Do elders have the right to establish a dress code?

Q. Do elders have a right to decide who can serve on the Lord’s Table and who cannot? Some of our members are upset because the elders here have established a dress code for those leading in worship. Do elders have this authority?

Yes, the elders have such authority. It is the responsibility of the elders to make such decisions. Regarding worship the Scriptures say:

1 Cor. 14:40
“But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner.”

It is the elders responsibility to make these kinds of decisions. They must carefully consider the needs of the congregation when making these decisions, and they must decide what would be distracting during the worship service to avoid violating 1 Cor. 14:40.

Sometimes members get so caught up in their “rights” that they fail to show the proper consideration for others. The elders must be the ones who decide what is best for all. In fact, they have the obligation to do so in order to enable the church to worship properly. After all, according the New Testament, the elders will be held accountable by God.

Heb 13:17
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.

1Tim 5:17
The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.

1 Pet. 5
1* Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, 2* shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; 3* nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. 4* And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. 5* ΒΆ You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. 6* Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7* casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.


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