Behavior and Modesty Standard of United Pentecostals

Women in United Pentecostal churches look different from females in most other Christian denominations: They don’t wear slacks. This is just one of the Pentecostal dress rules.

Church leaders cite the Bible for this unusual modesty guideline, such as 1 Timothy 2:9:

I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes …(NIV)

United Pentecostal churches believe holiness starts on the inside but should be reflected on the outside.

“Many times what we wear helps to mold their expectations as well as our own. When a woman wears an immodest dress, she begins to think of herself as seductive and acts accordingly,” says the UPCI Positional Papers. “Other people perceive her as provocative and treat her as such, which reinforces her behavior. In short, appearance both reflects and to a large degree determines what we are in the eyes of self and others.”


“The basic reason for modesty of dress is to subdue the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life,” the UPCI document continues. “The exposed body tends to arouse improper thoughts in both wearer and onlooker.”

To avoid such problems, United Pentecostal churches set these modesty guidelines for women:

  • No slacks “because they immodestly reveal the feminine contours of upper leg, thigh, and hip”
  • No makeup
  • No jewelry except wedding ring and wristwatch
  • No low necklines
  • No sleeveless dresses or shirts
  • No very tight or very thin clothes
  • No dress hemlines at or above the knee
  • No sleeves above the elbow
    Uncut hair

UPCI says balance is appropriate for women: “She is not so old-fashioned as to look like a monstrosity, but she is deliberate and methodical in choosing clothing that will dignify her womanhood without provoking the stares of the opposite sex.”

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