Was part one of this two part series tongue-in-cheek? In one way, yes. I think there is something wrong with Victoria's Secret models. I do. Most fundamentalists and maybe even a majority of evangelicals would say they're wrong too, but what I wrote is what they should say, if they were consistent. They don't tell you what modesty is. They either don't know what it is or they can't say. They can't say because either they don't want to offend anyone, they think it might cause disunity, it might hurt some bigger, more important issue, or because they think it would be a detriment to church growth. Or, they really don't think there are any visible, external standards of modesty.
Really. What is the Victoria's Secret model not covering that is supposed to be covered? Exactly what? The evangelical and fundamentalist no longer have a standard for modesty. If they do, I'd like to know. But they don't. It's relative. They don't want to judge. They can't judge. Everyone really can dress like they want. And if they can't, what are you going to tell them? There's nothing to say. Scripture isn't definitive. It's all very subjective.
People come to mind when I write this -- some I've had interaction with recently. Fred Butler. Dissidens at Remonstrans. Bob Hayton. Bob Bixby. Steve Davis. Will Dudding. Webb Bailey. Joel Tetreau. Phil Johnson. I know there are men far worse than some of these on these issues. They're just who I think of first. Someone will say, "Wow, Kent, you've just smeared men who would definitely not approve of Victoria's Secret models." I don't think they would approve. They would say they don't approve. I don't think they have any legitimate reason to disapprove. Just keep reading. The following particular statement said to me recently sticks out:
The answer to that is never going to be across the board for everyone and in every place. Even at our best effort, we cannot know what God has not revealed to us directly.
Here are some other applicable verbiage:
It's really a matter of conscience.
They minimize the Gospel by means of excessive separation. In elevating every lesser thing to the position of a hill to die on, they make the Gospel and the core fundamental doctrines which comprise it, just another thing to fight over.
That being said, I think that doctrinal issues, and the teaching in Scripture about loving the brethren and welcoming one another, should challenge us to be accepting of a variety of styles and forms and seek to minister to a variety of generations and people types in and through a shared, blended worship style.
Not at all to digress, my point for writing about Victoria's Secret models was for consideration of what people call "cultural issues." You've got Bible teachings. They have to be applied. They're applied in and to the culture, but now they've become impossible to apply to the culture any more because of evangelical and fundamentalist gobbledygook that's an obvious result of postmodernism. Almost nothing is sacred any more.
A lot of the Bible has to be applied to culture without any explanation how. Scripture assumes you will know. I call this "truth in the real world." God's Word implies certain knowledge without definition, because God expects us to know. And we do know. We know that we know, because God said it. History illustrates that we know. Christians have practiced scripture for millennia with some record and tradition that says people knew what they were doing. Those details of application allow you to easily point out what's wrong with Victoria's Secret models.
Evangelicals and fundamentalists want to convince you that you can't know any more. You can't be certain. You've got an overly regulated conscience. Too many scruples. You're tilting at windmills. Projecting your own fearfulness on others. You're a weaker brother. Many more. So that maybe you're thinking they might be right. Maybe whatever it is, is just a feeling, an illegitimate one, that you've been harboring most of your life in a deceived fashion, so that Victoria's Secret models are not the problem -- you are. You hear that you've just got to learn to let it go and relax. In essence, they are saying that either the old applications were wrong or now are outmoded. They've got none to replace those old ones, so really those passages don't even apply any more. They don't mean anything, if you take what these people say is true. What's ironic is they know, they know, you're wrong. A burst of certainty. They're sure you're wrong about being sure about the application of scripture to culture. So what's right? "I don't know. But I'm sure you're not."
Let's take Victoria's Secret models again as an example. What specific verses of scripture give anything definitive about what is wrong with how they dress or undress? Almost all evangelicals can't tell you one. I'm not talking about an unwholesome infatuation with their bodies, or something like that, that is, a psychological problem that will be damaging to their spirit. I'm referring to how much of body parts shouldn't be exposed. Most fundamentalists have nothing to tell you either.
I've got a thought. The evangelicals and the fundamentalists are the real legalists in this, or at least how they use the word "legalist." What do I mean? I mean that they get their "standard" relative to the world. They think they're better because they are more modest than a Victoria's Secret model. Let's say the Bible has a definitive standard that the Victoria's Secret model doesn't keep. Obviously. However, you the evangelical or fundamentalist are not keeping the standard either. But you're closer to the standard, which makes you right. Does it? Are you better because you don't blow the standard as badly? You lie. You just don't lie as much. They wear smaller amounts of clothing than your shorts or tank top. You wear a tight little swimsuit and they wear a string bikini. This is the sides of the scale method of righteousness. You weigh your modesty against a Victoria's Secret model and win, so you're OK. It's like the works salvation person who weighs his righteousness against a serial killer. If they have any scruples of modesty at all, this is how evangelicals usually go about them, and now most fundamentalists do too.
Does that mean the Bible has nothing to say about how Victoria's Secret models dress? No. God's Word is clear enough. But evangelicals and fundamentalists are no longer comfortable with drawing any lines. They might have a personal standard, but they can't agree that it is anything you could require of anyone else.
In effect, you can't practice scripture any more. Too ambiguous. And with that, God can't and won't be honored and obeyed. But like Jason Collins, the homosexual NBA basketball player, you still call yourself a Christian. Wait a minute. You wouldn't say homosexuality is right, nothing like that. No, you're still saying that's bad, because on your sliding scale, that's still bad. You say, "The Bible is clear about homosexuality." Yeah. It was also clear about Victoria's Secret's models at one time too.