Day 9: Apostolic Beliefs: Holiness Standards (For Dress)


I love this topic! In case you have not read the title yet, we will be covering the holiness standards for what we Pentecostals wear. (Tomorrow I want to talk about our hair and our holiness standards for our actions because yet again I went on in this post for longer than I thought and I was not able to talk about hair!)

You may have noticed that us Apostolic/Pentecostal girls, and yes even the boys, tend to dress a certain trademark way. I want to lay out the Biblical reasonings for this way of clothing our bodies. :)

Note: We DO NOT HAVE TO DO THESE to be part of the church! It is our personal convictions and we have found them within the Bible to be true and we want to follow the Word’s teachings! They are not required for salvation, only those actions mentioned in Acts 2:38 are. We are NOT a cult, we are allowed decisions and free thought! :)

Now, a couple of the previous posts in this series (about Oneness and the way to salvation) are strictly set for the majority of Apostolics, but some of the upcoming posts (about hair and holiness standards) really differ with the beliefs of each church’s pastor and that person’s personal convictions. So I want to stress right now, what I am about to say may not be the exact same guidelines that your female Apostolic friend down the street follows. We may even be in the same church organization and differ widely in these standards.

For example, here’s a little story to show my point! A couple of years ago myself and the majority of my church’s youth group went to our organization’s National Youth Convention (where all of the organization’s youth from across the United States get together for about a week and hold church services and fellowship). My church is kind of known for having slightly stricter standards than the majority of the others. This is because it is what our Pastor believes, through researching the Bible and letting God lead him, and so throughout the year he feels it is his duty to teach us what he believes. Therefore, we learn why the Bible says that us ladies should not wear pants, show cleavage, wear makeup or jewelry, etc as listed below. However, other pastors at other churches do not feel the same convictions on the standards of holiness and will not teach them to their individual congregations as our church does.  (This is of course only on issues that are not directly related to salvation, we all abide by Acts 2:38 for example.) So when we were at the National Youth Convention all of the churches across the country were there and after an emotional service with many tears shed, it became quite obvious what churches do not teach against makeup when my church’s group of girls saw another group with mascara and eyeliner smeared faces. Immediately one of our newly converted ladies turned to us girls, who were her friends and the same age as her, and gave us a confused look. Later in the hotel room the tight-knit group of the four of  us had to sit down with her and explain that their pastor did not preach against it and that those girls were not purposefully disobeying the standards of holiness. Long story short, standards differ!

Check out this cool YouTube clip by Tiffany Hubba about Apostolic Holiness!


Here are the standards I follow and when applicable I will list what my church does and then variations that may be encountered:

~Ladies wear skirts that end below the knee in public and men wear pants that cover their legs in public. (Skirt length differs. My church says it only has to be below the knee, but some churches require it to be floor length.)

~In public, ladies do not wear shirts that show cleavage or stomach, and both men and women wear some form of sleeves. (The sleeves issue is widely different across all churches. Mine personally just asks for a sleeve that covers the underarm and is not a cap sleeve. I have seen a range from any type of sleeve, to a sleeve that must reach down to their wrists. Again, it depends on the pastor.)

~Both men and women do not wear unnecessary jewelry or any piercings. (There is varying strictness on jewelry, my church allows one ring on each hand and watches because they have a function. Other churches do not even allow wedding rings! In general though, no necklaces or bracelets, etc. Piercings do not vary however.)

~Ladies do not wear makeup. (As my anecdote showed, this varies. My church is okay with clear lipglosses and a small bit of powder to cover blemishes if needed but it should not be overly applied. Others allow light makeup but no heavy cosmetics.)

~Ladies do not wear colorful nail polishes. (Some allow a french manicure, aka white tips. My church does, although many within my church have personal convictions that feel that only clear polish should be allowed.)


Now for Biblical and just plain life reasonings!

Deut 22:5 – “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.” ~Hence why we ladies wear skirts and men wear pants.

1 Peter 3:3 – “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel” ~This explains our lack of jewelry.

1 Tim 2:9-10 – “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.” ~ We should be modest, and another reference to not wear jewelry.

In Biblical times Jewish men and women who were slaves were forced to wear earrings in their ears to show to the world that they were property! Egyptians wore makeup, and every woman mentioned in the Bible who “paints their face” aka wears makeup was labelled a harlot or, excuse my lewd term, a whore (ex, Jezebel). Up until relatively recently, only prostitutes wore makeup.

My pastor has also taught a couple of sermons about how when Adam and Eve were evicted from the Garden of Eden God made them clothing from animal fur. (Gen 3:21 – “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.”) This was symbolic for many things, but also, the original term for “coat” in Hebrew or Greek meant an outfit that covered from the elbows to the knees, hence our desire to cover a portion of our arms and wear skirts below our knees.

One of the main reasons for these guidelines are that we should strive to be modest! We should not wear clothes that will distract those of the opposite sex from their walk with God. I would not want to be the reason one of my brothers in Christ struggled or fell! I would feel horrible that I could have possibly prevented it! Also, as a woman I do not want to be looked at in a vulgar way; it does not make me feel sexy, instead it is extremely uncomfortable for me!

In the end, it mainly comes down to the fact that God made us the way we are, and if we were to try and alter God’s creation, it is almost like saying “sorry God, You didn’t do a good enough job, I know better than you what I should look like so I am going to change the beauty that you have created.”

By following my personal convictions I am proudly saying “God, You made me beautiful and I am not ashamed to live the way you want me to as a virtuous woman!

I do this out of love and respect for God, not because I think it is necessary to get to heaven. This is one of my forms of submission to God. I have come to find that these things help to remind me throughout the day that I am God’s and it keeps me in a God-centered life.

God made us a “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people” (1 Peter 2:9) and we should embrace that. God did not want us to be part of the world but rather to be separate from the world because in the end it is not our home but just a temporary stop! We should not want to fit in with this world that is full of hate, hurt, crime, adultery, pain, and so much sin. Who would want to be affiliated with that when you could be recognized as a child of God?

I hope this helps you understand the Apostolics you know a little bit better. I promise we are not some crazies in a cult! ;)

<3 Passionate Pentecostal

23 responses »

  1. I’m a more on the liberal side of theology. I find this whole dress code thing to be a little bit legalistic. Any way, here’s my understanding of these passages.

    Deut. 22:5 is part of the holiness code of ancient Israel. Is it still relevant today? Possibly but for the most part, there was a lot of tampering with the law from outside as well highlighted in Mark 10 specifically when Jesus is asked about divorce. That, and pants weren’t even used in ancient Israel. They are more of a western thing any way. And nowadays, women’s clothes are designed specifically for a women’s body (such as pants and underwear etc.) while men’s clothes are also designed more for a man’s body (underwear, shirts, we don’t wear bras unless we’re really fat, etc.).

    1 Pet. 3:3 and 1 Tim. 1:9-10 come out more to me like that Annie song. That is, you’re not just wearing jewelry and what-not. You need to remember that you are not fully dressed until you put on that holy attitude.

    Any way, that’s my two cents on this issue. And by the way, this also comes from someone who has a blog about heavy metal music so I guess you can blame my theological liberalness off of that – lol.

  2. awesome again im also a pentecostal and hardly people speak bout this subjects as is should be and again like you say it depends on the church and the pastor but i believe the bible is our best guide and i would like to shared this with my girls

  3. awesome again im also a pentecostal and hardly people speak bout this subjects as is should be and again like you say it depends on the church and the pastor but i believe the bible is our best guide and i would like to shared this with my girls …they get confused because they feel convicted bout certain things but then they see “christians” in church dressin way different

  4. Why do you guys leave certain parts of the bible scriptures out. It seems like you only take the parts you want to live by. Also, be sure to make sure that the words you think that are being used are right. They spoke differently then, so make sure their definitions are the same as yours. Think coming from their time frame, or get a Greek English intelinear bible, its opened my eyes. :)

  5. Sorteriology is bad, context is horrible,
    Pressure to conform is major; all oneness I have met elude to conformity or lose your salvation. Modern day pharacees are all you are. Like confoming to rules regulations you are falling from grace.

  6. Pingback: God’s Definitely Dead, and Mortally Embarrassed. (SPOILERS) | Roll to Disbelieve

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  8. When I see a female that is dressed in holiness attire I immediately think that she looks like a Christian. Do you want to blend in and look like the world or do you want to stand out and look like a child of GOD? I am not ashamed of The Gospel of Jesus Christ. I will not blend in with this world. I will dress to please GOD. I will be recognized by a changed heart that has permeated every area of my life including firstly how I love and serve GOD, Secondly, how I treat others and thirdly by my walk, my talk, my humor, what I listen to and what I will watch. I want to please GOD with everything that is in my power because I love HIM.

  9. I don’t intend to offend any who have posted comments here, but I do tend to notice that those who “kick against the pricks” and use Scripture to excuse themselves from Biblical standards of holiness generally have little desire to live surrendered, holy lives, hence the arguments.

    Most common objections are: “That was only cultural”. This reasoning would be fine if the Scriptures didn’t go further in explaining a principle that is involved. For example: the reason for modest apparel and shamefacedness is made clear…it is becoming of a woman professing godliness and good works. Nothing is here said of a cultural issue, rather we see a Biblical principle, a standard for holiness.

    Another excuse is, ” Well now the Old Testament says a man can’t wear a woman’s clothes, but it also says its a sin to eat shellfish or sow mingled seed!” Their argument is like saying, “Sure, I know Jesus said that looking at a woman to list was sinful, but HE also said if you present your gift at the altar and remember you’ve offended someone, you have to go make things right with that person before your gift will be accepted!” They look smug after such a statement as if they have really uncovered a hidden jewel. But….even after listening to their “reasoning”….isn’t it still wrong to look lustingly at a woman! lol Naturally when we look at the intent and motive behind such excuses it really just boils down to a stubborn heart that don’t want to submit and live holy.

  10. I am Apostolic as well but I am pained by the attitude many in my fellowship has. If a person is wearing something outside of the standards, they are scorned by others behind their backs. I do not believe that’s how God planned it. “Holiness standards” are not essential to salvation and should not be taught as gospel. True holiness is within and without. We are to be recognized by our MODESTY and GOOD WORKS. Compassion, patience… these are the things we ought to wear. Thinking that we can be “more saved” by our sleeve or skirt length is ludicrous. The greatest commandments in the Bible, according to Jesus himself, is “love the Lord God with all your heart” and “love thy neighbor as thyself”. We should not make standards that invite people who follow them to judge others by them! We will all be judged. That’s God’s job… NOT ours. As for me, I’m going to follow God’s Word and let His Grace lead me home.

    • Amen! I just told my husband tonight that I am not going to worry about what man thinks about me but what God thinks about me. I love God and I see His works in mine and my children’s lives, even though they are not following His ways at this time. He listens to my prayers and protects them. I am currently struggling with some things to do with standards and am just waiting on God’s reply. I want to know that I am listening to Him and not just having a rebellious heart. I believe we should dress modestly and show our love to all. Sometimes I feel like our saints do not show the love that we should but run people off because they are not the same as us. There is too much gossip and ridiculousness that should not be in the house of God. I ask for pray for discernment from any who would read this and be willing to ask God to help me. God Bless all who read my comment.

  11. It’s funny how people only quote one scripture Deuteronomy 22:5 , read the whole chapter verse 30 talks about uncovering of a father’s skirt , base on verse 5 women should wear skirts!

  12. It’s funny how people only quote one scripture Deuteronomy 22:5 , read the whole chapter verse 30 talks about uncovering of a father’s skirt , base on verse 5 women should wear no skirts!

  13. The truth about Pentecostalism is that they believe following the standards is required to be saved, because if you disobey the pastor, you’re sinning. Period. Pentecostals can smile and say they “choose to live this way” all they want, but it isn’t true. Pastors are the authority in the church. Even if you can prove them wrong by the Bible, you’re being rebellious for doing so, and you must have an evil spirit on you. The Holy Spirit isn’t enough to guide your heart, you need to live by someone else’s convictions too!

    I wonder what Jesus would say about the Apostolic church if he would walk into one today? Somehow I don’t think they’re much different from the Pharisees. Where is the faith in God to lead and to guide? If the standards are what pleases God, why are they not written on our hearts by the Spirit? When I first got saved (which happened before I “spoke in tongues” by the way) all I could think about was Jesus and how he died for me. I wanted to tell everyone about Him so we could all go to Heaven together. I felt so happy and clean. THAT is what it feels like to be free!

    Apostolics ought to stop worshiping their “holiness standards” and idols of “modesty” and start humbling themselves before God. Remember Luke 18:10-14. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be a dirty sinner redeemed by God’s mercy than a self-righteous Pharisee on Judgement Day.

  14. What about the tounge we cover up long hair long dress I’ve seen these churches full of backbiting its the heart that needs a change and sometimes thepentecostas are to stuck up wont even speak I know everybody’s not like this but you can dress it up all you want its the inside that counts

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