Jeans, shirts, sneakers and tattoos, combined with street language and the unshaven hip look is the perfect attire of celebrity pastors of megachurches. Pulpit robes and even suits are out. But this hip look doesn’t sit well with the Judge of the Universe, who will surely throw these pastors out for contempt of his Heavenly Court for appearing before the Heavenly Judge as wretched sinners in filthy rags. See: Joshua the high priest in Zechariah 3.
As Pastor Michael Brown of Christ United Reformed Church in San Diego, California writes against the grain in “‘Why Is the Pastor Dressed Like Harry Potter?’—Why the Pastor Wears a Robe,” wearing a pulpit gown during a worship service benefits God’s people in worship in four ways:
1. The pulpit gown emphasizes the office, not the man. It draws our attention away from the man, his personality and his personal taste in clothing, and reminds us of the office that Christ—not man—has appointed.
2. The pulpit gown is a distinctly Protestant practice, not Roman Catholic. They were originally worn by ministers in the ancient church, and again by Protestant pastors from the time of the Reformation … These robes were different from those of Roman Catholic priests … elaborate and ornate robes with complex symbols known as vestments.
3. The pulpit gown was removed by revivalism. Consequently, we have what we have today in modern evangelicalism: radical informality in worship, not to mention radical ignorance in doctrine and radical need for another reformation!
4. The pulpit gown adds to the reverence of our service. Why is it that we expect judges to wear gowns when they are in the courtroom, but we want our ministers to wear business attire [or worse, shorts and t-shirts] when they lead worship?
I’ll add my own Reason #5:
5. The pulpit gown distinguishes me from celebrity pastors of megachurches dressed in filthy rags.