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“It’s A Sin For Preachers To Wear Colored Shirts,” He said.

with 45 comments

“It’s A Sin For Preachers To Wear Colored Shirts,” He said.

“A preacher should never wear colored shirts to church, much less preach in them. Apostolic preachers should only minister while wearing a white shirt and preferably, a dark suit.” That’s what the consensus was at the closed session Ministers Meeting.

Rev. Carl Ballestero

The occasion was a Morning Ministers Question And Answer Session at the Anniversary Services of Christian Tabernacle in Indianapolis, Indiana. Bro. Paul Jordan was the pastor. My Father, Carl Ballestero, was the moderator for the discussion that day.

The questions for ‘debate’ were written on pieces of paper and placed on the pulpit. Opinions were strong and unrestrained.

The last question of the day was: “What about these young preachers wearing these colored shirts?” My father read the question to the audience and waited for their response. Ninety-nine percent seemed opposed to the idea of young preachers wearing colored shirts. It was a disgrace they all said.

One must remember that this was basically a meeting of ministers within the Apostolic Ministers Fellowship. However, several men from the United Pentecostal Church were also present.

I was 32 years old and pastored in South Bend, Indiana at the time. What brought the discussion a little closer to home, was that I was sitting on the front row, wearing a gray suit, a light blue shirt and a tie with both colors. My Father had given me the blue Arrow Dectolene shirt just the week before.

I sat beside Bro. Jack Langham mainly because he also was wearing a gray suit with a blue shirt just like mine. Bro. Langham and myself were the only two men wearing a colored shirt at the meeting. All eyes kept glancing in our direction.

After many minutes of comments explaining how unprofessional, how ‘Charismatic’, how disrespectful to God, and how horrible it was that preachers were leading the youth astray by wear such attire, I stood up.

I turned around, pulled my coat jacket back where my blue shirt could be seen as I stuck my hands in my pockets and smiled. I began, “The question is, and I quote: “What about these young preachers wearing these colored shirts?”

I pointed at Bro. Langham, a former missionary, just 3 feet away from me, and said with a giant grin on my face, “My question is, what about these old preachers wearing these colored shirts?”

A few chuckles relaxed some of the fervor and tenseness in the room. No one else had anything to say.

After an awkward silence, my Father finally said, “Gentlemen, thank you for your participation in the discussion today. Your opinion is appreciated and your carefulness is to be commended. I would like to remind all of you however, that when the Priest ministered in the Tabernacle, he was to wear blue, purple, scarlet and white linen breeches (britches). Actually, I fear that we got the tradition of wearing black and white to preach in, from the Catholic Church.”

(“After that, no man durst asked him any more questions.”)

The meeting adjourned.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

November 4, 2010 at 1:05 pm

45 Responses

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  1. But I did notice that you are wearing a white shirt in the picture on this blog…

    I do have to admit that I prefer a white shirt on the platform. I think that they look uniform and un-attention drawing. I do still know some that teach their churches men to wear white shirts to the services, and I must admit that it looks realy clean and neat.

    Michel Heimoz

    November 4, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    • I believe we should at least make it understood it’s a request,.as opposed to a sin. Is it a sin NO…is it a tradition,.Yes. God as written for us what is sin,..we cant create a new rule. Sin is what God calls sin,.Not what we want it to be.We can’t Lord over his inheritage..Lets make a distinction between Our requirements and Gods. .IJS
      what scripture supports it?

      Bishop Harris

      January 28, 2016 at 9:10 pm

      • Exactly. There is a HUGE difference between a SIN and a PERSONAL CONVICTION.


        January 29, 2016 at 2:26 pm

      • Amen!


        January 29, 2016 at 3:44 pm

  2. So you were pretty liberal? Non-conforming to the cries of the ultra conservatives? You rebel you. j/k
    Great writing. One that leaves me with the wondering question of, is the liberal of the past the conservative of the present?

    Brian Norman

    November 4, 2010 at 1:21 pm

  3. Slippery slope…. That’s what’s tearing the church apart….


    Nathan Cox

    November 4, 2010 at 1:26 pm

  4. I absolutly love it. I so enjoy getting your blog. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Pastor Russell Smith

    November 4, 2010 at 2:52 pm

  5. This is the very thing that has chased many off from our faith. This a classic example of things preached from the pulpit that cannot be backed by the word. Understand people MUST do what they feel convicted of but many of ones convictions should be ones own convictions

    Herschel Hoese

    November 4, 2010 at 3:16 pm

  6. Ok is this a heaven or hell issue? If so where is the scripture to back it up. Bro Ballestero,you always bring interesting conversation on here, and sometime thought provoking. Thank you for your blogs.

    blenda mosier

    November 4, 2010 at 3:31 pm

  7. Very interesting read. I actually knew Bro. Jack Langham in his later years of life. He and Sister Langham actually attended our church (UPC) here in Mineral Wells, TX. He was actually living here and was in the church parking lot when he had his stroke. He passed away in a nursing home here.

    Sister Langham actually gave me Bro. Langhams preaching cassette tape collection after he passed away. Knowing brother Langham, I am actually surprised he was wearing a colored shirt. Always had a lot of respect for him though…

    Jeremy Lynch

    November 4, 2010 at 3:40 pm

  8. I am apposed to a minister in the pulpit without a suit and tie. Certain clothing makes a statement in this society. Some of our young ministers are turning up to our meetings with plaid shirts open at the neck and casual pants.Some weddings with ankle top tennis shoes with white toes. I was amused, I have a little two foot pumpkin man that has those same shoes. The world is not impressed. I’m apposed to our President appearing casually dressed. I am not apposed to colored shirts that match the suit.Church deserves our best, if overhalls are your best so be it.

    Marian June Davis

    November 4, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    • Interesting!

      Great post. I remember a few of those AMF meetings. 🙂

      Mark A Pryor

      November 6, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    • I agree ! Where does it say to wear white?will that keep them out of Heaven? It wouldn’t bother if a preacher wore overalls,as long as he preach truth!! People probably feel he was down to earth, down to our level! They need to say things women are doing now that’s not appropriate, and young people!


      January 28, 2016 at 9:18 pm

  9. Very good.

    Bobby Ikerd

    November 4, 2010 at 4:17 pm

  10. Very funny I did the exact same thing at Central City at an Open Bible Conference.

    Steve Epley

    November 4, 2010 at 6:56 pm

  11. Very GOOD…as usual.

    David Boyd

    November 4, 2010 at 7:16 pm

  12. I would hope that the man behind the pulpit would be the same spiritually whether he was wearing suit and tie, colored shirt, or a pair of jeans.

    A man of God actually apologized to me one time for being out of a suit while working on a vehicle at a church. His apology struck me so funny. I am not concerned with what you wear preachers, only where your heart is. 🙂

    “I’m not concerned about the color of your skin. I’m not concerned about the size of your checkbook, your political position, or what you can give me as a friend. I AM concerned about your honesty, your integrity, how you will handle my heart and also the hearts of others.”

    Lani Ellingsworth

    November 4, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    • Great last quote

      V Ogden

      January 28, 2016 at 3:53 pm

  13. Made my day!

    kenneth bow

    November 5, 2010 at 12:53 am

    • Bro. Bow it matters not what you have on . You are always anointed and preach the paint off the walls !!!!

      Scotty Gordon

      January 29, 2016 at 4:13 am

  14. Ahhh, the wisdom of a father that’s a man of God and knowledgeable of the scriptures! Tremendous answer!

    James Miller

    November 5, 2010 at 6:56 am

  15. Brother Ballesteo,
    Not having had the privilege of knowing your father, but knowing the Ballesteo humor, I wonder something. Could it be that your dad bought you that fine blue Arrow shirt with the pretense of you wearing it there and loaded up the last question of the day for grins? 🙂 Another interesting question would be, did Brother Langham get his fine blue Arrow shirt from you father, too? LOL! Great post, brother.

    Jay Jones

    November 5, 2010 at 9:44 am

  16. If such topics as the wearing (or not) of colored shirts were gone, I fear some may have difficulty finding sermon material. 🙂 Enjoyed the chuckle!

    Lois Truman

    November 5, 2010 at 11:58 am

  17. One last cent, more important than the color of a shirt, is the kindness in your eye. 🙂

    Lani Ellingsworth

    November 5, 2010 at 10:26 pm

  18. Have so enjoyed your blog and especially this post. I do recall many such issues. Open toed shoes, wearing of red on the platform, women’s hair must be up, etc. I am reminded of the Apostole Paul saying, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:2 My how we get side tracked. BTW – my grandfather was “the bishop” your old cb buddy, Bro. Deckard.

    Sally spite

    November 6, 2010 at 4:02 pm

  19. My elder has always taught me to respect the platform standard if my preacher attire included colored. I always remembered White and black was is also a color to pack in my wardrobe.

    David Watts

    November 6, 2010 at 4:08 pm

  20. Lol I love it.

    Joseph Miller

    November 6, 2010 at 4:08 pm

  21. Great post…interesting debate. Always an origin for everything…Who was the first one to demand that ONLY a white shirt be worn by the ministry? Loved to hear Elder Langham preach and enjoyed his sense of humor. And ohhhh your father…the Great Elder and Pioneer. What a man! I will say this; if my Pastor said ONLY white shirts from now on…I’d clean out my closet.

    Larry Billings

    November 6, 2010 at 8:58 pm

  22. Oh the wisdom of your father. His answer was not popular but courageous. That reminds me of another great man that would stand up like his father. Martyn Ballestero

    Dan Switzer

    November 6, 2010 at 11:19 pm

  23. Oh for the days where all we had to debate is what color shirt to wear… if those guys were still around they’d have a coronary…. great story.


    November 9, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    • Amusing reading. You mean my dad was a rebel back then and I didn’t know it? 🙂

      Jack T. Langham Jr

      May 11, 2012 at 9:24 am

  24. This is really neat . I enjoyed this article thouroughly . I was born and raised in an apostolic ministers home and we were part of the AMF . Bro. Dallas Mefford was my first pastor at a young age . Bro. Carl Ballstero was one of the ministers that dedicated me as a baby . My dad holds him in high regards as he was my dads senior on the ministering board of that assembly. What a well placed and well stated point he made on this subject .

    Jonathan Brown

    January 28, 2016 at 6:15 pm

  25. We must be very careful when we say something is a sin. If the Bible fobids it, speaks against it or shows a principal that would be violated, it is a sin. Prefreces and opinions on our part do not make something a sin. Lest we need any more examples, chewing gum, radios, women wearing red, women wearing their hair down, wrist watches and bath tubs (because you had to undress to get in it) we all preached against as sin.

    Robert Ritchey

    January 28, 2016 at 7:39 pm

  26. Lol…that’s all of the announcements….shall we stand!!! Lol

    Ramona Yandris

    January 28, 2016 at 9:41 pm

  27. I was born and raised in an apostolic church and I have never heard about the black and white thing. I remember Bro. J Frank Wilson always wearing a white shirt and black suit but I don’t recall anyone ever saying that was a standard. Learn something new everyday 🙂


    January 28, 2016 at 10:51 pm

  28. Just note, the Orthodox Church was debating the length of the candlesticks when the communists took over Russia and outlawed Christianity. Also, if you’re not currently teaching a Bible study, you’re part of the problem and should not be worried about the color of someone’s shirt.

    Glenn Henderson

    January 28, 2016 at 11:20 pm

    • Glenn Henderson,
      That is awesome. The Pharisees also were worried about tithing on mint…

      Nathan Boyd

      January 29, 2016 at 9:22 am

  29. It’s just an old customary way to dress and change is comtridictory to some people.


    January 30, 2016 at 11:40 am

  30. I remember that day well…. 🙂


    January 30, 2016 at 2:34 pm

  31. Very cool story! 🙂

    Tom Torbeyns

    February 1, 2016 at 10:34 am

  32. Reblogged this on Digging in the Word and commented:
    Good read


    February 2, 2016 at 10:09 am

  33. I enjoy reading the wise advise and also the humor in these blogs thank you for sharing your wisdom.
    Pastor Larry Gammons

    Larry Gammons

    March 11, 2018 at 7:55 am

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