Karl Vaters: What Is Appropriate To Wear In Church? (2 Reasons It Doesn’t Matter And 3 Guidelines)


Is this still a thing? People aren’t still arguing about what we wear to church, are they?

Yes. Despite the much more relaxed approach most people have, the debate about appropriate church attire still rages in some circles. So I’m going to weigh in on it.

Where angels fear…

Why Is Clothing An Issue?

First, let’s frame the debate at hand.

There are some people who feel that what you wear in church is a non-issue. Throw something on. Show up. Worship and serve. As long as your heart is right, what you wear doesn’t matter.

There are others who feel that what we wear in church should be different than what we wear for other events – or at least from what we wear on our day off. I don’t know anyone who would chide a newcomer or poor person for not wearing a suit or a dress, but there are those who think that regular church attendees should wear their Sunday Best. And ministers especially, should dress well.

“God deserves our best”, they say. Or “there’s a dress code when you meet the president or a king.”

What Is Best For Church?

I fall into the “wear what you want” camp. If a suit and tie feels respectful to you, do so. If casual clothes help you feel less self-conscious, go for it.

Here are two reasons why I don’t think it matters what we wear in church, followed by three biblical rules for appropriate clothing, not just in church, but anywhere.

First, let’s address the argument based on God deserving our best.

This argument falls apart on so many levels that it could be its own blog post, but for now I’ll just say this.

There are no universal or biblical standards for what is “best” when it comes to clothing. Is “best” based on the cost of the clothes, the formality of them, or what is culturally perceived as church attire?

If it’s based on the cost, I’ve seen a lot of people wearing ripped jeans, a t-shirt and shoes with no socks that costs more than the preacher’s suit.

If “best” is based on the formality of the clothes, then shouldn’t we be wearing tuxedos and evening gowns to church? The more formal, the better, right?

But if it’s about what’s culturally perceived as church attire (which would be the main argument), perceptions vary widely from culture to culture and from person to person, so wear what works for you.

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Source: Christianity Today