So What’s With the Robes?

Ever wonder why some Protestant pastors wear robes? Robert Cunningham explains.

I spent last weekend with a great group of people interested in joining our church. I gave them an opportunity to ask me any questions they might have about Tates Creek Presbyterian Church, and one person raised their hand and asked what apparently many want to know, “So what’s with the robes?”

TCPC tends to attract believers whose previous experiences were primarily with parachurch organizations and broadly evangelical denominations. In these sub-cultures, Christian formality is mostly unheard of and because of this, TCPC’s formal practices are a bit of a culture shock for many. Interestingly I have found that the robes, above everything else, are most puzzling.

So what’s with the robes?

Offering the qualification that I in no way intend to imply that a pastor has to wear a robe or that there is something wrong with a worship service without robes, I’ll give you five reasons why this is our practice at TCPC…

The Robe Has Biblical Precedent

First and foremost it must be said that the Bible is not silent here. The practice goes all the way back to the Old Testament where the office of priesthood was set apart with a robe. In fact an entire chapter of Scripture, Exodus 28, is devoted to the priest’s clothing. At the very least, we can extrapolate from all these passages that it is very appropriate for those leading God’s people in worship to be set apart with a robe.

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