Home > Brandenburg, Separation, The Gospel > God’s Kind of Separation over the Gospel

God’s Kind of Separation over the Gospel

November 8, 2010

The New Testament several times lists the people who will not enter into heaven (1 Cor 6:9-10; Gal 5:19-21; Eph 5:5; Rev 21:8, 27; 22:15) .  Since these lists are all different, they are not each intended to be comprehensive, but representative.  Whether someone makes it to heaven or not, lives forever in the New Jerusalem, enters through the gates of that eternal city, is a gospel issue.  Many evangelicals and fundamentalists today say that they separate over the gospel.  God excludes the people on these lists from salvation, so they are gospel related practices.  People who practice them are not saved and will not be saved.  You’ve got to repent from these sins, resulting in them not being your practice any more.  That’s what the lists say.

One of these exclusion passages is Revelation 21:8, which reads:

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Later in Revelation 21:27, you read this:

And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Those are very serious sounding verses in the Bible.  One is not more caring who does not take these types of verses seriously.  I want to draw your attention to just one of the ones in the lists, and that is “the abominable.”   “The abominable . . . shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone.”  Wow.  I sure wouldn’t want to be one of these “abominable” ones.  I wonder who they are.  I mean, who are they?  Who are “the abominable”?   And then in the next verse, v. 27, we see that those who work abomination will not enter into the gates of the eternal city.  I should look at Scripture to see who these people are, that is, let the Bible define for me who they are.  The abominable would be who the Bible says are abominable.  This really isn’t a matter of opinion.  So a good thing to do would be to look this up in God’s Word.  These “abominable” ones, these people who work “abomination,” are found right in these lists, excluding them from eternal life and heaven.  The fact that they are included in these lists would say that these are practices that really have God’s attention.  He despises them.

Separation forever from God is the ultimate in separation.  God will not have an abominable one, one committing abominations, in His presence for all eternity.  This looks like God’s kind of separation over the gospel.  Someone could not be said to believe the gospel, but also to believe that abominations are permissible, could he?

I could start with the English word “abomination” to find what is uniquely an abomination, or what makes the people an abomination.  I could also look at the Greek word translated “abomination” or “abominable” to find out who they are.  The New Testament, that’s right, the New Testament, says that those people who are an abomination will have their part in the lake of fire.  Now where does the Bible say that a person is an abomination to God?  What would a person do that is an abomination to God?  We would need to look at the Bible to find out who that person is.  OK, so let’s look.

The Greek word for “abomination” is bdelugma.  That Greek word, or forms of it, is found 6 times in the New Testament, two of which are in Revelation 21:8 and 27.  The Hebrew word is to-ay-baw.  That Hebrew word is found 117 times in the Old Testament in 112 verses.  “Abomination” is mainly an Old Testament concept, but it is still in play as offensive to God as seen in the two verses in Revelation.  We get our idea of what an abomination is from the Old Testament, however.

If you look at every single one of the verses where these words are used, only one verse says a practice that makes a person an abomination.  Only one.  People do abominations.   They commit abominations.  But only in one verse does the person himself or herself become an abomination to God.  In certain verses, we see that someone can become an abomination to other people, but in only one does a person become an abomination to God.  Which is that verse?

Deuteronomy 22:5.

So I see this very serious verse that says that the abominable will go to the lake of fire and then I go to find out who the abominable is and I for sure see in the Bible that person in Deuteronomy 22:5.  And what makes the person abominable, an abomination to God?  Let’s read the verse.

The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.

“All that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.”  Who is an abomination to God?  Who is abominable?  First, the woman who wears the item specifically designated for a man, that distinguishes him as a man.  Second, the man who puts on a woman’s garment.

Do you want to be an abomination to God?  I wouldn’t think so, especially in light of Revelation 21:8 and 27.

Is someone being an abomination a gospel issue according to Revelation 21:8 and 21:27?  I see it as such.  God separates himself from the abominable.  Should we separate ourselves from the abominable?

What is the male garment?  What is the female garment?  What item of clothing distinguishes a man from a woman and woman from a man, honoring God’s design?  For many centuries, cultures that looked to the Bible in these matters distinguished pants as the male item and the skirt or dress as the female item.  As feminism and unisex thinking took hold in a post-enlightenment, rationalistic, evolutionary United States, women began wearing pants in contradiction to the male role and male headship.  In certain cases, women began to wear them out of sheer convenience with little thought about the symbolism of God’s designed roles.  God’s people would not go along with pagan culture, but like in so many other areas, churches began to compromise with the world.   Today in most evangelical and fundamentalist churches, women wearing pants is acceptable.  Even further, in most instances, the women who continue to wear only female garments are ridiculed or looked upon as odd.  The churches who take the historic Christian position are scorned and marginalized.

But Revelation 21:8 and 21:27 are both still in the Bible.  And Deuteronomy 22:5 is still the only verse that says a person becomes an abomination for a particular practice.  And women in dresses or skirts and men in pants is the historic way that Christians have followed Deuteronomy 22:5.

Is an abomination a non-essential?  Does God say that an abomination is a non-essential?  Of course not.   Who is anyone to say that an abomination is a non-essential?  And yet today evangelicals and fundamentalists would say that an abomination is a non-essential.

Just because a fundamentalist says it is a non-essential doesn’t mean that God is saying that it is a non-essential.  You won’t be able to say to God that you would have known, except that a fundamentalist told you that this wasn’t essential and you believed him.  You’ll have to base what you believe and do on what God said.  If fundamentalists don’t say the same thing, that can’t really matter.

Think about it.

As you are thinking about it, I want to make a preemptive strike.  Someone is going to say, “So are you saying that women who wear pants are an abomination and so are going to hell?”  That will be the most likely argument to come along to this.  It is a jr. high type of argumentation that shouldn’t get any respect.  I’m asking you to think about the verses in the Bible.  Be serious about them.  They are very serious verses.

The other response will most likely be ridicule.  Men will scoff at this position.  They will not likely offer you an alternative for the practice of Deuteronomy 22:5.  They might say that all that really matters is that women look like women and men look like men.  That’s not what the verse says, however.  It says don’t put on certain items or garments.  Don’t have them on.  Just because fundamentalists say that there are no such items of clothing today does not make it true.

So again, think about it.


An Addendum

I just finished a series in Revelation and that is what got me thinking about this post.   It is normal for me to ask, “Who is abominable?  Who would that be?”  And if you look it up, you get to Deuteronomy 22:5.  But what also crossed my mind is a new attack, I believe, on the Lordship of Christ in which those claiming to elevate the gospel to its rightful place, say that by talking about something like “pants on women,” men like myself are diminishing the gospel, which is, according to them, to be first in importance.  By giving the gospel this so-called  “back seat,” men like myself, according to these “gospel first” guys, are doing damage to the gospel.  This type of idea is being pushed in conservative evangelicalism and fundamentalism.   Revelation 21:8, 27, and 22:15 would indicate the opposite.  If you love the gospel, you are going to warn about these types of practices in people’s lives.  When we left all to follow Christ, we certainly left abomination.  So when we confront abomination, and connect that to the gospel, we are doing the right thing related to Christ as Lord.  There would be no practicers of abomination, who also follow Him.  Abomination isn’t in that path of following Christ.  The freedom that Christ gives us through the gospel is not freedom to be abominable, but freedom from abomination.

If someone who brings up an abomination in a gospel conversation is guilty of somehow dismissing the gospel, then the Apostle John was doing that when he mentioned abomination in Revelation 21.  Jesus Himself brought up loving your neighbor in a gospel conversation in Luke 10 and covetousness in Matthew 19.  What we have with these evangelicals and fundamentalists, I’m afraid, is something of turning the grace of God into lasciviousness that Jude wrote about, and using grace as an occasion to the flesh that the Apostle Paul mentioned in Galatians.

Another point.  People want “abomination” to be non-New Testament.  Since it’s not New Testament, it doesn’t matter.  But it is New Testament.  Not being an abomination continues to be an issue in the New Testament.  But it obviously points back to practices in the Old Testament.  This does great harm to that particular excuse in this.

One more point.  Shouldn’t being an abomination give us pause?  Shouldn’t we want to make sure we aren’t one?  Why mess around with whether we’re being one or not?  Especially in light of Revelation 21:8, 27?

Last point.  I believe that people just block this one out.  They just choose not to think about it.  They put their head in the sand in so many ways.  They aren’t dealing seriously with the text itself.  Until I preached a series through Deuteronomy several years ago, I wasn’t either.  Once I came face to face with what it said, I had to make a decision.  The decision hasn’t made me more popular.   To be honest with the text, I had to take the position I take.  When I looked at commentaries from before 1930, they were unanimous in what this text meant.  The popularity of alternative positions came later.  People hang on to those alternatives.  I believe they spread abomination.  That doesn’t sound like a good thing to do.  But it is what they are doing.  They attempt to take comfort in the reality that most professing Christians don’t follow this path any more.  If so many other Christians go the way they go, then they must be safe.  It couldn’t be true that so many people, who are such good people, could all be doing wrong.  You’ll hear the same argumentation used by Charismatics.  I heard the same used by a Mormon this last Sunday when I was out evangelizing in Sacramento.

  1. Gary
    November 8, 2010 at 9:19 pm


    I honestly don’t believe that you think women in pants are going to hell, but this post does make it appear to be your belief.

  2. Dennis
    November 8, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    This verse appears to have more relevance to cross dressing that pants on women. Maybe a more appropriate application would be to the very real culture of the “transgender” movement.

  3. November 8, 2010 at 10:01 pm


    Consider preemptive strike one in the third paragraph from the end. And again, I’m saying, “Think about it.”


    What is cross-dressing? How could someone cross-dress if there is no male or female garment? But on top of this, it doesn’t say “do not cross dress.” It tells the woman not to have on the man’s distinct item and the man not to wear the woman’s garment. The two prohibitions are parallel. Just because a society erases the distinguishing garments distinct to a certain gender doesn’t mean that God has erased them. And of all people, Christians ought to preserve them, especially in light of the verses referenced in the above post.

  4. d4v34x
    November 9, 2010 at 7:47 am

    I don’t see any scoffing about pants on women going on in that SI thread. Perhaps you could point me to a quote I’m overlooking.

  5. Gary Johnson
    November 9, 2010 at 10:27 am

    Thanks Bro. Brandenburg for an excellent post. I had to comment so that some would not think the Gary of the first post is me.

    As with all sins, often when someone is saved, they are in such spiritual darkness that they don’t realize the sinfulness of certain actions and attitudes. I know that was the condition of my wife and I. We had never considered the matter of women wearing pants as sinful and abominable to the Lord. But the Lord so graciously revealed this to us through the scriptures. Had we hardened our heart to this, there would have been chastening to endure. So for a short time in our Christian life, we were in great rebellion to this matter. So to the critics, I believe this might help answer your question. But how you respond to Bible truth tells us a lot about your spiritual condition.

  6. November 9, 2010 at 10:33 am


    Thanks for the comment. I can easily find scoffing at SI and elsewhere on this issue—this one was the most recent mention, but I’m going to turn it on you. What was the point of the comment at SI? He didn’t deal with it as substance and he went out of his way to find it in another post for what purpose? What do you think? The silent, subtle ones mean something. What did it mean? “Just to give you a frame of reference in his stand on cultural issues, he is a ‘no pants on women’ guy.” And that means what? Yes! Hurray!

    Here’s another recent one: http://remonstrans.net/index.php/2010/11/01/and_furthermore#c7777

  7. d4v34x
    November 9, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    I see what you’re saying. I think the commenter at SI might have been trying to determine some of the marks of the culture your theology (notice I didn’t lump you with the fundies (^:) results in. Trying to determine the size of the dog you might have in the fight, so to speak.

    I had read that comment at Remonstrans already and couldn’t decide if he was being derisive or dismissive (in light of what he might find to be weightier concerns)about something he actually agrees with (although I did lean toward derisive).

  8. Joshua
    November 9, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    I was mildly surprised to see that comment on Remonstrans also. For a man who will fight tooth and nail over any and every aspect of culture, I wouldn’t have thought clothing would be exempt from his line of fire.

  9. November 9, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    Baptist churches in the past practiced church discipline because of clothing. Note the following excerpt from J. T. Christian, History of Baptists, vol. 1, chapter 19 (elec. acc. http://sites.google.com/site/thross7):


    The discipline of the churches was strict and persistent. “Their general conduct,” says Goadby, “their domestic life, their business, their connections in civil society, their recreations, and even their dress, were all deemed legitimate subjects for the strictest supervision.” They were required to be strictly orthodox. A pertinent example is that of a man who had been treasurer of the General Assembly who was expelled from the Petty France Church, London. The account is as follows:

    Mr. Robert Eristow was rejected and cast out of the communion, after much patience exercised towards him, and strenuous endeavors used to recover him out of dangerous errors he was fallen into; namely, the renunciation of the doctrine of the Trinity, and particularly the deity of Christ, and of the holy Spirit, and so rooting up the very foundation of the Christian religion.

    A certain Mr. Irigello, one of the early pastors of the Broadmead Church, Bristol, “offended divers members of his congregation with his flaunting apparel; for he, being a thin, spare, slender person, did goe very neate, and in costly trimm, and began to exceed in some garments not becoming ye Gospel, much lease a minister of Christ.” He was accordingly dealt with. One John Bowes, a minister, attended a foot ball game, which was adjudged “a great evil” and was accordingly dealt with by the church. This did not end the matter. The brethren resolved:

    Some debate was had about the matter that seeing he had, first, dishonored the Lord: secondly, grieved the people of God; thirdly, given great occasion to the adversaries to speak reproachfully, he should not be suffered to preach, until further fruits meet for repentance did appear.

    The General Assembly of the Particular Baptists, 1689, answered the query: “Whether it were not necessary to take note of those excesses that were found in their members, men and women, with respect to their apparel” affirmatively. Their sober reply was:

    It is a shame for men to wear long hair, or long perriwigs, and especially ministers (1 Cor. 11:14), or strange apparel. That the Lord reproves the daughters of Zion for their bravery, haughtiness, and pride of their attire, walking with stretched out necks, wanton eyes, mincing as they go (Isa. 3:16). as if they effected tallness, as one observes of their stretched-out necks; though some in these times seem, by their high dresses, to outdo them in that respect.

  10. November 11, 2010 at 10:03 am

    Pastor B –

    Do you think we should look to the law of Moses as our guide in the New Covenant? What was distinctive clothing for men and women when Moses wrote the book of Deuteronomy? Do you believe women should wear head coverings?

  11. Buddy Woolbright
    November 11, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    Kent, This question came to me as I read your article. What was Elijah girding up as he was running before Ahab in 1 Kings 18:46. I’ve been wearing pants all my life and have never had to gird them up. Do the centuries of human dress styles determine God’s will for dress standard? In Christ, bw,
    2 Timteo 1:9

  12. November 11, 2010 at 5:35 pm


    Thanks for your comment. The historic Christian dealing with the law is that the moral law is still in play. I don’t read any commentator pre-1930 or so that see a violation of Deut 22:5 as no longer in play. We still obey the spirit of the law. We still use the law lawfully. Sin is still the transgression of the law. Paul quoted the law as authoritative. So did Jesus. Jesus fulfilled the law, all of it in this sense—He took the keys of the kingdom away from Israel and gave them to the church, thus shelving Israel and the judicial or civil law, He fulfilled the ceremonial law by fulfilling the pictures in the types, and He is the end of the law by grace through faith in our justification. By “end” it means the goal or the point of the law. End doesn’t mean finish. We don’t become lawless in Christ. We’re saved without the works of the law but not unto disobedience of the law.

    I think you are referring to 1 Cor 11 on the subject of head-coverings. My belief is that the Corinthians should have worn them because they were a distinct female dress in Corinth. Today the male symbol is pants. If it is something else, I would be happy to find out what it is. Could you tell me what the distinct male garment is? The one women are not to wear? That distinguishes the woman from the man? Agreeing with God’s design?


    Twice Job wrote to gird up your loins as a man. A girded garment is a male garment. Pants are girded. Skirts are not. Only men would gird their garments to do male activities. So the girded garment is dinstinctly male. A pair of pants is a permanently girded garment.


  13. Gary
    November 12, 2010 at 9:30 am

    Deuteronomy 22:5 is only stating that men and women should not wear that which pertains to the other. It is not saying that there has to be a specific garment assigned to each sex (that is adding to scripture), only that if there is an item that pertains to a certain sex that the other should not wear that item. Culture decides what is masculine and femanine. It is true that Christians should not try to change what is deemed masculine and femanine attire in a culture, but when culture changes i.e. women’s pants become acceptable, then Christians may change their dress to conform with the culture. The only thing that scripture says in reference to the clothing, is that it must be modest.

    The thought here on this site (I might be wrong)seems to be that pants are the male symbol of authority for today. Kent has brought up 1 Corinthians 11 in the past to show support for this belief. 1 Corinthians 11 clearly teaches that no male clothing is a symbol of man’s authority, it only mentions his uncovered head. The only material thing mentioned that could be used to show his authority is the woman’s head covering.

    Kent has mentioned that it is his belief that 1 Corinthians 11 is a Corinthian cultural thing. The thought is head covering for back then, pants are the male symbol now. I know that he can show modern commentaries that will agree with his culture theory, but this is the new veiw not the old. From the church fathers and about two thousand years of church history we get a different story.

    1 Cor.11:16 shows that the apostolic tradition of women wearing a head covering as the sign of male authority was not limited to the Corinthians, but to ALL of the churches. It was a church custom, not a cultural custom. You should not be upset that women are wearing pants. You should be outraged that Christian women stopped wearing their coverings!

    I am not really expecting a response, because excuses will be made as to why you should not answer, but honestly, where am I wrong?

  14. Duncan
    November 12, 2010 at 1:03 pm


    I believe St. Paul said the opposite of in your next-to-last paragraph, for he said “If any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God” (v. 16).

  15. John Gardner
    November 12, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Actually, the conjunction “But” begins v. 16. Saying, but if any man be contentious…contentious about what? Contentious that women ought to wear headcoverings (vv.1-15). IMHO, Paul is saying that if there is a man who contends that women ought not wear headcoverings, then tell him we (Paul and those with him) have no such custom (of women not wearing headcoverings) nor do the churches of God.

    Humbly Submitted

  16. Gary
    November 12, 2010 at 4:02 pm


    1 Cor. 11:2 shows that this is part of an apostolic tradition.

    IMHO your translation doesn’t fit the context of this passage. It seems odd that Paul would go into such great detail, just to say in the end “whatever”(my daughter’s translation).

    Thanks for the comment. God Bless

  17. November 12, 2010 at 5:45 pm


    If men and women are not to wear that garment which pertains to the other, then that assumes there are garment(s) that pertain to each, doesn’t it? What are the male garments? What in particular are garments men wear that women would be an abomination to wear? Is there an item of clothing that distinguishes the man from a woman on an every day basis that everyone can see?

  18. November 12, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    Here we go again Kent. Another tempest in a tea pot over a non-issue. The clothing issue is dependent on cultural context and now half the women in my church including my wife are “workers of abominations” because they wear pants if we “think about it”.

    • November 13, 2010 at 2:25 am

      Hi William, thanks for coming over. I’d like to interact with a real answer. My understanding of Deut 22:5 is the same as Walter Kaiser’s in Toward an Old Testament Ethics and Gleason Archer’s in Dealing with Bible Difficulties, and then everyone before 1930. Anything in scripture isn’t a non-issue, especially if it could make someone an abomination to God. Size (teapot), I thought was mainly an infatuation with Hyles’ guys—is this a carry-over for you? Seriously.

      What is the male garment in this culture?

  19. Gary Johnson
    November 12, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    I just have to jump back in and give a few more thoughts. Since so few seem to understand the importance of this matter.

    Breeches are found on men in the Bible. Five times that is mentioned.

    Exodus 28:42
    Exodus 39:28
    Leviticus 6:10
    Leviticus 16:4
    Ezekiel 44:18

    So since God said men are to wear breeches, women are not to. (assuming you are reading the King James)

    From Noah Webster 1828


    “A garment worn by men, covering the hips and thighs. It is now a close garment; but the word formerly was used for a loose garment, now called trowsers, laxoe braccoe.

    To wear the breeches is, in the wife, to usurp the authority of the husband.”

    Yes those women, including pastor’s wives, that wear pants are an abomination to God. You may call this a non issue, but it is serious in the scriptures. Our culture is what the world dictates. The world is under the influence of the devil. The world is usually wrong on what they accept. I reject culture and accept the scriptures.

    • November 13, 2010 at 1:59 am

      All those verses about “breeches” are instructions to the levitical priests clothing. I suppose you will argue that we as men need to wear bonnets too if you’re reading the KJV?
      Ezekiel 44:18 They shall have linen bonnets upon their heads…

      Your argument is nuts.

      • November 13, 2010 at 2:41 am


        Just for your info, you would be an easy target for ridicule, but IMO, I and many others never send that your way. And we don’t because we care about and love you. But it is a regular form of communication coming from you. Why is that?

    • September 4, 2012 at 5:56 am

      I know I am jumping into something that is almost 2 years old, but every mention of breeches in the Bible refers to part of the clothing of the Priests. No where does it say that they were the only ones who wore them, it just says that the priests were to wear them. The context where breeches are mentioned also tells us clearly that the priests wore robes with skirts.
      By the way, the breeches mentioned in the Bible are not outer garments, but under garments. Does this mean that the women in the 1800’s were wearing men’s garments when they wore bloomers? Does that mean that all of the godly women who wore them are now in Hell?
      As for Deuteronomy 22:5, the context tells us that men wore skirts (verse 30). Does this mean that men wearing pants is wrong? I think not.
      A lot has been said about culture on this discussion with both sides justifying their particular interpretation on the issue. One thing that cannot be contested is that Deuteronomy 22:5 does not say anything about pants. Applying that meaning to the passage is strictly a matter of personal interpretation. We can be sure that those who heard it when it was written did not see it as meaning pants.
      To this day some in Middle Eastern countries dress as the did in Bible times. Both men and women wear robes. No one has any trouble distinguishing between the genders because the cut and decoration of the robes distinguish the difference between the genders.
      I believe that the Bible (the KJV in English)is the final authority. Early in my Christian life I tried to justify the “no pants” position from Scripture. I was not looking to justify the position that women could wear them, I was trying to justify holding that position. After looking at all of the passages mentioned in this discussion and others that are not, I came to the conclusion that if I was to follow proper hermeneutics I could not hold that position.
      I have no problem with those who, out of personal conviction, hold the “no pants” position. Where I have a problem is where they make it a standard of spirituality.
      The article that started this thread is supposed to be about separation over the Gospel. I think, after reading the article, that this was not the purpose of the author. His purpose obviously was to send all women who wear pants to Hell.
      Separation over the Gospel would be separating over the different gospels that are being preached. For example, the gospel of Calvinism trusts in election, not Christ and the gospel of the Charismatics trust ultimately in their works.

  20. John Gardner
    November 12, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    With all due respect, where in the text does God say “men are to wear breeches” and women are not to? I see where the priests are to wear breeches, but not all men. Paul, who knew the law (Gal. 1:14), said we are not under the law (Rom. 6:14). Does this mean we can do whatever we want, of course not (v.15). NT saints are under apostolic doctrine (Acts 2:42, Jude 1:17).

    I find it ironic that Deut 22:8 is enforced and 1 Cor. 11:1-16 is considered cultural.
    Humbly Submitted

    • November 13, 2010 at 2:31 am

      We are not “under the law,” John, but that doesn’t mean the law isn’t still in effect, or else why would Paul say that the law is a schoolmaster and that the law should be used lawfully. I don’t think that your Deut 22:5 & 1 Cor 11:1-16 sentence is quite an argument. I believe we are applying them both culturally. So there is no irony there. It’s why I keep asking what is the male garment?

      • John Gardner
        November 13, 2010 at 11:46 am

        Pastor Brandenburg,

        Gal 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
        Gal 3:25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

        The law was our schoolmaster, past tense, and is still to those who are unsaved.

        Headcoverings have historic (pictoral), exegetical support from commentaries pre-1850 just like you rightly argue for bibliology.

        The terms “every man” and “every woman”, the fact of angels present, and the statement of “nor the churches of God” argue stongly for a present day application.

        In Love and Humility

  21. Gary
    November 12, 2010 at 9:21 pm


    In the American culture if a man went into the women’s department at Macy’s and tried on a dress that would be an abomination. If a woman went into a Men’s Wearhouse to try on some men’s suits, then that would be concidered an abomination. That is Deuteronomy 22:5 in its simpliest form.

    You are adding to the meaning by stating that it has to do with a particular garment, something that symbolizes male authority.

    In the past when I brought up the fact that tee shirts were first a male soldiers attire, but now it’s worn by both sexes, you didn’t seem to have a problem that. You stated that pants where the male symbol and women could not wear pants until men had a different symbol.

    Deuteronomy 22:5 does not single out one piece of clothing. It says “that which pertaineth” which means anything that the culture deems “male only”.

    You try to link 1 Corinthians 11 and Deuteronomy 22:5 together to support your theory, but the veil is the only thing that the churches used to symbolize female submission and the uncovered male head is the only thing symbolizing God given male authority.

    If I’ve errored in any of what I’ve said in regards to your position, I appologise in advance. My hope is that your book comes out soon, so that I may have a total understanding of you position. God Bless.

    I hope that this post comes out ok. I’m using my iPhone, which I dropped and badly cracked the screen, so it is a little difficult to see what I’m typing.

    • November 13, 2010 at 2:38 am


      Why is the suit a male garment? So if a woman wears a suit is she an abomination? Does it have to include a tie? Men don’t always wear suits, so when they don’t, are they not wearing male garments? These are legitimate questions.

      I say “the male garment” because I want the one, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t more than one. Regarding to the t-shirt, it really doesn’t work as an argument if you don’t believe that Deut 22:5 is speaking about distinct or particular garments. I would be fine with a t-shirt as being a male garment, but I would assume that there was a distinguishing male garment, one that would distinguish in public every day.

      In 1 Cor 11, the head-covering is the only issue discussed. That doesn’t assume that head-coverings where the only distinguishing dress. It was the one communicated to the Corinthians that they were in violation.

  22. Gary
    November 12, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    It took me so long to type my last post that I missed Gary Johnson’s post.

    Gary Johnson,

    In Exodus 28:42 the breeches were to cover the priests nakedness while he was doing his priestly duties. God did not command all men to wear breeches, only the priests, and it was for modesty not symbolism. God Bless

  23. November 13, 2010 at 11:04 am

    In Deuteronomy 22:5, the clothing words (keli/simlah) are singular, so there must be at least one, and each of the however many there are that are “of the man/woman” (Hebrew construct phrase) must not be put on by the opposite gender.

  24. Gary Johnson
    November 13, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    To those addressing the breeches on the priests-

    Not trying to be mean or sarcastic, but do you notice the priests were men. Therefore it is a garment that men were wearing, not women. Thus for the woman to wear it was an abomination.

    Is that too simple?

    • John Gardner
      November 13, 2010 at 1:24 pm

      Good discussion,
      If all men were wearing breeches all the time then why did God need to command the priests to wear breeches?

      Peace and blessings

  25. Gary
    November 13, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Ok, woke up sick today (I feel kindda like my cracked up iPhone looks.


    Ok you got my attention on the clothing words being singular. Maybe you and Kent are right on this one. I’ll have to chew and pray on this info.

    Gary Johnson,

    You mean it would have been an abomination back then for women to wear breeches, otherwise what your saying is that if a man was to wear anything i.e. tee shirts, than a woman would forever be forbidden to wear such clothing.

  26. Duncan
    November 13, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    Gary :.
    Gary Johnson,
    In Exodus 28:42 the breeches were to cover the priests nakedness while he was doing his priestly duties. God did not command all men to wear breeches, only the priests, and it was for modesty not symbolism. God Bless

    Since the priests were clothed to the foot, why should they need breeches to cover their nakedness – they would be going up no steps, and any bending would be automatically covered by being clothed to the foot?

  27. d4v34x
    November 13, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    Something to think about Gary (nolastname). You wrote: “It says ‘that which pertaineth’ which means anything that the culture deems ‘male only’”.

    Does that mean then there must be at least one article that a culture reserves for the respective genders? What is implied by a culture that is truly unisex in dress?

    Personally, I agree with your statement above, except I’d insert masculine where you have male only.

  28. Gary Johnson
    November 13, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    The breeches pertain to men. Deut 22:5 is speaking of wearing what pertains to the opposite sex. There is not a verse that shows breeches to be worn by women. The issue isn’t whether priests wore them all the time or not, it is who is wearing them at all.

    That is the issue, who do they pertain to? I realize many claim that pants are unisex. That position is new even to our country, as most would not have agreed with you 75 years ago.

  29. November 14, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    Thanks, Gary, for your comment #32. I appreciate your honesty.

  30. Jessica
    November 18, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    These kinds of posts/articles always go in the “pants on women” direction. However, Most IFB colleges I know have skits at one time or another, and inevitably, one will include a guy putting on dress. It always gets tons of laughs. Why is he not considered an abomination?

  31. Joshua
    November 18, 2010 at 6:49 pm


    I don’t know of any specific examples of that. Perhaps you do. I think that everyone here would agree that such behaviour is an abomination before the Lord, and shouldn’t be laughed or winked at.

  32. November 27, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    Dear Pastor Brandenburg,

    I agree entirely that when women wear men’s apparel, such as pants, they are, wittingly or not, making themselves an abomination, Deuteronomy 22:5. I was wondering, however, if we can say that Deut 22:5 is the only text where a person is said to be an abomination in light of Isaiah 41:24, where it sure looks like the person who chooses idols makes himself an abomination: “Behold, ye are of nothing, and your work of nought: an abomination is he that chooseth you.” Of course, associating a lack of gender distinction with idolatry does not help those who wish to ignore Deut 22:5, but would it not open up other OT reference as background to the NT texts affirming those who are abominable go to the lake of fire? Thanks.

  33. November 27, 2010 at 2:52 pm


    Good find. So two passages. This is one that I had not seen, I don’t believe. And as you said, it doesn’t really help the cause of the opposition. I don’t think that Deut 22:5 is the only way someone becomes an abomination. It is just one of the few places that say it.

  34. February 17, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    Bro. Kent,

    I’ve enjoyed your blog for a few months now, and decided it’s time for me to comment. I’ve grown up with a very similar understanding of Deut 22:5.

    It is a position that I “hold to” but have struggled with when I pursue it all the way to it’s logical end.

    My tone will be lost through this means of communication but I want you to understand I’m not looking for an argument on this issue, I’m looking for clarity. I’m turning to you because you have seemingly done your homework and stand pretty resolutely behind your conviction. Here are my issues:

    1) Many of your statements throughout the replies to comments are seemingly adding extra qualifiers to the verse. The verse does not necessarily imply ONE single garment that DISTINGUISHES at ALL TIMES and in EVERY DAY situations, but your statements would support that notion.

    2) You are making the argument that Deut 22:5 must be determined in light of culture, and our culture has established pants as a man’s garment. If you follow this all the way through you end up with some very shaky premises to try to hold together. For instance, is it possible for culture to transition to another male distinguishing garment? If so what percentage of culture has to stop holding to the former garment before the transition is complete? What about cultures that do not hold to the same standard of a male distinguishing garment? Can two cultures with antonymic male garments both be right?

    3) If I follow your reasoning all the way through that the garment of importance is pants. So if a man were to wear pair of Levi blue jeans, and then finish his attire off with high heeled shoes, pearl earrings and necklace, a silk blouse, and a purse, would this constitute an abomination or would he be ok within the guidelines of your understanding of Deut 22:5.

    Again, I’m not looking for a fight. I’m looking for some answers. I think the concept of Deut 22:5 dealing with cross dressing is the “easiest fit.” It allows for an absolute, unchanging standard and it does not require finagling to make it work.

    Thank you for your response and for the time and sincerity you’ve devoted to this topic.

  35. February 18, 2011 at 7:51 pm


    The position I take is the historic and exegetical position on Deut 22:5. The new position is the one you are being tempted to take. All Christians once took my position. Why did they change? Did they change based on new exegesis of the passage? Were they convicted by the Spirit that they weren’t following Scripture and needed to do so? Of course not. The changes have occurred so that Christians will look and act more like the world. Now there is no difference.

    You say that I am adding to Scripture. Let’s think about that. Here’s the verse:

    The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.

    “That which pertaineth unto a man” is singular. It assumes that there is at least one item that pertaineth unto a man. “A woman’s garment” is singular too, assuming there is at least one item that is a female item, a particular garment. I believe we can assume that the item can be seen. I believe we can assume that, since the point is distinguish between the man and the woman, that at least a distinction exists. If there were no distinctions, there would be no need for the verse.

    A lot of application of scripture relates to culture. What is corrupt communication? Culture is behavior. God honoring behavior will distinguish. The world distinguished and Christians distinguished. Then the world stopped distinguishing and Christians had to decide whether they would stop too. Christians had a reason not to stop, God’s Word. But Christians followed the culture.

    You are obviously not following my logic all the way through, but making it up. I’m not saying there is one and only one item. I’m saying there is at least one and that there should be distinction. Notice that you only gave the example of female items worn by a man. You didn’t give any male items being worn by a woman. Why? If the man is to be distinguished from the woman by at least an item of clothing, what is that distinctive item, John? What has our culture said is a distinctive item? And if the item did change, what has our culture said is the new item?

    You are the one that is choosing to see me as saying that there is only one item.

    I think this is all very easy to figure out. People just don’t want to do it. I think you can figure it out too. You just have to want to do that.

    Your cross-dressing argument is not what the verse teaches. It isn’t plain meaning. However, how could there be cross dressing if there is no male item?

  36. February 21, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    There are many things I’d like to mention from your response, but I’ve waded through enough exchanges between people on blogs to realize that the more you mention in your response the more you give opportunity for the discussion to become sidetracked.

    Rather than try to read your motive into some of the comments you’ve made I’ll simply say:

    I too am “thinking about it”
    I too “want to figure it out”
    I too am attempting to properly exegete the passage.

    It would be very easy for me to go into detail about my life and ministry and in turn show you how easy it would be for me to accept your point of view, but there are some serious problems I run into in thinking it through.

    I’m not attempting to “make your logic up.” I’m attempting to solicit the guidance of someone I believe is a sincere, Bible-believing Christian that can help me in understanding this passage. I see both sides of the issue and understand the counterpoints that each side has to offer.

    So the preface aside, please correct me where my understanding of your logic departs from your intended line of thought.
    My conclusion is that you are arguing that there is at least one male and one female garment in every culture. Deut 22:5 is a prohibition from either gender stepping over that line and wearing the item(s) that are intended to distinguish the genders. Within our culture the conclusion is dress/skirts for women and pants for men. You allow room for there to be multiple items but the crux of your item is always on the singular. In fact when challenged you almost inevitably ask for THE item.

    Let me ask you this follow up question. Do you believe there is one and only one male garment and one and only one female garment? Or do you believe that there are multiple male and multiple female garments?

  37. February 21, 2011 at 7:33 pm


    I recognize that we’re not debating, but some of my crucial points you don’t address at all. If those are true, then you should take my position. They at least deserve answers. I don’t know that you answer anything that I said. My background, by the way, in this, is not taking this position as I started pastoring, but coming to the position when I preached through the book of Deuteronomy on Wednesday nights now over 15 years ago.

    Here’s what happened. The only position believed AND practiced was the position I espouse. Only when the culture of the U.S. and Britain changed, did new explanations for Deut 22:5 get invented. The Bible didn’t suddenly mean something different. This was a matter of conforming to the world. That should be explained.

    I am not arguing that there is at least one male garment and one female garment in every culture. Not at all. I’m arguing that Deuteronomy says there must be at least one. That doesn’t mean there is one. There isn’t one for men any longer in the United States, and I’m talking distinguishing garment. The point of women wearing pants was erasing the distinction. There is no “conclusion” that it is pants for men and skirts/dresses for women. That’s what it was. The culture mirrored scripture in that way among others. God told Job to gird up his loins like a man. Men wore girded garments, women did not. Pants are girded.

    I put the emphasis on a singular garment because the singular in Deuteronomy 22:5. That doesn’t mean there isn’t more, but that there is at least one. That’s why I’m asking what the “one” is in our culture now that our culture has erased pants as a male garment. I ask for THE item, because there should be one distinguishing garment. The passage does teach to distinguish and with at least one garment. Our culture obeyed that, but then dropped the one last designed distinction, that distinguished the man from the woman in clothing.

    I believe there are only garments that distinguish women from men, more than one. But there are none today for men. Why? It’s easy. The male role is what is attacked—that is clear through scripture and through history. Satan wants to destroy the male role, and therefore the family. That’s also how the truth gets destroyed, because families then are not available to pass down the truth from one generation to the other.

    Now our culture does understand that pants WERE a designed male distinction. Look at Docker’s WEAR THE PANTS campaign. But it is more satirical today. That doesn’t mean Christians should not be retaining the distinction.

    Your cross-dressing (transvesticism) belief doesn’t fit the text. That’s my problem with it. The text talks about items, not a look (“women not to look like men or men to look like women”). That’s not what it says. The sense I have with most people is that I have a burden of proof on me to explain my side. My side is the old side. The other positions are the new ones. They should be expected to have contextual explanations. They don’t. Does that bother you?

  38. March 9, 2011 at 10:03 am

    I appreciate your response, sorry for taking so long to get back with you.

    Again, I want to make sure I am fully comprehending your position. It seems as if you are stating Deut 22:5 states there will always be at least one distinguishing garment in a culture. This distinguishing garment in our culture WAS pants for men. This was commonly agreed on and accepted by all believers. It modern times the world has sought to throw off the God ordained design of men leading, and as a result has laid aside the distinguishing of men and women especially in the area of dress. The world did it first and now believers have laid aside the distinguishing garment God intended for this culture.

    I’ll follow up with some other stuff soon, but I want to make sure I’m properly understanding your position.

    Again, I’m not looking for a fight. I’m open to either position on this issue. Though I’ve lived my life with this standard, I’ve never fully internalized it on the level you have, and on the contrary, I’ve had much pause over the last few years in regards to this standard. But I already get the sense from our previous communications that some of the issues are clearing up and I just want to hash out a few more things.

    Thanks for your help.

  39. September 6, 2012 at 10:38 am

    The article “Deuteronomy 22:5 and Gender Distinct Clothing” will answer many questions, including the “they both wore robes” argument, and clearly proves that women in pants and men in skirts is an abomination. The article is at http://sites.google.com/site/thross7.

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