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        Christian Clothing                                                                    (PDF version here)


Scripture Standards for Dress and Conduct



Endnotes for section 1

[1]  Iain Murray vividly describes this tragedy:

“For many years before the First World War the traditional Christian view of history had in large sectors of Protestantism merged with a worldly philosophy of the certainty of progress. It was a disastrous change for it obscured the fact that the Church cannot advance without the favour of her God. The authentic Puritan hope had regarded confidence in the progress of the gospel as mere presumption where there is not an earnest regard to the rule of God’s Word. The Puritans knew that lack of faithfulness to Scripture would grieve the Spirit and bring barrenness upon the Church or even that same judicial blindness in which Israel had been cut off. Nor did they forget that Israel’s desolation is held up in Romans 11 as a warning to Gentile churches lest they fall into the same unbelief; their convictions about the bright future of Christ’s kingdom thus provided no cushion upon which complacent Gentile churches can rest.  

“In contrast to this attitude the Christian Church, by and large, entered the twentieth century with a large measure of false hope and little sense of her danger. Even by the mid-nineteenth century commitment to the doctrinal Confessions of the Reformation was on the wane, though it was represented as the growth of a healthier outlook. Disbelief in ‘Calvinism’, however, was soon followed by the rise of unbelief in the inerrancy of Scripture, and then the gospel itself – the incarnation of the Son of God to bear vicariously in his death the wrath sin deserves – was made a subject for legitimate doubt within the Church. Intellect replaced faith and ‘scholarship’ gave her support to the spreading delusion. Thus Dr. John Duncan, speaking on the Christian future of the Jews in the Free Church [of Scotland] General Assembly in 1867, warned his hearers: ‘Do not both indications of Scripture and the signs of the times lead us to think that a new epoch is approaching, when a great Gentile apostasy shall be accompanied or followed by the recall of Israel to Jehovah their God, and David their king? Wondrous, without doubt, will be the results of that event . . . Dark days, I fear, are to intervene’” (Iain Murray, The Puritan Hope, Banner of Truth, 1984, pp226, 227).  

[2]  Rebellion against the established or dominant fashion has been a constant theme in the history of costume. The reasons prompting such rebellion are various: to shock, to attract attention, to protest against the traditional social order, to avoid current trends and thereby avoid dating oneself. One of the earliest forms such rebellion has taken – and continues to take – has been that of women adopting male dress. By donning men's clothing, women have been able to challenge the status quo and participate in activities or roles traditionally perceived as masculine.”

From 1910 important changes began to take place in feminine attire . . . Women were beginning to question their status in a man's world. Some became suffragettes, some went to work outside the home. A more practical form of dress became popular, with the blouse and skirt replacing the ruffled tea gown. During the war years of 1914-18 these changes accelerated. A minority of women were in uniform, but far more worked in factories, in offices, as postal carriers and in other jobs previously performed by men . . . the skirt hemline rose to eight inches above the ground, revealing the ankles for the first time . . . For women in the 1920s, freedom in dress reflected the new freedoms opening up for them to take up careers, to study at college, to enter professions. Only a small percentage of women took up such opportunities, far fewer than today, but the revolutionary changes nonetheless affected the type of clothes worn by most women in the Western world. The skirt hemline rose steadily to become, at its shortest in the years 1925-27, knee-length” (Britannica).

“The successful revolt by women against social and political restrictions was accompanied by the disappearance of the corset and the physical restrictions it inevitably caused. After World War I, almost for the first time in five centuries, the natural shape of women reappeared in clothing, as did the practice of revealing the legs. The inconvenience of working in long dresses dictated the change, starting during the war. As with all sudden changes, the adjustment was extreme; by the mid-1920s skirts had risen to the knee. By the 1930s women were wearing trousers. Since that time, almost any experiment in style has been labelled fashion” (Encarta Encyclopaedia, 1999).

“A fashion revolution in the second half of the 20th century made trousers acceptable women's wear for almost all activities” (Britannica).

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