At Penobscot Bay Family Church, our clothing policy is YES. You should wear clothing when you attend PBFC. Nudity is prohibited. Aside from that, we want you to wear what you’re comfortable wearing. I’ve been known to show up in a short sleeve shirt and shorts. Some weeks I dress up more than others. You’re welcome to wear what you like. If you like biker clothes, go for it. If you like dressy 3-piece suits, go for it. If you want to wear studs in various places, go for it. If you want to dye your hair purple with Day-Glo orange highlights, go for it. You won’t bother me; I’m concerned with what goes on inside you, not what’s going on outside.
If someone next to you shows up in an electric blue wig, don’t cringe. If someone on the other side of you has a ratty T-shirt, holey dungarees and smelly socks, don’t look down your nose at him. It might be all he has! I’d rather have him in church in ratty clothes than have him stay away because he can’t afford better clothes yet!
On the other hand, if someone shows up with gold Rolex watches on both wrists and his wife has a necklace with 36 big diamonds on it, don’t get an attitude about that, either. As long as their hearts are right, God doesn’t mind. For all you know, the man may be a billionaire and it’s no bigger deal to him than if you bought a $3 tie at Wal*Mart.
Since I brought that up, we might as well deal with something that gets preached in some circles – namely that women should not wear jewelry. This is due to a careless reading of 1 Peter 3:3: “Do not let your adornment be merely outward – arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel.” The word fine is not in the original Greek text – it just says, “or putting on apparel.”
So if this verse means that you can’t fix up your hair and you can’t wear gold, it also means that you can’t put on clothes! (The word merely isn’t in the Greek either, but was added by the translators for clarity, lest you think that you can’t adorn yourself at all outwardly.) No, reading the next verse tells you that God’s main concern is “the inner person of the heart” as opposed to the outward appearance. He doesn’t prohibit jewelry as long as it’s worn with the right motive – looking nice – as opposed to the wrong motive – “Look at me, everybody, I’m the flashiest thing going!”
It’s a heart thing and it’s dangerous to judge another’s heart based on clothing. You might see a poorly clothed person and think, “That slob! Obviously he has no respect for God!” But actually, the best he could afford was some ill-fitting clothing from the surplus store and the person loves Jesus with all his heart. You might see a fancily-dressed person and think, “Well, la-de-da! Here comes the baron of conspicuous consumption – who does he think he’s trying to impress?” But actually, he can afford nice clothes and wants to look what he considers to be his best when he comes to church.
I still remember a service I was in when a kid came in with a T-shirt on that said SATAN on it. The evangelist preached a salvation message and the kid got saved right there with his SATAN T-shirt still on him! Then the power of God knocked him on the floor, SATAN T-shirt and all! Because his heart was right, God didn’t stop moving on him just because of his T-shirt. God didn’t say, “Sorry, you’ll have to take that SATAN T-shirt off before you can get saved.”
So let’s not get hung up on clothes and appearance. There are far more important issues. By the way, we’d prefer you not wear a SATAN T-shirt as a believer, but if you have a buddy who has a Marilyn Manson tattoo and a Gay Pride shirt, he’s welcome to come to church and hear the gospel! I believe God could convict him of his need for Jesus and have him get saved right here, Gay Pride shirt and all, don’t you?