicit directions in regard to it …” Where has God given explicit directions in regard to the difference between the dress of men and women? Of course, Deuteronomy 22:5. We know that this is the verse Ellen White is referring to, because she says so in the preceding paragraph, which quotes that verse. In a parallel quotation, we read, “I saw that God's order has been reversed, and His special directions disregarded, by those who adopt the American costume. I was referred to Deuteronomy 22:5.” {1T 457.1}
So, we can know that Deuteronomy 22:5 contains God's explicit directions regarding the plain distinction between the dress of men and women. What does this verse say?
“The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God. Deuteronomy 22:5.”
If we accept the Bible as truth, and the Spirit of Prophecy as truth, then we will see that this verse contains God's explicit directions to us regarding our clothing. A plain distinction is to be made between the clothing of men and women. You can read this verse in at least 30 of the most popular translations of the Bible, and they all clearly give us the same message.
But, in Ellen White's day, there were some women who, according to her, ignored this biblical command. They adopted a masculine style of dress, disregarding God's special directions. She says,
“In this style of dress God's order has been reversed and His special directions disregarded.” {1T 460}
This is referring to the American Costume, promoted by Spiritualists and Women's Rights Advocates who openly flaunted their rebellion against God. They intentionally spurned God's special directions by fashioning their dress very similar to men's. See History of Women's Dress in Pictures and Satan, the Ultimate Cross-Dresser.
We are told that “God's prohibitions are lightly regarded by all who advocate doing away with the distinction of dress between males and females.” {1T 460} Please notice that these women weren't putting on men's clothing. They still wore dresses. But they had a slightly masculine style to them. And they showed pants from the knee down. By wearing clothing that was similar to men's clothing, they were blurring the distinction between the clothing of men and women. What they did was so displeasing to God He pronounced it abomination (extremely detestable).
"There is an increasing tendency to have women in their dress and appearance as near like the other sex as possible, and to fashion their dress very much like that of men, but God pronounces it abomination.” {1T 457.2}
Now, we'll read the entire quotation that we started at the beginning of this section:
“God designed that there should be a plain distinction between the dress of men and women, and has considered the matter of sufficient importance to give explicit directions in regard to it; -- for the same dress worn by both sexes would cause confusion and great increase of crime.” {1T 460}
This plain distinction between the dress of men and women is God's plan. What is Satan's plan? Not a plain distinction, but a blurring of the lines so that there is not a clear difference. Is this what has been happening over the last few generations in the realm of fashion?
Let's hear it from a secular source, Encarta:
“Two trends seen in the 20th century seem likely to continue in the future. The first of these is the blurring of gender boundaries . Fashionable clothing of the 19th century made very sharp distinctions between men's and women's clothing in color, shape, fabric, and decoration. Gradually these distinctions broke down, especially when women claimed masculine items of clothing. Trousers and tailored suits are two notable examples of men's styles now worn regularly by both men and women.”
Generally speaking, in Ellen White's time, (the 19 th century,) there were “very sharp distinctions between men's and women's clothing…” However, in the 20 th century, we see “these distinctions broken down, especially when women claimed masculine items of clothing” (trousers). In the 21 st century, what are we seeing? From MSNBC's fashion and beauty web page we read:
“Fine fabrics like silk, gazar and crepe de Chine crept into the male wardrobe for spring-summer 2009 as Paris designers increasingly blurred gender boundaries .”
In review, secular fashion experts state:
  • 19 th century - very sharp distinctions between men's and women's clothing
  • 20 th century – blurring of gender boundaries , distinctions broken down, women wore trousers
  • 21 st century – increasingly blurred gender boundaries , feminine items creep into male wardrobes
In this change, from very sharp distinctions between men's and women's clothing to increasingly blurred gender boundaries , we can see the fulfillment of Satan's plan. He is hard at work to steal away the femininity of women, and the masculinity of men. And he is using fashion to accomplish his wicked plan.
Now, the above secular sources have already described for us how this blurring of the gender boundaries transpired.
  • First, women started wearing men's clothing, pants in particular
  • Secondly men are wearing women's clothing.
Are we seeing an increase in confusion regarding gender roles, and a great increase in sexual crimes? That goes without saying.
Describing our prophetess' response to the American Costume, these were the main objections:
  1. It was too masculine and
  2. It was too immodest for God's daughters to wear.
God wants us to value modesty and femininity, the inner beauty which reveals a commitment to God's holy principles.
As was mentioned earlier, Sister White wore pants in a womanly and modest way—under a modest and feminine dress. She clearly described what was immodest and masculine in the wearing of pants, in contrast to how they could be worn modestly and femininely, as God showed her.
However, the Seventh-day Adventist ladies at that time did not like God's idea of a practical, healthful, modest and feminine “short” (9 inches from the floor) dress which included pants, called the Reform Dress . They rejected it. So God revealed that the Reform Dress was no longer to be presented as the style that should be worn. The pants were removed, and the dresses were to be worn a little longer (approximately ankle length). In this manner, the limbs could still be covered, the dress was loose and healthful, and practical because it did not sweep the streets. Further, she said it was unfortunate that God's Reform Dress was rejected because it would have been a great blessing to us, keeping us from following the fashions of the world.
Can we wear pants today modestly and femininely? Probably, if they're covered up by a long skirt. They may add extra warmth, if needed.
Is the wearing of pants alone acceptable to God? Consider some of the last words written on the subject of dress reform by Ellen White:
“I beg of our people to walk carefully and circumspectly before God. Follow the custom of dress in health reform, but do not again introduce the short dress and pants unless you have the word of the Lord for it.”--Letter 19, 1897. (To J. H. Haughey, July 4, 1897.) {5MR 405.3} [The Reform Dress and the short dress are used synonymously.]
In other words, the legs should always be kept warm with undergarments, but a style of dress with pants showing underneath should not be introduced unless God gives His word for it.
From the foregoing information, how can we reason that removing the modest element—the feminine dress, would make wearing pants alone acceptable? Is that reasonable? Do we have the word of the Lord for it? Has Satan deceived us into giving up our modesty and femininity?
Some will insist that pants can be feminine. It is true that the female form is very feminine, but when this form is revealed it becomes immodest. The short dress of the American Costume was declared to be immodest, even thought there were pants underneath. If you take away the short dress, you can see the outline of the female form when clad in pants. The tighter they are, the more “sexy” they become, making them increasingly immodest.
On the other hand, pants that are loose can actually be more masculine. If they are loose and baggy enough so that the feminine form is not shown, they can look like baggy men's pants, especially if the material is course and heavy. The baggier they are, the more masculine they appear.
If the material is slinky and clinging, does it really matter how baggy the pants are? The material will still cling and show the female form immodestly. The front private area is obviously emphasized. When a woman wearing pants bends over, the back end is accentuated.
We might like to reason that pants on woman can be feminine and modest. But we need to consider much more than just our opinion. If we rely on human opinion, we will end up following the fashions of the world. We need to be willing to closely scrutinize this history of this development. Many other articles on this web site will give detailed information that will be very helpful to those who are serious about following God's principles on dress.
Taking into consideration all the inspired counsel on dress, it becomes obvious that pants are the distinguishing article of clothing that pertains to a man. If we are willing to be obedient to God's specific counsel on dress, as women, we will avoid the wearing of pants.
Dear sisters, this is a hard saying, because we probably feel that we have inherited the “right” to wear pants. We didn't choose it, our parent gave it to us. Somehow, our mothers let down their guard, and let their modesty and femininity slip away as the fashions dictated. So we grew up thinking it was perfectly acceptable to God to follow this fashionable trend which was immodest and blurred the gender boundaries.
Which is more important, femininity or modesty? Can we choose between the two, and neglect the other principle? The Holy Spirit moved strongly on Sister White, urging her to let us know that BOTH are very important to God. In speaking about a “becoming reserve” she is referring to “dignified, virtuous womanhood.”
“I feel impelled by the Spirit of the Lord to urge my sisters who profess godliness to cherish modesty of deportment and a becoming reserve, with shamefacedness and sobriety .” {CG 144.4}
God feels strongly about this! Both modesty and femininity are absolutely essential for God's daughters to shine in the beauty of holiness.
One final thought about pants on women. As we consider the rare gem of femininity that God desires women to possess, wouldn't it seem reasonable for God's daughters to turn from the worldly fashion of wearing pants? How else can we exhibit that rare quality of womanliness that is so foreign to the world? Is this too great a sacrifice to make for the One who gave all for us?

 

ONE IN A THOUSAND

There is another gem, a priceless principle related to our clothing that is rare, but very important.
“There is but one woman in a thousand who clothes her limbs as she should.” {RH, February 6, 1900 par. 12}
That's quite rare—one in a thousand! We can therefore conclude that the vast majority of women don't take proper precautions in keeping their legs and arms covered. It is quite fashionable these days to have bare legs and sandaled feet when wearing a skirt, even in cooler weather. And we frequently see bare arms and shoulders, even in air conditioned buildings. When the above statement was written short sleeves were relatively uncommon, and many women wore long sleeves year round. The style of dress popular at that time was to the ankles or longer. So she wasn't talking about shorts and tank tops. In her day she declared “There is but one woman in a thousand who clothes her limbs as she should!” What ratio would she have used today?
It is the following of fashion that has led us away from God's design for us to clothe our limbs.
“Satan invented the fashions which leave the limbs exposed, chilling back the life current from its original course.” {CG 427.1}
This health-related principle of dress is another “hard saying” for Seventh-day Adventist women today. Our standards have been lowered so far that it seems ridiculously “old-fashioned” and impractical. So we reason and rationalize it away, and ignore it altogether. We have accepted the world's definition of modesty, so it seems acceptable to wear clothing that leaves the upper and lower limbs uncovered. The world does not even consider the covering of the limbs to be a health issue.
At the beginning of this article we commented on our need for faith in God's Word, so that we are willing to obey His commands regardless of our ability to understand how they serve our best interests. Faith is believing that God is good, and that He rewards our obedience, even when we don't understand it.
It took faith to believe God's counsel that tobacco was a poison in the days when doctors were prescribing it for certain ailments. But today science has confirmed the truthfulness of God's inspired writings. In this case of clothing the limbs, science is lagging behind the inspired counsel, because they have not yet confirmed the healthfulness of keeping the limbs appropriately covered. Worldly medical experts are not speaking out against the fashions of leaving the limbs exposed to cool air. You can see bare legs and arms year round, especially on young children and fashionable women. But God's inspired counsel has warned us that this is a very unhealthful practice. It places an extra burden on our hearts, to keep the limbs warm. We are told that our limbs should be clothed as warmly as the rest of our bodies.
Satan has ways to trick us in order to get us away from God's principles. If we violate one principle, we are more prone to violate more of them, just like when we break one of the Ten Commandments. He designs fashions for women that violates one of God's principles of dress in such a way that it makes it easier to violate another principle. He introduced the shorter skirt with very little covering. Not long after Ellen White died, our SDA women accepted the fashion of the short skirt without pants. The hemlines kept rising until the “acceptable” SDA length was a little above or below the knee, with the legs covered by stockings that got thinner and sheerer as the years rolled on, until bare legs became fashionable!
One of the reasons pants have become so popular is that they keep the legs warm! Pants are much more healthful than bare legs under a short skirt. For years, nylon stockings were worn under the shorter skirts, which provided minimal warmth. Now the younger girls often have their legs completely bare under skirts. So, pants are becoming more and more popular, even for church, because they have the advantage of warmth.
When we accept a fashion that is against God's principles, it leads to more problems down the road. The shorter skirt alone should have never been approved by SDA sisters, because they did not keep the legs warm. At one point, God approved skirts about 9 inches from the floor with pants. When the pants were removed, the skirts needed to be longer , both for modesty and warmth. Now, going against God's principles, and following the fashions of the world, we've “approved” even shorter skirts without pants or pants without skirts. We cannot be in harmony with God's principles if we follow these fashions of the world.
If we would, in faith, be willing to adopt this gem of truth, and cover our limbs appropriately, we would experience the blessing of obedience. This principle is part of our health message that we should be giving to the world, as the “right arm” of the gospel. Instead of fighting against inspiration, let us ask God for wisdom and submissive hearts, so that we can shine forth with God's glory. By clothing the limbs appropriately, the principles of modesty and healthfulness are combined to bring us a double blessing!

 

SIMPLICITY (PLAINNESS)

The fourth rare gem that we are discovering is the principle of simplicity, or plainness in our appearance. Pride and vanity are so common today that we rarely see the virtue of simplicity.
“ Simplicity is now rare….pride and vanity are displayed, and a great lack of true principle is seen.” {4T 639.1}
It is very fashionable today to wear jeans and T-shirts. This may be thought to satisfy the principle of simplicity. But here we make a serious mistake. We must remember that these rare gems are inseparable. We cannot choose one and ignore the rest any more than we can chose one commandment and ignore the other nine. If we break one, we break them all.
There is an element of pride in following the fashions of the world, even if the fashion is just wearing jeans and T-shirts. The pride that leads one to conform to the world in order to find acceptance and approval is in opposition to the self-denying virtue of simplicity and plainness. It takes courage and moral independence to follow God's principles, and ignore the constantly changing fashions.
“Extravagance in dress is continually increasing. The end is not yet. Fashion is constantly changing, and our sisters follow in its wake, regardless of time or expense.” --Testimonies, vol. 4, pp. 630, 631. (1864) {Ev 675.3}
If we are willing to follow modesty and simplicity, we won't need to be making constant changes to our wardrobe.
“Our appearance in every respect should be characterized by neatness, modesty, and purity. But the Word of God gives no sanction to the making of changes in apparel merely for the sake of fashion,--that we may appear like the world.” {Ev 268.3}
“The making of changes in apparel for the sake of fashion merely is not sanctioned by the word of God.” {MH 290.1}
By refusing to follow the fashions of the world, we will be thought of as peculiar, because of our plainness. This could not be said of those who are fashionably “in style.”
“Our faith, if carried out, will lead us to be so plain in dress and zealous of good works that we shall be marked as peculiar.” {CG 419.6}
The carnal nature does not want to be plain. Naturally, we want to be noticed and admired. God wants to help us deal with the pride issue in our hearts by asking us to dress plainly, even severely plain.
“We who claim to be in the light, and who take prominent positions to instruct others in children's meetings, need to be severely plain , yet tidy and tasteful, in dress; we should not give a semblance of excuse to any for patterning after the worldly, changing fashions of this corrupt age.” {MR926 23.3}
This is a valuable antidote against pride. As we pray for humility of heart, let us lay aside the showy, expensive, glamorous attire, and in meekness and humility seek for simplicity and plainness that will demonstrate our faith. This is a powerful witnessing tool, as well!
“In no better way can you let your light shine to others than in your simplicity of dress and deportment.” {CG 417.1}
Let us praise God for this rare gem that will help us prepare for the soon coming of our Lord.
“We are nearing the close of this world's history. A plain, direct testimony is now needed, as given in the word of God, in regard to the plainness of dress. This should be our burden. . . .” {5MR 404.3}

 

SUMMARY

Now that we have uncovered the four rare principles of dress, we can catch a vision of how God wants us to dress. We have the opportunity of making a practical application in our daily lives in such as way as to exert a godly influence on those around us. We can be one of the rare ones who shine for Jesus by our example.
We have considered the abomination regarding dress in Deuteronomy 22:5. We see this abomination practiced by virtually every daughter of the world, as they wear clothing very similar to men's. We see the immodesty of the worldlings, the bare limbs, the conformity to fashion's dictates. Are we willing to move out independent of the fashions of the day so that there will be a distinction between us and the world?
“Let every soul whose name is on the church books put away all pride, all frivolity, all desire to follow the fashions of the world. We are to receive from Christ the highest education possible, in order that we may not lead souls into paths that God forbids. There is to be no limit to the perfection of the example that we are to set unbelievers.” {UL 305.4}
We've read how God, through Sister White, declares that modesty is rare, simplicity is rare, that Satan is trying to rob us of femininity, and that not one in a thousand covers her limbs as she should. Fashion seems intent on keeping these four principles rare. But by understanding these gems of truth, we can break free from the bondage of fashion. By God's grace, we can dress in such a way that we are modest, feminine, plain and healthful.
When these principles are enshrined in our hearts, we can avoid being a follower of fashion, an idolater and a stumbling block!
“The moment a professed Christian goes over the line, and follows the fashions of the world, [s]he becomes an idolater, and a stumbling-block to sinners.” {RH, January 22, 1895 par. 7}
How extremely careful we should be to avoid following the fashions of the world! Unfortunately, in spite of all these clear testimonies, a majority of professed Christians will not accept God's counsel.
“Human reasoning has ever sought to evade or set aside the simple, direct instructions of the word of God. In every age, a majority of the professed followers of Christ have disregarded those precepts which enjoin self-denial and humility which require modesty and simplicity of conversation, deportment, and apparel. The result has ever been the same,--departure from the teachings of the gospel leads to the adoption of the fashions, customs, and principles of the world.” {RH, December 6, 1881 par. 2}
Even if the majority of women in the church keep on following the fashions of the world, we do not have to be among them. We are never safe in following our peers instead of standing firm for God's principles. Instead, we must keep our eyes on Jesus, and follow Him.
God is urgently calling for a revival and reformation among us as a people.
“A revival of true godliness among us is the greatest and most urgent of all our needs. To seek this should be our first work…. A revival and a reformation must take place, under the ministration of the Holy Spirit.” {LDE 189.3}
But reform is not easy, especially dress reform. There is a great sacrifice involved. Those who are worried about losing the admiration of the world, the approval of their peers, or the acceptance of their family more than their desire to follow the principles of right, will end up opposing those who are convicted to reform their dress.
“Reformatory action is always attended with sacrifice. It demands that love of ease, selfish interest, and the lust of ambition be held in subjection to the principles of right. Whoever has the courage to reform must encounter obstacles. He will be opposed by the conservatism [opposition of radical change] of those whose business or pleasure brings them in contact with the votaries [devotees] of fashion, and who will lose caste by the change .” {4T 636.2}
Yes, those who have the courage to reform will encounter obstacles. Their biggest obstacle will be those who do not want to “lose caste” by reforming. This is referring to those who are afraid of being looked down on. Their reputation is more important to them then following God's will. They will try to stop those who are endeavoring to reform. They don't want to be embarrassed by the reformers in their midst. But God will give strength to those who are sincerely seeking Him.
“God rebukes His people for their sins, that He may humble them, and lead them to seek His face. As they reform, and His love revives in their hearts, His loving answers will come to their requests. He will strengthen them in reformatory action, lifting up for them a standard against the enemy. His rich blessing will rest upon them, and in bright rays they will reflect the light of heaven. Then a multitude not of their faith, seeing that God is with His people, will unite with them in serving the Redeemer.” {RH, February 25, 1902 par. 16}
This revival and reformation will fill us with God's love, and bring rich blessings upon those who seek it. It will then bring many souls to the truth. Praise God for this promise!
Let us allow God to revive us, and strengthen us to reform our lives. Let us die to self, and exalt the Lord alone. Let us say, Lord, I'm willing to treasure the gems of modesty, femininity, simplicity, and healthful dressing. All of these are priceless treasures. I will cover my body with “long flowing apparel,” and keep a plain distinction in my dress from that of men. I will dress healthfully and plainly. I am willing to die to selfish pride and vanity, so that You can clothe me inwardly with Your golden love. And then You can admire my inward beauty, because Your rare gems, your priceless principles are exemplified and displayed in my life.
Isn't that what you want, dear sister, for the Lord to admire your inward beauty? What a wonderful thought, that He desires to put His beautiful character within us, so His glory can be reflected even by the clothes we wear! Let us not delay any longer!
“Do not, my sisters, trifle longer with your own souls and with God. I have been shown that the main cause of your backsliding is your love of dress. This leads to the neglect of grave responsibilities, and you find yourselves with scarcely a spark of the love of God in your hearts. Without delay, renounce the cause of your backsliding, because it is sin against your own soul and against God. Be not hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Fashion is deteriorating the intellect and eating out the spirituality of our people. Obedience to fashion is pervading our Seventh-day Adventist churches and is doing more than any other power to separate our people from God. I have been shown that our church rules are very deficient. All exhibitions of pride in dress, which is forbidden in the word of God, should be sufficient reason for church discipline. If there is a continuance, in face of warnings and appeals and entreaties, to still follow the perverse will, it may be regarded as proof that the heart is in no way assimilated to Christ. Self, and only self, is the object of adoration, and one such professed Christian will lead many away from God. {4T 647.2}
God forbid that this should be spoken of us! May God draw us ever closer to Him as we submit to His inspired counsel.
 http://www.remnantraiment.com/subpages/Gems.htm



                 
                 







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