Saturday, February 8, 2014

The BEST Blog Comment From a Non-Naturist… EVER!!!

A Pleasant Surprise!

I woke up this morning to a new comment on one of my blog posts. It is by far the best non-naturist response I’ve EVER received to anything that I’ve written! You can see the comment attached to the pivotal article from the Purpose of Clothing series where I address the presumption that clothing is intended by God to “Control Lust.

The comment was wonderfully affirming and encouraging, but it also contained a very significant question that deserves a detailed treatment. That’s the purpose of this blog post.

Here are David’s comments:

  • Hi Matthew, I am not a naturist, nor do I have an intention of becoming one, but I have found some of the concepts taught here and at MyChainsAreGone.org to be incredibly helpful in thinking rightly about lust and the body. Thanks for being committed to the Bible as your authority.
  • I read the "Rightly Dividing 1 Timothy 2:9" article, and found it a compelling translation, but I'm not entirely convinced that "apparel" is an incorrect translation of katastole. One issue that was not addressed: a quick google search of the word brings up lots of christian sites claiming that the word means "long dress". Kata meaning "to let down" and stola being a common female garment in Greek culture. If that is correct, then we have to say that 1 Tim 2:9 commands wearing clothing, specifically long dresses. Could you please address that claim? Thanks in advance.

My Response

First of all, David, to have a non-naturist write and affirm anything that I’ve written is unprecedented! Thank you for your honest evaluation and consideration of my arguments.

I want to respond to much of what you’ve said line by line… so I’ll give a bit of your words and then offer my response.

  • Hi Matthew, I am not a naturist, nor do I have an intention of becoming one, but I have found some of the concepts taught here and at MyChainsAreGone.org to be incredibly helpful in thinking rightly about lust and the body.

I agree with you about the significance and power of the teaching found at MyChainsAreGone.org. I wish everyone who has any sort of struggle with pornography would read it… then read it again… then again… until its liberating truths really sink in and make them free.

Furthermore, their friends, family, and spouses should also read it to. Frankly, it would be good for anyone to read, because our culture’s (and the church’s!) dysfunctional perspective on the human form has resulted in much more damage than bondage to pornography. Women in particular have been led to believe that their value is based primarily upon their sexual impact on men. The secular world promotes the “hot” looking girls and demeans the “fat,” “flat,” or “saggy” woman’s body, while the church considers a woman to be “loose” or “immoral” if her attire is judged to “cause men to stumble” (see this article in the series, You Can’t Do That!).

But as to your own thoughts about “becoming a naturist,” I say that you are right… that no “ism” is going to change the world or set people free. Furthermore, there is no particular virtue in nudity. It is only in embracing and living by truth that we will benefit from its power to liberate.

However, I urge you to consider how you are going to live out the truth… or even more importantly, how are you going to teach your children to understand and embrace the truth? If you never show them the truth about the human body, you can be sure that the world and pornography (and sadly, the church) will indoctrinate them with the lie. To preempt that, you cannot live in your home the way that the world and the church dictates that you must. There has to be at least some level of openness that has the effect of “naturism” in your home. But if you do that, then you have to mitigate against the implications of the rule that “it’s OK at home, but not with anyone else,” which isn’t true. So, if we really want to live by and teach our children the whole truth, some sort of family naturist activity is actually worth considering (You might want to read my series called, Naturist By Biblical Conviction).

  • I read the "Rightly Dividing 1 Timothy 2:9" article, and found it a compelling translation, but I'm not entirely convinced that "apparel" is an incorrect translation of katastole.

You are a thinking man, David. You recognize the compelling nature of the argument in that article, but you also discerned a potential etymological “weakness” in the argument. In truth, I too considered this very issue and was compelled to discover if it really was a solid reason to interpret katastole as a garment. But my further research confirmed that there is still no basis for translating it as “apparel.” I’ll explain as we go on.

  • One issue that was not addressed: a quick Google search of the word brings up lots of Christian sites claiming that the word means “long dress.”

There is no doubt that your Google search will pull up hundreds or perhaps thousands of Christian sites who declare that katastole is a garment, and many will attempt to tell you what kind of garment it is. But this can be considered unreliable for three reasons:

  1. For hundreds of years (probably only since the KJV was translated), Christians have understood 1 Tim. 2:9 to be a command for women to dress in modest clothing, for the KJV translators actually translated katastole as “apparel.” To my knowledge, no one has really ever questioned that translation or the resulting “command” for clothing so the only question they’ve ever asked is “What kind of garment is a katastole?” They’ve tried to use etymology to suggest a type of garment, but that’s literally the only thing to go on! Then they look around to see what other Christian teachers have said and they quote one another… and every last one of the people they quote have assumed the same meaning for katastole.
  2. You will not be able to find a single secular source that will refer to the katastole as a garment used in ancient Greco-Roman culture. The only sources which offer any such description are those who have been influenced by the KJV translation of the word.
  3. The very fact that nowhere in the rest of the Bible nor in all of secular history refers to any piece of clothing as a katastole is impossible to explain if katastole were really a piece of clothing. And It’s very odd to suggest that Paul told women to wear a garment that no one knows what is, and judging from a comprehensive survey the biblical text, no one in the Bible ever wore!

Hopefully, that’s sufficient argument to lay aside the “so-many-Christian-sites-say-so” argument and consider the claim on its textual merits alone—and there certainly are textual merits to consider!

  • Kata meaning "to let down" and stola being a common female garment in Greek culture.

And here are the points that merit our consideration.

First of all, however, I don’t think your representation of kata- is accurate. Kata- is a prefix, but you’ve defined it here as a verb. Actually, I believe “to let down” is a reasonable translation of the word, katastello, which is the verb form of katastole. As the Rightly Dividing article points out, the prefix kata- means “down, against, according to.” As a prefix, it modifies the meaning of the verb or noun that it is connected to. So, the real path to understand a word’s meaning is to be found in the root word first, not its prefix.

So, let’s look at the root of katastole, which—as you pointed out—is stole.

And here’s where the potential of your argument seems to gain some merit, for even in English, stole is a garment that someone can wear. Furthermore, the etymology of the English word “stole” can be traced directly to this Greek word. Additionally, I suspect that the contemporary article of clothing called a “stole” may be traced back to the article of clothing worn in biblical times.

The argument that stole is a biblical garment—so therefore katastole should be considered a garment—finds even more support in the fact that we find the Greek word stole in the biblical text used to describe a garment! Take a look… here are all 9 places it appears in the New Testament:

  • Mark 12:38 - In His teaching He was saying: “Beware of the scribes who like to walk around in long robes [stole], and like respectful greetings in the market places,…”
  • Mark 16:5 - Entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe [stole]; and they were amazed.
  • Luke 15:22 - But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe [stole] and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet;…’
  • Luke 20:46 - Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes [stole], and love respectful greetings in the market places, and chief seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets, 
  • Rev. 6:11 - And there was given to each of them a white robe [stole]; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.
  • Rev. 7:9,13-14 - After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes [stole], and palm branches were in their hands; … Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “These who are clothed in the white robes [stole], who are they, and where have they come from?”  I said to him, “My lord, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes [stole] and made them [stole] white in the blood of the Lamb.

So… have I presented a compelling biblical and etymological case for considering stole to be a garment so that katastole may correctly be considered one, too?

To be sure, when I was first considering this question, I was leaning that way on the issue. It seemed pretty convincing that this offered a reasonable basis for translating katastole as “apparel.” And, I would not be surprised at all if that’s exactly the logic followed by the KJV translators when they came upon the word katastole and wondered how they should translate it.

But we’re not done yet… let’s look deeper and ask some more questions about what we see here in the biblical usage of stole.

Stole as a Garment… of Position!

Note first that from a biblical perspective, it is incorrect to say that stole was only a feminine garment. Where we can discern the gender of the wearer, it was always male.

Right away from the texts above, we can see that while some people may have worn a stole, it was certainly not a common garment worn by normal folks. The Scribes and Pharisees loved them. An angel wore one in the empty tomb of our Savior when the disciples dropped in to investigate. The Prodigal Son’s father put the “best” stole on him (“best” is protos in Greek, which signifies “first in rank”). And finally, the host of the saved in heaven will be wearing white stoles.

Based on this survey of its biblical usage, this garment was evidently one that signified position or authority. That explains why the Pharisees loved them. That’s why the father put it on his lost-and-restored son. That’s why an angel proclaiming the resurrection wore one. That’s why we will wear them in heaven… we’ve been made clean and we will be seated with Christ!

Immediately now we can discern a troubling conflict with Paul’s teaching in 1 Timothy 2:9, where he is telling the women to DE-emphasize their wealth and position! He’s certainly not telling the ladies to wear something that will call attention their standing in society or the church. And obviously, Paul is telling ALL the women in the church to “adorn” themselves with katastole. Therefore, it cannot be a garment just for the “elite” in society to wear as stole evidently was.

So… What Was a Stole?

Clearly, a stole was something that could be worn. But just as clearly, it was not something worn often or by common people.

  • But what kind of garment was it? Was it really a “robe” as we find it translated?
  • How did it come to have the meaning (signifying high position) when it was worn?
  • And why is the name of it based on the verb stello which means “to arrange, prepare, gather up” (as one might gather up the sails of a ship) come to describe a garment in the first place??

I surely don’t have the final word on the answers to these questions, but I have a theory that fits all the facts.

Perhaps the best way to explain my theory is to give a real example in English… one that—in fact—even is similar in meaning and history as stole must have had in Greek!

Why Do We Wear Ties??

I grew up wearing suits and ties to church. As a kid, my ties were literally the “clip-on” variety, but I eventually learned how to tie a “real” tie. But it was clear to me from the start that a “tie” was completely useless functionally; it’s only purpose was for “dressing up.” Fast forward 40 years, and I almost never wear a tie. If I do, it’s still only for dressing up.

Yet, in formal political, business, and religious contexts, wearing a tie is still the standard for those in positions of influence. Even news anchors wear them. What’s up with that?

And where did “ties” come from to start with? Why do we call that thing a “tie”?

Well, the reality is that when people first started wearing ties, it was completely and only functional. They didn’t have buttons yet, and there were no zippers, so the only way you could hold a garment together was by tying it with a rope or a long strip of cloth. In order to get the collar of a shirt to stay closed around the neck, they used a cloth to “tie” things together. At some point, the cloth itself began to transcend it’s function of “tying” and began to also contribute to the fashion design of the wearer’s attire.

In time, of course, the original and very practical function of the tie became completely overshadowed by its function as an adornment. And today, the higher ranking individuals in our society wear a suit and tie on a daily basis, because they must uphold the position that they have attained and the expectation is that they will always wear a tie… even though it has absolutely no practical function any more!!

So, now we have a garment item which draws its name from the original function that it performed; we literally refer to it by the the noun form of the verb which is was its original function.

Could a Stole Be a Modern Day Tie?

I would not say that a “tie” is the 1st century “stole,” but I do believe that both garments’ usage and names followed the very same functional paths.

The Greek verb, stello, means “to arrange, prepare, gather up” and “to restrain.” It then follows that the noun form of that verb would most likely refer to a device used to accomplish the action of the verb. Based on that assumption, I believe that the stole was a piece of cloth that was named for the practical function that it performed… perhaps a long strip of cloth used to “gather up” a person’s garments to keep them from flapping around or dragging on the ground.

In time, the natural desire of people to “look good” resulted in the application of aesthetics to the cloth, so that it also became an fashionable adornment, even while it continued to perform its function. Eventually, its practical function ceased to be as important as its ornamental function and it came to be used as a symbol of position, often being highly decorated itself. This would explain why the Pharisees “loved” to wear them. After all, just about everyone wore a robe… but only the “important” folks had a stole!

Let me draw the parallel:

Modern Tie

Ancient Stole

Functional Beginning: a piece of cloth used to tie together the collar of a person’s shirt

Functional Beginning: A cloth used to gather up a person’s loose-fitting tunic and/or robe.
Functional Expansion: It began to take on an adorning function, such that people who wanted to appear to be from higher classes wore more ornate cloths to tie their shirts. Functional Expansion: It began to take on an adorning function, such that people of higher position took pride in a fancier stole.
Function in Contemporary Culture: The “tie” is now entirely an adornment used almost exclusively in the realms of power, influence, and formal social events. Function in Biblical Times: Worn by people who were recognized (or wished to be recognized) as a higher class or more important than others.

DISCLAIMER: I do not have any hard empirical evidence to support these claims about the use of the stole aside from what I read of its use in Scripture. I just believe this is a best guess that helps us explain and understand the word stole and how it is used in the NT. 

The Modern Day Stole

Fast forward to today, and I think the modern day heir of the stole is probably the military “sash.” Consider the photos below. The sashes here have absolutely no practical function, and are entirely about the position of their wearers.

Columbian_President_SashHonduras-Presidential_Sash

Above Left: Columbian President Juan Manuel Santos’ inauguration.
Above Right: Honduran President Manuel Zelaya’s inauguration.
Below: United Kingdom Princes William and Harry dressed in military attire for the Royal Wedding.

UK-Princely_Military_Sash

[As a side note, I find it interesting that in American Sign Language, the signs for “Lord” or King” are made by drawing the hand diagonally across the body tracing the “sash” using the letters “L” or “K” respectively. See the ASL Video Dictionary online for a demonstration]

Another possible heir of the Ancient Greek stole might be the academic graduation stole—which again, conveys the position and accomplishments of its wearer. And the more colorful the stole, the higher the degree earned by the graduate.

But Might Katastole Still Be a Garment?

Perhaps some would still argue that katastole could be a garment, but unless it’s original function AND form was drastically different than I believe the etymology suggests, it’s evident that a garment used as a binding devise is unlikely to become a “modest” long dress-like garment called katastole.

Furthermore, it is probably a mistake to assert that since a stole was a wearable item, katastole must also be a garment. The more likely etymological path to understanding the meaning of the noun katastole is by its relationship with the verb form, katastello. And this is the path used in the article Rightly Dividing 1 Timothy 2:9. Consequently, I don’t think the article’s conclusions should not be considered erroneous on the basis of the usage of stole in the Bible.

Is Every “Tie” a Tie?

The fact that stole is a “garment” does not mean that katastole must also be. We can see the same reality in English with the word “tie,” which does not always signify a different article of clothing when we attach a prefix. Let me give examples:

  • Power-tie – yes, this is wearable, but it is obviously a type of the tie we’ve been talking about, and this term didn’t come into use until long after a “tie” was a recognizable garment item.
  • Bow-tie – yes, this too is wearable, but it also is a distinct form of the tie that probably didn’t even have its distinctive name until after “long” ties came into vogue.
  • Wire-tie – Clearly, this is not a wearable item. Its name is much more clearly associated with the meaning of the verb “tie” than the garment noun “tie.”
  • Twisty-tie – Once again, we all know what this is, and it is not a garment.
  • Hog-tie – OK… this is really a verb rather than a noun, but the mental image was interesting…

The point is this… without any biblical or historical evidence that katastole is an identifiable type of garment, basing the claim that it is a garment on the fact that stole is a type of garment is simply too weak to stand upon.

  • If that is correct, then we have to say that 1 Tim 2:9 commands wearing clothing, specifically long dresses. Could you please address that claim? Thanks in advance.

I think you can see that I still don’t agree with the claim that 1 Tim 2:9 commands clothing because I still do not believe that katastole is a garment at all. I tell you the truth, though, I seriously wrestled with this before I reached the conclusion that I’ve written in this blog post—evidenced by the fact that I wrote this blog post in one day; the research was already done!

I hope that you’re convinced as well, but as always, I welcome a careful review by you or anyone else. Either way, I hope to hear from you again!

Thanks again for writing!

— Matthew Neal

12 comments:

jochanaan said...

I've worn stoles in choirs. By themselves they cover nothing; they're entirely ornamental, an indication of rank for priests and acolytes and choir members (who may be considered modern-day "Levites"). Is it possible that the verse we're studying commands women to "put OFF" (kata) their merely ornamental indication of rank (stole)?

David said...

Thanks for the detailed reply to my question. My knowledge of greek grammar and syntax is almost non-existent (I plan to take a course in basic biblical greek in a few months). I have to admit, I am not surprised that you had already done the research on that particular point, based on the thoroughness of your other posts. I’ve found several other christian naturist blogs, but quickly discovered yours was the best use of my time in finding sound biblical reasoning. (As an aside, I should have also said at the outset I agree with your main argument in the other post that the passage has nothing to do with preventing lust.)

You make an excellent point that the definition I found treats kata like a verb, I had not picked up on that. Also a good point that stole in biblical use is a male garment indicating status, I had not made that connection. Seems like that pretty well rules out the notion of katastole being a specific female garment of “modest” social status in the 1 Tim 2:9 context. Excellent example also that the etymological methodology of simply splitting the word in half can be very misleading. Obviously stole has a modern meaning, but if you plug καταστολη (katastole) into google translate (which I did off of a greek website with context) it means “repression” and actually fit with the flow of the modern greek sentence.

You are probably already aware of this, but in googling καταστολη I found that it is used in the Septuagint translation of Isaiah 61:3. It appears that the hebrew words rendered καταστολην δοξης (katastolē doxa) (note the extra v at the end... not sure what that means) in the LXX are translated in the ESV as “the garment of praise” (contrasted with “a faint spirit”, so probably not a literal garment). The hebrew word (H4594) translated katastole in the LXX also only has one occurrence, so that doesn’t make it any easier! I have no knowledge of hebrew either, but it seems like a sound logical inference that katastole is not a common female garment in the first century. Also, the greek lexicon at Stepbible.org defines katastolē as appearance/behavior, which fits well with the Rightly Dividing article.

I have really enjoyed the process of trying to figure out what this word katastole means. Thanks again for the prompt and through reply! I am going to read over your “naturist by biblical conviction” posts and formulate a reply to discuss some of my concerns.

Matthew Neal said...

Thanks again, David.

A couple of quick responses...

First of all, the "v" on katastole making it katastolev is the Greek letter equivalent to the English letter, "n" and that is how it is pronounced. In English, we do not change the form of nouns according to their case, but in many other languages, they do. I'm pretty sure that's what's going on there. In English, we only adjust our pronouns according to case (I/me, she/her, they/them, who/whom).

I also took a closer look at the Isa. 61:3 passage. Examining what I can of the original Hebrew, it's still a bit confusing why the LXX translators would choose the Greek word katastole for the Hebrew word ma'ateh (H4594).

As you might imagine, Isa. 61:3 is the ONLY place that the noun ma'ateh is used in all the scriptures! So its meaning is also somewhat ambiguous. However, the root word that its based on is the verb 'atah (H5844), which does mean "to cover, enwrap, wrap oneself, envelop oneself." So, the translation of ma'ateh as "garment" does make some sense. The mistake for us would be to conclude then that ma'ateh was a typical garment of some kind. There are other words in Hebrew that have that meaning and they were not used here.

Based on its etymology, I suspect that ma'ateh should more accurately be translated as "covering," "drape" (as a noun), "mantle," or "shroud."

One of the ways the root word is used is in reference to mourners of the day, who (I believe) would crouch down on the ground, throw a piece of cloth over themselves, and wail. If I'm right, that cloth shrouding them could be called a ma'ateh; it was a covering that completely enveloped them, but not exactly what we would think of as a "garment" today.

The point here is this: we cannot use the LXX translation of ma'ateh to katastole and combine it with the the English translation of ma'ateh to "garment" to conclude that katastole must therefore be a garment!

If we were to base our understanding of katastole on that logic, we'd better be prepared to dress our women in burkas... shrouded completely like the meaning of ma'ateh suggests.

— Matt

Kyle said...

Hello,

I am also a non-naturist (a very curious and sympathetic one) who would like to add to the discussion. I believe that the translation in Timothy in the KJB as "modest apparel" does not cause any trouble to your viewpoint at all. When read in the context of the whole passage women are supposed to be humble with what they wear. They are not to proudly boast about their station in life by what they wear (like many women do in ultra-conservative churches i.e. expensive haircuts manicures pedicures, designer clothing, excessive makeup, excessive jewelry, special superior clothing from "modest" manufacturers...). It is interesting that it refers to the "apparel" that is "not" to be worn somewhat specifically, but merely says that says that a woman should be generally modest and clothed with "with good works." Christians need to use a dictionary more often. Here is the definition of modest (from dictionary.com):
mod·est [mod-ist] Show IPA
adjective
1.
having or showing a moderate or humble estimate of one's merits, importance, etc.; free from vanity, egotism, boastfulness, or great pretensions.
2.
free from ostentation or showy extravagance: a modest house.
3.
having or showing regard for the decencies of behavior, speech, dress, etc.; decent: a modest neckline on a dress.
4.
limited or moderate in amount, extent, etc.: a modest increase in salary.
Origin:
1555–65; < Latin modestus restrained, decorous, equivalent to modes- (stem of *modus, an s- stem akin to modus mode1 , perhaps < *medos, with the vowel of modus; compare moderārī to moderate, from the same noun stem) + -tus adj. suffix

It is interesting that only the third definition fits the standard evangelical/fundamentalist view of this passage. The first two primary definitions do not! The scriptural usage in context seems to clearly be referring to a humble, moderate, and unpretentious manner. In this light, I find the story of Tabitha's resurrection interesting.

On another note, you should check out the problems with the modern bible versions. They all contrast to the KJB dramatically in places because they come from corrupt manuscripts. I find it interesting that the KJB is the non-prudish version. I recommend doing a search on the passages suggesting nakedness in the NIV and other modern versions. It makes for an interesting contrast.

Thank you so much for your efforts in the pursuit of controversial truths!

Blessings in the Lord Jesus Christ,

Kyle

Matthew Neal said...

Kyle, Great comments!!

You are right... even in English, the 1 Tim. 2:9 passage is NOT about "keeping covered," because the obvious intent of Paul's teaching is the avoidance of ostentation, rather than the avoidance of skin.

Unfortunately, however, in Christian culture today, definition #3 has become the FIRST definition of the word "modest," and so it has been forced upon the passage to teach a man-made rule. It has then been used to measure spiritual maturity and holiness. Col. 2:20-23 warns us against doing that.

Speaking of how modern translations are "squeamish" about nudity, have you read my blog series about Squeamish Translating? http://thebiblicalnaturist.blogspot.com/2012/01/squeamish-translating-prologue.html

I do believe that the Textus Receptus (from which the KJV was translated) is the most accurate Greek version of the NT, but I would hesitate to call the others "corrupt." I don't believe the differences impact any core doctrines.

Thanks for writing, Kyle. Feel free to contact me personally at {contact AT thebiblicalnaturist DOT com}

— Matt

David said...

Hi Matt,

Thanks again for the thoughtful response and analysis. Based on your reply it is quite safe to conclude that there is no requirement in 1 Tim 2:9 to keep a certain amount of skin covered.

My reason for concern is to combat the notion that victims of sexual assault are “at least partly” to blame for the assault because of the clothes they wear. Some legalistic Christians will cite 1 Tim 2:9 and say “See? if you hadn’t broke God’s command for modesty this would not have happened to you.” The most damnable examples of this were found in Bill Gothard’s ministry, as documented on the website Recovering Grace.


http://www.recoveringgrace.org/2013/04/how-counseling-sexual-abuse-blames-and-shames-survivors/

In this example, even young children are told they are partly to blame because of their “immodest” clothes:

http://www.recoveringgrace.org/2013/04/how-lessons-from-moral-failures-in-a-family-blames-victims/

Of course, none of my thoughtful evangelical friends would ever say that to a 6 year old. But no one has ever been able to address the questions: when, between age 6 and age 26, does the victim become partly to blame? With what immodesty, between a burka and a bikini does it become partly her fault? (As an aside, I very much appreciate your post on the objectification of women.)

This is not a mere abstract exercise, and certainly not just to justify going to the beach naked. For the sake of these victims of assault, we must make war on the notion that lust and sexual abuse are the fault of anyone other than the luster and the abuser.

If there is going to be a change in our culture, it must be led by Christians, specifically Christian men. I say that not because of my complementarian theology, but because a simple flowchart of the problem shows that any solutions have to start with men. I must take this message to my church, and to all who will listen. There is too much at stake to be silent.

Thank you again for your commitment to the Bible as your authority. I hope that the time you have put into this blog is rewarded, and more people are set free the way I have been.

David

Matthew Neal said...

Thanks for your comments, Dave. You still get the prize for the most positive comments from a non-naturist EVER (although Kyle's comments were great, too!).

I have personally had very close exposure to the ministry of Bill Gothard--and in many ways, I have benefited from his teaching--so I am deeply grieved to see the reports of all sorts of abuse that have surfaced through the RecoveringGrace.org website.

You are absolutely right about the fact that ONLY the abuser is responsible for abuse, no matter what the victim is or is not wearing.

I find it very interesting that you said that this does not "justify going to the beach naked." Perhaps not, but think about it for a minute... if our society DID permit public nudity at the beaches (or even other public places... parks, swimming pools, gyms, or our own back yards) then there would be little or no basis to EVER blame the "naked" one for any abuse perpetrated on them. If full exposure were common, then no one would ever blame the exposure for the crime!

But the idea that the victim is to e blamed more than the abuser is actually woven in the fabric of our churches' teaching and practice... consider this:

When have you ever heard it taught that men must learn to NOT lust after women... no matter how much of their skin they see??

Never, right?

The lustful response in men IS ASSUMED in the church today. Therefore, the ONLY path to keeping lustful men at bay is to tell the women to cover up. And so you know what happens? Men "automatically" lust when they see "too much" female flesh. Hey... the church has unwittingly sanctioned it!

So, yes... there is way to much at stake to be silent.

Please write me directly, David... I'd like to interact with you some more... perhaps I can support you further in taking this message to your church.

{contact AT thebiblicalnaturist DOT com}

Matt

Anonymous said...

I popped in here mostly by accident, and got intrigued. Christian involved in translation work, naturist by leaning more in the circs than practice.

When it got into language, I got active. katastole shows up once in the Septuagint, Isaiah 61:3, the "garment" of praise. The corresponding Hebrew etymologically is "covering" but is found nowhere else. The Syriac uses in the verse a word meaning cloak. In 1 Timothy 2:9, the Syriac just has "clothing". My Greek dictionary for katastole gives "arranging, equipment, dress ..."
Evidence is, what is being said in these passages is not gender specific. Isaiah 61: is clearly unisex. Nor is a specific style implied, I should say.

Rather the unifying meaning seems to be "costume appropriate to the occasion / social setting".

Matthew Neal said...

Hey, Anon. Thanks for your participation.

I did address the issue of Isaiah's "Garments of Praise" in one of the followup comments to this post. I hope you got a chance to see it.

Just to comment on what you offered as a definition for katastole,, I'm not sure your definition ("costume appropriate to the occasion / social setting") really aligns with the etymology of katastole that's been discussed. I'd be interested in understanding how you arrived at that definition.

Thanks! Feel free to write again!

— Matt

David Miller said...

matthew, you highlight a very interesting paradox on flesh and lust in Christian dogma and in the actual following religious tenets. As you rightly point out "The lustful response in men IS ASSUMED in the church today". Never expected to find such high quality philosphical discussion on a naturist thread ;-)

David Renken said...

Matt,
Thank you for your time doing the study of the Bible needed to look in depth in these things.

Here is my question: Do you think it is possible that Katastole is a class of garment? Have you considered that Kata in Katastole could be describing a lower class or simple stole? In other words he is telling them to not wear ornate but simple garments.
Thanks.

Dave

Bernard Harmse said...

the intresting nuance in the verse of 1 Tim.2:9,is the meaning of the word modesty.Modesty in this instnse is not actually and in particular associated with clothing.Modesty here refers to a sound mind,a sound demeanour,and a submissive and respectfull behaviour.The further context of this passage speaks about the conduct of women,and it must be seen in the context of the pagan worship that had woman as priestesses,boisterous and assertive,using sex as worship rituals.
Paul speaks of a behaviour that is oppositeto the temple priestesses.It does not refer to clothing per se,but conduct,and by virtue of the clothes that one would wear,it was not to be intimidating,seductive,over embrouded or an over adorning of jewelry,it speaks in the greeg text more of a dressing down than dressing up.Being a naturist or a nudist,means,though I am naked(and in my estimate,nakedness is the willing and publick exposure of the genitals ,visibly observed),one can be modest in nudity...and immodest as a textile.
In this context,Paul refers ro women who are submissive and humble,and teachablee.In a broader sense it speaks of "being on the backckgroound,discreet in reaction,and reserved in opinion and conduct".
Modesty may involve clothing,but mostly refers to expressive behaviour.I can be a textile,and be modest,that is,be teachable,humble discreet,not assertive,and teachable.Modesty in this context refers to a sobriety or soberness of mind,and applying it to today and this age,it means,though I am a nudist or a naturist,I do dont yield to immoral and promiscuois behaviour.As a nudist,I sanctify my nudity to Christ,and express Christ in my life and my behaviour.I express the fruits of the Spirit.As a nudist Christian,I will not now use my nudity as an excuse to sin.
The interesting part of being a nudist is,that God never cursed the nudity.He never cursed the nakedness of Adam and Eve!God cursed the sin that would corrupt innoscence.Nudity is not sinfull,neither does nudity bring about sin.Sin is concieved in the mind by choice.If I associate nudity only with sexuality,nudity will not be the sin,but what one does with the nudity.If my nudity and my being a nudist is not sanctified unto the Lord,I will not live a natrist/nudist life to honour God.
My nudism is concecrated to God,and with my body,and my genitals,I will do nothing to seperate myself from the love of Christ or my union with Christ.Even though I am a nudist,and a Pastor,my nudity is not offensive to God,because my identity is not that of a nudist,but Christ as my Life.My nudity is concecrated to Christ,which means,my body and genitals are concecrated to Christ.I will not share His temple,His Spirit of which my body is his temple,with a foreign or apposing spirit.My body belongs to God,and all of it,and thereby,I also have concecrated my nudity to God.
Modesty does mean clothing in general,modesty is expressing Christ...and whether one is a textile or a nudist as a Christian,it is still the same Christ.
As a Nudist Christian,my body is his temple.The temple of Israel was never covered,rthe tabernacle was never hidden,it was set in the midst of Israel for all to see,and within it dwelt the presence of God.
As Christians,we ought to be proud nudists...our bodies are the Temple of God,and we need not hide it.