Hair Sermon Commentary
I am not going to attempt to point out everything with which I am in disagreement as it would be too lengthy. There will be no commentary on having to give things to keep God's blessings in the church, that television caused the demise of some, that he was challenging the devil, that men's hair rarely grows like a woman's, men being on quite a level, the reason why some pastors retire, handkerchiefs, or withered branches. Nor am I going to tackle the subject of women's hair as that will be discussed at length in other postings. However, I do feel to comment on several points, to show the necessity of checking any preaching with the Word of God. This minister said we should go to the Word of God, so let's see if his teaching lines up with the Word.
There were two Bible accounts given which contained error. One related to Achan, while the other related to Elisha, and not Elijah, as stated in the sermon. The story of Achan can be found in Joshua 6-8, while the story of Elisha can be found in II Kings 2:23-25. Lets' first examine what was stated with regard to Achan.
"Israel tried to win the battle. Couldn't even- little old Ai, a little old town down there slew 'em all. David said, my God, what's wrong? One man should have done the job. ...He went to God, and God said, "There's sin in the camp. I'm not gonna give you no victory- get that sin out of that camp." He said, "Well, Lord, I don't know who it is." He said, "March 'em before me, you sit down and have them come before me and I'll show you who it is." Joshua, it wasn't Jacob. It's not David, it's Joshua. And they come before. And I don't know how it happened, when, when finally the culprit came there. Remember who he was? Achan came up there and somethin' happened. That's right. Couldn't raise his hands to worship him. ...Couldn't worship. Finally he said, "What did, what did you do?" He said, "I've," uh, - the orders was, when you go in the town, don't take no gold or silver, and especially don't take none of their clothes. "
Israel had recently defeated Jericho, destroying and burning the entire city. In Joshua 6:17-19, Joshua gives instructions to the people that the city would be accursed, (Some translations use 'devoted.' The NIV has a note that this "Hebrew term refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the Lord, often by totally destroying them.") along with everything therein, with the exception of Rahab and her family. The people were not to take anything from the spoils, save the gold, silver, brass and iron. These items were to be consecrated to God. In other words, they could not personally keep anything that was in the city. If they did, they would become accursed themselves. There was no statement such as the one from the sermon, that "when you go in the town, don't take no gold or silver, and especially don't take none of their clothes.
Joshua was not aware that Achan had taken an article of clothing, some silver and gold, and hidden them amongst his own possessions. Spies were sent to check out the town of Ai. They came back to report that since the town was small, Joshua should send 2,000 to 3,000 men. There is no mention that "one man should have done the job." Though Joshua sent about 3,000 men to destroy the city the first time, about 35,000 were sent the second. During the second battle, about 12,000 from Ai were killed. Hardly a job for one person, though had God so ordered, it would have been done.
When the first army came back in defeat, with a loss of about 36 men (the entire army was not destroyed as stated: "slew 'em all"), Joshua and the elders were upset. God told Joshua that Israel had sinned by taking what was to be destroyed at Jericho. They had also stolen. In taking the gold and silver which was to be consecrated unto God, Achan not only disobeyed the commandment, but stole what specifically belonged to God. Joshua did not say, "Well, Lord, I don't know who it is." God just told him that in the morning he was to bring all the tribes of Israel together, and he would take the man who had committed this transgression.
When Achan alone stood before Joshua, he was not told to start worshipping God with upraised hands as insinuated in this sermon: "Achan came up there and somethin' happened. Couldn't raise his hands to worship him." Joshua simply told Achan to come clean with God and acknowledge what he had done. There was no question in anyone's mind at this point that Achan was the transgressor since God himself had pointed him out. The people found what was hidden, and Achan, his family, and all his possessions were destroyed. God was no longer angry with Israel, and they went on to defeat the town of Ai.
Now, let's examine what was stated with regard to Elisha:
"One of the greatest men in the Bible had no hair. Some kids mocked him. And Elijah was startin' to go up the mountain. The kids looked at him, saw his bald and said, "Go up, old baldy!" Now, uh, he did not call these bears. God did. And he commanded. God talked to these she bear and he said, "You go, you go devour them kids." They went down and ate their heads, ate their arms off, their legs, and when they got done there was no bones left, nothin'. ...But God heard what they said. So there again, is a good example, of a man who lost his hair. The kids shouldn't mock the man of God, and God taught 'em, taught 'em a lesson. And the reason that's in there is to show you that if he had to, he would not spare you either. Because you kids are not no better than those kids."
Now, let's see the biblical account in II Kings 2:23-25 (KJV):
"And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them."
First, there is no mention of a mountain. I think it is clear that more than just the one statement was spoken by these youth. Elisha was the one that cursed them. There is no mention that they "ate their heads, ate their arms off, their legs, and when they got done there was no bones left, nothin'." It states the bears "tare" 42 of the youth.
I have often seen this incident used to show that one is not supposed to do anything against a minister. You do not question the teaching, you do not question finances, you do not question how the church is operated, you do not question- period. To do so is equivalent to questioning God. The minister answers only to God. And, of course, if they do make some mistake, we are to leave this in God's hands to correct him or her. There is the subtle message that if we don't follow this, we will have the same fate as the youth in this story. Sometimes other death stories will be used as well that are not in the Bible.
Though some may feel a few things I've pointed out may be petty, I want to emphasize the fact that these statements were not biblical, but were being taught as if they were. Knowing there are many church members who do not bother to check their Bibles after a sermon, I am sure there were those who left that day, believing that these accounts were accurate and could possibly pass them along to others. I do not care how much you love and appreciate your pastor. I do not care how 'awesome' the minister may appear or how well you feel they teach. We are supposed to study the Word of God, search the Scriptures, and see if what we are taught is in the Bible. If you don't, you could wind up in the same position as those who followed the Pharisees....the blind leading the blind.
Let's go on to examine some other unscriptural teaching. Is the pastor the head of you and did Paul ever teach his own feelings?
"Now let me, let me, change this a little bit cause some of you are- if your husband is unsaved, he's not the head of, of you. ...And if your husband's not saved, then what you're doing, you're dishonoring, amen, this one thing: the pastor's the head over you. Obey them that have the rule over you."
Is the pastor the head of the woman whose husband is unsaved, or who, perhaps, does not have a husband? Nowhere in Scripture is this stated. The pastor is not over you in that same manner. Let's also make another thing clear, it is the husband who is the head of the wife. All men are not the heads over all women. This was a result of the fall in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3:16 (KJV): "...and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee." Read the following Scriptures to see this biblical principle: Ephesians 5:21-33, I Corinthians 7:1-5, Colossians 3:18-21, Titus 2:1-8, I Peter 3:1-7.
The Word of God does not state that the pastor suddenly becomes your head if your husband is unsaved or backslidden. While I readily agree that a woman in this position should not submit to her husband in ways that are contrary to God's Word, he is still her head. This is clearly shown in Scripture, with the reasoning that the wife may somehow bring her husband to Christ through her submission and actions. A husband is not a lord over his wife, either. Being the head of someone does not mean you are always right and the wife should always do whatever you say, jumping at your commands.
"Paul, God didn't choose him cause he was a good writer. In fact, he didn't write his own feelings. Preachers don't preach their own feelings, preachers stay with the Word of God. And that's what we intend on doin'. "
Preachers do preach their own feelings on matters. This minister did so in his sermon. If preachers never preached their own feelings, there would not be any variation in church standards, for instance. In the United Pentecostal Church, the standards may vary from church to church, depending on the individual pastor. One will allow a wedding ring, another will not. One will allow sleeves to the elbows, while another forbids anything unless it reaches the wrist. One will allow culottes, while the next will not.
Paul did, indeed, write about his own feelings. In I Corinthians 7, Paul gives us his feelings on marriage more than once. "But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment." (6) "But to the rest speak I, not the Lord..." (12) "Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord; yet I give my judgment..." (25) "But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment..." (40)
Is it wrong for a minister to share his own feelings? No, I do not believe this is wrong to do as we all have feelings on various issues. However, he or she should be clear in stating that it is simply their opinion and not teach it as biblical doctrine. Had Paul decided to be like some ministers today, he would have left out the references that he was stating his personal feelings on the matter, and all would have been commanded to remain single.
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August 23, 1997
Page added September 21, 1997
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