This site uses cookies to provide you with more responsive and personalized service and to collect certain information about your use of the site.  You can change your cookie settings through your browser.  If you continue without changing your settings, you agree to our use of cookies.  See our Privacy Policy for more information.

Question and Answer

Our pastor upsets some of us by teaching that it is a sin for women to wear pants. He bases his conviction on Deuteronomy 22:5: “A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this.” Does that verse settle the issue?

Not for me, if style or fashion is the issue in the pastor’s mind. The text must be understood as prohibiting drag, or the erotic blurring of gender differences. Ancient Israel was told not to permit the parading of drag queens in society.

On the other hand, the pastor is right in warning against some modern fashions. Many men believe, as he evidently does, that the pants young women wear are deliberately provocative. Of course, dresses and skirts and mini-skirts, and everything else young women wear or don’t wear, can be so designed as to catch a man’s eye and stir his manly passions. Nobody believes that women whose clothing is not modest are truly ignorant of the achieved effect (see 1 Tim. 2:9–10).

Back to the question of whether it’s a sin to wear pants. The answer is, it depends on the modesty of the pants.

BY C. Donald Cole

C. DONALD COLE hosted Moody Radio’s Open Line for 26 years before retiring in 2008. Before joining the team at the Moody Bible Institute in 1971, Pastor Cole and his wife, Naomi, served the Lord as missionaries in Angola from 1948 until 1966. Pastor Cole then served as a faculty member of Emmaus Bible College of Dubuque and as editor of Interest magazine.

Pastor Cole authored several books, and was married to his wife Naomi for 65 years before he went home to the Lord in 2012.

Find Questions and Answers by Month