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Religion Today Blog Christian Blog and Commentary

John Piper on Bikinis and Modesty: It Should be about God, Not Rules

  • Veronica Neffinger
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2016 Jun 23
  • Comments

Pastor John Piper recently responded to questions about modesty and how pastors should tackle this issue in their churches and with their congregations.


On his website DesiringGod.org, Piper, the Chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary in Minneapolis, MN, stressed that modesty must start in the heart and cannot be obtained merely through following outward rules.


“So, my approach was never to start with the rules or the guidelines, but to start with God and the gospel and the Bible and the Spirit and faith and joy,” he says.


Piper goes on to say that when listening to teaching on modesty, many people will have one of two responses: either they will think, “How dare you tell me or my children how to dress!” or they will put all the emphasis on legalistically following detailed rules about how to dress.


Piper says neither approach is helpful and neither approach gets at the heart of the issue.


Instead, Piper calls for, “a sweet submission to Christ, a saturation with the Word of God, a humble attentiveness to the wisdom of others, a desire to grow and learn, a deep suspicion of the power of worldliness to control our habits, and a loving consideration of others when we choose what we wear.”


Piper ends his response by providing three guidelines for pastors:


Firstly, he encourages pastors to make sure their staff is viewing modesty in the right way before trying to teach it to the congregation. Secondly, talk to the parents of young people to establish relationships and work toward common expectations. And thirdly, cultivate the sense that modesty does not mean frumpy, but rather is beautiful.



Publication date: June 23, 2016