IS THIS YOUR PASTOR?
Within the 21st century world of "reformed theology" there is a growing number of young men who couple their doctrinal position with some external evidences: primarily their beards......but there are secondary features including tattoos, beer-guzzling and cigar-smoking.
The beard thing is almost cultic. They have websites like "Bearded Gospel Men" and so forth. One would like to think the attitude is tongue-in-cheek (and perhaps it is for some), but as time goes on, it looks more and more serious, more of a shibboleth for this subset of what was once referred to as the "young, restless, and reformed"
Many of the bearded bunch associate themselves with Spurgeon....who indeed sported a beard and reportedly enjoyed his cigars. I've seen one fanatic styling himself to resemble (as much as possible) Spurgeon. Of course, Spurgeon was also a total abstainer from alcohol and encouraged his flock to follow that example. The imitators often skip that part of his character. Spurgeon was also overweight......and I see a number of good imitations of that in this crowd. So, Spurgeon smoked cigars and was overweight, and was in very poor health for years, died at age 58. The beard probably did not contribute to his health problems, but the other stuff......
I have no problems with Spurgeon's theology (or very minor ones) and would encourage any young Christian to read his works. My own theology is a bit of a mix of Spurgeon, Pink, and for a modern example, John MacArthur (clean-shaven, teetotal). Also, I have a beard. Had a beard before these fellows were born; had one continuously for the past 20 years and for 80% of the past 45 years (since I got out of the military). So, this is not an anti-beard rant.
My point is that I had a beard as an atheist, a vociferous Bible-denying, God-hating heathen. I had a beard as a young convert and was subjected to severe criticism for it by the "church." I had a beard as a young preacher and cannot count the times I heard "We'd like to have you preach for us, brother, if you'd just get rid of that beard"
So, what is this drive to associate beard-wearing with "reformed" theology? I do not know. It's an affectation and like all affectations, in speech or walk or other mannerisms, it's off-putting. You want a beard? Fine. You want to shave? Fine. Don't try to associate yourself with Spurgeon via a beard. Any (male) moron can grow a beard. You want to stand out in your crowd? I suggest you follow the Biblical principles which lead to holiness and Christ-likeness. That result will make you a stand-out in this modern "church."
I'm afraid that in many cases it's a way of rationalizing a desire to be like the world in which we dwell. The beards, the tattoos, the beer-swilling, cigar-puffing world has some appeal to many young folks.....and they don't want to miss out on the fun just because they're Christians. It's a way of having "the best of both worlds."
Today we have web sites promoting "calvinist brews" and "Christian tattoos"--I'm expecting a "Christian" porn site within a few years.
Think about the perception of those around you. What is your witness to the world, even before you open your mouth? They see just another young, bearded, tattooed punk with a cigar stuffed in his mouth. You think that image inspires them to listen to you when you broach the subject of the Gospel?
"Judgmental" you say? Yep. If I walked into a new congregation and saw such a person step into the pulpit, I'd leave. Not interested. You don't need the $1500. suit and military haircut but you need a statement of attitude other than that which says to me: I love this aspect of the world and I'm keeping it in the forefront of my "ministry"
finding no spiritual advantage
in so being
and finding that
the absence of those
worldly devices is
not a hindrance