Like other interesting messages of its kind, I overheard a preacher uttering those words while on transit.
Actually, it wasn’t going to be the first time I heard a thing like that; I’ve heard variants of such warning uttered on different platforms. Here is a question for folks who fault wearing of trousers by women: Since when did wearing of trousers by women become unbiblical?
WHAT AND WHAT’S NOT DOCTRINE?
I’ve always affirmed that there is a difference between what many Christians call doctrine and mere denominational manner/codes of conduct. For instance, while trying to explain aspects of their church traditions, it’s not unusual to hear some believing folks talk in terms of “our church doctrines”.
When you ask them what those ‘doctrines’ are, they tell you how their church doesn’t allow the use of jewellery; how they disallow wearing of trousers by women; how that men and women must sit separately in their churches…
It is important to note that such ‘terms’ as those listed above are not in any way associated to the biblical meaning of the word ‘doctrine’. Scripturally, the word doctrine, depending on the context of usage, will mean ‘teaching, instruction’ and ‘explanation’. It implies sound/wholesome doctrine, i.e. the teaching of Christ.
In essence, it’s a Christocentric explanation/teaching of God’s word as explained in the epistles. When the word ‘doctrine’ is seen in this light, it’s only used in the singular form. However, when it’s used in the plural (doctrines), it’s used to describe a doctrine contrary to that of Christ as the focal point. Such expressions as ‘divers doctrines’, ‘doctrines of demons’, ‘strange doctrines’, etc. are used to qualify the concept of ‘doctrines’ in the bible.
WHERE IS THE BIBLICAL BASIS?
From our explanation of the biblical meaning of the term ‘doctrine’, we can deduce that there is no basis for situating the disapproval of trousers for women as ‘doctrine’. What’s more, you cannot refer to such biblically baseless custom as “one of the doctrines of our church”.
Those who restrict believing women from wearing trousers do so based on their erroneous perception/interpretation of the biblical truths. Such instructions as “don’t ear trousers; don’t do make make-up; don’t wear jewellery, etc. are nothing but rules, regulations or codes of conduct set down by certain denominations based on their individual sentiments/opinions on the godly conducts of believers, especially in their gatherings. Such opinions are however null and void because they are not hinged strictly on what the bible says about them.
Every instruction or manner of conducts meant for the believer must find it root in the scriptures. It can’t be based on what “my G.O/pastor” thinks or feel it should be. As much as the believer must be subject to spiritual authority, such authority must conform to Christ’standard (the greatest authority). The believer isn’t a spiritual zombie. The extent to which the written word prescribes is the extent to which he obeys spiritual leadership.
The manner of life/outlook of believers must align solely with God’s word. From my interactions with believing folks who disapprove of wearing of trousers by ladies, I’ve come to observe that when asked why they are against it, they hardly have a substantial scriptural reference(s). Most times, they result to subtle-coercion and clever manipulation of particular scriptures to make it want to mean what it originally doesn’t mean.
But God be praised; His word will never come to mean what it never meant. Kenneth E. Hagin used to say that “one way not to run into error is to be silent on areas where the bible is silent and be loud where it is loud”. Trouble starts when we begin to make a doctrine out of matters the bible didn’t give attention or priority to. When we begin to make rules over issues that we cannot properly explain from the written word (the Bible), we end up birthing unnecessary disparities within the body of Christ.
SOMETHING ABOUT DEUT 22:5
Deu 22:5 The woman shall not wear that which pertains to a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment, for all that do so are an abomination to the Lord your God.
Folks who are against the wearing of trousers by women usually have just one point of biblical reference for their standpoint – Deut 22:5. Apart from this text, they are unable to provide any further basis for their disapproval of the practice. Interestingly, the singular reference – Deut 22:5 – is situated within the Old Testament. What’s more, it is among many miscellaneous laws prescribed by Moses for the Israelites.
It’s even more amusing to note that folks against trousers for women indulge in hypocrisy by cherry-picking from the host of laws within the same chapter 22 while they ignore the rest. Since these folks seem to adhere to the particular law in verse 5, they are bound to adhere to all the (other) laws. Matter of fact, in conveniently selecting from the body of laws and neglecting the rest, they are guilty of all the laws (James 2:10).
For instance, the same body of law in Deut 22 that says “the woman shall not wear that which pertains to the man and vice-versa” says “don’t wear clothes made of mingled materials (wool and linen) together – verse 11. Also, “don’t sow different seeds on the same plot of land” – verse 9… Wouldn’t it be hypocritical if one takes a liking only to verse 5 and ignore the rest?
Written by Ayansola Ibukun Ademola.
Ayansola Ibukun Ademola is a graduate of English. Among other things, he is a freelance writer, editor and proofreader. You may reach him via