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Letters to the Editor: All One in the Church #5: Clothing

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Dear Brother David,

I read with interest Sis. Carmel Page’s “Dress” article in the December 2020 issue of The Tidings. She addressed some important issues that affect many people’s emotional and spiritual wellbeing. I fully agree with Sis. Carmel’s conclusion that our clothing choices should be governed by the relationships we have with Christ and with our brothers and sisters. As Christadelphians, our beliefs and practices about clothing, nakedness and sexuality are (or at least should be) solidly based on Biblical principles.

Sis. Carmel suggested that “we may feel discomfort when people dress revealingly” because we live in “sexualized societies,” but to what extent? I believe it’s important to clarify that societal factors are not the root cause of the discomfort we feel about revealing clothing. God tells us precisely where that discomfort comes from—it came as a direct result of the entrance of sin into the world.

Prior to Adam and Eve’s sin, Genesis 2:25 explicitly states that they were naked, and they were not ashamed. The shame and discomfort Adam and Eve felt about having their nakedness exposed did not come from society’s influence—it was the involuntary response to their awareness of having sinned. The fact that God then clothed Adam and Eve with animal skins makes it clear that He agreed with their assessment—men and women in their fallen state need a covering for their nakedness (Gen. 3:21).

The shame associated with nakedness became imbedded in all Adam & Eve’s posterity as part of the nature it is our misfortune to inherit. As Sis. Carmel’s stated, I agree both that we shouldn’t be ashamed of having constructive, age-appropriate discussions about sexuality and that we should not set out to disparage people whose dress concerns us.

Young people should be able to ask questions and learn positively about sex without shame, but they should also learn that shame is the appropriate response to expressions of sexuality that fall outside the parameters God has set up. Ultimately, we should be teaching our young people (and reminding ourselves) that God cares about what we do with our bodies.

We were made in God’s image, and we belong to him by the purchase of Christ’s blood. Our thankful response to the redemption we have received should be to choose to glorify God with our bodies.

Much love in Christ Jesus,
Caleb Osborn,
Thousand Oaks, CA

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