What Should the Dress Code Be for Sunday Services?

What Should the Dress Code Be for Sunday Services?

Max Aplin

I have been a Christian for over 30 years. I have a Ph.D. in New Testament from the University of Edinburgh. I am a British national and I currently live in the south of Scotland. You are very welcome to take any of my articles to post on your website, blog etc. If you do this, you may Americanise the English spellings, leave out the links at the end of the article, and change the format of subheadings, quotations etc., if you want. But please attach my name and keep the content of the article unaltered. Check out my blog, "The Orthotometist" above.

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2 Responses

  1. kelly says:

    I am one of 'those' who dress up for church (God) and believe it is right to do so. While I certainly do not look down on others for doing otherwise, I have always wondered their reason. So I was interested when I came across your post to read what you have to say and hoped that maybe you could shed some light on this for me. While it has helped me to understand some of the reasons people might dress down for church, my opinion remains the same.

    I believe it is very important to give God our best, as they say, on a Sunday. It is our job as Christians to draw the lost into church but not by lowering our (hopefully Godly) standards to meet worldly ones. Where does that end? This is the same thinking that applies to churches that incorporate worldly music into their services such as drums etc because hymns are old fasioned. What if they find the Bible difficult to read? Give them a watered down version.

    Jesus never lowered His standards, He kept them right where they were and raised others up to meet them. And I believe we are to follow His example and be like Him in all areas. The Word says be of the world but not in it. It also says to be a peculiar people. We are meant to be seed planters, bringing them in. Not changing the church or it's moral codes to do this.

    When you dress nicely for church and your children dress nicely, you can go anywhere before or after, grocery shopping etc etc and people will know you are a church going family. This is one way to be a good testimony to God. Wearing jeans and a tshirt tells no one you are a Christian when they look at you. It tells them you look like everyone else in this world, worldly and doesn't give them any indication that you worshipped God today.

    I don't think you're a bad person if you dress down for God but I do think it is wrong to do so. A sin? Not necessarily. It's between you and God. Just something that does not honor Him or glorify Him in any way. I will teach my children we are to give God our very best on a Sunday in particular so that others might know us by our clothing. But we also keep to a standard out of church that is not fashionable, worldly or pertaining to the opposite sex.

    Interesting post and I hope I have no offended. Just adding my two cents and what I believe our Lord says to us as His followers.

  2. Max Aplin says:

    Kelly, thank you for your comments. I very much like your attitude to doing what is right and I do find myself challenged by what you say. You have encouraged me to keep this topic under review. Possibly I may change my view on it in the future. But you haven't said enough to convince me yet.

    Certainly, we must not compromise with the world, but I don't think that dressing down is really doing that. The New Testament knows nothing of Christians dressing well for Sunday services. As for calling drums worldly music, that is really a separate issue, but I don't see why that particular instrument should be avoided. The psalms speak of cymbals, after all. We should beware of thinking that old fashioned things are godly but modern things are not. And if you are implying that the King James Version should be used in church services, that is a big mistake. The whole point of that translation was to get the Bible into up-to-date language, and I think if the translators knew that it was still being used 400 years later they would be troubled.

    One thing I am slightly concerned about in your comment is when you say that you want to give God your best on a Sunday. We should be giving Him our best every day. The idea that we should up our game on a Sunday is all wrong, although perhaps you don't believe that since you just touch on this briefly.

    Anyway, on the main issue at hand, for me, the bottom line is that there are people in the town where I live who don't have any good clothes, and I want them all to feel that they can join us on a Sunday. I want to welcome them with open arms, just as Jesus ate with outcasts and sinners. And, at the present time at least, I think that dressing down is the right thing to do. But, as I said, I will keep pondering this issue, and I could change my view.

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