Home > Complementarianism, Mallinak > Who Wears the Pants?

Who Wears the Pants?

November 20, 2007

Sooner would I single live than to my wife the britches give. (Anonymous, of the Pennsylvania Dutch variety)

Contrary to popular opinion, it does matter who wears the pants in your family. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church. When we take note of who wears the pants in the family, people generally understand that we are referring to authority and headship. If we point out that the wife wears the pants in the family, we are commenting about the rule of the home. The husband is following, and the wife is leading. The roles are reversed, the husband has abdicated, and the wife has usurped authority in the home. Of course, even when the wife wears the pants in the family, the husband remains the head. Ephesians 5:23 is a statement about the way things are in the home, not a command about the way things ought to be. The husband IS the head of the wife. Just that he has abandoned his role and abdicated his responsibility.

The reason for pointing this out is because more than any other single item of clothing, pants mean something. In western culture, the wearing of pants has always carried a connotation with it. We understand this, even today in the year 2007. Pants symbolize the roles in the family, and the one who wears the pants rules the roost. Pants, in other words, symbolize something that T-shirts and ball caps do not symbolize. One need only consider the signs that grace the doors of public restrooms for further evidence.

Deuteronomy 22:5 requires a designed distinction in dress. The woman is not to wear that which pertaineth to the man, neither is the man to put on a woman’s garment. And all that do so are abomination to the Lord. God puts the line at the point of distinction between men’s clothing and women’s clothing. Men must not wear what is distinctively feminine, while ladies must not wear what is distinctively masculine. And I believe that this would prohibit ladies from wearing pants.

I would be an insufferable blockhead if I refused to acknowledge that there is considerable opposition to this position. And I fully understand that this issue stirs up heated passions like almost no other (besides the version issue and Calvinism). Part of the reason for this can be traced back to our built-in sensitivity about the things we wear, and part of it because of the awful arguments that have been used by those who take my position. Calling women “sluts, whores and heifers” does not add anything to the issue. Nor is that a good argument. And I should be clear that I consider those kinds of statements to be ungodly.

This issue is, above all else, a cultural issue. In other words, if there is rebellion on this issue, that rebellion is a cultural rebellion, not an individual rebellion. If a young lady goes out and gets her eyebrows pierced and installs a bone through her nose, she is in rebellion against culture itself (hence the term “counter-culture”). But if a young lady wears pants, she is not being “counter-cultural.” She is dressing in a way that is completely acceptable in American culture. If there is rebellion on this issue, that rebellion is a cultural rebellion. Our culture has rebelled against God’s intention for a designed distinction that is to be maintained between men’s clothing and women’s clothing. And therefore, the issue must be addressed on a cultural, rather than an individual level. Certainly it is possible that a woman would be wearing pants out of rebellion. But it is equally possible that she is not. And it is also possible that the woman who doesn’t own a pair of pants is as rebellious as her skirt is long.

That being said, and for the sake of time, I will limit this particular post to answering the objections to our stated position. There are three basic reasons, from what I can see, why Christians object to our position on pants. First, some object on the basis that Deuteronomy 22:5 is Old Testament ceremonial law. Secondly, some argue that this verse forbids cross-dressing in general, but does not forbid any particular item of clothing. And thirdly, some argue that we should adjust to the culture in which we live, rather than attempting to retain some specific article of clothing from the past.

Several years ago, I got into a discussion with a missionary friend on this issue. As the discussion progressed, I stated my conviction that Deuteronomy 22:5 applied to the issue of pants on women, and he replied with a series of questions. Did I have a battlement on my roof? Did I plant my garden with a mixture of corn and beans and tomatoes? Did I wear a wool blend suit? Did I have fringes on the four quarters of my clothing? His point was, of course, that we don’t regard the rest of Deuteronomy 22, so why should we emphasize just that one verse? In other words, Deuteronomy 22 is part of the Old Testament ceremonial law, and we need not obey it today.

There are several problems with this approach to Scripture. First, Deuteronomy 22 is a part of the “all scripture” that is given by inspiration, and is therefore profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness. Put simply, Deuteronomy 22 is as authoritative as the rest of Scripture. Matthew 5:18 tells us that one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. So in other words, we do not get to arbitrarily dismiss Scripture as inapplicable. Unless God specifically stated that this particular law is fulfilled, we must continue to apply it and obey it. And even after God tells us that a particular command is fulfilled, we still find it profitable.

That being said, Deuteronomy 22:8 requires us to make a battlement for our roof. The rooftop of the home in Israel would have been flat, and used for family gatherings almost the way we use a porch or deck. The law required that a wall or rail be placed around the roof for safety, so that the thing which was designed for blessing would not become an occasion for a curse. The command itself gives very good reason for this: that thou bring not blood upon thine house. In other words, we are responsible to take care for the safety of others when we build a porch, a deck, a balcony, or when we dig a ditch or a well. Deuteronomy 22:8 requires us to provide for the safety of others by putting up guardrails in places where people can fall and be harmed.

Deuteronomy 22:9-11 teaches us about things that must not mix. The word “defiled” in verse 9 indicates that these commands pertain to ceremonial cleanness. Gill points out that the law forbids the mixing of clean and unclean animals, which would further support the argument that verses 9 through 11 refer to ceremonial cleanness. While our cleanness is more than ceremonial today, and we need not observe the particular requirements of ceremonial cleanness, we still find much of practical application in these verses. Deuteronomy 22:9 reminds us that the incorruptible seed must not be mixed with the corruptible. Verse 10 tells us that the chosen generation must not mix with the generation of vipers (2 Corinthians 6:14-16). Verse 11 instructs us that the garments of God must not mix with the rags of this world.

Deuteronomy 22:12 should be considered with Numbers 15:38-41. In trying to understand this command, we should note that the people of God were to distinguish themselves from the heathen nations with this fringe on their garment. Again, this would seem to be a ceremonial requirement. Believers are marked in different ways. Yet we find that this law is applicable to us as New Testament Christians. As Matthew Henry said,

The Jews being a peculiar people, they were thus distinguished from their neighbours in their dress, as well as in their diet, and taught by such little instances of singularity not to be conformed to the way of the heathen in greater things. Thus likewise they proclaimed themselves Jews wherever they were, as those that were not ashamed of God and his law. Our Saviour, being made under the law, wore these fringes; hence we read of the hem or border, of his garment, Mt 9:20.

So, Deuteronomy 22 can no sooner be ignored than any other passage in Scripture. These are the very words of God, and we are as much bound by the spirit if not by the letter of these laws as we are bound by any other command in Scripture. And especially this is so with Deuteronomy 22:5, which says that all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God. Clearly, this is a moral command, for ignoring this command makes us abominable to God.

Others object to our position because in their view the passage does not forbid any particular item of clothing, only cross-dressing in general. Now, I should be clear at this point that I agree with those who would say that cross-dressing is prohibited by this verse. But I would argue that it prohibits cross-dressing because it prohibits particular articles of clothing. *The word pertaineth (keli) in the Hebrew means that pertaineth to (just like it says). The word is keli-geber– that pertaineth to man.  Geber is the distinctively masculine word for man, as oposed to adam, which refers to mankind in general.  If keli were paired with another word, say ishshah, then it would mean that pertaineth to woman.  But in this case, keli is paired with geber, which makes it the masculine item.  So, the woman is forbidden to wear the male-specific article of clothing.*  Gill says,

It being very unseemly and impudent, and contrary to the modesty of her sex; or there shall not be upon her any “instrument of a man”, any utensil of his which he makes use of in his trade and business; as if she was employed in it, when her business was not to do the work of men, but to take care of her house and family; and so this law may be opposed to the customs of the Egyptians, as is thought, from whom the Israelites were lately come; whose women, as Herodotus relates, used to trade and merchandise abroad, while the men kept at home; and the word also signifies armour, as Onkelos renders it; and so here forbids women putting on a military habit and going with men to war, as was usual with the eastern women; and so Maimonides illustrates it, by putting a mitre or an helmet on her head, and clothing herself with a coat of mail; and in like manner Josephus explains it,

“take heed, especially in war, that a woman do not make use of the habit of a man, or a man that of a woman;”

We can imply from this, as Gill does, that women are not to join the military or go into combat. But this is an implication drawn from the particular command, that women are not to wear that which pertaineth unto a man. Deuteronomy 22:5 forbids particular garments, namely those that are distinctly masculine. The distinction between the sexes is to be maintained, and that distinction is to be maintained in our clothing. Consider Matthew Henry on this:

The distinction of sexes by the apparel is to be kept up, for the preservation of our own and our neighbour’s chastity, De 22:5. Nature itself teaches that a difference be made between them in their hair (1Co 11:14), and by the same rule in their clothes, which therefore ought not to be confounded, either in ordinary wear or occasionally.

Again, Deuteronomy 22:5 forbids the wearing of particular articles of clothing. It would be nice if believers could follow a simple argument with the skill of, say, a feminist like Amelia Bloomer. Amelia was not confused when, as a leader of the women’s rights movement, she sought to throw off those stifling symbols of male oppression better known as the dress or skirt. I don’t understand why believers struggle so much with this. Never mind what the Polynesians are wearing, in American culture, if a man puts on a dress, we all understand that this violates Deuteronomy 22:5. A dress or skirt in American culture is a woman’s garment. And its counterpart?

I don’t think we can say that our culture no longer has a garment that is distinctively masculine. Our culture still, despite all our attempts at throwing off the symbols, recognizes the symbol. We don’t designate the men’s room with a T-shirt and ball cap. We don’t designate it with a fleece or a coat. We designate it with pants, as opposed to a skirt. We regularly recognize the symbol, THE article of clothing that distinguishes men from women. That is, until a debate like this comes up.

We cannot argue for a universal without recognizing that universals play out in the particulars. In other words, if all dogs are canines, then that means collies are canines too. If all women are people, then that means my sister is a person. And if Deuteronomy 22:5 forbids men to wear women’s clothing, then that means I’m not supposed to wear a dress, even if it is within the privacy of my own home. Deuteronomy 22:5 applies both generally to cross-dressing and particularly to specific articles of clothing, namely those articles of clothing that maintain the distinction between men and women.

That being said, there is also the argument that since our culture has changed its “dress code” so significantly, we should simply live within the culture, while at the same time maintaining the Scriptural principles of modesty and distinction. This position argues that we should not attempt to retain specific articles of clothing from a certain era in time. And we would agree that Deuteronomy 22:5 must be defined in terms of the culture in which we live. This passage certainly will apply differently in a culture where the men wear robes and turbans as opposed to a culture like ours. That is true. But I see two problems with this particular argument on this particular issue. The first is that by arguing this way, the culture ends up defining Scripture where Scripture should define the culture. In other words, western culture certainly has its own unique designs in distinction. And our interpretation of Deuteronomy 22:5 must include American styles.  But the fact that our culture has thrown off designed distinctions by no means gives us license to follow in the world’s footsteps. And the second problem comes when we ask ourselves how a culture goes about changing the designed distinctions in dress? In other words, how could it ever become acceptable for men to wear dresses? Suppose that a new line of “men’s dresses” comes out, and is duly promoted by magazines such as GQ. Of course, the Christian men immediately reject such a fad as a clear violation of Scripture. After fifty years or so of increasing pressure, do we decide that it is now culturally acceptable, and therefore men can now wear dresses?

I think not. Pressure from the culture does not change God’s demand that we maintain gender distinctions in our clothing.

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  1. November 20, 2007 at 3:55 pm

    Pastor Mallinak,

    Everyone’s going to think we agree anyway on this, but I love being the first to say “very good” to this. I thought we needed more than one defense from us on it, but I would have wanted it only if you wanted it, and, you wanted it. Yes.

    You wrote this:

    “I don’t think we can say that our culture no longer has a garment that is distinctively masculine. Our culture still, despite all our attempts at throwing off the symbols, recognizes the symbol.”

    People could say we contradicted each other because of some things I said in my article. http://www.jackhammr.org/2007/11/14/the-seriousness-of-the-symbolism-for-male-headship-part-one

    However, what I would be implying is that we don’t have a symbol to replace the only symbol for male headship in our culture. If I didn’t think it was pants, we wouldn’t be taking the stand we do. The point, being, of course, that America is just in rebellion against complementarianism, male headship, not against skirts and dresses.

  2. November 20, 2007 at 4:19 pm

    Thanks for pointing that out. I think I understood your point on it, but your comment helps to further clarify what WE are saying. And as I understood your comment, you are not saying that we don’t have a symbol, but rather that we (our culture) don’t want to have a symbol, don’t want to recognize it.

    Also, I put an * in my post to indicate that I changed what I said there. Call it a little edit job. I’m no Hebrew scholar by any means, but I think my change does a better job dealing with the Hebrew meaning of keli than I did initially. I hope it helps, at least to clarify what I am saying.

  3. November 23, 2007 at 11:11 am

    I thought this was an excellent post and especially appreciated the points made that show how all the “ceremonial” laws in this passage do still apply to us in the New Testament in some way.

  4. liza
    November 27, 2007 at 6:51 pm

    Jesus was the fulfillment of the law. That is why it doesn’t apply to Christians.

    As Paul says in Galatians…why would you want to trade in the true gospel for the Law? Why choose the death and legalism that the law bringsinstead of the Life that Jesus offers?

  5. November 27, 2007 at 10:57 pm

    Liza,

    In the Sermon on the Mount, when Jesus said in Mt. 5:17 that He didn’t come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it, He wasn’t saying that He came to fulfill it as in “to complete it.” That isn’t the meaning of the word pleroo (“to fulfill”), and then He goes on to show that through the rest of the Sermon. The idea of the word (also used to describe the control of the Holy Spirit in Eph. 5:18) is “to perform,” “to accomplish,” etc. He certainly wouldn’t be telling us not to keep the law, when two verses later he says, ” Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

    John defines sin as the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4). In Romans 7, Paul says that the law is holy (v. 12) and is good (v. 16). Once someone has received Christ for salvation, He keeps the law in the Spirit. This is doing good (v. 21). Paul said that he delighted in the law in the inward man (v. 22).

    Nowhere do any of us say that we are trading the gospel for the law. None of us are keeping the law as a means of salvation, i.e., legalism. What you, however, are offering is license, using grace as an occasion to the flesh, turning the grace of God into lasciviousness. That is also a false gospel. The grace of God teaches us to deny ungodliness. What is ungodliness, Liza? It is disobedience to God. Do you think that an abomination to God is ungodly, Liza? Do you believe that the Holy Spirit will lead someone to be an abomination to God? John 17:3 says that this life that you talk about is knowing the Father and the Son. You don’t know the Father and the Son if you think that the Father and the Son are fine with an abomination to God.

    Thanks for visiting, Liza.

  6. liza
    November 28, 2007 at 9:29 am

    wow.

    What you, however, are offering is license, using grace as an occasion to the flesh, turning the grace of God into lasciviousness.

    I suggest that we are not under the Old Testament Law as followers of Christ and that means I am for lasciviousness? That is an enormous stretch of the imagination.

    You don’t know the Father and the Son if you think that the Father and the Son are fine with an abomination to God.

    So now I don’t know Jesus because I disagree with you? Am I supposed to intimidated by such an unwarranted warning and threat?

    Here’s a question for you:

    Can someone be an “abomination” and still be saved? If you say “yes”, then I think you have a serious misunderstanding of the word abomination. If you say “no” then you are showing that you do believe that following the Law is the means to salvation.

    You can’t have both.

    You either follow the whole Law or you rely on Jesus. I think I’ll stick with Jesus.

    Galations 3:2-5 and 3:10

    “I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing te Law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit are you now trying to attain your goal through human effort? Have you suffered so much for nothing–if it realy was for nothing? Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the Law or because you believe what you heard?”

    “All who rely on observing the Law are under a curse, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.'”

    Read Romans 7 and 8

    That’s where Pau teaches that the law was merely thereto showus what sin was, but that it brought only death.

  7. November 28, 2007 at 10:15 am

    Hi Liza,

    First, “Wow,” isn’t an argument. What can be seen in what you write is that you have a fundamental misunderstanding of the relationship of the law to grace.

    Second, your argument wasn’t that we were “not under the law,” and I agree that we are not under the law, but you said that the law doesn’t apply to us. Please relook at what you said, and you gave this as an argument against an application of Deuteronomy 22:5, the violation of which is an abomination to God.

    Third, please show us one place on this blog at any time that we said that we are justified by law-keeping. You are arguing a straw man here if you think that. You also say that we are “relying on the law.” That is false.

    Fourth, yes, if you believe that the grace of God is an occasion for law-breaking, then you are turning it into lascivousness. BDAG, the premier Greek lexicon says concerning this word and verse (Jude 1:4): “they interpret divine goodness as an opportunity to ignore God and do what they please.” God didn’t save us unto unbridled freedom.

    Fifth, no one here has said that believers are “under the law,” that is, under the curse of law. Here’s what Romans says about the law: It can’t save us (Rom. 3-5). It can’t make us holy (Rom. 6). It can’t condemn us if we’re in Christ (Rom. 7:1-6). It can convict us of sin (Rom. 7:7-13). It can’t deliver us from sin (Rom. 7:14-25). It can be fulfilled in the power of the indwelling Spirit (Rom. 8:1-4). In Romans 7:7, the law reveals sin, in 7:8 it arouses sin, in 7:9-11 it aggravates sin, in 7:12, 13 it reflects the sinfulness of sin. Paul didn’t, as you say, “that the law was merely thereto show us what sin was.”

    And neither did John. Consider 1 John 3:4-6, Liza: “4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. 5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. 6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.” If you abide in him, then you will practice God’s law, because sin is the transgression of the law. We’re saved in Christ, but “in Christ” is not lawlessness.

    If you, as you say, “stick with Jesus,” then you will keep the law as a Christian. The law was not set aside in its moral sense, but only in it’s ceremonial sense. Acts 10:9-15 supports that. The Lord said to Peter that it was now lawful to eat anything. The ceremonial law had two functions: to make Israel a unique nation (the Israelites had to live like no one else did), and to picture the coming sacrifice of Messiah. Once the sacrifice of Messiah was made, the pictures weren’t needed anymore. Once the church (local only) was established, there was no longer a need to maintain Israel as a unique nation, for Jew and Gentile were brought together into the same institution (Eph. 2:14). Although the ceremonial law was set aside, the moral law has not changed. In fact, through the Holy Spirit in one’s life, God accomplishes what He endeavored to do with the Mosaic law of the Old Testament. Christianity is not against the moral law of God.

    Deuteronomy 22:5 is a moral law. Not keeping that law is an abomination to God. Saved people will not characteristically keep being an abomination to God—see 1 John 3:4-6 above.

  8. Chad Delhotal
    November 28, 2007 at 10:41 am

    Pastor Brandenburg,
    Wow (in the positive sense)
    That is the shortest and clearest summary of the Christian’s relationship to the law that I have ever read.
    Thanks.
    P.S. Some of this info will be great for my upcoming series on Romans

    Pastor Mallinak,
    Thanks for opening a great tasting can of worms. Your post was very well done.

  9. liza
    November 28, 2007 at 10:42 am

    I find it interesting that you delineate the law into “ceremonial” and “moral”? Who makes that determination?

    In Acts, The Council of Jerusalem states that the only rules for Gentile believers are as follows:

    “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality”–Acts 15:28-29

    So here you have a release by the Holy Spirit, and the earliest church fathers, from following the requirements of the law.

    The only way you can further your argument about pants is to say that wearing pants=sexual immorality. Maybe you believe that.

    If that were the case, then wearing pants would be a legitimate reason for divorce in Jesus’ view. Does that not seem incongruous to say that God would allow you to break covenant with a spouse because of clothing?

    You never answered my question as to whether it is possible to be an “abomination” and a believer at the same time.

  10. liza
    November 28, 2007 at 10:44 am

    oh…you did answer my question…with an implied evasion.

    If you have done something “wrong”, then you must not “really” be saved.

    The problem with that kind of thinking is that pretty soon everybody will be excluded from the “really saved” list

  11. Michael Marshall
    November 28, 2007 at 11:42 am

    Liza,

    I am not speaking on behalf of Dr. Brandenburg on this, but I did read his reply and I do believe he answered your question. At the end of it he said “Saved people will not characteristically keep being an abomination to God”. The key word to me is characteristically. When I got saved, I did not immediately stop doing all things that I had done when I was lost. I did not automatically stop listening to worldly music, I did not immediately stop drinking alcohol, I went to the movie house, and worse things than that. I could go on and on, but hopefully you see my point. Were some of the things that I did after I got saved an abomination to God? Without going into detail, yes, I have no doubt that some of them were. Did some take a while to cut, to get rid of? Yep. But I was still saved. That is called Grace. God is longsuffering Liza, he does not reward us according to our iniquities, even after we get saved. It is His glory to pass over a transgression. Consider Lot, David, Ephraim, Moses, all of which committed gross sins that in some cases rated as an abomination to God. But they were saved nonetheless. You could add all of us to that list of names as well. Even after I got saved, when I would allowed myself to backslide, and let some thing back into my life that no longer belonged, I was miserable, because it was now out of character for me to do those things that I once did. I could not continue in them. I could not “keep” being an abomination to God. It is simply not in a born again believers character to do those things any more. I am certainly capable of it, because I still have a carnal nature that must be kept in check. Misery follows the Christian who will not walk in the newness of life, and will follow until they turn from their sin, or get called out.

    As for the Law, Christ came to fulfill it, not destroy it. And yes, Liza, the law still applies today, but not for salvation (it never did). If I understand your position correctly, you are saying that the Law is gone. Is it now acceptable in God’s eyes to murder, steal, lie, cheat, covet, or commit adultery? Hopefully you would say of course not. As for the ceremonial vs. moral laws, those would be evident in the scripture themselves. Keeping the sabbath was a ceremonial law designed to drive the Hebrews attention to Christ. The blood sacrifices were ceremonial, and were fulfilled on Calvary, and we could go on with many other offerings, etc, in the Law. But there are distinct moral laws as well, such as the ones I mentioned earlier, that still apply today.

  12. November 28, 2007 at 2:10 pm

    Hey again, Liza,

    This time I’m going to cut/paste some of your text to answer you.

    You wrote:

    “I find it interesting that you delineate the law into “ceremonial” and “moral”? Who makes that determination?”

    I answer: Scripture doesn’t use those terms “ceremonial” and “moral,” but they are words that we use to represent New Testament teaching. In the NT we see the sacrificial system being a shadow of the reality in Christ’s one sacrifice (Heb. 8-10) and the rest in Christ being the consummation of the Old Testament Sabbath practice. God gave dietary restrictions and other judicial laws to the nation Israel. We still keep the spirit of those laws. Look at Paul’s application of Deuteronomy 25:4 in 1 Corinthians 9:9. We still keep all of the law in spirit and not in letter (Rom. 2:29, Rom. 7:6, 2 Cor. 3:6). We fulfill all the law in Jesus Christ. His perfect practice of the law becomes ours through justification, sanctification, and then glorification. We keep the sacrifices and the festivals in Him.

    God has not done away with His code of conduct. He still wants us to live righteous lives. Part of that code is that he doesn’t want women to put on the male specific article of clothing. His standard for righteousness hasn’t changed. That is clear in verses that I have already quoted to you, that you have chosen to ignore so far. I can give more, but they have been enough. I am satisfied with the burden of proof, but you have far from met one.

    You wrote:

    In Acts, The Council of Jerusalem states that the only rules for Gentile believers are as follows:

    “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality”–Acts 15:28-29

    So here you have a release by the Holy Spirit, and the earliest church fathers, from following the requirements of the law.

    The only way you can further your argument about pants is to say that wearing pants=sexual immorality. Maybe you believe that.

    I answer: It is not possible, in light of the rest of the New Testament, that these were the only four requirements that God expected of Christians in the age in which we live. The rest of the NT proceeds to give many more than these, including a repeat of most of the ten commandments. These four were points of emphasis for the unity between Jews and Gentiles in the churches in Asia Minor. Based on how you are arguing with me, I should ask: Do you believe that these four were required in order for the Gentiles to be justified? Of course, I wouldn’t assume that you mean that, because you didn’t say it. And we haven’t said law-keeping was a requirement for salvation. However, that doesn’t mean law-keeping isn’t a requirement for believers.

    You wrote:

    oh…you did answer my question…with an implied evasion.

    If you have done something “wrong”, then you must not “really” be saved.

    The problem with that kind of thinking is that pretty soon everybody will be excluded from the “really saved” list

    I answer: Here you just put words in my mouth. Certain questions I won’t give a yes or no answer, just like Jesus wouldn’t always do that. What I am saying is that law-breaking will not characterize the lifestyle of a Christian. That is clear in 1 John 3:4-6. I would hope that you might answer the questions that I am posing from the text.

    CHAD,
    Thanks for your kind words.

    Hi again Mike. Thanks for your contribution.

  13. November 28, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    Brothers Dave and Kent,

    I am amazed (although I shouldn’t be) every time someone uses the “not under law” argument. What really amazes me is their reaction to the Scripture’s command not to allow grace to be a license to sin.

    Anyway, thanks for the very good posts and responses on this topic. Not many have the “intestinal fortitude” to take these stands and defend them Biblically instead of emotionally.

  14. liza
    November 28, 2007 at 3:03 pm

    I think that in your original post you undermine your contention about the specificity of pants.

    You say that the verse is part of all Scripture that must be obeyed and part of the law which not one little bit will pass away, but then you spiritualize the rest of the verses, taking the principle from the requirements, without demanding specific adherence to it.

    You acknowledge that the verse does not specify a particular article of clothing, but then are sure to say that pants are verboten. It is a subjective opinion which you lay out as fact and doctrine to which we are required to adhere.

    I think it is interesting that in one case you feel the principle is acceptable, and in the other it is not. It is an inconsisitent application.

    Regarding the requirements for Gentiles:

    Those four requirements were in place of keeping the Law and being circumcised. A large portion of Jews thought that circumcision was required for salvation in conjunction with belief.

    However, that doesn’t mean law-keeping isn’t a requirement for believers.

    Here’s the thing about “requirements”…they are required. If a believer doesn’t do everything that is a “requirement”, what does that mean. If a Christian woman wears pants for the rest of her life, not obeying the “requirement”, that you personally think is true, what happens?

    If you say that she is a Christian and under God’s grace…then that means the statute was not a “requirement”!

  15. November 28, 2007 at 4:07 pm

    Liza,

    The requirement for all Christians is to not sin:
    1 John 2:1 “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:”

    When we sin, we have an Advocate, but the requirement is still the same. Or, don’t you think that what God says is required? Whatever the command or precept, we are required to obey. That is not legalism, that is being subject to the King!

  16. Michael Marshall
    November 28, 2007 at 4:09 pm

    Here’s the thing about “requirements”…they are required. If a believer doesn’t do everything that is a “requirement”, what does that mean. If a Christian woman wears pants for the rest of her life, not obeying the “requirement”, that you personally think is true, what happens?

    If you say that she is a Christian and under God’s grace…then that means the statute was not a “requirement”!

    He that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin. If she knows better, and will not obey, then to me it is pretty obvious that she is rebellious, and that would be sin to her.

    I also disagree with the second statement. Just because God is longsuffering and does not drop the hammer on someone does not mean they are right, or that they will not give an account for what they did. Tithing is a requirement, yet I know people whom I have no reason to doubt are saved, but come up with every excuse not to tithe (that’s OT, it’s under the law and I’m not, I cant afford it, etc, etc etc). God may not bring obvious judgment, but He also cannot bless that individual the way he may like to if they are willingly disobedient to him.

    I believe the scripture teaches the exact opposite of what you stated: There are in fact requirements for blessings, both temporal and eternal. I CORINTHIANS 3:12 teaches us this very principle. We will give an answer for what we have done in this body, and we will be rewarded for our obedience and submission to His will and His word.
    So, the bottom line is, you can take the Alester Crowley route and “Do what thou wilt” because you are under Grace, so hey, it’s all good! Or you can take the Apostle Paul route and say “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do”. Even after you are saved the choice is still yours, so if you chose to, go ahead and wear you pants. But beware, you will give an answer for your choice. ECCLESIASTES 8:9-12 tells us the fear of God is better. You are never wrong to be too Godly, and you are never right to try to hug the world and see how close you can get without crossing the line.

    Dr B – good to hear from you. I hope I was not putting words in your mouth. Ewe. What a thought…

  17. November 28, 2007 at 4:16 pm

    Liza,

    It is interesting that you feel that it is fine for you to ask me challenging questions, and you don’t find it necessary to answer any of my questions. Have you noticed that about yourself? It is a role reversal for you, which is not ironic in light of your problem with a requirement of women not to wear the male article.

    You wrote:

    I think that in your original post you undermine your contention about the specificity of pants.
    You say that the verse is part of all Scripture that must be obeyed and part of the law which not one little bit will pass away, but then you spiritualize the rest of the verses, taking the principle from the requirements, without demanding specific adherence to it.

    I answer: I don’t apply Deuteronomy 22 the same way as Pastor Mallinak, even though I’m fine with his application, based on his above article. However, we are the same on Deuteronomy 22:5, since it says “all” and since it says “abomination to God.” You should look at the actual words of the text.

    You say that we spiritualize the jots and tittles, except for Deut. 22:5. There is a difference in keeping laws by the Spirit and spiritualizing. To spiritualize is to allegorize, which is not an approach to Scripture we take. What I say is that Christ fulfilled the ceremonial law with His death and resurrection, that He fulfilled the judicial (civil) laws by shelving Israel, and that He fulfilled and keeps fulfilling the moral law by means of the Spirit through believers. If Christ is in your life, you will love the law of God like David loved it, by the way (read Psalm 119). Why do we sing psalms (Col. 3:16) if they don’t matter anymore? Paul says in Romans 8:7 that the carnal mind is not subject to the law of God. In other words, the unsaved person won’t submit to God’s law. Think about that, Liza. More things for you to answer, although my hopes are not up about that.

    You wrote:

    You acknowledge that the verse does not specify a particular article of clothing, but then are sure to say that pants are verboten. It is a subjective opinion which you lay out as fact and doctrine to which we are required to adhere.

    I answer: The text doesn’t specify an article, but it certainly means that we should specify one. A woman should not put on a male-specific article of clothing (keli-geber). What is a male article of clothing that our culture has specified as male?

    You wrote:

    I think it is interesting that in one case you feel the principle is acceptable, and in the other it is not. It is an inconsisitent application.

    I answer: There is a statement that is truly your opinion. We have explained why. It is an abomination to God. Are the others an abomination to God?

    You wrote:

    Those four requirements were in place of keeping the Law and being circumcised. A large portion of Jews thought that circumcision was required for salvation in conjunction with belief.

    I answer: It is obvious in Acts 15 that the law-keeping was intended as a means of salvation. This was something that Pharisees thought too that Jesus debunked in the Sermon on the Mount and Paul in Galatians. This passage is not telling us,however, not to keep the law.

    You wrote:

    Here’s the thing about “requirements”…they are required. If a believer doesn’t do everything that is a “requirement”, what does that mean. If a Christian woman wears pants for the rest of her life, not obeying the “requirement”, that you personally think is true, what happens?

    I answer: A believer won’t do everything required (1 John 1:8, 10). But he wants to do everything required. Characteristically, as a lifestyle, he will do what is required (1 John 2:3, 4; 3:6-9—verses you won’t answer). The last question is a good question. Replace “wearing pants” with “practicing homosexuality.” You answer the question. I believe that everyone needs the opportunity to grow and come to biblical convictions. As they do, they they will fit into their local church, the belief and practice. When someone is disciplined out of a church, he is treated as a publican and sinner. Do I think he isn’t saved? I don’t know, but I treat him as if he isn’t.

    You wrote:

    If you say that she is a Christian and under God’s grace…then that means the statute was not a “requirement”!

    I answer: No work is a requirement for salvation, but we haven’t once said that one was. However, to the believer it is a necessity, an obligation, something that she ought to do. Many times particular activities are talked about as obligations for a Christian in the NT.

    Art,
    Thanks for your comment.

  18. liza
    November 28, 2007 at 4:57 pm

    Things I find funny:

    1. That women wearing pants is right up there with practicing homosexuality in your opinion.

    2. The condescension that you include in your comments….role reversals and all.

    3. The changing of the word from requirement to obligation.

    The thing is…pants are not purely a male article of clothing. You are trying to tie a cultural verse to a specific item of clothing. In your original post you dismiss cultures that don’t clothe males and females in the same manner that Americans do. So, in Scotland it would be OK for a man to wear a kilt because it is culturally acceptable. In the same way, it is culturally acceptable in the US for women to wear pants. The principle is not to cross-dress to portray one’s self as the opposite sex. People don’t look at a woman in pants and think “oh…I thought she was a man!”

    re: Acts 15

    This passage is not telling us,however, not to keep the law.

    That is exactly what it is saying. It is saying the Gentiles are not required to be burdened with the law. I am not sure how you could render any other reading from that passage and the book of Galatians.

    Re: John

    John is referring to habitual, purposeful sin. I guess if you really believe that women wearing pants is a sin, you could maybe slant that verse to fit your agenda. However, it is not a given that pants are a sin, per my earlier comment that it is a cultural standard.

    Re: the law of God.
    The thing is that you think the OT laws are the law of God, but they are not, in the sense that Paul is referring to. Paul is referring to the regeneration of the believer and the following of the Spirit in one’s life.

    It is interesting that so many of the comments on this thread assume that I am for some sort of carnal free-for-all simply because I follow the scriptural truth that “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”. His grace is sufficient for me. My faith is placed in his finished work and His payment for me. I do not need to cower and fear that I have missed one little jot. I am his child and He is my Father. I am accepted.

    That’s the whole point of the gospel.

  19. November 28, 2007 at 5:28 pm

    Liza,

    I’m not going to do the whole cut and paste thing this time, because I’m about done.

    First, you really should read what we’ve written here because you say things that indicate clearly that you haven’t.

    Second, you are perhaps one of those rare people with a very active funny bone. Funny wasn’t the word that came to my mind with you, but the word “shame,” as that is the one Paul uses in 1 Corinthians 14:29-35. You should read that sometime. God tells us (through Paul) that the man is the head of the woman, so it really isn’t condescension, but Bible, and even in the NT, a half of the Bible you can respect. Liza, did you think that Paul was funny and condescending when he said that Eve was deceived but Adam wasn’t in 1 Timothy 2:14?

    Third, regarding “requirement” versus “obligation,” I wasn’t playing any kind of word games. If you want “required,” you can read 1 Corinthians 4:2, where it says we are required to be faithful. However, I thought that “owe” or “ought,” and the Greek words behind them fit the modern day understanding of “required” better. Sorry for dulling the funniness. 🙂

    Fourth, you say that pants are not purely a male article of clothing. Again, you didn’t answer my question, but that’s a funny thing about you. 🙂 What is the male article of clothing, one that differentiates men from women in our culture? If it isn’t pants, Liza, then what is it? Help us so we can obey Scripture. That whole paragraph completely ignored the actual text of Deuteronomy 22:5. It doesn’t even say what you say that it says. The regulation is about God, not about us being able to tell the difference. That’s the man-centered thinking coming out, or should I say person-centered, so as not to be condescending?

    Fifth, I don’t see the word “law” once in Acts 15:28, 29.

    Sixth, on 1 John, you still aren’t dealing with law. You’re avoiding it completely. Take Deut. 22:5 out of it, if someone characteristically does not keep the law, he is not someone who abides in Christ. Yes or no?

    Seventh, at least one point of our posts is that violating Deut. 22:5 is a sin, and that a woman wearing pants is a violation.

    Eighth, it’s going to be impossible for us to talk if when Paul says “law,” you say he means something different than “law.” We won’t be able to use the English language.

    Ninth, the point of the gospel is for the glory of God, like everything else. So if you get “saved” and so are “free,” but you don’t glorify God, you missed the point.

    Tenth, if violation of Deut. 22:5 is an abomination and homosexuality is an abomination, isn’t God saying that those are right up there (or down there) with each other?

  20. liza
    November 29, 2007 at 10:50 am

    Now what does condescension have to do with those passages? Since when does “headship” mean someone has to act like a jerk?

    You want to be done…then let’s be done. I don’t need to converse with someone who must try and make things personal, or shame commenters, trying to intimidate them instead of merely taking part in a conversation.

    BTW….male article of clothing…..[edited]. I think that is most definitely male.

  1. November 21, 2007 at 11:31 am
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