Is The Purity Culture Bad

Today, we are going to go through the content of Dr. Michael Brown’s article called What’s so bad about encouraging female modesty? We will stick to addressing the content only.

We are not sure why Protestia does not like this man and every time we ask, no one tells us anything. However, sometimes he has good things to say and sometimes not.

The reason we are addressing this issue is that one, this culture still exists and two, there is just so much information that the Christian Post’s smaller format would not suffice. A third reason is that there is a lot more to be said on this issue. Let’s start with the title:

What’s so bad about encouraging female modesty?

Nothing but the burden should not be borne by women alone. There are scriptures that address women specifically about this issue but the Bible does not speak to one gender without speaking to the other.

For example, 1 Tim2: 8-10 and 1 Peter 3: 1-4 specifically mention women. We have taught in the past that these verses could apply to men, especially those men who used to and still do wear gold chains.

However, 1 John 2:16 does not address one gender over another when it says:

For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.

Being immodest for both males and females can be categorized under ‘the desires of the flesh. Then there is 1 Peter 5: 5 which talks about humility:

You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God is opposed to the proud, but He gives grace to the humble.

Humility means being modest in one’s dress and if we are going to encourage female modesty, then we must encourage male modesty as well. There are just some things that should never be worn by Christians.

There is no doubt that many Christians were injured by the so-called Purity Culture movement,

We are not exactly sure what he means here. Was it psychologically, emotionally, or physically hurt? Teaching one’s children to dress modestly should not hurt anyone. We are set apart by Jesus to be his followers which means we as believers follow different rules than the world follows.

Those different rules need to be accepted not ignored or scorned. They also need to be taught properly and parents should avoid using the ‘because I told you to…’ defense. When children ask, they should be told the right answer, honestly.

Some were under the misimpression that if they stayed pure before their wedding, they were guaranteed to have a wonderful marriage, sexually satisfying as well. Some were made to feel ashamed and unclean, as if having a nice figure was sinful or as if being attractive was ungodly. Others struggled mightily to find just the right clothes that would be considered acceptable, only to find that they still fell short of the mark.

This is not actually the purity culture’s fault. If anyone got the wrong idea it is because those implementing Christian modesty did not explain it very well, did not understand what modesty means correctly, or sought to place their own ideas onto the culture.

When you save yourself for marriage, it does not mean you will have the perfect marriage but you will have a better one because you will not have the guilt of robbing your spouse of what is really theirs.

This is a complicated issue as while God forgives, your spouse may become resentful or feel cheated if marrying a virgin was really important to them. This is actually a separate discussion and we will leave it here.

Suffice it to say if people were ‘hurt’ by the purity culture, they may have misunderstood what was taught to them and leapt to the wrong conclusions. There is a two-way street here and it is not only the purity culture’s fault.

As for feeling ashamed and unclean, that is a possibility as one should be ashamed because they did disobey God and sinned. Until they are forgiven by God they will be unclean. They are not pure anymore because they have undealt with sin to take care of.

If God has forgiven them, then no person should shame them or call them unclean. The key to wearing the right clothing is to forget what the world wants and dress according to what God has said in scripture.

Being modest still allows you to wear vibrant or dull colors, nice looking clothes and you do not have to wear a burka or a burlap sack. As God to help you find the right clothing that will bring honor and glory to him.

Both men and women need to dress for God not for sexual appreciation as both genders are more than the sex act.

That’s why, whenever we teach on holiness, it’s essential that we also teach about the terrible dangers of legalism along with the wonderful power of grace

We have to be careful here. Obedience is not legalism. Do not confuse the two. If you are obeying God and his instructions you are not being a legalist or participating or encouraging legalism. You are showing your humility by being obedient.

Parents have a big role in this part as well. They should be teaching their children how to dress for God correctly without falling into legalism. One of the issues we had with Britney Spear’s father was that he allowed his daughter to sing in a music video nude.

He was her manager at the time and there is no way a father or mother should encourage such public displays. Parents are here to guide their children into obeying God and doing what is right, not helping them do what is wrong.

Why are women meant to feel they are responsible for men’s actual sin of lust?”

If a woman actually dresses in a way to have men lust after her then yes, she is partially responsible for the men’s sin. She enticed or invoked that sin on purpose.

But if it is done accidentally, then no she is not responsible for the men’s lust. The responsibility lies with the men as it was their decision to sin. We are all responsible for our own decisions. The same two situations apply to the men as well.

If they dress in a manner that has women sinning, then they are partially responsible for those sins and so on. Each person has the ability to look at those scantily dressed and choose not to sin.  They need to be strong when that situation arises and make the right choice for God.

If either gender dresses scantily to be a part of the secular culture’s fads and trends, then they are not obeying God and are responsible for their sinful decisions. Secular culture is not responsible in part but the person who makes the decision is.

As you go through life one verse that will; guide you in selecting the clothes you wear is this one: “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, (1 Cor. 6:19).

Dress accordingly. Even your dress can be a witness and alight to the unbelieving world. If you disobey God in your dress, you are sending a message to unbelievers that your God does not mean that much to you.

The simple reason they will come to that conclusion is that you disobey his instructions.. Why should they come to God when you are showing them that there is no difference between their world and your Christian one?

And since topless bathing is very common in some parts of the world, why tell the girls they must cover their tops?

You cannot appeal to other cultures to justify dressing immodestly and ignoring scriptures. The Bible applies to those cultures as well and the members of those cultures have either never heard of God’s rules or they have decided to do their own thing.

Both situations mean that they have been deceived by evil. What other cultures do, does not give you permission to disobey God.

The truth be told, much of the rest of the Christian world would be completely shocked by this discussion, since in their cultures, the opposite sexes don’t even go swimming together. (That’s also very common in other deeply committed, religious circles, such as traditional Jews. They would never dream of mixed bathing in a million years.)

While you do not want to offend another Christian, other religions do not dictate what Christians do. You really have to follow God’s leading in this case as you do not want to lead one of those Christians to sin.

We have experienced this in Korea so we are well aware of those very modest practices by other cultures.

Really now, as followers of Jesus, we all draw the lines somewhere, don’t we?

That line is drawn at God’s teaching. That is who we are to follow and obey. Even when parents let you sin, you have to follow Jesus and reject that permission. Then dress the way God wants you to.

As for Christian young men, most of them struggle mightily to keep themselves pure. They are in a hyper-sexualized culture where, everywhere they turn, there are seductive, sexual images calling for their attention, not to mention seductively dressed women and girls.

Both men and women struggle. This is not a one gender temptation. But guess what, Jesus has been through it before us and he will help everyone who comes to him honestly seeking aid. Hebrews tells us:

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let’s hold firmly to our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things just as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let’s approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace for help at the time of our need. (ch. 4).

Jesus overcame the problem and he will help you do the same if you are willing.

Is it right that these same young Christian men, men who fast and pray and weep before the Lord because they feel miserable for their sexual thoughts and sins, have to guard their eyes at a church service? Should they have to look away from the attractive young Christian gal wearing a super-tight, low-cut T-shirt (celebrating that motto of, “What’s wrong with a little cleavage?”) and with jeans that look as though they were painted on their legs? She’s celebrating her freedom; they’re struggling to keep their minds on Jesus. Is that the Gospel way?

While the questions are good, let’s not lay any guilt trips on women or even men. If both genders dress themselves according to scripture, this will be less of a problem.

When both men and women go to church, they should remember that they are going to worship God. They can ask themselves are these the right clothes to wear to church and use for worship?

Both men and women can put off looking for that perfect mate for a short time while they worship the God who saved them from sin. When one loves God they can make the sacrifice and wear something that will not take one or the other gender’s eyes off of God and have them placed on their body.

But shouldn’t we all do our best to honor and respect one another?

If you want respect, then dress like it. We got in trouble with some people because we did not like seeing certain preachers dress in t-shirts and jeans when they preached. To use, they do not want respect because they do not respect God enough to wear their finest clothing.

If men or women want respect, be modest and dress according to scripture. Bring glory to God in how you look.

Should we completely ignore the fact that males are wired differently than females – they are more drawn to physical appearance than women are

This is more of a fallacy than anything. We have done unofficial research on this issue and we found that women are just as visual as men. When they are calling certain men hunks, they are not looking at their employment record, their history of treating women, and so on.

Love is more than looks which is why so many marriages fail. men and women get caught up in how each other looks and forget to see past the beauty to the heart.

They do not listen to God when they do this and make many mistakes which is one reason why many women end up in abusive relationships. They see what they want to see and think he will change for them.

Humility, obedience, and other positive characteristics are founded on how we dress. If you want to dress the way you want to and in any way you want to, that is rebellion and sin. It is not of God.

Obeying God, even in our dress helps us be better Christians and have a better witness. If done right, the purity culture is not bad. But it must be led by the Spirit of God and participants and leaders must go beyond the surface in order to find God’s will in this issue.

Unrealistic expectations and bad instructions will hurt people but only if they do not let God get in and make the proper corrections; so they can survive this trend and still be obedient to him.

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