One indicator of an unhealthy church is when the meanings of words are changed. By doing this, what they teach appears on the surface to be backed by scripture. However, when one discovers that the twisted meaning is not the same as was meant in the passage(s) they use as a proof text, it will help them break from these erroneous teachings.

For those who believe that the word shorn in the Bible simply means to cut without regard to how much, I share with you a great picture demonstration that shows a half-shorn sheep. It is the copyright of photographer Cary Wolinsky.

Copyright Cary Wolinsky

An example of shorn.

The word shorn in 1 Corinthians 11 is twisted by some in an attempt to prove a teaching that claims women are never to cut their hair for any reason, not even a fraction of an inch. Some take the teaching even further and claim a woman protects herself and her family by keeping her hair uncut. Ruth Reider Harvey of the United Pentecostal Church (UPC), has taught that believers replaced Lucifer as the protector and reflector of God’s glory and women accomplish this through following such holiness rules as not cutting their hair. UPC evangelist Lee Stoneking lamented in a sermon, if only Christians knew what witches and New Agers know. If witches can double the power of spells by letting their hair down and shaking it in the wind, what could our [Apostolic] women do with power on their heads?

Oh what great lengths some people take in their efforts to prop up a teaching in order to convince others to believe in and follow their ordinance.

UPC minister Daniel Segraves, in his book Women’s Hair: The Long And Short Of It, attempts to change the biblical meaning of shorn in an attempt to persuade women to follow the teaching. After using three regular dictionaries and three biblical reference books, he states: “That, while “shorn” can mean “to cut close,” it is certainly not limited to that meaning. Indeed, the preponderance of dictionary definitions are on the side of interpreting “shorn” as simply “to cut,” without specifying how much! …While a minority of the definitions could possibly apply to cutting closely, the majority testimony is that “shear” simply means “to cut.”

Someone from biblical times would not have related to this conclusion by Segraves. To them, and to Paul who is the author of Corinthians, shorn meant to cut closely, just like is demonstrated in this picture by Wolinsky. People then were very much acquainted with the practice. If anyone had removed an inch of the wool on this sheep and tried to tell people that it was shorn, the onlookers would have heartily laughed. They knew that a shorn sheep was one where almost all the wool had been removed.

Take care to independently search out for yourself what is taught. Check to ensure that the meaning given is actually what was meant in the passage. You may find a night and day difference between scripture and what you hear from the pulpit.