Research has come to light that a handsome man when spruiking investment opportunities gets a far greater response than a 'pretty' (lovely) woman engaged in the same business enterprise. The Banking Royal Commission has also illustrated something of this.
This recent News.com article claimed that the findings from the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, also showed backers preferred business presentations that were given by men.
Their study revealed that investors are more likely to back an idea if a handsome man is pitching it. However, pretty women were no more likely to be successful pitchers than their less attractive counterparts.
From real investment pitches in real dates and time with real investors covering 60 experienced investors and on 90 different occasions these investors were asked to rate the pitchers’ looks, and this was compared to how well each did in what was considered a contest.
The article cited Dr Alison Brooks, of Harvard Business School, who said: ‘We find investors prefer entrepreneurial pitches presented by males ... even when the content of the pitch is the same.’ Many women found that good male looks made the pitch more persuasive.
20th Century American Evangelism
When the late Billy Graham hit the evangelism scene in the late 1940's after WWII and as his Gospel proclamation notoriety grew with film and late television, several observations were repeatedly made.
Billy Graham had a way with words, his communication was brilliant and beyond reproach, his tone and elocution out of this world (so to speak), his organisational team left no quarter untendered, his personal and ministry integrity was spotless and over and over again, his handsomeness was highlighted.
Whichever which way, the Billy Graham phenomenon gave a set of principles for would be evangelists which has lasted the test of time. Whomever has popped up on the international and national evangelism scene since has certainly made an enormous effort to look good!
Take the mega churches anywhere in the world today, none have been initiated or sustained by any of what might loosely be termed, Mr Ugly's. Grooming does play an important part of training.
Moreover there is this attitude of confidence that is inaudibly expressed by a man who is speaking the light of truth from the Scriptures as the Holy Spirit engages the listeners as Romans 10 exhorts those immortal words, who will hear without a preacher!
This is the rub. It is not the looks (yes helpful), it is not the grooming (yes helpful), it is not the neat trousers and collarless shirt or tailor cut suit (that may help), rather it is the Holy Spirit that convicts the sinner to repentance and Salvation.
Down through the centuries
The New Testament tells us very little about the physical appearances or grooming of the early evangelists however we go get a glimpse of this from the stories written about John Chrysostom nicknamed Golden Mouth who preached against the Emperor's illicit affairs in the 4th century in the city of Constantine. He was everything! The full 'male' package.
Similarly we have sketches and etchings and paintings of a host of evangelists down through the centuries – such luminaries as Francis of Assisi, Luther, Zwingli, Erasmas, Melanthon, Tyndale, John and Charles Wesley, Whitcliff, Jonathan Edwards, Billy Sunday, Charles Spurgeon to name just a few were all unique if not a rugged handsomeness.
None but none of them played on any emphasis on their physical maleness, rather it was purely Gospel and a calling to repentance unto Salvation. Here the sole issue for such matters was that of the Holy Spirit.
Sexual Pulpit Drama
The falling of so many preachers across the centuries to sexual sin outside marriage or fornication to willing and sexually provocative enthusiastic women is not the issue of this article. The question at hand is whether a handsome physical appearance and disposition is an advantage to Kingdom evangelism.
We have discussed how the Billy Graham phenomenon was deemed by commentators that this 'awe factor' played then and since an important role in evangelism. We have also seen how down through the ages it was the Holy Spirit message rather than the rugged handsomeness of the messengers that saw the hearts of men and women change toward God.
On a personal note, having been an evangelist all my 41 years in Christian ministry and travelling the world preaching the message of the Salvation of Christ, as strange as this might seem, my stammer has been more beneficial than any which way I may have dressed or any expression of manliness.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html