Believe it or not, Oneness churches are not the only Christians concerned about modesty! Reformed charismatic (yes, those two words can actually go together), C.J. Mahaney, has written a chapter titled “God, My Heart, and Clothes” for the soon-to-be released book Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World. The chapter has been released in advance.
Mahaney’s approach is both Biblical and practical. I particularly liked how he emphasized the fact that modesty of attitude must accompany modesty of dress. Indeed, they are logically ordered that way. As he says, any discussion of modesty must begin with the heart rather than the hemline.
In describing what modesty is, he writes, “Modesty means propriety. It means avoiding clothes and adornment that are extravagant or sexually enticing. Modesty is humility expressed in dress. It’s a desire to serve others, particularly men, by not promoting or provoking sensuality.” Immodesty, on the other hand, “is much more than wearing a short skirt or low-cut top; it’s the act of drawing undue attention to yourself. It’s pride, on display by what you wear.”
But eventually we do come to the hemline. To women Mahaney asks, “What inspires your attire? Who are you identifying with through your appearance? Who are you trying to imitate or be like in your dress? Does your hairstyle, clothing, or any aspect of your appearance reveal an excessive fascination with sinful cultural values? Are you preoccupied with looking like the latest American Idol winner, or the actresses on magazine covers, or the immodest woman next door? Are your role models the godly women of Scripture of the worldly women of our culture?”
I am glad to see this issue is receiving attention outside holiness churches. It is a Biblical issue, and a Christian concern. And it is needed more than ever in today’s bare-all society. I know some churches have become quite legalistic over the matter, but that is no reason to dispense with modesty. It is reason to rescue true modesty from the shackles of legalism.