The Glorious Church


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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I know that I've been very talkative on this thread. But, again, I have a little time after work so I'll put in a few words.

Donnie Gillum said:
Act 15:28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;
• It seems this decision was made “without scripture”
• (Though what they recommended has scriptural foundations)
• Agreement among the Word, the Spirit…and the brethren, would be an ideal accomplishment!
Are there any “Short Pants” direction, and decision making principles, here?

Act 15:20-21 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols [i.e., food sacrificed to idols], and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. 21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.

I struggled over this passage for weeks a few years ago. This list was very hard for me to figure out. At first I thought that it was a list of sinful items. But the problem is that Paul is very explicit that eating things offered to idols is OK (Rom 14, 1 Cor 10, 1 Cor 8). I really like lists to be of the same type of thing. It turns out that some of these items are sinful and at least one is not [deja vu ;)], but the thing they all have in common is that they are all Jewish scruples -- things Jews find offensive. Note vs 21: "For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day". This was the rationale for the list. They didn't want the Gentile Christians to have to keep the Law, but they also didn't want them to offend the Jewish Christians (who were probably the big majority at this time). [Much thanks to a friend of mine, whom you all know, for helping me with this.]

Anyway, one "Short Pants" nugget that can be gleaned is that the Apostles were concerned about the consciences of the Jewish Christians for the same reasons explained in the other relevant passages (Rom 14, 1 Cor 10, 1 Cor 8) -- it's the same issue, really. If there are those around who genuinely believe that short pants are sinful, then you definitely don't want to wear short pants around them and thereby tempt them to do the same in violation of their conscience. Remember Paul called these people who didn't eat meat "weak in the faith" (i.e., their understanding of the principles of The Faith was deficient, Rom 14:1-2 -> 1 Cor 8:4-7).

Donnie Gillum said:
1Co 7:25 Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.
1Co 7:26 I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be.
• Paul seems to be saying, “I don’t have ‘bible for this’, but I’ll give my decision, “based on ________ (observation and experience?).
• This was a temporary decision – for the time being
• maybe until they could see where things were headed
• Appears to be subject to be changed later
Are there any “Short Pants” direction, and decision making principles, here?

Well one important thing is that when you don't have Bible for it, say so! ;) Paul did.

This also brings up a whole different topic. Do the Church leaders have the authority to make up rules, or must they to stick to the scriptures? There is an interesting article by Jason Dulle about this on the on the Glorious Church website.

Here's the meat of it:

Presently, there are two predominant views other than the one I will espouse in this paper. The first interprets binding and loosing as having to do with the church’s authority to legislate matters not specifically addressed in Scripture. This view sees the “whatsoever” of Matthew 16:19 and 18:18 as referring to rules or laws. The logical outcome of this view destroys the Scriptures as the final rule for the Christian life, because the church can legislate other mandates not found in the Bible which must be obeyed in order for one to be in right standing with God. Proclamations made by the collective church become as binding and authoritative for the church as the Word of God itself. It is claimed that what the collective church decides is law on earth, Christ also makes law in heaven. To disobey the decisions, then, would be to disobey Christ, and puts the believer in the position of an unbeliever.

The second view is prevalent among the “word of faith” and charismatic movements. These typically view binding and loosing as having to do with spiritual warfare. As with the above view, “whatsoever” is typically viewed as something other than people. Undesirable circumstances, bad attitudes, works of the flesh, evil spirits, and financial difficulties are usually bound, while desirable circumstances, good attitudes, the fruit of the spirit, angels, and wealth is loosed.

The authority of the church is not to decide what to do and then have God back up their decision. The authority of the church is to carry out the will and decisions of God upon earth as they have been established in heaven. This is in perfect accord with the way Jesus instructed us to pray: “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

Donnie Gillum said:
2Co 8:8 I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.
2Co 8:9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.
2Co 8:10 And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago.
• Here, Paul seems to avoid or using “authority” and rather give advice (about this situation)

Are there any “Short Pants” direction, and decision making principles, here? :-)

If you agree with Jason Dulle and don't "have Bible for it", what else can you do but simply give advice?

Fascinating verses. Thanks for posting them.
Spiritual teachers are responsible for teaching the principles of God's Word and describing their best understanding of how those principles should be applied in every day life. To my mind, the key is to set it all before the people, but then show them enough respect to let them decide for themselves how they will apply the principles, without resorting to manipulation or coersion. We have found that over time, those who take spiritual principles seriously usually come to similar conclusions. Of course, there are always those around who want chapter and verse for everything and seem to have little appreciation for underlying principles. I don't fret over those types. If they want to live by law, they're welcome to it. As for me, I vastly prefer the "grace and truth over time" process. I have found that most of the time, those who want chapter and verse for everything are not so much interested in spiritual growth as they are in living as close to the world as they can get by with and stay saved.

I also believe that pastors and teachers have a responsiblity to provide guidance to people out of their accumulated knowledge and experience. For example, I may not be able to point to a Scripture, but I may still know from experience that a brother needs to take his wife out for an evening at a nice restaurant. I may not have a Scripture requiring weight loss, but I may still know that a sister ought to lose 50 pounds. Likewise, I don't believe I need a Scripture to tell people that many apostolic churches are filled with immorality, therefore the people in our assembly ought to go to great lengths to protect themselves from immorality and avoid being a stumbling block to others. This is where simple common sense comes into play.

The reality is, we are all walking along a narrow pathway that leads to everlasting life, but that pathway is fraught with spiritual dangers designed to trip us up and get us off the path. We also have a powerful adversary who has been around for quite a while, and who is subtle and ruthless. If any of us are going to make it to the end, we must stick together, look out for one another, and guard ourselves and one another from the weights and sins that can so easily beset us. People need to understand that sin is not the only issue. We must also keep ourselves from the weights that drag us down and oppress us. Plenty of people will be lost because they allowed themselves to become so weighted down that they finally gave in to sin and became entrapped. In the end, it would have been better for them if they had never known the way of truth.

People in our assembly ask me continually if some activity is right or wrong. I often tell them that right or wrong may not be the right question. How about, safe or dangerous? How about healthy or unhealthy. How about mature or immature? As Paul so eloquently put it, "All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own, but each one the other's well-being" (1 Corinthians 10:23-24). There are some things that we have to scriptural prohibitions for, but we just know they will not help people to be more spiritual. If people would be less concerned about the letter of the law and more concerned about the quality of their witness and ministry to others, I know they would find that modest holy living is no drudgery at all but is a great blessing and joy.
I am one of those that Donnie referred to. I have been reviewing this but have not posted. It has been a while since I have followed it, but a lot has transpired during this time. I am getting caught up and am enjoying the different post.
Mike, I like your comments concerning the Acts 15 "conference" - Jewish scrupples - interesting...and the "if you don't have Bible for it, say so..." ;-)

I would like to comment on one area that may seem like an "aside", but just may be applicable to our topic...somehow. It is about the "loosing and binding" verses, more specifically, "And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." (Mat 16:19).

For quite sometime I have felt that this may be a NT parallel (parallelism of Jesus) to an OT command of God, given to Moses and contained in Ex. 25: (Exo 25:8) And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. (Exo 25:9) According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.
(Exo 25:40) And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount.

The writer of Hebrews even picked up on it saying, “… as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.” (Heb 8:5)

Moses did not have the liberty to include room additions and freedom to arrange the furniture as he might like it. He was required to follow divine direction. Likewise, I doubt seriously that Peter was any different. It just doesn't seem likely, to me, that he was made the "spiritual sheriff" with the biggest shiny badge to go around hand-cuffing or unlocking the cuffs of any THING or ANYONE someone else had arrested set free. So, to me, it seems like Jason Dulle's article may be a bucket that just might hold some water - as mentioned, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

Here’ what I’m thinking: Somehow the brethren at the Jerusalem conference were able to come to a decision that “seemed good the Holy Ghost”…and to them. They tapped into Spiritual direction, and discerned what the Spirit would lead on this matter, or we might say, the will of God in this matter. This, of course, requires much, much more than intellectual ability and knowledge of the Word. It requires a “feeling after Him’ till we “find Him” (Acts 17:27). This is where it gets muddy. This seems to be something that can only be vaguely described and/or understood in conversation (at least for me). Yet, it is most needful.

Paul had this to say, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Rom 12:2) He seems to be saying that one who is conformed to this world cannot prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God, but that one who has been transformed by the “renewing of his mind” can PROVE that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God. One thing that's for sure, a carnal, worldly-minded (or I might say one who is Word only) individual could not do this and will come up with something to please self.

What concerns me is the direction this “short pant” issue may be heading. Will they get shorter, longer, or stay the same? I also wonder what this trend is opening up…if anything? It may be that some things (short pants) may have to be resolved by the oversight (elders) of each assembly – as they feel led by the Spirit, or what seems good unto the Holy Ghost and to them. Even then, it could possibly be a temporary decision – for the time being – until time and distance can open up further insight.
[I am a bit shy to talk much more this thread because I have probably talked too much here already. But, I'll add an AMEN to part of Bro Gillum's post.]

Donnie Gillum said:
Paul had this to say, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Rom 12:2) He seems to be saying that one who is conformed to this world cannot prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God, but that one who has been transformed by the “renewing of his mind” can PROVE that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God. A carnal, worldly-minded (or I might say one who is Word only) individual could not do this and will come up with something to please self.

Yes, EXACTLY! This is good stuff. Getting to the heart of the matter now.
Bro. Dave, I like the wisdom you have demonstrated has much less potential for "running people off". It acknowledges that people are not mindless robots (or we hope not), but are able to think things through for themselves - if presented properly.

I feel the "accumulated knowledge and experience" is very valuable and should not be set aside as "unscriptural". Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out. (This is scriptural - Pro 20:5) I don't claim to be the man of understanding, nor am I an island, but I do understand this - there is wisdom in the hearts of my brethren – if I can "draw it out".

Also, Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend (Pro 27:17). I have recognized that my axe sure needed sharpening ;-). This is one reason I have stayed out of the input for so long, to sit on the side and observe the discussion among brethren. Some have "stuck their necks out" to express their view…to the point that some outside the discussion have referred to it as “hot pants” ;-), but it has kept the topic from dying in infancy and all have demonstrated respect and Christian character.

I, for one, intend to make use of the accumulated input we have so far...and what I hope keeps coming. Who knows, maybe you and the other elders at Carlisle can host a "Short Pants" conference where we can all come dressed in Payne Stewart knickers and our legs covered with brightly colored stockings. This should appease everyone! LOL!

More later - hopefully.

Hey Tim.  Kind of an old thread, but I'll bite.  You wrote:

True holiness is being "separated," but separated from what? (the world); which application is more like the likeness of the world and which is a standard that separates God's church?

I think our motivations are very important to God -- even more than our actions.  I don't think our motivation should be to be different.  Our motivation should be to be Godly.  And, of course, being Godly will bring separation from the world in many areas of life, but not in everything.  If all the world wore red shirts, I don't think we should say "Red shirts are worldly, so we will wear blue shirts."

The same man wrote both of these passages:

Rom 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. {2} And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. 

1 Cor 9:20-22  For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. {20} And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; {21} To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. {22} To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

And I'm not so sure that separation is necessarily something to be "desired".  Righteousness is to be desired, though.  I would think that separation from the world is more like an unfortunate thing brought about by the world's sinfulness.  Actually, from God's point of view, it is the world that is separated from Him, not us.

Food for thought.


Tim Oldani said:

Hello Brother,

I don't advocate for any individual to be separated from the world merely to be different, [...]

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