The Old Testament weighs in against certain modes of dress. Specifically, a woman is not to wear that which pertains to a man, and vice versa. This might reasonably be applied to New Testament believers in that Paul speaks against uncleanness (a confusion, alteration, or shift in proper sexual patterns). Yet to interpret a word that implies homosexuality as applicable to clothing per se is treading on questionable ground. Also, it should be pointed out that the exact articles of clothing to be avoided are not included in any sort of list. But assuming the validity of the argument, how is it that New Testament Christian Church carries its 1950’s ultra-conservative bias into areas that can only be deemed as surreal, focusing its attention upon one very narrowly specified item? Why are they especially concerned with women’s slacks? The official doctrine of NTCC is that a woman who claims to be a Christian must wear a dress. Furthermore it is assumed that the dress must be of acceptable length and fit, not too short and not too tight. Ultimately this depends upon the judgement of the pastor.
It is suggestive that the Greeks and Romans of the Apostolic Era referred to the tribesmen living north of the Danube River as “Barbarians”, a word derived from the Latin for beard, which they were known to wear. The Jews wore beards as well, yet unlike the Barbarians the Jews lived according to written laws, which qualified them as a civilized race. One of the stark features that distinguished these northern people from their more civilized counterparts was the custom of wearing trousers, or breeches. This was a shocking offense to the beskirted Romans, for which cause they made sport of the Barbarians. We point this out in order to demonstrate that trousers are not historically associated with normal male attire.
Therefore one must ask the question, “What is it about pants that pertains to men?” Seeing what was commonly worn by both Jewish men and women in Biblical times (bedouin robes), and realizing the difficulty in telling them apart from a distance, one would conclude that, if Moses is not referring to underclothes, then perhaps he is talking about some accoutrement depicting social status. And since no specifics are given, then the question of pertinence must in all cases be left to the individual or, at the most, the majority of people living at the time the individual is making his or her appearance out-of-doors.
When robustly challenged on this point, NTCC has little ground upon which to stand in defense of this yet another exclusive doctrine. In recent years they have backed away from the embarrassing “pertinence” argument and embraced something more convenient and near at hand: the “modesty” argument. R.W. Davis brazenly states, with all presumption and with all the apostolic authority he can summon, that “pants are not modest on a woman”, and “it is impossible for a woman to wear pants modestly.” This is blatant manufacture. It is an example of conjuring a desired result by means of oral incantation.
No matter how many times one reads the Bible, no matter how minutely one cares to break down the definition of modesty vs. that of ludeness, a prohibition against pants on women is neither explicitly nor implicitly stated in the text, and must therefore be cleverly derived in order to justify the doctrine. It is a man’s opinion, and nothing more.
What’s more, NTCC imposes R.W. Davis’ objection upon the length of a man’s trousers as well. They burden the conscience of a child of God, teaching as doctrine the human commandment that a man’s pants must be of full length and loosely fitting. Where this leaves Charles Finney and his tight-fitting trousers and stirrups, who can say? What of George Whitefield, John Wesley, and Jonathan Edwards in their knee-length knickerbockers and hosiery? What of Cornelius of the Italian Band, the first recorded Gentile to be baptized in the Holy Spirit? As a Roman Centurion, did he not wear a thigh-length armored girdle? He must have shown lots of leg. What of ALL the Centurions noted in the Gospels? Can you imagine Jesus saying, “I have not found so great faith, no not in Isr–well, of course, there is the matter of that skirt. I mean, his LEGS are showing for crying out loud! But he’ll put some long pants on when he really gets genuinely saved and hits the rock and truly surrenders his life to God. For now, his faith has healed his servant, but we’ll have to address the ’skirt question’ at some point.”??? This would represent the apex of absurdity.
As previously stated, your wife will not be asked to leave if she arrives to church in a pair of slacks. The peer pressure, and the pastoral “guidance” however, will be both subtle and persistent. When she finally shows up one day in a dress in an attempt to fit in, the mind control games will ratchet up one more level as the positive reinforcement kicks in. The pastor’s wife, along with a brigade of other ladies who know the deal, will descend upon her with compliments, lavishing her with attention and exclamations of how wonderful, beautiful, and gorgeous she looks. If they are really crafty, they might even play dumb and ask, “Let’s see, what’s different about you today?” Up to this point, they have not looked at her as a soul, but as a rebellious woman in pants. It is enough to make you sick to your stomach. If you plan on staying, get used to it.