Can we sin by the way we dress?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by PreachTREE, Aug 20, 2005.

  1. PreachTREE

    PreachTREE
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    Sorry to bring this up again. But im still trying to figure things out.

    Is immodesty a sin? If it is, is immodesty in one culture(or setting)not a sin in another?

    And....is it a sin to tempt someone else to sin?

    Thanks a lot everyone. Any answer is appreciated.
     
  2. Petrel

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    Oh no! :D I don't want to get dragged into this one again, so I'll just summarize my position.

    Immodesty is a sin. However, standards for modesty are not the same in every culture. We should dress in a way that is considered modest in our culture. I think there is a minimal amount of clothing that we should wear in any culture, but I am not sure what exactly what that would be and don't think I'm ever likely to approach it, so it's moot. ;)

    It is a sin to intentionally dress in a way that we know is likely to tempt others to sin. However, if we are dressing in a culturally appropriate manner, we cannot be blamed for the thoughts of another person--then it is their responsibility!

    On a side note, I do think that it is possible to be too modest! I don't think that the clothing required by extremist Muslims is appropriate because I consider the motivation behind it deviant.
     
  3. Marcia

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    I think if a woman dresses provocatively (i.e., immodestly or in an overt sexual manner), it is a sin. And I think a woman knows good and well when she is doing this; don't believe for a moment she doesn't. Men can dress provocatively as well, though I do not think women are affected by this the same way or as strongly as men are by women dressed provocatively.

    Unfortunately, the climate in today's culture encourages this even in pre-teens, and what's worse, their parents allow it. I think that under a certain age they might be too young to realize what they are doing, and I think the parents are accountable.
     
  4. PreachTREE

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    I think so also. But should we take chances by wearing things that are "immodest" by some?

    I understand that immodesty is a sin. But if immodesty changes in different cultures, does that mean sin is defined differently in other cultures? Which comes to my next question- Sin is the same everywhere, right?

    Remember i am just trying to figure things out. Thanks.
     
  5. Marcia

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    I think what is modest and immodest varies by culture; but there is probably some way of dressing that is considered immodest in most cultures and that would be sinful. So the cultural standards may vary, but the concept of immodesty does not by biblical standards.

    However, I think we make too much of this cultural stuff because most of us are living in a Western culture where the standards do not vary that widely, though they vary some (I'm excluding nude beaches as most of us probably do not visit them). So to keep bringing up cultures where women are bare-breasted and such is just side-tracking, imo. A bare-breasted woman who is dressing the norm in some place somehwere would be considered immodest walking around the streets of the US (and hopefully someone would inform her of this).

    On the other hand, I don't really apply this to unbelievers as a priority since their spiritual state is far more important. So I don't get all worked up over it out in the world, except for the way it affects children and teens -- that does bother me.

    I think that it's believers who should be held to the higher standard since we do have God's word on it and should be displaying modesty.
     
  6. Mercury

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    No, sin can depend on a person's mindset:

    "As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

    "One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God."
    (Romans 14:1-6)

    Paul went into detail about eating meat sacrificed to idols, explaining that this could be a sin to some, but does not need to be. But, even those for whom it is not sin are told to take care around those who are weaker in the faith:

    "Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that 'an idol has no real existence,' and that 'there is no God but one.' For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth -- as indeed there are many 'gods' and many 'lords' -- yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

    "However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak."
    (1 Corinthians 8:4-9)

    Many rules are designed to stop "the indulgence of the flesh". The sin is indulging in fleshly desires, although what causes that may vary from person to person:

    "Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.

    "If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations -- "Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch" (referring to things that all perish as they are used) -- according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh."
    (Colossians 2:20-23)
     
  7. PreachTREE

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    Amen. Well said.
     
  8. PreachTREE

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    I have said almost that exact same thing, and i agree, but how is immodesty defined in the Bible?
     
  9. TexasSky

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    Yes, it is a sin to knowingly entice another individual to commit a sin. The place it becomes confusing is defining what is enticing and if it was deliberate enticement.
     
  10. DHK

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    Here you are assuming too much and judging the heart simply by appearance. That is wrong, and strongly condemned in the Bible. Just what "deviant motivation" are you speaking of?

    Why does a woman where a "burqa'" or a shalwar qameez with an accompanying dupattah (scarf), both of which can cover the entire body, though the former does a much better job than the latter.

    When your only source is media then often it isn't very reliable, and often one-sided. We live in a society that has a liberal agenda and pushes a "feminist" movement, or the "rights" of women, etc. They often tell only one side of the story when it comes to Muslims.

    I lived in Muslim nation. I learned that many of the women that totally clothed themselves from head to foot did so because they themselves wanted to, not because they were forced to. There was a principle taught in the family, a principle of modesty, and yet it went much further than modesty. It was a principle that taught that the body of the woman is for her husband. She wanted to reserve her body for the eyes of her husband only. She didn't want other people gazing upon her. She and her husband were one flesh. That is a Biblical principle, and the concept that was being lived out by these women was very commendable. It was most often done willingly. The young girls, teen-agers, etc. who still lived at home, were taught the same principle. They were to reserve their bodies for their future husbands, not to dress in such a manner as to let the world exploit them with their eyes, as our western society does. I don't find anything deviant in that at all. In fact it is very commendable.
    DHK
     
  11. Petrel

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    In spite of the fact that this is off topic, I think I must reply to it.

    To the contrary, it is you are assuming too much and judging the heart simply by appearance.

    My opinion about Islam, women, and their treatment comes from reading the Koran, the Hadith, Islamic poetry, the testimony of ex-Muslims, and my own experience.

    If you don't think that Islam is profoundly, irreparably, and sinfully misogynistic, you are deceiving yourself.

    Islam from its foundation teaches that women are inferior to men--not merely that a wife ought to obey her husband, as Christians teach, but that there is a distinct and real spiritual, moral, and intellectual difference between men and women.

    In the words of al-Ghazali, one of the most respected of the Muslim theologians:

    The fact that women receive half the punishment of men in the afterlife could be thought of as a perk except that this is because women are considered morally inferior and incapable of taking responsibility for their actions. The same is true in the Koran (4.25), where it is said that if a man marries a slave girl she should receive half the punishment of a free woman if she is found guilty of indecency.

    In Islam, clothing is meant to cover the awra, parts which it is immodest to show. For men, this means they should be covered from the navel to the knee--not far off from our own standard. For women, however, practically the whole body is considered awra (al-Hadis says that a woman is "like a private part. When she goes out the devil casts a glance at her in lust.") Because of this it is considered most virtuous for women to remain in their houses unless there is an emergency. If they do come outside, they should wear the hijab. The hijab should be loose, covering the shape of the body, and unattractive. It should not be made of fine cloth. Not only must women cover themselves head to toe, but they should stick to the sides of the street, walk with their heads down, not speak, not laugh, and not wear perfume. Here is a short statement about hajib by Mufti Desai: http://islam.tc/ask-imam/view.php?q=8101

    Men are under none of these restrictions.

    The Koran says that men are the guardians of women because they are superior, and that husbands have the right to sexually desert and beat their wives (4.34: Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great.) A man can divorce his wife merely by saying three times, "I divorce you," and when she is divorced he does not need to pay alimony or child support. On the other hand, a woman cannot demand sex from her husband (although some Hadith suggest a husband must have sex with his wife at least once every four months), is condemned in the Hadith if she refuses her husband sex, and cannot divorce her husband. When she is divorced, she retains custody of her children (solely for the benefit of the husband, so he need not support his ex-wives children in addition to those of his current wives), but if she remarries she loses custody and her new husband is not obliged to feed and house her children.

    Interestingly, the word for marriage is Nikah, which is also the word for coitus. Throughout the Koran marriage is depicted as a transaction whereby a man pays a dowry and "makes legal" a woman for sexual access. A man is allowed up to four wives at a time (except Mohammed, he had an exemption from the limits!) and an unlimited number of concubines (a woman, however, is only allowed one husband). Visiting prostitutes is condemned as fornication (zina), but the Hadith (al-Hadis) allow "temporary marriage" to a girl for a matter of days.

    My conclusion is that the hajib originates first from a proprietary view of women as the sexual property of their husbands (while his own body is his property and he can indulge himself practically however he likes) and secondly as the result of a view of women as morally inferior, licentious creatures who need to be strictly controlled lest they tempt decent men to sin.

    It's been my experience that many moderate Muslims and most westernized ones are ignorant of their religion's history.

    If a girl decides that she is going to shield herself from all other eyes by wearing a chador or similar garment, that's her prerogative. However, the reasoning behind this custom is based upon a deviant view of human nature and the position of men and women in God's eyes. It exonerates men from responsibility in controlling their thoughts and places the blame for causing temptation upon women (they are even blamed when they are raped in some Muslim nations). Submitting to dressing in this manner even voluntarily is condoning the misogyny institutionalized in the Koran and Hadith.

    Now if you would like to debate this, that is fine (although out of place in this thread), but don't just leap to the conclusion that I haven't given any thought to this matter. That was very uncharitable.
     
  12. Marcia

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    I have said almost that exact same thing, and i agree, but how is immodesty defined in the Bible? </font>[/QUOTE]I don't think it's defined -- the word is used with the understanding that people would know what it meant. That may have meant not to dress in a sexually enticing or provocative manner. That's just my guess.
     
  13. DHK

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    All of the above are somewhat unreliable sources.
    1. The Koran: There are two major sects: Sunnis and Shiites. Osama Ben Laden doesn't belong to either one. He belongs to one of the 87 other sects of Islam. Look around the different forums on BB and see how many different views there are on any one given passage of Scripture. The same is true of the Koran, depending on what sect of Islam you belong to, on whether you are moderate or fundamentalist, etc. The Koran indeed is their holy book, but it is open to interpretation.

    2. Just as the Catholics have their Oral Tradition, the Jews have their Talmud, so the Muslims have their Hadith. It is a book of Tradition. It is not as authoritative as the Koran but has some authority. It is also not as reliable. Again, it is simply tradition--not a reliable source.

    3. Ex-Muslims. Depending upon which ex-Muslims you have talked to, you may not get an objective point of view. I am an ex-Catholic. I am accused all the time of having a biased view when speaking of Catholicism, which, BTW, is not a Christian religion, and is just as pagan as Islam.

    4. How much experience have you really had? That I would like to know. Your experiences themselves may have biased you in the wrong direction, according to your own readings and friends.

    Islam is a wicked, evil, sinful religion; a masterpiece of Satan, created by him for the purpose of creating rebellion in mankind and sending people on their way to Hell. But then so is every other false religion, including the Roman Catholic Church.

    There is a lot that the Koran teaches about women, and a lot of surahs that are taken out of context to try and prove a point unnecessarily so. Generally speaking the Koran teaches an extended family system, a patriarchal family system, where the father is the head of the house, and the proterctor of the women (wife and daughters) of his own household. Is that so terribly wrong?

    The Bible says: "Give honor where honor is due." It is easy to criticize, to find fault. However, when living in a Muslim nation, I never came across a bar, saloon, or any place that was licenced to sell alcoholic beverages. What a blessing! I never came across anyone who was drunk. I only heard about the occaisional Catholic priest that was allowed access to alcoholic beverages for their "communion" in mass, but it was often misused. What a shame! Muslims in that respect had a higher standard than so-called Christians (as the Muslims would look upon them). I never saw an immodest woman in an Islamic nation, and never met a woman that was forced to dress in Islamic clothing. They did so out of their own will, because they desired to. I know. I had the freedom to talk with many of them, as I got to know their families. I did not talk to ex-Muslims; I talked to the Muslims themselves. I lived there for quite a number of years. Some of my dearest friends are Muslim. Their dress is not imposed. They where the burqa or other similar dress out of desire to do so, not out of imposition. To them it is symbolic of purity, of keeping their bodies reserved for their husbands. I was able to raise my children in a nation where I didn't have to worry about women walking down the street in their underwear or the equivalent thereof, as is done in America. At least Islam is miles ahead of the Americans in that area of morals.
    Again, give honor where honor is due.

    A few years ago there was a world conference for women's rights held in China. Many countries sent their own representative or delegation. America was represented by Hillary Clinton. There was only one woman that stood up and loudly voiced her objection to abortion, and such methods of "planned parenthood" that China had, and that was Benazir Bhutto, the then reigning Prime Minister of Pakistan. No, America's representative's wouldn't stand against abortion. No way! But Bhutto would. She was in the minority, but voiced her opposition any way. Again, give honor where honor is due.

    The fact that women receive half the punishment of men in the afterlife could be thought of as a perk except that this is because women are considered morally inferior and incapable of taking responsibility for their actions. The same is true in the Koran (4.25), where it is said that if a man marries a slave girl she should receive half the punishment of a free woman if she is found guilty of indecency.
    </font>[/QUOTE]Two things here:
    Some of this has been taken out of its historical context.
    Some of it has been changed or adapted to our society as it stands today. As I said before, with more than 80 sects in Islam, there is much that is left to interpretation. What makes you think that your is the correct one when you arent' even Islamic?

    What kind of material the hajib is made out of is of no consequence. The fact is that it is modest, which is the topic of this thread. How can one say that a dress which covers one from head to foot is not modest, and how can one not agree with it, especially if the woman agrees and is willing to wear it?? You say the purpose is deviant. I take exception to your statement, and say that you are judging wrongly and unnessarily so. You obviously have not lived in an Islamim nation, and have not spoken to the women who do live there. So how can you say?

    You also comment about a practice called "purdah," without really knowing what it is, and what the purpose of it is. It is customary for the women to keep hidden in another room behind a door or curtain, so that when maie visitors come to the house and are being entertained, the women fold have their own privacy and don't have to have the worry of male visitors (no matter what the age or background) gawking at them. It goes back to a principle of modesty, and of who their body is for. Westerners get the wrong idea here. This is not enslavement. This is traditional form of modesty and shame-facedness, something that is terribly lacking in our society. It might be well to remember also, that in such societies, it is customary for such households to have servants to bring refreshments to the guests, so that the women folk of the family need not to.

    Men are not women. Read Genesis 3. There was a different curse put on woman than on man. Man does not traivail in pain while conceiving at childbirth. :rolleyes:

    And how much do you see this practiced today? As the Koran also admonishes, do you see or hear of Muslim men stretching their wives on a bed, tying them their, and whipping them with lashes, until they are sure that they will obey them?? I have not seen this or heard of it happening where I have lived. Not here in Canada where there is a large Muslim community, nor in the Islamic nation in which I lived. Again such surahs as you quoted are often taken out of their historical context. Muslims today realize that if they acted this way they would be immediately condemned by our own criminal law and condemned by it. The only places that you will find such things taking place is where you have a "Taliban-type" government in place, which isn't very often. Those are the exception, not the norm. It is too bad that the leftist media plays those up, and portrays them as the norm for Islam, when the reality is just the opposite. Not every Muslim is on a suicide mission to destroy the WTC towers. Not every Muslim is an Osama Ben Laden, or a Saddam Hussein. The sooner people recognize those things, the better off they will be. Stereotyping is one of the worst things you can do. It is not without reason that they call America "The Great Satan."

    And you would be wrong.

    That's a laugh. When I went to Bible College in the States, many Americans couldn't tell me where Canada was. Some didn't know that America was part of North America. Don't tell me about ignorance of one's heritage. Look in your own back yard first.

    You are being irrational. On the one hand you say that if a woman wants to be modest it is her perogative.
    Then you turn right around and say that her perogative of choosing to dress modestly is deviant behaviour. You ought to be ashamed of yourself. You would rather that all women everywhere be clothed in bikinis??
    You even insinuate that modest dress is the reason for rape; where in fact the opposite is true--immodest dress is the cause for rape. Dress that lures man into temptation causes a man's depraved nature to sin. Where do you get this backward thinking from? Their way of dressing ought to put most Americans to shame, and you have tried to put a typical political spin on it. Are you in politics??

    It is not uncharitable to point out truth.
    The religion may be false. But the Truth of God's Word doesn't change. One may learn from other cultures and religions. It is also good to be humble and admit when one's own lifestyle just might be wrong.
    The Roman Catholic Religion is a false religion, and yet I applaud their stance on abortion. I don't agree with the religion, but I am thankful that they stand against abortion. There are some things that are good in some religions, even if the religion is false.
    Muslims don't drink. They dress modestly. Give credit where credit is due. The religion is false, but I thank God that at least these two things are a good influence in their nations.
    Hindus, in general show a kindness to animals. We also can learn from that.
    You can learn from other nations, religions, and cultures. Just because you are a Baptist living in America, doesn't mean you have all the answers.
    DHK
     
  14. buckster75

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    don't make it too hard. let the local church decide. always think conservitive. something someone wears may not offend me but our 89 ry old piano player might be. we should then respect that and aim for the most conservitive among the members believe. we need to honor and respect each other.
     
  15. Petrel

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    I've been having trouble posting this, but I think that's because it is too long. I'm breaking it down into a couple of posts.
    The Koran and the Hadith are my major sources. While not all sects may accept all Hadith, for centuries much of it was accepted as Gospel truth. I am speaking about the history of Islam. The Koran (and its interpretation by various historic scholars) and the Hadith are integral to understanding the founding of Islam, the intent behind Muslim customs, and historic trends in Muslim thought. It's my opinion that much of the Hadith is flat-out made-up (and thankfully so, since by its record Muhammed was an evil, blood-thirsty libertine), however, that doesn't change the fact that to understand Islam we need to be willing to approach it as Muslims historically have, as truth.

    No, but certain other things are wrong, like how it's ok to have your adopted son divorce his wife so you can marry her, it's ok to beat one's wife, and it's ok to divorce one's multiple wives and marry new ones if they become vexatious. Let's not get side-tracked.

    I would question how free the choice to wear traditional Muslim dress is when it is the cultural norm and going against it would be considered rebellious.

    Good. Too bad she couldn't do something about the horrendous treatment of women in Pakistan. Too bad her husband apparently couldn't keep his fingers out of the till as well. . .

    Two things here:
    Some of this has been taken out of its historical context.
    Some of it has been changed or adapted to our society as it stands today. As I said before, with more than 80 sects in Islam, there is much that is left to interpretation. What makes you think that your is the correct one when you arent' even Islamic?
    </font>[/QUOTE]Wait a second, are you denying that al-Ghazali wrote these words? Because if you aren't, my point still stands--this was the prominent viewpoint regarding women for centuries. Whether Muslims accept or deny it, this is Muslim history.

    From looking at the history of Islam and the origin of the hijab, as I already said.

    In my opinion, it's a good thing it's lacking in our society. I see it as a totally pointless cultural habit that just succeeds in isolating half of the population from the outside world.

    Once again, why is it that a woman's body belongs to her husband and she must shield it from all outside eyes, yet men can appear before whoever they like?

    Men are not women. Read Genesis 3. There was a different curse put on woman than on man. Man does not traivail in pain while conceiving at childbirth. :rolleyes: </font>[/QUOTE]Oh, so you believe that al-Ghazali is indeed correct and the punishment for women for Eve sinning in the garden is social isolation and being forced by cultural mandate to dress in gunny-sacks? God did not institute the hijab or purdah, these are arbitrary man-made institutions. The fact is that in Muslim culture women have all sorts of restraints placed upon them that are not incumbant upon men.

    And I haven't rolled my eyes at you, I wish you would be so courteous.
     
  16. Petrel

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    (This is post 2 of 2.)

    Irrelevant. Beating one's wife was accepted at the time the Koran was penned. It is upheld in the Hadith. Violence against women is a part of Muslim history. If some Muslims want to be liberal non-literalists in their interpretation of the Koran and the Hadith, that does not change these facts.

    And you would be wrong.</font>[/QUOTE]So far you have failed to demonstrate how.

    That's a laugh. When I went to Bible College in the States, many Americans couldn't tell me where Canada was. Some didn't know that America was part of North America. Don't tell me about ignorance of one's heritage. Look in your own back yard first.</font>[/QUOTE]And you call me irrational. :D So if some American Indians don't know the history of their culture, does that mean I can't comment on the similar ignorance of some Muslims?

    No, but I'm beginning to think that you are, with your attempts to sidetrack with irrelevancies, equivocate on the meaning of "prerogative," and set up straw men by saying that I think every woman should wear a bikini and that dressing modestly causes rape.

    A woman has a prerogative to dress however she likes. However, this doesn't mean that I can't have my own opinion about the way she's dressed. That's my prerogative.

    And I nowhere said that modest dress causes rape. I'm rather confused how you came up with that. I guess it is because I said that the hijab exonerates men from responsibility. It does--in some countries practicing Sharia Law if a woman shows her hair or her ankles, she can be punished for immodesty because she is leading men astray. My view is that if a man cannot see a woman's hair or ankles without lusting for her, he has a serious self-control problem. This is not the accepted view in countries like Pakistan. There if a woman is raped she cannot go to the police because they will assume that she is at fault and throw her in prison for zina. I certainly hope that you are aware of the problems of gang rape, honor killings, and the government's failure to do anything about either there.

    Oh, and you're wrong, immodest clothing does not cause rape. It may have some association in some cases, but the chief causes of rape are an evil man and an opportunity.

    It is not uncharitable to point out truth. </font>[/QUOTE]Oh come on. Your accusation was that I had drawn a conclusion based upon the depiction of Islam in Western media by Western feminists. I showed you that this is by no means correct and showed how my point of view comes from Muslim history and tradition and the origin of the hijab. Yet you persist in saying I'm just basing my opinion on newspaper propaganda. Once again, uncharitable.
     
  17. buckster75

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    you were right. it is long.
     
  18. Petrel

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    [​IMG] Thank you for your support. ;)
     
  19. Scott J

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    Why? Is there scripture that says the local church should decide a dress code?

    I am not questioning whether someone can voluntarily submit to the dress code of a church but rather whether you think a church has a biblical right to dictate.
    Conservative?... No. I don't know of any scripture that enshrines the idea of legalism.

    Weakest?.... Yes. 1 Cor 8 applies in principle here. Our genuine Christian liberty in determining how to be modest must be tempered with the maturity to not make our appearance a stumbling block...

    BTW, sexual temptation doesn't seem to be the context of 1 Tim 2:9 nor 1 Peter 3:3. It seems to be that some women were inclined to put on a show in the church inciting others to envy and jealousy.

    Dressing lavishly in a way that shames others in the church is also sinful.

    IOW's, the cute old story about women being jealous and competitive on who had the fanciest hat... isn't really very cute. It's sinful.
     
  20. buckster75

    buckster75
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    Why do assoc. conservitive with legalism? Hard to teach the 14-17 yr old boys when the girls wearing short skirts and showing cleavage.
     

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