The Bible does not specify a dress code, so why do elders try to impose a certain type of dress for members when we assemble for worship? The Bible teaches that God looks not on the outward man but on the heart. Most of our younger generations of today are not aware that “casual dress” in the services of worship to God, grew out of the rebellious days of the hippies and baby boomers of the 1960s. Respect for, and submission to, authority was dealt a severe blow by the “independent” thinking of that era. Like most other things that challenged the “establishment,” the initial shock soon wore off and that which once was “unthinkable” became acceptable.
The secular world still places great emphasis on dress. Business executives wear suits to work and usually require their younger aspirants to do the same. Quality of work is usually enhanced by neat and proper dress. The reputation of the company is represented to a great degree by the way employee’s dress. The reason: A respect for those representing a company generates a respect for the company represented. Contrary to what one may think, those who respect their person, their values, and their employers command the respect of those who do not.
It is a source of genuine distress to see the lack of respect for God displayed by so many in our worship services. Preachers are no exception; in fact they should be leaders in trying to keep the congregations aware of the Divine nature of God should be exalted to the ultimate degree of respect, adoration, reverence, and awe before whom His children should humble themselves. Slovenly dress, casual, unkempt foot-wear, carelessness in presentation all profess that we have no awareness of the greatness of the God we profess to serve. Those who see God’s representatives in such common and presumptuous attire cannot have respect for the God they represent. It is no wonder that it is difficult to try to convince lost souls of their need to revere God, when it is apparent that He is not revered by those claiming to represent Him!
It is not a dress code that needs to be enforced. It is a desperate effort to instill in the hearts of Christians the abject respect that God’s children should have for their heavenly Father. Every example of the Old Testament, and every principle of the New Testament shows the need to glorify the God of heaven. Old Testament priests had to wash their clothes, and so make themselves clean (Num. 8:6-7).
A dress code? Not in the least! A plea to honor and glorify God in our dress? Yes!