What to wear to church - a different perspective

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Salty, Jun 25, 2013.

  1. Salty

    Salty
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    In the other thread about Sunday wear - several views have been brought up.

    Rev Mitchell stated that the Cowboy culture is different - some cowboys may not even own a suit and tie and ect.

    Now lets look at this perspective.
    Several years ago, I had a pastor who was a missionary to Papua New Guinea. He told us that when he first arrived and church services - the ladies would come and - well lets put it this way - they would get a total suntan above the belly button (inny or outy :smilewinkgrin:), as that is their culture. Would it have been right for this missionary to demand that those church attenders wear a full dress or blouse?

    So does local culture come into play in establishing standards?

    Should our missionaries insist on local nationals adopting our standards?
     
    #1 Salty, Jun 25, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 25, 2013
  2. JohnDeereFan

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    Absolutely. Paul Washer (you know, that evil ol' Calvinist) talks about this all the time. He was a missionary up in the mountains of some third world South American country and one of the things he talks about when he recounts those days is how vastly different their culture was.

    Look at Paul. Look at how he showed respect for the cultures he preached in. We should, as well.
     
  3. Salty

    Salty
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    This is an Email, I recieved from my friend John, who is an IFB missionary in the South Pacific.
    **************************
    Bob,


    Dress in the bush--a great question.


    First, our people have maybe one or two sets of clothing. In general, they have a "nice" shirt (men and ladies, not the kids). On Sunday, they'll wash on their way to church and pull the nice shirt over their daily clothes, which many times are very worn and tattered.


    Few ladies in our area come to church topless anymore, but it does happen once in a while. I take my cue from the national pastor on these issues. 99.9% of the time, no one notices. Something we have in every service is mothers breast feeding. Again, nobody notices (except the white people). Our women are modest in that they don't flaunt their bodies; they view feeding their babies as a necessity, and so no one makes a big deal about it. I do notice that as our ladies mature in the faith, they are much more discreet; but no one tells them to do it, it just is a gradual change.


    On the preacher's dress out here, we lean to the side of looking sharp but being practical. I hike at least two hours up a mountain every Sunday to get to Ipaiyu Baptist Church. By the time I get there, I'm pretty well soaked with sweat. Needless to say, I don't wear a tie. In fact, I wear hiking sandals (wet, muddy trail), hiking pants, and a breathable shirt. But our entire preaching team (me and the Bible school students) always looks sharp--as sharp as you can look with a wet shirt.


    In the cities here, the pastors wear ties and on RARE occasions a suit coat. I usually wear a tie if I'm speaking at a conference; again, I take my cue from the national pastors.


    Personally, my take on dress can be summed up like this: Modesty and Distinction. Men and ladies should be modest at all times, and that according to the dictates of Scripture and culture. I would never expect an American woman to feed her baby like our PNG ladies do here in the bush, and our ladies here would not expect our white women to do so. If I served in a Muslim country, my wife would gladly cover herself according to the dictates of their culture (much more covered than we Americans do), though I'm not sure about the vail :) As to distinction, we train our men to look sharp as they represent the King of kings. In the bush that doesn't mean a tie; it does mean no torn up trousers nor a torn up shirt.


    Interestingly, our Kamea tribe has a cultural standard that sets men apart from women. On the occasions that they still wear grass skirts, there is one style for men and another for women, and they never wear the style of the opposite gender...and it has been that way for centuries.

    That's my perspective and our policy out here in the jungle. We have very little outside influence still, except for our own work in buying 2nd hand clothes in town and sharing them with our people. On occasion a PNG person will do the same, and sell them in a village market. I'm glad to see that kind of development come.


    Blessings,

    John
     
  4. pk4life

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    The overwhelming theme in the previous thread was "dress clothes" vs. "casual clothes".

    Neither of those are a modesty issue.

    So this thread is not a continuation of that thread in a new perspective, it is new subject altogether.

    Attire issues at church commonly go this route:

    Question: "What is wrong with wearing jeans to church?"

    Answer: "Would you be okay if someone wore a bikini to church?"

    Quite often, that is enough to silence the one who asked. It is a confusion of two separate issues.
     
  5. Aaron

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    I think God is calling me to Papua New Guinea.
     
  6. Salty

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    (note: I forgot to put "..." in as needed.

    Anyways - some of the "casual clothes" I see at church is a modesty issue - but I will address that (eventually in the other thread)

    This thread is more about the culture.
    As John said in his email - some cultures do not have a problem is modesty (or lack thereof)
     
  7. pk4life

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    Are we saying this thread, has nothing to do with this...


    ...from the other thread? Where you confused modesty issues with proper Sunday attire discussions?
     
  8. Mexdeaf

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    I agree with what John wrote. He is wise.

    Having worked amongst the Huasteca Indians in Mexico, this has been my experience also. As a matter of fact, the first time I preached there, I had a lady missionary interpreting for me because I did not yet know the language. After the message, during supper, the missionary asked me if I noticed the woman sitting in front of me who dropped her top to breastfeed the baby. I honestly replied that I did not. I had many occasions to visit the villages afterward and although such was commonplace it never bothered me. The Spirit gives even former p0rn0 viewers like me new eyes with which to see people as souls rather than objects.
     
  9. Bob Alkire

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    I use to head a preacher in Houston, Tx. back in the 60's who would say, I don't care what you wear to service from a bikini to a box and anywhere in between as long as you come and I can teach you the Gospel, the rest is up to the Holy Spirit. When he was giving a message to the military on base he would say light up if you have them and wish to. He also did well with the MIT folks. He believed anyway people would come to hear the Word was fine with him, the Holy Spirit would lead them from there on if they accepted Jesus as their Savior.
    I will say I have a hang up and that is my fault and not theirs, folks that dress to the T for secular events, weddings and to receive awards, but come to church wearing flip flops, shorts, blue jeans with old stain on them and they work in a office and don't dress like that or go to a movie like that and so on. On the other hand the farmer who works in blue jeans, it would bother me if he came wearing jeans with stains on them.
     
  10. Salty

    Salty
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    Just rec another email

    Bob,
    Saw the post. You can put up my name, blog, and our team website. They are listed below. Hope it helps the discussion.

    John Allen Sr. johnallen.ttmk.org
    ThatTheyMayKnow.com


    Please keep John and Selena in your prayers.
    Fellowship Baptist Church in Wildflecken has disbanded (US military moved out) but I would like to think that John is continuing the ministry of FBC!
    BTW, there is now a German work in Wildflecken.
     

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