Wesley and Finney on Dress

John Wesley Distressed!

I am distressed. I know not what to do. I see what I might have done once. I might have said peremptorily and expressly, “Here I am, I and my Bible. I will not, I dare not vary from this Book either in great things or small. I have no power to dispense with one jot or tittle of what is contained therein. I am determined to be a Bible Christian, not almost, but altogether. Who will meet me on this ground? Join me on this, or not at all.”

With regard to dress in particular, I might have been as firm (and I now see it would have been far better) as either the people called Quakers, or the Moravian brethren. I might have said, “This is our manner of dress which we know is both scriptural and rational. If you join with us, you are to dress as we do, but you need not join us unless you please.” But, alas! The time is now past, and what I can do now, I cannot tell.

Wesley’s Sermons Vol. II, p. 439
Dublin, July 2, 1789

Charles Finney Confessed!

The question now regards fashion, in dress, equipage, and so on. And here I will confess that I was formerly myself in error. I believed, and I taught, that the best way for Christians to pursue was to dress so as not to be noticed, to follow the fashions and changes so as not to appear singular, and that nobody would be led to think of their being different from others in these particulars. But I have seen my error and now wonder greatly at my former blindness.

It is your duty to dress so plain as to show to the world that you place no sort of reliance in the things of fashion and set no value at all on them, but despise and neglect them altogether. But unless you are singular, unless you separate yourselves from the fashions of the world, you show that you do value them. There is no way in which you can bear a proper testimony by your lives against the fashions of the world, but by dressing plain.

Finney’s Lectures to Professing Christians, p. 146.

If Wesley and Finney were concerned in their day, how much more should believers be distressed in our time at the attire of professing Christians! Oh, the ungodliness!

Is your appearance consistent with God’s call to holy living?


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