Through the years of my blog and YouTube channel I’ve had many books given to me, some shipped/mailed to me with the request – can you please do a review on this book! I’ve done a few, and today, I’ve finally gotten around to reviewing Facial Hair: A Christian Perspective by Chancy Gore.
This book mounts a defense of the position taken by many in the Apostolic Pentecostal (Oneness, United Pentecostal Church, International., Worldwide Pentecostal Fellowship, and other factions of the Holiness movement) that it may be inappropriate and dishonoring to God for men to wear facial hair. The first take away might be the immediate question, “Is that actually a Christian perspective?” Spoiler alert: it is not.
Author: Chancy Gore
Published: 1998, Advance Ministries
Length: 68 pages
Foreword: 2 pages, by J.R. Ensey (also the publisher, founder of Advance Ministries)
While clearly and immediately identifying that the Bible is silent on this topic, the booklet attempts to raise a defense of the Oneness Pentecostal/Holiness movements stance on men wearing facial hair, or more accurately, the reason that mean should not wear facial hair. Attempting to build on the principle of Holiness, which in the United Pentecostal Church, International., is synonymous with their outward appearance and dress standards. (See Articles of Faith, The United Pentecostal Church, International)
In twists or irony, the book introduces us to a limited history of the Judaic culture, their customs of wearing facial hair as a sign of manhood, maturity, and distinction of the sexes, but then uses the Hellenistic, Roman and Pagan influences that caused cosmopolitan Jews to shave their beards as evidence for the cause that men should not wear facial hair today. What? The twist is that this author attempts to say that we cannot be swayed by the looks of culture – and then says that the looks of culture are what sways their decisions on what to wear and how to appear. (Simply to be opposite of culture)
The booklet defends it’s positions again by using limited history to explain that witches, wizards, and barbarians were also known to wear facial hair and thus, the Christian man must take pains to avoid any appearance similar to that of the heathens. The most audacious question the author uses to posit their position, was to say that just because Jesus did something, that does not justify New Testament followers of Christ to do it, saying, “After all, even if Jesus had a full beard without marred edges as was the manner of the ancient Jews, would that justify a Christian man today to grow full beards, simply to be like the Lord?”
Finally, in gross misrepresentation of history, the author calls to comments made by early church fathers like Tertullian to show that the early church took a stance against facial hair as well. This does not bode well, as the author’s organization tears down those same sources for their ‘false doctrines’ in other books and articles, but flat out misrepresent the truth, saying, “As far back as Tertullian’s time (c 200 a.d.) the warning of facial hair has been a point of contention within the Christian Church.”
Yet, when one searches the writings of Tertullian in regard to this topic, we find quite opposing statements, saying things like, “The nature of the beard contributes…to the beauty of manliness.”
In the final pages of the booklet, the author posits again that facial hair is a representation of ‘a rebellious spirit” and one that “identifies with the negative elements of society.” And on page 65 states, “The Christian is not to focus on his outward appearance,” all while writing a 68 page booklet arguing about the outward appearance of a Christian, from a stance of “Biblical silence on this topic.” The final conclusion is that this book is nothing, but a biased work of fiction, not grounded in Scripture or history and is simply, false information, teaching false doctrines and the commandments of man. Our conclusion is that it be condemned as errant teaching and not worthy of being labeled, “A Christian Perspective.”
Continue reading for a deeper analysis of the book.