I grew up in a Theological tradition that would equate one’s length of hair with their level of sanctification and Spiritual maturity. Of course no one would admit that or state it explicitly, but the implication was most definitely there, and the road back to explicit belief was not hard to navigate. In short, I grew up in legalistic camps that made of major importance, minor matters of truth. (I can hear it now; Minor matters of TRUTH?!!!! There’s no such thing!)
I never bought into the hair length standards (though I like it short), or the music standards, or the no movies in theaters standards of evaluating my heart before God. Still don’t as there are far too many Biblical arguments against such hubris. But today I find myself in a tradition that is prone to the polar opposite (hence bipolar: “diametrically opposed views” – Webster) view that is no less a form of legalism than the clean cut crowd.
Bipolar legalism also makes of major importance, minor matters of truth (libertine truth: matters of Christian liberty). This expression implicitly states that one’s expression of liberty in areas such as musical taste, alcohol consumption, and participation in popular culture is synonymous with one’s level of sanctification and maturity. Which is, when properly defined and carefully applied, true. When not properly defined and carefully applied, it goes something like this: If you can’t drive into the parking lot of a local Applebee’s pumping the latest U2 for all to hear, on your way in to enjoy a cold Cornona with fajitas, after coming from the 4:00 showing of the lastest “R” rated movie, then you are . . . . gasp! . . . the weaker brother! You need to be set free! You need to grow out of weakness and into maturity!
For one camp, long hair and pop music equates with liberalism and worldliness. With the other group, restraining your liberty equates to a diminishing of God’s good gifts to His people to be enjoyed and thus you are a “legalist” in the traditional sense of the word. Closer examination to this contention actually reveals a form of legalism working in reverse and it is just as toxic and just as soul and Body deteriorating as the traditional legalist! Why? Rom 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Do I have liberty in Christ to enjoy some/all of the things listed above? Yes! Do they then become a litmus test for genuine mature Christianity? No. At least not in the broad brush strokes of everyone who openly enjoys a beer in moderation, and listens to U2 is free and mature and pleasing to God and in most accord with God’s Word. That would be no more true than the opposite assertion that everyone who keeps their hair short, listens to John Williams soundtrack scores, and only sees “G” movies in the privacy of their own home are more pleasing to God, and in most accord with His Word.
If you are in Reformed circles, and understand the great freedom that God has given His children in such areas, please be reminded (Scripture below) that these are peripheral issues, that are individually ascertained, individually applied and individually enjoyed (See Rom 14:22 below). They are not corporate blankets to be thrown over everyone. They are not “macro” Kingdom objectives (Rom 14:17 above). They are not intended to be lightning rods within the Body but quite the opposite. They are areas where we learn in community when to enjoy our liberty and when to restrain ourselves for the good and growth of another. It is in that struggle, where I must learn when and how to lay down what is lawful for me, but not profitable for my brother or the Body where maturity comes; not in the dogmatic proclamation and pursuit of liberty.
Romans 14:13-19 (ESV) Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.  I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean.  For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.  So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil.  For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.  Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.  So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.
1 Cor. 6:12 (ESV) “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything.
1 Cor. 10:23 (ESV) “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.
Romans 14:3 (NAS) The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him.
Romans 14:21-23 (ESV) It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.  The faith that you have (the freedom of conscience to eat or drink), keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves.  But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.