Claiming Jesus Had Short Hair

An SFL reader passed along the first half of this booklet which contains one of the great sermons our time by none other than the late Dr. Jack Hyles.  I hope that it is a blessing to your heart and a rejoicing to your bowels. Click on the links below to read it in its entirety.

(Part 1) (Part 2) (Part 3) (Part 4)

176 thoughts on “Claiming Jesus Had Short Hair”

        1. I’m assuming it’s a one-word essay:

          “Q: Is the Homosexual Sick or Sinful?”
          “A: No.”

        2. No, no. The one word answer is “Both!” Why beat ’em down with one club when you can use two.

        3. All the while telling them, “We hate the sin, but love the sinner. **Kick him again Cletus and show ’em how much we love ’em.** 😈

        4. I’ve seen a few fundies actually have their mind blown when someone has the cajones to tell them that “hate the sin and love the sinner” is not either literally or in principle located anywhere in Scripture. Most think your just a compromiser, and couldn’t care less whether it’s in Scripture or not. Ones that do actually care about Scripture have a really hard time dealing w/ that.

        5. RobM, I think you mean “cojones.” “Cajones” can mean either “large boxes” or “drawers” (the furniture kind, not the clothing kind).

      1. “You’ll thank us later for helping to kick the sin out of you. Now, we have to kick you, because it’s hard to tell where sin ends and the sinner begins, and frankly it’s just easier to hate it all. Just lie still now…”

    1. I THINK he believes Jesus DID have a beard (although I’ll admit the paragraph is really confusing.) He quotes a “historian” saying, “Jesus had no beard and short hair.” Then he says we have historical proof in early pictures/carvings that always depict Jesus with a beard. It seems that he wanted to use the quotation to support the idea of short hair, but had to disprove the earlier part of the quote that He had no beard. Still, though, it’s VERY unclear.

      1. I’m not sure that it’s too confusing.

        He quotes L. Fahrenkrog (a painter?!)who says, “Christ certainly never wore a beard, and His hair was beyond a doubt closely cut.” Then, Hyles says, “For this we have historical proof.” The antecedent “this” must include both statements, the first of which ignores historical evidence to the contrary.

        Typical Hyles scholasticism.

        1. As someone who has a BA in Communication Studies, Hyles does NOT know how to write in a way that’s academically correct. If you’re going to have a sermon, etc, where you talk about Jesus and the type of man he was, don’t go quoting painters, etc.. Use quotes from people who are in the field of religious (ie. Bible scholars and the like), people who’ve STUDIED the issue you’re talking about and who KNOW the facts. Actually RESEARCH things instead of spouting off personal opinions. UGH

    2. I grew up in the “Jesus didn’t have a beard” camp. The argument goes that, at least in the KJV, the Bible never says that Jesus had a beard.
      The KJV says in one place that “they plucked the hairs of his face” so it could be that the Roman soldiers were pulling his eyebrows out.

      I just reread what I wrote and I sincerely wish I were making that up.
      I just strolled down memory lane, now I need a shower.

      1. The Bible doesn’t say Jesus had five toes on each foot, either, but he probably did. However, it doesn’t matter whether he did or not. Sort of like whether his hair was short or long.

        1. He *had* have five toes on each foot, cause five is the number of grace! He had to crush Satan’s head with said foot, right? And David picked five stones to slay the giant, right?? And David was the ancestor of Jesus, right???

          Fundy allegoricalizations are fun…. Wheeeee!!!! 😛

  1. Brother RJW, if you read the KJB very carefully youll see that those Roman soldier boys “plucked out” his beard, that means they pulled his whiskers out by grabsping them with tweezers on account of Jesus didnt have a chance to shave on account of he was inprisoned at the time.

    1. I’m assuming this is another CMG type farce account. I couldn’t tell on a post earlier this week for sure, but this feels like that. Kudos if it is, cause I can’t tell for sure, which is a true sign of solid parody.

  2. “If you can’t find scripture passages to prove your point, then just twist the scripture or flat out contradict it if you need to, but never change YOUR point of view.” -Sergio Garcia

    This strategy helps when you can keep your sheeple reading an archaic interpretation of the Bible that they can barely understand and can’t read for more than 5 minutes without getting a headache.

  3. On Link 3, under his point “The Bible Says Nothing About Jesus Having Long Hair,” I couldn’t quite follow his argument. Was he quoting the historians as authoritative? He seemed to get sidetracked into talking about beards for a bit.

    I was amused when he said that Judas could have easily identified Jesus in the garden if Jesus had been a “long-haired freak.”

  4. I’m also amused by his quoting Henry David Thoreau in Part 2. Hyles would disagree with nearly everything about Thoreau (in a way, wasn’t Thoreau a “hippie” and a flouter of conventions in his day? “Civil Disobedience” and all that?), but when he says something about the bad influence of music, THEN Hyles will quote him.

  5. It’s sad how Christians in general missed an opportunity to reach an entire culture (that of the 60’s & 70’s) due to their isolating of themselves from it. Obviously, this was a troubled time in America’s history, and many young people were seeking truth. But, Christians (particularly fundamentalists):
    1. politicized Christianity
    2. “separated” themselves from the culture, largely because they were scared of it.

    Those who did join the ranks of the fundamentalists in these years were easy prey to false teaching like this, because of all the turmoil.

    1. RJW said: It’s sad how Christians in general missed an opportunity to reach an entire culture (that of the 60′s & 70′s) due to their isolating of themselves from it.

      I couldn’t agree more.

      This is why IFB churches were the largest churches in America in the 70s, but today they are marginal. Love of tradition will isolate you from your generation no matter how fired up you are about soul winning.

      1. A lot of people joined IFB churches in the 70’s out of fear (remember this was the era of fearing nuclear war, Vietnam, communists, etc.). Most people thought they may not live until 1985 or beyond. This is the era when “Thief in the Night” was produced. People were terrified. They prayed a prayer to feel more secure.

        Then, in the midst of revolts, hippies, etc. . (something that hadn’t happened on this same scale up to this point), people were looking for an outward form of Godliness. They found it easy to believe that rock music caused evil/rebellion. They found it even easier to follow a code of conduct (cut your hair short, isolate yourself from the culture, wear your skirts long, stop going to the theater, burn your Beatles’ Cd’s, get married and go “off to Bible college for full-time Christian service.”). They were taught this was “righteousness” and “Godliness”, and along the way, they all missed the “real deal”.

        I put a larger percentage of the blame on the MOG who led these people astray, mistranslating Scripture, abusing Scripture, taking verses OUT of context. You had 18 year olds in the 70’s who walked an aisle out of fear, and found themselves (at the MOG’s urging), getting married, and going away to Fundy U, to “get ready for the ministry” when they weren’t even ready to be married let alone raise kids (which they had right away). And then the dysfunctionalness began. . . .

        The 70’s and 80’s were their own unique culture, that’s for sure, and produced a lot of the crazy fundyism that is described on this site.

        1. I concur with your reply. While the Vietnam and Civil Rights movements were mostly done, the cultural war had just begun. Activists were being assimulated into churches and the workplace. The ideas of the 60s were being presented to co-workers, friends, and family whether you liked it or not. The battle was no longer on the streets, but rather at work, family events, and cafes. Those who felt threatened looked for help from whoever would provide it.

  6. 1. What a shallow God he presents, so concerned about the outward appearance. 2. He’s right about Jesus being a Nazarene(from Nazareth) rather than a Nazarite(vow taker). 3. He’s right that there are no representations or descriptions of Christ. So we don’t know if he had long hair, short hair, or had male pattern baldness. Finally, as to the coins of the realm which prove men had short hair; those were Roman coins depicting Roman styles. Hebrews would have done everything they could to stay separate from the hated Romans. Judas had to kiss Jesus because He was in a group of Hebrews who would have all looked the same to the Roman soldiers. Anyone with half a brain can see through this malarky.

  7. I think I had a Linda Blair moment (sans the demon possession). How can anyone stand in the pulpit and spew this trash? There are people we need to serve out there that need Christ, but we have to make sure we shave before we minister? Really? Where in the gospels were there any mention of the disciples making sure their outward appearance was acceptable to be a disciple in the first place!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHH!

    Oh, and isnt it convenient that Hyles can point to 1st century depictions to make a point about Jesus, but 1st century oral traditions and teaching not in the Bible make the Catholic Church a cult. Double standard anyone 😡

  8. I love how he can say Jesus had short hair because he was following the fashions of the day. (Which he claims was influenced by the Roman styles) Then he says that the reason we should avoid current fashions is because the Bible tells us to stay separate from the world.

    I know that couldn’t be right. After all, we are all supposed to follow the fashion styles of the 1950s. Because that was the perfect time. Jesus would have known that and styled his hair accordingly. Also, I’m pretty sure he always wore ties and long pants. 😉

    1. He definitely wore a three-piece suit, tie and a white shirt to Church every Sunday morning, 11 o’clock sharp. What I want to know is – DOES GOD REALLY CARE?

  9. An irrelevant sermon on an irrelevant point. Who knows how many hundreds of people he had in the audience when he preached this and it is irrelevant. Like so much IFB… There is so much to teach, preach and learn from God’s Word. Majoring on the minors as they say. When I hears someone say wasn’t that a great sermon, I always think, “How does what he said help me be better tommorow when I face the day”? Drivel like this has no real point or purpose except to control the outside like a good Pharasee.

    1. So true. The beauties of Christ are inexhaustible. The temptations and struggles I face are multitudinous. So why so many sermons on hair styles, clothing, music, Bible versions, movie attending, etc.? Majoring on the minors is right.

  10. Just…wow. One thing I canNOT understand is why people liked this? What drew all those 20k people to that church like a magnet? Maybe he was sincere in his manner however misguided? Regardless, it’s really puzzling. But I’ll say this much, I have a relative that graduated from HAC and a lot of his quirks makes sense the more I read about Hyles. 😐

    1. It is the nature of people to be proud and self-reliant. The idea that our external appearance can earn us ‘points’ or merit with God before or after salvation is appealing to them.
      The same human nature drew many of the early Christians to the false gospel of the Judaizers. Now the false gospel of legalism (with essentially the same ideas in new skins) is running rampant and threatening the true gospel.

      True grace means that it’s not all about us. We don’t deserve, earn, or sustain God’s love and grace in our lives. People just can’t handle that. Especially religious people.

    2. What drew all those 20k people to that church like a magnet?

      I wish I could pinpoint what kept me there so long, but I can’t. I just look back and wonder what I could’ve been thinking.

  11. A quote from the book “Revolution requires a break from the old. Hence, revolutionaries are using modern art, modern music, and a change in dress styles and hair styles as a part of this break from the establishment.”

    I find it bizarre that a so-called preacher of the Gospel is defending “the establishment” like this.
    I am not sure when this booklet was written but I would have to guess from the wording it was at the height of the Cold War. Probably in the 60’s or 70’s.

    Which “establishment” is he trying to protect here? Kennedy, Nixon, Johnson, Ford or Carter?

    1. Based on his discussion of the Vietnam-era peace movement, and his quotation from Jerry Rubin, it has to be either the Johnson administration or the Nixon administration.

  12. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CtjhWhw2I8

    There is nothing wrong with your television set(read church religion). Do not attempt to adjust the picture(read pastor). We(read Men o gawd) are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your television set(church religious experience). You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind(read pastor’s imagination) to… The Outer Limits (of logic and reason)

    — Opening narration – The Control Voice – 1960s

  13. I just gave this booklet a quick reread. I will ask the question about J. Hyles that I have asked about many other preachers.

    How do you get to be such an influential preacher and still not know the difference between political dogma and religious doctrine?

  14. There were barbers in Rome and Greece before Christ, but I’m not sure that the Jews followed the practice. But, since Jesus chose to live on the earth poor, he probably wouldn’t have regularly visited a barber, anyway. Therefore, he would have had long hair and a beard.

        1. Can you carve Jack Hyles initials into one side, and AV1611 on the other for Scorpio? I think he deserves that!

        2. Scorpio, I did a high and tight tonight. Was that you? Nah… This guy didn’t give me a hard time, hound me about if I was cutting his hair right, and tell me how harlot-like my toe nail polish is. 😉

        3. Rob – That would be cruel and unusual punishment. But I like it. 😆
          Actually I was thinking more along the lines of having a white piano shaved into my hair. As my hair grows longer and less holy, it will be harder to see the piano. :mrgreen:

        4. Natalie you so remind me of the girl that cuts my hair. She has a wild spirit like you. She has been cutting my hair for 18 years so we can joke and have a good time.
          I do get my hair cut short (#1 setting on her electric shears) out of personal preference, not to please anyone. Short hair is so much easier to take care of.
          Anyway, I really hate having the cut hairs hanging around so I usually have her rinse my hair when she is done cutting. Unless I know I am just going home and jumping in the shower. In that case I will have her just use a blow dryer to blow all the stray cut hairs off of me. So now when she is done she will ask me “do you want me to rinse you or blow you?” 😆
          I always tell her she will get a bigger tip if she blows me :mrgreen:

        5. Scorpio, she does sound like me. 🙂

          I’ve had a handful of my guy clients tell me that they come to me because they can BS with me the whole time. OH, and they start the moment they walk in the door, and then I go, “Sit your butt in the chair, so I can cut your hair.” They tell me what they want and I go, “Yeah, okay, you know I’m going to cut your hair how I want anyway.” (I always cut it the way they want, BTW).

          Now, I’m not sassy like that with everyone, but if they start dishing it out… Most of them are firefighters, because they know my husband’s a cop and there’s always this fun trash talk between the two. So, they love giving me crap.

          If its a cut like yours, I do offer the rinse, too, and then I’ll say, “Do you want anything on your head?” And, if they give me a look, I go, “GEL! I meant GEL!” 😉

  15. Ugh. Just the first paragraph riles me. Yes, longish hair on men was new to the generation of the 60s but not to the entirety of history. Way to completely ignore the entire scope of human civilization there, Hyles. I might make it through the rest of this “sermon.”

  16. The Bible said nothing about Jesus being a white European either. I can remember in the early 1970’s when liberal and black theologians began to challenge the idea that Jesus was a blond hair, blue eyed white man. Many white fundies were upset. Jesus was a white man with short hair!
    I remember watching a documentary about what Jesus may have looked like. There was one black minister who made an excellent point. If white southerners (pre-Civil Rights Movement) saw a brown or black skinned Jesus when they prayed, maybe their attitudes on race would be different.

  17. So pretty much the whole sermon was a case of really terrible exegesis combined with conflating correlation and causation. That’s awesome. At least now we know why the American Revolution occurred–all those long-haired hippie colonists rejecting their authority! 😯 If only they’d have been like Jesus and had short hair, we’d still be right with God in obedience to the crown. Or something…. haha

  18. It seems like if Jesus had long hair, he would have lost his testimony to all the Jews. Pastor Backlow says it is commonly known to historians that people all had short hair due to fears about lice. Except for women. Their long hair was blessed and kept lice-free because God designed it to be a covering.

    If you cannot submit to the standards of your church, then how can you think you can submit to the standards GOD sets up! 🙂 When I think too much about how much I need to submit (the way I dress, traffic laws, ordering speedily in the drive-through so I don’t inconvenience others, being frugal with empty jars) it makes my head spin! (But not to a beat, haha)

  19. When did Jack Hyles write this? All his cultural references are from the 1960s and before.

    Of course, it’s full of terrible reasoning and dubious claims based on very weak evidence, but why bother to refute it, when he never answers the (unstated) central question: Why does it matter what hairstyle Jesus had?
    Answer: It doesn’t.

    Somehow it’s especially amusing that he associates long hair, rock music, and pop art with Communist revolutions, when Communist states of the 20th century seriously frowned on men letting their hair grow, and suppressed rock music, many forms of modern art, and all the symbols associated with the youth culture of the 1950s through 1980s.

    I haven’t heard some of this dreck since the late 1960s (when I was just a kid).
    The deal about the peace sign being a broken cross/antichrist symbol is an urban myth with absolutely no basis in fact. I recall the John Birch society circulating a similar story.

    1. I would assume the date would be late 70’s. The reason is the fact that there are so many Bible verses. In the later years there would be a few in the beginning and then close you Bibles and go.

  20. Is this like a paperback version of one of those crappy “sermon jams” where some guy keeps shouting about hell while a DJ mixes some trance music in the background?

  21. He also spends a great deal of space arguing that Jesus was not a Nazarite. As far as I know, no one except Jack Hyles ever thought Jesus WAS a Nazarite (not to be confused with a Nazarene).

    Shaving, however, was forbidden by Jewish law (for all Jewish men, not just Nazarites), so it seems odd that Hyles seems to be saying that Jesus had no beard.

  22. I know one baptist who is adamant Jesus had long hair.

    Peter S. Ruckman.

    He will write as much as this and more (most of it probably lists of names of the apostates who believe Jesus had a crew cut) on why Jesus had long hair. He makes a compelling case using the “shame for a man to have long hair” verse, especially since Jesus bore our shame and reproach.

    Personally, I don’t care. I am growing my hair like David Tennants.

    1. I am not, because when my hair gets that long it just starts to look ridiculous.

      For the record, I can grow a mean set of sideburns! But I avoid the beard, too much viking blood in me, When I grew it out my nickname automatically became Eric the Red, or on one occasion Hagar the horrible. Works fine for folks with red hair, but then I just spend my time explaining that no I don’t dye my hair to keep it from being red like my beard 🙄

      1. I have been known however to go around with a couple days of stubble on since it doesn’t turn red till it gets longer, and that is even more un-fundy than a real beard. I have been instructed in this matter of facial hair on more than one occasion.

  23. Wow, this was just painful. Not because I disagree with him (which I most certainly do) but because the cognitive dissonance and outright arrogance that he has to go through to prove his point should have made his head explode, literally. You simply cannot be a fundamentalist and agree with much of anything that he said save his conclusion. Which is why it is so mind boggling. It starts right from the top. Lets show a verse taken out of context where the Bible mentions attire then use that to prove that God looks on the outward appearance and anyone who says differently is just trying to justify sin.

    That alone is bad enough, then he goes on and talks about how long hair is unpatriotic, but then bashes revolutions. Ummm how is it that our patriotism is different from the UK’s? Because of a damn revolution. The only difference between the founding fathers, lenin and the 1960’s is philosophy not substance. Revolution is revolution. He just happens to agree, or likes the byproduct, of the founding fathers while thinking Lenin or hippies are disgusting. You can’t pick and choose.

    Then he doesn’t not link homosexuality to long hair. Oh that is mighty fine of you. “This is not to say that long hair and homosexuality…go to gether, but it is…”

    Then I love section IV where he contradicts the whole of Fundamentalism to prove his point. He doesn’t even flinch. He completely destroys fundamentalism and all it stands for and yet somehow thinks that he proved his point. Here we go:

    “The plain simple truth is that during the life of Christ, short hair was the acceptable style. That Jesus wore the conventional style of His day is proved by the fact that Judas had to kiss Him to point Him out to the soldiers…”

    But that means all things are relative sir. Fine Jesus had short hair because that was acceptable during his time on earth (although all you proved was that Roman emperors often had short hair, you didn’t prove that they couldn’t have long hair nor that people from other cultures didn’t have other norms, nor that common citizenry didn’t have separate norms from emperors), but then we may have long hair because, guess what, that is acceptable in today’s culture. Plus is he really saying the Jesus wasn’t different? He wasn’t distinct from his culture? He dressed in the cultural attire of his day, he wore his hair like everyone else? He wasn’t distinct, he didn’t let his light shine? He was so non-distinct that Judas had to kiss him because Jesus looked like the evil culture of his day? And then with a straight face he finishes with Romans 12:2…wait a second. Jesus had to have looked exactly like Roman emperors, but now we can’t be like our culture at all. Which is it?

    The “Jesus couldn’t be a Nazarite” is also funny. Because he tells us Jesus couldn’t be a Nazarite because he partook of stuff a nazarite cannot partake in…but then tells us that the vow was for a limited time, perhaps days. So wait, Jesus could have been a Nazarite, just not under the vow when he drank the wine. So in fact, Jesus could have had long hair under a nazarite vow, but then when the vow was up drank of the wine or raised the dead woman. Again he does this all with a straight face.

    He also does this with such arrogance it is painful to read. Seriously the only person that thought you were smart was your mother and yourself. Anyone with half a brain could realize you are just blowing this stuff out your arse.

    1. I have short hair (out of personal preference) and I can tell you this did nothing to pump my ego. In fact, after reading this rubbish I so want to grow my hair long. 😈

      But I probably never will becasue short hair is so much easier to take care of.

  24. For some reason, despite being 28, it takes me 5 days to grow a 5 o clock shadow. And now it’s starting to get a bit thicker, I’m noticing that there are a heap of red hairs in there. I also am getting some grays on the side of my head like Mr. Fantastic of the Fantastic Four. So when I am 40, I might have a mad red beard, black hair and grey side streaks. Sick.

  25. I’m not missing the audio link on here somehow am I? There isn’t audio posted (and hasn’t been all day, right)? I feel like I’m looking for a white piano, but mpt linked here and said the audio was posted.

    1. We’re concerned about you losing your hair (HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TONY!)

      Sorry this is meant as a joke, you may continue your intelligent conversation/ wit/ sarcasm from now on

  26. Jack Hyles, like many fundy preachers, come up with sermons like this to feed their egos. It has gotten to the point where they will downright make up stuff so that they can get comments from their brainless followers to boost their egos even more. Comments such as “Wow, preacher, I’ve read this passage 100 times and have never seen it this way.” Your sermon was truly God inspired”. And the brainless follower walks away feeling good about himself because he has kissed the preachers ass.

    The farther away the interpretation from what it actually is meant to be…the more “inspired”, and the more the brainless followers think that god is unveiling another nugget of truth to them.

    It is a vicious cycle repeated over and over in the fundy church.

  27. One really pathetic part of it is this one at the end: “With discipline and, if needs be, punishment, see to it that as he grows up he uses his hair as a symbol of patriotism and Christianity…”; last time I checked, “patriotism” is not a commandment of God. It’s really pathetic how fundies love to conflate “patriotism” with “being a good Christian.”

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