Friday, September 13, 2013

A Slippery Slope

With no handholds! This is a message to those who would let go of God's biblical standards. Over the last 48 plus years that I have been serving the Lord Jesus in the United Pentecostal Church, I have seen many people, brothers and sisters, who have let go of what they considered old fashioned man-made standards. I will say that it is a slippery slope without anything to grab a hold of when one lets go of biblical standards. Someone said many years ago that he who will not stand for something will fall for anything. I am not interested anymore than anyone else in just taking the official position of an organization on a given subject, but we all need to have Bible based convictions. If an organization takes a Bible based position on some area of life, then I will support it.

I remember the late Bro. J.H. Yohe, many years ago now, commenting to me on the styles of the day. At the time what was known as granny-dresses had come into style in the world. Bro. Yohe told me that he was not opposed to any new style that tended toward holiness in dress. He did however object to styles that moved people away from old fashioned holiness. I see nothing wrong with that stand(ard). Some may say it is only standards of men. However in Galatians  5:19-21 the Bible says, "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."  Watch out for that "and such like" clause, be careful lest you find yourself dis-inherited.

Deuteronomy 22:5 says, "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." Note that the scripture doesn't just put a biblical prohibition in place on gender difference in clothing but it says that all those who put on clothes contrary to their gender "are abomination unto the LORD thy God." Back during the days of the hippy movement, I was working at a store in Portland Oregon. It was a busy day with customers everywhere. I was at the cash-register waiting on people. There were two who were next in line. They were both dressed alike in fatigues. Both had long hair and the one facing me had a beard while the other had their back to me. I innocently said, "can I help you fellas?" His response was "She is not a fellow." Well, how was I to know?

Once we were driving down Lombard in North Portland when we saw a fellow with a beard wearing a granny dress. He was with what appeared to be a young woman dressed in fatigues. It has always been a mystery to me why it is considered weird for a man to wear a dress but we don't give it a second thought to see a woman in trousers. Several years back I heard about a Portland City Council meeting in which the subject of uni-sex restrooms was being discussed. When some (women) on the council objected to the concept of uni-sex restroom, believing there should be separate restrooms for men and women, one of the supporters, a lesbian as I recall, who was testifying, told the female city council members that they were transvestites as they were wearing pants and not dresses. I wonder if those lesbians had ever read Deuteronomy 22:5?

Someone may ask what has this got to do with your subject? In answer to the question let me say that those who go back on their Bible based beliefs, otherwise known as backsliding, start down a slippery slope that have no hand-holds. I realize there are always going to be different views of things. However the Apostle Paul wrote in Colossians 3:17, whatever "ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him." This is not optional. We are to do everything we do in Jesus name! The apostle went on in Colossians 3:23-24, "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; ...(no room for the standards of men here)... Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ." In  Verse 25 Paul gives a simple warning,, "But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons."  We are not serving an organization, rather we "serve the Lord Christ." 


  1. Elder Dinwiddie.

    To begin, the term “holiness standards” or “standards of holiness” or “Biblical dress” or any other term that relates holiness to dress in any way is not found in the scripture. There is not one scripture in the Bible that links fashion or dress in any way to holiness.

    Galatians 5:19-21. This beautiful passage clearly outlines the works of the flesh, none of them relating to dress in any way. To say beware of the “such like” and relate it to dress is a stretch to say the least. This is a habit of UPC preachers to take these ambiguous scriptures (and such like, come out from among them, touch not the unclean thing) and relate them to standards of dress out of context. I am surprised to see you do this because you are usually careful about context. There is something about this added doctrine of “holiness Standards” that causes people to want to add to the scripture.

    Deut. 22:5. Your arguments for this scripture in support of dress standards are personal and cultural. A study of the Talmudic writings will tell you this scripture is not talking about every day dress at all. I think you and I can agree that the dress of the day was not what it is today. ALL people (men and women) wore tunics, or what we would refer to today as dresses. Has God somehow changed since 2200BC? If a man were to wear the same he would be in sin? Oh contraire mon frère! The argument of the UPC is that the “tradition women’s attire” has been to wear a dress and therefore a woman should wear a dress or she will be lost? Seriously?? How far should we look back? 100 years? 300 years? How about 2000 years, but we could not do that because at that time men wore dresses, even Jesus wore a dress! A study of the history of attire in the “West” over the last 500 years shows that women wore pants and men wore skirts throughout this era. The only place women have “traditionally” worn dresses as their sole form of attire is in the church, especially churches that were influenced by John Wesley, who was the first of this age to determine that holiness meant a woman should wear a dress. It is also interesting to me that God didn’t mind men changing from tunics (skirts) to pants around the mid to late middle ages, but for some reason it is not OK for women to do the same. However the Bible is silent on this issue! Who is to determine what is a man’s and what is a woman’s garment? If we are to assume this scripture to be exact, we should all go back to wearing tunics.

    When man creates a standard, man by definition has to defend that standard. When a doctrine is biblical we allow God to be the judge, however in the case of “holiness standards” men have become the judges. It has been said that everybody who leaves the standards backslides. Is this not your slippery slope? This is a lie from the devil!! There are hundreds of churches that were once UPC that still hold strong and are more biblical than ever. There are, however, many who leave the standards and do backslide for because the UPC and its constituents are so poisoned with this heresy of “holiness standards” that they attack people mercilessly who decide to live for God according to their own conscience. The way adherents to this doctrine treat those who have decided to live according to the Bible is just further proof that this doctrine is poisonous to the soul. What happens to the love of God? A study of true holiness will reveal that these holiness standards cause adherents to act in a way that is very unholy, living in judgment of others by what they see. Is there anything less biblical than this?

    My prayer is that more people will read the Bible for themselves and see this the doctrine is not found in scripture, to see that it causes them to stand in judgment of others, to repent and live for God according to His Word.

  2. Bro. Sean, First let me say that I love you and your family.
    I don't think I mentioned how one may or may not dress in my blog. I used some real life examples that I personally experienced such as when I waited on that young couple or the young man in a granny-dress. I did mention that when one departs from Bible based standards it is a slippery slope and indeed there is nothing to grab onto. Of course if one finds themselves going back on Bible based convictions, they only need to cry out to the Lord Jesus for help. I only mentioned the UPC in passing, again relating that organization to my personal experience. I would if I were you be careful how you speak of UPC ministers. While there are those who may indeed be proverbial bad apples in the barrel, most that I have met are true Christians, children of the Lord Jesus. I don't say any of these things to shame you but because I love you!

    Bro. Sean, I have never read the Talmud. I did however do an internet search with the term, "what is the Talmud?" Several websites came up and I chose the first, Wikipedia. It said the Talmud was made up of two parts, the Mishna (Wikipedia dated it to about 200 CE) and the Gemara (Wikipedia dates to around 600 CE. Needless to say, I have never read (or studied) the Talmud so I can't comment on what Rabbinic scholars may have said about Deuteronomy 22:5. When the Lord Jesus said to me that day in June of 1965, "make Me your choice..." and I said, "Lord Jesus if you will help me, I will serve you from this day to the day I die," The Lord immediately cleansed my mind (and my heart) and said, "read My word and start in Matthew." I obeyed the Lord Jesus that day and by in large have continued for the last 48 plus years to read the Word of God. As you well know, I have never proclaimed myself to be a Greek or Hebrew scholar but have always said that I do read English pretty good. When I have tried to expound on a text using the Greek or the Hebrew, my habit has been to use Strong's Hebrew Greek dictionary and to give due credit to my source. The text of Deuteronomy 22:5, in the King James Version says,"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." Only knowing the English language, that sounds pretty clear to me. I did, however, read Adam Clarke's Commentary and while he tended (I don't think he is alive today) to agree with the idea that it would be hard to distinguish between a man's and a woman's dress in Moses day. I Really don't know as I was not there then. Neither were the writer's of the Talmud, or for that matter neither was Adam Clarke.
    I guess I will have to finish this in another comment session as I am getting a message "Your HTML cannot be accepted: Must be at most 4,096 characters."

  3. Part two
    I hope this reply isn't to scattered! If the term "and such like," is ambiguous, I for one want to put it in the most serious context I can. I don't want to be dis-inherited.

    I don't know the exact apparel of men or women in the days of the early church, again I was not there. I don't believe that the Lord Jesus wore a dress though. He no doubt wore clothing that distinguished Him from the opposite sex. That is my opinion anyway. My impression is that males of that day probably wore knee length robes and females probably wore ankle length robes. I don't believe what a young Jewish college student told my daughter when asked about Deuteronomy 22:5 that Moses was talking about men wearing female undergarments and vise-versa. I have met transvestites. I have worked with them. One male came to work in Portland dressed as a woman. He even used the woman's restroom. He said he was a woman. If I understand Deuteronomy 22:5 correctly, he was an abomination the the Lord. I never thought he should have been hired, much less allowed to come to work dressed as a woman and use the woman's restroom.

    Bro. Sean, I am truly sorry that you and I can no longer agree. The Bible asks a rhetorical question in Amos 3:3, "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" The answer is obviously no. Does that mean that I am your enemy? The answer is again, no. I will continue to pray for Bro. Mallory and the church that he pastors. I do so because the Lord Jesus has let me know that I should. Again let me say that I love you and your family, in Jesus name, Bro. Dinwiddie

  4. Thank you Elder for taking the time to respond. Please forgive me if I mischaracterized your comments in any way. I did make some assumptions based on what I know about the UPC, and made some assumptions about your intent based somewhat on my 20 years with that organization. It was not my intent to put words in your mouth so I would like to publicly apologize for doing so.

    I am a little puzzled by the reference to Amos 3:3 for a few reasons:

    1. I have no idea to what you are referencing since I believe you and I believe the same on most biblical positions including the new birth, etc. The only position I can think that you may be referencing would be the standards of dress in the UPC, however it would appear from your initial response to me that you perhaps do not firmly hold these positions? I do not want to put words in your mouth but I don’t know how you could assume we have a difference in doctrinal position since you have never discussed this issue with me. My assumption is that you are speaking of standards, no?

    2. The formation of the UPC at the “merger” was performed by two major organizations that had very different positions on doctrine, more so I believe than you and I, and yet they found it was OK to “walk together” for the purpose of reaching souls. It is my understanding that these two organizations were so divided that they actually even believed people were saved at different times (one at repentance and the other more like today’s formal doctrinal statement).

    3. This scripture is oft referenced in relationship to two people not agreeing on some doctrinal position, however I believe in context God was talking about Israel not following His precepts since the scripture directly before God announces judgment on them. I think this is more representative of a God who hates division in the body of Christ. The position that this scripture is talking about two brothers in Christ with differing understandings of the scripture and left open to our interpretation about what differences justify a break in fellowship is one of the major problems in the church in my opinion and causes more division than just about any other scriptural misinterpretation.

    Anyway, I apologize again if I have mischaracterized your beliefs in any way. We do love you folks and pray for a mighty move of God in Arizona, and throughout this troubled globe we live on!

  5. Bro. Sean, let me reiterate, both Sis. Dinwiddie and I love both you and Sis. Roxanne and your sweet children. Of course I accept your apology and forgive you for any real or perceived wrongs. I hope and believe you will do the same towards us. As far as the reverence to the prophet Amos, I feel it would be inappropriate to respond publicly. I will however respond directly to you at your email address. I assume it has not changed. Again let me say that we love you very much and certainly hold no hard feelings toward you and yours. My prayer for you and your family is that you will be ready to meet the Lord Jesus at His return. Bro. Dinwiddie