Thursday, May 02, 2013


Read Part One.

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.


William Dudding said...

My quote that you used from another blog in another discussion was about music, not nakedness. That is deceitful.

Secondly, to answer the question to your posts: What's wrong with VSM?
They show their nakedness publicly when it is to be reserved for only their husbands. Period.

We went to Hawaii last week and my wife wore a loose T Shirt and loose, long shorts to her knees on the beach. She looked odd to everyone else, but she was honoring God and her husband which I appreciate. So stop trying to use my name to be associated with condoning public displays of nakedness.

William Dudding said...

One more thought...I forgot, my wife still blew it! Your god is more concerned about her not "putting on a garment one foot at a time" to quote you from one of your previous discussions. That she did. No matter how modest she was, she still put on her clothing one foot at a time through a sleeved legging. That was sin.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hi Will,

I wish you were a more careful reader. The post isn't actually about VS models, but about judging on cultural issues. And I said you would actually think VS models were wrong. Which you did. You're quote fits perfectly with the actual subject matter. It was easy access, since it just happened, but I could have pulled from a lot of varied sources.

So let's keep it on the cultural issue of modesty in dress for a moment, what 1 Tim 2 calls shamefacedness. You are saying VS models are naked. Why? How? Where do you get that standard? Where does scripture say someone needs to do more than what those women do in covering themselves?

Let me say in advance of your answer. Even if your answer is scriptural, or correct, you've still got other cultural issues, like music, that would require a similar approach. I'm always hopeful.

Regarding a previous discussion, someone else commented about the Hebrew word translated "breeches" (speaking of deceit, which I've grown accustomed to truckloads from you). I didn't make that argument, and I didn't in my 200 plus page book on the subject. Others do. I said only that it was an acceptable corollary on the subject by the one commenting, who was explaining why orthodox Jews might take their position. I don't happen to believe, nor have I ever used, the breeches argument. I'm not even sure that orthodox Jews make that argument, but they likely do. By the way, if you are going to say "more concerned," usually you'll include a "than" something else. I'm concerned about what God says, yes, but not "more concerned" than about something else He said. That isn't a belief I've ever held, as everyone reading here would know. I say that with the unlikely potential that you care about accuracy. Your little, typical attempt at ridicule fails again.

Kent Brandenburg said...

By the way, I googled the quote you attributed to me, and google didn't have anyone say those exact words in the entire world wide web, so I think you are quoting exactly no one. Quoting actually quotes. You don't get to "quote" and then make up your own quote. It seems to be par for the course for you. You probably didn't notice, but when I quoted you, I cut and pasted exactly what you said.

Joshua said...


The majority of people I know, both Christians and non-Christians, would reflexively reply "naked? They're not naked!" to your line. You were asked for specifics from the Bible on modesty, and so far you've been very general.

Your second post is classic evasion. You were asked for some specifics on modesty, so you've presented a personalized situation and left Pastor Brandenburg to justify himself for condemning your wife... aka asking him for specifics you can poke holes in.

I've seen that situation play out before. If a man has a higher standard of modesty, it is demanded of him that he provide an extremely detailed case to justify himself, and then those with the lower standard start taking pot shots (usually using personal examples to really make him feel awkward) and unless he can answer every argument then he is proven a legalist. But what's good for the goose is good for the gander. We're curious to see your detailed case for the lower standard. Pastor Brandenburg has already pointed out that lo-mo folks are very uncomfortable with precise language and definitions on the matter. I would be fascinated to read it if you could do this.

William Dudding said...

I looked up "Uncovered + nakedness" on Bibleworks real quick and guess what? There's no rules as to what clothing articles consist of covering and uncovering.

The context of these verses mostly found in Leviticus 18, is that of sexual sin. Thus, if you want to be modest, don't wear or not wear what would cause someone to sin sexually (lust and fornication are the same to Jesus). It is obvious that a VS Model or anyone with sexually enticing clothing or lack of it, is immodest. Most references to uncovering nakedness assume we know what that means.

I wasn't quoting verbatim, but from memory of a previous conversation, Your Rightness.

Kent Brandenburg said...


Really, thanks for answering. Just a tip, but to "quote" by definition is an exact copy or repetition of the very words, even as saying it's a quote and then putting in your own interpretation becomes rather a hatchet job, as illustrated by what you did with what I wrote. To segue, your understanding of "quote" very much mirrors your explanation of "naked," that is, totally subjective.

Your dealing with Leviticus 18 sounds like something someone would make up on the spot, a spontaneous invention of your mind. I would gather from what you said that nakedness is nothing like how people use it, that is, it is some form of sexual sin, and that's it. If sexual sin does not occur, then nakedness did not occur.

From that, you extrapolate that nakedness does not relate to the one with or without the clothing, but to the person seeing the one with or without the clothing. Nakedness is in the eye of the beholder. Something so subjective, and so relative, that I would apply this quote (actual quote) to your definition:

"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."

Which brings us full circle. Nakedness or immodesty starts with when men start lusting. In Puritan days, men really were aroused by calves. In the 1950s, they became more adept at avoiding lust, so they were not aroused by calves any more, to their credit, growing in grace and knowledge. And today, men can look at partial to full thigh before their affected, again, what kind of perverts those Puritans and Spurgeon must have been, knowing that they could lust at the sight of piece of shoulder blade. On top of this, we have the unenviable task of determining when a 300-400 pound woman is naked, since it might be a greater rarity that she is lusted after.

If a woman was nude in a forest, and no one was there to see her, did she make any nakedness?

You're exactly where I would have thought you were, Will. No objective nakedness. It's all relative.


William Dudding said...

Since I don't have time to blog full time and pastor on the side like you do, I don't have time to give you detailed answers.

A person is naked if their bodies are left uncovered regardless if they are lusted after or if someone sees them.
Adam and Eve are examples of this. That's why God clothed them and covered their privy parts thoroughly so as not to be seen or even imagined. A guy with tight spandex (sic??) is virtually naked since the only difference between not having anything on at all is the color of his form that is clearly seen.

I seriously don't have any more time to wrangle about this...I have other things to do.
Good night.

Thomas Ross said...

Dear Pastor Brandenburg,

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I believe you definitely have a point in the Victoria's Secret posts. I can read, but not comment on your blog at work. At home, my computer's filter doesn't allow me to view the posts on victoria's secret; because of the phrase, the two posts are blocked out. I wanted to refer Mr. Dudding to here:

where the Biblical standard for the length of apparel is exegeted from Isaiah 47 and other passages.

Grace and peace in Christ,


William Dudding said...

Ok, more,then I gotta go.

I didn't have time to read the website, but I'm familiar with that explanation of nakedness. I think you're right about that. Uncovering the thigh is too much. At least for me as a male, I have to run to God's grace to help me not to look at that when that struts past my view.

What I guess I'm trying to communicate is that the purpose for something being good or bad (causing/revealing shame, lust and fornication)is what makes the act of doing something wrong. When all we're concerned about (or put the most emphasis on) is making sure to not do the wrong thing in itself with little regard to the why, then we're no better than Pharisees.
That's it.

Go ahead away at me...I won't be answering.

Kent Brandenburg said...


I understand your filter blocking out Victoria's Secret.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hi Will,

Thanks for your comeback or wrangling. I'm fine with your changing your tune, that is, Adam and Eve could be naked even when no other person saw them, except for God and the angels. So now you're saying it isn't lust that defines nakedness, but something else. And then you went straight to spandex on men for some reason. I won't go further, because you don't want to go any further. I'm still not hearing anything objective.

Kent Brandenburg said...

I have nothing else to say. I will say something about the antagonism. I didn't start answering you in kind until I could tell you weren't going to stop doing it. I still haven't bowed to your level of attack, and don't think I should. An example would be what I do in a given week, which has come up a couple of times by you. I don't need to defend myself with you, and anybody in our church would get a big laugh out of it. But if I wrote 25 books, which would take longer than blogging, that would be OK with you, I'd imagine, but writing usually two posts a week and answering a few comments is a no-no. You've got a fundamentalist-like obsession with this.