Facial Hair

How many times have you heard views on same-sex marriage and interracial marriage lumped together? Any Christian who knows the Bible should reject and be offended by such an outrageous comparison. Scripture forbids homosexuality (Lev. 18:22; Rom. 1:26, 27), but nowhere does it prohibit interracial relationships. Any “Christians” who teach against interracial relationships need to be silenced, because there’s no excuse for teaching biblical doctrine alongside personal views that have no merit in God’s eyes. And that’s the topic of this post. Not long ago I was troubled to hear someone preaching on a Christian radio station that facial hair is sinful. He mentioned a man with a ponytail and a beard who then got right with God, cutting off the ponytail and shaving his face. The Bible forbids long hair on men (I Cor. 11); it does not forbid facial hair.

Some pastors preach against facial hair because hippies and members of motorcycle gangs grew beards as an outward sign of rebellion. So, in the minds of these pastors, anyone with facial hair for any reason is somehow guilty by association. What’s next? Leather jackets and boots of a certain style? Lots of things could be symbols of rebellion, but those things are sinful only if they’re acts of rebellion. Otherwise, don’t judge innocent people! Jesus Himself had a beard (Isa. 50:6), and what God considers sin never changes. Society and culture do not determine what is and isn’t sin, even if “times have changed.” If today’s society says long hair on men and short hair on women is appropriate, it doesn’t change the fact that the Bible still forbids it. What was truth thousands of years ago still is truth.

There are people who will say facial hair isn’t sinful unless your pastor forbids it. Any pastor who prohibits it should be asked, “Who made you God?” I must say I have great respect for own my pastor, who encourages his congregation to question him regarding any matter of doctrine. If we disagree with something he has said, he wants us to ask him where it’s found in Scripture. All pastors should be that way, because no mere mortal has the right to create doctrine. The Bible even forbids adding to Scripture (Deut. 4:2; Rev. 22:18). It’s what the Pharisees did, and Jesus condemned them for it (Mark 7:1-7). It didn’t matter what kind of authority they had. Legalistic pastors usually do more harm than good, damaging the cause of Christianity by creating confusion over what is biblical and what is man-made. People then start to question biblical truths that have been preached to them.

A verse taken out of context to give man-made doctrine the same authority as Scripture is II Thessalonians 2:15, which reads, “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.” Obviously “tradition” here has a different meaning than simply any rule made up by a Christian elder. Think about it. If this was a license for any Christian with a position of authority to make rules based on personal preference, it would be asking for confusion and division. It would also mean the Pharisees were justified in making up their own rules. I think of this self-righteous sect on the occasions I hear someone preach against facial hair. The ones who expect it only for the church they run are teaching that, despite Christians all reading the same Bible, there are different rules that apply to different people to please God. But most of them are worse than that, thinking so highly of their opinion that they criticize pastors of other churches for “allowing” members to have beards. These bullies are playing God and need to be humbled.

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