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Why Does the Pastor Wear a Robe?

A Defense of the Use of the Ministerial Robe in Public Worship

By Rev. Jeffrey J. Meyers

Copyright © 1997, All rights reserved.

The purpose of this series of articles is to explain our biblical philosophy of worship and how we have sought to implement it here at Providence Reformed Presbyterian Church. We have thought through our worship services. We have reasons why we do things the way we do–sound biblical, theological, and historical reasons. We are not simply following the dead, musty, liturgical traditions of our denomination. Neither are we clamoring to be “trendier than thou,” like so many twentieth-century American churches seem to be doing these days.

Drawing on the wisdom of the historic Church, especially the Reformation tradition, our worship is grounded in the Word of God. We want to be sure that the inquiring visitor as well as the committed member will understand the biblical explanations for our corporate, Sunday morning worship life, and so be able to worship intelligently with us, experiencing the fullness of reverent worship and praise

Why does the pastor wear a robe? Does this mean something? Is it biblical? Or is it something that has just always been done that way? Isn’t this too “Catholic”? Does the robe mean that the pastor is better than me? Closer to God than I am? Is he a priest? Why does the pastor lead the entire worship service? These are the kinds of questions that I will attempt to answer in this brief article.

Clothing and Calling

1. The robe, among other things, helps emphasize the office of the pastor and de-emphasize the personality of the man in the pulpit. Sometimes it’s hard to be led in worship by a elder or pastor who is a good friend or a peer or even (especially) one who is younger. To help us get over this feeling, the church in general, and the Reformed church in particular, has historically placed special robes on her ministers when they conduct worship. This helps the people to remember that it is not just good ol’ Jeff Meyers up there; rather, it is God’s appointed minister leading us into God’s presence and speaking God’s Word to us. Strictly speaking, the worship service is not conducted by Jeff Meyers anyway, but by the robe of office which Jeff Meyers happens to be filling at the current time. We submit to the office, not to the man, during worship. (The concept of submission to church office is eminently biblical: Acts 20:17, 28-35; 1 Cor. 12:28; 16:16; Eph. 4:11-16; 1 Thess 5:12, 13; 1 Tim. 3:1ff; 4:14; 5:17; Heb. 13:7, 17; & 1 Pet. 5:1-7.)

These truths are reinforced when the pastor wears something that reminds the people of his special calling on the Lord’s Day. In the Bible clothing and calling are often connected; a person’s calling or office together with whatever authority is connected with the office is often visually symbolized by the clothing the man wears (Gen. 9:20-27; 39:1-13; 37: 3-11, 23; 41:1-44; all of the references in Exodus and Leviticus to the clothing of the priests; 1 Sam. 2:19; 15:27; 18:4; 24:4, 5, 11, 14; Ezra 9:3-5; Esther 8:15; Isa. 22:21; Jonah 3:6; Matt. 22:11ff.; 27:31; Mark 16:5; Luke 15:22; Rev. 1:13; 4:4; 6:11; 19:13, 16). The purpose of the robe is to cover the man and accent his God-ordained office or calling.

2. The teaching elder who leads the worship plays a symbolic role during worship. When he leads the congregation in prayer before God, he symbolizes Christ leading the church in prayer before the Father. When he reads and preaches the Word, he symbolizes Christ, the husband, speaking to his holy bride (which is, by the way, one of the main reasons why women cannot be pastors: they cannot symbolize Christ the Husband to his bride, the church, 1 Cor. 11:2-10; 14:33-38; Eph. 5:22-33; 1 Tim. 2:11-15). The robe is not meant to set him above the congregation, but to set him apart from them because of his unique office as pastor during the Lord’s Day worship service. Here’s what the French Calvinist theologian Richard Paquier says about this:

It is natural that the man who officiates in the worship of the Church be clothed in a manner corresponding to the task assigned to him and expressing visibly what he does. Moreover, whoever leads in the act of worship does not perform as a private party but as a minister of the church; he is the representative of the community and the spokesman of the Lord. Hence, an especially prescribed robe, a sort of ecclesiastical “uniform,” is useful for reminding both the faithful and himself that in this act he is not Mr. So-and-so, but a minister of the church in the midst of a multitude of others. (Dynamics of Worship: Foundations and Uses of Liturgy [Fortress Press, 1967], p. 138).

3. The pastor is not a businessman. He is not the CEO of the ecclesiastical corporation. I always feel a little uncomfortable in a starched shirt, suit and tie. It tends to contribute toward a very real problem in our PCA churches we tend to attract upper-middle class people. Upper middle class people are comfortable around a pastor whose uniform is a suit and tie. People in other economic strata, however, sometimes find it hard to relate to a pastor who dresses like and acts like a business man. I often sense that what I wear erects unfortunate barriers in certain situations. Just because a congregation doesn’t have its pastor wear a robe doesn’t mean that they escape the idea of a uniform. In most American Protestant churches, for example, there is an expectation that the pastor dress conservatively, with a black or dark suit, a white starched shirt, a conservative necktie (no Mickey Mouse ties!), etc. In our culture this is the weekday uniform of a lawyer or middle to upper management business man. This has become de facto the American Evangelical clerical garb. I think this “uniform” often communicates precisely the wrong message in our churches and the communities in which we minister. Our pastors too often seek to conform to the patterns and symbols of authority prevalent in American culture. It is simply not possible to escape the symbolism of clothing. When the minister of the Word wears a robe, it helps to focus the congregation on the work of Christ and the Apostles, because the minister has no authority outside of them.

4. The robe adds dignity and reverence to our services. Why is it that pastors wear robes during wedding services and not during Lord’s Day worship services? At weddings the robe adds to the solemnity and glory of the event. The same ought to be true on the Lord Day. Are wedding services more important than Sunday services? No, just the opposite. The Lord’s Day worship service ought to be just as (or more) glorious and formal as a wedding.

Possible Objections

1. It too Roman Catholic. First of all, we are not talking about a collar, but a robe. But even here we have to be circumspect. The Roman Catholics are wrong in many areas, but we need to be careful not to throw out the baby with the bath water. Just because Roman Catholics do it, doesn’t automatically make it wrong or undesirable. Besides, if you would care to check it out, Reformed pastors in the past actually wore uniforms of some kind not just in worship, but during the week as well. That holds true for continental Reformed churches and even for many of the Puritans. Pictures and portraits that we have of these pastors show them in clerical or academic garb. Take for example the painting on the cover of James Bannerman’s The Church of Christ (Banner of Truth). James Bannerman is one of the most respected Scottish Presbyterian apologists for our form of church government and life. You might call him a super-Presbyterian. The painting on the cover of this volume is by John Lorimer, and it’s called “The Ordination of Elders.” The minister/pastor in the picture is wearing a black gown, and he also has a peculiar collar (you’ve probably seen pictures of these before) with two white tabs sticking out from it. No one else is dressed that way in the service. Scottish Presbyterian ministers, who traditionally have been fiercely anti-Catholic, have consistently worn clerical uniforms. There is nothing characteristically Roman Catholic about pastors wearing distinctive clothing during worship service.

2. The formality will turn people off. Recently a visitor to our church (from another denomination) commented on the beauty and solemnity of the service, but then asked why the pastor was wearing a suit and tie rather than a robe. She said that looking at the pastor in his own suit and tie was awkward and distracting. It seemed too casual. Why didn’t he wear something appropriate to his calling and duties on Sunday morning? she asked. Many mistakenly think that avoiding formality and ceremony is an evidence of simple faith and humility. C. S. Lewis has said, “The modern habit of doing ceremonial things unceremoniously is no proof of humility; rather it proves the worshiper’s inability to forget himself in the rite, and his readiness to spoil for everyone else the proper place of ritual.”

Since for Americans there is often an in-built negative reaction to any mention of formality in worship, let us turn briefly to Hebrews 12 and Revelation 4-5. Hebrews 12:22-24 describes a New Covenant (contrasted with the Old Covenant worship of vss. 18-21) corporate, Lord’s Day worship service. When the church gathers on the Lord Day she enters into heaven (by faith) to worship God with all of the angelic host and departed saints. It is as if the roof of the church building is torn off when the pastor calls the people to worship. Notice that the worshipers are all organized around the throne of God. The worship service does not merely provide an opportunity for private devotional experiences. The church is a “city” and a “joyous assembly” or “festal array” (v. 22). The word translated “festal assembly” denotes an assembly of people gathered for a celebration or festival. Later, when we are privileged with the Apostle John in the book of Revelation to peek into heaven, how is the worship conducted? What kind of worship is modeled for us in heaven? There are all kinds of liturgical lessons to be learned here. I only wish to highlight one aspect: the heavenly service is liturgical and formal. According to Revelation 4-5, heavenly worship is a formal, coordinated activity. There are cooperative, formal responses by groups of worshipers. Everybody responds together with the same words. There are no individual displays of spirituality. Angels, elders, and creatures respond antiphonally with responses that must have been learned! They have been trained. There is a pre-arranged form to the worship. They have rehearsed this event, and they are dressed accordingly (Rev. 4:4). In other words, heavenly, Spirit-guided worship is liturgical and formal (1 Cor. 14:26-33).

3. The robe will make the pastor unapproachable. Not so. It makes him more approachable in his capacity as pastor. It forces “Jeff Meyers” to recede and brings forward the office of pastor. The robe will highlight the pastor’s office and role. In fact, people may be more apt to address the pastor with spiritual questions and concerns. They will be reminded that Jeff is the pastor! After all, people want to be able to trust their pastors. They want their pastors to be different.

People long to be able to place some kind of secondary confidence in the office of the pastor and elder (our primary confidence, of course, is in God’s Word!). An outward sign of that office helps people. This is not hard to prove. Think about doctors, nurses, judges, and policemen. People want them to wear something distinctive that reminds them of their expertise or calling. We are helped when our doctor wears a white uniform. The uniform assists us in remembering that we can place some confidence in him. This is his calling. The uniform reminds us of his training and commitment. The same ought to be true with our pastors. Biblical teaching as a whole links clothing and calling. You are what you wear or you wear what you are. Just as judges, physicians, policeman, and auto mechanics wear clothing that befits their calling, so should the pastor, especially when he is performing the specific duties of his office during the Lord’s Day worship service.


In Christian worship, biblically and historically, the ministers wear distinctive garments to testify to their office as representatives of Christ. The robe serves to hide the personality of the man and highlight his special calling. The pastor represents Christ, the Husband, to the church, his bride. When the pastor leads worship, the robe helps remind us that it is not “my friend Jeff” up front. God in Christ calls us to worship, to confess, to hear his word, to give, etc., and he does so by means of his ordained servant. The pastor does not act for himself, but for Christ. A judge or a policeman wears a uniform because he does not act for himself. He is under orders. He represents the law and government of the county, city, or state in which he serves. In the same way, a minister represents the law and government of another kingdom. The clothing he wears testifies to this. He also is under orders. The pastor’s authority does not derive from his economic or social status (expensive suits and starched shirts). It does not derive from his natural charisma (impressive hair or flashing dark eyes). It most certainly does not derive from the fact that he looks and acts like other leaders in the world (business suits), even though this is what happens too often in America. Just as the location of the pulpit and table have symbolic significance, so also the minister’s clothing communicates that he is the ordained servant of the risen Christ, called to lead God people in covenant renewal worship.

Therefore, by placing a robe on our minister at Providence Reformed Presbyterian Church, we are 1) taking a stand against the current American Evangelical church’s tendency to transform the pastorate into something like an executive position (the CEO of the church!) by mimicking American corporate big business, and 2) seeking to bring our practice in line with what the Bible implies, back in line with what the historic Church has practiced, and in line with what other Reformed churches do worldwide.

Copyright © 1997, All rights reserved.

Jeff Meyers [contact him] is the pastor of Providence Reformed Presbyterian Church in Saint Louis, Missorri. He has been ordained in the Presbyterian Church in America since 1988. After college and serving as an officer in the U.S. Army, Jeff attended Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis. Jeff later earned his Master of Sacred Theology (S.T.M) and is currently completing his Ph.D. in Systematic Theology at Concordia Theological Seminary. He has a personal blog page called Corrigenda.

Jeff is also the author of The Lord’s Service: The Grace of Covenantal Worship, a practical pastoral guide to worship that introduces readers to the application of Old Testament sacrificial liturgics, biblical typology, and covenant theology.

44 Responses to “Why Does the Pastor Wear a Robe?”

  1. 1
    odelia Says:

    Good Day
    I thank you so much for the information published in this article. I agree with the statement you made that states that when the Pastor wear the robe it helps us to ‘submit to the office, not to the man, during worship..’
    Which forms the basis to the point I would like to make. God’s calling is not limited or stipulates a particular sex. Hence we should be submitting to the office and not the woman. There was a time when judges were leaders of God’s people and Deborah was one named in the bible. Also, there was a time when the prophets were the leaders and the bible speaks of prophetesses.

    I am not a Pastor but I have seen the call of God on very able women who are leading the people of God in a wonderful way.

    Lastly,God is likened to our shepard and if you search the scriptures you will find that there were female shepards – Rachel.

    God Bless You and I hope you will look into my response and there will be liberty for women in your church and there will be no hinderance of the move of God through God called female Pastors.

  2. 2
    Charlene Quarells Says:

    I have found the answer to the one question I have on, why pastors wear robes but I can not get the first few pages to copy. is there a reason for this?

    please let me know as soon as possable, I need the study you have put togather with all the scriptures.

    thank you


  3. 3
    Jay Horne Says:

    Charlene, are you trying to select the text of the article and copy and paste it into another document? I have no idea why that wouldn’t work. Perhaps try viewing the page in a different browser.

  4. 4
    Paul Says:

    Great information. I wouldn’t mind using this on my own website if it were possible. I don’t know why so many people have objections to the robe. I love it and I think it separates the service of the church from the business of the world.

  5. 5
    Rev. K. D. Vonner Sr. Says:

    In this ever changing world of fads and styles, the church has inadvertently become caught up in trying to fit in with what the world recognizes. The church has conformed to the world instead of being the example that the world conforms to. Thank you for such a detailed, and insightful explaination of why the Pastor must wear a robe. This should be required reading for all Pastors, and those aspiring the office. I wish you well.

  6. 6
    SevntL The Christ Minister Says:

    The office of worship is too important to be left to conformity and compromise. I agree with this article of light 100%. This explanation is truly God inspired and I pray that many will understand and accept the truth in it. I will pray for this church as it grows into the new millennium and last covenant of The Christ Spirit as all true church’s will. Peace be forward and God bless you all in Jesus name, Amen.

  7. 7
    Rev. John Luft Says:

    Thank you for your advice and help on this matter.

  8. 8
    Pastor Emric Joseph Says:

    Dear Pastor
    May,all the blessings of our Lord Jesus Christ be yours.I am inspired by your article an i have decided to follow it.
    Rev.Emric Joseph
    First Presbyterian Church railway road
    Near G.P.O Faisalabad

  9. 9
    Lisa McHeard Says:

    I believe wholeheartedly in your perspective on worship and the wearing of a robe. I understand and agree with the need for “liturgical” worship. My only issue is how churches implement the liturgy. In a Christian world where God’s Word has been marginalized and man’s written word exalted as fresh revelation in so many areas, I take issue with a congregation reading liturgy that is printed in the back of a hymnal or in a church bulletin…most of which has been manipulated by men from various passages of Scripture rather than as God breathed it in His Word. I long to see, in PCA churches especially,the purest form of worship as God ordained it in Psalm 138:2. How can we say we are worshipping as God intended when we don’t require our congregation to hold God’s Word in their hands and read it with the eyes He gave them? I am the wife of a wonderful and godly PCA pastor in Schenectady NY.

  10. 10
    Pastor D. M. Mason Says:

    Interesting article and highly informative on the liturgy of the Christian worship experience.
    This insight certainly reinforces the value and appreciation of the Pastor’s calling and responsibility.

  11. 11
    Terrence Says:

    I disagree with your views wholeheartedly. The New Testiment scriptures you listed dose not support your views at all. The “young man” in Mark 16:5 was an angelic being wearing a “long white robe” which was the customary dress of that day. And in Luke 15:22 the Father simply put on the a very nice robe for his son, which would be the same as a very nice suite or jacket in our day. God’s word gives no clear word on any “minister/pastor” wearing a special robe on the Lord’s day. It’s not biblical and it should not be worn. Just the fact that the “man” is behind the pulpit should remind him and all in attendance that he is in a special position on the Lord’s day.

    Church of Christ

  12. 12
    Reformatio Says:

    I am not as much disturbed by your “exegesis” of the two passages as I am by your conclusion that a robe “is not biblical and should not be worn.” Nowhere do you account for this conclusion. Is your reasoning that there is no clear command for a pastor to wear a robe and therefore we must not? Well, what shall we wear since the Word of God says nothing about suit and tie? Your conclusion according to your reasoning should be that we don’t HAVE to wear a robe but nowhere do you account for a “should not.” Personal preference doesn’t count in theology 🙂

  13. 13
    Pastor Says:

    Jesus and his disciples never wore regalia, this just puts you on a higher level than others, we are all a chosen priesthood, he is no respector of persons, the Pharasees were the ones who were show horses. I am blessed to be a blessing to my congregation, in humility.

  14. 14
    Charles Says:

    I’m cool with the thought of doning a gown.Bible does’nt even say anything about a suit or a tie.
    I like the idea that its helps a preacher to forget his own dignity and just to remember that He’s a man of God and a sevent.Wearing a robe does’nt make him different But make’s him feel more responsible.

  15. 15
    thomasargante Says:

    Dressed-up in Jesus?
    In Christ, the saved soul has the garments of Salvation in the Lord Jesus!
    I hail from a great non-denom. church with no Pastoral Robes! Works well for us.
    With a catholic background, I tend to draw away from most traditions that are not clearly spelled
    out in the Word.
    The preminiance of Christ should be seen mostly in the life of the pastor, and how he brings Christ by the Holy Spirit with the preaching of the Word of God to the church. Being Orthodox to the Scriptures is the most important stand! Does the flesh like the robes? Does God’s spirit so lead each one or is the tradition of the denomination have the up vote?
    I enjoy the pastor who identifies with the cross, in that He is a sinner, saved by grace and is growing in Grace! Paul said he magnified his office in his life, so he knew his idenity in Christ. Is Christ magnified is the question.
    So the robe can be a symbolic sign to the church, I see that. The article gives the historical background for the robe and this helps me learn what the tradition is all about. Character is the key, not the garment in my view. Paul, if he were in a church that wore robes, would wear the robe! He became all things to all, that he might win some.
    Blessing to the one who has a proper heart attitude and wears the ROBE! Peace to those who are in dressed in Jesus, yes, who have escaped the promise of a forever place in hell!
    Tom Argante, Chaplain

  16. 16
    charles Says:

    A question, please? I have read in the past that the term REDNECK had originated in the early South from an expression denoting a Presbyterian Minister who, at the time wore a red collar with his shirt (or robe), then later corrupted into the present day interpretation. Is there any basis to a Presbyterian Preacher wearing a red collar in early American history? A reply would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time and assistance. Sincerely, Charles

  17. 17
    Jack Says:

    . . . And what about the academic aspect of the Geneva pulpit gown? Our teaching elders are required to have sound theological training which is not always the case in many evangelical denominations of the 21st Century.

  18. 18
    John M. Crowe Says:

    The best comment in this whole explanation is wearing a robe is a stand against viewing the pastor as the CEO of a business which is what many churches today have become and in particular the mega churches.

  19. 19
    causey Says:

    The Heart is what God looks at not the attire. Is your heart connected with God’s and are you living a life beyond the robe that pleases God. If not you just wearing the robe to cover your sin and when Jesus unveils you (and believe me he will) no robe or anything else will matter. So what I am saying is if you wear a robe be sure you are worthy of it and don’t make God reqret ever choosing you as his leader!

  20. 20
    causey Says:

    I also disagree with your comment about women pastors. God never told a woman that she could not be a shepherd, and a robe does not make you a shepherd. Ephesians 4:11-15 says that “and he gave some,apostles,some prophets,some evangelist, and some pastors, teachers. Who are you to say that women cannot be Pastors or anything else God chooses. the bible also says who can know the mind of God, who is his counselor, certainly not man! So we need to stop talking about women cannot be pastors because we have become pastors over our families, our earthly families because the men are not doing what God has ordained them to do regarding the family, so the women have to become the overseers of their sons and daughters. So remember Isaiah, don’t rise your tongue against God’s anointed whether it be male or female, cause God will condem it (Isaiah 54:17). This is the heritage of the servants of God (not just the men) and their righteousness is of me saith the Lord. So be careful what you say about God’s daughters, he’ll do somin to ya!

  21. 21
    Rev Crawford Says:

    Well, in response to those who question whether a woman should be pastor need to understand the scriptures a little bit more. There is nothing in the bible which supports a female pastor. Jesus called and ordained 12 men. These where the founding fathers (minus Judas) for the church. Considering who Jesus was (God in the flesh) he was never bound by what we believed or thought to be right by man, yet he did not choose a woman as one of his apostles. The Bible also states that the man is the head of the house, just as Jesus is the head of the church. How can a woman exercise authority over a man if bible clearly states this is ungodly. Also in Timothy when Paul writes the guidelines for the office of a Biship he clearly states it in a masculin form. Yet when he spoke about Deacons and Deaconesses he did not limit the women for this office. I have yet to find any valid scripture that supports women ministers, yet alone women pastors. The one time in the bible when a woman asserted authority over a man was in the Garden when Adam followed Eve and ate the fruit. Its not for us to change what was written in the word of God. If God wanted it different, Jesus would have set it in order when he walked the face of the earth

  22. 22
    Rev JT Says:

    i total agree with the article as a whole expalanation.
    but would like to try and disagree with some issue regarding famile Ministers.the brothers who quoted about about the Lord Choosing 12 man yes that is what i writen.as we all know. but there is there nowhere were Jesus a women will never be a minister.he althought he choosed the 12 but his own ward from he mouth was god loved the world su much and he sent his only be gotten son for ALL who will be leave in will have everlasting life.there is no deferent there if the salvetion is for all then all have the right to come close to GOD.i dont want to add Paul Latters and so forth coz thos who introduced them to us the only chooed what fited them.i am talking about the Lord;s letters.here is what i see that nothing stop whoever to be a pastor.
    1.the human Mother was a woman 2. the Angel apeared to a woman.3 the resurection was seen first by woman if the Lord did not want them to say something he would not appear to them and said go and tell my brother. if they were given the ward GO and tell my brother we should look it that.
    finaly we have to remember that Jesus was a Jew we know that he rejected some jews law but he could go allong with The Heart is what God looks at not the attire. Is your heart connected with God’s and are you living a life beyond the robe that pleases God. If not you just wearing the robe to cover your sin and when Jesus unveils you (and believe me he will) no robe or anything else will matter. So what I am saying is if you wear a robe be sure you are worthy of it and don’t make God reqret ever choosing you as his leader!

  23. 23
    Joyce Mattress Says:

    My pastors puts on a pastor type cape, after he preaches and going into altar call. Do you know what that symbolises?

  24. 24
    Rev. Shirley Pond Albert Says:

    I just found this site and I wish to share some thoughts in connection with other comments. The Lord has dealt with me most of my life, but I didn’t respond until I was in my forties. One reason was the thoughts of the public, not quite as important as what God thinks. Peter also learned this when God wanted him to associate with Gentiles. God spoke to him in Acts 10. A sheet filled with non-kosher animals was suspended from Heaven & Peter was to kill & eat. NEVER! That was breaking the law! The law of God. God’s word to him was that if He, who created all things, says it is right, then it is right! We must not contradict God!
    When God called me to be a pastor, I had planned on being a teacher. Being a pastor was for men. But repeatedly, just as with Peter, the calling came. “OK, God, I’ll do it now, since you asked me to. When you want me to stop, I’ll stop.” How could I not be obedient to God?
    I am a pastor of a small church and have been there since 1991. The church might have closed if they waited for a man that could afford its small pay. I guess God knew, somehow!
    Regarding the robe, I wear my robe on Communion Sundays and other special services.

  25. 25
    Elder Alberta Green Says:

    Thank God that He is not a respector of persons. If God chose a rock to cry out, then surely He can choose a women to pastor. Men, do not be judgemental because you have left your first love. get back where you belong and lead God’s people hand in hand with your help meet, leading others back to their first love.

    Thus says the Lord.

  26. 26
    Rev Tracy E Crawford Jr. Says:

    After reading the following post and doing further research I see that people get some things confused in terms of roles or positions in the church. Often times in the argument of women pastors or preachers their are certain scriptures that are given to support those ideas. Most of those passages are taken out of context to justify these actions. Salvation is given to all people, men, women, children but does this does not give way for certain guidelines that have been set forth by scripture. The Spirit of God is given to all believers at the point of conversion but it does not qualify the person to preside over the body of Christ. Paul in Timothy gives guidelines for the office of bishop or pastor and he strictly speaks in terms of a masculine position. Christianity in the book of Acts was a radical way of life and they had no problem braking apart from the norm of what people believed yet they operated in the manner of Scripture and used guidelines given from God and Christ himself as the order in which things should be done. I am not saying that women are not capable of preaching or leading, but they are not qualified to preside over men. Paul in Ephesians states that the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. Taking this passage into consideration and reading in Timothy a bishop must be one who rule his own house well. This qualification alone eliminates a woman from holding this office. Paul goes on further in Timothy to say that he does not permit a woman to exercise authority over the man. These are scripture. Not based upon a modernistic form of equal rights but based upon biblical authority. This does not say that women dont have the ability to preach or even lead, but if the Bible is our guide then we as believers must adhere to it and not allow society to dictate what we accept or dont accept according to the word. How can we expect the world to except Christ when we as believers are compromising the Word of God. The Bible is right and accurate. We cannot take what we want from it, use some parts and discard others. We must follow its guidelines strictly and not waiver for the sake of our own personal feelings. Sorry if I offend anyone but the Word is the Word and we must not compromise it in any way.

  27. 27
    James Says:

    God has allowed me to be the Asst. Pastor at my church. My pastor says he is the only one who can ever wear a robe at our church. Yet in the past he has allowed me to do so, which leaves me with some concern already.

    This is the only church I have ever been in where such has been stated. While studying tonight and preparing to preach what God is giving me for tomorrow’s Sunday service, I felt led of the Lord to wear my robe as I have always done when I preach.

    My pastor has an area of opportunity in discussing scripture/biblical principles when people don’t agree with what he believes. This makes it extremely difficult to ask him for biblical explanation in order to learn. I have found it better up to this point not to get him all upset because he oftentimes feels threatened in his position when you disagree with him. So I tend to leave well enough alone and leave it up to God in order not to allow room for descension, especially among those members who believe whatever he says without question.

    Please assist

  28. 28
    Bob Ferguson Says:

    Arguing about points of doctrine only compounds the issue and further divides us from being loving, spirit led children of God and ministers to men women and children alike. Robes only indicate to me that a man or woman is chosen to be where they are by circumstance and calling of the Lord himself. I was not reared in an environment of wearing robes except as a choir member. The robe didn’t make me a better singer, but the congregation knew I was a singer. The same applies to preaching in a robe.

    If it works and doesn’t hinder the dissemination of the WORD, go for it. I will soon be in the pulpit beginning at the age of 62. So, what difference does it make. Not much I think. A lot depends on how a person was brought into Christianity whether a robe will assist or offend. Preach the Word and let the Lord bless the word to the hearers.

    Women preachers….OK MEN. Let’s get with the program. IF you cannot sit under the teaching of a woman, why are you not in the pulpit taking your rightful place so she does not have to do your JOB?
    Get out of your rut, your comfort zone. Quit bellyaching about it and be the answer, not the wet blanket. Also, think about this, If God can make a donkey talk to a Hebrew King, He can certainly lead a godly, spirit-filled woman to preach His word affectively and win souls for Christ! That’s reality. Remember what Paul said to the Corinthian church about the body of Christ being made up of many diverse members and that they all work together to build the kingdom of God.

    Robert Ferguson
    local pastor candidate
    United Methodist) Memphis, TN

  29. 29
    Larry G. Says:

    Pastor: Thank you for your defense of the wearing of the robe in worship. I prefer to wear a robe when I lead worship, not because it draws attention to me, but it does draw attention to the office of pastor and spiritual leader. Your article has sobered me. The robe doew not elevate me personally, but humbles me. God bless you and yours.

  30. 30
    ken Says:

    This whole subject depends on who you would like to immulate more, the pharisees or Jesus? Jesus hung amongst sinners and I highly doubt when He did this He had a clergy robe on! Its funny how christianity has single handedly brought back everything Jesus came to destroy. You shouldn’t respect someone because of their clothes, if thats the case ANYONE can put on a robe then and get respect! Jesus spoke on the clergy who dress the outside when the inside is ugly! The kingdom of God was taken away from the clergy of that day and given to EVERYONE!!! This means we ALL deserve EQUAL respect! We are ALL brothers in Christ and we need to observe and respect everyone’s office from the bishop, to the usher, to the prospect believer sitting in the back pew.

  31. 31
    kelly Says:

    i understand all that is being said and quoted. i think that pastors should be able to wear whatever they feel comfotable in, the idea that wearing a robe makes pastors more approachable and earns them more respect and so on… is plausible…but when you are being distracted because your brother,mother, friend, cousin… is preaching on the pulpit,then the Holy Spirit has not taken over. because when you are in the presence of the Holy Spirit, it does not matter who is preaching on the pulpit or what they are wearing, because then you are simply not just seeing from an earthly perspective but from a heavenly annointed perspective. It is all good and well to read all of the very interesting breakdown of the bible..it teaches me alot…but beware of reading with a earthly perspective…because then the bible is just another book being translated. the Bible is the Truth…bt Jesus is so much more than words…and interpretations..we can translate all the verses in the bibke in the simplest of form and we can speak about the holy spiritt until we are blue in the face…but until you have had that encounter with Him, you will not have the slightest idea.Because then it is easy to hae an argument about whether to wear a robe or not to wear a robe. I dont know if i am rambling or not, but the most important thing that i want to say is that Jesus died on the cross to set us free…dont get caught up in religion.i pray the He gives us all revelation.

  32. 32
    man of peace Says:

    The bible says in your getting get under standing and if we trust in the lord with all our hearts and lean not to our own understanding but in all oour ways acknowledge god then he will direct our paths to be lead by the holy spirit about the whole subject. thank you

  33. 33
    JC Says:

    As a pastor I was also sceptic but the day that I had put on my clergy shirt it reminded me of my service to the Lord and the biblical behaviour required as a minister in everyday living. The Lord spoke to me and said Let no man determine your worth or value, I give you permission to wear this shirt. After that I was God conscience than man conscience.

  34. 34
    Dr. C.P. Williams Says:

    After reading this article I became more aware of the continued need to speak the truth in love. The emphasis on women not pastoring and scriptures used to justified why they were not called to pastor,again has been taken out of context. I suggest you do further research and asked the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth to you as I beleive your heart is in the right place, but your knowledge is limited in this area. I often see this happening and mainly by men who believe they understand what God is doing. Man does not understand the things of God because it is foolishness to him and spiritually discerned. I suggest you spend more time with God and get an understanding before you suggest that women were not called to pastor. I will not make the suggestion that men opt to step up to the place and operate in their callings. What I will say and believe from co-laboring with several male pastors is that some are dealing with feelings of insecurities. Perhaps some may feel the only way to maintain their status and exert their worldly authority is too place anointed women of God below, behind and not beside them. (keeping us in our place). Well, God can use anybody to build His kingdom whether you like it or not. We must get back to building the Kingdom of God and stripe ourselves of self-centered agenda’s. While the church is discussing clergy attire of which I have no objection, souls are being losted at a rapid number. We must get back to the business of doing Gods work, based on (Isaiah 61:1-3) and stop using rhethoric to prove our views. Opinion are a dime a dozen therefore exergesis of the word of God must not be based on your opinions.
    I could say more but I will leave room for others to tackle this ridiculous statement relevant to Women not operation in the role of pastor.

    God Bless all of you and continue to do the will of God regardless of popular opinion.

    Dr.C.P. Williams

  35. 35
    Otho E. Jordan Says:

    My! What a world of information is contained in this blog discussing the sartorial practices of the clergy. It covers what is or may be worn through who should or should not wear it. The new testament doesn’t seem to address dress, which seems to me to mean that it is/was not significant. The old testament addresses it in great detail, particularly for priests. Since many denominations declare that we are all priests, perhaps we Christians should all dress in intricate ephods with a pocket for the dice for all religious services. Paul is quoted a lot, particularly with regard to women but mention was never made of the fact that he said, when asked about unqualified people spreading the gospel that it is the message and not the messenger that is important. Remember, Paul was spreading the gospel in a male dominated society. I suggest that he did not want to undermine the teaching by less important issues. On the other hand; What about Lydia? What about Paul traveling with another tent maker and his wife (Priscilla and Aquila) note that the woman is listed first. What about the fact that “they” held meetings in “their” house. As to a woman having power over men; Let’s go back to the old testament. How about Deborah who was a judge. Judges were appointed by God to teach and guide the Israelites. How about the answer to her prophecy to Barack. Jael certainly dominated a man. Christ certainly appointed 12 men but he hung out with and was supported by many women whom he obviously respected and held in high esteem. I believe the right or wrong of both how a minister dresses and whether that minister is a man or a woman depends upon what is in their heart. If the minister dresses to call attention to themselves as an individual, wrong. If a woman wants to be a minister to advance women’s rights, wrong. If the dress enhances the office and the gospel is advanced, right. God’s blessings on you all.

  36. 36
    William Levi, Says:

    In summary,
    I want to thank God for , Rev. Jeffrey J. Meyers, Rev. Craford, Rev. Larry,
    John Crowe, Causey, ntL The Christ Minister , and Paul for your wisdom, understanding of Holy scripture as the whole counsel of God in addressing the subject spoken of in this context. God bless you in your capacity to lead God’s flocks. Stay strong in your faith in confronting this crooked and perverse generation.

  37. 37
    Pastor Fredrick Edward Fleming Says:

    First off, I love the article including the issue regarding women preachers. As most will say in the Presbyterian circles, we are regulated by the word of God. The Scriptures are not silent regarding the women in the church. First Timothy makes it very clear that the reason why the women were to remain silent was a twofold aspect. Verse nine says, “In like manner also that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety: not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. Let the women learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” Clearly, Paul is using two arguments won the creation issue. Man was created first and the woman was created as a helpmate. Continually, within Scripture we hear of Adams sin, there are only two places that Adam’s sin and Eve’s sin are so fully record Genesis chapter 3 and first Timothy chapter 2. Clearly God wants us to understand that Adam’s transgression brought the curse upon us all. However, the woman also transgressed, and inverse 16, “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and asked eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee saying, thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;” history has shown us that the patriarchal community has always existed. From the time of Adam till today men have been the head of the household. Even in countries where we have seen the government tried to turn things upside down it has not worked. So Paul, instructing Timothy, tells him that the woman is to be submissive to her husband, and that she is not to teach. In first Timothy chapter 3 Paul gives specific instructions to Timothy about the office of a bishop, ( the word bishop and elder are used interchangeably) he tells him,” if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desires a good work. A bishop then must be blameless the husband of one wife.” That phraseology is very clear a one wife man only a one wife man. Remember, in the previous chapter he is also told Timothy that a woman is to be submissive to her husband and that she is not to teach and he bases it upon the fall in the Garden of Eden. Remembering once again, that is Presbyterians, we are bound to observe the biblical rule called the regulative rule of worship. Where the Scriptures tell us to do things we must do them that way. Here we have clear commands of the apostle Paul telling us that a woman is not to teach or usurp authority over a man. Therefore, it would be impossible for her to be an elder or Bishop of the Church. The tragedy of this entire argument is that for women to be placed into the office of the elders of the church she must also resigned herself from the protection of the word of God.
    Rev. Emric Joseph I am trying to get in touch with him.
    I have several friends in the Pakistan country.

  38. 38
    Jay Randolph Says:

    I use a clergy shirt. However I have just ordered my first robe. I had put a lot of thought and prayer into this. Wearing a clergy shirt, or a robe should tell people that you are a slave to Christ. I am no better than anybody. I am here to spread God’s Word and to share what he has done in my life, and what I have seen him do for others. As a Pastor. I am not the CEO of the Church, but only a servant of the church.

    If you have a question. Read your Bible and Pray. Do not pick out one verse, read and understand the chapter, if not the book

  39. 39
    Rev Dr Mark Pearce Says:

    I very thorough explanation. Backed with some great scriptures. Thank you.

  40. 40
    Rev. Rawls Says:

    Praise God, in the loving memory of Jesus, we are to be faithful to the commands of God at all cost. As children we are commanded to be in tune with the guiding of the Holy Spirit, our Father God. In this same reference God is our Father, (the head, husband, masculine of the eternal kingdom and His earthly domain) the earthfully church has Christ as our King (again masculine), protector with the sword of truth,a jew first and Lord and ruler from the foundation of the world and sole ruler for all the men and women of God, from Genesis until the ending at Revelation, even Paul’s model leader, (be like Christ , put on Christ who did wear a robe in the land of Juda,(hot like S.C.) (woman you are healed, after touching the hym of His garment) the women throughout the Bible only spoke when spoken to the weaker vessel apt to be fooled by Satan (In the garden, the world today and mankind, compassonate,(children bearing, the fruit of God) not able to physically defend the cross in battle, cary the sword and armor of rightiousness.(1st Kings) In other words God put everything under Man’s feet including the women and his children, modeling the Headship Of God, for the world to model courage.(Gen 1) The spirit of God always came upon a man of God not a woman of God for the call of God. Women are our help in this spiritual warfare but they won’t take a bullet for the war either. I repect a strong women, which I do have, her wisdom is a gift from God, but only a gay man or a player is submissive to a women. Yea That’s another issue, but this will confuss the sinner. (gay pastor’s– women leaders leading men or his she a man or is he a women) just keeping it real here. Just keep it simple, that’s God’s design, a man’s voice! Let’s save some souls, but don’t distort the scriptures, and don’t try to be my master, which is the place of the man like Christ is the head of His house the church. Get to work but don’t get in the way. It is clear man shall not live by bread alone , not a woman because the man also has to supply the bread for the family.( His congregation) Usually women who preach has a weak man, in my opion, and she rules without wisdom. God will deal with you, in all that you do. What about other areas of ministry? The robe says is all, set aside for the Lord’s work, not looking like the worlds work force. Comments? Oh, by the way the devil can preach too. (Jesus in the wilderness) Yet satan is maculine too, even as a surpent, dragon (Rev.)
    God does not have a mother but Christ and God have wifes.(Isael/ the NT church)
    Wow, No women writers in the sciptures! (66 books) Queen Sheba and King Soloman. Smile God, loves you.

  41. 41
    Rev. J.C. Says:

    Galatians 3. Also, personal opinions do not belong in the word of God. Listen to God’s voice and be led of the Holy Spirit. If He says wear a robe, wear it. If He does not, then don’t wear it. Be blessed and Grow in Grace.

  42. 42
    ardelia Says:

    who are we to say .who can pastor and who can not . who died and made you god?read your bibleand see how many women>s god used to do his will . I have a list of them. read joel the whole book . god say I will pour out my sprit in the last day.

  43. 43
    christ Says:

    The town is the church….going out into the town public a white robe is not just a sign of authority but to be.cool.and minamize sweating….and a.white suit is allowed in the sanctuary……mark jones mesoeasy21@yahoo.com…….

  44. 44
    Elder Owens F. Shepard Says:

    Having just read this interesting article and a number of the comments attached to it, I would just like to add that I see the robe much like a military uniform which by its style denotes a person’s position. The priests of old were at times directed to wear certain clothing during particular worship services and celebrations. I do believe that the robe(s) itself should not be so elaborate that the congregation is unable to focus on the message being delivered by the messenger.

    As for women preachers/pastors/leaders. Spirit filled women are as important to ministry as any man and more so if the men don’t harbor the Spirit of God. I believe that God can move through any being… (He spoke through a donkey). We have to understand the context of what is written throughout the bible and the times during which it was both written and translated.

    I just wanted to add my 2 cents… Happy New Year 2015!!!

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