Women and Pants
By Jason Pound
There are eight passages of scripture that have been twisted out of context to establish and defend the doctrinal stand of women in pants = sin. Following are the eight passages in the New Living Translation; and how they are used to support/oppose this doctrinal stance.
1. Deuteronomy 22:5 A woman must not wear men's clothing, and a man must not wear women's clothing. The Lord your God detests people who do this.
This passage is plainly understood by all. God hates for men to look like women and for women to look like men. Where the disunity comes from, is the definition of male apparel and female apparel. What constitutes what is of which gender? Who draws the line where?
The correct answer is found in Philippians 2:12, more commonly known in the KJV as "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." Are you trying to appear like the opposite sex? When people look at you, do they get you mixed up or cannot tell of what sex you are? If you are female, be feminine; if you are a male, be masculine.
However, for those who desire to be technical, why does one have to go to the Old Testament and look between the law of how to handle your neighbor's donkey and the law of gathering eggs to establish that men wear pants and women wear a skirt? It seems pretty extreme. I will not judge those who feel that pants are men's apparel and I will not judge those who feel that pants are for men and women. Paul said, If you do something that you feel is wrong, you have sinned.
However, I challenge a man to put on a woman's pant suit. I assure you that you will look quite feminine. Also, I challenge a woman to put on a man's suit, and she will look quite masculine. However, if woman wears a woman's suit and man wears a man's suit, the distinction of the sexes is maintained. If you feel it is wrong because of tradition, it is okay to change. If you feel it is wrong because of the Lord, it is okay to remain faithful to his call.
2. I Timothy 2: 8-10 So wherever you assemble, I want men to pray with holy hands lifted up to God, free from anger and controversy. And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes. For women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do.
The catch word here for both parties, is modesty. All sides of the issue will admit that there are dresses, skirts, and pants that are immodest as well as those that are modest. However there are situations where pants are more modest than a skirt or dress. Modesty is the issue, not pants or skirts or dresses.
3. I Peter 3:1-5 In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands, even those who refuse to accept the Good News. Your godly lives will speak to them better than any words. They will be won over by watching your pure, godly behavior. Don't be concerned about the outward beauty that depends on fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry or beautiful clothes. You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. That is the way the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They trusted God and accepted the authority of their husbands.
No pants vs. skirt issue to be found here. This is an attitude adjustment scripture.
4. Romans 12:2 Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.
No pants vs. skirt issue here either.
5. Romans 12:17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable.
Many folks feel that their strict dress code shows their honor; but the scripture says that your actions will show your honor.
6. II Cor 8:21 We are careful to be honorable before the Lord, but we also want everyone else to know we are honorable.
Does a skirt really make you honorable? Paul said in Romans, the action of not paying evil back for evil shows that you are honorable. If one reads the entire context quoted here, they will find that Paul was referring to the handling of the offerings collected by the churches, not to dress codes.
7. I Thess 5:22 Keep away from every kind of evil.
Hmmm, no pants vs. skirt issue here.
8. Isaiah 47:1-3 Come, Babylon, unconquered one, sit in the dust. For your days of glory, pomp, and honor have ended. O daughter of Babylonia, never again will you be the lovely princess, tender and delicate. Take heavy millstones and grind the corn. Remove your veil and strip off your robe. Expose yourself to public view. You will be naked and burdened with shame. I will take vengeance against you and will not negotiate.
The KJV uses the words uncover thy locks, bare the leg and uncover the thigh in the place of remove your veil and take off your robe. Hidden in the middle of Old Testament prophecies are heaven and hell issues that must be diligently sought out. This is the mindset that uses this scripture to enforce a female focused dress code. Yet, if you want to use this scripture for that purpose, modern females also need to cover up their hair with a veil and they need to wear dresses to the ankles to avoid baring their legs. Hmmm, maybe a pair of pants would be more holy in this case; pants dont bare any portion of the leg or thigh.
In conclusion, those who demand on the fear of hell that the female wear dresses instead of pants are sincere, but misguided. However, those who adhere to that particular belief, yet grant others the liberty to decide for themselves, are in alignment with the teachings of Paul in the book of Romans. He says in chapter 14, do not argue over what is right or wrong, who are you to condemn God's servants? Lets quit judging and start praying.
This writing is the copyright of Jason Pound and was posted with his permission. Jason Pound is a former UPC minister. He was an assistant pastor at Turning Point, formerly North United Pentecostal Church, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and is now a hopeful skeptic. These articles were written while he was a believer. His email address is email@example.com if you wish to write. View all of his available articles here.
Page added July 6, 2006
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