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Why is that in some countries SDA members wear jewelry and make up and in others they do not?

I have been a SDA member all my life and that is something I never understood. Is it to do with the person's level of committment or understanding?

Please note that I'm not judging just need help understanding whether we wearing jewelry or not..make up or not.

You see if iits confusing for me it has to be for the youth in the church as well. We tell them we don't do this but when other people come from or they visit other countries they are seeing a big difference.

Are our beliefs based on cultural or is is biblical?

Please respond with your answers and/or queries.

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I'm a bit conflicted on this because I know it is NOT a point of salvation. No one will be kept out of the Kingdom because of it. God welcomes us with open arms not matter what we look like. So we should not treat this issue as if it were a point of salvation. And... there are Biblical passages that can support either side of the discussion.

I do know that this is a strongly held cultural practice. It is definitely part of our church tradition. Different geographic areas treat it differently. But, that doesn't make it right or wrong. Simply part of our tradition. One of my pastors (from here in Washington State) conducted a week of prayer in Australia and he commented how much LESS jewelry the college students wore there and how much MORE makeup they wore than students at Walla Walla. Is that better or worse? I think it is neither. I think it is just different.

I think this issue would almost become a non-issue IF we treated everyone with absolute Christ-like love. Christ didn't tell any woman to take off her adornment... He simply met peoples needs and they followed Him.

The reason I say I am conflicted is because I don't want to cause others to stumble. THAT is something I guard against.

A humorous quote from HMS Richards, Sr. about makeup: "If the house needs paint... paint it!"

This is a strongly held cultural/traditional belief that I don't want to diminish or make light of. I also know we need to be more accepting of others and concentrate on Christ's love and His amazing gift to us. If we live by His two great commandments... we will all continue to grow closer to Him.

I'm interested in reading more perspectives on this.
-Clark (a man who doesn't wear makeup... or too much jewelry. ;-)
thanks Clark and like you I would like to read other's views on this.

While I understand and appreciate what you are saying I still have to deal with my 14yr old who does not see members here in Barbados wearing make up or jewelry. Her ears aren't even peirced.

She has joined this site and its like "mummy are those people SDA members?" Her reasoning is that they are wearing jewelry and we don't. Its kind of double standard to me.

I think just like we have our doctrines they should be something saying if we do or don't/should or shouldn't wear any kind of adorning.

Its like we don't eat pork nor drink coffee but another SDA person might say they can't get through the day without a few cups of coffee.

I hope you guys understand what I'm saying

(Editor’s Note: This article features excerpts from the chapter “The Principles of Adornment” in the author’s Lifestyles of the Remnant [Review and Herald Publishing Association, 2001].)

HIS HAS BECOME ONE OF THE MOST hotly debated issues in the Adventist Church: What does the Bible say about the wearing of jewelry? The church has a long history of maintaining that the Word of God condemns jewelry, but is that really the case? Or are our antijewelry views derived more from concepts that have just become tradition in our church over time? In this chapter we shall attempt to answer some of these questions.

My research examined a fairly wide spectrum of views ranging from staunchly conservative to a more liberal accommodation of the subject. Taking each into consideration, I have spent many hours in the Bible attempting to draw my own personal conclusion as to how I should relate to the issue.

God’s Promotion of Jewelry
It may shock many to discover that the Bible reveals God as a promoter of fine jewelry. Now, before any declare me a heretic and prepare the kindling to burn me at the stake for making such a statement, at least hear me out. We may have our pet ideas about a subject, but the truth is that when we come to the Bible on any given topic we must let the weight of Bible evidence determine our conclusions. The truly wise will acknowledge the truth of what Scripture states, even if it upsets the applecart of traditional thinking.

Adventists often chastise other Christians regarding the way they use certain scriptures to support traditional errors, such as the immortality of the soul or the wrong worship day. Such individuals appear to prove their point while ignoring other passages that challenge their cherished conclusion, yet we Adventists have done the exact same thing when it comes to issues such as the wearing of jewelry. We like to quote certain texts that by themselves make it appear that God is totally antijewelry, but leave off those equally inspired statements indicating that God is not as adamant against such things as we try to make Him out to be.

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Let’s explore a text in Isaiah. Because of Israel’s infidelity God spoke to them through His prophet: “Moreover the Lord saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet: . . . In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon, the chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers, the bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings, the rings, and nose jewels, the changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins, the glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the vails. And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty” (Isa. 3:16-24).

Bible scholars would tell us that there are two ways of extracting the full meaning of this passage. First, the context is literal in that Isaiah’s day found the women of Israel frequenting the shops of the Phoenician artisans to buy their ornaments and clothes.

The second application is that the items Isaiah condemned indicated a much deeper problem—Israel’s spiritual condition. God had taken the Hebrews, one of the most lowly and insignificant nations of the earth, and had used them to demonstrate His power to reform. Now His people had turned away from Him. The jewelry in this case symbolized Israel’s apostasy. A similar correlation between the misuse of jewelry and idolatry appears in Hosea 2:13.

Now, for the purpose of our inquiry, can we really use these texts in a way to prove that God is altogether against jewelry? To answer that question, let us go to Ezekiel 16. It reveals how Israel initially received those ornaments that she corrupted with paganism. In the first eight verses of this chapter we find an account of how God found Israel destitute of any real earthly value and through a “covenant” with her “caused thee [Israel] to multiply as the bud of the field, and thou hast increased and waxen great, and thou art come to excellent ornaments: thy breasts are fashioned, and thine hair is grown, whereas thou wast naked and bare” (Eze. 16:7).

Notice what God reminds Israel He did for her when He made her His: “Then washed I thee with water; yea, I thoroughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil. I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgers’ skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk. I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck. And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautifuI crown upon thine head. Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver; and thy raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and thou wast exceeding beautiful, and thou didst prosper into a kingdom. And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it was perfect through my comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord God” (verses 9-14).

Here we see clearly that it was God who symbolically decked out His bride Israel. Does this sound as though He arbitrarily forbids jewelry? Hardly! In fact, after He dressed her up in fine clothes and jewels and stood back and looked at her, He declared that she was “exceeding beautiful” (verse 13).

In this context God does not consider these ornamental tokens of love as idolatrous but rather as symbols of His own righteousness that He covered her with. We see the same symbolism even more strongly in Isaiah 61:10: “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.”

Many of the traditional arguments we employ against jewelry, such as the one involving the harlot of Revelation 17, are flimsy. But that is always the case when we refuse to deal squarely with what Scripture really has to say about a given topic. Because of our dishonesty with Scripture, we damage our credibility in the eyes of real biblical thinkers and obscure the great principles of the Word, which are in fact the best argument against decorating the human body with jewels.

The best biblical instruction for discarding jewelry appears in the New Testament. We will look at two passages, one by Paul and the other by Peter. “I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God” (1 Tim. 2:9, 10, NIV). “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful” (1 Peter 3:3-5, NIV).

The heart of the issue is really an issue of the heart! In other words, does our heart find its value by being adorned with spiritual attributes, or do we seek through external show to prove that we are somebody valuable? Perhaps the deepest thrust of this principle, as it pertains to jewelry, is that we often use it as a substitute for Christ in an attempt to establish some human self-worth. This too is a species of idolatry. The Lord desires for His children to find their self-worth in the price that He paid for them in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Peter and Paul both point out the fallacy of trusting external adornment (or anything else, for that matter) for a sense of importance and virtue. They remind us that genuine virtue is always found on the inside and not on the outside. Though antijewelry advocates often use these texts as absolute decrees against physical adornment, they really state that as people become more and more infatuated with Jesus Christ on the inside, they become less and less concerned about having to prove anything outwardly. In other words, they die to self. It is the natural outworking of an inner principle.

Especially today, in light of the ever-growing piercing craze going on in our society and the constant emergence of gaudy public figures, I ask, Would our Christian witness of total dependence on Christ be stronger by wearing fewer of the things the world trusts in? We don’t need the piercing of our ears, lips, nose, and navel as much as we need the piercing of our heart with godly repentance. As it is written: “Rend your heart, and not your garments” (Joel 2:13).

Spiritual pride can sometimes hide itself in the most inconspicuous ways. Just as some cover up their lack of relationship with Christ (pride) with outward adornment, conservative Christians can cover up their void of Christ (pride) by abstaining from ornaments. If not handed over to God at conversion, mortal pride will simply transfer itself from external adornment to other areas such as pride in our spiritual knowledge or our outward show of compliance to standards.

Though we may fool even our own selves with such fig leaf garments, God knows what we are really like, and He desperately tries to help us see our condition. That’s why we need the Word of God. It has the ability to cut through even our religious externals and “judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Heb. 4:12, NIV). In the final judgment by the One who cannot err, I believe that we will discover that some of the very ones in our church who make such a noise regarding the jewelry question are eaten up with the cancer of their own forms of spiritual pride.

Once again we come back around to the motive of why we do what we do. As we have already discovered from the Bible, jewelry of itself is not bad or sinful, It is the motive behind its use that should be in question. God made this precious material for humanity’s practical use and enjoyment. It is what we make out of it that defiles it.

I’m sure that some who don’t know me are by now thinking I’m some out-of-control liberal. For what it’s worth, neither my wife nor I have worn one article of jewelry, other than useful articles such as watches and hair clips, for more than 16 years. We don’t wear wedding bands, even though it would now be perfectly acceptable in our church if we did. To be honest, I wish we all could just forget the whole issue and be content in looking forward to our heavenly jewels. But I realize that not everyone is like me, and to be even more honest, I’m glad they are not. One thing I have especially come to appreciate about God’s arrangement with His creatures is His willingness to allow everyone to think and choose for themselves.

First, I urge Adventists to be a people who interpret the Bible with integrity. Nothing will ruin our influence with people more quickly than for them to see us as those who wrestle with the contextual meaning of a Bible verse for the purpose of supporting one of our peculiar positions. Personal expressions and experiences are fine if we make it plain to the individual that we in no way expect the same of them. We should always encourage them to study the topic for themselves and make their own personal convictions the reason they change instead of following our example. By writing this chapter I’m in no way suggesting that our emphasis on modesty in adornment is wrong. What I’m attempting to do is challenge us to find a better way to present it based on sound biblical logic.

Second, I desire that we see people as being more important than our personal beliefs or convictions. Paul made it clear that we can have all knowledge and understand all mysteries, but if we don’t possess a genuine interest in other people’s rights, then in God’s sight we are the ones who have the problem (see 1 Cor. 13). Most people can quickly tell whether we are really interested in them or just in making them an evangelistic trophy. In light of this subject, we should be able to love and respect the one who is all decked out with jewels as much as, if not more than, the one who fits into our Adventist way of thinking.

And last, I have sought in this chapter to help us all realize that a love for Christ should be the real reason for any of us to do what we do. The real issue is not the jewelry—it is Jesus Christ. The devil is always seeking to place our focus on externals. But when we place the love and mercy of Jesus before those who seek something better in life, a supernatural element enters the experience. It produces results that no one can deny. If a person makes changes because Jesus has touched the heart, he or she will stick with their changes even when accused by family or friends of following human or sectarian teachings.

It is painful to realize that some may misunderstand why I have presented what I have. They make think that I have an ulterior motive. But if this particular chapter helps just one person be better able to focus on Jesus in the midst of all the bickering that goes on in the Adventist Church over issues such as jewelry, then the price of being misunderstood has been worth it.

Keavin Hayden is director of the Center for Personal Evangelism in Union Springs, New York.


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i think this is the right answer to this adornment subject.

Outward Adornment and Inner Peace
Ángel Manuel Rodríguez
It is true that 1 Peter 3:3, 4 should be translated "Your beauty should not so much come from outward adornment . . . but rather it should be that of your inner self"?

The translation you quote implies that Peter is not condemning or rejecting the use of jewelry for personal adornment by Christians, except in cases where it is not accompanied by a life of service to the Lord. In other words, the use of jewelry for personal adornment is not necessarily incompatible with a Christian lifestyle; moderate use would seem acceptable.
You're raising a question about the biblical basis for the Adventist standard on personal adornment, more specifically, the use of jewelry. I have been working on this topic now for some time, and during this year I hope the results of my investigation will be available to those interested in it. Here I will deal with your specific question on 1 Peter.
1. The Translation Problem: What we have here is a phrase of negation followed by a contrasting phrase. This type of construction is introduced by a negative adverb ("not") and closed by an adversative particle ("but, rather"). This is what we have in Greek: "Let not their adornment be the outward consisting of . . . but that of your inner self . . ."
In other places the New Testament Greek allows for a translation of this construction similar to the one you found. It could be translated "not so much [this] . . . as [this]," implying that the first part of the sentence is not totally negated (e.g., Mark 9:37).
But the same construction can also be translated "not this . . . but this," totally rejecting the first element (e.g., Matt. 5:17). The question is, How can we decide the meaning of the construction in 1 Peter 3:3, 4?
The New Testament construction in this passage, "Not [this] . . . ," is a denying phrase in the imperative. The following "but [this]" introduces the contrasting subject, and it means "but on the contrary." Thus the first element is totally negated. Therefore, the translation you found is an interpretation that introduces into the text that which is not there.
2. Jewelry for Adornment: My study of biblical materials indicates that in the Bible, jewelry has different purposes and functions. In this particular case Peter is dealing with jewelry whose basic purpose is adornment. He's not addressing other functional usages of jewelry.
3. The Foundation of Peter's Command: Was Peter reflecting the attitude toward jewelry as adornment found in the Greco-Roman society? If yes, then his counsel was applicable only to the church of his day and not to the church today. Of course, we could still retain the principles behind his command but not the specific command.
Fortunately, the text itself tells us the source of his command: "For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful" (verse 5, NIV). Peter goes back to the Old Testament for support.
4. Nature of the True Adornment: Against the specific outward adornment that Peter rejects, he identifies the adornment that pleases God. It is an inner beauty consisting of "a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight" (verse 4, NIV). The ultimate criterion for proper adornment is that which is precious in God's sight.
A gentle spirit is based on trust in the Lord (Matt 5:5; cf. Matt. 11:29). A quiet spirit refers to a disposition of tranquillity as a result of being at peace with God. Its absence generates personal and social turmoil.
Peter is suggesting that there is a type of external adornment that is an expression of pride and self-reliance instead of an expression of submission and dependence on the Lord. When contrasted with a "quiet spirit," such adornment becomes an expression of a restless attitude, a symbol of a need, even a quest for inner peace that is unsatisfied, but that should be fully met through the gospel. Hence this adornment is incompatible with the fruits of the Christian message.
fundamental belief no.22

22. Christian Behavior:
We are called to be a godly people who think, feel, and act in harmony with the principles of heaven. For the Spirit to recreate in us the character of our Lord we involve ourselves only in those things which will produce Christlike purity, health, and joy in our lives. This means that our amusement and entertainment should meet the highest standards of Christian taste and beauty. While recognizing cultural differences, our dress is to be simple, modest, and neat, befitting those whose true beauty does not consist of outward adornment but in the imperishable ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit. It also means that because our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit, we are to care for them intelligently. Along with adequate exercise and rest, we are to adopt the most healthful diet possible and abstain from the unclean foods identified in the Scriptures. Since alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and the irresponsible use of drugs and narcotics are harmful to our bodies, we are to abstain from them as well. Instead, we are to engage in whatever brings our thoughts and bodies into the discipline of Christ, who desires our wholesomeness, joy, and goodness. (Rom. 12:1, 2; 1 John 2:6; Eph. 5:1-21; Phil. 4:8; 2 Cor. 10:5; 6:14-7:1; 1 Peter 3:1-4; 1 Cor. 6:19, 20; 10:31; Lev. 11:1-47; 3 John 2.)
wel i strongly bliv dat sda members should not b involve in wearin these stuff. in my discovery, this a form of devil worship. a advice 4 da ladies. dont spoil ur beauty wit that crap. stay natural
Ok...I like the responses so far...Let me ask another question..(hope Ido this right)

Now there is no biblical proof that we should nor should not wear jewelry...if I have become a new creature in Christ shouldn't I put away all the old things?

I mean jewlry and makeup is really used to enhance a persons appearance...women wear jewelry that would highlight them...why should we need to do that after we have been accepted by Christ?

As itayi says why don't we treat our bodies like the temple that they are and desist from peircing them or making them ill with the chemicals from the makeup?
I have even read that certain types of jewelry have been used through out the ages to attract good spirits or ward off evil spirits. The wearing of jewelry served a religous purpose in many traditions and cultures. Sometimes it was a way to reflect a persons social status, as even today As Christians we know that our protection comes from the Lord on high, the blood of Jesus; we are children of God, heirs to his Kingdom ( becuase of Jesus' shed blood) making us royalty (individuals with "high status") and therefore "special" in his eyes not mans eyes; so unworthy we are.
Jewelry also places focus on glorifying our bodies; the extreme being those who pierce in 10 different parts of their body. We all want to look good. We are not here to judge but the main focus of our beauty should be from the inside. Satan comes in sneakily sometimes, he will use any way possible to get us to "think" we are so special because of what we wear (Clothing/jewelry). Embellishment of our bodies for some can leave the door open to sin, even if it is a small crack. Jewelry can become an idol also.
This was an interesting topic for women like me. It was really helpful to me. thanks a lot.
Yes. I would say it is definitely based upon culture. Many of these kinds of things such as wedding rings etc. are based upon culture. I have experienced it. Best advice is to adapt to your culture. These things are just not all that important unless you have personally made them an idol . Then you might want to address it within yourself.
I found this recently:

In the allegory of Ezekiel 16 God tells how He adorned His bride (Israel) with: "Jewelry, bracelets, necklace, ring in nose, earrings, and a crown on her head" (16:11, 12). No where in Scripture do we find God using something that is evil in a positive light. The pig is never regarded positively. Idols are never regarded positively. Prostitution is never regarded positively. We do have examples of things that once were good becoming evil because the people misused them. The bronze serpent that Moses made to heal the Israelites later had to be destroyed by Hezekiah because the people had begun to worship it (2 Kings 18:4). We also have examples of good things being given up for a time such as when people fasted, or took off their regular clothes and donned sackcloth. But we don't have an examples of evil things being also addressed positively unless jewelry is the only exception.

What do YOU think?
I like that you said that jewelry can become an idol. That is a true statement. But so can many other things. Many Adventists are highly educated and live lifestyles that reflect their education (ie. fancy homes, impressive cars and so on) these too can become idols. I think the problem with the jewelry argument is that we don't admit that most of it is based in our tradition as Adventists (which is fine) but then we try to point to one or two scriptures to support the not wearing of it and because they are not absolute it turns many people off to the entire message. Also, going back to lifestyles we ignore how our church members make idols of other things in their lives but focus entirely on this one issue. One more thing, we are never tempted with things that have no hold over us. Can jewelry be an idol?- Yes it can. Is jewelry and idol for everyone?- No it isn't.


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