James Glen Young

Recently I was asked the question, how would you address the issue caused by a brother wearing Bermuda shorts to a worship service? The questioner said that the shorts were not immodest but felt that they were improper dress for worship services. I agreed with him and proceeded to address the issue in that way. The following are my comments.

Here are my thoughts. The problem is that our clothes manifest a brother’s thinking about worship. Wearing casual clothing is how I would address the issue of proper dress when assembled.

Worship is an essential part of our Christian life. It is impossible to be a faithful Christian if our attitude toward worship is incorrect. God has commanded us to worship (John 4:23-24, 23) But the hour is coming and is now here when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24) God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”)

When we assemble, we must accept God’s demands that we worship regularly and acceptably (1 Peter 2:5, 9, 5) you yourselves, like living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. … 9) But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.; Hebrews 13:15, Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.)

Our worship includes the brethren with which we gather. For this reason, we are to worship regularly and to do so to aid our brothers and sisters in their Christian lives (Hebrews 10:24-25, 24) And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25) not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.) Suppose a Christian attends worship service with a casual attitude. In that case, his appearance manifests it, his attention to what is happening, showing disrespect for God, and I would include their manner of dress.

The answer I would give to your question is this. Since worship is such an important part of our Christian duty, would it not be disrespectful to come dressed in a way that does not honor God? Should Bermuda shorts be worn at a service, whether on Sunday or Wednesday? My answer is no. There are two reasons. First, they do not show respect for God. Suppose you were going to honor someone like the president of the United States. Is that the way you would dress? I dare say no because you want to show honor even in your dress. To dress as if we were going to a sports event does not show glory to God. Second, how does my dress affect other Christians? We are responsible to encourage our brethren to a higher spiritual standard. Indeed, God does not designate a specific type of clothing to be worn at worship services. Also, we can only wear the clothing we own. Think, we have a choice. Every one of us has clothing we wear for special occasions.

My point is this, how we dress for worship services reflects what we are on the inside. God knows all about us, even down to what is in our hearts. If a Christian does not care enough to consider the attitude that is manifested by the way they dress when worshiping God, what does that tell us about their heart? Save your casual dress for those times they are suited. Give honor to God and encourage your brethren when you meet as the local church.

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