The Evil of Wearing Clerical Garments
Wearing clerical garments is a form of pomp and self-exaltation. Plain and simple. Doing this serves no good purpose whatsoever. Israel’s Levitical Priesthood was the only exception.
This is not coming against God-ordained modesty (like a woman wearing a head covering) and being conservative in dress. If dressing with modesty and decency according to Biblical principles distinguishes someone in a crowd, so be it. This is also not coming against all clothing with religious expressions and supporting causes which are, or might be, associated with religion (like clothing with Bible verses and anti-abortion slogans).
Trying to communicate that you are a distinguished religious person by wearing clerical garments and other religious garb is an altogether different matter. If we’re all honest, we (basically, generally) know that when we see it.
And in relation to that, this isn’t saying not to be religious in the way that the Bible commands us to be religious. It is rather saying that wearing clerical garments and other such religious garb is an aspect of false religion and undue exaltation of man. It also involves ritualism and ceremonialism. These are chief counterfeits to Biblical true religion.
The title “Reverend” is another related thing to wearing clerical garments. Only God is called reverend in the Bible. The audacity of these innovations! Who said that such things were good and acceptable? Not God.
Those with real authority from God don’t need to be called “Reverend” and they don’t need to impress people or communicate that people ought to respect them because of their supposed position and/or calling.
Again , this is not negating true Biblical religion and real God-ordained authority. We’re rather confronting the grievous counterfeits of these things.
If someone needs to wear a religious costume to let everyone know about their spirituality or to cause people to respect their supposed position, then it’s reasonable to conclude they don’t have the authenticity of such things.
Jesus didn’t wear clerical garments or any type of religious costume. Look at how there is no mention of such things when the soldiers parted His clothing as they crucified Him. Yet Jesus no doubt dressed modestly and conservatively.
The wearing of clerical garments is religious cosplay. It is also related also to preachers who are always shouting (one complements the other in some cases). Both of these things, even though usually unintended, provide “religious entertainment.” Both cater to man’s carnal craving to feel spiritual and/or feel spiritually authoritative without real death to self and abandonment to the God of the Bible. And this abandonment cannot be driven by feeling; and seeking to put on a religious display before man is inherently in opposition to this abandonment.
Clerical garments and religious garb also implicitly communicate that some Christians are not really holy and set apart in God’s eyes while the ones wearing these garments possess a higher spirituality. Yet all faithful Christians are holy in God’s eyes and set apart because of their authentic faith in Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:1: “Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ (and that is not speaking of God imputing Jesus’ righteousness being imputed to those who believe in Him but rather of those who believe in Jesus Christ being cleansed by His blood due to His perfect life whereby He could offer Himself up to the Father as the spotless Lamb of God to make an atonement for mankind’s sins and apply that atonement to all who call upon Him for that application which repent of their sins and subject themselves to His righteous authority).”
The same thought is communicated in 1 Peter 2:9-10 (this is spoken to authentically born-again Christians following the real Jesus Christ) like the previous passage is too): “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light; Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”
And all who would be faithful Christians, and would remain such, are then exhorted with the following exhortation. Every one, not a special clergy class (which the clerical garments and religious garb implies some are). The falsehood in the wearing of clerical garments also implies that lower spirituality is acceptable for everyone else (“the laity”). But it’s not.
1 Peter 2:11-12: “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.”
And wearing religious garb which God did not appoint even feeds a fleshly lust and is inherently an expression of dishonesty considering the false implications involved therein.
The external show of clerical garments and religious garb must be a facade because it is not only pointless if the authentic were there in the person who wears them, but it is even counterproductive and contrary to the authentic. The authentic seeks to not show off nor intimidate or impress anyone.
Galatians 1:10: “ For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”
Romans 2:28-29: “For he is not a Jew (in this context, referring to a true worshiper of God in His grace), which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.”
Clerical garments imply a demand for attention and respect. At the very least, they strongly encourage such. That is a form of religious posturing. It is no different than praying in the street corners for public attention or looking worse than you have to look when you fast so people will notice you’re fasting or sounding a trumpet before when you give. Religious posturing is an especially hideous sin.
And clerical garments are never necessary for righteousness’ sake. And seeing that they do have the effect of showing off one’s supposed spiritual prowess, and of intimidating people and/or impressing people, then they are instruments of unrighteousness which must be regarded as evil to be worn.
Such garments are as immodest as any bikini or halter top could be. Not at all immodesty is necessarily related to sexual lust. And even the immodesty which is related to sexual lust has an even deeper problem- a problem which is inherently involved in clerical garments and religious garb which God never expressly appointed in His Word.
The first two definitions of modest from dictionary.com hit some at the foundations of immodesty (understanding what true modesty is better exposes immodesty for what it is at its core).
- having or showing a moderate or humble estimate of one’s merits, importance, etc.; free from vanity, egotism, boastfulness, or great pretensions.
- free from ostentation or showy extravagance: a modest house.
Clerical garments and religious garb communicate the very opposite of this.
Matthew 23:27-28: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity (lawlessness).”
Authentic holiness before God involves deliberately not making a show of one’s supposed spiritual attainments and/or authority. And that sure means not dressing in a way which communicates demands and encouragements for attention and respect, especially in relation to one’s supposed spiritual attainments and/or authority.
Philippians 2:3-7: “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.”
Galatians 6:14-17: “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God (by the way as a side note, tell this to the heretics who try to say that ethnic Jews who reject Jesus Christ are God’s people who have a covenant with Him and an alleged right to have driven out the Palestinians and to oppress them to this day- and this is not condoning terrorism by Hamas, but remember that the ethnic Jews originated the terrorism when they violently stole most of that land from the Arabs who lawfully dwelt there, killed many, drove away many others, and have oppressed the Palestinians and stolen yet more from to this very day). From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus (the effects of identifying with Christ in taking up his cross daily to obediently follow the real Jesus and keep His Word shaped the Apostle Paul’s character and mindset significantly enough that an honest person would know he had spiritual attainment and authority, whenever it was appropriate and might matter that people actually know that, without him having to tell everyone this constantly by wearing clerical garments and other related religious garb).
Let those who claim to be authorities on the Bible acknowledge the obvious: There is no Biblical basis for such garments. The only exception ever was the Levitical Priest’s garments under the Old Covenant (which is now old due to the arrival of the new, and which the remnants of vanished away; and the Levitical priest’s garments a very specific God-ordained lesson in their design so they’re not applicable to clerical garments now- and no one is a Levitical Priest now anyways).
Clerical garments then cannot be worn now except for evil purposes.
I was a member of a church which I’ve now left and renounced. This church taught and lived much better than most churches. Some of the falsehood and error of the church was very hard to see through. I believe that I could only have seen it over time and by asking some very, very particular questions. In hindsight though, one red flag that I didn’t note at the time with the alarm that I should have is that the pastor wore clerical garments. He did not do so regularly. When I was there, it only happened on one occasion to the best of my memory. Yet that alone should have been regarded as a serious red flag, and all I needed to know in order to know that I should leave the church if the pastor didn’t repent after being confronted Biblically about it. And that is because wearing such garments is always wrong for anyone now- in any circumstance.
Never, ever wear such garments– unless you have to escape from a fire with nothing on and those are the only clothes offered to you to keep you from being utterly naked in public. Change into other garments then ASAP.
And know that sins related to religious posturing, consciously attempting to show off one’s spirituality to people, and loving the respect and honor associated with this are hideous sins and need to be repented of, forsaken, and cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ as much as things like drunkenness, fornication, and theft.
And those who wear such garments and claim to not be doing things like attempting to show off their spirituality to gain respect and honor from people, then to these I ask: Why are you doing it then? If you are part of a religious order or denomination which requires or encourages or even permits the wearing of clerical garments, then get out of it. It is a false religion; and it is proven as such by this alone. There are also surely many other ways in which it does not align with the Bible.
Matthew 23:5-12: “But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments (and this is even referring to God-ordained practice for Israel which was unnecessarily exaggerated by the Scribes and Pharisees whom Jesus is rebuking here), And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi (that is, teacher, teacher). But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”
Aaron’s email is: [email protected]