To Wear or Not To Wear; A Pastor's Dilemma


Since the colonial era, and even after, most of us are used to the English way of dressing; suits and ties for the men, gowns, blouses and skirts for the women, to the point that we have forsaken our traditional dresses, even to its tiniest details. Okay, this is not where I am going. Well, this has apparently influenced dress code on the pulpit. The prestige of the pulpit is that anyone qualifies to be on the pulpit as long as you are corporately dressed in suit and tie, nothing more or less.

Recently, erhm…not too recently though, the social media had serious buzz over Bishop T.D Jakes “breaking the norm” or “going against the ‘bible standard‘”, like some people had it said. Bishop Jakes was seen on a Sunday in Service dressed in ripped jeans. If you ask me, Bishop Jakes was looking so on point. I mean, take a look for yourself below;

bishop t d jakes in ripped jeans

However, lots of people raked and ranted both in agreement and in disagreement over this “new development”. There seems to be a silently loud conflict over what is decent and what is not, per culture, community and society. Let’s take a look at people’s conflicting perspective on this issue;

Speaker 1: If you dislike something, it’s personal not general. But does it make it a sin for those wearing it?

Speaker 2: Most people tend to streamline their principles and beliefs with the word of God…..such that if you are caught or found “guilty”, you are a “sinner”

Speaker 3: They may call him crazy but T D Jakes may call it rugged for Christ. I guess…….. he is the rugged and radical type.

Speaker 4: The problem is that we Christians are so judgmental…. Most (of whom are) not genuinely born again, patterning their lifestyle to that of a particular pastor but truthfully they want to exhibit some craziness in them…. So when someone else (a pastor) does what they could not because of fear, they then nail the person to the cross, saying all sort as if he is the author of God’s law, forgetting to look unto Jesus the author and finisher of faith…. In essence Christ should be our mentor not a minister because we all clay in His hand.

Speaker 5: Since that was not his (T D Jakes) usual style maybe, then he should be able to offer some explanation.

Speaker 6: Now let’s say Pastor Kumuyi wears sun glasses today, by tomorrow it will be the Nigeria’s newspaper headline. Please let’s read John 7:24.

Below are excerpts of some people’s comments on Bishop Jakes Instagram’s picture post

Comment 1: You should not be wearing that particular outfit because it violates the Scriptures.

Jakes responded: Scripture please? I certainly want to comply with the word. I just missed the one about jeans in the pulpit.

Comment 2: I mean the bible doesn’t give us direct counsel on exactly what we should wear to our bible meetings but think about this… We dress better for job interviews and this kind of look would be considered unprofessional, so wouldn’t we always want to display our best for God? Just a thought. Not judging. Everybody has a right to make their decisions on dress.

Comment 3: Jeans are not age appropriate.

Comment 4: To the house of God, I would say yes always look your best… After that you could wear whatever you please… You wouldn’t go in ripped clothes to visit the president or queen of England, would you? It’s the level of respect.

*Takes a deep breath*

In order to make sense of all these crazy buzz, Lifegiva contributors sat around this issue and discussed it at length. Here’s what was concluded upon:

“If we really want to dress as it’s expected of the bishops and levites in the temple of old, we should just simply go back to the way they used to dress in their era, and let’s see how ridiculous we wouldn’t be to one another. There is time, season and era for everything. You can’t be in this IT age and be dressing like you are still under the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1. Decency upgrades overtime. Decency varies with time and season, and even culture. Why are we worried with the wrong things? If we are talking Scriptures, then let’s take a very good look at John The Baptist, who was sent to pave the way for the Master. Can you compare such privilege with the privilege of visiting the Queen of England? Yet, Scripture has it recorded that John adorned himself in a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist. That’s just to mention one out of all the Apostles and Prophets. Please, before we use Scriptures to defend and justify our biased principles. standards or sayings, let’s do our homework right first.”

“I hear someone say, ‘don’t you think somethings are not wrong in itself, but because we have gotten to some level of maturity, we shouldn’t partake in them, since it will be ‘disorderly’ among the people, because everything is to be decent and in order?‘ I say “No” to that. Here’s why I said “No”. There was an issue about ladies covering their head in Church…actually about wives covering their head in the Church as a sign of respect for their husbands. Someone brought it up and Paul said, “Isn’t the covering – their hair – that God has given them okay”. Then he reminds the men that their custom, if they want to go by that, also tells them not to keep long hair, yet some of them do so. And then he wraps up by saying, “The Church has no say on this issue”. Yet, many people don’t want to read Scripture in context and be mature enough to let their personal custom’s context go away for peace to reign. We really need to throw away custom and ask if what is been done is really offensive to God. Maturity is not letting everybody box you in. If at all you let them box you in for a while, it is because you who are spiritually mature are lifting others up to your maturity level too, correcting them with gentleness. What exactly is wrong with ripped jeans? Are we going to throw it out because some people are gone extreme on it?”

Let’s draw the curtain here…

If you are still looking for a balance to decency and orderliness, and are still not sure whether Bishop Jakes’ outfit is against God’s “Ten Commandments” or the Standards of Scriptures, after all that has being said, just remember this: stay off extremism. Being an extremist only qualifies you as a very guilty person who takes what is good in its natural state and make’s it look bad. Thus, in whatever we do, whether putting on our Sunday’s best or work mode, let’s stay off being an extremist.

Spread the Word. There’s nothing wrong in a Pastor or Bishop looking his Sunday’s best in an excellently fashionable way. Take a closer look at Bishop T.D Jakes, and honestly tell me this isn’t on point!


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1 Comment

  1. Hmmm, I think his jeans was quite decent so I don’t have a problem with it. He’s just tryna look “hip” or new school and as long as he dint do it to the extreme it’s cool. And there’s nothing bad in looking different for once abeg. So it’s all good if you ask me.

    1. Thank you ReallyJohn for sharing your opinion with us.

  2. I actually have didn’t see the picture on social media so thanks for letting me see :P. In my opinion, I wouldn’t say he is sinning, I am learning that that’s between him and Christ. However, I would just say a few things and lifegiva team, u can just set me right if am off, because I tend to be accused of being overly extreme. I believe that there should be balance in everything. I am not God to say what one should or shouldn’t wear. Wearing jeans, that’s ok, but please, why must they be ripped? It’s just like people sagging, the bible didn’t actually say people shouldn’t sag as well, but its frowned upon, cuz there is just a way it looks and presents people to us. Also, people don’t wear singlet and night pants out in the streets all though one time it was fashionable (some people do sha, and we know how we look at them). In my opinion that’s the same thing with ripped jeans. This is not me saying people should be out of fashion just because we are Christians, however in our bid to be fashionable, lets be moderate. Like someone pointed out, if the someone wearing this same outfit wasn’t TD jakes and the person entered an interview room like that or even ur board room, what would ur reaction be. Most of us all had ripped jeans when we were young, because we had worn them down, and even as little kids they used to embarrass us. So what makes them acceptable now? because fashion says so? who are the people setting these trends, are they following God’s pattern? why cant we set our own trends? Would presidents in the world wear ripped jeans, would they sag their trousers? There is a reason why we have guidelines for living in our Christian walk, so that there would be order and sanity. in conclusion, CAN we do whatever we want like Paul said, SHOULD we do whatever we want because we are now under grace and not the ’10 commandments’, I guess not. is he sinning, maybe not, but should he be dressed like that?
    This is a long speech containing my opinion, what is yours? I believe this can spark a bible study. the comment box didn’t show, so I had to merge the all the paragraphs, sorry.

    1. Hello Dami. *smiles* Let’s help set you right. Apostle Paul was addressing some guys who were saying “Wives are meant to cover their head as a sign of respect for/to their husbands. Infact, non-covering of the head is being frowned upon”, and he said “Well, the last time I checked, keeping of long hair by men is being frowned upon, and yet some of you do it.” Let’s take you back a bit. The key point here is caution against extremism. Sunday’s best completely differs from a Job interview outlook. Decency tells you, on a number of levels, that you don’t tie an head gear or wear a leather jacket or a jeggings, or a leggings, or heavily embellished and patterned outfits or Maxi gowns or wear heavy makes up to a Job Interview. Most of us would agree that’s a list for a Sunday’s best. But come to think of it. Should we stop wearing singlet and night pants in our rooms and/or house compounds because some people have gone extreme on it? Should ladies stop using bending rollers because some other ladies have gone extreme on it? Should we rule out wearing of trousers for all males because some people have lost the decency of wearing them? Should we write off skirts because it seems to get shorter? What exactly is wrong with ripped jeans? Why throw it out because some people have gone extreme on it? Oh… One more thing, about Paul’s statement, “should we continue in sin and expect grace to abound?”, we advice you study what that statement implies in its full context. Also, Apostle Paul already addressed this issue and no where has it being found that he related this subject matter to “should we continue in sin and expect grace to abound?” We really need to throw away custom and ask if what is been done is really offensive to God.That is where the balance to everything lies. Thank you dear for taking out time to share your thoughts with us. We hope this reply is helpful. Stay blessed.

  3. hmmm, I see ur point and I quite agree on some levels, but the passage I was trying to quote was in 1corinthians 10:23. all things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.’ and its context may cause it to mean a different thing, but its a good way to live to me. Why stir up controversy? does that mean people should be boring, no. but its not all things that we can do that we should do. I can put my hands in fire, but should I? I can take a selfie in a bar with bottles of alcohol, but should I? I can brush my teeth in public, but why should I do it? I like your comment about ladies and bending rollers. ladies can use bending rollers in their rooms, but why should they wear them out as a fashion statement? but trust me, very soon, it might become a trendy to thing to do, should we. in addition, we shouldn’t stop wearing skirts because some people are abusing it, however, we don’t have to wear short skirts. should we stop wearing jeans because people sag? no but we shouldn’t sag along with them, neither should we wear ripped clothes. As much as we should try not to be in one extreme, we shouldn’t go to another extreme and be complacent. we should strive to be balanced and moderate. I understand that the subject of how people are to dress is very touchy and very personal, and by posting this comment, I am not in any way trying to tell anyone how to do things, I just realize that the more I type or say things out loud, the more I can think and make sense of them. Thank you Victoria for your reply. it helped me see another perspective.

  4. sorry, in addition, to answer the question, ‘what exactly is wrong with ripped jeans?’. my simple answer, they are ripped… lol

  5. Hai…Just to add a bit here on ripped jeans,like you said Dami “What exactly is wrong with ripped jeans?”…THEY ARE RIPPED!.Actually, its abnormal for a sane person to desire to put on a dress that is torn or has holes. And as a matter of fact they are called “distress jeans”….Why will a Christian want to look distressed? just because its fashionable……we need to strike the balance here. There is nothing wrong with wearing jeans and looking young but lets not forget the scripture that says “Let your moderation be known to all men,the Lord is at hand” Phillipians 4v5……Selah!

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