Why Do So Many ‘Born-Again, Spirit-Filled’ Women Show Off Cleavage in Church?

Watchman on the Wall, by Jennifer LeClaire

Why Do So Many ‘Born-Again, Spirit-Filled’ Women Show Off Cleavage in Church?

worship

Some women—and I am talking about mature believers, not lost souls or baby Christians—come into God’s sanctuary on Sunday morning dressed for clubbing. What gives?

“I know I’m inappropriate, but I’m trying to save time. I know I’m in the wrong. My mother would not approve. But would it be better that I not come?” Those werethe words of a 30-year-old woman entering church in Maryland wearing a revealing tank top and tight pants.

God bless her, but that’s in the same spirit as saying, “I know it’s inappropriate to cuss in church, but I can’t think of any better way to say it,” or, “I know it’s inappropriate to smoke during praise and worship, but I didn’t have time to finish my Marlboro on the way here.”

Some women—and I am talking about so-called “mature believers,” not lost souls or baby Christians—come into God’s sanctuary on Sunday morning wearing clothes you might rather expect to see them wearing at a dance club on Saturday night. Their blouses cling to their bodies, their necklines dip so low and stretch so wide that they reveal cleavage, and the slits up the sides of their skirts offer more than an innocent glimpse of their thighs. Again, I’m not talking about sinners seeking God or new believers who plain don’t know better. I’m talking about those who claim to be “born-again, baptized, blood-bought” (even tongue-talking) members of the church!

Paul instructed Timothy that women should “adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation” (1 Tim. 2:9), and he told the church at Corinth that “our unpresentable parts have greater modesty” (1 Cor. 12:23). Regardless of how hot it is outside or how busy we are, there’s no justification for Spirit-filled women to come to church wearing clothes that cause some men to pay more attention to the things of the flesh than the things of the Spirit.

But rather than repenting, some of these progressive women are lashing out against campaigns likeModest Is Hottest, calling it sexist. In her critique of Modest Is Hottest, Sharon Hodde Miller, a doctoral student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, argues, “A woman’s breasts and buttocks and thighs all proclaim the glory of the Lord.” Maybe, but I somehow doubt Jesus intended for this aspect of His glory to manifest in church.

Worship artist Jaime Jamgochian launched Modest Is Hottest to reach out to teen girls with the love of Christ. She says, “I feel like there’s always more to it when a girl is dressed inappropriately than ‘I just want to look cute.’”

I agree—and the same goes for older women who call Jesus Lord. I’m not suggesting that women subscribe to the Holiness Movement’s guidelines for women’s clothing and makeup. No, I’m not suggesting religious rules and regulations. But I don’t think Christian women should dress like the worldly women in church or anywhere else. It’s not about a shame-based approach to modesty that Miller opines about in her column. It’s about self-respect—and respect for others.

“I love what Jaime is doing; she is right on: Modest is hottest! I think this is such a good message to convey. Jaime is not being sexist but rather sharing that as beautiful women of God we can look so gorgeous without being revealing,” says Alyssa Shull, a youth pastor at Words of Life in North Miami and founder of The Pink Lid, a conference designed for girls between the ages of 12-18 where beauty and purity are key themes.

“You are respecting yourself and those around you when you are modest,” Shull says. “Lust is very prevalent in our culture, but Jesus says in Matthew 5:28, even if you look at a woman with lust in your eyes it is adultery. So I believe that women can do their part and display themselves in a beautiful way without promoting lust. You can be stylish and modest! I agree with Shull and, as the mother of a 16-year-old girl, appreciate what she and Jamgochian are doing for young teens.

Again, it’s not about the sinner coming in to look for Jesus or the baby Christian still shaking off the dust of the world. We’re talking about tongue-talking women wearing clothes so tight they may as well have been spray-painted on and cleveage falling out of their blouses. That’s why Facebook comments about this topic like this one trouble me: “Get to where God sees and don’t worry about the wardrobe of another person unless you are inclined to buying them new clothes to wear.” And this one: “Even if they aren’t lost, they have an identity issue. Who are we to judge?”

If we can “judge” that they have an identity issue, can’t we judge that they shouldn’t be showing cleavage in church? Isn’t the Word of God clear on this matter? And it’s not our responsibility to buy a woman new clothes just because she’s wearing seductive garb to church. But it is our responsibility to speak the truth in love to those who may not know better and to lead by example. In too many ways—including sometimes our wardrobe—Christians have conformed to the world. Paul warned us not to “be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Rom. 12:2).

It’s not about being the fashion police, and it’s not about condemnation. If the Holy Spirit convicted your heart about the way you dress as you read this, don’t let the devil beat you up. Just buy a few new modest outfits and keep praising God! It’s about not purposely opening the door to the spirit of immorality. Sure, as one Facebook commenter noted, a woman could wear a burlap sack to church and still find lustful eyes upon her. But does that mean we let it all hang out in the name of liberty? God forbid.

To read a response from a guy’s point of view, click here.

Jennifer LeClaire is news editor at Charisma. She is also the author of several books, including The Spiritual Warrior’s Guide to Defeating Jezebel. You can email Jennifer at  jennifer.leclaire@charismamedia.com or visit her website hereYou can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

8 thoughts on “Why Do So Many ‘Born-Again, Spirit-Filled’ Women Show Off Cleavage in Church?

  1. I totally agree with you Jennifer! I am in shock about how nasty and trashy a lot of women are dressing nowadays. I see a supposedly pastor and his wife on television on a comedy, and she is dressed so nasty, her dresses are skin tight, low cut and her boobs are practically hanging out. I think it looks trashy, even out of church. I am no saint, but I would never wear some of the trash that I have seen women wearing lately. I think a woman who dresses like that is asking for attention, and then when she gets it, she gets angry. Men have told me that if they are going to hang it out, then they are going to look. I would never dress like that on the street let alone in church. I think people have lost all their morals, and what is that teaching our children? God bless them, they must be desperate for attention. Only problem with that is that they will get “negative” attention not “positive”. You can dress attractively without hanging your breasts out in public, or wearing your clothes so tight that every bit of your body is put on display. It is just demeaning to the woman. My opinion only.

  2. Reblogged this on God Bless America~~JESUS is our only Hope!! and commented:
    I totally agree with you Jennifer! I am in shock about how nasty and trashy a lot of women are dressing nowadays. I see a supposedly pastor and his wife on television on a comedy, and she is dressed so nasty, her dresses are skin tight, low cut and her boobs are practically hanging out. I think it looks trashy, even out of church. I am no saint, but I would never wear some of the trash that I have seen women wearing lately. I think a woman who dresses like that is asking for attention, and then when she gets it, she gets angry. Men have told me that if they are going to hang it out, then they are going to look. I would never dress like that on the street let alone in church. I think people have lost all their morals, and what is that teaching our children? God bless them, they must be desperate for attention. Only problem with that is that they will get “negative” attention not “positive”. You can dress attractively without hanging your breasts out in public, or wearing your clothes so tight that every bit of your body is put on display. It is just demeaning to the woman. My opinion only. I do not believe that God wants women to dress like that.

  3. This is a problem of long ago. I took a survey over 20 years ago asking people the question, “Do you feel modesty is lacking in the church today?” Almost everyone answered yes. I believe pastors have failed in preaching about this, female leaders are dressing like the world and therefore new babes that come in find no reason to change. In fact, they find it completely acceptable in the eyes of God because if women of God dress in this fashion it must be okay. Very sad. In our ministry, we set the examples and make sure every woman dresses appropriately for someone who professes to follow Christ!

  4. Mario, THANK YOU for addressing this subject! This disturbing trend needs to be brought into the Light and dealt with by the body of Christ as to how it has affected the church. This article and the one at the end (from a man’s point of view) are well-written and cover the most important reasons we need to speak up about this issue. It takes grace and courage to post this and discuss it. I have also been disturbed by the amount of women buying into dressing this way. Yes, there does need to be perhaps more teaching again on holiness, and what it means in the Lord, not the way the world has derided it. (Hebrews 12:14, Pursue peace with all people, and HOLINESS, without which no one will see the Lord.) And Matthew 5:8, Jesus speaking: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Holiness is a prime attribute of the Lord; we all want the good things from the Lord, such as healing, protection, and answers to our prayers…to approach Him, we cannot get as close as we need to without personal holiness.
    And being modest definately does not have to be boring. As my mother told me many years ago, a little mystery in a woman can be more interesting than revealing too much. And my husband agrees.

  5. I stand with my sisters on this. What seems to be happening is that young people, as well as some not so young seem to be having a crisis in their lives. They don’t seem to think much of what is on the inside so they spend all of their advertising dollars (self esteem, self confidence, who they are in Christ Jesus) on the packaging. And there are men who do this too.

    A word of warning to men reading this. I have been on this earth for 56 years, struggled with a lot of temptations and I can guarantee you one thing. I have never opened a can, a box or any other package that looked anything like it did on the outside.

    If you don’t believe me, go buy a package of new underwear. Look at the picture on the outside, open them up and put on a pair. Now, for the moment of truth, LOOK IN THE MIRROR!

    Vanity is a sin that can affect more than just the person who is vain.

    The only thing that “lifts and separates” that interests me is that Jesus be lifted up and I be separated from the ways of this world. After all, aren’t we only visitors here?

    Phillipians 3:20 But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.

  6. Mario, I’m sure you will be considered prudish and “square.” That’s tough. Women can be attractive without showing a bunch of skin. God says we are not to be conformed to the world. That doesn’t mean Christian women have to dress like the Amish, but there has to be some middle ground somewhere.

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