Pastors In Suits

suitFundamentalists eschew the relaxed informality of the come-as-you-are church service. In the fundamentalist’s view the words in I Samuel 16:7 read as follows “for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart”.

Although congregations will vary, most fundamentalist pastors would not be caught dead in the pulpit without their suit and tie on. Denim is the devil’s fabric and sandals are the comfortable footwear of the father of lies. Don’t even get them started on Rick Warren’s Hawaiian shirts.

One could argue that if fundamentalists really wanted to be conservative that the obvious choice would be for pastors to wear robes. Of course that would ruing the opportunity for all kinds of disparaging remarks about Roman Catholic and Anglican clergy as “men in dresses.” Giving up such a great way to bash the papists and their ilk is just not an option.

Single breasted, double breasted, herring bone, or twenty year old plaid, the fundamentalist pastor and his suits are not easily parted. Blessed be the ties that bind.

42 thoughts on “Pastors In Suits”

  1. But don’t forget that it’s perfectly okay for a preacher to remove his suit coat on a particularly hot day as long as permission is asked first of the congregation.

    “Y’all don’t mind if I take this off, do you?”

  2. So when I am seen on Sunday after church in my suit, folks will know that I have probably been to church, but if I am in a T shirt and jeans they may think I have been to the beach or to the park. That is what has happened in the church, loss of respect for God, as the modern Church tries to bring God down to a worldly level.

    This Blog site continues to create strife and friction between folks. Instead of building people up, it tears them down. I have got to stop coming here.

    1. Hon, choosing not to wear a suit/dress for church is not “the modern Church tr[ing] to bring God down to a worldly level.” In fact, if you would actually read the Bible first, and decide what is right based on that instead of what your favorite preacher says, you would learn that no where does it say that God wants us to have special clothes for church. Therefore, you can’t judge someone’s spirituality based on whether they wear a suit to church or not. If clothes are such a point of focus in your church, I would suggest finding a new one.

  3. >That is what has happened in the church, loss of respect for God, as the modern
    >Church tries to bring God down to a worldly level.

    Folks are going to church and you’re tearing them down for not dressing up. People are going about their business on a Sunday morning and you’re judging whether or not someone went to church based on their appearance. We’d really get along much better if people didn’t make assumptions on scant evidence.

    1. A true Christian would never play sports on The Sabbath! Then again, Fundies are expected to wear suits and ties seven days a week.a Christian has to maintain his Testimony EVERY DAY!

  4. Back some fifteen years ago, when I was managing a homeless shelter for men, I brought some of the men who that were residents of the shelter to my church. Because I dressed down to make the guys that I brought feel more comfortable (they didn’t own suits and ties), a lady came up to me in front of these men and scolded me for not respecting God with what I was wearing. One of my homeless shelter residents responded after that verbal lashing stating, “I didn’t realize that God had a dress-code!” He never entered the door step of a church again…… The unwritten dress code continues to be a hindrance for reaching out to the poor because many of them can’t afford a suit and tie….But of course, according to Charles its really a loss of respect of God and an attempt to bring God to a worldly level…..Sigh…….

    1. Joel, fundies don’t exactly have a great track record of caring for the poor (except to hand out gospel tracts) anyway. I know individuals who spend their time and resources to help the less fortunate, but as whole, the fundamentalist system is only concerned with preaching at them. It’s no surprise to me that that woman acted in this way.

      By all means scream and spit in their face (preach), but don’t give them clothes or feed them first, you compromising social gospel traitor! :/

  5. Remember Joel, it’s also about our Sunday best. If someone came to church with dirty overalls because he came straight from work, I would be happy that he was able to make it. For him, that is his best that he can do at the time. I like to wear my Sunday best for the Lord. If men wish to dress up and wear a suit to church why make fun of it? If you don’t have a suit to wear but dress neatly why make fun of it? God does look on our hearts, but the world looks on the outward appearance. Some know when we are wearing our best.

    1. We make fun because many traditional fundies make fun when a person doesn’t wear suit and tie. They act like it’s the only acceptable form of Sunday clothes.

      It’s all tradition.

    2. Well…Erin…because these and other “standards” are nothing more than man-made rules based loosely on old-school societal traditions which provide a sense of comfort, a method of mitigating guilt and a way to more easily measure our own and others perceived level of spirituality and/or heart attitude based solely on what we can literally see with our eyes…

      The larger issue seems to be that professing believers tend to take the cafeteria approach to scripture…they add to it when it suits them, they take a position based on the Bible’s silence (i.e., “no where does the Bible say…”) when it suits them or even trickier, they pick and choose from OT law concepts and try to directly apply them to current day Christianity: Tattoos sinful per Lev. 19 (even though represents Jewish moral law addressing pagan worship) but uncleaness after wet dreams per Lev. 15…well, let’s not even discuss that (although I suspect some fundy preachers wouldn’t mind so much)…I know, I know…”moral” law vs. ceremonial…bla, bla…or maybe should be yada, yada, yada…

  6. i laughed out loud at the difference in font sizes in the above-mentioned verse. i actually heard a chapel sermon on this very topic and with that same emphasis given by bill rice at an infamous bible-believing, kjv textus receptus, etc, etc, etc christian college. ridiculous.

  7. There is a church in Los Angeles. I understand that the pastor requires all men who attend to wear a tie and the church has extra neckties for those who come without one. So if you go there without a tie someone would stop you and give you one of the extra neckties and ask you to put it on and if you decline to do so you would be denied entry.

    I got a hold of the pastor via his website and asked him to justify his stance on neckties from the Scriptures. I used a pseudonym. He replied and in the same e-mail he called me an old hippie and a Pharisee.

    On the other end of the spectrum there are churches called Calvary Chapel. Some pastors wear Levi’s Blue Jeans and (perhaps) even T-shirts in the pulpit.

    There is also a church called Cowboy Church in Nashville where the pastor wears a big black hat and keeps it on when preaching.

  8. At my old church, the pastor had all kinds of rules, but one that he really enforced hard was that men had to wear a tie to sing in the choir. One Wednesday night whilst he was on vacation, one of the ‘preacher boys’ got to fill in. He asked the congregation where in the Bible it said you had to wear a tie to sing in the choir. Oh my Gawd. It was like someone had taken a dump on the OFA. Needless to say, the preacher got a million phone calls that night from people telling on the preacher boy. That Sunday, the pastor got in the preacher boys face during his sermon and said redfaced and screaming, sweat droplets and spit spraying “it doesnt say you have to wear tie to sing in the choir, but bless Gawd, I said you have to wear a tie to sing in the choir!!!!!!!!!!” Everyone was cheering that the pastor had castigated this young man publicly.
    Other rules for singing in the choir:
    Must be a member in good standing.
    Short hair on men.
    No pant wearing women, at church or home.
    No smokers.

    1. That was a pretty courageous preacher boy. I’m glad I can always get on this site and be made to laugh. What gets into people that makes them still follow the MOG when a young aspiring thinker is trying to set them free?

      1. I don’t know why anyone would sit under someone who yells and screams and harasses people. My dad – whom I love and who usually was quite reasonably – would sometimes totally lose it and get EXTREMELY mad. There’s no way I would ever voluntarily allow anyone to ever treat me like that way ever, ever again and absolutely never from the pulpit.

    2. I went to a church that had these particular rules, also. But it only applied to those who wanted to teach. Needless to say, most of the church members in this tiny church didn’t quite make the cut. It was left to the pastor and his family to take on most of the responsibilities. There was a bit of a spiritual, superior smugness to it all. On the flip side, because they were doing all the work, it caused them to be worn out all the time and the preacher’s sermons lacked substance. He didn’t spend a lot of time studying for his sermons. You could tell by all the rabbit trailing. It took him 1-2 years to do a study in 1 Corinthians.

    3. @TonyP

      I’d like to meet that “preacher boy.” He seems like a rational and thinking human being (rare in these churches). As I read your story, I was immediately reminded of a verse in the NT:

      “…but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them…neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.” (III John 9)

      Loving to have the preeminence is a reoccurring a attitude among many IFB pastors I have met and heard. I hope this young man has continued to challenge the “sacred traditions.”

  9. If we were living in a country like Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, or North Korea where Christians are persecuted for their faith, often imprisoned, sometimes killed, who wearing a suit and tie to church, be a life-or-death Salvation Issue? But we don’t, we live in the West, the US, or in my case Northern Ireland, so we feel compelled to nit-pick, and follow all the rules. I guess we need to keep showing God what Good Christians we are, otherwise He might not believe us…

  10. Concerning the whole dress code issue…I think the point is that God wants us covered. Both men and women should not be showing everyone in the world what they look like beneath the clothing they wear. It’s all about NAKEDNESS not whether a suit is better than jeans or a dress on woman than pants. God covered us for a reason. If a man is properly covered in a suit and likes wearing suits…OK, but one can be covered in other types of fabric also like denim(jeans). If a pastor gets up in front of the congregation wearing tight jeans and a tight form-fitting muscle shirt…that is another thing. I personally don’t want to see what he looks like. It wouldn’t be such a bad thing if we all went back to wearing robes and dressed like the pope! Sometimes the Catholics have it right.

    1. For the record I don’t own a suit, (only ever owned one suit, years ago, wore it 3 times, possibly 4) and seldom wear I tie even to Church. And I would look like Gollum in a Muscle Shirt…..

      1. I would not wear a suit if I were male either. Maybe some men like wearing suits? As a fundy child I could not figure out why us girls/women got to be cool in the summertime and wear short sleeved cotton dresses and the men had to wear polyester suit jackets over long sleeved white shirts. I felt sorry for males because being spiritual and meeting God’s approval meant having to sweat away during 100 degree temperatures through a long sermon in a church with no air conditioning.

  11. Thought just occurred to me: If you’re a Real True Man-O-gid, there’s another vital reason for dressing in a suit and tie: Dog-collars are Catholic, so wearing a tie is a distinct not-just-Protestant not-just-Baptist but-absolutelypositively-touched-by-gid-his-own-self FUNDY preacher. 😛 The same goes for a suit, as opposed to the long-skirted cassock, not to mention all the lace and robes and… 😉 well, you get the idea. We don’t want our Men-O-gid being mistaken for Catholics, do we?
    Not only do Fundies have to dress up for GAWD, they have to know when to stop. 😕

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