Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Women Should not Wear Pants,or Should They?

Godly women don't wear pants! Have you heard that statement? This has been an issue for many years. A new pastor is pastoring one of the churches my dad started, and he will not allow their church to attend our youth camp because we allow the girls to wear pants.

Nearly always, those who hold this view start with 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." They then assume that pants are mens apparel. Such an assumption ignores the fact that throughout most of history, neither men nor women wore pants, both wearing robes.

To bolster their argument, many will refer to Exodus 28:42. I will include verse 43, as it is part of the context, and modifies how the verse is to be understood. "And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach: And they shall be upon Aaron, and upon his sons, when they come in unto the tabernacle of the congregation, or when they come near unto the altar to minister in the holy place; that they bear not iniquity, and die: it shall be a statute for ever unto him and his seed after him."

Notice that verse 43 stresses that these are for the priests, and are to be worn any time they are ministering about the tabernacle or altar, implying that they were not common for otherpeople. Looking back to verses 40 and 41. we find that they also were to wear coats and bonnets. The breeches were to be worn that their nakedness not be seen.

From the description, the breeches were to reach from the waist to the thigh. In todays language, that is a pair of shorts. They were to be worn under the coats and girdle. They were underwear. If this is men's apparel, would it not be an equally valid interpretation to forbid women to wear underwear, or perhaps forbid them to cover their nakedness? These garments were specifically for the priests, and provide no insight to what is or isn't mens clothing.

Deuteronomy 22:5 clearly teaches the women are not to dress as men, and that men are not to dress as women. We are repeatedly told that homosexual behavior is repugnant to God. Cross dressing is definitely off limits. That is not the same as women wearing pants designed for women. If one believes it is wrong for a woman to wear pants, he has the right to his belief and should practice them. However, since there is uncertainty, he should listen to Romans 141, "Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations." The rest of the chapter is focused on the idea that we ought not make issues of these type of things, nor allow them to cause division. As Paul tells us in verse 14, "I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean."

In verses 17-19 Paul points out that it is not these kinds of things which make us pleasing to God, and we need to focus on those instead. "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. These controversies ar counterproductive.

Regardless of ones position, he should avoid hypocrisy on his stance. For example, if it is wrong for a woman to wear pants, then idon't tell her it is okay for her to put on shorts under her dress so she can engage in activities where they will be seen, such as jumping on a trampoline. It is not right to forbid women to dress as men, then have pastors dress as women for a skit at youth camp. They are still disobeying God. Just be consistent.

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