By Dennis Abernathy
Not too long ago there appeared a razor blade advertisement with the slogan: “Take it off; take it all off.” The advent of warm weather made many people apply this slogan with regard to their dress. As the weather warms and heats up, we begin to see the shorts and halters, tank tops, and scanty swim wear, which makes modesty a vanishing virtue. Perhaps this is to be expected from worldly people who either do not know the truth or who do not care what the truth is, but we should expect more from Christians. I’m afraid immodesty is creeping (running in some areas) into the church, and not too much is being done to check it.
The time was that the truth was preached plainly and forthrightly on this subject. Elders took a stand with regard to the matter. Church members who wore short shorts and such in public were not allowed to feel comfortable in doing so. It was frowned upon by good people and they heard about it from the pulpit. But today young people wear their shorts, majorette and drill team outfits, short tennis skirts, all clearly displaying the flesh for all to see, and it is done with the church’s blessings (or to say the least, with their silence). The public swimming pools and beaches are frequented by Christians or by their children where immodesty is rampant, ignoring the warning to “flee youthful lusts” (2 Tim. 2:22), turning a deaf ear to the admonition to “Pure thinking” (Phil. 4:8). How can a young person be an example of what a true believer really is in “conduct” and “purity” (1 Tim. 4:12) and ignore the principles of modesty?
It appears to me that when the children of gospel preachers and elders are seen in public places with shorts (to the mid-thigh and shorter) on, that the church is not going to hear much preaching on the subject of modesty. It is sad when you must put “No shorts allowed” on an invitation for a gathering where those who gather are Christians. Brethren, have we given up the fight? Have we grown tired of preaching on subjects so unpopular? Have we taken the attitude that “no-one will listen anyway”? Because some “will not endure sound doctrine” will we ignore the charge to “preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rubuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Tim. 4:1-3)?
The Word still reads: “In like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety (shamefacedness) and sobriety. . . . But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works” (1 Tim. 2:9-10). The Christian who recognizes the destructive power of lust, the error of immodesty, and God’s view of sin, and who loves to please God will dress in a manner becoming of the gospel. He or she will try very hard to be separate from the world (cf. 1 Jn. 2:15-17; Jas. 4:4; Rom. 12:2; 2 Cor. 6:14-18). Brethren, God determines modesty (which stems from character) and not the world. The Christian who allows the world to set the standard for him has become worldly-minded. He has conformed rather than being transformed by the renewing of his mind. Think on these things.
Guardian of Truth XXXII: 19, p. 589
October 6, 1988