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‘A Beard Is Nothing More Than Pride!’ — One San Diego Pastor’s Hot Take on Facial Hair

Stephen Buxton hot take on facial hair
Photo by Erik Mclean (via Unsplash)

A sermon delivered by Stephen Buxton, now-retired pastor of Hilltop Tabernacle, a Pentecostal church in San Diego, California, has been the subject of online discussion, particularly with regard to Buxton’s hot take on facial hair. 

“I’m gonna tell you something. Facial hair is not apostolic. However you wanna cut it, it’s compromise,” Buxton said. “I don’t care if your leader says you can wear a beard, honey. A beard is nothing more than pride! You’re not gonna be dipped in Holy Ghost oil and run around looking like the world.”

The footage is from a sermon Buxton delivered on June 5, 2022, at First Pentecostal Church of North Little Rock, Arkansas. The next day, a clip of the sermon was uploaded to Facebook by Berean Holiness, which was subsequently reshared in various places.

“We don’t need beards. We need more oil. We need more Joashes,” Buxton went on to say, referencing the Old Testament Judean King Joash, who led an effort to restore the temple in Jerusalem, which had fallen into disrepair. “We need more people in an altar. We need more prayer rooms. We need more people digging into the things of God.”

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Responding to Buxton’s words, popular YouTuber Mike Winger said, “I would be very concerned about the kind of person—and I’m going to say this genuinely here—it’s a red flag at least…for someone to be like, literally just having a beard is evidence of pride.”

“Someone saying that is a little scary to me,” Winger continued. “Because if he has that kind of logic with his other rules he gives you, there’s gonna be a lot of weird things going on in your Christianity. So I would be very, very careful listening to the reasoning of a person like that.”

“It’s also, on the face of it, obviously not true,” Winger went on to say, pointing out the somewhat obvious fact that most of the men we read about in both the Old and New Testaments had beards—most notable among them, Jesus himself. 

In fact, from what we know about the culture of the Ancient Near East, conquerors and oppressors would shame their victims by shaving or plucking out portions of their beards. An example of this tactic is found in 2 Samuel 10:4-5, when the king of the Ammonites mistreated messengers sent by King David, shaving off half their beards and cutting off the backside of their clothing to humiliate them before sending them away.

Again referencing Buxton’s words, Winger said, “I don’t understand the logic of this pastor.”

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“The logic of this is so wacky,” Winger reiterated. “God gave you a beard so you could shave it, or else you’re arrogant? I mean, it sounds more to me like this guy has a pride issue with his non-beard condition. [It] is an issue of pride in his life, and he’s projecting it onto others.”