Monday, June 08, 2009

The Issue of Designed Gender Distinction: Answering Comments or Questions

I commented on the blog of a young man who is leaving fundamentalism. One of his big criticisms was "standards." In the comment section, another pastor who blogs, Will at Reforming Baptist, wrote this:

KB: "On the pants/skirt, I don't think the position gets explained exegetically and historically well enough, but your position will fail exegetically and historically"

A few weeks ago on the former fundies blog, I demonstrated that your argument for this is not exegetical, it's circular. I'm not going to get into it here, but your argument for "the male article" is strictly a cultural determination and not a biblical one, yet you say that the culture used to hold to a biblical standard which can't be found anywhere in the Bible concerning the definite male article.

As you can see, he pulled a quote from my comment (I'm "KB") and then addressed it. I want to deal with this idea that my position on designed gender distinction is not exegetical. Of course I believe he's wrong. I think it does show a blind spot in how to exegete and then apply scripture that is common in many evangelicals and fundamentalists.

A Model for Exegesis in Passages that Require Second Premise Application

Ephesians 4:29 reads: "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth." When we make application of that command, that imperative, we can see it in this logical syllogism:

Major Premise: Corrupt communication is disobedience to God's Word, that is, sin.
Minor Premise: #&$%@*# is corrupt communication.
Conclusion: Therefore, #&$%@*# is disobedience to God's Word, that is, sin.

Paul did not tell us what corrupt communication was. When he wrote that passage in the first century, the English language didn't exist. So we must apply this passage culturally. We would assume that there is English language that is corrupt communication. If we cannot make that assumption, then we cannot apply this passage and it is meaningless to us. We know that is not the case. I'm going to guess that Will thinks that there are English words that Paul would be referring to "in principle" in this verse, words that we should be expected by the verse to refrain from communicating. Does Will disregard it because of a "cultural determination?" I doubt it. Does he dismiss the verse because it is a "circular argument?" Again, I strongly doubt it. So that's what makes his little diatribe a totally moot point.

When we make application of scripture, we must often use second premise arguments. That is not a circular argument. It says that there are certain truths in the real world to which scripture is referring. Let's now show how this works with Deuteronomy 22:5. But first, let's read the verse:

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.

Here's a syllogism that comes from the verse:

Major Premise: A woman who wears a designated male-only article is an abomination to God,
Minor Premise: Pants or trousers are a designated male-only article.
Conclusion: A woman who wears pants or trousers is an abomination to God.

I'm dealing only with Will's criticism, the so-called cultural one. (I want to limit the comment section to discussion only about this particular point, so I won't publish comments that are off this narrow aspect.) Quite a few verses in the Bible require application within a culture. That doesn't make the interpretation of those verses less exegetical. We've got to apply scripture within our culture. That doesn't take away from the meaning or the authority of the Bible in those issues.

What About Culture on Designed Gender Distinction?

The position that the culture determines what are the male-only and female-only articles of clothing is the historic position. You'll see it word for word in seventeenth century Puritan Vincent Alsop's "The Sinfulness of Strange Apparel." Women don't have on the male garment and men don't wear the female articles of clothing.

Even though culture makes the application, the purpose of this prohibition in Deuteronomy 22:5 relates to God's created design as seen in Genesis 1:26-27. There we see God created man in His image, male and female He created them. The image of God is seen in both male and female. The distinctions between the two make up the image of God in man. This is how God's image is represented by man, by distinctions between male and female.

Every culture and people are responsible to keep Deuteronomy 22:5. You can see this in the words "all that do." In every instance these words are found together (in the Hebrew too), they refer to all of mankind, any nation or people. This one grammatical point says that this wasn't only an Israelite regulation.

In 1 Corinthians 11:3-16 Paul expects the Corinthians to keep a culturally designed distinction between male and female with the head-covering. We can see in Isaiah 47:2-3 that the absence of a head-covering for Babylonian women ("uncovered locks") was a shame unto them. In 1 Corinthians 11, not having the head-covering was a shame to a Corinthian like the shorn or shaved head was significant of a prostitute. This is obviously a culturally related issue, because in our culture, the shaved female head does not portray a prostitute. It did in Corinth.

This criticism usually centers on the dress that was worn by men and women when Israel received this law. Most say that men and women both wore robes. Perhaps they did. The Bible doesn't say. What is ironic about this criticism is that the Bible doesn't tell us what the male or female garments were.

For the sake of dealing with this criticism, however, let's say that there was a male robe and a female robe. I think there were. The point of Deuteronomy 22:5 was that there the robes were designed differently. How were they different? There may have been colors that must be kept different, ornamentation that must remain peculiar to each robe, perhaps the actual type of material, the girdle, the sleeve length, and more. We don't know what those distinctions were. The point of Deuteronomy 22:5 is that they were designed distinct, not sameness.

For centuries in our culture, the unique male garment, which was public and constant, for the purpose of distinction, was the pants or trousers. The woman distinguished herself from the man with the skirt or dress. When women began wearing pants or trousers, the distinction was not replaced, but removed. Women began wearing pants at the expense of the distinction, not for distinction.

For arguments sake, let's say that now both men and women both wore pants, like we are saying that in Old Testament Israel, they both wore robes. Some would argue that since they both wore robes, we can both wear pants. That makes some sense at first glance. However, the point of Deuteronomy 22:5 was that there was a male-only robe that was distinct from a female-only robe. The woman would not put on the man's robe and the man would not put on the woman's robe. This did not relate to size differences or even fit (tightness or looseness), but some clear, public, designed distinctions that made them purposefully different. That has not occurred with pants. The point of pants was to remove the distinction.

Our culture has not replaced the distinct female garment, the dress, with a new one, pants. Men wear pants. Now women wear pants. Some will say, "But women wear women's pants." But no distinctions have been designed in women's pants for the purposes of obeying God's requirement in Deuteronomy 22:5. We haven't said as a culture or as Christians, "Well, women's pants shall always have the zipper on the side." Or, "Women's pants must always be of a pastel color and men's pants must always be either dark brown, blue, or black." We have made no distinctions between the two. Sure, women will wear pants that are more feminine looking---in color, in embroidery, or unfortunately in tightness---but these are not designed distinctions. Women can and do wear pants the same color, material, embroidery, and sewing as men.

Again, the point of pants on women was to remove the distinction. This attacked the image of God in men. This attacked God's design. That's why the person who does so is an abomination to God. It is a personal insult to God. This should be a serious issue to Christians. It should be about God and not about fitting in with the world.

Is There Something Non-Cultural In the Argument?

At the end of Job, God speaks directly to Job. In two places, Job 38:3 and 40:7, God says this to Job:

Gird up now thy loins like a man.

God says that only men gird their loins. What is "girding your loins?" Men wore a robe. Only men girded their robe. Men had a belt, a girdle around their waist (in the loin area). When they would do manly activity, they would pull up the center of the robe and tuck it into their girdle so that they could function as a man.

The loins are between the legs. Only men would pull a garment up to the loins. Pants permanently girded the male garment. The new expertise and skill and technology in sewing allowed for pants to be made, so that men could have their garments permanently girded. This way men could ride a horse, jump over barriers, and run much more easily.

"Gird up your loins like a man" means nothing to us in Job if we don't understand what that practice meant. God said that this girding was a unique male activity or appearance. We should at least understand from this text that God wants these distinctions in appearance.

How Should We Determine Our Position On Issues?

When we take a position on an issue we start with interpretation of the appropriate passages. Then we investigate as to whether this is a historical position. Have Christians believed like this in the past? In other words, is it a private interpretation? It shouldn't be. If it is a non-historic position, great scriptural exegesis should overturn it. Then we make an application of the passage on the issue.

What I have found with this issue of designed gender distinctions is that those who do not take the male pants and female dress position do not spend any time on exegesis themselves. They are not curious as to what the historical position is. All I've seen them do is take pot shots at those who take the same position as I do and usually ridicule.

I would hope to see critics study the passages and history. I would expect them to interact with the multitude of commentaries that take the same position as I do. They don't. That should be tell-tale to anyone who is attempting to sort out his position. Pot shots and ridicule should not be respected as a way to deal with any issue.

Who Would Make the Decision to Replace the Distinctions?

When these cultural changes occur, it should be a big deal. It was when women started wearing pants. If there were distinctly female pants, who would decide that had occurred? The culture would. So has it? It hasn't. Why not? The culture isn't interested in distinctions. That was the point for allowing the distinction to disappear.

What our culture has done in allowing this distinction to be removed is something unique in the history of mankind. Secularists believe that mankind has been here millions of years. We've actually been here around 6000 years. Men have believed in a creator or a designer. We have moved away from that belief as a culture. We have left the concept of a designer so it is no wonder that it doesn't matter if we reflect design any more in our culture. When Christians do not obey Deuteronomy 22:5, they are supporting this false idea that there is no design for humanity.

Our culture isn't going to decide to replace old distinctions with new ones. For that reason, on this issue, Christians can't follow the culture. We must go back to the distinctions that were removed. Those were pants for men and dresses for women.


Anonymous said...


I think I have to disagree with

you on the only men gird

statement. In Prov. 31 it says

that the virtuous woman girds her

loins with strenth and strenthens

her arms. At hte moment i am not

arguing for/against pants or say

your wrong on the pants issue. I

am just trying to point out that

women can also gird based on that

verse. Perhaps the difference is

how they gird. that verse in Job

: gird up thy loins now like a

man. He was to gird up like a man

idicating that men girded up their

garment in a specific way that was

common for men who wore robes. In

Prov31:17 It just says she girds

her loins with strenth and

strenthens her arms,although i do

not know if she is girding her

loins to strenthen her arms or

the verse is talking about two

specific actions. i apoligize if

any thing I wrote is unclear.

Anonymous said...

If girls cannot wear pants, can baby girls and toddlers wear footy pajamas? or onesies?

not trying to like disagree with what your saying, I've seriously wondered that.

Robert said...

A minor point, but perhaps not completely insignificant: How do you square the contention that, "God says that only men gird their loins" with Proverbs 31:17 "She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms."

Gary Webb said...

Brother Brandenburg,
Good article!
Men, I chuckled at your response about women girding their loins WITH STRENGTH - obviously not an article of literal clothing.
Any way, Deuteronomy 22:5 has some very clear exegetical determinants on this issue, for example the phrase "abomination to GOD" (as opposed to "abomination to man") which disproves the claim that this passage has something to do with ceremonial law.
The historical markers from culture are also decisive. Since I live in the shadow of the University of North Carolina, it has also been quite interesting to me to point out that that bastion of conservative thought [that is sarcasm] did not allow women to wear trousers until the 1960s when the hippie movement became so prominent.
It has been my observation that the Christians I know who argue against the "no pants" standard do not have any real standard of their own to uphold the serious statements of Deut. 22:5. Dropping the "no pants" standard basically seems to argue for no standard at all, even though the passage says that this is an issue of great importance to God.

reglerjoe said...

I think it should be pretty obvious that "girdeth her loins with strength" is a figure of speech. It refers to a readiness and willingness to work hard.

Robert said...

So Gary and Joe, you believe God was literally telling Job to tuck his robe in his belt in order to talk to Him?

Anonymous said...


I apologize for my stupid comment

about girding the loins with

strength. Thanks for the idiom

lesson reglerjoe.

Gary Webb said...

I don't know if you are serious in your question, but I will answer as if you are.
The point in Brandenburg's reference to Job is that Job is told to gird up his loins "like a man". It is men who gird up their loins [referring to actual dress] & the Lord uses this metaphor to tell Job to prepare himself to so that the Lord can speak to him. In a similar manner, I might say to any group of people [females included], "you better buckle up". That would come from my football playing days. Nobody liked to keep their chin strap buckled when they were not actually in the game because it is easier to breathe, talk, etc. But "buckling up" your chin strap meant that you needed to get prepared for physical contact, & as a result, it also meant that you needed to get mentally prepared for the action that was getting ready to take place. You understand that, don't you? Now, a woman would not be buckling up her chin strap, but I still might use that metaphor of speech in reference to men or women.

Robert said...

And now a serious (rather than tongue in cheek) response/question:

I don't quite get the jump between " a man" and "only men gird." How does doing something like a man does it preclude there being a different way a woman would do it? I think perhaps it's the word "only" that is throwing me off.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Thanks Bro. Webb.

I don't think this is that difficult. Men girded their garments. What God was telling him in Job 38 and 40 was "get ready to go," that is, get your garment tucked into your girdle because I've got something for you to do.

When the woman pulls up her garment in Isaiah 47:1-3, this is a shame to her.

We can see this also in the history of dress. They designed the warrior's garment differently than the regular garment because it was shorter and, therefore, not necessary to gird during battle. This developed into pants. What I'm saying clothing history people would agree with. In our culture, this became the distinguishing distinction of the male garment, pants, in contrast with the woman's garment.

Girding your loins with strength is talking about something entirely different. I think it is obvious. It is something of figurative language that did not refer to the girding of a garment. She was girding strength, not a garment.

Gary said...

Please explain the reason behind this law. Was there a problem in the Israelites' culture with women and men wearing each others clothes ? If so, why? Were women trying to take authority away from weak men. What was the historical reason behind this law? Please explain. This is a very important question that needs to be answered, because what was an abomination to God then, is an abomination to God now.

Charles e. Whisnant said...

John Gill in his Exposition of the Entire Bible sees the meaning of 22:5:

“...and the word [keliy] also signifies armour, as Onkelos renders it; and so here forbids women putting on a military habit and going with men to war, as was usual with the eastern women; and so Maimonides illustrates it, by putting a mitre or an helmet on her head, and clothing herself with a coat of mail; and in like manner Josephus explains it, 'take heed, especially in war, that a woman do not make use of the habit of a man, or a man that of a woman...'”

Interesting. I wished I had this meaning over the last 50 years.

Kent Brandenburg said...


Reason behind law? It doesn't say, but if we look at the rest of scripture, it would be to honor God's design, male and female.


When you read all of Gill's comment, you'll find it closer to what I said, but even so, if Gill thought it something slightly different than what I wrote, I can show you 20 that say exactly what I wrote here. I would win the war of commentaries by a large margin, because is how people believed and practiced. I also don't think Gill, at that time, saw anything close to what we see today in the way of violation.

Gary Webb said...


Here are some reasons from normally recognized “conservative” commentators:

Jamieson, Faucette, & Brown: “it is probable that a reference was made to unbecoming levities practiced in common life. They were properly forbidden; for the adoption of the habiliments of the one sex by the other is an outrage on decency, obliterates the distinctions of nature by fostering softness and effeminacy in the man, impudence and boldness in the woman as well as levity and hypocrisy in both; and, in short, it opens the door to an influx of so many evils that all who wear the dress of another sex are pronounced ‘an abomination unto the Lord.’”
Poole: “Now this is forbidden, partly for decency sake, that men might not confound, nor seem to confound, those sexes which God hath distinguished, that all appearance of evil might be avoided, such change of garments carrying a manifest umbrage or sign of softness and effeminacy in the man, of arrogance and impudency in the woman, of lightness and petulancy in both; and partly to cut off all suspicions and occasions of evil, which this practice opens a wide door unto.”
Keil & Delitszch: “As the property of a neighbour was to be sacred in the estimation of an Israelite, so also the divine distinction of the sexes, which was kept sacred in civil life by the clothing peculiar to each sex, was to be not less but even more sacredly observed. “There shall not be man's things upon a woman, and a man shall not put on a woman's clothes.” כְּלִי does not signify clothing merely, nor arms only, but includes every kind of domestic and other utensils (as in Exo_22:6; Lev_11:32; Lev_13:49). The immediate design of this prohibition was not to prevent licentiousness, or to oppose idolatrous practices (the proofs which Spencer has adduced of the existence of such usages among heathen nations are very far-fetched); but to maintain the sanctity of that distinction of the sexes which was established by the creation of man and woman, and in relation to which Israel was not to sin. Every violation or wiping out of this distinction - such even, for example, as the emancipation of a woman - was unnatural, and therefore an abomination in the sight of God.” [Matthew Henry rightly disputes their comment about “licentiousness”. GW]
Matthew Henry: “The distinction of sexes by the apparel is to be kept up, for the preservation of our own and our neighbour's chastity, Deu_22:5. Nature itself teaches that a difference be made between them in their hair (1Co_11:14), and by the same rule in their clothes, which therefore ought not to be confounded, either in ordinary wear or occasionally. To befriend a lawful escape or concealment it may be done, but whether for sport or in the acting of plays is justly questionable. 1. Some think it refers to the idolatrous custom of the Gentiles: in the worship of Venus, women appeared in armour, and men in women's clothes; this, as other such superstitious usages, is here said to be an abomination to the Lord. 2. It forbids the confounding of the dispositions and affairs of the sexes: men must not be effeminate, nor do the women's work in the house, nor must women be viragos, pretend to teach, or usurp authority, 1Ti_2:11, 1Ti_2:12. Probably this confounding of garments had been used to gain opportunity of committing uncleanness, and is therefore forbidden; for those that would be kept from sin must keep themselves from all occasions of it and approaches to it.”

Normally, I would think that these reasons are obvious. However, because our society has pushed feminism & promoted sodomy & lesbianism – young people have never given much thought to these things. In other words, there was not just a problem in the Israelite society with cross-dressing, but it is a problem in any society & will manifest itself unless there is righteous opposition to such wickedness.

Gary said...


I asked you what was the reason behind the law and if there was a problem with the Israelite men and women wearing each others clothes. I asked for a good reason. You should be able to use the Bible and history to prove your point historically. You mentioned that your critics don't take the time to study the passages, history or commentaries from your side. I think that you would be proud of me. I have spent over a month reading commentaries and blogs from both sides of the issue. I have looked at the historical context of that time from the Bible, and other historical books. In all that reading, I have found nothing that shows me that there was a problem with the women trying to wear men's clothes(in your context). The other side has broken down the Hebrew and made some very good arguements, backed up with some pretty good historical information. Please, show me your your historical and cultural proof that 22:5 was not about Idolitry or sexual sin.

Kent Brandenburg said...


Our responsibility is the plain meaning of the text. The plain meaning is what I wrote in my blog. The Hebrew or history doesn't say anything about Canaanite worship or sexual sin. In the history of interpretation, you've got the quote from Gill, in which Gill, as he often does, lists everything that he has read on it. I believe that the Canaanite religion criticism and the male warrior criticism is akin to the feminist understanding of kephale as "source" instead of "head," simply because one can find kephale meaning "source" somewhere in history. You can explain away the plain meaning with this types of techniques.

Gibor is "man." Giboor is "warrior." Dt 22:5 uses gibor. When you look at the parallel two regulations, they prohibit first a woman from wearing the man's garment and then a man wearing the woman's garment. The one who does violates one of these two prohibitions is himself or herself an abomination to God. The assumption is that there is a distinct male garment the woman was not to wear and a distinct female garment the male was not to wear. They were probably two different robes, but as time went on, the pants (a permanently girded garment) became the distinct male garment and the skirt or the dress became the distinct female garment.

In 1 Corinthians 11, God instructed the Corinthians believers to honor the Corinthian cultural distinction of the head covering. The whole issue was one of symbolizing male authority and female submission (1 Cor 11:3).

That's how simple it is, Gary. I could list for you the comments through history on the verse. They give the historic interpretation. I recognize you can find a few commentaries, especially modern ones, with alternative meanings. But they read into the text. There isn't anything in the context that would back up their views.

I also wrote something here:

Gary said...


Sorry, I'm late getting back to you, life has been hectic and you thru me off with the feminist kaphale technique. I had to Google that one. I am a simple christian whose sister-in-law asked my wife and I to pray,fast, and study this pants issue,because she thinks that my wife could be in sin for wearing pants. I took no offense to her statement because she said it in love and out of concern. That's why I have studied this for over a month(and yes praying and sometimes fastng. I am taking this study seriously and the technique that I use is to try to look at both sides of the argument and then look at the context of the scripture thru both biblical and non biblical resources. I can't just look at the plain text, when even the scholars can't agree and they have disagreed for at least a 1000 years(not just recently).

Sorry, I went a little long on the first part. I'll try not to take up to much space. Your first comment stated: "The Hebrew or history doesn't say anything about Canaanite worship or sexual sin."
Really? How about Leviticus chapter 18 for starts or the male and female temple prostitutes spoken about thru out the OT. Some of the main problems God had with Canaan was their idolatry and sexual immorality. In the abomination unto the Lord part, wasn't abomination (8441) in the Strong's Concordance mainly used in reference to idolatry or customs.(I mention the Strong's fearfully after seeing what you did to poor memphiswill)

A good non biblical source: Reconstructing Meaning in Deuteronomy 22:5 Gender, Society, and Transvestitism in Israel and the Ancient Near East. An article in the Journal of Biblical Literature. Author: DR. Harold Torger Vedeler from Yale University. I won't go into Dr. Vedeler's article due to space, but it gives a lot of historical and (for memphiswill) grammical proof for his ideas. Please email me if you wish to read,but can't get it.

By looking at Dr. Vedeler and other credible sources I can see how this verse can be used in reference to idolatry,sexual immorality, or deceit during ancient times. I am however having problems understanding your side of the argument. What was going on for there to be a need for a law prohibiting cross dressing? Why??Why would a woman during this period want to wear men's clothing other than for idolatry, sexual sin, or deceit. She would want to look feminine to fit in with her culture. In regards to authority, I don't think that wearing her husband's clothes would take away his authority over her,especially in the tribal family structure of that time. Why would a man want to put on women's clothing for other than idolatry,sexual sins, or deceit. It does not make any sense to me. The man would want to be masculine and in charge.

In regards to 1 Cor. 11 while I understand the cultural part, I don't see any male clothing out side of man's natural uncovered head. You see kent, I believe that God's authority given to a man over his wife has more to do with the spiritual than clothing. Adam was in authority over Eve before the fall. When God gave them clothes, the Bible does not mention bear skins for Adam and deer skins for Eve.(this would be a good place for God to state a difference in clothing for your argument). It does not.

You said," the Bible does not tell us what the male or female garments were." Then you assumed that the distintion had to be in colors that had to be kept different, or ornamentation must remain peculiar, etc. That is your assumption, not historical fact my friend. Women's pants are distinctive enough that I'll bet that you would not wear them in public(If you can fit into them). My assumption is that there is probably just as much distinction between men and women's pants than the male and female garments of ancient times.

I thank you for your time in this dicussion. I chose your blog because you are very strong in your theology and understanding of the Hebrew language. If you and my sister in law are right, I know that you will help me understand. God Bless.

Lauren said...

Dear Pastor Brandenburg,
this question isn't really toward this post but I've always wondered it, what is your opinion on the Duggar family, the family with 18 children? They seem to have some similar beliefs i.e. girls wear dresses and skirts, no dating, only classical music, etc. If you've heard of them, I'd love to hear your opinion of them.


also, I've always wondered if pregnant women can only have women obstetricians because only a woman's husband can see her in that way,

if you could answer these questions, it would be greatly apprectiated


Kent Brandenburg said...

Gary, I'm going to get to your comment. It will take a little longer answer.

Lauren, I'll get to yours too.

And there was another one way up there about babies footsies, etc. I'll deal with that too.

And hopefully anyone else that I missed.

Gary said...


I might not have access to the internet this weekend, but I look forward to continuing our conversation on Monday. May God Bless you and your family. I appreciate your time.

Gary said...

Gary Webb,

Sorry, I think that I missed your comments to me. The commentary from Jamieson, Faucette, and Brown looks like it could be worth looking into, but Keil and Delitszch look like the only ones totally against the Idolatry or sexual sins camp. Thanks for the homework for me and input.


I've gotten some new insight into this argument, but first I want to see your response to my last comment. It might answer my questions. Thanks.

Kent Brandenburg said...


A mini-answer. Because things are an abomination, or people are an abomination, or an activity is an abomination, or they are an abomination to themselves or to God, doesn't mean that they are tied together specifically. Canaanite worship was an abomination, but that doesn't mean that a woman wearing a man's garment was Canaanite worship.

The Expositor's Bible Commentary on Deut says there is no proof at all in history that what is occurring in Deut 22:5 has anything to do with Canaanite worship. That was just a speculation by someone, according to that commentator---and he is referring those who have said it.

Gary, this is more simple than people make it. When you hear hoof beats, you don't think zebras, you think horses. The verse is clear in its interpretation.

Keil and Delitzch, foremost Hebrew scholars, report what the verse says.


I don't know much about the family to whom you referred, but there are lot of churches in America that still practice Deut 22:5 and 1 Cor 11:3-16. We don't have TV but on vacation we saw the Duggars and I think my youngest daughter made the same observation.

As far as baby girls go, we practice the same with them as we do older girls. booties (little sock/slippers) and leggings (long stockings) can keep the legs warm if needs be.

Gary said...


The scholars seem to differ on their opinions for the past 1000 years between Idol worship, sexual sins, women in armor, or just plain deceit. I can understand their reasons for the law better than the authority/must wear different colthes reason that you are giving. I don't see why a woman or man would exchange clothes during that time period just to give or take away authority. I don't see that in Isreals history. Even when women tried to get authority, they stay in women's clothes.

I think that in today's world that we need to look at the intent. If a woman is trying to wear pants to look like a man or be the head of the household then it would be sin. During the world wars women wore pants for safety and to support our country during the wars, by working in the factories, etc. They were not trying to look like a man or take his authority. My mother who is 73 years young told me that she wore pants while working on her fathers farm in Michigan. Believe me, she had no sinful intent nor was she trying to be the man. A feminist trying to take away authority or blur the differences of the sexes to be more equal would be sinful.

A woman can still look very feminante and lady like wearing a nice pair of slack and not blur the differences. She would still look like a woman.

Remember, Man's authority is spiritual and not in the clothing.

Nate said...

What would a woman wear if she were in the snow? surely stockings and a skirt wouldn't be warm enough. What if she wanted to go horseback riding, rock climbing, etc. anything active like that? skirts can't really be warn with those and other activities.
*Also, I was curious, do you educate your children about sex, puberty,etc.?
I was also wondering how would you react to your children deciding not to believe everything you believe?
Also, what's your opinion if someone in the church was being treated for mental illness such as depression? What if they were hurting themselves or had eating disorders?

I'm really curious of the answers of these questions.


Joshua said...

@Gary, you are restating your belief that it's all about the attitude. Kent has repeatedly shown that this verse refers to a specific garment in a culture, a particular item of clothing. I agree the attitude plays a part, but that isn't what God said here - the wearing of that particular article makes her an abomination. If the point is about the attitude, there are plenty of other verses, but this one doesn't have anything to do with attitude.

You said: "
I think that in today's world that we need to look at the intent." I understand you think this, but this verse doesn't say that. I can't really judge your intent, but I fear that your belief in that statement above is colouring your reception of the Word of God. I read above how you have prayerfully considered this, so I'm just going to trust God will reveal this to you. I hope this has come across respectfully, because you are probably older than me and sound sincere. I'd entreat you to continue praying and seeking understanding on this, because what you are saying doesn't seem to me to match up with the Bible. God bless.

@Pastor Brandenburg
Pastor, next Sunday I've been asked to cover an adult Bible class. I would like to teach on how to understand and apply second premise commands. Most of what I understand I learned here from your teaching. I'm not looking to major on pant/skirt, but I am wondering if you could direct me to other second premise commands from Scripture. I understand this one, and the one about corrupt communication, but I'm struggling to think of others. If you have any reference material you could point me towards I'd really appreciate it. I'm not trying to get you to do the hard yards for me, I'll work at it all week, but if you have anything easily accessible I'd appreciate it. Thanks.

Kent Brandenburg said...


I just got back from a trip for a week where I had about a week of internet time. Is it this Sunday coming up that you have that presentation?


Joshua said...


It is this Sunday coming up, yes. It's a 50 minute adult Bible class. It's either this issue or explaining Biblical separation. If you have any good resources handy that you can easily cut/paste, I'd really appreciate it. If you have any pointers on delivery, they would fall on listening ears also. Cheers.


Gary said...


There are a lot of highly educated commentators that span centuries that dissagree with your clear cut reading of the text. You can't always just look at the text when there are differences of opinion. The Catholics believe that John 6 is proof that the bread is the actual body of Christ. When you read John 6, It sure looks like they are correct. Doesn't it?

There should be a good explanation for the need of the law. Looking thru the Canaanite and Israelite history, I have not seen anything to support your interpretation of the text. You say that pastor Kent has repeatedly shown that it refers to a specific garment in a culture, but he has not. He has assumed that, but has not been able to give proof, only assuption. I have assumed that there is just as much distinction between the garments of old as the pants of today. I think that Pastor Kent is also linking Deuteronomy 22:5 with 1 Cor. 11:3-6 to show that the garments deal with authority ( If that is not what he intended, than I misunderstood him). Deuteronomy 22:5 says nothing about authority and 1 Cor. 11:3-16 says nothing about male garments. Women cannot take man's God given authority away thru his clothing.
If it is not an authority issue and only women not wearing men's clothes, than why did I see on another link, IFB teenage girls wearing t shirts at their retreat. T shirts started out as a male only item.

I am not trying to be a pain, but I still think that the intent camp has a better scriptural and historical argument. If not, please show me.


I don't mean to seem hard headed or stupid, but I honestly still do not see your side of the argument.
It's not just historically, but even in today's world. I see modest, submissive to their husbands, God fearing women wearing pants and God is using them to further his kingdom. He is not condemming, but blessing them and their houshold. They are obeying the great comission and bringing the lost to the Lord. If pants are wrong then how come God is using them so effectively.

Josh said...


I understand the use of looking at commentaries, and also the importance of viewing Scripture as a whole. I don't think that there does need to be a good historical explanation for the need of every single Old Testament command. It is very obvious from Scripture that God is a God of distinction, and hates all blurring. Since when does the word of God need the testimony of Josephus et al to be applicable? In all the commentaries you read, how did you miss Matthew Henry?

"Here are several laws in these verses which seem to stoop very low, and to take cognizance of things mean and minute. Men's laws commonly do not so: De minimis non curat lex—The law takes no cognizance of little things; but because God's providence extends itself to the smallest affairs, his precepts do so, that even in them we may be in the fear of the Lord, as we are under his eye and care. And yet the significancy and tendency of these statutes, which seem little, are such that, notwithstanding their minuteness, being fond among the things of God's law, which he has written to us, they are to be accounted great things.

I. The distinction of sexes by the apparel is to be kept up, for the preservation of our own and our neighbour's chastity, v. 5. Nature itself teaches that a difference be made between them in their hair (1 Cor. xi. 14), and by the same rule in their clothes, which therefore ought not to be confounded, either in ordinary wear or occasionally. To befriend a lawful escape or concealment it may be done, but whether for sport or in the acting of plays is justly questionable. 1. Some think it refers to the idolatrous custom of the Gentiles: in the worship of Venus, women appeared in armour, and men in women's clothes; this, as other such superstitious usages, is here said to be an abomination to the Lord. 2. It forbids the confounding of the dispositions and affairs of the sexes: men must not be effeminate, nor do the women's work in the house, nor must women be viragos, pretend to teach, or usurp authority, 1 Tim. ii. 11, 12. Probably this confounding of garments had been used to gain opportunity of committing uncleanness, and is therefore forbidden; for those that would be kept from sin must keep themselves from all occasions of it and approaches to it."

He talks about authority in there. He links it to clothing. This isn't new doctrine, I just don't think you want to believe it.

I think Kent has proved it's a specific garment - "that which pertaineth" isn't anything else. It's not a metaphysical garment, and if it is I haven't seen you prove that.

Corinthians proves that clothing is related to authority. Deuteronomy is talking about clothing. That's a solid link, and perfectly reasonable to make in explanation. It's not a tenuous one. It's not a stretch.

You seem to care about history, yet don't care about the history of the rejection of distinction in clothing. It seems very, very selective.

Josh said...

My mother is a Godly woman. She is modest to a fault - she never wears makeup or does anything to draw attention to herself. She witnesses to people - she led my Father to the Lord and has been a faithful wife for nearly 30 years. God blessed our home, and she bore several children and raised them in the admonition of the Lord. She wore pants, but never anything tight or immodest.

Now her two daughters wear pants, but very, very tight and immodest ones. My mother would never touch a bikini with a 10 foot pole, but both daughters will happily go to the beach and parade their bodies before men. It's a shameful thing that their own brother has to guard his heart against his sister's bodies. Both daughters are professing Christians, one of whom is on a missions trip to foreign lands.

I'm not trying to slander my mother or my family (I praise God for such a woman as her) - but there is a way that seems right to a man, but the ends thereof...

God can still use you and bless you, even if your disobedience towards Scripture yields rotten fruit in your children. Don't exalt your own understanding over God's, he knows the ends of these things.

Kent Brandenburg said...


I believe you have given good answers to Gary in my absence.

I meant about a day of internet time (a "week"?) in my excuse.

OK, using the second premise. Let me give you some biblical statements that necessitate second premise in order to make application.

1 Peter 2:11, "Abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul."

Romans 13:14, "Make not provision for the flesh."

Romans 12:2, "Be not conformed to this world."

2 Timothy 2:22, "Flee youthful lusts."

Colossians 3:5, "Mortify . . . inordinate affection."

1 Corinthians 10:14, "Flee from idolatry."

James 4:7, "Resist the devil."

1 Corinthians 6:18, "Flee fornication."

Matthew 26:41, "Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation."

Kevin Bauder has written these article:

That's it for now.

Kent Brandenburg said...

You wrote: "The scholars seem to differ on their opinions for the past 1000 years between Idol worship, sexual sins, women in armor, or just plain deceit."

You can find different statements made about Deut 22:5, but the overwhelming consensus is what I've written. You can also see it in practice in our culture for hundreds of years.

Your connection between idol worship being idolatry and the person violating this clothing prohibition being an abomination does not show that the clothing violation and the idolatry are the same thing. That's not acceptable hermeneutically, but it would take a lot of time to lay it out for you. Because two activities are both sinning doesn't mean that those two activities are related to each other, except that God doesn't like them both.

Gary wrote: "I can understand their reasons for the law better than the authority/must wear different colthes reason that you are giving."

Deut 22:5 doesn't explain why, so we are all having to extrapolate on that to some degree. It does matter why, but more important is just obeying what it says. I believe that the authority and design issues are the best explanations in light of (1) 1 Cor 11 (parallel) and then (2) understanding how that homosexuality is an abomination to
God and that this prohibition has relation with that prohibition.

Gary wrote: "I don't see why a woman or man would exchange clothes during that time period just to give or take away authority."

Where does the verse say "exchange clothes?" Clothes distinguished between genders. We can see in 1 Cor 11 and through history that women wore the man's dress in order to usurp authority.

Gary wrote: "I don't see that in Isreals history. Even when women tried to get authority, they stay in women's clothes."

We have to work with the passages that we have available in God's Word, which is sufficient, and from those passages we can see that it is an authority issue. I don't think that the reason why it took place are found in Deut 22:5, but we know from looking at 1 Cor 11 and history.

You've got to consider the source of your Vedeler article and the Journal of Biblical Literature---you'll find that most of these men are liberals. They come to these positions and contradict the rest of history in order to make room for a modernistic view. It would be like looking at feminist theologians to justify women pastors. I don't see how you got the article, because to get it online, it seems, you have to pay and be a part of one of their university list. However, I saw it referenced by other men who teach at liberal institutions.

You shouldn't rely on an argument from silence in Genesis 3 when you've got text on this from which to argue.

I might go ahead and cut and paste from the chapter in my book. Or at least email it to you Steve.

Kent Brandenburg said...


Those are an interesting group of questions.

Nate: What would a woman wear if she were in the snow?

Answer: The same thing she wore for hundreds of years---warm dresses.

Nate: What if she wanted to go horseback riding, rock climbing, etc. anything active like that? skirts can't really be warn with those and other activities.

Answer: She would wear female dress, if she didn't want to be an abomination to God. Women rode horses for centuries with skirts and dresses.

Nate: *Also, I was curious, do you educate your children about sex, puberty,etc.?

Answer: The Bible speaks about all these things and we don't leave anything out that the Bible speaks about.

Nate: I was also wondering how would you react to your children deciding not to believe everything you believe?

Answer: This is an interesting question---it seems more personal rather than biblical. Biblically, I would react to my children not believing what I believe like I would anyone who did not believe like I believed.

Nate: Also, what's your opinion if someone in the church was being treated for mental illness such as depression? What if they were hurting themselves or had eating disorders?

Answer: We would do our best to help them from Scripture. We believe the Bible is sufficient for spiritual problems. Problems that are physical, we think that medical care should be looked into.

Joshua said...


Thank you. That will be very helpful. I hadn't thought of half of those. It never ceases to surprise me how when I go to teach something I'm sure I understand, how much work it actually is to pull it all together. You never really know it until you can teach it. Much obliged.

Kent Brandenburg said...


From reading everything you have written here and other places, I believe you will do well.

Gary said...


You and pastor Kent covered a lot this past time, so I am going to try to respond the best that I can with what time I have tonight (it is after 11pm and I have to wake up at 4am tomorrow.

You mentioned that you don't think that there needs to be a good historical explanation for every OT commandment. I think that it helps when there is an OT commandment that is being debated and mentions abomination to the Lord.
I agree that God is a God of distinction, but from what I have read, believe that there is as much distinction between men and women's pants today as the simple clothes during Moses' time. I do not see a hard core man's only garment during that time. If you can, please show me.

I did not bring up Josephus, but why don't you google Rabbi Rashi.
I also spoke with 3 different modern day conservative Rabbis and they all said that Deuteronomy 22:5 could not be used to forbid women from wearing pants (although they said that the pants might be a modesty issue).

I did read Mathew Henry and if he were alive today, I would honestly and respectfully ask him the same questions that I am asking pastor Kent. You might say that pastor Kent is my Mathew Henry. I mentioned in the beginning that I chose pastor Kent, because of his knowledge and convictions.

I still don't see the connection between Deuteronomy and Corinthians, but I promise to take a closer look at it this weekend.

I do care about history, but the problems of today is not in the clothing, but in men not stepping up to their God given roles and reponsibility. When men are lazy and irresponsible, women are forced to pick up the slack. Remember Deborah.

Lastly, you mentioned your family. I do not know you or your family's spiritual situation, but judging by the fact that you are passionate for Christ and your sister is on a missions trip, I would say that your mom did a pretty good job. My grandmother on my mother's side wore pants on the farm and as far back as I can remember. All four of her kids were active in the church and two of her grandchildren are missionaries in dangerous countries. When the parents are active in their God given roles. The children grow up spiritually healthy even in pants.


I'm afraid that it is past my bed time. I promise to respond to you by tomorrow evening. God Bless.

Gary said...


Because of the late hour that I got to my computer, I missed one of your comments.

You said: I think Kent has proved it's a specific garment "that which pertaineth" isn't anything else. It's not a metaphysical garment, and if it is you haven't proved that.

First of all you two keep me going back to to look up these big words (ha! Ha!)
Second, pertaineth in Hebrew can mean a lot more than just a garment in this text as explained by multiple crediable commentators.
I never said metaphysical. My point was that Adam had his authority before the fall and clothing. 1 Cor 11 does not talk about men's authority being in clothing, only his uncovered head.
(I'm still going to look into the "Deuteronomy - Corinthians"connection, because you are linking them together.

Lastly, in regards to Kent proving it's a specific garment, please, show me where in this blog. Kent just mentioned in his last comment that everyone including himself had to extrapolate (I really did have to look that one up).


I am studing this topic and have not committed to one camp (Idolatry, sexual sins, deceit etc.). I am quoting what other commentators have said and if you think that their hermeneutics are wrong than that is between you and them. I only know that you should be able to gain insight about the law through the Bible and history and they do give good arguments for their beliefs. My only strong personnal belief right now is that God looks at the intention of the heart and man's God given authority is not in his clothes.

Where in Israel's or surrounding nation's history does a woman use a " man's dress" to usurp authority. From what I can see so far with 1 Cor 11 the women went uncovered due to their misunderstanding of their new Christian faith, but where is the male only garment that was used. I only see the man's uncovered head.(like I told Josh I will look into this more this weekend. If you have any more commentaries that support this, please let me know).

I got the Vedeler article from my subscription to I only found one commentator that used this article and he only used a small part of it. You really need to read the whole article to understand his view. He is extremely detailed in his Hebrew and history.

You said: You shouldn't rely on an argument from silence in Genisis 3 when you've got other text on this from which to argue. I still think that God in his wisdom if he supported your view would have mentioned it here. It is the perfect place. He didn't. Please list some other scriptures on which to argue outside of Deuteronomy 22:5 and 1 Corintians 11 (because I am reviewing those this weekend).

Thank you and Josh for this discussion. It is greatly appreciated. I hope that you two and your families have a great 4th of July.

P.S. Who is Steve?

Gary said...


I just sent a comment that I have already written, but I think that I accidentally erased the first one, because it didn't show that it was saved. If you received both comments, then please post the second. Thanks.

Gary said...


I am unsure as to why you posted my question about if you received a post. Did you receive my response to your last post?

Joshua said...

Hey Gary,

I agree that historical backing is nice, I was just pointing out that Scripture can be applied and interpreted even in its absence. That's why I brought up Josephus. Historians are nice, but not essential in our understanding of Scripture.

I did Google the Rabbi, and I would find his commentary interesting. I wouldn't find it clinching if he disagreed. The natural man receiveth not the things of God - and the hardness of the heart of God's chosen people towards his revelation is seen in both history and Scripture. If even the saved soul with the guidance of the Holy Spirit wrestles with such things, how much darker the vision of the unsaved Christ-rejecter?

I just pointed out Matthew Henry to show that there are commentaries that agree with Brandenburg. It's definitely not Brandenburgs new take vs historical Christian interpretation.

I agree about women picking up the slack - not right. I don't see that that problem negates disobedience in other areas however.

I wasn't arguing that my Mother failed. I think she did a really good job. But I saw the fruit of her relativism in clothing, and pointed it out to demonstrate the fruit of disobeying Scripture. I was addressing the fallacy of linking believers doing the wrong thing to a justification. Thousands of Bible believing pastor's are doing God's work and being blessed, yet they are incredibly obese. Is gluttony now stricken from Scripture?

Using the "Godly people being blessed are doing it" line of reasoning we are forced to accept gluttony is fine. I mentioned my family example to demonstrate the faulty logic behind that claim, and also to serve as a warning to others I guess.

I know the logic behind it is false, but I feel (note feel, I don't have proof) that you are attached to it, and this has led you in your study. What I fear you have done is let your faith in "how could so many good people do this and be in sin" direct your research. I'm worried you already had your heart set on an answer and went looking to confirm it in research.

But I don't know you. I can only guess. You know your own heart. Ignore me if I'm wrong.

God bless,


Joshua said...

Pastor Brandenburg

Thanks for your help with the Bible class lesson. That series by Kevin Bauder was really useful, and I used his explanation of the Sadduccees and the 7 brothers to explain why implication is authoritative.

I also borrowed the corrupt communication example to explain the second premise. I wasn't sure whether to bring up the clothing, but one of the ladies brought it up when I asked if they could think of any examples and folks seemed really relieved to discuss it. Our church teaches like you do, but normally when it comes up in classes it's a bit hushed over.

We went over it and a few folks (men and women) said afterwards that it was a help to them. Folks seem to really want to know how Scripture should be applied, and the extent reasoning should be utilized.

The only thing I wonder about is whether I was right to link correct useage of second premise arguments to Hebrews 5:12-14.

Overall though, I think it was a blessing, so thanks again for the help.

Gary said...

Kent and Josh,

I hope you two had a great 4th of July weekend. Mine was good, but I'm afraid that I ate a little to much.

Sorry, if my last post was to long.
I reviewed 1 Corinthians 11: 3-16 and I understand that in that culture the women having their head covered was a sign of submission, but I don't see the connection between the two verses, because their is no male clothing symbolizing authority. I only see his uncovered head, which I think proves my point in regards to male authority (not metaphysical, no clothing necessary).
If the majority of the commentators share your veiw then why so few of them give reference to 1 Corinthians 11 in their commentaries. I also did not see any bibles that link these two together in their cross references. Hummm.


In regards to 1 Cor. 11 and history showing that women used male clothes to usurp male authority. I think that in 1 Cor. 11 they were taking off, not putting on the clothing. What women in ancient history, wore "man's dress" to usurp his authority.

I appreciate you saying that we all have to exrapolate on Deuteronomy 22:5 and that you think that authority and design issues best explain it, but I still think that by looking through God's word, it is clear that he always looks at the intent, not the clothing itself.

Design and gender distinction issues- "pertaineth" does not mean a specific garment. The most widely held belief is that their dress was universal in function. If a woman wears pants and cuts her hair to look like a man, thus to blurr distinctions. Her intent is sinful. Most women that wear pants, still seek to look like a woman, thus no intent to sin. The only confusion sometimes is when the man has long hair. A woman's hair and the pants design shows distintion, no confusion.

Authority- The women of over the past few hundred years did not wear dresses to show submission, but for modesty and (yes) gender distinctions. The culture has changed and now their are women's only pant's that have enough distinction. I think that the 1 Cor 11/authority argument leans more to the minority side.

Once again, If God agreed with you than I think that he would have said it in Genesis 3.

Through out he bible it screams that you must try to look at the intent of the person, because God looks to the heart, not the clothing. God bless.

gary said...


After reading your last post I regret
Mentioning that I ate to much. I stand
Corrected and repent.

I am very serious and open in my
Study. After reading 1 tim 2:9 I had
My wife and 2 daughters wear dresses
To church (which they accepted). I allowed
Them to wear slacks again after seeing
The teen age girls at my sister in laws
Church wear skirts that went down to
Their knees, thus exposing their calves.
I think that slacks provide more modest
Covering because no skin is shown.

I will admit that after all of the studying
And talking that I have done, I am finding
Myself leaning hard toward the intent side.
I think that it is scriptual. If I am wrong than
I need more proof that I am wrong.

I think that looking at the verse in plain text
Without looking at the intent is not scripual.
Jesus and the apostles taught to look at intent
Not plain text. If I am wrong please show me.

I hope that this posts ok. It is my first time
Posting with my cell phone. God bless.

Kent Brandenburg said...


Deut 22:5 isn't about intent. You should stop reading into the verse and take the plain meaning.

Regarding your daughters' putting pants on because they're modest---that has nothing to do with Deut 22:5. Modesty is a separate issue. I regret having even to address this. Support of designed gender distinctions is not a support of immodesty. That seems to be your obvious implication. It is a giant strawman and a red herring both. You can keep Deuteronomy 22:5 and remain modest. You may have judged skin showing on the calves of your daughters to be more immodest than pants, but can you show me a verse in scripture that says that skin showing on the female calf is immodest?


What is a distinctly male garment today (one that people can see that he wears all of the time)? Please answer that.

Anonymous said...


I laughed when I went back and saw that you had mentioned over-eating. Perhaps I'm showing that I'm not reading everything you're writing, but I'd missed that bit. Please believe there was no rebuke in my argument, it was purely a logical device.

I think I've said my bit, and there's not much that more writing would achieve here. I'll leave it to Kent from here on in.

Gary said...


I think that you know that the bible is full of verses that prove my point about God looking at the intent, so how can I only look at the verse in plain text when there is so much debate over it.

Sorry to bring up 1 Timothy 2:9.
When I first started my study alot of the blogs from the "no pants" side used this verse to use as a reason for dresses only on women.
I was only trying to show Josh that when I think I am wrong, that I am willing to correct myself. I changed back my way of thinking, because a proper fitting pair of slacks that covered the whole leg seems more modest than exposed skin. I don't think that a woman exposing her calves is immodest, only less modest. The funny thing is that you mentioned the verse Isaiah 47:1-3 during the girding the loins argument, in the beginning of the exchanges.

What is a distinctly male garment for today is an easy question. It is a pair of male pants. That is not to be confused with women's pants, because they are about as different as the garments of old.

You are trying to link 1 Cor. 11 to Deuteronomy 22:5, to show the clothes are not just a gender distinction issue, but also an authority issue. In your new article " History of Deuteronomy 22:5 part one" none of the commentators even referrence 1 Cor 11. If they don't see it that way then the arguement of the t-shirts on the IFB teens comes into play, because just as pants in America were first on men, so were t-shirts. Military men!!

I think that some of your commentators would honestly not have a problem with women wearing women's only pants. There is enough distintion. In fact, when reading all of Rabbi Tilsen's article you see that he agrees with me!

You still have not given me an answer to what women in ancient times used male garments to usurp man's authority. Remember, in 1 Cor. 11 no male garment is mentioned. The women where taking off the veil.


Thanks for your input. I think that it is great that you have such a great love for our Savior Jesus Christ. Remember that they will know that we are Christians by our love, not clothes.

God Bless.

Kent Brandenburg said...


1 Corinthians 11 is often found in relation to Deut 22:5. My quotes don't have everything that commentators said.

I think it is interesting that I give commentary after commentary and your one comment is that Rabbi Tilsen agrees with you. Except for one big point, that is, that in the meaning of Deut 22:5 in this statement, he agrees with everyone else I quoted. It's just the application that he departs, but I haven't dealt with that in my newest article. I will, however. But I really do expect that you'll have more comments and more avoidances.

If the male garment is pants, then why are women wearing them? You have proven your own point. And I appreciate your honesty. If pants are a distinct male article, why are you having your wife and daughters wear pants? Immodesty can't be the reason, because they could just wear modest dresses.

I do believe that 1 Corinthians 11 shows that differences in dress relate to authority. The verses themselves show this. This can explain why it is an abomination to God.

I think if we talk about teeshirts as a male dress, something our culture has designated as male, then let's consider that. However, that doesn't do anything to the pant-skirt issue, so this is another one of those deflections.

In 1 Corinthians 11 we have one example of how women have usurped male authority with dress. Yes, they took off the head covering. However, if the man put on the head covering, he also would have been making a statement. What else in ancient times did this? A woman putting on the male garment would do this. What was the male garment. I don't know specifically what the differences were, Gary. Most books say it was a unique robe. I've shown you in Job that God said that girding your loins was a masculine activity, so the male robe was one that could be girded, which may be why breeches were a male undergarment. None of these considerations again change the meaning of Deuteronomy 22:5.

Ramon said...


why do you think that there is not enough distinction between male and female pants,to my understanding our GOD judges us by the intentions of our hearts.

Gary said...


I'm confussed, when have I ever avoided a question? If it looks like I avoided a question, please ask the question again. My answer might have been in the missing post that I sent.

I did not say that men of today wear pants. I said male pants, not to be confused with female pants which are as different as the garments of old.

Please give me the names of the commentators that link 1 Cor. 11 to Deuteronomy 22:5, so that I may look into their comments.

You see Kent, I too agree with most of the commentaries that you have quoted. There needs to be a distinction and I think that their is as much distinction between male and female pants as the garments of old. The Job example does not prove your point. You could probably gird the women's garment also. The difference was probably in the belt used by the man to help him gird up. Breeches were a preistly undergarment.

I think that I have found a flaw in your argument. You think that "Pertaineth" means a specific garment (authorative) and that is why pants are not to be on women, but t-shirts are ok on those IFB teen girls. You base this on a "link" between 1 Cor. 11 and Deuteronomy 22:5, which I am waiting to see who supports you in this. If your authority issue is taken away, your pants issue comes crashing down. I still think that some of your commentaries would agree with me.

Don't worry about trying to find women in Moses' time using male garments to usurp male authority. I guess that because of your silence that their are no real examples.God Bless.

Kent Brandenburg said...


Are you saying that God judges only internals, not externals? The point of 1 Samuel 16, when God says He looks at the heart, is not to say that He doesn't judge the outward appearance. Look at the qualifications of the pastor in 1 Timothy 3. They're all externals. 1 John and James say that it isn't the one who says he has faith, but the one who does the will of God. Doing the will of God is external, Ramon.


So what you are saying is that our culture, in order to be sure to obey Deuteronomy 22:5, said, "Let's make a separate, distinct male pant and a separate, distinct female pant?" Or was it that men and women didn't care about distinctions, so women started wearing pants. I've talked to no one that can tell me what the designed differences are between male and female pants. Know why? The point of putting pants on women was to erase the distinction.

You say that you found a flaw in my argument because I am saying that there is one male garment and one female garment. You conclude this from what? I'm assuming from my use of the definite article "the"---"the male garment." Using a definite article does not mean that I am saying there is one male garment. If I say, "the phone," am I saying there is only one phone? Of course not. However, we do know there is at least one particular distinguishing garment if we are to obey Deuteronomy 22:5. That is backed up by 1 Corinthians 11:3-14, if we care to obey scripture.

I'm not going to go do research for you to show you who parallels 1 Cor 11 and Deut 22. You should look it up yourself. I think their similarities should be easy to see for anyone that cares. That's why commentators do refer to both in the same article.

You say that Job doesn't prove my point. What is my point from Job? I'm asking because I don't think you are getting the point.

Gary, we're going to go nowhere if you think that there is a major argument in an argument from silence. I'm telling you that we can't make any argument from silence. If the Bible said nothing about this subject, then there would be a point to be made, but when the Bible makes the point, but it doesn't make it enough times for you, or in enough places, then there is no argument there. That sounds more like someone who doesn't want to obey what is in there.

What do IFB girls have to do with teeshirts? I think you're saying that I'm an IFB and I'm silent on girls with teeshirts. I think your argument is that if IFB girls wear teeshirts, then non IFB girls get to wear pants. This sounds a bit desperate on your part Gary. I think it signals that we don't have much left in this discussion.

Gary said...


Don't give up on the discusion yet.
I think that a this can be brought to a logical conclusion.

Their are obvious differences in between the pants. You just don't want to admit it. Women's pants are more feminine then men's pant's. If you had a test and put the pants side by side. I'll bet the women's could be picked out every time. You are putting all women in the last century in the same group. Yes, the feminist movement probably used pants to blurr gender differences, but most women like my mother had no interest in trying to "be the man". The pants were just better to wear on the farm. Come on Kent, you need to acknowledge that most women today are not trying to wear pants to blurr the genders, which as your commentators would say is an abomination, but they want to look like women in those pants (hopefully modest women). As I said before, I don't think that you would wear even a nice pair of women's slacks (even plain black ones) out into public. Their is enough difference and most women are not trying to "erase the differences".

The flaw in your argument is that you say that pants are not ok on women, because men wore them first, but do not seem to have a problem with women in teeshirts which were also first male (military) clothing. Just because pants were a male item longer than teeshirts, that should not matter. Male only first should stay male only, right? You have to be consistant.

I have read a multitude of commentaries, but I have trouble finding ones that agree with you on linking 1 Cor. 11 with Deuteronomy 22:5 the way that you do. You keep saying that it is easy to see for anyone who care and if we wish to obey scriptures. I care and pointed out an example of where of where I changed when I thought that I was wrong. I honestly pray and seek God when I study and it is not disobedience just because your interpretation says that it is. With all do respect, your 1 Cor. 11 Deuteronomy 22:5 connection is not in the majority.

I thought that your Job point was to show that men's garments were made so that they could be girded up. If I'm wrong than, please explain again. Sorry.

The point I was making on your silence about women in ancient times using male garments to usurp authority was that the other arguments use both scripture and history to back their beliefs. Because you have less scripture to support your beliefs, some history would help. Your conclusions about Deuteronomy 22:5 are not infalliable, only God' word.

Let me please just sum this up. Most of your commentators see the Deuteronomy 22:5 abomination as blurring the genders. Not a specific male or female garment. As I said before, most women in pants are not trying to blurr the distinctions or usurp male authority for that matter. They look like women in women's pants.
God Bless.

Kent Brandenburg said...


You are actually the classic candidate for arguing against this position. You seem to have the goal of not practicing how this was applied for Christian history. You start with it meaning something different than what it says---it isn't a designed distinction but something to do with false worship or some other option. After that has been dispelled, then you say that it is really about intent. Since intent isn't involved in the verse itself, then you move to the position that it says what it says, except that as it is applied, pants are female dress as long as they are women's pants. And then to top it off, I don't bring out the teeshirt issue, so I'm not consistent, so it doesn't matter.

When women started wearing pants, churches opposed that. They referred to Deut 22:5. Pants were male dress. Our culture and no one else designated "female pants" as male dress---it was just that the distinction was abolished. So now, later, to avoid practicing the verse, we say that we are wearing female pants. What characterizes them as female? A female is wearing them. This does not represent a desire to obey the verse. It is a way to excuse not obeying it.

I agree that women don't wear pants today to blur the difference. They don't even care. It's not a verse they are being taught nor is it something that they give thought. With the change in standard also came the loss of even teaching it. Mostly it has been explained away since then.

Women in teeshirts is a flaw in my argument? The teeshirt hasn't been a distinguishing factor. It was originally an under-shirt. That's what we called them when I grew up. Both men and women wore undershirts. When it isn't an undershirt, it is a white, short-sleeved shirt. If our culture really did distinguish the teeshirt as a male garment, in fitting with Deut 22:5, I believe it would be worth discussing. However, on the front of a bathroom door is a pant or a skirt. Our culture hasn't said, "Who wears the teeshirt in that family?" It hasn't been an item to design gender distinction into apparel.

The point of the Job passage is that God Himself says that there is a fashion that is distinctly male, the girded garment. We see the same thing in 1 Cor 11 with the head covering or no head covering.

Regarding the commentators I quoted, these say there is a distinct garment---Keil and Delitzch, Pulpit Commentary, Excell, Alsop, Poole, Kaiser, Baptist Commentary, Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Davis' Dictionary, Fred Wright, J. Ridderbos, Merrill Unger, and Earl S. Kalland. That's thirteen. Only two made the same point, but didn't mention the detail to which you are referring.

Women may not be "trying" to disobey Deut 22:5, just like people in the OT probably weren't "trying" to disobey God when they worshiped God in the high places.

Gary said...


I think that the problem that you are having with me is that like I said in the beginning I am studying this issue, because of my sister in law. I was not educated in the semenary. I had never even read Deuteronomy 22:5 until a few months ago. I do know how to research a subject and spent alot of time researching this issue from both sides. I chose your blog because you seemed the most knowledgeable from your side. In the beginning I was using the arguments from the other side(Doctors, Rabbis, etc.) without having a firm belief yet as to what I believe in reference to Deuteronomy 22:5. I still don't think that you have discredited any of their arguments yet. Looking at the bible and history you should be able to see the reason behind the law. After the last few weeks of bloging with you and further research I realized that there is a substantial amount of scriptures that point to God looking at the intentions of the person. You think that I'm trying to find a way to keep my wife happy in pants and disobey God. Remember for a short period of time I put my wife and kids in dresses. I am honestly seeking, but you have not proven your side.

I think that there is a communication problem between us. Sometimes you think that I'm not correctly understanding your point and sometimes you are not understanding what I am saying (latest being the beginning of your last post). I think that it's like your speaking Hebrew and I'm speaking Greek.

Unfortunately I'm out of time tonight. I' finish tomorrow. God Bless.

Anonymous said...

Question: the other day in Target, I saw a sign in the womens clothing section advertising 'the new trend:your boyfriends jeans'. It had a smiling lass in a pair of baggy male-looking jeans on it.

Is this an abomination, and if so, for how many years? How many Godly ladies have to put them on before God shrugs and gives it His stamp of approval? It was more modest than any other pair of womans jeans Ive seen.

Would you be disgusted if you saw it? Would it possibly be In the same manner Bible-believing churches were 60 years ago when their children were asking Mom why that lady was wearing 'daddy clothes'. Precisely when did this new apparel get God's approval? Was it when the first slacks hit a chain store?

All loaded questions aimed at generating a practical response to the historical reality of a culture-wide rejection of Gods order in dress.

gary said...


Thank you for the commentators.
I'll look at them this weekend,
Because work is hectic.

Women do care and maintain their
Feminine look.

Please, do not research the teeshirts
Issue right now. I'm stepping back from
That argument, because even though
It is easy to prove that it was male garment
First, I don't want you to take the teeshirts
Away from your female congregation
Until you have proven your side of the
Argument in regards to pants.

I still disagree with your job argument.

How about we move this discussion
To your newer post. It will make things
Easier for the both of us. God bless.

I'm low tec and using my cell, so I can't
Control the caps.

gary said...


That is an excellent loaded question.
I have a strong dislike of shopping,
So I'm afraid that I have not seen
The sign. I personnally don't like
To see boys or girls in baggy pants
Underwear should not be seen.
Their are appropriate women's pant's
That are not to tight or to loose.

I do not know how old your daughter
Is. If she is mainly around you and
Your church and thus not used to
Seeing women in pants, than I understand
Her question. On the other hand I hope
That your husband's pants are not to

In regards to when did god say that pants
Were ok, I think probably around the
Time that women's pants became a
Part of our culture. Remember god is
Looking at our hearts and intentions.

I'm on my cell again and cannot control
My capitals. God bless

gary said...


I totally misread your post, sorry.
It is hard to read these things on
A cell phone. If the last part of my post
Doesn't answer your question, please
Re ask and I'll reply when I get to a
Real computer. Again, my apoliges.
God bless.

Anonymous said...

Dear Kent,
I have been studying the issue of modesty and women wearing skirts for a long time and I was hoping I could ask your insight on a matter. First let me begin saying, I am a believer that women should wear skirts not pants. In seeking to persuade dear sisters I have sought to know the ends and means of such a task. I have found a book by Stephen Tanner called "Christian Clothing" that is very good- website url-
Stephen put together the most comprehensive and solid argument I have found thus far, but, I am unsure about exactly how a man would "gird up his loins." Stephen argued that men would gird up thier loins to pull thier "skirt" or robe higher to give thier legs free course in "manly" duties, but you seem to say that to gird up the lions is to gird it between the legs in come other fashion that would resemble un-himmed pants, and now we have merely himmed the pants to a perpetual girded position. I have never heard of that angle of argument yet.
Stephen would argue that, as the priests used breeches to cover thier nakedness, so would warriors, fishermen, horse riders, etc.. would wear breeches under thier rob that when they girded it up they would have thier nakedness covered- that is relevant if they girded up in the sense of tucking thier robe/tunic into thier belt to bring it higher rather thant between their legs. Basically I am wondering which interpretation of how the lions were girded is correct. If the breeches that were worn by the priests became common undergarments for men that when they girded up for labors that only men did back then (seeing the roles were kept biblical) then their nakedness would be covered. What do you think?
I have been searching for scholarship that would say one way or the other but I can't find any. Moses Mamoindes (spelling prob. wrong), he was a jewish scholar in the middle ages and he seems to testify that the breeches were like sailors trousers. If it can be assumed or prooven historically that breeches were worn as an outergarment when the lions were girded that would be a powerful argument about the origination of pants etc... Stephen points out that John Calvin seems to believe that. He points out the hosen in Daniel could have been pants- thus the godly Israelites were abiding in modest apparel still yet wearing pants. Any, I am thankful to see how diligent your responses have been, and how timely your efforts are in defending these subjects. Thanks. Hope mine is not a bother.

Unknown said...

Hello, this is is the same person of the previous and most recent comment. I don't mean to be a bother, but, I don't know many people who would be able to help in this area which I am studying, one who is educated like yourself. I was wondering just what you thought about my last post, and wondering if you are planning on responding. If not I would like to know so that I can stop hoping in your response and seek another place to find some information. Maybe you could direct me where to go? I am not offended or angry, just hoping for a response, and understanding that your are probably a busy man. Thanks.

Nathaniel Houseman said...

I really enjoyed the article and fully agree the Scriptures teach us that God has designed us (men and women) to be distinct. God is not the author of confusion, yet how many times have any one of us been in public and mistaken a woman for a man or vice versa? Those who oppose the doctrine of distinction simply oppose God himself. He is the one who has laid out this biblical principle, yet many today are fancied by a sensuous culture rather than adorn the doctrines of God.

Great article