Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Evangelicals Arguing about Pink Hair Dye on Male Church Members, pt 2

Part One (I and I'm sure many others are hopeful that Douglas Wilson's son, Nate, a many published author and married father of a few children, will recover well from the removal of a brain tumor this week.)

The point of my first post was not to isolate the single issue of optic hair coloring, whether men or women.  It is that scripture doesn't say, "Thou shalt not dye thy hair with iridescent hues."  There are great number of prohibitive activities the Bible doesn't prohibit.  God's Word is intended to be applied.  Men are supposed to live it, because it can be lived.  Being lived requires application.

Separatists for awhile have been applying scripture to such things as dress.  The Bible teaches on dress.  Scripture is sufficient for every area of life.  On many areas that Christians applied scripture through history, evangelicals stopped applying, especially in areas of what has been called personal separation, which relate to worldliness.  For believers to worship God, that is, "present [their] bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God (Rom 12:1), they must obey two imperatives, commands, in Romans 12:2, "be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind."

"Conformed" is external and "transformed" is external.  Both look like something that has to be judged, and the assumption is that believers can judge and should judge.  "Conformed" (suschematizo) comes from a word of which BDAG says, "to conform to a pattern or mold," and this is how the English word "schematic" functions.  "World" is not kosmos, but aion, which here has the understanding of "the spirit of this age," parallel with the German and colloquial, zeitgeist, meaning, "the dominant set of ideals and beliefs that motivate the actions of the members of a society in a particular period in time."

The word "transformed" (metamorphao) comes from a Greek word that is the basis for the English word, metamorphosis.  Metamorphosis is external, like what we see when a caterpillar turns into a butterfly, which is radical difference.  You can really, really tell a difference when something is transformed, and it affects what you see.

In the last part of Romans 12:2, Paul writes, "that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."  "Prove" is the Greek word, dokimazo, which is the word used for testing metals.  Everything in this present world, this system, needs to be tested as a Christian according to scripture.  The "renewing of the mind" that transforms the believer on the outside comes from hearing, understanding, and meditating upon the Word of God.

God expects us to test things in the world according to scriptural thinking.  The standard is the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God.  The world shouldn't be setting the pace for believers, even if they insist that it's innocent.  Believers of the past could easily judge pink hair on men or whatever number of unnatural technicolor hair pigmentation on women.  It wouldn't have even happened.  If it did, it would have been an easy call for people of most ages.  This present age is different. Why?

The abandonment of discernment, the unwillingness to judge itself, for evangelicals has followed the spirit of the age, which is one of toleration.  People don't want to be judged.  They want to fit in with the world.  They don't like sticking out.  I understand the pink hair sticks out anywhere, but not really in the world anymore.  Evangelicals have amped up, brought the juice, to professing Christians conforming to the world, but it isn't new.  The prophet Zephaniah in the Old Testament book by its name writes in 1:8:
And it shall come to pass in the day of the LORD'S sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, and the king's children, and all such as are clothed with strange apparel.
Vincent Alsop was an English nonconformist preacher, who preached and wrote, The Sinfulness of Strange Apparel.  I recognize that pink hair is strange from a certain meaning of strange, or maybe we should say that it should be strange everywhere.  However, strange would go right along with worldly.  It is technically "foreign," but strange apparel was to dress like ungodly pagans.  You can see in the verse that was very serious to God.  He would punish His people for clothing with strange apparel.  Romans 12:2 is akin to that -- I don't think they are different.  If God is going to punish people for their dress (not just their attitude about clothing), then leaders should be warning them about it too, out of love.

God wants application of scripture to such things as dress.  He wants pastors, church leaders, to say certain dress is wrong.  There doesn't have to be a verse about an unusual earlobe piercing that stretches the cartilage beyond comprehension.  You know it's wrong and you should say something about it, because God doesn't want it.  The pastoral epistles talk about dress.  Pastors are supposed to teach on it, exhort, rebuke, and discipline people.  It matters.

If someone who calls himself a Christian wears a type of very bright pink hair, he's not representing Jesus Christ.  Like Paul mentions in Titus 2:10, "adorn[ing] the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things."  The word "adorn" isn't intended as a dress word, but it doesn't exclude it either.  The Greek word is kosmeo, like cosmetics, which is about appearance.  Our appearance should fit scripture, not the world.  It reminds me of the part of 1 Corinthians 13 in a description of love, that love "doth not behave itself unseemly."  That English translates a Greek word has the same root as "conformed" in Romans 12:2. BDAG says concerning this form of the word:
[R]efers to something that has a pattern or form, frequently of a type that the public considers standard or laudable; to act contary to the standard.
Love doesn't act contrary to a pattern or form that the public considers standard or laudable.  The world might wear pink hair, but it isn't standard or laudable.

The person wearing the optic pink hair is drawing the wrong kind of attention to himself, male or female.  His thinking is wrong.  It isn't scripture.  There is something wrong with this person that is manifesting itself with the hair coloration.

If someone confronts the pink haired person, and he isn't interested in listening to the counsel, this wouldn't surprise me.  This is a person who is contrary to a standard.  Like the apostate of 2 Peter 2, Peter describes in v. 10:
But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.
If someone won't take counsel to change his hair color from the oddity that it is, he also has a problem with authority.  The church should do something about this kind of violation of the application of scripture.  It is factious behavior, the kind that Titus 3:10-11 talks about that is to be warned and then separated from.

To Be Continued


James Bronsveld said...

Bro. Brandenburg,

You beat me to mentioning Alsop in these latest blog posts. He addressed the reasoning employed by the commenter you cited from Wilson's blog. It's the same reasoning that fundamentalists use to justify the obliteration of male/female distinction in dress by suggesting that the first generation so doing would be sinning, but when enough people did it and society eventually accepted it, it would no longer be sin. So one generation would be judged for actions in a context that was no different from the next generation's identical actions in a similar context. Alsop's pointed and well-argued sermon shows that this is not a new battle, but that the general practice of society, rather than the authority of Scripture, has really been the only restraining influence for quite some time.

As a side note, I find it amusing at how many contemporary evangelicals are so enamoured with the writing of the Puritans (John Owens, Burroughs, even Alsop). Were they living and writing today, modern evangelicals would never dream of stepping foot inside their "legalistic, Pharisaical" churches, and these Puritan ministers would never accept them for membership. Oh, the emptiness of deep theology void of application!

Kent Brandenburg said...


I agree with you completely and well put.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Anonymous Person Who Has Written about 10 Comments Recently That I Did Not Publish,

They are too controversial and actually crazy to publish without your adding your real name. I'm not going to argue with you about why it is that the King James as a translation encourages pink hair type of behavior, etc., which sounds like satire or a joke, especially with the passages to which you refer.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Anonymous Person Who Has Written about 10 Comments Recently That I Did Not Publish,

Again, you didn't apply your name, which really is tale-tell as much as you want your comment published, not enough to put your name, which belies your love for my site, etc. etc. Your comments still read like jokes, but there is very often poetic, figurative language and the translators saying "nursing fathers" in a couple of places in the OT is to differentiate the kind of leader God is prophesying, nurturing. It isn't saying they are actually nursing on actual breasts, like some transgender (the point he's making readers). I've included that one point so that readers will know the kind of stuff you are asking. Fathers can't nurse a child. It's nurturing, supportive leaders, who motivate differently than the lashing, combative authoritarian.

It's also weird that you call me, Mr. B. Where is that coming from? The last time anyone called me Mr. B was about 30-35 years ago as a dorm supervisor, student activity director, and camp counselor.