You’re more likely to see a beard in the pulpit today than at any time since the 1800s. But beards—especially among clergy—were once serious, symbolic matters. They separated East from West during the Great Schism, priests from laity during the Middle Ages, and Protestants from Catholics during the Reformation. Some church leaders required them; others banned them. To medieval theologians, they represented both holiness and sin. But historian Giles Constable says that rules on beards sound more forceful than they really were. Clergy (especially powerful ones) were likely to follow fashion in their day, too.

c. 195

Clement of Alexandria calls the beard “the mark of a man” and says “it is therefore unholy to desecrate the symbol of manhood.” Many other church fathers made similar remarks about beardly manliness. But most early church clergy were either beardless or had a closely trimmed beard.


Roman Emperor Julian sports a beard to show his break with the shaven Christian emperors before him, and to mark his connection to pagan Roman religion.

c. 411

Euthymius says only men with a beard can enter his Judean Desert monastery, not boys “with female faces.”

c. 475

A rule is made that “no cleric should grow long hair or shave his beard.” It’s very out of step with its time, and several copyists simply changed it to “No cleric should grow long hair or [a long] beard.” It seems to have been ignored in its day but became widely referenced in the 1100s and 1200s.


The Council of Aachen requires monks to shave every 15 days (24 times a year). Other monastic communities adopt similar rules, though some only require a shave six or seven times a year. But hermits and other ascetics don’t have to follow such rules and become famous for their long beards.


Reflecting growing tension between East and West, Pope Nicholas I writes to French bishops that Eastern church leaders were critical that “among us, clerics do not refuse to shave their beards.”


Eneas, bishop of Paris, writes Liber Adversus Graecos (Book Against the Greeks), and complains that Eastern leaders “accused the Latins and Romans because they shave their beards.”


Ratramnus, a Frankish Benedictine monk who would later inspire several figures in the Protestant Reformation, defends priestly shaving against Eastern church leaders who required beards. He argued that these beards may violate Paul’s rule against long hair. And besides, “if it is a sin, or a transgression against the divine law, to cut the beard let [the Greeks] say why the prophet [Ezekiel] shaved his beard at the order of the Lord (Ezek. 5:1), why the Nazarenes [Nazarites] followed this custom, why finally the apostles did not fear this custom.”

Early 1000s

Full beards come briefly back into style, but fall out of style by mid-century. This leads some older mid-century church leaders, nostalgic for beards, to associate shaving with immodesty. As one abbot wrote in 1043, the empire in Germany was besieged by “the shameful custom of the vulgar French … in the cutting of beards, in the shortening and deforming of clothing, execrable to modest eyes, and many other novelties.” Half a century later, writers associated immodesty with beards, not shaving. One English Benedictine monk wrote, “Now almost all our fellow countrymen are crazy and wear little beards, openly proclaiming by such a token that they revel in filthy lusts like stinking goats.”


In England, the Canons of Edgar say no priest should “retain his beard for any time.” A similar law is made in Northumbria three years later.


The Council of Bourges unequivocally mandates “a shaved beard” for “all who minister within the Holy Church.”

July 16, 1054

In what would mark the split between Eastern and Western Christianity, a French cardinal delivers a papal bull excommunicating the Patriarch of Constantinople. The document’s list of “heresies” ends by citing the churches’ division over beards: “Because they grow the hair on their head and beards, they will not receive in communion those who tonsure their hair and shave their beards following the decreed practice of the Roman Church.”

c. 1060

Benedictine monk Otloh of St. Emmeram tells the story of a man accused of stealing a horse. A priest called to prepare the man for confession points out another “sin”: “Although you are a layman and should go about with your beard unshaven in the manner of laymen, you have nevertheless, in contempt of divine law, shaved your beard just like a cleric.” Seeking absolution, the man promises, “Never again shall a razor touch my beard.” But a short time later he shaved, noting that his promise applied only to razors, not to sharp knives. “Divine vengeance swiftly followed such presumption,” wrote Otloh. “For soon afterwards, he was captured by his enemies and deprived of sight when his eyes were gouged out.”

Oct. 5, 1080

Attempting to Romanize the formerly Greek church in Sardinia, Pope Gregory VII notes that he has forced the archbishop to shave his beard “as the clergy of the whole Western church have had the custom of shaving the beard from the very origins of the Christian faith.” All local clergy were ordered to do likewise.


The archbishop of Rouen threatens to excommunicate anyone with a beard (or with long hair), not just clerics.

c. 1160

Abbot Burchard of Bellavaux writes Apologia de Barbis, a treatise on the biblical, theological, moral, social, and allegorical implications of beards. As a clerical monk, Burchard had a shaved face. And in an earlier letter he had (mostly by accident) insulted the “lay brothers” who wore beards. He wrote his Apologia, he said, to make amends and to explain why their beards were so great. But the work itself suggests that he thought beards were appropriate for lay brothers but inferior to the shaved faces of clerical monks (just as he thought their vocations were inferior).

c. 1170

Pope Alexander III bars clerical beards. “Although the canonical rules prohibiting beards and requiring shaving remained in force, and were indeed reenacted throughout the Middle Ages, they were widely disregarded, especially by the higher clergy,” Giles Constable wrote in his definitive historyof medieval beards. “Even long beards seem to have been fashionable at the papal court at the time of the Reformation.”


Piero Valeriano Bolzani writes Pro Sacerdotum Barbis, a defense of priestly beards, after Pope Clement VII (who grew a beard to mourn the sack of Rome in 1527) threatened to renew calls for clerical shaving.

July 6, 1535

At his beheading, Sir Thomas More reportedly set his beard away from his neck on the chopping block. “My beard has not been guilty of treason,” he said. “It would be an injustice to punish it.”


Henry VIII taxes beards.


Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer begins to grow a beard, ostensibly to mark his mourning of the death of King Henry VIII, but also to signal a break with the (beardless) Catholic clergy.


Pastor George Trask of Fitchburg, Massachusetts, preaches against the “vain” (and rare) beard of congregant Joseph Palmer, and demands that he shave it off. When Trask denies Palmer Communion, Palmer grabs the chalice and drinks it anyway, shouting, “I love my Jesus as well, and better than any of you!” After he was jailed for fighting off attackers who tried to cut off his beard, Palmer (and his beard) became a New England cause célèbre.

March 5, 1864

Punch runs a series of caricatures of the different kinds of Anglican clergy beards in the UK, noting that they’re not found among Catholics or dissenting Christians (like Baptists and Congregationalists). “The Barbine Movement is altogether the property of the Establishment,” the satirical paper wrote. “No Popish priest in this country has entrenched upon this prerogative. The Dissenters shave in gloomy silence, leaving this noble field of ecclesiastical adornment to the Clergy of the Establishment.” (CT sister publication Out of Ur ran a similar, contemporary taxonomy of beards in February.)


“We have now for many centuries triumphed over nature to the extent of making certain secondary characteristics of the male (such as the beard) disagreeable to nearly all the females—and there is more in that than you might suppose.” —C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters.

c. 1970

Several Christian colleges bar beards, especially among faculty, over their association with protest movements.

July 21, 2013

Saddleback Church hosts a contest for “Most Magnificent Beard and Most Pathetic Beard” as Duck Dynasty’s barbate Phil Robertson and his beardless son, Alan, preach


posted by Ted Olsen at

Hobby Lobby Facing Government Fines & Store Closures Compliments of ObamaCare


UPDATE:  Hobby Lobby has won a “temporary” exemption from the new healthcare requirement. However, this fight is not over for Hobby Lobby or the other businesses being effected by overreaching government.

The government cannot make laws restricting you from your right to exercise your religion.
Continue reading


gay equal logo

The creation account found in Genesis gives us insights that no one could possibly have apart from the historical record that is the bible.  There are many truths displayed in this first book of our bible, but one that probably gets overlooked is the blueprint for marriage and family.

God, for 5 days has been creating and speaking everything into existence.  After each creation, God declares it is “good.”

There was only one thing in Genesis 2:18, that God called, “not good.”  At the end of day six,  just before God ended His creative work, every aspect of the entire universe was finished.  Each galaxy, star, planet, rock, grain of sand, and atom was in place.  Adam had already began naming all of the creatures.  But there was still one thing lacking…

“For Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him”

Adam was alone, and in need of a mate.  Therefore God’s final act of creation on day six – adding “Surgeon” to His long list of glorious titles – God formed Eve from Adam’s rib.  Then “He brought her to the man” (Genesis 2:22).

By that act, God established the family for all time.  The Genesis narrative tells us, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

  • Leaves his FATHER and MOTHER

  • Be Joined to HIS WIFE

There is never an exception made to this throughout scripture.  Jesus quoted that passage in Matthew 19 to underscore the sanctity and perpetuity of marriage as an institution.  The same verse is quoted almost every time two believers are united in a Christian marriage ceremony.  It is a reminder that marriage and the family are ordained by God and therefore sacred in His sight.

So it is no accident that, throughout history, family relationships have always been the very DNA of all human civilization.  According to Scripture, that is exactly the way God designed it to be and therefore, if the family crumbles as an institution, all of civilization will ultimately crumble along with it.  Aside from the moral side of things, we have children to think about as well.  A man and a woman are designed by God in such a way that the ability to create new life is contained within the two and thus reproduction is made possible by their union.  However, there have never been nor will there ever be, new life created as a result of a sexual union between two men or two women.

Supporters of gay rights and gay marriage today will shout that two women can take care of a child just as well as a husband and wife can.  The truth however is that when a child is cared for by two women, that child is missing one of the most important parts of the family unit and that is their Dad.  The same goes for a child raised by two men; he or she is missing a mother.

According to research compiled by National Fatherhood Initiative,

  • Children in father-absent homes are almost four times more likely to be poor
  • Children living in fatherless homes show higher levels of aggressive behavior than children living with a Mother and Father.  Living in a mother only household is equivalent to experiencing 5.25 partnership transitions.
  • Youths in father-absent households have significantly higher odds of incarceration than those in mother-father families.
  • The National Longitudinal Survey of Youth found that obese children are more likely to be living in father-absent homes than are non-obese children.

You see, a child being raised in this sort of environment creates a whole host of problems ranging from psychological to even physical.  Children were never meant to be raised in homes where either the Father or Mother is absent.  God’s design requires both the Mother and Father to be present and active in raising their children.  Having two care providers is never equal to having a Mother and a Father.

Over the last thirty to forty years or so, homosexuality has moved from being a sin that was illegal and detestable, to being tolerated, to now it is a protected “right.”  To take things a step further, homosexual couples are seeking to trample upon the holy and sacred institution of marriage.

Now, we know unregenerate sinners will continue to lead lifestyles that are not glorifying to God.  What’s more, scripture tells us that they are incapable of pleasing God (Romans 8:8.)

The troublesome thing today is that some Evangelicals are going as far as to say that there is nothing wrong with allowing homosexual couples to devalue marriage.  A homosexual marriage would be a counterfeit of the real thing; the original design by God for marriage, and anytime you counterfeit something, you devalue it.  I’ve heard several people recently saying that they hold the belief that we should just let people practicing homosexuality get married and the state should just stay out of the whole matter.  Others simply say, “their life is none of our business.”

I agree with the statement that their lives are none of our business.  But when anyone, gay or not, desires to nationally defile that which God has called holy, that DEMANDS Christians to stand up for what they believe in.


Hebrews 13:4
Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.

Why does God condemn homosexuality?  Because it obliterates God’s fundamental design for human relationships–a design that pictures the complementary relationship between a man and a woman (Genesis 2:18-25; Matthew 19:4-6; Ephesians 5:22-33).

We cannot forget John 3:16…for God so loved the WORLD…He gave his only Son.  So God wants homosexuals to come to salvation just as much as He wants a child, an adulterer, or a liar.

As we interact with homosexuals and those that condone the smattering of Marriage, we must affirm the Bible’s condemnation.  We are not trying to bring damnation on the head of homosexuals, but we are trying to bring conviction so that they can turn from that sin and embrace the only hope of salvation for all of us sinners–and that’s through faith in Christ.  Homosexuals need salvation. They don’t need healing–homosexuality is not a disease nor is it a psychological condition in need of therapy.  Homosexuals need forgiveness, because homosexuality is a sin (romans 1:24-32, Lev 20:13, 1 Cor. 6:9.)  No amount of shouting, arguing, debating, counseling, or therapy will change someone’s sin nature.  Only by the supernatural transformation that happens through salvation can a person be changed from the inside out.

Copyright 2013 BlogLiveLove. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent or permission.

Anonymous Youth Pastor’s Letter to a Parent

posted by Trevin Wax at TheGospelCoalition

colored pencils img

Dear _____________,

I need to get something off my chest.

When I first came to this church, you told me how excited you were that I would be showing your kids what it means to love Jesus, be part of His Church, and grow as a Christian. You told me you were praying for me and that you had my back. You had high hopes for the youth ministry.

I had high hopes too. But I must confess that I am frustrated right now because I feel like you’re working against me, not with me.

The desire for your teenagers to be on fire for Jesus and all about His kingdom is what wakes me up every morning. I long to see a group of passionate, unashamed Christians ready to live on mission. I thought we shared that desire, but I’m not so sure anymore.

It seems to me that you see youth ministry as a supplement to your kids’ lives – not something vital. I’m like a vitamin you hope will keep your kids out of trouble, not part of your weekly exercise routine. You’d never say it like that, I know, but based on your priorities, I can’t help but feel that way.

I got a text from your middle-schooler on Sunday, telling me how much he wanted to be at church, but how you were making him be with the team. He doesn’t know when he can come on Wednesday nights, because he always has practice. He tells me he can’t wait till he can drive, so he can come to church more often.

At the very least, I wish I had the opportunity to equip and deploy your son as a missionary to the sports fields, but there’s just no time left in his schedule. I recognize that sports can be a good character-building exercise, but sometimes I’m not sure whether all these activities are for your kids or really for you. If this pattern continues, you shouldn’t hold on to any expectations that your children will find a good church once they’re in college. When your kids have to ask what you’re doing this Sunday, it’s already game over.

What’s more, your daughter told me recently that you have a “no-toleration policy” when it comes to alcohol, but you’ve given instruction on how to avoid pregnancy in case she was going to have sex. Well, let me tell you that I have a no-toleration policy for both those activities, the first because it’s illegal, and the second because it’s immoral. I want your kids to follow Jesus, not the world. That’s why I am so surprised that it seems like you are more concerned about your children embarrassing you than disobeying God.

When we first met and you told me that you wanted me to help your kids love Jesus more, I guess you were really saying, “Help my children be moral, respectable and religious.” I should have leveled with you then. I have no interest in helping you raise nice, moral hypocrites who love ball more than God or chase pleasure more than His kingdom.

I want to work together, but that means we’ll need to be seeking first God’s kingdom and His righteousness, not our kingdoms or self-righteousness.

Please know that I’m still committed to your kids. I just hope to see them again at some point.

Your friend,


* Trevin’s note: This is not a real letter, but a compilation of frustrations I’ve heard recently from those who work in student ministry. It is intended to prompt conversation on the responsibilities and roles of youth pastors, their relationship with parents, and the expectations we have of students. If you leave a comment, please make sure you are civil, thoughtful, and seeking to further the kind of gracious conversation this post is designed to create. Thank you!

Loving People To Hell

Loving People To Hell

It drives me nuts when I see this.  There are many Christians – bible believing/born again – who are succumbing to this crazy idea that the Gospel; Christians sharing their faith, is simply argumentative and ultimately unloving.  They believe the Gospel is too offensive to just dive into and that it would much more effective to just show others love and hold off on the gospel message.  These kinds of Christians will usually quote 1 Peter 3:15 and place specific emphasis on the words “Gentleness & Respect.”

You might have heard something like this before:

“We should know how to articulate the gospel, but loving people is more important.” Continue reading

Lead singer of Mumford and Sons


Lead singer of Mumford and Sons

Marcus Mumford, of the popular band “Mumford and Sons,” was recently interviewed by Rolling Stone Magazine for an upcoming cover story and in the interview, Marcus was asked, “would you consider yourself a Christian?”

Marcus: “I don’t really like that word. It comes with so much baggage.  So, no… I wouldn’t call myself a Christian.  I’ve kind of separated myself from the culture of Christianity.”

Not everyone knows this, but Marcus is the son of the U.K. founders of the evangelical Vineyard movement and just like many other 20-30 something “church kids” today, Marcus is basically echoing the popular quote  from Mahatma Gandhi –

“I would be a Christian, if it were not for the Christians.”

In fact, Pew Research Center reported last year that, 32% of 18 to 29-year-olds listed “none” as their religious affiliation.  Why the jump from flying the “Christian” flag?  Why are today’s college kids disgusted with saying, “I’m a Christian?”  Most will tell you it has everything to do with “the crazies.”


The hate speech spewing, false doctrine teaching, outright ignorant fools, who give Christianity a bad name.

  • Westboro Baptist Church
  • Gun Wielding Pastors Who Want To Burn The Koran
  • Preachers Who Blame Tragedies On Gays/Homosexuals and Abortionists.

Admittedly, there are many “Christians” who would much rather just tell sinners how bad they are, kick em to the ground, rub their face in their depravity, and emphatically tell them they’re going to hell.


The truth is, hell is the reality and consequence for everyone who refuses to believe in Christ.  Jesus said, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son (John 3:18b.)  The GOSPEL is supposed to be GOOD NEWS, not hateful news.  Yes, we definitely need the whole gospel…the bad news and the good news, but the bible tells us to share the WHOLE gospel in LOVE.

  • Bad News – Apart from Christ, people will spend eternity separated from God in a real place called Hell.

  • Good News – God the Father went to the extreme to make the way for whosoever will believe, by sacrificing His only Son in our place, paying our debt of blood, so we could be called sons and daughters.

People like Marcus and the 32% of 18 to 29-year-old Americans can say, “I don’t want to call myself a Christian,” and they can even blame it on the ridiculous people out there who use Christianity and the bible as an excuse to hate others.  But what they are really saying is, “I don’t truly believe it.”

The Apostle Paul endured false teachers who taught different gospels, who imposed stupid requirements on new believers, and who also accused Paul himself of being a money hungry fraud.  That didn’t stop Paul from being unashamed of the Gospel (romans 1:16.)

Romans 1:1 – Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God.

Allowing the misuse of the name by others -. who clearly are not Christians – to cause you to say, “I’m not going to affiliate with that name anymore because ignorant people are messing it up,” is immature and cowardly.  We’re all messed up on some level.  But The Crazies’ misuse and tainting of the word “Christian,” SHOULD drive true believers, all the more, to share the gospel in love and work to put on the Garments of Righteousness every day. Don’t separate from Christianity… Separate from the crazies by showing others what a bible believing, true follower of Christ, looks like.

Colossians 3:12-17

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved…

  • Compassionate hearts 
  • Kindness
  • Humility
  • Meekness
  • and patience
  • Bearing with one another
  • Forgiving each other 
  • Above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
  • Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.
  • Be thankful.
  • Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, 
  • singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, 
  • whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Live Love.




“If you are a Father, you want to give your children the best right?  You want your children to be happy.  The best clothes, best car, best home.  Well doesn’t it make sense that our Heavenly Father would want to bless us all the more so that we are happy?”  -Joel Osteen

“Jesus helped a man wash blindness from his eyes; I want to help you concerning hexes, vexes, home problems, love, happiness, and joy!”  -David Eppley (selling a blessed bar of prayer soap)

These kinds of health and wealth/prosperity gospel preachers are usually pretty easy to spot and ignore.  Unfortunately though, some of their gangrenous theology is making it’s way into doctrinally sound churches.  Continue reading