Suitable dress sense
Hi. I have a colleague who is getting married next year. She is having problems finding a suitable dress, because from her church she is not allowed to wear white, and she has to wear a hat, not a veil. She can't wear cream either, or any light colour. I was wondering what your position on this is? I realize that white is a sign or symbol of purity, and that no-one is pure. But if it's not ok to wear white on our wedding day, then why is it ok to wear white any other day? And what is the difference between a hat and a veil? they are both coverings for the head. If anything, I think a veil is better, the Israelites never wore hats! What do you think?
You are asking for my position on the colour of the wedding dress. I have no difficulty with a white dress as it is fitting the occasion of the wedding. Of course, someone could argue that nobody is pure and therefore nobody should wear white but that's an endless discussion that goes nowhere. The colour of clothing, or even clothing itself, was never meant to be an expression of one's standing before God. The choice of colour is also somewhat culturally dictated. What is acceptable in one culture isn't in another. In our Western culture, white has been the traditional colour for weddings and black for funerals. God never dictated a colour of clothing in the Bible. Of course, as the Bible is written in the culture of those days, you will also find reflected their culture in the Scriptures. We would think it `quite` inappropriate to swaddle babies at their birth. Yet is was very common in the Bible culture. Also, people wailing around the funeral procession would be frowned upon in the Netherlands; yet it would be frowned upon if missed in the Bible times. The Bible's principles about clothing are in brief 1) concealing rather than revealing (that's also true for wedding dresses and true for males and females) 2) sober rather than extraordinary (clothing is a badge of our fallen condition) 3) fitting the occasion (sackcloth wasn't usually worn to a wedding feast!) 4) sex distinguished (there need to be difference between male and females expressed in clothing) 5) subject to the law of charity (don't offend your weaker brother with your liberty). Colour is never dictated anywhere. The reference to "zwart" in Ps. 42 is a reference to mourning, grief rather than to the exact color. Therefore I don't think I agree at all with the position that brides have to be in black or dark clothing. However, I would respect it if that is an important issue within that particular church your friend hopes to be married in. Rom. 14 tells me that I need to deny my liberty and in this case, your friend would do wrong if in that church she would provoke brothers and sisters to anger with pursuing her liberty in this matter. If she doesn't want to conform, she should find another church where God's truth is preached and where this colour of the dress isn't an issue.
Regarding the head covering. That's not a cultural issue but clearly a part of the expression of obedience to God's order of creation as reflected also in the church setting. Study 1 Cor. 11 (there has been an excellent series of articles about this in the NRC Banner of Truth by Rev. Sonneveldt during 2007). My opinion is that the head coverings in our churches have in general become a fashion item. The simplicity is gone and, I am afraid, for many it hardly an expression of faith and obedience to God; rather a form. Indeed, in Scripture they used a veil which was a sort of "hoofd-doek." I am not sure but we must not imagine them to be the ones you see enforced in the strict Muslim world. It is curious that on the wedding we still see the veil on the bride even though even that one isn't quite like in the Bible times but it tries to reflect that somewhat. You are asking for my opinion. It doesn't matter to me as long as the head is a covering, non-provocative, affordable and modest. All these things are outward things. The most important part of the wedding is not the clothing of the bride but the spiritual attitude of the both the bridegroom and bride. Let's not forget that we are seeking the Lord's blessing on our marriage when we gather together in church. Let there be preparation for that as well.