Can True Believers Wear Jewelry? Or Are They Going to Be Stuck Forever with Cross Pendants and Olive Wood Rosaries?
by Barbara Taylor
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One of the most controversial subjects debated in today's churches is the transfer of culture from classic to contemporary. Some are embracing it with open arms, willingly allowing Christian rock and rap music to fill their youth group rooms and encouraging their adults to get up and dance in the aisles. Others do not. The same questions that are being applied to contemporary Christian music are also being asked of contemporary Christian jewelry. Are cross pendants and olive wood rosaries as far as they go? Or can today's Christian share their own savvy sense of style without feeling like they're violating the word of God?
When researching the issue of contemporary Christian jewelry (or really any jewelry) among Christian society you're going to find a number of viewpoints. For example, did you know that some Christian sects even eschew the practice of wearing a cross pendant around the neck? It is, they claim, the equivalent of strapping on a miniature electric chair and walking around with it prominently displayed.
**For the record, these groups are in the minority. Studies show that Christians began wearing crosses around their neck after crucifixion was no longer considered customary capital punishment. Forthwith it became a symbol of faith and a reminder of Christ's sacrifice rather than a symbol of death.**
The objection to contemporary (read: adorned) Christian jewelry, and really any jewelry worn by Christians, is that the Bible states that a person's beauty and value should not rest on their adornments. To care about jewelry and outward appearances is vanity and should be eschewed, restricting Christian society to simple, plain expressions of their faith. There are several Bible verses cited to back this argument up. For example (and this is the one you will find most often repeated if you research this issue online) First Peter states that:
3 Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— 4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.
1 Peter 3:3-4.
There are many, many other arguments that have been cited over the course of time to back this argument up, but this verse gets straight to the heart of the matter. God doesn't care what kind of Christian jewelry, Jewish jewelry or Holy Land jewelry you are wearing. He doesn't care if you wear the cross or the dove, if it's etched in gold or cheerfully outlined in leather. What he cares about is why.
So before entering into the jewelry debate take a moment to step back and consider the issue of motivation. Is a person's jewelry truly a symbol of their faith? Do they have the heart to stand behind the promises made by their accessorizing, or are they just picking up a cool new trend and don't have a clue what it means? If they have the heart to stand behind the beliefs they're representing their jewelry becomes much more than jewelry.
It becomes a symbol of the Spirit of the Lord and its touch on all our lives, its presence in the ordinary and the extraordinary and the way that every aspect of our lives, including what we wear, should represent the commitment we've made to walk as a Child of God.
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Some folks get tangled up too much in details. I worry less about what I wear than what comes out of my mouth or is in my heart.