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Short pants (just above or below the knee) for men have become almost standard attire in casual and business dress ... and even in some churches.  I'm getting questions about this, both distant (other states) and locally.  I've been asked what is the difference between them and shorts.  Some are concerned about men in their assembly wearing them in public and being used "on the platform".  Are they wrong, right, acceptable or a non-issue?  Care to comment?

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The Bible defines nakedness as exposing the thigh (Isaiah 47:2-3). Since the knee cap is attached to the thigh bone, I think it counts as part of the thigh. This is why we teach that members of both sexes ought to cover their legs well below the knee, in such a manner that the knee would not be exposed under any normal circumstances. This would mean that a skirt should be at least mid-calf to play it safe. So as not to have a double standard, we tell the men that their pants ought to come to at least mid-calf. On the other hand, if they want to really be Christlike, they ought to wear long pants, since Revelation 1:13 says that Jesus was "clothed with a garment down to the feet."
David Huston said:
The Bible defines nakedness as exposing the thigh (Isaiah 47:2-3). Since the knee cap is attached to the thigh bone, I think it counts as part of the thigh. This is why we teach that members of both sexes ought to cover their legs well below the knee, in such a manner that the knee would not be exposed under any normal circumstances. This would mean that a skirt should be at least mid-calf to play it safe. So as not to have a double standard, we tell the men that their pants ought to come to at least mid-calf. On the other hand, if they want to really be Christlike, they ought to wear long pants, since Revelation 1:13 says that Jesus was "clothed with a garment down to the feet."


While I don't see a problem with the brethren wearing shorts, I don't often bother talking about it unless it is brought up, since it is not something I often consider. I also don't mean to sidetrack this topic too much by my question, but your post brought a question to mind. To say wearing long pants is "Christlike" caused me to wonder if you would then also agree with the view that would say that men should wear beards to be more "Christlike" since JESUS wore a beard. Christlike-ness is a very big (for lack of a better word) concept to me, and to equate wearing long pants with Christlikeness seems to lose the awesomeness of what it means to be like Christ.

-Bro. Alex
The clothing we wear has to do with modesty. To copy the modesty of Jesus is indeed an element of Christlikeness. Beards have nothing to do with modesty. Apples and oranges, Alex.
Here are a couple of protests that are being thrown up against objections to wearing short pants:

1) "You don't have Bible for it." (For objecting to wearing short pants.)

2) And the "we have no such customs" scripture. (But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God. -1Co 11:16)
Bro. Donnie,

I suspect that any further discussion with this man on this topic will be like trying to describe purple to a blind man. The concept of modesty is throughout the Bible for those who have eyes to see. I would tell this person to go ahead and do whatever he wants, just don't stir up division in the church. Also, the term "custom" did not refer to something that was optional. The customs of the churches were the apostolic practices of the churches. Of course, the passage you quoted has nothing to do with wearing shorts. It was part of the hair/covering discussion.
Bro. Dave, I agree...I'm just tossing out what these people are telling me they are being approached with. One, in particular, has expressed concern that their pastor has nothing to say about this issue since he himself is supposed to have said he has no scripture for it.

The "customs" scripture was a new one presented to one individual also. The "charismatic" spirit is strong and I suspect this may be the next wave (appears to be alread) we are going to have to deal with in our assemblies. It is whittling away and traditional assemblies and seems to be makng a lot of progress especially in some areas.
I have observed this as well. I believe the adversary's current objective is to establish an unrighteous, unholy apostolic church. It will be Oneness and Acts 2:38, but, of course, this begs the questions: is it still an apostolic church? I have heard stories about churches where immorality and divorce are rampant, where modesty is out the window, and where make-up and decorative jewelry is the norm. The problem with all this is that one day these churches are going to realize that they no longer have apostolic power. It is not enough to be doctrinally correct. God wants His power associated with holiness. To be apostolic, we must live out our faith, separated from the world and consecrated unto God.
I fear your view on the devil's objective may be accurate. I've heard one young pastor say during preaching not to judge his congregation for the way they dress...I have a bunch of babies in the church (his reason for not teaching). later it was found that he "wasted" (milder term,) the assemblies financies and was found in adultry as well. This assembly now seems (to me) to be as you've described. For me, this further establishes the need for plural elder leadership - but that's another topic. LOL! Just presenting some difficulties here in this post to see how the brethren respond - you know, GC Conference style discussion. :-)

May post some more oppositional stuff later.
It really troubles me to hear what some of my brethren consider to be a lack of holiness. I believe in holiness, and that we can be made perfect and never fall if we add to our faith, virtue and then knowledge, temperance, and the other things listed in 2 Peter 1:5-7. However, whether a brother wears shorts, or whether a sister wears jewelry I do not see as a holiness issue coming in contradiction to the holiness spoken of in the Scriptures but I see it only as an issue with the brand of holiness that came out of the Methodist/"Holiness" movement of the last 200 years.

When Christ was on earth HE was perfectly holy, but this did not mean that HE looked different outwardly. I wasn't going to go further in this train of thought, but I find it out of context to take the way that JESUS is described in Revelation 1:13 and say that men covering their legs completely is more "Christlike." If we take the entire verse we see that Christ is described this way:

Rev. 1:13, "And in the midst of the seven candlesticks [one] like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle."

If Christlikeness in dress is to be taken from this verse then we should dress in a garment similar to this, and we should wear golden girdles. However, I highly doubt that Christ HIMSELF ever wore anything close to this when on earth, and we know that Revelation is highly figurative in the way that it describes Christ, because in the next verse we read,

Rev. 1:14, "His head and [his] hairs [were] white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes [were] as a flame of fire;"

This is clearly not the way JESUS looked during the time that HE walked on the earth.

Modesty is something so far beyond clothing, because even clothes that cover our bodies can be immodest. The idea of modesty is that someone is temperate, and not drawing attention to oneself. The young lady in shorts and a tank top is not dressing modestly, because she attracts attention. Likewise, the woman who is covered from head to toe in black face veils and fabric, as some Muslim women dress, is also not modest (at least in western society) because when we walk in a public place (ie. the mall) and see a woman dressed this way she gets stared at. Now, I believe from the way Paul describes woman's apparel that the sisters should be wearing skirts and dresses and this might get some attention as the sisters are known as "skirt wearing ladies" but this is entirely different because this is a dress standard that comes directly from the Bible (Paul's use of the word "katastole" in 1 Timothy 2:9) as opposed to no biblical imperative for men to always wear long pants. I agree that the thigh is nakedness, and if someone wants to cover more than the thigh then so be it, and if someone wants to cover their entire arms then so be it also, but we have no biblical mandate to call these practices holy or unholy beyond what is clear in the Scripture.

Also, to point to Rev. 1:13 as a passage to understand modesty of dress from Christ's point of view, then someone could just as easily point us to John 21:7 to say what "apostolic dress" looks like when fishing:

"Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt [his] fisher's coat [unto him], (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea."

Now, Peter was "naked" in the KJV, and this could have meant that he was in his undergarments, or with his thighs or chest uncovered, but this once again shows us that our American, apostolic Pentecostal, post-Wesleyan concepts of clothing modesty is not necessarily the same as the apostles and Christ who found themselves in Israel in the 1st century. I would never be in a boat or anywhere outside my room without a t-shirt on, but that has to do more with the fact that I am an American and my views on modesty come from puritanical and Wesleyan influences that came before me. Christ and the apostles knew nothing of the Puritans and Wesleyans. Apostolic Christian brothers in India are being baptized without shirts on, and women are being baptized in their saris and nose rings and jewelry and while, again, you would not find me dressing like the Indian brothers or my future wife dressing like the Indian sisters, I do not believe that they are an unholy apostolic church.

I hope my post comes across as being written in love, and I wrote a lot of this post with a heavy heart. The judgement of entire assemblies as being unholy and lacking apostolic power because of short pants on men seems so antithetical to what I read of in the Scriptures and what the Holy Ghost impresses upon me.

-Bro. Alex
Alex, as I have said, pants that go far enough below the knee that no part of the thigh would be exposed under any circumstances is biblically acceptable if we use exposing the thigh as the definition of nakedness. If we say that a man can wear shorts above the knee, then to be consistent we must also say that a woman can wear a skirt above the knee. This is unacceptable, because it is immodest and provocative. The world we live in is filled with lust and sensuality, and we need to be fighting hard to keep this spirit out of the church. Exposing the knee is an obvious gateway to this lust. Therefore, to be careful and consistent, we believe that both men and women should cover themselves in a way that the knee and the back of the knee are never exposed.

As to Revelation 1:13, you have once again missed my point. I am only addressing the issue of modesty. It may be okay with Jesus if male believers expose their lower calf, but His example is to cover the entire leg. My citation of this verse has nothing to do with copying the style and types of clothes He is wearing; it is only to point to His example of modesty. Jesus did not expose His legs, except of the cross when He was humiliated for our transgressions.
Bro. Huston,

It seems we are just going to have to agree to disagree. I guess I still do not see your point to where Rev. 1:13 shows us an example of Christ's modesty in the way HE dressed since the fact that he is said to be clothed with a garment "to the foot" does not seem indicitive of how HE dressed when HE was on earth. I also don't know how one could show from the Scriptures that JESUS never wore anything that exposed HIS legs below the knee, but if someone chooses to believe that it is their perogative.

-Bro. Alex
Alex, you seem to be saying that you are willing to run the risk of displeasing God based on what you cannot find explicitly stated in the Bible. This seems to me to be a pathway fraught with dangers. There is controversy over the propriety of exposing the knee; there is none over covering the entire leg. I think I'll continue to play it safe.

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