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; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. I Timothy 2:9-10

In an earlier book written by the author it was shown that one of the fruits of the new birth is that the new convert will hear the voice of God leading him in the way that he must walk, that is, in the way of holiness. As was fully shown, he cannot possibly know that way, having never walked there before, and therefore he must be led into it and taught how to walk in it. Naturally, this teaching comes from the direct revelations of the Holy Spirit to the heart of the new believer in Christ.

It was also shown that the Lord will teach this new believer very specific things concerning the practical aspects of his life on this earth. The Lord will not leave his spiritual development to chance any more than an earthly father would leave his son's moral development to chance.Thus, the Lord will actively teach the new convert every step of the way so that he will know and understand what is that perfect will of God concerning him and so that he will be able to do his Father's will in all things. As with any father, the heavenly Father is pleased only by the obedience of His children.

As we begin to read the Bible in its first book Genesis, we see that man originally wore no clothing, but he was like the beasts of the field in th:is regard. However, although he was naked, he had no consciousness of his nakedness because he was in a state of innocence, knowing neither good nor evil. Adam and Eve were perfect in their hearts, but not perfect in their knowledge. They loved God supremely, they loved each other, and they loved all of the creation over which they were supposed to rule after a time of testing and learning. They were perfectly happy because they dwelt in love.

One does not have to live in this world very long to realize that the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve are no longer happy. They are not happy because they no longer dwell in love. They neither love God supremely nor love each other nor love the creation. In fact, they love only themselves. They are poor, fallen creatures who have lost their former glory and their former felicity. We see in the third chapter of Genesis the terrible and sad history of Adam and Eve's great transgression and the consequences that followed it.

Even a cursory reading of that chapter shows us that the moment that Adam and Eve lost their innocence and were given the knowledge of good and evil they became aware that they were naked. At this point they felt a necessity to cover their nakedness, as is evident from the seventh verse,

And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. Genesis 3:7

Afterward, when the LORD God came walking in the garden in the cool of the evening, we are told,

Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. Genesis 3:9-10

Finally, after we read about the way that each one tried to blame the other for his own sin and after God pronounced the curses upon the man, the woman, the serpent, and the earth itself, we see that God, not being satisfied with Adam and Eve's attempt at modesty, set it right by showing them how to dress so as to be pleasing to Him.

Unto Adam also and unto his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
Genesis 3:21

Thus we see that although Adam and Eve thought themselves to be clothed God did not. So God covered their bodies with a long garment, which is what the Hebrew word translated coats means.

There was a day when almost all so-called Christian churches believed and taught the necessity of modest apparel. Up until these modern times it was considered nonsensical to presume to be holy while immodestly attired. This was not the case just with the various protestant denominations but with the Catholic Church also. The super-modest apparel that the Catholic nuns used to wear demonstrates that the Catholic Church recognized that in order to be holy it was necessary to dress modestly. As a matter of fact, until recent years one was not even considered to be decent unless fully covered.

From the above Scriptures it would seem to me that the past ages are well justified in their view. I see no way that anyone who claims to believe in the authority of the Holy Scriptures can deny the fact that the first sin revealed to our first parents was not the sin of adultery nor the sin of blasphemy nor the sin of murder nor even the gross sin of idolatry, but the sin of nakedness. The second thing that can hardly be denied is that man did not know how to adequately deal with the situation in order to avoid the wrath of God, because man's thoughts are not God's thoughts and man's ways are not God's ways. The third thing that can not be denied is that this issue was important enough to God that He went to the trouble to show them how to dress so as to please Him.

Since this was the first sin ever revealed to man after the fall, since this was the first time that man reformed in order to avoid God's displeasure, since it was the first time that God rejected man's reformation because it did not really correct the problem, and since it was the first time that God revealed to man how to act so as to please Him, is it not stranger than fiction that now in this supposedly enlightened age almost no church in the whole world really believes that God cares about how Christians dress? It is this almost total failure on the part of the so-called Christian churches to give any more than a nominal regard to this great and profound issue that, more than any other thing, demonstrates that we are very close to the end when Jesus shall return.

To me it is utterly inconceivable that God would have made such an issue of this question at the very beginning of the blessed Bible if it were of no importance and if it played no part in man's salvation. The Bible was not given to us for our entertainment nor that we might learn about some ancient but irrelevant culture which at this time is only of academic interest. The Bible, the whole Bible, is absolutely relevant to the Christian today as well as in olden times. Considering the fact that the Scriptures available in the days of Timothy's childhood were just the Old Testament writings, the New Testament not yet having been written, we see this point verified by Paul, that most eminent of apostles,

But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
II Timothy 3:14-17

Clearly the third chapter of Genesis which Timothy undoubtedly studied as a child was given by inspiration of God and is meant to be profitable to us for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness. It is not meant for our enjoyment and entertainment. God expects us to receive instruction in righteousness from this relation of the incidents and events that took place in the garden of Eden. If we are going to take the Bible seriously, we must accept the fact that God cares how we dress. No, not simply that God cares how we dress, but that God cares very much how we dress.

May I carry this point a step farther? I think that it would be safe to say that since the first thing that God dealt with in the lives of Adam and Eve after their apparent repentance was their state of undress, we have every reason to believe that it is one of the most wicked sins in the world and that it is one of the first things that God will begin to change in the life of the new convert.

As a matter of fact, we note from Genesis 3:10 that when the LORD came walking in the garden, Adam himself says, to our great surprise, that he hid himself because he was aware that he was naked, not because he had eaten of the forbidden fruit. That Adam and Eve were immediately aware of their nakedness and immediately felt the necessity to cover themselves, even before they felt guilt for eating the fruit, shows that, for reasons that we cannot perhaps fully comprehend, this sin of nudity is one of the most abominable in the sight of God. For this very reason I am convinced that the person who has never been condemned by the Lord for his manner of dress and shown by the Holy Spirit how to dress in true Christian modesty has never been born again, no matter how religious he may be.

As we pass through all the years spanned by the Bible and examine all of the incidents reported in it concerning this subject, we can see some rather interesting facts. First, every angel that appeared to man, if his appearance is described, is always described as clothed. Usually the Hebrew or Greek word used carries the idea of a robe or garment that reaches to the feet. We do not have one scene presented to us where heavenly beings are not clothed.

Second, every description of the appearance of the priests and high priests indicates that they were fully clothed. As a matter of fact, we are told in Exodus 28:42 that the high priest had to wear linen breeches under his long robe to insure that his nakedness would be covered whenever he would ascend the altar before the people.

Third, if the reader consults a good concordance of the Bible and reads every reference given under the headings of naked and nakedness, he will find that they show that those who were naked were either slaves, unconverted sinners, backslidden believers, conquered peoples, false prophets, or prophets trying to show the people that they were sinful and needed to repent. Thus, nakedness is almost always associated actually or symbolically with sin.

Naturally, it is true that, as in these cases, outward nakedness is often used to indicate a gross state of unspirituality or perhaps a backslidden state just as adultery and fornication are used to represent the sin of idolatry or unfaithfulness to God. But this in itself proves that nakedness is a sin just as we all know that adultery and fornication are sins. What would be the point of using something that is not an outward sin to represent an inward sin? How would it indicate inward sin if the symbol was not a sin?

I do not think that it is an accident that the Holy Spirit uses the sin of nakedness to represent a backslidden state, spiritual rebellion, or open defiance of God. In addition, there is a very close relationship between spiritual rebellion and outward nakedness and sexual promiscuity. Almost all false religions involve sexual abuse, and the idolatry that was a constant temptation to the Israelites consisted of unrestrained, ritual sex. Thus, it was not mere coincidence that almost all Bible accounts of nakedness are related to sin and rebellion against God. This is well exemplified in the fact that Jesus was always fully dressed in the long robes of the religious Jew except when He had taken upon Himself the sins of the world and was nailed to the cross. His very nakedness on the cross was no accident, but it clearly shows that He was literally taking the place of sinners and dying for them.

Consider the Lord Himself. Every description of His appearance shows Him to be fully clothed. For instance, in Revelation 1:13 John describes the appearance of the Lord as clothed with a garment down to the foot. Again, in Revelation 6:9-11 and 7:9-14 John tells of a large multitude of saints in heaven standing before the throne of the Lord dressed in the long foot-length robes (stoly) which were made white by being washed in the blood of the Lamb. Of course, this symbolic representation would have no meaning if being naked was not itself sinful.

God hates nakedness because, apparently, in some way, nakedness is at the very heart of rebellion and sin in thought, word, and deed springs from a rebellious heart. An example of this is seen in the case of the great curse that fell upon Ham because he had looked on his father Noah's nakedness. Ham's two brothers were so fearful of seeing their father's nakedness that they went in backwards into his tent to cover him and no curse fell upon them. Another example, and by all means the most important, is the case of Jesus hanging naked on the cross and suffering the torments of a most fearful death. Although he was the only begotten and the well beloved Son, the Father could not look at Him and even forsook Him, thereby causing Him the consummation of agony and sadness, because He had become sin.

Every person in the world should always be fully clothed when in the presence of others. It does not matter if it is your spouse, children, parents, or friends of the same sex that are seeing you. Even if a woman thinks that she is too fat and uncomely to be attractive to or a temptation to men, she should be fully clothed. Why? Because it is a sin to needlessly expose one's nakedness. This grave fact is totally overlooked by the professors of Christianity today.

The Lord has shown me that, except for the necessary duties of cleanliness and health, we should always be fully clothed. Why? For three reasons. First, because we are never really alone. We are surrounded by both wicked and good spirits at all times and it is a shame for others to see our nakedness. I have no doubt whatsoever that when the angel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary she was fully clothed, even though she was in the privacy of her own chamber.

Second, lounging about in a state of undress or scanty dress leads to a looseness of thought that can never conduce to godliness. True godliness requires a certain dignity of bearing that will never exist under those conditions. Warriors in all civilized countries have always recognized that a captive enemy will be completely degraded and suffer the loss of all his dignity if he is deprived of his clothing. Why? Because that which separates a civilized man from the savage and the beast of the field is the very clothing with which he covers his nakedness. Thus, clothed nakedness is a symbol of accountability.

The third reason may perhaps at first seem unimportant, and even ridiculous, but with a little thought it should appear in its true color. It is that one cannot truly respect a naked person. To stand in the presence of a naked king would by no means be the same as to stand before that king arrayed in his royal robes. One could scarcely feel awe and respect for king Solomon seated on his throne in a T-shirt and Bermuda shorts. It is no accident that royal persons and persons of dignity always appear fully dressed. And it is no accident that all artists who have tried to paint a picture of Jesus as they conceive Him to have been always depict Him fully clothed. Would anybody look at a picture of a man in a bathing suit and think of Jesus? It would be impossible to represent Him in His dignity any other way than fully clothed.

With this being the case, one cannot very well expect to respect himself as a temple of the Holy Spirit if he lounges around in a state of undress. As the fashion world well knows, how I feel about myself is to some extent determined by what I wear. And I think that I can say that how I feel about myself will determine how I conduct myself.

I know that it probably seems strange that I would say that even husbands and wives ought to remain fully clothed in the presence of each other except, of course, when engaged in the marriage act. Yet, I do say this and I believe for very good reasons. Although it may be legitimate for the husband and wife to see each others nakedness, seeing that they are one flesh, I am convinced that it is not profitable. First, a modest person is always more respected than one that is immodest, and the stability of a marriage depends on mutual respect as much as on any other sentiment. Second, it helps to keep a certain sanctity in the marriage act, thereby removing it from common lust. Third, it makes it far easier to be mindful of modesty in the presence of others if modesty is practiced even in the intimacy of the home. Modesty always pays benefits.

Although modesty is incumbent on all, I think that it is easily seen that this question of modest apparel is more especially a feminine problem. With no more than a casual look at people on the street, at the various television programs, movies, advertisements, covers on paperback books, etc., it is obvious that immodesty in apparel is almost wholly a problem with the female sex. Observe a man and a woman at some formal engagement such as a ball or a party. The man will be fully covered by a black suit, white shirt, black tie, black shoes and black socks. And the woman? Her arms, shoulders, and part of her breasts will be completely exposed to view and the gown will be very colorful and frivolous.

As a result of the curse, a woman's greatest carnal desire is to be desired by men. Thus, apart from grace, the moment that a girl enters puberty the opposite sex dominates her thoughts. From that point on almost everything she does is in some way directed to entice men. It is in her blood and she can do nothing about it. Although there are a few exceptions, this is a general rule. At every stage in a woman's life her thoughts are dominated by the desire to attract men. And women instinctively know that men are easily lured by sex.

The ERA movement notwithstanding, men and women are not equal. It is foolish to discuss the question of equality between men and women. In order to make comparisons of equality the items being compared must be of the same kind. One may compare apples to apples, but not apples to oranges. Women are not just men with different sex organs. Women are different because the mother role requires an emotional and mental make-up that is different. Men and women were not meant to compete with each other, but to complement and complete each other. This difference is easily seen by observing the young boy when he enters puberty. Although a much more powerful sex drive is alive in the boy than in the girl, girls play a minor role in his life if he has been raised decently and away from corrupting influences. If the girls would leave him alone, he would leave them alone. Boys are almost always more shy with girls than girls with boys.

The strongest carnal drive in the man is the desire for power. The spirit of physical and mental competition begins very early in boys. That is why they push and shove and fight from their very childhood. Most men would rather win over other men than have a girl. Most men would much rather be a great football star than a lady killer. Even Rudolf Valentino, the great lady killer, preferred playing manly, hero roles instead of the ones in which the women fell all over him.

This difference may also be seen in the role that sports play in the male life in modern society and in the rather small role that women have always played in the less civilized societies. For instance, among the Indians before their defeat by the white man a young man would almost totally abstain from sex because he feared that it would rob him of the strength that he needed to be a good warrior and hunter. This warrior complex is at play in the man even in this modern and sophisticated society. Thus, we can say that though men expose their bodies it is not to attract women but rather to defeat or impress other men.

All of the apostolic admonitions concerning apparel are directed toword women. This is not because Paul was a chauvinist as the liberated women would have us to believe, nor is it because men are free from the obligation to dress modestly, because they most assuredly are not. It is rather because immodesty in attire is more ingrained in the female carnal nature than in that of men. Most men laugh at those few men who are all involved in fashions, and down underneath they think that they are probably homosexuals.

But the opposite is true with women, Women look askance at those few women who have a male-like disinterest in fashions. Without one single doubt the minds of women are more taken up with fashions of dress than any other pleasure. This is clearly manifested by the billions of dollars spent every year on fashions and cosmetics. Dress designers make fabulous sums dreaming up new and exotic ways to reveal the female form in order to attract and stimulate the male passions. How else can one account for the absurd and even grotesque outfits that women gladly wear?

At the beginning of this chapter I quoted the following verse from Paul's letter to his son in the Lord, Timothy, wherein he plainly deals with the issue of Christian apparel for women. I want to examine this closely so that the reader may assure himself that the New Testament is by no means silent on this important issue and that Paul gave very explicit instructions about it to Timothy, who was a preacher, because in those days many heathen women wore revealing attire, jewelry, and fancy hairdos.

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; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. I Timothy 2:9-10

On examining this verse we see that Paul recognizes that there are two ways by which women may pervert the will of God relative to clothing. They may openly disobey by exposing their nakedness and they may rebel in a more subtle way by utilizing clothing to feed their pride. We will examine these two forms of rebellion in detail.

Certainly the grosser form of immodesty is to expose the flesh. For this reason Paul tells us that Christian women must dress in modest apparel. Naturally, every woman has her own idea about what the expression modest apparel means, and this idea has changed from age to age. To one person it may mean that she merely has on some clothing, even just a bathing suit. To another it may mean that she must have on a dress that at least covers the knee. To a third it may mean that she must wear a dress to mid-calf. But is it not reasonable that God has a standard of modesty and that He will teach each Christian woman what that standard is? And though each woman must receive a personal revelation as Adam and Eve did in order to know for sure what is the will of God on this matter, I think that we can perhaps get a reasonable idea about it by examining Paul's statement a little more closely.

Yet I want to emphasize again that my reasonings are not sufficient justification for adopting a standard of dress. To know for sure, a woman must receive a revelation from God. My reasonings may be very compelling to some and foolishness to others. The best that I can hope to do is to awaken in a person the idea that God really does care how we dress and to impress on each person that God will reveal His will to us if we are willing to do it. With this in mind, let us continue.

In this verse the expression modest apparel is translated from the Greek word kosmioV katastolh (pronounced kosmios katastoly). If we examine these Greek words carefully, we find something very interesting and, I believe, very revealing. kosmioV means simply to be well ordered or modest. The usual word used in the New Testament for clothing or apparel is imation (pronounced himation,) a word found 62 times. But this word that Paul under inspiration of the Holy Spirit decided to use here appears only once in the New Testament. As a matter of fact, according to Thayer's Lexicon of New Testament Greek it is to be found in only one other of the sacred writings, the Book of Isaiah in the Septuagint or Greek version of the Old Testament which was translated from the Hebrew text quite a few years before Christ. Thus, I believe that we have reason to believe that Paul purposely chose to use this rather rare word here in order to more fully reveal the will of God.

This word is composed of the prefix kata and the root stolh. The prefix kata always signifies downward or going down. And most scholars agree that stolh comes from the verb stellw which signifies to send. Thus, katastolh would carry the idea of a putting or sending down, a lowering. In accordance with this idea Young's Analytical Concordance renders this word as a long robe. Let us inquire into the reason why Mr. Young and the translators of the King James Version felt that katastolh is a garment.

katastolh is not a word that is found frequently in the ancient writings, and as with most words, it has been used in various ways. But always implicit in its use is the idea of sending down. It has been used to mean reduction or subjugation, modesty or reserve, dignity or restraint in dress, even conclusion or finalle.

However, as I said before, this word occurs in only one other place in all of the sacred writings. This place is in the Greek or Septuagint Version of the Old Testament which was translated from the Hebrew by a group of Alexandrian Jewish scholars about 300 years before Christ. It is to be found in Isaiah and was translated in the King James Version as follows:

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;. . . Isaiah 61:3

In the Hebrew the word maateh which means a covering or wrapping was translated in the English as garment. When the Alexandrian scholars who were translating the Hebrew text into the Greek came to this verse, they chose katastolh as the equivalent for the Hebrew maateh. In view of this, many scholars have considered Paul's usage to mean a garment that covers the body. The old Methodist scholar and Biblical commentator Adam Clarke felt that Paul was referring to a loosely fitting outer garment that reached to the feet that the Greek women wore in the days of Paul. He directs the reader to representations of this style of dress in Lens' Costume des Peuples de l'Antiquite, figures 11, 12, 13, and 16.

Consequently, it is easy to see why many scholars consider the word to mean a long robe. If this word which carries in it the idea of sending down or lowering is to refer to a garment, then it seems obvious to me that this garment ought to be very long. Now I do not believe in accidents in the Scriptures and I cannot accept the idea that Paul chose this word with nothing in mind. Whatever the word meant to the people of that age, it seems evident that it must have carried the idea of being very modest and very long.

One might well ask why the translators of the King James Version didn't translate it so that it would clearly emphasize the length. Why did they say modest apparel? Why did they not say a foot length garment, if that is what it means? Well, let me ask a question. What was the length of every woman's dress in 1611? At that time all women wore their dresses to the foot. I think that they used the more vague expression modest apparel instead of the more specific meaning because in 1611 when they published the King James Version immodest dress referred to color rather than nakedness. At that time it would have been inconceivable that a woman would dress as women dress today. In those bygone days not even the worst of harlots would go out on the street without being fully clothed. So who could have imagined that women's dress would have degenerated to its present state? What motive did they have to emphasize what did not at that time need emphasis? And who then would have dreamed that women would dress as they do today?

We must remember that it was not until about 1915 during World War I that Irene Castle, a dancer in Paris, introduced the shortened dress and the bobbed hair. The short dress and bobbed hairstyles began to make headway in the United States in about 1921. A great battle raged both in the churches and among decent people. And by the end of the decade Satan had won in both areas of combat. Almost all of the preachers stopped preaching against these wicked styles and it was not long before the dress styles of the Parisian harlots had become the standard of dress of so-called Christian women. Is it any wonder that the apostle John in Revelation 3:15-19 would describe the church in this last age as being a people that is naked and does not know it?

Let us summarize by saying that it appears that the Holy Spirit did not leave the question of modest dress to chance. By inspiration of the Holy Spirit Paul, in trying to describe the kind of dress that a Christian woman should wear, chose to use a word which can legitimately be translated to mean a dress that extends to the feet and that does not display the female form.

Let us examine Paul's statement to Timothy again. We find that he tells Timothy that women should adorn themselves. On the other hand, Peter says that women should not adorn themselves, Whose adorning let it not be that of outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, even that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. I Peter 3:3-4

I think that at this point it would be wise to inquire into the meaning of the word adorn. Peter and Paul both use the same Greek word kosmew. This Greek word signifies to order, arrange, or decorate. However, even though Paul tells the woman to adorn herself with apparel and Peter tells her not to adorn herself with apparel, they do not contradict each other. Paul tells them to adorn themselves with a katastolh and Peter tells them not to adorn themselves with imation. In other words, Peter tells the women that they must not use ordinary clothing to adorn themselves in the same way that they might adorn themselves with jewelry and a fancy hairdo. He does not use the same word for apparel that Paul uses.

If we examine the admonitions of these two great apostles, we will see that they are in perfect agreement. They both forbid the wearing of costly clothing. They both forbid the use of jewelry and hair styling. They both forbid the use of clothing in such a way as to attract attention to the self. In other words, Christian modesty will exclude the use of frills, colors, lace, wallpaper-like patterns, or any other thing whose only purpose is to embellish the body and make it attractive to the fleshly mind. This is, in fact, one of the dictionary definitions of the word modest.

It is true that saintly attire will draw the attention of the people, but not for the same reason. Gay and immodest dress attracts attention to self and excites pride and lust. But when a sinner observes a godly woman in sober attire, he is never made to lust. Rather, he will feel his lost condition and will treat the woman with great respect. I can still remember the great effect that the old-time Salvation Army lassies with their long uniforms had on me years ago when I was a young sinner boy. I not only did not lust after them, I could not even look at them for the fear and shame that I felt.

What has been said up to this time will no doubt seem rather extreme and perhaps even fanatical to most people. There is little doubt that it is at the opposite extreme from where we find the modern fads and fashions of dress, considering that almost everybody will appear practically naked in public at some time or other. And there is little doubt that carnally minded professors and sinners will consider any form of true holiness to be fanatical. However, what such people think does not really matter. What matters is the truth. And it is this that we will continue to examine.

Peter sets the tone of his message by saying that a Christian woman must adorn herself with a meek and quiet spirit. It is this, the apostle tells us, that God sets great value on because it is not corrupted, nor is it corruptible. A meek and quiet spirited woman will never try to attract attention to herself nor will she want to make men lust after her. The words themselves carry with them the image of a woman that will never make herself attractive nor appealing to the fleshly mind, but rather to the spiritual mind.

Although Peter's words imply the truth, they are such that worldly-minded professors can easily twist them to say what he in no wise means to say. But Paul's words are not so. Liberated women hate Paul, not Peter. The words that he chose were so clear and unmistakable to the Christians of his day who understood Greek perfectly that the only way one could get around them was to merely ignore them. Everyone understood perfectly the difference between katastolh and imation. They did not have to depend on translations made centuries later. Timothy, who spoke the Greek of that day perfectly, had no trouble understanding what Paul meant by this word that he chose. In addition to that, he also understood it because the world of his day was as filled up with fornication and sensuality as is our world today.

As with his choice of the word katastolh, which left nothing to chance, instead of the word imation, which could be made to mean almost anything, Paul has chosen two very peculiar and powerful words to describe the spirit in which he expects a Christian woman to carry herself. He says that Christian women are to adorn themselves in a katastolh, with shamefacedness and sobriety. I think that the reader will agree that these two words are not vague like Peter's. The word shamefacedness speaks for itself. There can be no mistaking what Paul is trying to say. Yet, to be fair about it, let us look to see what the Greek word is and what it means.

According to Thayer’s lexicon it has consistently been used from the writings of Homer in the lOth century BC. to Paul in the lst century AD to mean a sense of shame. He goes on to say that it seems to imply the kind of shame that precedes and prevents shameful acts both because others are watching and because of the ill effects that they might have on others.

Thus, Paul seems to be saying that all Christian women should be possessed of a certain sense of shame with respect to their bodies and that this shame should, in turn, produce a bashful and modest attitude toward attire. The woman who truly possesses this shamefacedness will be conscious that normal men have a powerful sex drive and that her body, if exposed or attractively decorated, will possibly be the instrument of eternal perdition to them, as nearly happened to David when he saw Bathsheba. The Christian woman ought to be aware that most of her sex shamefully play the harlot because through the illuminating work of the Holy Spirit she should see in herself these same shameful desires and urges. Consequently, she should be moved to studiously avoid all immodest and vain show because of her desire to be innocent of the blood of all men. How would it be possible for a Christian woman who believes in eternity to purposely cause a man to lust, thereby sending him plunging headlong into the flames of hell?

Let us remember that Paul not only says that Christian women are to be shamefaced with regard to their apparel, but also he says that they are to dress with sobriety. This is another very extreme and fanatical sounding word. The reason is that all instinctively know what it means to be sober. The American College Dictionary says that sober means to be quiet or sedate in demeanor; marked by seriousness, gravity, and solemnity; subdued in tone, as color; and not gay or showy, as clothes. Doubtless, there are loud, gay, and showy colors, such as red, pink, blue, orange, purple, green, all pastels, etc. And just as doubtless, there are sober, grave, and solemn colors such as gray and black. This may be distasteful to the carnal mind, but it is true.

These words of Paul are powerful and right to the point. They are like the man himself: unbending, unyielding, and bluntly truthful. Paul knew people because he knew himself. Paul understood the passions that destroy mankind because he had been among the most afflicted by passion. He understood religious pride because he had even persecuted the church. Because he had been the chiefest of sinners, he understood the lusts and passions that drive men and women into hell. And because he had been the chiefest of sinners, he knew the power that is to be found in Jesus Christ to deliver from all of those lusts and passions. And it is this very man that gives the clearest instructions to Christian women on how to dress.

There is one more carnal trait relative to clothing that I would like to discuss. This is one of the most subtle and therefore one of the most difficult traits that we have to deal with. In order to talk about this we will have to digress to the Old Testament, about 750 years before the Christian church was created. Now this ought not to be too surprising because God's church has always suffered from the wanton spirit of wicked women, not just now but even in the Jewish church. The spirit of harlotry has always fought hard against the spirit of godliness, and the prophets of old had to deal with it the same as the true ministers of today.

Listen to the greatest of the old prophets as he laments the condition of the church in his day.

Moreover the LORD saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched out 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, the LORD will discover their secret parts. In that day the LORD will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their hair nets, their crescent shaped ornaments, and the necklaces, the pendants and the bracelets, the coifs, the ornaments of the legs, the head-bands, the bottles of perfume and the earrings, the rings and the nose jewels, the changeable suits of apparel, the cloaks, the veils, the wimples and the crisping pins, the glasses, the fine linen, the gauzes and the headdresses. Isaiah 3:16-23 (Translated from the Version Popular.)

Without a doubt this is the most detailed indictment of that harlot spirit that often invades the church of God that can be found in the Bible. It almost sounds like something that could be said today about many women who call themselves Christians. You can easily see that this spirit and these things are as old as Eve. As a matter of fact, one of the oldest papyrus writings found in Egypt, which dates from around the days of Abraham, called The Proverbs of Aphobis, counsels as follows:

If thou be wise furnish thy house well: woo thy wife and do not quarrel with her; nourish her; deck her out, for fine dress is her greatest delight.

However, I want to talk about just one of those items listed in Isaiah above. I want to talk about the changeable suits of apparel. This expression strikes at that carnal trait in women and effeminate men that loves variety in clothing. That great trade of fashions and styles flourishes because of this sin. The world’s women believe it to be a cruel cross to bear if they don't have a different garment in cut and color for each day of the week and for each occasion. It is a great embarrassment to them if they happen to meet someone else who is wearing the same clothes, and church women are afflicted with the same sin and in many cases to the same degree. The thought of being deprived of this pleasure is almost more than most women can bear. So, at the very root, the so-called Christian women have the same spirit as the fashion-crazed women of the world, though perhaps to a lesser degree.

In many ways this lust for changeableness of apparel is the most difficult of all to expose. Yet, it is the very root and essence of this whole business of fashion. And if the spirit that drives the women in the nightclub is the same spirit that drives the women in the church, what conclusion must we draw? A worldly spirit is a worldly spirit, no matter where it is found. Let the supposedly Christian woman give me a reasonable and godly justification for varied cuts and colors in her wardrobe, if she can. But every honest woman will admit that there is no godly justification. It springs from her lusts and her pride, and she knows it.

Let us examine this question from a strictly logical point of view. It is obvious from the foregoing that God introduced clothing for the purpose of covering Adam and Eve's nakedness. Since they had already covered their private parts with fig leaf aprons, we must assume that God was not satisfied with that effort. From the Hebrew word used, it appears that He fully clothed them. Now is it logical to say that God does not care how we dress ourselves and our children?

God clothed them so that they would have their shame covered. He clothed them so that they might be modest. He clothed them in great plainness. Does it seem reasonable to you that God would approve of them using the very symbols and signs of their sin and shame to vaingloriously decorate and gild themselves like a god and goddess?

We see that there are two ways that a woman may sin against God in her clothing. She may dress scantily and lewdly so as to arouse the male passions and she may use clothing for adornment and vanity so as to arouse the admiration of her sex. If a woman follows the fashions of the world at all, if she buys her dresses from the world's stores, or if she makes her clothing to pattern after such styles, she will sin in one or both of these ways because all of the world's fashions are designed either to be lewd or to be vain or both. It is absurd to think that this wicked world would invent styles of holiness.

Let me use an argument by William Law. Let us suppose that some eminent saint, as, for instance, that the holy Virgin Mary was sent into the world to be again in a state of trial for a few years and that you were going to her to be edified by her great piety. Would you expect to find her dressed up and adorned with attractive and colorful clothing that would expose her flesh? No. You would know in your own mind that it would be as impossible to find her thus dressed as to find her learning to dance. Do but add saint or holy to any person, either man or woman, and your own mind tells you immediately that such a character cannot partake of the vanity of apparel. A saint vainly and lewdly dressed is as great nonsense as an apostle in an embroidered suit. Everyone's own natural sense convinces him of the inconsistency of these things.

Now what is the reason that, when you think of a saint or an eminent servant of God, you cannot associate with them the vanity of apparel? Is it not because it is inconsistent with such a right state of heart, such a true and exalted piety? And is not thus, therefore, a demonstration that where such vanity and lewdness is found, there a right state of heart, true and exalted piety, must needs be lacking? For certainly as the holy Virgin Mary could not indulge herself or conform to the vanity of the world in dress and figure, so certain is it that none can indulge themselves in this vanity but those who lack her piety of heart. And, consequently, it must be admitted that all needless and lewd dress is the effect of a disordered heart that is not governed by the true Spirit of Christ. Covetousness is not a sin because there is any harm in gold or silver, but because it supposes a foolish and unreasonable state of mind which is fallen from its true good and sunk into such a poor and wretched state of mind that would be satisfied by such trivia and foolishness. In like manner, vain and lewd dress is not a sin because there is anything good or evil in clothes, but because vain and immodest clothing show a foolish and unreasonable state of heart that is fallen from right notions of human nature, that abuses the end of clothing, and that turns the necessities of life into so many instances of pride and folly.

All the world agrees in condemning remarkable fops. Now what is the reason for this? Is it because there is anything sinful in their particular dress or affected manners? No, because the world rarely condemns men for social sins. Rather it is because all people know that it shows the state of a man's mind and that it is impossible for so ridiculous an outside to have anything wise or reasonable or good within. And, indeed, to suppose a fop to be of great piety is as much nonsense as to suppose a coward to be of great courage. So that all the world agrees in admitting that the use and manner of clothes is a mark of the state of a man's mind and, consequently, that it is a thing highly essential to religion.

But then it should be well considered that as it is not only the sot that is guilty of intemperance, but every one that transgresses the right and religious measures of eating and drinking; so it should be considered that it is not only the fop that is guilty of the vanity and abuse of dress, but everyone that departs from the reasonable and religious ends of clothing. As, therefore, every argument against sottishness is as good an argument against all kinds of intemperance; so every argument against the vanity of fops is a good argument against all vanity and abuse of dress. For they are all of the same kind, and only differ as one degree of intemperance may differ from another. She who gets just a little drunk is guilty of the same intemperance as she that gets very drunk, although to a lesser degree. Thus, she who only paints a little may as justly accuse another because she paints a great deal as she that adorns herself with but a little color or displays just a little leg may accuse another that is excessively stylish or lewd. Thus far with William Law.

Is it possible to find any woman today that professes Christianity who is obeying the apostles Peter and Paul's commands? It does seem to me to be stretching truth a great deal to say that women who expose any part of their legs by shortened skirts and transparent, flesh colored hose, who wear colorful clothing that looks like wallpaper, who wear pants that so totally reveal the female form, and who are given to changeableness in apparel are delivered from vanity and pride and are dressing with a sense of shame.

Isn't it apparent that the church has totally failed along these lines? Without a doubt the church has failed because it is well nigh impossible to find any woman that dresses with the studied plainness and modesty of the primitive church, except in the Friends of Jesus Christ. Now it is true that you can find some women that do some of these things, but there seems to be no church other than the Friends of Jesus Christ whose women wholly obey the apostles' exhortations.

Every deviation from the primitive plainness as preached by the apostles was motivated by carnal desires. As the church changed, it did so at every step in imitation of the world's fashions. The love of the world and the fear of reproach have always hindered the churches from making that clean, radical departure from the sinful fads and fashions and returning to that simplicity that was the glory of the primitive church in its purity and power.

These changes came about so slowly that each new generation has accepted as God's standard of modesty the sinful deviations of the preceding generation from the pure plainness. So by degrees, the Christian simplicity has been corrupted to the point that the most modest woman today would not meet the approval of even the harlots of old. It is true that there have always been a few witnesses in every age, but they are as lone voices crying out in the wilderness and are easily silenced or ignored as fools and fanatics.

An honest and unprejudiced examination of the source and reason for such things as nylons, flesh colored hose, shortened skirts, jeans, colorful wallpaper-like clothing, high-heeled shoes, hair styles, eye make-up, lipstick, shorts, etc., will reveal that their purpose was and is to increase sex appeal, vanity and pride, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life. There can be no godly justification for any of these because none of them tends to godliness. But to depart from these things makes a woman such a spectacle in the eyes of this exceedingly sinful and wicked generation that few women are willing to bear it.

One must judge the woman to be guilty, although through weakness. She is tempted by her carnal nature to be desired by men. Furthermore, she is tempted to avoid the great reproach that attends true saintly attire. But the man has no such temptation and, thus, must bear the greater blame. On the contrary, the temptation that he suffers at the hand of women should prompt him to enforce modest dress in his own household. Everywhere he goes, he is tempted with sex. He expects this in the world, but he finds that even in the sanctuary he is not safe from the lure of naked legs.

Most men will not be open and frank about this temptation. First, they seem to fear that their wives will not understand that it is a temptation and not necessarily a wilful desire. Second, many corrupt men and women who are filled with lust will rail at them for being sex fiends, hoping thereby to stop any effective testimony against these lewd fashions. Third, if they profess to be Christians, they fear that it will cast doubts on their religious experience.

This is truly unfortunate because if good men would admit to the reality and magnitude of this temptation its dangerous consequences might be avoided. It should be obvious that as the dress code of society has relaxed the number of cases of divorce, homosexuality, rape, incest, and sexual child-abuse has risen to an almost pandemic degree. With each new step of undress and lewd fashion, our society has progressively degenerated. We are now at the point of an almost complete moral breakdown of our civilization. Hardcore pornography is available not only in magazines, but also in the movie houses, on TV, and on the Internet. Children's minds and consciences are being cauterized and numbed by that which their parents allow them to view.

I do not know how anyone can doubt that even good men suffer from this temptation. The Bible clearly demonstrates this fact as is witnessed by the histories of Samson, David, and Solomon whose lives and service to God were almost destroyed by this temptation. Just think of the number of good men and ministers that have fallen, just think of the number of marriages that have been destroyed, just think of the number of children's lives that have been ruined by this awful temptation. And the depravity of our society today is the natural consequence of its unwillingness to uphold its former code of morality.

I well remember an experience that I once had while teaching at a Bible college some years ago. One day during class I discussed this question at some length, trying to demonstrate to those young men and women the evils of fashion and exposure of the flesh. After class, one of the married students said to me with tears in his eyes, Brother Wolfe, what you said is true. I have a terrible struggle with it. But what can I do? It's all around me, everywhere I look. Yet, he would not be openly honest with his wife or anyone else. He would pretend that he was sexless and completely untouched by the constant panorama of cheese-cake surrounding him.

I have heard some foolish women act like it is the man's fault because her nudity and decorative attire tempts him. I have heard them say, It's disgusting. Can't they ever think of anything else. The absurdity of this attitude is well demonstrated by J. G. Morrison in his excellent tract Satan's Subtle Attack On Woman which follows in part, . . .as agreed to by all our psychologists. . .the only passion that stands alongside of this primary one for food is sex! Conceal it as we may, apologize for it as we like, feign immunity all we please, the stark, cold, unadulterated fact stares us in the face, and that is that sex passion holds even hand with food passion in the male breast. There is a regular, normal sex lure that operates between men and women all the time, but when unusual action on the part of the woman, or unusual conditions of dress, or semi-dress, or no-dress obtain, one might as well bait a famishing man with a royal dinner, and not expect any reaction, as to expect none in the sex line when any ordinary, red-blooded man confronts women under such circumstances.

I marvel that people are so blind to this fact. The sex passion nearly rules the world. Look at the dress fashions, the magazine stands, and the book covers and tell me that this isn't the major topic of interest among the majority of people. Almost every movie and TV program is a sex story. The more filthy they are, the more popular they are. There is no other one thing that has caused more murders and more broken homes. Yet, foolish men and women pretend that it does not exist.

Nature being what it is, the man has every reason to obligate his women to dress with studied and extreme modesty. Since the man suffers every day from these moral assaults on his nature, he should be highly motivated to control this inordinate desire in his women. Then why does he not do it? There are two reasons. First, if he is not a Christian man, he enjoys the display of female flesh and vanity. I say, if he is not a Christian man, for all truly Christian men abhor such displays. Second, if he is a Christian, he is, to be quite blunt, afraid of the woman.

It is a fact that the bravest of men will cower in the presence of an infuriated woman. After he slew several hundred prophets of Baal, Elijah fled before the anger of Jezebel. You show me a man who has stood firm on the modesty question in his home and I will show you a man with battle scars. As Mr. Morrison says, When the women decide to damn the church, the men, largely speaking, will accept damnation without a murmur. Adam did, and we are not so much an improvement on him.

Many women will vehemently deny that they dress in colorful and suggestive attire in order to attract attention to themselves. Then why do they love to be told how nice they look? Why do they love for other women to complement them in their taste? Why does a hunter wears loud colors such as red or bright orange? Is it not to be seen of men? They want to attract attention to themselves so that they will not be shot. In like manner, women wear loud and gay attire to be seen of men. They want to be desired and admired. Charles G. Finney, that great revivalist that saw thousands of men and women saved, said that even to try to be pretty is a sin because it is self-idolatry.

Psychologists have long been aware that exotic colors act as a sex stimulant to many men and women and that sex sells products. The author of the book Hidden Persuaders points out that the Madison Avenue advertisers utilize the fact of color stimulation in all of their advertising. Products as unrelated to sex as computers and trucks sell better when sex is mixed in their advertising--scantily clad young women stand next to a powerful Kenworth tractor and trailer; wildly, colorfully dressed men and women are seen smiling alluringly at each other with cigarettes between their fingers; a happy, worldly, frilled up housewife is using Tide to wash her dainty and sexy underclothing. What has sex to do with trucks or cigarettes or detergents? Nothing whatsoever. But it helps sell these products because the sex drive works powerfully and constantly in every normal person. The subconscious carnal mind thinks, Say, if owning a Kenworth will attract such sexy young women as that, I'll buy a Kenworth instead of a Peterbilt. It may sound stupid, but the advertising industry knows that it is true, even if church people refuse to believe it.

My friends, the apostles forbid all such like things for Christian women. Christian women are supposed to be delivered from these things. They are supposed to study to dress soberly. They are supposed to be more diligent in avoiding sex attraction than the world's women are in cultivating it. They are supposed to strive to appear godly, sober, and grave rather than sinful, sexy, and gay. They are supposed to be unspotted by the world.

Now it ought to be obvious to any thinking person that a woman dressed in gay colors or displaying her flesh cannot appear sober and grave. But the apostle Paul clearly commands women to dress soberly. Hence, if we are to believe the Bible and be subject to its commands, we must conclude that a Christian woman can wear only a sober color such as gray or black and that her dress must be full length and not form revealing, with full length sleeves and buttoned at the neck.

The cause of Christ has suffered immeasurably and millions upon millions of souls are languishing in hell from this sin. Not only do the guilty parties miss heaven but the church has lost its power to fulfill its mission upon the earth, that is, to deal with the sin question in the world. The Holy Spirit will not dwell in an unclean temple. Profess what they will, pray all they want, sing and shout and praise the Lord till the end of time, the fact still remains that God is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, much less to dwell in it. And if the Holy Spirit is absent, the church is merely an empty shell.

When so-called Christian women don their worldly attire, they are merely advertising to the world that salvation is a fraud, Christ an imposter, and the Bible a lie. Their fancy hair styles, colorful dresses, bare arms, shortened skirts, jeans, spike heels, etc., simply put the lie to their profession of holiness of heart and life, of being saved by the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The sad thing is that most supposedly Christian people live in a dream world of self delusion and make-believe. They differ from their brothers and sisters in the world not in kind, but only in degree. Their penchant for fashion proves that in the root they are of the same spirit as the fashion-mad world. Like Samson of old time, the strength of Christianity has departed and they wist it not.

Let us summarize. From the third chapter of Genesis it is obvious that God cares very much about the way that we dress. It is obvious that He intends that His children should cover their nakedness and that they should dress soberly. The old covenant prophet Isaiah verifies this observation by a scathing denunciation of the women in the church in his day. In the New Testament both the apostle Paul and the apostle Peter are very explicit about the manner in which women are to dress and the spirit in which they are to carry themselves. Throughout the holy scriptures the harlot spirit is always associated with gaudy and voluptuous attire.

It is clear that the Bible forbids women to use clothing at all as ornamentation or decoration of the body. Instead, they should dress in plain, full length, long sleeved, buttoned at the neck dresses of a solid and sober color and of a cut that is not form fitting. They should dress with a sense of holy shame and in such a manner as to evidence that sober, grave, and solemn state of mind which always accompanies one who is living for eternity. Their dresses should all be of the same cut and color so that they will not be found in captivity to that worldly spirit that craves changeableness in apparel.

In order to satisfy all of these scriptural commands and to be a testimony against the fads and fashions of the worldly spirit, the Holy Spirit has led all of the women in the Friends of Jesus Christ to dress exactly alike, wearing a full length, gray dress of a design that He Himself gave them. They wear only that dress and they wear it at all times and in all places. Having done this they have no apparent trouble in fulfilling the demands of sobriety and shamefacedness.

Dear reader, he that will let the Holy Spirit teach him that God's purpose in clothing is only to hide our shame and nakedness and to protect us from the injuries of weather and that he is to desire to glorify God by a sober and wise use of this necessity will always know what vanity of dress is and how to please God in the matter. For, as Jesus assures us, anyone that is willing to do the will of the Father, no matter what it may be, will always know His doctrine.

They have healed also the hurt of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.

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. Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken.

Therefore hear, ye nations, and know, O congregation, what is among them. Hear O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it. Jeremiah 7:14-19