Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Show-Off Gospel

When I set my mind to write this particular blog, I knew it would step on somebody’s toes.  I knew it would hurt some feelings and even potentially offend someone.  And that is not my heart.  However, I decided that not wanting to hurt someone’s feelings was not a good enough reason to not write what was on my heart and what I know to be true.

I am convinced that if the Gospel of the Kingdom of God was merely the possession and enjoyment of designer clothes, expensive cars, and fine jewelry, then Jesus Himself would have represented that while He was on earth.  He would have been born into one of the wealthy and powerful families, worn the scarlet and purple robes of their station, ridden on the finest stallions and in the most opulent litters, and feasted upon the richest food of His day.  But He didn’t. 

Jesus was born of a lowly Virgin betrothed to a simple carpenter into the most oppressed people of all time.  And He spent His time “teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people” (Matt. 4:23 emphasis added).  The Bible also mentions frequently that Jesus was moved by compassion for the people He preached to and healed.  His first concern was not the thread count of their clothing, the maker of their sandals, or the where they dwelt; it was their souls.

Souls—Heaven’s Greatest Treasure

Our souls are the greatest riches that Heaven could ever lose or gain, which is why the Bible calls he who wins souls “wise” (Prov. 11:30).  Jesus concerned Himself with the spiritual state of His people.  Knowing that a man or woman’s soul hung in the balance between Heaven and Hell motivated Him to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom wherever He went.  And in all of the parables He taught, with all of the people who surrounded Him, Jesus never gave preference in word or deed to the man or woman who had great material possessions.  In fact, He told us that “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Matt. 19:24).

This is a hard statement.  It seems that much of what Jesus stated was hard to accept.  However, this is not an impossible statement.  Just as Jesus told us how hard it was for a rich person to become saved, the Word shares with us many statements about giving and benevolence such as these:

“…the generous soul will be made rich” (Prov. 11:25).

“He who has a generous eye will be blessed, for he gives of his bread to the poor” (Prov. 22:9).

“But a generous man devises generous things, and by generosity he shall stand” (Isa. 32:8).

“But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.  So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.  And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work” (II Cor. 9:6-8).

“‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,’ says the LORD of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.  And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,’ says the LORD of hosts;
‘and all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land,’ says the LORD of hosts” (Mal. 3:10-12).

“Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches” (Gal. 6:6).

Owning numerous material possessions and great wealth is not a sin; it is what we do with it, how we view it, which makes it a sin and hard to obtain the Kingdom of God in our own lives.  And we are also allowed to mention prosperity when we preach the Gospel, however, we are not to present it as the Gospel itself.  We must take care to present it in a way that would please God and in a way that Jesus would have Himself. 

Biblical View of Prosperity

St. Paul tells us that Jesus became poor so that we might become rich (II Cor. 8:9).  However, St. John later clarifies this statement by saying, “‘Beloved, I would that you may prosper in all things and be in good health, just as your soul prospers” (III John 1:2 emphasis added).  Therefore, riches and wealth are a mere part of the prosperity that God intended for us to have and preach. 

It has its place as we can see in the Word.  Jesus, as well as the apostles, had patrons who helped support their ministries.  Jesus even had a treasurer.  Unfortunately, it was Judas Iscariot, but Jesus obviously knew what He was doing when He allowed him to fill that role amongst the twelve.  We see even Mary Magdalene had money since she was able to purchase that expensive alabaster box filled with fragrant perfume which she later used to anoint Jesus head and feet with (Matt. 26: 7; Mark 14:3; Luke 7:37).  However, it was what was done with the riches and possessions which mattered. 

Paul said to the Romans:

“How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?  And how shall they preach unless they are sent?” (Rom. 10:14-15).

And I always like to say how can “they” be sent unless someone finances their trip?  Money is a definite need in life as well as in advancing the Kingdom of God, but it is not the Kingdom of God.  Therefore, to preach it as the Kingdom of God or the evidence of the Kingdom in one’s life is sadly incorrect.

Paul describes to us what the Kingdom of God is or how it is displayed:

“For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power” (II Cor. 4:20).

The Kingdom of God is not mere words, whatever those words may be.  It is power: power to heal the sick, cast our devils, and raise the dead; it is not financial prosperity. That is certainly a benefit of God’s goodness and seeking His Kingdom and righteousness above all else (Matt. 6:33) but it does not justify preaching a Prosperity Gospel.

Prosperity Gospel

First of all, although this is an accepted nickname and we church folks know exactly what it means, let us be clear—there is no Gospel besides the Kingdom of God.  And I’ll take it a step further, the Gospel is to be confirmed by signs, miracles, and wonders.  How many of our churches truly have this as a weekly occurrence?  Not too many.  People being saved is wonderful and all of Heaven rejoices when this takes place, however, the miraculous should not stop there.  Drug addicts should become clean.  Cancer patients should be healed.  Dead bodies should be raised.  And yes, in this failing economy we certainly understand and appreciate the blessing of financial miracles coming our way, but this should not be our main focus—taught or expected.  The Book of Acts is packed full of miracles: lame people walking, blind eyes seeing, demon spirits cast out, Holy Ghost prison-breaks, fearless people struck dead, and so on.  But where can you tell me that it preaches financial prosperity as a doctrine of the Church?

In Acts 2, Peter preached on the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and 3,000 were saved.  In Acts 3, Peter and John told a lame man begging for alms “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk” (Acts 3:6) and then used the opportunity to preach Jesus on Solomon’s porch, causing 2,000 more to be saved.  In Acts 5, the apostles preached the Kingdom and healed all manner of diseases, got imprisoned, and were busted out by the Holy Spirit only to go back to the same spot and preach the Kingdom again!  In Acts 6 and 7, the deacon Stephen preached the history of the Jews leading up to Jesus.  In Acts 8, Philip holds a Kingdom revival in one town, witnesses about Jesus to an Ethiopian eunuch, and is raptured away to preach the Kingdom elsewhere.  In Acts 9, Saul is converted into Paul and preaches Christ crucified and raised again.  Acts 10 shows us Peter preaching the Kingdom to Gentiles and so on and so forth.  Luke takes great pains to tell us what was preached and neither in his Gospel nor in his second letter to Theophilus, Acts, can we find him recording any other gospel but that of the Kingdom and its power.  Therefore, it would seem that the Kingdom and power is what we should preach.  Yet somehow we’ve seemed to get it twisted.

The Show-Off Gospel

Now we have preachers “pimpin” the people of God for their money.  We have teachers handing out supposed magic phrases like “money cometh” teaching the people to expect financial blessings without telling them how to be good stewards of their money.  And, yes, we have rappers rapping about themselves and their financial blessings believing that God is being glorified by their boasting.  Well let me tell you, He is not!  No where in the Bible does it give us leave to boast in anything accept God and, no, tacking His name on the end of the verse does not mean we’re boasting in Him; it just means we’re bragging.

Throughout the scriptures, we have no shortage of experience in knowing what happened to individuals who boasted and or became arrogant with what God had given them.  David makes it clear to us when he says “The boastful shall not stand in Your sight; you hate all workers of iniquity” (Psalm 5:5) and “Those who trust in their wealth and boast in the multitude of their riches, none of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him—for the redemption of their souls is costly, and it shall cease forever—that he should continue to live eternally, and not see the Pit” (Psalm 49:6-9). 

Saul became arrogant with his position and lost his kingdom to David.  Hezekiah grew boastful after God granted him an extra 15 years of life and sealed the fate of his Kingdom falling to the Babylonians after his death.  When Israel grew arrogant and boastful, God allowed their precious temple to be profaned and their children to be slain in the streets by the Babylonians.  God even said boasters “are deserving of death” (Rom. 1:26-32).  Clearly, God is not a fan of boasting of any kind unless we are boasting of and in Him, of His power, His might, His awesome works, and His ever-abounding grace. 

Paul said it this way, “For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you” (II Cor. 1:12).  Nowhere in this epistle or another does it liberate us to boast in or of our riches.  If we do, we say that the Gospel is void if we do not live wealthy, affluent lives.  Should our finances be in order? absolutely.  However, this does not mean that we must or will all be rich.  God knows what we can handle—both bad and good.  Some of us would take our shiny new cars to the golf course or the mall on Sunday if we were blessed with that Benz or Bentley we want.  Others would take more pains spending their bonuses or pay raises on Gucci, Prada, and Fendi instead of giving our tithes and offerings or blessing those in need.  Others of us who have charismatic personalities and platforms might write songs that praise a god of riches and wealth instead of the Jesus who died, rose, and sits and the right hand of God.  What He owns is entirely secondary to Who He is. 

This may sound harsh and I certainly do not mean to be, but if the shoe fits, wear it.  I believe it was Nene Leaks who said “a hit dog will holler”.  So holler if you must, but go back like the Bereans and study what the Word says.  Then come back and comment.  This is not an indictment against any one person; this is not unfounded accusation or slander.  If what I said hurts, it’s because the Word is a double-edged sword. 

My Plea

I do not believe that many of the people who preach, teach, and minister a Prosperity Gospel do it because they are intentionally attempting to lead people astray or cast God as a Santa Clause or Lottery-in-the-Sky and that could totally be my loyalty-and-trust-in-people-until-proven-guilty-several-times mentality.  I do not believe that they are seeking to dilute, misconstrue, or twist God’s word.  I believe many of these preachers are sincere.  However, a person can be sincerely wrong. 

I would plea with you men and women of God, before you write your sermon, book, or song, to examine the motive behind what you are preaching.  Does it line up wholly with the Word of God?  Is it His heart on that particular matter?  Can you back it up with at least two scriptures used in proper context?  It would be much better to remain silent until God gives you the go-ahead, knowledge, and experience to speak to His people instead of speaking to them prematurely and giving them an incorrect message.  Since you are God’s minister, people would latch on to what you say—many without properly examining it—and swallow whatever doctrine you preach hook, line, and sinker.

If you dear reader know someone who is ministering this type of Gospel in any form, then please, go to them in love—and in God’s timing—and express to them what the Word says.  If they are ready, then they will accept it.  If they are not, then they may revile and even separate themselves from you.  But at least you would have done your Christian duty and tried to help them understand God’s Word.  And who knows if they will not later come back to you days, months, or years later to thank you.  Sometimes you never know if the little thing you said to someone planted a seed that later grew into a mighty oak of faith in their lives.

As for me, I will continue to blog about the things that get under my skin as it concerns Christians, the world, and our general direction as humanity.  Sometimes in grieving spirits, other times in righteous indignation, but always with love. I hope you’ve all enjoyed this.  If you did—and even if you did not—please feel free to comment below!


Friday, August 5, 2011

Healed by the Laying on of..Hair??? The Doctrine of Holy Magic Hair

A couple of days ago I noticed an interesting post someone made on Facebook.  It was a link that I thought read something like “holychair.com”.  Well, I obviously did not look at it close enough because once I pulled up the link it actually said “holymagichair.com”!  Needless to say, I was shocked and appalled, yet intrigued at the same time to discover what new madness this new holy magic hair indeed was.

Apparently, this new doctrine, preached mainly through the United Pentecostal Church International (UPCI), draws its “origin” from I Corinthians 11:5 & 10 which states:

“But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved…. For this reason, the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels”.

Therefore, the doctrine of Holy Magic Hair (HMH) is explained as the abstinence of a woman from cutting her hair, also known as her “glory” or “covering”, which in turn allows her to be able to command angels and possess special divine powers of healing, deliverance, and protection.  This could not be further from the truth.

Any good and true Bible scholar knows that when studying the Word of God, the verses are to be understood within the context of the paragraph, chapter, and book that they are written in.  Also, the cultural climate and historical timeframe is to be considered as well in order to properly exegete the scriptures.  The people preaching HMH have done neither.  Both verses are taken entirely out of Biblical, spiritual, and historical context to suit their fancy.

Let’s start with the most obvious: the paragraph’s scriptural context.  In I Corinthians 11:1-16, the Apostle Paul is speaking of head coverings [for women].  Since some of the more affluent, well-to-do, and progressive women of that particular church had taken to removing their head coverings, it caused a conflict within the church and disputes among the people. 

The conservative [married] women of that day and culture generally wore coverings on their head as a symbol of their covering—their husbands, or possibly even their fathers if they were unmarried.  Therefore, it was considered brazen, seductive, and even rebellious to wear their hair uncovered as the harlots did.  Also in that time, if a woman went about with uncovered hair, it was likely to be cut or shaved which would have shamed the woman since her hair is her glory (I Cor. 11:15).  The New Manners and Customs of Bible Times states it like this:

“Respectable women went out with their head covered and wore veils.  Only prostitutes displayed their faces and showed off their hair in order to attract men.  Paul therefore tells the Christians that if a woman in the church will not ear a veil then she should be shorn; but it is best that her head be covered.  Even when Christians have liberty in the practice of their faith they are not to shock propriety.  (“Covering Women’s Heads” pg. 20).

And what does Paul mean when he calls a woman’s hair her glory?  Great question!  It denotes her strength, her beauty, part of what makes her feminine.  Since, unless a man was a Nazarite, it was considered a shame for him to have long hair (I Cor. 11:14), we can safely infer that long hair was a feminine attribute.  Herein lies the first problem with the HMH doctrine. 

I Corinthians 11: 1-16 focuses entirely on the importance of a woman covering her hair, not of her hair being her overall covering, although it is mentioned as a covering in verse 15.  According to verse 3, a woman’s husband is her head and covering.  Placing a literal covering on her hair denoted that she was in submission to that cultural and spiritual law and in turn, her husband.  Being in the proper spiritual alignment would allow her to continue on, learning and growing unhindered in spiritual matters which would not offend her church, her God, or “the angles”.   

The second problem that can be identified here is the confusion of the hair being the woman’s covering.  As stated before, it may well symbolize her submission to her husband as well as spiritual authority in that time period, but it is not her covering in and of itself.  The New Testament and Wycliffe Bible Commentary state it this way:

“…The words her hair is given her for a covering do not mean that the woman’s hair is her covering and that she needs no veil, a view vitiating the force of 11:2-14.  The word for is to be rendered answering to” (pg. 624).

Therefore, the woman’s hair is connected to her [cultural; spiritual] covering, but it is not the covering itself.

And let me be clear, I have and will continue to strive the historical context of this scripture.  In Paul’s time it may very well have been that brazen and loose women felt no need to cover their hair and this identified them within the context of their time period as rebellious and even as harlots.  Yet it is not so in our current historical context.  In our modern Western society, a woman’s clothes themselves are what identify her as an actual or presumed “harlot”.  The cultural context of hair coverings no longer applies.  Yet, it is our clothing and demeanor, our attitude, which denotes whether we have a submissive or rebellious attitude towards our husbands and spiritual authority be it father, husband, or pastor. 

The next point I would like to make is that this scripture says absolutely nothing about a woman’s hair remaining untrimmed and uncut, save this: “For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn.  But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered” (I Cor. 11:6).  Paul is again, hearkening to the societal norms of the day, stating that it was feminine propriety for a woman’s hair to remain uncut.  Yet the only example we can find in the Bible of God specifically forbidding a person’s hair from being cut is within the context of a Nazarite covenant. 

Now you may ask what a Nazarite is.  Well, if you remember Samson from the Old Testament (Judges 13-16).  Samson’s upbringing and Nazarite lifestyle is described as this:

“Now there was a certain man from Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren and had no children.  And the Angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her, “Indeed now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and bear a son [Samson].  Now therefore, please be careful not to drink wine or similar drink, and not to eat anything unclean.  For behold, you shall conceive and bear a son.  And no razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.  So the woman came and told her husband, saying, “A Man of God came to me, and His countenance was like the countenance of the Angel of God, very awesome; but I did not ask Him where He was from, and He did not tell me His name.  And He said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive and bear a son.  Now drink no wine or similar drink, nor eat anything unclean, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.’” (Judges 13:2-7, emphasis added).

By the mere fact that a Nazarite could be a man with uncut hair, we know that this is a case of God setting aside a particular servant of His for special and unusual use and circumstances since we know that Paul stated that it was a shame for men to have long hair. The uncut/untrimmed hair was part of a lifestyle of sanctification, or setting apart—it was not a mandate for the Judeo-Christian people as a whole.  In this particular instance, God used Samson’s hair as a symbol of the covenant between the two of them which granted him unusual strength to terrorize and destroy Israel’s enemy: the Philistines.  The Bible records no other instance of a person’s uncut hair granting them special power, protection, or unity with God or His angels.

To make a doctrine of HMH or any other belief that requires women’s hair to remain untrimmed and uncut is heresy.  Out of all the instructions and promises God gives us in His word, maintaining uncut hair is not one of them.  Jesus did not instruct his mother, sisters, followers, or female patrons to keep their hair uncut in order to remain in communion with Him.  He also did not transform one-time instances into doctrines.  Think of it: He did not command His disciples to spit in the mud, rub it on peoples’ eyes, and heal them that way.  He did not tell the masses they must tear roofs off houses in order to get their family and friends healed.  He did not instruct us to write Lord knows what in the sand to dissuade angry crowds from justly or unjustly persecuting people.  And He swiftly rebuked Peter for suggesting they build a tabernacle for Him, Elijah, and Moses after the Transfiguration on the Mount.  Jesus may not have bother bothered with certain societal proprieties; however, He was adamantly against traditions that kept God’s chosen people bound and errant beliefs which lead His people astray.  

In fact, there’s even an Old Testament example of what happens when God’s people place incorrect emphasis on something He used as a one-time resource of deliverance.  Read this:

Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way.  And the people spoke against God and against Moses: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread.”  So the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died.
 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you; pray to the LORD that He take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.”  So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived” (Num. 21:4-9 emphasis added).

He [Hezekiah] removed the high places and broke the sacred pillars, cut down the wooden image and broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made; for until those days the children of Israel burned incense to it, and called it Nehushtan” (II Kings 18:4 emphasis added).

King Hezekiah recognized that the people of Judah had gone terribly astray, even to the extent of turning a symbol of their deliverance into an idol.  Power belongs to God; the Glory is His as well.  Believing in the supposed power and protection of a woman’s uncut hair to heal, deliver, or set free nullifies the power of Jesus’ name, blood, anointing.    

If you think about it, there are several miracles and happenings in the Bible that would not even be appropriate to repeat in our modern degenerate society.  If a modern day prophet copied Elijah or Elisha and spread themselves over the body of a sick/dead child, there would be some serious allegations coming against them today in light of all the men of cloth who prey on little boys and girls.  It is illegal—and rightly so—that in our modern society people of a particular faith go around killing off all those of another faith or nationality.  We have a word for that: genocide.  When Moses sent the Levites out to kill all those who were in rebellion when he descended Mount Sinai, or when his great-nephew, Phineas, took a javelin and thrust it through a Hebrew man and his Midianite woman, they would have been arrested and charged with murder on more than one count.  However, these were all actions ordained by God—within the proper context of the Bible and the time period.  God only commanded Samson to slay the Philistines with the jawbone of an ass once.  He did not make it his weapon of choice.  God provided it for that particular moment in time, and moved on.  All this to say that God is an innovative God.  He has no need of sticking to one way of healing or delivering.  He gives us a few guidelines, but besides that, He wants no religious tradition or rhetoric.  

Now let us look at the supposed authority of women with uncut hair over angels.  This is absolute poppycock and I will explain to you why.  David describes angels as creatures who do God’s word; who heed the voice of His word (Psalm 103:20).  In other words, angels respond to God, or God’s word, such as the Word spoken in prayer.  Paul also quotes David as identifying the angels as “ministers” [servants] (Psalm 104:4; Heb. 1:7).  They do not respond to anointing oil, the blood, or your uncut hair—they respond to the Word and the Word alone.  If you are a full-Bible-believing Christian who prays the Word of yourself, your family, and your situations, then do not hesitate to know that angels are encamped around you. 

One of the promises of angelic protection we receive is found in Psalms 91: “For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways” (Psalms 91:11 emphasis added).  It says that God gives—He commands, sends, instructs, etc.—His angels to take care of us; to keep us.  What an awesome promise!  And guess what, it has nothing to do with how long or short our hair is! 

Believing that one’s uncut hair is the key to angelic protection—commanded by God or otherwise—is completely errant.  When Paul speaks of a woman having a covering on her head because of the angels, he speaks of not offending them or better yet, not tainting the spiritual atmosphere or spiritual unity with ungodliness—in this case, identified as uncovered hair.  No unclean, ungodly, or unholy thing may be in God’s presence so we can deduce that women in open rebellion would taint the atmosphere of the synagogue or home where the early believers were meeting. 

Another aspect of this doctrine that is wholly incorrect is the understanding of the glory to which a woman’s hair actually pertains or represents.  A woman’s hair is lovely, no matter the colour or texture.  In Paul’s society, women of sense, modesty, and propriety kept their hair long.  In our society, unless a woman is particularly gunning for a “butch” haircut, feminine hair can range from pixie cuts, fun bobs, beautiful layers, and yes, even flowing lengths and still be acceptable to God, church, and society.  Men typically love long hair, but usually as long as it looks beautiful on their women—whatever the length—it looks beautiful to them.  This feminine attribute of beauty, this is the glory that Paul indicates.  Its beauty, its feel, it is indeed a glorious thing.  However, as glorious as a woman’s hair may be, it does not make her a guardian of God’s glory or even indicative of it. 

A woman’s hair—uncut, untrimmed, or otherwise—could never come close to indicating or symbolizing God’s glory, God’s attributes.  There is nothing holy, sinless, or sacred about hair.  It’s just hair.  God would love you no matter the length of it and His glory will show up where He wills.  One would do well to keep their spirit and home in order to better accommodate it than to worry about whether God wants your hair at a certain length.  And let’s be honest, uncut and untrimmed hair is flat out unattractive.  It’s also inconvenient.  Having to manage all that hair—of any texture—is not easy.  Plus if a woman’s hair is uncut/untrimmed it looks tacky and reflects on her overall appearance as dowdy or unconcerned about how they look. 

There are so many more aspects to this particular point alone that are in error: does this mean that Black women and other women of colour who cannot grow their hair long are in rebellion against God as well as without His protection?  Does a woman who loses her hair from illness or the treatment thereof no longer retain her angelic protection and relationship with God?  What of the women who grow old and bald?  Do they wax in insubordination and lack of spirituality because they lose their hair?  These are just a few of the issues associated with a woman’s spirituality being tied up in her hair.  In fact, to think it so is false humility at best; vanity at worst.  Should a woman think her hair so powerful and almost even magic, I would watch to make sure that that is not the very thing that God may strike in His righteous anger.  He will have no other gods, no idols before Him.  The Word explicitly tells us that no flesh—and in this case, hair—shall glory in His presence (I Cor. 1: 29).

Another issue with this HMH doctrine is the belief that one’s long, uncut hair provides protection to one’s self as well as one’s family.  Now, the Bible provides us with some wonderful promises of protection, healing, and deliverance, however, not one of them includes the length or state of one’s hair as a grounds to obtaining God’s protection in any area. 

We are given faith-filled prayer: James tells us “…the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up” and later says “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:15a;16).  We have God’s Word which states Jesus “…sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions” (Psalm 107:20).  We have the wounds Jesus suffered and the blood that He spilled “…He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed” (Isa. 53:5).  These are all powerful promises God has given us to claim our protection and healing.  But He doesn’t stop there.

God also gives us symbolic aids to couple with our Word, faith-filled prayers, and the blood.  The first is fasting.  When the disciples attempted to cast a devil out of a boy but couldn’t, they asked Jesus why their attempt had failed.  He told them:

“‘Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.  However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting’” (Matt. 17:20-22 emphasis added).

In other words, if you have the faith and spend time effectively fasting and praying, then we too will be able to cast out demonic spirits as He did.

Jesus and His disciples/apostles also demonstrated the laying on of hands. Luke says “When the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them” (Luke 4:40).   There are countless examples of Jesus and His disciples laying their hands on people and healing them of their illnesses as well as demonic oppression. 

Another practice that we see instituted, beginning with Paul, was the use of handkerchiefs as a point of contact in healing illness and demonic oppression. 

“Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them” (Acts 19:11-12).

The last but not least aids mentioned are the anointing oil and name of Jesus.  Oil, which is indicative of the Spirit of God, is used to symbolically break the bondage from one’s life and it is both an Old and New Testament practice.  The royal prophet Isaiah said “…the yoke will be destroyed because of the anointing oil” (Isa. 10:27) and James concurred when he wrote “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord” (James 5:14 emphasis added).  Not only will the oil [Spirit] destroy the yokes of bondage in you or your loved one’s life, the name of Jesus will cause every knee and every tongue—demonic or otherwise—to confess Him as Lord and jet for the nearest possible exit!

The belief that the laying of hair on an ill or demonically oppressed person will heal or exorcise them is not only ridiculous, but has no Biblical basis whatsoever.  Neither does claiming your uncut hair as a promise in prayer.  Unless your name is Samson, this will not work for you!

I also know that the believers of HMH cite the lack of mention in the armor of God (Eph. 6:10-17) of a covering to the person’s back and supposedly it is the woman’s long uncut hair that protects their back since they deem it indicative of glory of God.  This could not more wrong.  Again, if a woman is not able to grow long hair or loses it from illness or baldness, is she no longer able to cover her backside in the spirit?  And what of our men?  The Word makes no differentiation between the woman’s armor and the man’s; therefore, in this HMH doctrine, men’s backs are uncovered.  It’s ridiculous!  God is the glory that has our backs—literally!  Read for yourselves!  “The glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard” (Isa. 58:8). 

You might still be unclear about what the “glory” is.  The glory, as it relates to God, is His fullness; the entirety or full weight of His marvelous attributes.  In short, the glory is God.  I Corinthians tells us that there are different types of glory (I Cor. 11:15:39-41) which means that a woman’s hair could not even begin to posses the same type of glory as God does.  It does not symbolize it.  It does not guard it.  It is not it.  The Lord says plainly to Zechariah “‘For I,’ says the LORD, ‘…will be the glory in her midst’” (Zechariah 2:5).  And furthermore, all glory we may be given in our life times for whatever [positive] reason belongs to Him.  God explicitly tells us “…My glory I will not give to another” (Isa. 42:8).  Men in the Old Testament were struck dead for mishandling God’s glory.  In the New Testament, Herod Agrippa was struck dead by an angel for refusing to give God the glory for his extraordinary oratory skills. 

“Now Herod had been very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon; but they came to him with one accord, and having made Blastus the king’s personal aide their friend, they asked for peace, because their country was supplied with food by the king’s country.
 So on a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat on his throne and gave an oration to them.  And the people kept shouting, ‘The voice of a god and not of a man!’  Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died” (Acts 12:2-23 emphasis added).

Stealing God’s glory—in whatever form—is an intolerable sin which must be punished.  It’s not something you play with.  When you speak of the glory, it must all be given to God.  Proclaiming one’s hair as indicative of the glory of God is an [ignorant] error that has extremely weighty repercussions. 

I will make one last point.  Any supposed minister of God who uses Pagan and Occultic sources to validate a supposed Biblical point are entirely in the wrong.  If sorcery, witchcraft, necromancy, mediums, séances, and the like were banned in the Bible, then what makes us think they can affirm a spiritual belief of ours?  This matter speaks for itself.

The UPCI women and men preaching this Holy Magic Hair doctrine need think twice before they proclaim another word about it and lead yet another woman astray.  The Word warns us against being teachers if we are not called to it as well as leading others astray.

“My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.  For we all stumble in many things” (James 3:1-2).

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matt. 18:6).

The Word also warns us against off doctrines.

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” (I Tim. 4:1 emphasis added).

“…but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees” (Matt. 16:11).

“…that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting” (Eph. 4:14 emphasis added).

The list goes on.  We are to be ware, to be watchful and vigilant that we do not lose the faith we have so preciously obtained.  What I write is not an indictment against any denomination or people.  It is a plea to know the truth and live in it.  It is a beckoning to turn from the bondage of legalism to the freedom of grace “for the letter [law; legalism] kills, but the Spirit gives life” (II Cor. 3:6 emphasis added).  I believe that many who subscribe to this HMH belief do it out of good faith and ignorance; not because they wish to spout heresy or spread off doctrine.  However, that does not make it any less wrong.

If you are truly in love with your long, uncut, and untrimmed hair, then keep it!  Lord knows everyone is entitled to their own hair preferences.  However, if you have been bound in this “hair-esy”, then ask God to forgive you, make a trip to your nearest salon, trim that hair of yours, and if you dare, chop it off into a lovely bob!  Do what you like, but do what suits your fancy, not some false doctrine enforced by ignorance.

*Special thanks to Vicki Yohe for posting this most intriguing Holy Magic Hair link on here and enlightening us all.

  • The Chronological Study Bible (NKJV). Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2008. Print.
  • Gower, Ralph, and Fred Wight. "Clothing: Covering Women's Heads." The New Manners and Customs of Bible Times. Chicago: Moody, 1987. 20. Print.
  • Harrison, Everett Falconer, and Charles F. Pfeiffer. "I Corithians 11:5-15." The New Testament and Wycliffe Bible Commentary. New York: Iversen Associates, 1971. 623-24. Print. Parallel Edition.
  • Harvey, Ruth. Abiding Words: The Ministry of Ruth Harvey. Web. 05 Aug. 2011. <http://www.positivepowerofholiness.com/>.
  • Holy Magic Hair-Heresy Exposed. Wordpress. Web. 03 Aug. 2011. <http://www.holymagichair.com/>.
  • "Power with Angels." End Time Ministries. Wordpress, 5 Dec. 2010. Web. 03 Aug. 2011. <http://inlovewithjesus.wordpress.com/2009/08/11/power-with-angels/>.