Response to UPC Bible study on Make-up

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Response to a Bible study written by Rev. M.G. Blankenship. Found at http://www.apostolic.edu/biblestudy/files/bwahprt3.htm.
Accessed 12/21/06.

I am not going to reprint the entire study because it would take too much space. What I will do is show a piece from the Bible study and then respond to it. I do recommend that you read the entire Bible study and form your own conclusions.

Spelling and editing errors in the italicized errors are the mistake of the author of the Bible study that I am responding to. Spelling and editing errors in the rest of the article are my mistake.

Rev. Blankenship writes:

This is an issue of association: Without exception, every example of makeup in the Bible is associated with wicked women. Queen Jezebel when trying to seduce Jehu: ( who was a VERY WICKED WOMAN)

II Kings 9:30 "And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard [of it]; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window."

** Let’s be honest: we would have to recognize that what we call makeup is really nothing more than painting your face. THEREFORE, I could say I am going to Builder’s Square and buy a five gallon bucket of makeup for my house. The only difference between normal & a clown is the amount. Somehow, paint sounds cheap, but makeup is "cultural." – but it’s the same thing. Even the world acknowledges someone "overdone" as a "Jezebel"

Eye makeup started in Egypt about 3000BC . Egypt is a type of sin and bondage throughout the Bible. (it sure didn’t start in Israel among God’s people)

My Response:

Just because something started in Egypt, and Egypt is traditionally a type of sin, does not make something inherently evil. Egypt was one of the first civilizations to use irrigation, so is irrigation inherently evil? Of course not! The fact is that Egypt existed for thousands of years before the Hebrews were called out, so they had plenty of ideas. Just because they did something does not make it wrong. Egypt is a type of sin because the Israelites were held in bondage there. It was not a type of sin because of any particular thing that they did.

Now let’s look at Jezebel. Jezebel was a Phoenician princess who married King Ahab (note that she was not Egyptian). Jezebel was definitely an evil woman, but she was not evil because she painted her face. That has nothing to do with it. She was evil because she persecuted the prophets of God and things like that.

The point is this: If we cannot wear make-up because Jezebel painted her face, then we also cannot "adorn" our hair or look out a window.

See the logic here? Just because an evil person happened to do something does not mean that the action is evil.

Also, for what it’s worth, the only time Jezebel is mentioned in the NT is when a prophetess is called a "Jezebel" by Jesus. The reason? She was leading Christians to commit acts of immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. Nothing about make-up there.

Rev. Blankenship writes:

Look at Solomon’s advice to young men:

Proverbs 6:25 "Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids."

Painting the face is direct, simple pride & vanity at its rawest form . It is simply designed for sex appeal; it has no other purpose.

My Response:

The commandment in Proverbs 6:25 is to not lust after adulturesses. The statement, "Neither let her take thee with her eyelids" may or may not have anything to do with eye paint. The Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament (one of the better Old Testament commentaries) has this to say about the subject: "The warning, ‘let her not catch thee with her eyelids,’ refers to her (the adulteress’s) coquettish ogling and amorous winking1." Of course, other commentaries (such as JFB and Clarke) think that the verse is talking about eye shadow2. We just don’t know for sure. Either way, the debate about whether or not "take thee with her eyelids" refers to eye shadow is pointless. The passage does not command women to not wear eye shadow, it only commands men to not lust after adulturesses. Men will lust over women whether or not they’re wearing eye shadow.

I also do not think it’s fair or right to say that make-up is "simply designed for sex appeal." (Note that this is the same view that the UPCI takes in their doctrinal section when they say, "Since the primary effect of makeup is to highlight sex appeal, we reject makeup as immodest3.")

This is not right.

Just because a woman uses make-up to enhance her physical appearance does not mean that she’s out looking for sex. If we follow this logic than anything that we do to enhance our physical appearance is "immodest."

Is it wrong to put on deoderant? Is trying to smell nice enhancing our sex appeal? What about brushing our hair, or wearing matching socks? See where this is heading? Everyone wants to look nice, and there’s nothing wrong with that! The problem only comes when someone is obsessed with their physical appearance to the point of neglecting modesty or inward holiness.

Rev. Blankenship writes:

In the scripture: it always denoted boldness, seduction, ostentation and even prostitution.

NOTICE THESE TYPES OF GOD SPEAKING TO BACKSLIDING ISRAEL..

Jeremiah 4:30 "And [when] thou [art] spoiled, what wilt thou do? Though thou clothest thyself with crimson, though thou deckest thee with ornaments of gold, though thou rentest thy face with painting, in vain shalt thou make thyself fair; [thy] lovers will despise thee, they will seek thy life." Ezekiel 23:38-40 "Moreover this they have done unto me; they have defiled my sanctuary in the same day, and have profaned my sabbaths. For when they had slain their children to their idols, then they came the same day into my sanctuary to profane it; and, lo, thus have they done in the midst of mine house. And furthermore, that ye have sent for men to come from far, unto whom a messenger [was] sent; and, lo, they came: for whom thou didst wash thyself, paintedst thy eyes, and deckedst thyself with ornaments."

My Response:

Jer. 4:30 is not even hinting that women should not wear make-up. It only says, "In vain you make yourself beautiful." I will reverse the argument by making this point: If this Scripture teaches that we can’t wear make-up to make ourselves look beautiful then it also means that we can’t wear scarlet or any gold. (Of course, there are some extremely fundamental churches that teach against wearing red or any gold, but they are the minority).

If Ezekiel 23:40 is associating make-up with harlotry, then it’s also associating taking a bath with harlotry. (I haven’t showered yet this morning, so I don’t suppose I’m a harlot yet today…but that will change before I go out this afternoon.) Please forgive the sarcasm, but you see how ludicrous this train of thought is!

Rev. Blankenship writes:

Esther 2:13 "Then thus came every maiden unto the king; whatsoever she desired was given her to go with her out of the house of the women unto the king’s house. 14 In the evening she went, and on the morrow she returned into the second house of the women, to the custody of Shaashgaz, the king’s chamberlain, which kept the concubines: she came in unto the king no more, except the king delighted in her, and that she were called by name. 15 Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her for his daughter, was come to go in unto the king, she required nothing but what Hegai the king’s chamberlain, the keeper of the women, appointed. And Esther obtained favour in the sight of all them that looked upon her."

The royal courts of the king used cosmetics & jewelry. SHE RELIED ON INNER BEAUTY RATHER THAN MAKEUP TO WIN THE KING All she used was oil of myrrh perfume, and preparations to beautify the skin: (IE: perfumes, lotions, skin care, etc…)

Esther 2:12 "Now when every maid’s turn was come to go in to king Ahasuerus, after that she had been twelve months, according to the manner of the women, (for so were the days of their purifications accomplished, to wit, six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet odours, and with other things for the purifying of the women"

My Response:

I do not mean to offend anyone, but this is possibly one of the worst examples of taking a Scripture out of context that I have ever seen! Esther was purified for six months with oil of myrhh and six months with spices and "things" (KJV) or "cosmetics" (NASB). (In reality the word that the KJV translates "things" and the NASB translates "cosmetics" refers to "ritual purification following menstruation4"; it is a difficult word to translate into English). Anyway, this is the point: The Bible never says Esther only used "lotions" and what-not…she was PURIFIED with them for one year. When she went into King Ahasuerus she could request whatever she wanted (verse 13), but the SECOND time that she was summoned to the King she only took what "Hegai, the king’s eunuch…advised" (verse 15).

Follow the pattern? Read the verses again: Esther goes into see the king, and she wears whatever she wants (13). Now she waits to see if the king calls her again (14). The king did call her again, and this time she goes with only what Hegai (who was the king’s eunuch, and who knew what the king liked) advised. The Bible says nothing about what Esther wore, only that she wore what Hegai advised the second time she went to see the king .

The girl could have been painted hot pink for all we know. If that’s what Hegai advised, then that’s what she did. The Bible just doesn’t say either way.

Also, let me make another point. The author of this Bible study is comparing Esther to Jezebel, like Esther is good and Jezebel is bad. Think about Esther for a second. Was she really that good?

The Babylonian diaspora (captivity) was over, and the Jews had been freed to return to their homeland, but Esther had stayed in Persia. When Esther was summoned to the king she hid her Jewish heritage. When the king selected her she married him, which was a cross-racial marriage–a direct violation of the Mosaic Law. Not only did she marry him, but she continued to keep her heritage a secret. We do not know what all she had to do to accomplish that, but it certainly involved breaking at least some of the ceremonial law (I.E. with the foods she ate, etc). THEN when she finds out that all her people are going to die, she’s still not sure what to do! Esther basically told Mordecai that she could not do anything because she had not been summoned to the king (Esther 4:11). Boo-hoo! In other words, Esther is so scared for her own skin that she’s debating whether or not to even help the Jews.

Esther finally got her act together, and it all turned out for the good. Now we view Esther as a heroine because of what she did, but the fact is that she was a backslidden, apostate Hebrew who only got her act together when the going got rough. Up until then she was hardly the role model that we make her out to be.

Rev. Blankenship writes:

DID YOU KNOW? American colonies between 1700-1800 makeup was outlawed? *** up until 1945-1950, it was considered sin by most churches

My Response:

It was considered sin for hundreds of years to defy the Roman Catholic church and to not take the sacraments. That doesn’t mean they were right. Man-made laws do not define what is Scripturally correct or incorrect.

Rev. Blankenship writes:

DO WE FOLLOW SOCIETY, OR THE SCRIPTURE?

Acts 5:29 "Then Peter and the [other] apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather that men."

*** These are issues that do not always have specific scriptures of complete prohibition. *** ( Rather these are issues of Biblical Association )

PRINCIPLE OF INTEREST TO CONSIDER…

EXO 38: 8 "And he made the laver of brass, and the foot of it of brass, of the lookingglasses of the women assembling, which assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation."

The Laver of water was a piece of furniture that gained them access to the Holy Place! It was made of the mirrors of the woman…

My Response:

Are mirrors a sin? Either they are or they aren’t. Nowhere does the Bible command women to give up their mirrors or their make-up.

I agree that we should follow God and not society. The fact remains, though, that God never said anything about not wearing make-up.

Rev. Blankenship writes:

Bro. Wayne Huntley one time said…"Revival will come when we get the mirrors out of the women’s hands!" His point: (symbolically) Our woman must get over this self conscious hurdle of the world.

My Response:

If Bro. Wayne Huntley means that women [and men] need to be more concerned with inward beauty and holiness than they do outward beauty, then I agree with him (cf. 1 Tim. 2:9-10) (although I’m not sure that will alone bring revival).

Furthermore, I don’t think it’s right that the UPC picks on women so much about their appearance. I spent my whole life in Oneness Pentecostal churches, and I promise you that there are just as many vain men as there are vain women. The same goes for the rest of society.

My Conclusion:

Here’s the point, folks: The New Testament repeatedly makes it clear that God wants inner purity and holiness. On at least one occasion (1 Tim. 2:9-10) Paul instructs women to be more concerned with that than with outward beauty. However, the New Testament never dictates any rules of apparel–whether it be clothing, jewelry, or make-up. For that matter, the OLD TESTAMENT never taught against make-up either. It’s just not there.

Folks, holiness is necessary, but it works from the inside out. The Bible never gave any church the right to dictate standards of dress (such as no make-up). The Bible is the rule of authority, not us. If a woman has a problem with vanity and she feels that she needs to give up wearing make-up, then that’s between her and God. We have no right to create a universal rule that says make-up is inherently sinful, and women should not wear it. When we do that we are trying to force holiness into a person from the outside, and that just doesn’t work.

References:

  1. Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament, Johann (C.F.) Keil (1807-1888) & Franz Delitzsch (1813-1890), Prov. 6:25 []
  2. A Commentary on the Old and New Testaments by Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown, Prov. 6:25 []
  3. United Pentecostal Church International – Modesty, Accessed 2006-12-21 20:02:31 []
  4. The Complete Word Study Dictionary, © 1992 By AMG International, Inc., H8562 []

75 thoughts on “Response to UPC Bible study on Make-up

  1. Steve Quinonez Jr.

    We need to be led by the spirit. The examples you set above were by woman who were harlots. Esther and Jezebel. How can you compare anything to woman who were not God living woman. When filled with the Holy Ghost, we put the fleshly desires away and strive to please God. God made Adam and Eve perfect. After they disobeyed the saw themselves ashamed. That is when the mind of the flesh put in womans head that they needed make up because they wanted to make themselves more beautiful, cover blemishes, pimples, scars, etc. In reality it is vain. For woman to spend anywhere from 30-60 minutes in front of a mirror is vain. That could have been time for prayer and reading Gods word.

    1. Josh (Site Admin) Post author

      Esther was a harlot? I must have missed something there…

      I think that instead of judging women for spending time in front of the mirror you should take a good, long internal look at time that you spend doing things other than praying and reading the Bible.

      For example, I’m pretty confident that you brush your hair in the morning. That’s time that you should spend praying and reading God’s word.

      You shower. At least I assume that you do. That’s time that you should spend praying and reading God’s word.

      You put on clothes. That’s time that you should spend praying and reading God’s word. (Also, Adam and Eve were both perfect and naked, so according to your argument we should all go naked and invest the time that we would normally spend getting dressed in prayer and Bible study.)

      The list could go on and on but I’m sure you get the point.

      I don’t like making accusations but I’m going to be blunt here. I’ve known a lot of people with views like yours. Invariably you set arbitrary rules that coincidentally line up with what you already believe. In other words, you think it’s OK for you to spend 30 minutes showering and getting ready in the morning but you don’t think a woman should spend 60 minutes doing it.

      My challenge to you is to carry your views to their logical conclusion. Don’t make rules for others but hold yourself exempt. If it’s wrong for a woman to spend 60 minutes on her appearance then it’s wrong for you to spend 5 minutes on it. Don’t brush your hair. Don’t brush your teeth. Don’t shower. Don’t wear clothes. All of those things are vanity. Invest that time in prayer and Bible study instead.

      If you follow my challenge then I’ll respect you even though I don’t agree with you. If you don’t follow the challenge then I think the word “hypocrite” applies.

      In Christ,
      Josh S.

  2. Upcbrats

    On your forstt response in this blog, I feel sorry for you. You just wanted to be the one who is always right. Just becuz the “paint on her face” means not sin but looking out the window is sin? Seriously?? Be careful what you say. Be careful what you read becuz I can say that Neil Armstrong was not the first man who landed on the moon, and you would disagreed with me but go check on Google and see for yourself. But that doesn’t means I will believe that Neil Armstrong never did landed on the moon. Be careful what you see, what you hear and what you say.

  3. steven

    am afraid to tell you that I don’t agree with the attitude that we should see the No, Not, Don’t… in order for us to know whether we can do something or not, there are many scriptures in the bible tough it does not directly asking us to abstain from doing certain thing but in many ways it does,
    take for example Romans chapter 12, it says ” offer your BODIES a living sacrifice HOLY, ACCEPTABLE to God…”, verse 2 says “and DO NOT CONFORMED to this world…” but that we should be transform in our mind.
    in my opinion this verse says a lot about the make-up & jewelry things, hair style for me this is worldly pattern , its the world that are after these things, I don’t believe a Christian who looks just like the people of the world can show any differences, they still have the desire for the things that worldly people do.
    sacrifice of the past require that it is without spot or wrinkle or any such things.

    one more thing I don’t remember seeing the word cigarette in the bible, but is it ok for a Christian to smoke cigarette after given his life to Jesus, since the scripture never say anything on that.

    help me on this,

  4. Rosaline Ugochi Uguru

    Jeremiah 4:30
    And when thou art spoiled, what wilt thou do?
    &c.] Or, “O thou spoiled” F11, wasted, and undone creature, how wilt thou help thyself? by what means dost thou think thou canst be delivered? it suggests that her ruin was inevitable; that she could not be recovered from it by herself, or any other: though thou clothest thyself with crimson;
    and so look like some rich and noble person; hoping thereby to find mercy, and to have quarter given and kindness shown: though thou deckest thee with ornaments of gold;
    as a person of high and princely dignity: or rather all this is to be understood of the manner of harlots, who dress rich and grand, in order to allure men; since it follows, though thou rendest thy face with painting;
    or, eyes F12; which painting dilates as Jezebel did, ( 2 Kings 9:30 ) , in vain shalt thou make thyself fair;
    so as to be loved and admired: far from it: thy lovers will despise thee;
    as an old harlot is despised by her former gallants, notwithstanding all her dressing and painting; yea, their love is often turned into hatred and abhorrence, as would be the case here, they will seek thy life;
    to take it away; so far would there be from being any ground of expectations of help and deliverance from them.

    It is lack of love and respect for God that make people argue and twist the word of God. Woe to them. Punishment awaits them. The demons in the painting materials are speaking through them and for the money the manufactureres are making. It is hell fire. Look at Redeem Church in Nigeria, the GO’s wife does not makeup. Her members feed on makeup. God’s judgement is coming soon. They will cry had I known.

  5. Roni

    Stumbled across this site & this article and thought I would comment from a whole different perspective…

    First of all I am a Born Again Christian who attends a Baptist Church that preaches/teaches Eternal Security, so we don’t even have these kinds of issues in our church, doctrinally, but on one hand, our church being centered in an area that culturally has gone hay wire – I can see why some believe “standards” are important. I mean, everyone with a shred of decency, Christian or not, can see leggins are just taking over… we all have to admit a little bit of shame would be good these days…

    But on the other hand, what do UPC churches do with people who would be drop dead gorgeous with a sackcloth on and ashes over their head let alone make up? I’m not trying to be vain or conceited here, but when you’re attractive to a man (or vice versa) you can tell that a man thinks so just by the way they look at you – they don’t mean it, just like you didn’t mean to attract them in the first place – it just happens. It’s biological. How does this whole think not end up morphing into a kind of Christian burkha?

    Actually, going by some of the comments left by current UPC members to former ones, it is beginning to resemble an Islamic mindset, only the hostility is exercized with “men and words” instead of “men and stones”.

    That being said, this article has been quite illuminating from the standpoint of not wanting to being a stumbling block with our liberties either – there’s a newer member of ours who didn’t come from a Pentecostal background, rather another Baptist church, but she might as well habe been from UPC – and I wouldn’t want anything to scare her away before she’s really grounded in the word.

    I am thankful to Jesus for and ask Him to Bless everyone on this site for helping me to see that part of this issue as well!!

    I think it’s interesting that in her case, just as in the case of others (in my opinion) who have commented here, that they are so worried about losing their Salvation over the minutest of issues – like the one gentleman said:

    “Standing on the edge of a cliff is safe, but I really prefer to stand at least five feet from the edge.”

    It’s interesting because on one hand what they’re picking up on is that it IS impossible to meet a Holy & Perfect standard – only Jesus could, but yet they fail to see only Jesus could meet that standard and they can’t!

    Chris – once you have a relationship with Christ there is no cliff to worry about anymore – whatever happens to you in life from the point you have genuinely been born again through the Holy Spirit the worst (an eterntiy in Hell) cannot:

    “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to HIS MERCY he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renwing of the Holy Ghost”

    That’s the only thing that saves us from the cliff – not abstaining from make up and clear nail polish!

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