Because Christianity is bigger than Biblical manhood or Biblical womanhood

This picture – the black and white, not the red – is a screenshot from “A return to Biblical Modesty”, a pdf book by Mrs. Daphne Kirkland:

example

According to Mrs. Kirkland, “God’s Word Says The Uncovered Thigh Is Shameful.” She quotes:

“…uncover the thigh…Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen…” (Isaiah 47:2,3)

Webster’s Dictionary – THIGH -

“The part of the leg extending from the knee to the hip.”

According to the Word of God when the thigh is uncovered, “…thy shame shall be seen.”

She then defines the thigh as the leg up to and including the knee. As such, the parts colored in red on the picture on the left is immodest, while the girl on the right is modestly dressed:

Mrs. Kirkland is joined in this teaching by Michelle Duggar, who also say that God say exposed thighs mean nakedness and shame. This is allegedly* the only swimwear the Duggars approves of:

But is this a respectful use of scripture? I will quote both whole verses:

Isa 47:2  Take the millstones, and grind meal: uncover thy locks, make bare the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers.

Isa 47:3  Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen: I will take vengeance, and I will not meet thee as a man.

Several ideas are mentioned in one context here: Grinding flour, uncovering hair, bare legs, uncovered thighs, and passing over rivers.

If an uncovered thigh is shameful and godly people should avoid it, then several other things should also be avoided by the same reasoning, like uncovered hair, and uncovering any part of the leg. If the thigh is the leg from knee to hip, and all of it should be covered, then the leg is the part from ankle to hip, and all of it should be covered. The passage does not specify that this apply only to female thighs, hair or legs either, so the same standards – if applicable at all – should probably apply to male clothing. So the immodest parts, if this reasoning is right, will look more like the red parts here:

That will also make the Duggar-approved swimwear scandalously immodest. (Legs! And hair!) The photo of Mrs. Daphne Kirkland on the front page of “A return to Biblical Modesty” will, likewise, be shameful - it shows her hair. And any Quiverfull woman who not only bakes her own bread, but grinds the flour is doing something shameful.

But this is not what God is speaking about in this passage. If you read it with verse 1, you will see this is about  Babylon and the Chaldeans. They are symbolized as an ex-queen (or ex-princess) who now has to work hard and no longer has the floor-length gowns and pretty veils she was used to.

Anyone who gets covering the leg up to the knee, but no need to cover the rest, from this passage, is proof texting to a degree that simply cannot be an accident.  Some deliberate disrespect for scripture is, methinks, involved in this kind of “modesty.”

Mrs. Duggar is most likely not the one who is proof texting here. She probably just believe and repeat things she was taught. It is even possible that Mrs. Kirkland is just repeating what she learned.

But whoever the guilty party is, this kind of Scripture abuse is unacceptable. Whoever made up this teaching would know he is twisting the Word for his own ends. And this is by far not the only such disrespect for the Bible in fundamentalist modesty teachings. In fact, it took me months to write something on “A return to Biblical modesty” because every time I start, I get distracted by other topics in the booklet that could also be used to point out Scripture misuse and/ or illogic. “Biblical” modesty? More like Bible-twisting modesty, if you ask me.

What I think of this? Unless the teacher is God Himself, keep away from teachings which make the Bible a servant to the teacher’s ends, instead of the other way round.

————–

*According to blogger Calulu, in Defrauding: The NLQ buzzword project

(The screenshot was replaced on 10 Feb 2014 with one with red words over it, because Pinterest bloggers were using it to promote the exact ideas this article attempts to refute.

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Comments on: "Modesty and respect for Scripture – do they fit together in your world view?" (6)

  1. Wow. And they say that it is egalitarians who “twist the scriptures to accomplish their own ends”!

  2. Man and woman of God need to dress modest, covered completely and act holy if we serve a Holy God. People should be able to tell that you are a Christian by just looking at the way you dress. We need to pray and ask The Lord if He is happy with the way we are dressing and presenting ourselves to a lost world. It is better to cover too much than to lack coverage. Remember you are the light of the world.

    • “Man and woman of God need to dress modest, covered completely ”
      We should dress modestly, but the Bible may not mean by that what you think it does. Modest, as in a modest income, is an income that barely covers the most important things. In Timothy modest is used in the context of not flaunting expensive things like hair full of pearls that needs you to be slave owner with slaves to plait your hair, and perhaps dresses so long and with so much sleeve that it flaunts you don’t have to be dressed practically for work.

      ” and act holy if we serve a Holy God.”
      Yes

      “People should be able to tell that you are a Christian by just looking at the way you dress.”
      Where does the Bible say that? And what clothing will do that, short of a T-shirt with the words “I am a Christian”, or a nun’s habit or something else that is characteristic of one particular denomination/ sect?

      “We need to pray and ask The Lord if He is happy with the way we are dressing and presenting ourselves to a lost world. ”
      Yes.

      “It is better to cover too much than to lack coverage.”
      Says who? And even if that is true, it will still be sinful to misuse the Bible the way the passage with “thigh” and “shame” in is misused. Modesty is not so important that we could misuse the Bible to defend the level of modesty we like.

      “Remember you are the light of the world.”
      Yes.

    • Geraldo, could you explain to me what “covered completely” means? Even on the coldest winter days my hands are seldom covered, and even women in burqas leave their eyes uncovered. Jesus, to the best of our knowledge, uncovered his toes in sandals. What should be covered completely?

  3. A shame so many complementarians put so much emphasis on outward appearances and not the inner beauty to match. Most comp emphasis on the letter of the advice to women 1 Timothy 2 is actually a violation of its spirit…

  4. And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach: (Exodus 28:42 KJV). This one stops at thighs.

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