This is a great question and sadly something that can make a church quite sickening to attend or be on staff at. Imagine this scenario…you begin a new church. In order to be hip and trendy and attract everyone you say “come as you are and dress how you like.” People begin to come and eventually some snappy business dressed people begin to come in. These people begin to give in large amounts and now they are elected to the board. In a board meeting, those snappy dressers talk about the slack look of the church and that “God requires us to wear our best into his holy temple.” Soon you begin to see the pastor wear suits and not blue jeans and begins to reflect that to the church. All of a sudden you have a group of people that love the pastor beginning to dress sharp and now those who continue to dress how they want (blue jeans, t-shirts, etc.) are made out to be the less holier ones.
This happens in worship and prayer as well. Don’t believe me? What do we tell our children? I just heard a pastors message today where it was time to pray and he said, “let’s bow our heads and close our eyes as we pray.” NO WHERE IN THE BIBLE. I tell my two and three year old to do this so they are not a distraction to each other. So what happens? We get a guest speaker or someone in the church praying and they have their eyes open as they pray. We begin to question how sincere they are. Don’t raise your hands during worship in some churches…than you didn’t worship. Do you want to sit while others are standing during worship? Less holy. When the worship leader begins to sing “How Great Thou Art” and the congregation is sitting, it is inevitable that people will stand during this song perhaps even in a stance of arrogance leaving those who are still sitting feeling like the sinner. None of these can be backed by scripture.
My all-time favorite was while I was on a church staff and the pastor made the entire worship team wear black…ALL BLACK! The only reason he had was to tell us “it makes us look sharp.” What it did was make us look like we were going to a funeral. That pastor resigned and I told the worship team to dress how you want. I still have the letter in my desk that says, “We feel it is detrimental to church growth that the worship team continues to wear black.” LEGALISM!!! Really? If all I have to do to grow a church is wear black then I am in.
A legalistic church or person will turn back to relying on following rules, regulations, or standards to maintain a right standing with God or to prove their holiness (Gal 4:9). In the book of Galatians, Paul addresses the issue of legalism creeping in to the church. False teachers had snuck into the Galatia church, and began to teach that believing in Jesus was a means of salvation, but to keep your right standing before God, you needed to keep a set of rules. Paul referred to this teaching as “another gospel”. Paul also said that those who preach this other gospel should be accursed, with literally means to be banned or excommunicated (Gal 1:9).
Anyone who teaches you that by the following of rules or standards, you will be kept in a right standing with God or that you maintain your salvation by works, is in fact a pharisee or as the bible says, “A false teacher” and the Bible strongly teaches that you should not receive teaching from them. You were saved by faith in the beginning, and you will be saved by faith in the end (Gal 3:2-3). You will never achieve righteousness by your own works, you are not able to. The bible tells us that our own works are like filthy rags. We must always remember that our righteousness comes by faith in Jesus Christ, and Him alone. The works we do are a natural out pouring of the work that God has done in our hearts.
So on that, wear your baseball hats to church…it’s fine. If a leader of the church tells you to take it off..leave. Put your jeans on and wear them proudly with your Project 86 t-shirt.
If you are going to be attending Cornerstone and would like to submit a question simply follow this link http://www.cornerstonefestival.com/content.php?p=165 and click on my name. You will find a link there.