By David Stone
Pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church
352 Baum Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Every question correctly answered must be scripturally answered. The purpose of this article is not to take sides with a certain camp, nor to please the whims and desires of friends or enemies. Neither have we written to create divisions. The subject itself has already done that. Our one and only desire is to properly understand the scriptures in regards to women wearing men's apparel.
For a foundation it is necessary to understand the scriptural place given to men and women. After Adam and Eve sinned, God said, "unto the woman ... I will greatly multiply thy sorrow, . . in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee" (Gen 3:16). It is neither our purpose or privilege to try to discern why God does what He does. Suffice us to say that "He doeth all things well". In spite of the women's liberation movement and this unisex society there is a God ordained difference between men and women.
It is a shameful thing to destroy the lines of demarcation that God has established. "Doth not even nature itself teach you, that if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?" (1Co 11:14). By nature there is a marked difference between the male and female, even in the animal kingdom.
It is not only a shame unto the person, it is an "abomination unto the Lord our God" (Dent. 22:5). When we ignore God's order of distinction. The word "abomination" means "extreme disgust and hatred, abhorrence; detestable; loathsome". Our subject may be of little importance to you but with God it is a serious matter.
The homosexuals and lesbians who are pushing for a unisex society are unsaved (1Co 6:9-10) Christ rejecters who have no heart felt concern about the Bible. Our attitude about this subject identifies us with either the best or worst of company. I prefer to stand with the Bible believing Saints of God who desire to honor His word.
The seriousness of the destruction of distinction between male and female is reflected by the following facts:
Not until the unisex look became fashionable has sodomy so greatly increased. Between 1968 and 1974 the number of serious offenses committed by women rose 54 %, while male offenses rose only 25%. In 1975, 1,026,000 divorces were granted to Americans. This was an increase of 6% over 1974. In 1975, 2,100,000 marriages were performed, down 4% from 1974. There was one divorce for every two marriages! In 1900 there was only one divorce for every 13 marriages in America. Today, 20 million American wives work outside the home, an increase of 100 % since 1955. In the 1960's runaway husbands outnumbered runaway wives 300 to 1. Today, runaway wives out numbers departed husbands nearly two to one!
From our few words so far it should be evident that there is a scriptural distinction between male and female and a serious departure from Bible standards.
Now, to the point. "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 our God" (Deu 22:5). We are not picking on women. It is just as wrong for a man to wear feminine apparel as it is for women to wear masculine apparel.
Until the last few years women wore robes or dresses that covered all of their legs. This was true of the Egyptians, Ethiopians, Syrians, Hebrews, Assyrians, Babylonians, Medes and Persians, Scythians and Parthians, Grecians, Romans, Early Christians, Medieval Period, English Renaissance, and Puritans. Only in the last generation has this been changed.
For the sake of being clear and concise, we will divide our subject into these parts: the arguments for, the arguments against, and the answer.
I. THE ARGUMENTS FOR
(1). Both men and women wore robes when Deu 22:5 was written.
Answer: True, but the question isn't in regards to the pattern of the clothing, but of its appearance. The difference was in detail rather than kind. Women wore longer, more elaborate robes than the men. Men and women could be easily distinguished one from the other.
(2). Can't there be a proper distinction between men's and women's slacks?
Answer: It would be difficult, if not impossible, to make such a distinction that could be noticed without close examination. Everyone of you would consider your pastor feminine looking if he wore a dress with hip pockets, high heel shoes, and carried a purse!
(3). They are better than short skirts.
Cursing isn't socially as harmful as murder, but both are wrong. Two wrongs do not make a right.
(4). They are warmer.
Answer: If it is warmth you are concerned about, why not wear a full length dress over them and be even warmer? "But that would look ridiculous", you say. I thought it was warmth you were concerned about, instead of fashion?
Generally speaking, women of years gone by worked much harder outside in the elements of the weather and made it just fine without resorting to slacks. My wife has, worked long, hard hours in the garden and has participated in many recreations without being immodest or un-lady like. Where there's a will there's a way.
(5). Deu 22:5 was written under the law.
Answer: In the first place, there was a law before "the law" (Rom 5:12-14). Disobedience (Adam), murder (Cain), and drunkenness (Noah), were all wrong before Moses was given the commandments. As parables were given to convey existing spiritual truths, even so the law conveys to us spiritual truths. It is our "schoolmaster" (Gal 3:24). In Deu 19:14 cheating is said to be wrong; in Deu 19:15 lying is wrong; in Deu 21:18-21 rebellion against parents is wrong; in Deu 22:22-24 adultery is wrong; in Deu 22:25 rape is wrong; and in Deu 22:30 incest is wrong. Are these things wrong today? Of course they are. And if they are why should we ignore Deu 22:5?
Secondly, grace demands more than law! The Pharisees emphasized the outward but neglected the inward. They leaned on the letter of the law but shunned the spirit of the law. The law said, "thou shalt not commit adultery ". Jesus said, "whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart" (Mat 5:28). The Pharisee would turn the other cheek and then "knock your block off"! Under grace the principles of the law didn't change, only the ceremonies, and consequences of disregarding it.
II. THE ARGUMENTS AGAINST
(1). Slacks give a masculine appearance.
Funk and Wagnalls Encyclopedia shows a picture of "unisex" clothing. Both the man and woman are shown wearing look-a-like suits! On page 221 there is a picture of a woman wearing a pant suit under which is the following descriptive caption:
"The MENSWEAR style in sports wear, including slouch hats and tailored pants, was the predominant trend in fashion during 1972".
There you have it! Not from some loud mouthed, wild-eyed, fanatical, hell fire and brimstone, fundamental Baptist preacher who's trying to convince you. But by a secular publication that's simply telling you how the eyes of society sees the subject.
What a blessing it is to see "ladies" who are not ashamed to be feminine. Praise the Lord for the godly women who have not compromised what is right for what is popular.
(2). They usually are immodest.
More times than not, women wear levi's or hip hugging slacks that reveal the body curvature and impressions. In fact, some appear to have been melted down and poured into their garments. While some women, no doubt, wear tightly fitted slacks for this very reason; it is apparent that some women, surely, have different motives. If some women could see themselves as others do they would never wear slacks again. If any woman could see herself as God sees her she would never wear them again. She is, in God's sight, disgustful, detestable and loathsome.
(3). The wearing of such apparel is causing harmful divisions.
Anyone who believes the Bible must admit that if slacks give a masculine appearance (I don't see how there could be any doubt) then the wearing of them by women would be outright rebellion against God. Sin!
Evidently then, the point of division is whether or not they give a masculine or immodest appearance. This being the case, everyone must admit that the subject does cause division and the wearing of them does no positive good.
A pastor friend of mine in a large city in Kansas has pastored in the same place approx. 20 years. The church attendance is less than 100 (and there's no shame in that!). He told me that the two things which kept prospective members from joining more than anything else is his preaching against smoking and women wearing slacks! This story could be repeated over and over again. What a shame, when God's people publicly display their divisions because some insist in smoking or wearing slacks! A few years ago you would have had a difficult time finding a church or pastor that didn't stand against these things. What has changed? Certainly not the Word!
III. THE ANSWER
Paul answers the question for us, in his first letter to the Church at Corinth, as he deals with the subject of eating meat offered to idols.
There was a division among the Corinthians about the matter of some who were eating meat that had been offered to idols. Paul tells them that there was nothing wrong in the eating of the meat, in itself. But because it created divisions and erected stumbling blocks it became a sin to those who ate the meat. Listen prayerfully to what he says. "But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, YE SIN AGAINST CHRIST. Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend" (1Co 8:12-13). "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God... even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved" (1Co 10:1,33).
The answer is obvious! "Abstain from all appearance of evil" (I Thess. 5:22). ". . He that doubteth is damned (judged) if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin" (Rom 14:23).
There would be no problem and no division over the subject if women wore decent dresses. We have tried to be scriptural, simple, and sincere in our writing. We have tried to avoid having a bitter spirit or a holier than thou attitude. We hope we have been successful. If we haven't accomplished these desires we ask your forgiveness. If we have been successful we beg your repentance.
For any person to continue in anything that they know is wrong (either in itself or in its effect) "to him it is sin"! For your conscience sake (1Ti 1:5,19); for the church's sake (1Co 10:32); and for Christ's sake I hope that you will cast aside your masculine garments, adorn yourself in modest apparel and be the lady that God wants you to be.
If you are truly saved and continue in any sin, God will sooner or later chastise you. As a child of God you will suffer from your rebellion on this side of the grave.
If you are not saved, what I've said won't mean much to you. In fact, it is all secondary to your real need. More than decent morals, proper dress or anything else you need to be "born again". It isn't your sins that will damn your soul, but your rejection of Christ as your Lord and Savior. If you realize you are a sinner in need of saving grace and will receive Christ as the Lord of your life, He will save you, put within your heart a desire to live right, and give you the necessary strength. May God help you to do so today.
BEATITUDES FOR THE HOMES (from Baptist Bulletin Service)
BLESSED are the husband and wife who continue to be affectionate and considerate, loving after the wedding bells have ceased ringing.
BLESSED are the husband and wife who are as polite and courteous to one another as they are to their friends.
BLESSED are they who have a sense of humor, for this attribute will be a handy shock absorber.
BLESSED are they who love their mates more than any other person in the world and who joyfully fulfill their marriage vows of lifetime of fidelity and mutual helpfulness to one another.
BLESSED are they who attain parenthood, for children are a heritage of the Lord.
BLESSED are they who remember to thank God for their food before they partake of it, and who set apart some time each day for the reading of the Bible and for prayer.
BLESSED are those mates who never speak loudly to one another and who make their home a place where seldom is heard a discouraging word".
BLESSED are the husband and wife who faithfully attend the worship service of the church and who work together in the church for the advancement of Christ's Kingdom.
BLESSED are the husband and wife who can work out problems of adjustments without interference from relatives.
BLESSED is the couple who has a complete understanding about financial matters and who has worked out a perfect partnership with all money under the control of both.
BLESSED are the husband and wife who humbly dedicate their lives and their home to Christ and who practice the teachings of Christ in the home by being unselfish, loyal, and loving. --
Tract # B-338 Order From:
TABERNACLE BAPTIST CHURCH
1911 34th St., E. L. Bynum, Pastor
P. 0. Box 3100, Lubbock, Texas 79452