Last Updated on : November 23, 2014

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A Short Treatise On Standards For Christadelphians

Fashion And Dress


Vulgar and immodest clothing has become commonplace in the world and, unfortunately, ecclesias have not been untouched. As a community, we have not been sufficiently aware that such clothing is unacceptable. Too few voices have been raised in protest and this has caused the problem to deepen.

Mini skirts, together with other extremes of fashion, should be shunned by sisters of the Lord Jesus Christ. Their choice of clothing should be modest, sensible and seemly (1 Tim. 2:9 R.S.V.). Those who flout such standards degrade the holiness and sanctity of our worship. God has said, "Be ye holy, for I am holy" (1 Pet. 1:16), and this commandment relates to our dress as well as to our manner of living. Baptism involves the crucifixion of the flesh, but the mini skirt and other such brief attire reverse this principle.

There is also the "unisex" trend in which it is often difficult to distinguish between sexes on account of similarity of hair style and dress. We cannot but think that this is displeasing to God. When God made man and woman He gave them each distinctive and separate duties and His laws have sought to maintain the difference.

The wearing of slacks and pant-suits runs counter to this principle of distinction. The Law of Moses specifically forbade such confusion: "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" (Deut. 22:5).

Whatever particular evil practices may have been in vogue in the day that Moses penned these words, the principle still applies today. The practice of women wearing slacks has greatly increased, but only during the last twenty years. Is it good to follow the trend of a generation that has forsaken the ways of the Lord and rejected concepts of modesty? A previous generation of Christadelphians would have been deeply disturbed by this modern practice. Surely the example of the world is not good and, if followed, will lead to further decline, both in modesty and distinction.

Sisters of Christ must remember that the "ornament of a meek and quiet spirit" is of great price in the sight of God (I Pet. 3:4). Thus, the sister who is poorest in this world's goods may be exceedingly rich in the sight of God.

The following voices from the past speak timely counsel to the ecclesia of today:

(1) 'The Virtuous Woman' by Sis. Jane Roberts - page 45.

"The matter of hairdressing will also receive her attention -- for this finds special mention in the writings of the Apostles. "If a woman have long hair it is a glory to her." There is a right and a wrong way to apply the underlying principles of this divine utterance. Extremes of style in the dressing of the hair must be avoided. Much time, effort and money can be dissipated in unwise attempts to follow the fashions and follies of worldly women. No sister must allow these insidious influences to encroach on the profitable use of her time. She will be circumspect and constant and will ever remember that "plaiting the hair," or its counterpart in the elaborate "coiffeur" of today, is disparaged, rather than encouraged, in the Spirit Word.

"A spiritual sister will not resort to the extravagant use of cosmetics. Painted lips and pencilled eyebrows are a form of attraction and self-advertisement which she can well afford to forego. Her beauty will not depend upon the artificial make-up which can be bought at a chemist's shop. The real secret of charm is not purchased with money, nor contained in external embellishments.

"Beauty of mind is beauty of face,

And inward sweetness makes outward grace".


"The cheerful countenance, the noble brow, the sunny smile, the compassionate eye -- who is not attracted by these powerful charms? A happy face may be a very plain face, but who, with discerning judgement of these matters, would exchange it for the soul-less artificial beauty, so-called, of the vain daughters of men? "Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised" (Prov. 31:30)."


(2) "For Christ's Sake" by Bro. C. P. Wauchope - pages 9-10.

"The fashion of the world is ever changing, but that does not permit us the liberty of setting our affections on the changing world and its fashions. Nor is it to be denied that in recent years the pendulum of dress and style swung toward the borderland of vulgarity, bringing blushes to the cheeks of the prudent. There is an attempt to cheat truth by dressing so as to disguise age, and mothers have externally spurned their matronage and bedecked themselves as their daughters! There is an excess of time and thought devoted to personal adornment, making it apparent that many opportunities are bestowed on that which is "pleasant to the eyes". If senior sisters take advantage of the world's goddess, what can be expected of the younger members? They promptly annex the licence exhibited by the elder sisters. And, again, how much observation and no small amount of comment is sometimes expressed regarding the new attire of sisters present at the breaking of bread meeting. The memorial feast tells that these are the days of our fasting in the Master's absence, and we need to remember that Israel was rebuked by God for finding pleasure when they professed to be fasting. All these things were written for our admonition and learning, on whom the ends of the ages are come. Often and often the prophets were directed to condemn the excess of external beauty which the women of Israel indulged in, and the Apostles declared how the holy women were to adorn themselves. Sisters have great powers for good, and in view of the Lord's approach, we believe it would be acceptable to him if they abandoned the world to its own follies and studied that separateness of holiness without which none shall see the Lord.

"It is a hard and somewhat unpleasant duty to break in upon the apparently harmless enjoyment of the sisters in Christ, but "for His sake" they will not object to a rebuke which will not hinder them in securing His approval. Realizing that the motive of this appeal is not an attack upon the individual, but an effort to keep the body up to the standard of holiness, both brethren and sisters will endeavour to adorn themselves with 'the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit which is in the sight of God of great price.' The fashion of that spirit remains unchanged and abideth for ever."


Brethren too, are not immune from the problems of dress. The world has adopted a second-class standard -- casualness for almost every occasion has replaced the care given to appearance by former generations. Laxity in dress is normally related to a laxity in moral conduct.

In every avenue of life the present evil society is consciously plotting the overthrow of every decent standard of their forebears. Discerning this decline, it is wise to resist the rapid changes of the world.

It is not good therefore to see deterioration in the standard of formality of our brethren and young men at ecclesial meetings. Loud colours, floral patterns and casual styles are not desirable and will almost surely be followed by further laxity in those who behold our example.

We are the servants of a King. Whether we are attending a formal meeting or an ecclesial outing, we should dress in a way which would be appropriate were the King himself actually present.