Christian Beards

Fun with Culture & The Gospel: Our Top 10 Christian Beards

We thought we’d take a quick break from the regular, more serious articles, and do something a little fun. Therefore, being a facial hair enthusiast myself, and with the conclusion of “Movember” or “No-Shave-November” (whichever you prefer), I give you my Top 10 History of Christian Beards (leaving out actual Biblical figures (Jesus is unfair competition)). Enjoy the ride…

10. Clement of Alexandria 

In 195 Clement declared the beard “the mark of a man” saying, “it is therefore unholy to desecrate the symbol of manhood.” Right you are, sir.

9. Dwight L. Moody

Dwight was a noted Evangelist born in Massachusetts but moved to Chicago following the Civil War. Moody was able to pack venues to double their capacity preaching the gospel.

8. Hudson Taylor

Hudson Moved to China in the 1850’s and subsequently spent 51 years of his life there as a Protestant Missionary, eventually founding the China Inland Mission (now OMF International). Taylor was one of the first Christian Missionaries to adopt native dress as a tool for evangelism… I wonder if the beard helped.

7. William Tyndale

An English Reformer, Tyndale is one of the main reasons we have the Bible in English today. Interesting fact: he translated the Greek and Hebrew texts even while in prison towards the end of his life.

6. William Booth

Booth founded the Salvation Army in the 1870’s wanting to do more to help the poor in his community than his pastoral ministry would allow.  Booth was the General of the Salvation Army for 34 years, establishing work in 58 countries during his lifetime.

5. Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass was a chief abolitionist, gifted writer, and statesman who fought against slavery during the mid-1800’s. He became a Christian at the age of 13 as a slave in Baltimore and attributed his abolitionist efforts to his relationship with Jesus, believing there to be an innate connection between personal conversion and social reform.

4. Thomas Cranmer

A leader of the English Reformation, Cranmer grew a beard as a specific ecclessiological statement contrary to the wishes of the Roman Catholic Church (which ordered clergy to be clean shaven)… if you’re going to make a statement, a beard is definitely the way to go.

3. John Calvin

Another European Reformer, Calvin’s theology continues to shape the way we think about God today.

2. Charles Spurgeon

Known as the “Prince of Preachers” it is estimated that Spurgeon preached to more than 10,000,000 people during his 38 years ministering in London during the mid-1800’s. He also has one of the greatest quotes concerning beards… Growing a beard, he said, “is a habit most natural, scriptural, manly, and beneficial.” Rather than asking him to defend his scriptural basis for beard growing, I think I’ll just take his word for it.

1. Euthymius the Great

Just look at that thing; how could he not top our list.  Euthymius lived from 377-473 and (somewhat unintentionally) developed a monastery in the desert outside of Jerusalem.  Around 411 he made it clear that only men with beards would be allowed to enter his desert monastery, not boys “with female faces.” Sexist? Yep. Rugged and beardy? Without a doubt.

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