Beards Ain’t Weird!
I normally deal with a lot of very serious subjects confronting the believer. I have dealt with tongues, healing, women preachers, version perversions and the like. From time to time I would like to address issues that many folks did not know were issues. These are ones that I have come across in my twenty-seven years as a preacher. Some will be funny and others like this one actually have some deeper implications that are never addressed by the proponents or the opponents of the particular issue.
I have had some flack over beards from my Bible College days until now. I first grew a goatee and a mustache after I graduated high school in 1970. I guess this was done for a couple of reasons. I hated shaving. In the 60’s and 70’s it was part of the hippie movement to which I ascribed to in philosophy and practice. Thirdly, it was an expression of my becoming a man.
These were shaved after joining the Air Force. The military did not care what I hated doing and certainly did not like hippies and their idea of making me a man took a different direction. They marched to the beat of a different drummer than I did. They did allow me a mustache after I arrived at my duty station upon completion of boot camp and tech school. However, it’s dimension and style were rigidly defined.
I went to Bible College right after the military and they also allowed a mustache, but no beard. When I asked the Academic Dean why, he replied that the board was afraid that the young men would not trim them properly and no beard is easier to enforce than a beard standard. They already had plenty of trouble enforcing hair regulations for men and modest attire for the ladies. This was just one less headache for them. I also had other suspicions as why the ban after I had been there a couple of years.
So for four years, I only had a mustache. One of my fellow students went home for Christmas break and came back without his mustache. I asked if he just grew tired of it or what? He replied that after preaching a Wednesday night service a fellow came up to him and said, “And you call yourself a preacher and you have a mustache!” Radical that I am I asked if the fellow gave him a chapter and verse on that and received a negative reply. Ironically, to the Amish who have full beards but no mustache I was wearing the mark of the Anti-Christ. No, the lad I was talking to could not give me a verse for that. Usually you do not get a verse or you get one that is so ripped out of context it would make a cultist proud.
I stayed in the area for a couple of weeks after graduation and started growing my goatee back. One of my fellow alumni saw me and was flabbergasted. He told me that he knew I was as straight as an arrow doctrinally, but he could not understand how I could grow a goatee. I asked him what was wrong with it and he told me it was a sign of homosexuality. Now, I REALLY wanted a chapter and verse on that one! None was forthcoming, but he did tell me how he came to that conclusion. He said that it made a man’s mouth look like a woman’s privates. That almost sounds logical except for the fact that a homosexual does not find a woman sexually attractive so I am not sure that he would want to see a goatee in that perspective. I really wish that I could grow a full beard, but a goatee is the best that I can do. I have never had a homosexual come on to me while I was wearing a goatee so it must not be that much of a turn on. I have had them come on to me when I was not wearing a beard so go figure. This was the same guy that complained about one of our chapel speakers. It had been the best message on Jonah that I had ever heard and I still have the tape. My friend did not “hear” him, as the speaker had nothing to say to my classmate because he had a beard. Oy!
As was the custom, I had pictures taken so I could put them on my resume. I had them taken before I graduated so all I had was a mustache. I took my wife home to Pennsylvania to be near her parents while I searched for my first ministry. While a POW up there, I sent a resume to a Christian School in the area that was looking for a principal.
The pastor and I had a long conversation and we seemed to be in close agreement across the board doctrinally and philosophically. Then he asked me a last question about why my picture did not have me wearing a goatee. I explained that it was taken in college and they would not allow us to grow beards. He asked me if I knew why that was the case. I said, well my belief is that the old hats saw it as hippie and the newer ones saw it as neo-evangelicalism. However, God created man on the sixth day with hair follicles in his face and pronounced him good. Besides with women wanting to be men and men wanting to be women it would take a heck of a bad hormone problem for a woman to look like me and it definitely asserts my manhood. However, at that time I said that if it were a big issue for someone I would shave it in order to minister. From the look on his face, I knew that was the end of working with him. I do give him credit. I was scheduled to speak to the student body at chapel and he still allowed me to do so. Many I have met over the years would have shown me the back door and blasted me in that school assembly as I drove home.
I have had questions over the years about my beard and I am sure that it has cost me other opportunities to minister. I have no desire to just offend people for the sake of offending them. However the issue is just too weird and until I can get a real biblical reason why I should shave it will stay.
Actually, this is just another one of those things we come up with from our culture rather than Scripture. Remember Diogenes of “looking for an honest man” fame. Seems he was a heck of a troublemaker. The men started shaving their beards and he would ask them, “What’s wrong my son? Are you ashamed that the gods made you a man?” It would appear that we are ashamed.
Indeed, I go back to my creation argument. If righteousness is cooperating with God and/or God created reality then shaving is unrighteous. Every morning we argue with God. God grows the hair and says, “Son, I made you a man and this is your glory as a woman’s long hair is hers.” We say, “No, you just made me dirty and I need to be “clean” shaven.” Now, this is great business for all the razor makers, but it does not make much sense. In fact, the shaving of a beard in the OT was done as a sign of sorrow like the renting of clothes. Are we sorry God made us men? If He meant for us to have beards and we shave them for preference or bad interpretation of Scripture are we not then in open rebellion and sin? I know some preachers that just choked on that idea.
Ezra 9:3 And when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down astonied. (KJV)
2 Sam 19:24 And Mephibosheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king, and had neither dressed his feet, nor trimmed his beard, nor washed his clothes, from the day the king departed until the day he came again in peace. (KJV) [Note, you can trim them so you do not have to look like a wild man.]
Jer 41:5 That there came certain from Shechem, from Shiloh, and from Samaria, even fourscore men, having their beards shaven, and their clothes rent, and having cut themselves, with offerings and incense in their hand, to bring them to the house of the LORD. (KJV)
At times, God told those He was going to judge that He would shave their beards, which they understood as a symbol of sorrow and He was going to make them sorry for their sin.
Isa 7:20 In the same day shall the Lord shave with a rasor that is hired, namely, by them beyond the river, by the king of Assyria, the head, and the hair of the feet: and it shall also consume the beard. (KJV)
Isa 15:2 He is gone up to Bajith, and to Dibon, the high places, to weep: Moab shall howl over Nebo, and over Medeba: on all their heads shall be baldness, and every beard cut off. (KJV)
Jer 48:37 For every head shall be bald, and every beard clipped: upon all the hands shall be cuttings, and upon the loins sackcloth. (KJV)
One fellow started a war by messing with the beards of David’s ambassadors. By cutting them half off they would have shave completely and look like a boy or have people stare at them with half beards. Sending them off with their buttocks showing was to shame them, but a change of clothes would fix that. Marring their beards was a long-term shame.
2 Sam 10:4 Wherefore Hanun took David’s servants, and shaved off the one half of their beards, and cut off their garments in the middle, even to their buttocks, and sent them away. (KJV)
2 Sam 10:5 When they told it unto David, he sent to meet them, because the men were greatly ashamed: and the king said, Tarry at Jericho until your beards be grown, and then return. (KJV)
Another thing this passage should show us is that thong bikinis should be a no brainer for Christian ladies as showing the buttocks is a shame, but I would guess that a few gals have worn them as well as some guys wear the thong “briefs.” Any briefer and they would just be nekkid! There is no shame when it comes to following fads and staying in style for some folks.
Now, there are hazards in wearing a beard.
1 Sam 17:35 And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. (KJV)
Nonetheless, if we were to be honest to Scripture the injunction would be to have a beard.
Lev 19:27 Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard. (KJV)
Lev 21:5 They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard, nor make any cuttings in their flesh. (KJV)
Shaving heads, beards and cuttings or tattoos were part of the pagan worship of the time. In fact, it seems to go along with that as well today. Because they worshiped the host of heaven they made their hair resemble the globe. Rounding off the beard would add to that globe appearance. Tattooing was done as a mark of allegiance to a deity showing the wearer’s willingness to allow that deity to take them over or possess them. Shades of the mark of the beast. Shaving the head was to somehow help out the dead. Actually, you can see a lot of this same stuff in cults and some rock groups. Who says that Bible is archaic? Shoot often the only difference between what we see practiced today and what was in biblical times is that the names have been changed to protect the guilty, and at times they are even too bold to do that.
Isa 50:6 I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. (KJV)
Here is a verse that the Anti-beardites have a real problem with. This is a prophecy of Christ’s suffering. It says that they plucked the hair off of his cheeks. Man, Christ had a beard. Ah, but they have an answer to that. It was just overnight growth. I have seen some pretty good five o’clock shadows in my day, but an overnight growth that you could grab and rip out? He would have had to shave five times a day, but He would not have done so because Jews wore beards and He was a Jew! Some Gentiles shaved and the Pharisees and Sadducees would have jumped all over Him if He had been shaved like a Gentile. They would have quoted the verses I have used previously to condemn Him as breaking the Law!
So, I am in good company and Scriptural by having a beard and the ball is in the other court for the Anti-beardites to show their position to be Scriptural. Don’t give me any of that cultural hoo ha. We are to be in a biblical culture though we may be placed in another one. Our citizenship is in Heaven, so its culture is to be in us.
In fact, many of the Anti-beardites revere men like Moody, Torrey, and Spurgeon all who had beards. If we did not have portraits of these great men, none of them would be able to speak in the Anti-beardites’ churches if they could just show up and ask to preach. Some even if they recognized them would probably ask them to shave before they preached. Silly, is it not?
However, this is the kind of silliness we get into when we base our judgment and convictions upon culture and affiliations rather than Scripture. Indeed, in an age of androgyny we should do all we can to be the examples of God’s design for men and women to be different in appearance as well as roles. Even if we can use Christian liberty for shaving it would behoove us to give up that liberty to stand against the satanic assault on God’s design for men, women and families. I could cover a lot of other issues relating to that assault as well, but one topic per message is plenty. C];-)|> Having set a precedence or foundation will make it easier to deal with some of the other silliness in other messages.
1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
2 It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; (KJV)
Ah, yes beards! If they were good enough for Adam, Aaron, Moses and Jesus, they are good enough for me! C];-)|> If we would only stick to the Book and nothing else we would have a lot more pleasantness and unity! Just think if we would have had beards back then the hippies and the Neo-Evangelicals would have had to shave to be rebellious. Maranatha!