7 Reasons to Not Tattoo You

Let me begin by saying that God takes you from where you are, and not from where you should have been. If anyone is in Christ, there is no condemnation. If anyone is already tatted up, and the thing is done, then thank God that in Christ there is no condemnation.

But the fact that there is no condemnation in Christ does not mean that in Christ there is no such thing as a bad idea.

I know that there are godly individuals who don’t have the same view of tattoos that I do, and I would not apply everything I write below to them. This is not a one-size fits all argument. I know that someone who 2 Cor. 10:17 tattooed on his forearm will not be affected by my #5, for example. No Regert

So this is a post meant to exhort those who are contemplating what I would regard as a bad idea. Here are seven reasons for thinking so.

1. Let us begin at the beginning. What does the Bible say?

“You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves: I am the Lord” (Lev. 19:28, ESV).

The point here is not to say, “here’s the verse, that settles it.” Rather it is to say, “Here’s the verse. You are 21-years-old and are thinking about getting a barbed wire tattoo around your bicep. How settled and mature is your understanding of the relationship of Old Testament law to the question of Christian ethics? What is the likelihood that you might ever come to change your views on that question? And if you are already inked, does that create any pressure to not be open-minded about this pressing theological question?

2. What else does the Bible say?

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (1 John 2:15–16).

All the energy in the tattoo industry is coming from the world. This is a thing, it is a fad, it is a fashion, and it is all these things because of what the world is doing. If no unbeliever in the last hundred years had ever gotten a tattoo, you can be assured that it wouldn’t be such a thing among us. That being the case, how confident are you that this is not simply yet another massive display of evangelical copy-catism? Before you go under the ink, ask yourself if you would be able to lead a thorough Bible study on a very important question that runs this way: what are the differences, if any, between being cool and being worldly?

3. What else does the Bible say?

“Honour thy father and thy mother, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee” (Deut. 5:16).

The chances are excellent to outstanding that if you are a Christian contemplating a tattoo this would also mean that you are a Christian contemplating distressing your parents. When factoring this element in, don’t allow yourself to argue to yourself that a tattoo “doesn’t necessarily dishonor them.” The Bible doesn’t tell you to not necessarily dishonor them. It says to honor them. It says to listen to their wisdom. “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, And forsake not the law of thy mother” (Prov. 1:8).

I don’t believe that any human authority is absolute, but parental authority and wisdom is certainly significant. In deciding to get a tattoo, are you granting your parents’ reluctance and distress the weight and significance that you should? And how do you know?

4. The tattoo removal business is a multi-million dollar industry, and growing. Most of their clients are in their 30’s and 40’s. How confident are you that you will not be in that number a decade from now? and how confident are you that you are not creating real challenges for those guys because of the number and/or intricacy of the tatts you are getting now? Will your opinions change? Will your aesthetic values change? Will your spelling improve? Are you inking yourself into a corner?

5. Tattoos are a way to “commit” yourself to something. The point is to make people think, “Whoa, he really did that.” You have done something that appears to be an irrevocable step. You are an “all-in” kind of guy. But if you cash this out, what you have is “all of the dedication, none of the accomplishment.” Another name for that is boasting, or showing off.

Let your yes be yes, and your no be no. If you have to swear on a stack of Bibles to make people believe you are serious, then it is time to address the deeper problems. If you need to ink a Bible verse on you to make them think you believe it, then I would urge you to expend your energies elsewhere.

6. Henry Van Til taught that culture is religion externalized. If this is the case, as at least all Kuyperians among the Reformed would grant, then why have we given ourselves over to this cultural expression that has a distinctively pagan heritage, and does not have a distinctively Christian one? Why do modern Christians have an intense desire to look more like a Maori tribesman than like Edith Schaeffer? This is a cultural phenomenon, and we should want to know a lot more about the hidden cultural drivers.

7. And last, one of my fundamental concerns has to do with the relationship of tattoos to ours baptisms. The fundamental external mark of a Christian is baptism, and it is striking that this is a mark that dries invisibly. The mark of our older brothers, the Jews, was a cutting of the flesh. Just as the Old Testament sacrificial system was replaced by the simplicity of bread and wine, so also the mark of circumcision was replaced by baptism (Col. 2:11). So all Christians are already marked in our baptism. This is the mark of Christ on our bodies.

Tattoos are a tribal phenomenon. So the perennial question is always, by what standard? What tribe?

This means that when a Christian heads down to the parlor, I would suggest he is doing one of two things —  consciously or not. He is either trying to erase his baptism or he is trying to supplement it. He is trying to replace the mark of Christ or he is trying to improve the mark of Christ. We shouldn’t want to do either.

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Joseph Morovich
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Joseph Morovich

The only marks in the flesh Paul appears to approve are the scars from being beaten for the faith by non-believers and persecuting authorities (Gal 6:17). So don’t cheapen those scars which may be coming sooner rather than later with cheap copies from the World.

Lance Roberts
Guest

Ultimately, there is no one getting a tatoo because it gives them superpowers, or cures some disease. They get it because it makes a visible statement and so is strictly an appearance thing. They are marring their bodies so that they can appear different, showing a dissatisfaction with the appearance God gave them. (Yes, this even applies to hidden tatoos; either intended for someone more intimate to see, or to just let them think about themselves as having a different appearance).

JP Stewart
Member

“They are marring their bodies so that they can appear different,”

And like many fashion trends, the “non-conformists” have started to look alike with the multiple tats. In some circles, the ones without tattoos are clearly the ones who are different. This is especially true in certain professional sports.

Clayvessel
Guest
Clayvessel

Having no tattoos is the new tattoo.

(This has actually kept all seven of my kids out of the tattoo parlors.)

Drew Koehler
Guest
Drew Koehler

So, by your logic, one should not pierce their ears, dye their hair (even if it’s greying), wear nice clothing that happens to be trendy? Because if that is the case, they all bring attention to yourself.
We may as well stop doing anything that may cause attention to ourselves, even if that wasn’t the original purpose.

Lance Roberts
Guest

No, it’s about marring the body to change your appearance, not clothing. God specifically designated the ear lobes for women as appropriate to pierce. People definitely go too far with other piercings, or a male getting a piercing.

Drew Koehler
Guest
Drew Koehler

That sounds incredibly legalistic. Can you provide sound scripture using proper exegesis to substantiate your concern?

Lance Roberts
Guest

No, it’s not legalistic, it’s specific. Legalism is where you think following God’s rules merits you anything.

Sasak
Guest
Sasak

Don’t cut your hair at the sides or trim your beard either. Leviticus 19:24

Lauren
Guest
Lauren

He designated female earlobes for piercing? Where is that in scripture. I know of places where a nose ring was placed or a slave drove nail through their ear as a sign of loyalty but know where it says, “woman go forth and make your ears more beautiful”

insanitybytes22
Member

“woman go forth and make your ears more beautiful”

LOL! I’ve got no scriptural argument for that, but I do think “woman go forth and make yourself more beautiful” does have some biblical basis. I realize beauty is in the eye of the beholder and fashion is always evolving, but for goodness sake, gromets in your ears, thongs sticking out, and tattoos all over young, beautiful bodies is simply not aesthetically pleasing.

adad0
Member

1 Peter 3 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves…… Galatians 6:17 From now on, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus. Some godly women wear the… Read more »

RocksCryOut
Guest
RocksCryOut

“…gromets in your ears, thongs sticking out, and tattoos all over young, beautiful bodies is simply not aesthetically pleasing.”…to you.

antexw
Member

Ezekiel 16:12 and Proverbs 25:12 show that earrings can be good and beautiful; God is not willing (prescriptively) to have the body of His bride defiled or sinfully disgraced (and thus, this is not to be included in the principle of unlawful body modification in cutting/marring up of the body per Leviticus 19:28).
If unjustified words or anger which wouldn’t necessarily cause physical injury are against God’s command to not murder (Mt 5:21-22) those made in God’s image, how much more would be unjustified physical disfigurement/injury/marring, even if “suicidally” self-inflicted?

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

How can you possibly substantiate that claim? I think earrings look pretty, too, but you’re making a teleological argument. Are girl earlobes fundamentally different from boy earlobes? Is this meant to be a joke?

Christopher
Member

“God specifically designated the ear lobes for women as appropriate to pierce.”

Where did he do that?

Bike bubba
Guest

It’s fat & skin without a lot of nerve endings, but is well vascularized. It also doesn’t have any purpose that would be impaired by a non-infected piercing.

Does it say this in Scripture? No, but I think we can infer from general revelation that an earlobe might be a more appropriate place for a piercing than places with a lot of muscle, cartilage, or nerve endings, no?

Christopher
Member

Sure, but making an inference from general revelation is not God specificly designating anything.

Jane
Member

Where it gets weird is to say that general revelation tells us this is true for women’s earlobes, but false for men’s earlobes, which is what I believe is implied by Lance’s statement.

bethyada
Member

I think the nature of our bodies tells us the appropriate places to pierce.

That would be ears and noses. Places that have skin both sides of a thin area.

drewnchick
Member

How does this defining quality–“places that have skin both sides of a thin area”–preclude navels, tongues, nipples, and various other (private) parts? Or…does it?

bethyada
Member

I don’t think navels meet that criteria. One can always put a hole thru a fold of skin.

I’ll concede tongues and nipples but I think that their function precludes them.

Perhaps my criterion is minimal but not exhaustive?

Jane
Member

Right. I’m just saying that men’s earlobes and women’s earlobes are structurally entirely identical, so saying that the structure of women’s earlobes tells us that piercing is appropriate for women BUT NOT FOR MEN doesn’t add up.

There are other reasons that can be adduced for making the distinction between men and women with regard to piercings, but the structure of women’s earlobes does not do the job.

bethyada
Member

Agreed. Men’s earlobes are as good as women’s. And in the OT piercing was what they did for voluntary servitude.

Whether a man should wear the kind of earrings to beatify themselves the way women do is a clothing matter.

Bike bubba
Guest

OK, true. I confess that I think that earrings are great on ladies (even nose rings at times) because it’s very helpful in helping men keep their eyes where they belong. With the way most men dress, not as big a deal for them, I think.

Jane
Member

I tend to be your way of thinking, but Lance seems to be arguing that there is something about the physical structure of the earlobes that makes them appropriate for earrings.

But only for women, even though the physical structure is the same.

If you’re going to make a male-female distinction you have to say more than an argument from physical structure.

David Sprinkle
Guest
David Sprinkle

So….broken front tooth shouldn’t be fixed? A kid shouldn’t get braces? Plastic surgery after a burn? I mean, seriously, dude….

antexw
Member

If you’re truly being serious, then why are you comparing medical services to restore/heal from injury/deformity to justify tattoos or cutting up one’s flesh?

David Sprinkle
Guest
David Sprinkle

Lance said people get tattoos to show “a dissatisfaction with the appearance God gave them.” Kid’s teeth are very often crooked naturally, not from injury. That is “the appearance God gave them”….why “fix” it? I’d never heard anyone on the issue of tattoos twist scripture more to make God more in their image when I read the blog article….until Lance started commenting. Congrats to Doug on now being the second most ridiculous Jesus juker ever. Further commentary is not needed from someone who said “God specifically designated the ear lobes for women as appropriate to pierce”, or anyone who takes… Read more »

antexw
Member

We fix deformities (and injuries) because it’s good to do so, even if it would mean doing so on the Sabbath, in imitation of Christ. I would expect Lance to be aware of this, so I don’t think Lance’s statement is meant to include deformities. We really ought to read authors in their best light to avoid strawmanning (even unintentionally) as much as possible. That includes recognizing that statements will likely be generalized. And we can show charity toward their argument even their statement is somewhat accidentally imprecise — for many times, the meat of argument may be true despite… Read more »

Lance Roberts
Guest

Maybe you should stop using strawmen David. Obviously a completely different category.

David Sprinkle
Guest
David Sprinkle

Lance, you said people get tattoos to show “a dissatisfaction with the appearance God gave them.” Kid’s teeth are very often crooked naturally, not from injury. That is “the appearance God gave them”….why “fix” it? I’d never heard anyone on the issue of tattoos twist scripture more to make God more in their image when I read the blog article….until Lance started commenting. Congrats to Doug on now being the second most ridiculous Jesus juker ever. Further commentary is not needed from someone who said “God specifically designated the ear lobes for women as appropriate to pierce”, or anyone who… Read more »

Lance Roberts
Guest

David, I’m happy to see that you’re so riled up about this. It means that even though you’re now an antinomian, believing you can do whatever you want, that you are under the conviction of the Holy Spirit. I will pray that you will surrender to God’s will and relinquish your own. He gave us his word for a reason, I hope one day you get past the antinomianism of our culture.

David Sprinkle
Guest
David Sprinkle

Lance, Thanks for the prayers–I can certainly use them, though you are probably praying the wrong thing. I guess my problem with arguments like yours and Doug’s is this: A.) I’ve spent the last 15 years of my life on the mission field fighting against heretical, judgemental, one-dimensional-thinking, white-washed-tomb arguments like these, from people who disobey the laws they choose with the reasoning that they were “cultural”, while ignoring the obvious cultural significance of the laws they (presume to) judge others by. All the while, also ignoring the New Testament’s teaching on the law entirely. People who argue this way… Read more »

Adam
Guest
Adam

Hey guys, at this point it seems that the issue is not tattoos, it’s how everyone is handling the discussion. Telling someone you’ll pray for them is often the baptized version of a sneering remark, and Lance you just did that. Furthermore David, you could have been gentler in your correction of Lance, rather than dismissive. Tattoos are a grey area, as there is no CLEAR prohibition of them in the New Covenant, and Wilson admits this. Therefore, it isn’t clearly sin unless someone’s motives are clearly sinful. Making blanket statements where there aren’t clear principles is unhelpful and unwise.… Read more »

Lance Roberts
Guest

Actually Adam, there is a clear prohibition in the Bible, which isn’t abrogated by God, so it is clear for us. All laws apply unless God abrogates them, as he did with ceremonial laws, sacrificial laws, food laws (though there are some NT ones that still apply), circumcision, etc. I’m not sure how you can take praying for someone as sneering at them, you’re welcome to pray for me. My goal in any conversation is to get people to think, so I accomplished what I was aiming for.

Steve H
Guest
Steve H

Lance, don’t be a goober

David Sprinkle
Guest
David Sprinkle

Oh, yeah….that’s right! In Timothy it tells women to (not) wear gold or pearls.

Each ridiculous conclusion and abuse of scripture (or simply not knowing it) illustrates further and further why you aren’t God.

Andy
Guest
Andy

Ultimately, this shows that you have an extremely limited understanding of the cultural reasons people get tattoos. Insisting that those who have tattoos are “marring” their bodies because they are aren’t satisfied with what God gave them is an insanely arrogant thing to say.

I have tattoos that I share with my brothers who I fought alongside in Afghanistan. I have tattoos that memorialize my dead friends, as do many veterans, or the units I was a part of.

You don’t know the minds of other human beings. Your insistence that you DO know is sheer, sinful, wicked pride.

Lance Roberts
Guest

And your disobedience to God is wicked pride.

Justin
Guest
Justin

Is shaving your face disobedience to God?

David Sprinkle
Guest
David Sprinkle

No….just tattoos. Not the verse right before that, or the verse right after that, even though these would-be Bible scholars should know that the pagan custom of the time was marking yourself for the dead and that is what God was opposed to…..

smh….

Bike bubba
Guest

What Andy speaks of is a big reason a lot of former coworkers of mine got tattoos. They were about their kids, friends, parents, dogs,…in a world of temporary jobs, families, and the like, they were permanent.

I still don’t want some tattoo artist holding my wife’s breast to put a rose on it, but I get the rationale for something on the arms or legs.

Stephen Anderson
Guest

People sure love their vanities.

jigawatt
Guest
jigawatt

I’ve always thought of tattoos as one of those conforming non-conformist things.

Bike bubba
Guest

It shows you’re unique, just like everybody else.

John
Member

You mean like beards among reformed pastors?

adad0
Member

I thought he meant like no beards among guys who like to spend time shaving! ; – )

denise njim
Guest
denise njim

Hmmm, crickets. You must have stepped on a nerve.

gerv
Guest
gerv

Funnily enough, I got three tattoos last week. Each is a tiny black dot, in a triangle around a metastasis in my leg, used to target the radiotherapy machine accurately over multiple visits. It all happened very quickly, and felt strange (not the pinpricks; they hurt far less than I thought). I never thought I’d get one, let alone 3.

And then, after all that, radiotherapy was postponed for a month! (For good reasons.)

jigawatt
Guest
jigawatt
gerv
Guest
gerv

:-) Thanks for that. I’d forgotten that one.

David Sprinkle
Guest
David Sprinkle

“Thus sayeth Doug and Lance; the Lord God did not leave exceptions for medical procedures. Had he meant radiation was, ok-eth, he would have saideth so.”

–II Hesitations, 2:11.

David Sprinkle
Guest
David Sprinkle

P.S. I wish you nothing but the best with your illness.

CCC
Guest
CCC

AMEN! I appreciate the balance. I have seen ONE possible exception, and would welcome your view: I have a friend who owns a machine shop. Jewelry is dangerous around machines, and rather than take off his wedding ring or risk injury, he tattooed it on – both for safety and as a testimony to the permanence of marriage.

Pro-Lif3
Guest
Pro-Lif3

I would not have gotten the tattoo. The permanence of one’s marriage is reflected in one’s vows and heart, not a piece of metal on an appendage.

Roy Gilmore
Guest
Roy Gilmore

As someone has said, “graffiti on the walls of the temple of the Holy Spirit”

Jane
Member

Clever, but more of a slogan than a principle. Is that which is done deliberately by someone with the authority to do it, graffiti? Is the physical body literally a temple?

Dabney Redivivus
Guest
Dabney Redivivus

Oh, I don’t know, did all the fullness of deity literally dwell in Christ? Are we literally united to him? Do we literally partake of all the blessings pertaining to such union?

I like this word “literally”. It can make just about anything sound implausible.

Jane
Member

All the things you said are absolutely true in a literal way. Some things are absolutely true, but in a metaphorical way. I’m not suggesting that something has to be literally true in order to be true.

However, in order for the “graffiti on a temple” criticism to be compelling, it has to be literally true that the body is a temple, because you can’t deface a metaphor with a literal mark.

FWIW, I’m not a fan of tattoos. But there are good arguments, weak arguments, and bad arguments for and against them.

antexw
Member

If a literal body is a non-literal temple then a literal unlawful/unauthorized tattoo can certainly map to a non-literal unlawful/unauthorized graffiti–nothing necessarily incongruent or formally invalid in that comparison/mapping (of a literal unlawful tattoo-mark on literal flesh to a non-literal metaphorical unlawful graffiti-mark on a non-literal metaphorical temple). So, since God in His word has revealed that tattoos or cutting up your flesh are unlawful/unauthorized in the past, then what has been newly revealed in His word to show that tattoos or cutting up your flesh (or bestiality or a man marrying his dad’s sister) are now non-presumptuously lawful/authorized such… Read more »

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

The problem with this argument, as bethyada points out below, is that metaphors are contextually driven. Jesus calls himself the door, which is perfectly true in the context of his permitting access to the father. That doesn’t mean we can now attribute to him any other properties of doors that come to mind – swinging only in one direction, say, or having a little space underneath where you can slide an end-of-term essay. Believers are temples that can be defiled by sexual immorality. Actual temples can also be defiled by graffiti, or by the presence of pigs, or by wearing… Read more »

antexw
Member

Temples are disgraced or defiled by men doing what is unlawful, lawlessness, the breaking of God’s commandments, contradicting His word. Since our bodies are not our own, we having bodies as temples of the Spirit should obediently glorify the Holy Spirit as Lord in all things in all areas of life pertaining to what God has commanded us with our bodies. The contrary is that you can do whatever is unlawful or lawless with your body as long as it’s not sexual immorality; and no worries, you haven’t disgraced the temple of the Holy Spirit with sin/lawlessness. The Bible does… Read more »

Jane
Member

But that is all much more complex than the cutesy “graffiti” remark.

You can’t do graffiti on a temple, no. It does not follow from that analogy that you cannot make a mark that someone else doesn’t care for on a human body, because the analogy maps too many characteristics of graffiti and temples to tattoos and bodies, without sufficient warrant.

That’s all I’m saying.

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

If it’s not too pendantic to point it out, you got so wrapped up in your monologue that you ignored my argument. I never said that the limitations of the temple analogy mean you can do whatever you want; neither did anybody else outside your fevered imagination. Sins are what God classifies as sins, some sins; for illustrative purposes, he (through Paul) compares to desecrating a temple. That analogy does not apply to all sins. That doesn’t make other sins okay, it just means that they aren’t desecrating the temple in the sense Paul uses in Corinthians. I would like… Read more »

antexw
Member

Yes, I think I can since my reply already shows what your contrary position logically implicates if you advocate bethyada’s pedantic sexual sin limitation as the only means of disobedience for temple(s) to be dishonored despite the general condemnation in Scripture of what is unlawful (sin/disobedience/lawlessness) in the temple analogy context (with sufficient Scripture reference for exegesis); your contrary position does indeed imply the temple wouldn’t be dishonored if a sin other than sexual immorality is committed. Moreover, I explained that even if dishonoring of the temple of God via sin isn’t identically unto the effect of joining a harlot… Read more »

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

Golly – on the nose, huh? The way you draw analogies to defeat my objection is instructive. You say that of course getting a frivolous tattoo is the same as getting one for demonic purposes, just as a) the strictures against sacrificing children to Molech apply just as much if you sacrifice them to another deity, or murder them because another person insists; b) the rules against drunkenness also preclude heroin. As to a), you’re half-right: I imagine that killing a child with no demons involved would be simple murder, but it obviously doesn’t matter to which demon we’re sacrificing… Read more »

antexw
Member

The tattoo prohibition seems to be without motive, whereas the cutting up oneself has the motive. It also reads like this in the LXX. But, tabling that observation: Very honestly, it doesn’t seem odd. Remember, committing such murder for the sake of glorifying or appeasing of Molech, Diana, or a significant other is also an inessential motive that doesn’t really matter so as to justify the action, and a commandment with a motive is similarly given nearby in Lv 18:21. Law need not site every possible circumstance (and therefore the particular circumstance of a particular motive) to be generally relevant… Read more »

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

I agree that there is a danger of filtering the law with excessive delicacy – the prohibition against coveting doesn’t specifically mention bicycles, but we aren’t allowed to covet those either. Do you agree there is an equal error on the other side – of interpreting things so widely as to bind men’s consciences where God does not? Your principle that the OT law is in force unless specifically abrogated seems to endanger the exercise of Christian freedom. The analogy with child sacrifice (which may be undertaken for a variety of reasons) is imprecise, because no matter what reason you… Read more »

antexw
Member

Yes, I do agree that there is an equal error, whether we turn to the right or to the left (Dt 5:32) in this matter in the sense of equality that both turnings are condemned in either: (1) teaching others that we are free to believe/do something that is free from righteousness (where there is not moral freedom to believe/do X), or (2) teaching others that we are do not have moral freedom to believe/do something (where there is moral freedom to believe/do X). In the case of believing and teaching that God’s word is still to be observed according… Read more »

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

Thank you for a very thorough answer. Your position that we ought to treat old testament strictures as “innocent until proven guilty” (that is, morally binding unless explicitly abrogated) is admirable, but I fear it misses the purpose of the Law as it relates to Christians. Does not Paul say, when the Jews seek to impose the Law of Moses on their Gentile Christian brothers, that “we are not under law, but under grace”? That obviously, for him, does not imply that Christians are immoral, but that the specific commandments to the Jewish people under the old covenant are not… Read more »

antexw
Member

Yes, Paul does say we are not under Law, but under grace (for the law has no power to save unto justification, through faith in Christ, we are not under the curse, and there is discontinuity in observance according to the letter of some commandments, often categorized as ceremonial commandments of the Law). And so, yes, some of the specific commandments to the Jewish people are not temporally universal. And, as you wrote, Paul does regard some of these commandments to be taken off at will (as I have already mentioned discontinuity in observance in the letter); for example, even… Read more »

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

As regards your final point, note that I do not concede your interpretation of the passage. There is some ambiguity in the text, but I submit that the most reasonable view, when one motive is suggested in a command with two obviously related actions (cutting marks and tattooing marks), is to assume that it applies to both. If my wife asks me to “buy some rolls and pick up the cake for the dinner party this evening”, it would be pretty precious of me to assume that the rolls were some unrelated errand and leave them at the office. I… Read more »

antexw
Member

But now you’ve reversed the placement of the motivation in the verse! It’s actually: You shall not do X for Y, nor do Z. That doesn’t imply that Z must be motivated for what X is typically motivated for (Y), even if X and Z are similar. And, the position/assumption ‘Z doesn’t have the same motivation as X’ is different from my position that Z doesn’t necessarily have the same motivation as X, which allows for Z and X to have same motivation. It is still reasonable to assume they are grouped together because they are commonly forms wounds/injuries, rather… Read more »

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

I’m unclear… so we agree that the two parallel commands (getting inked and getting cut) probably do share the same motivation? Because I don’t see a significant difference in meaning between “Honey, pick up the cake (X) for the dinner party (Y) and the rolls (Z)” and the alternate version where Y and Z are switched. I’m pretty sure my wife in the hypothetical wouldn’t see it that way either. Well then, what becomes of your insistence that the outward form (the mere act of cutting or whatnot) is crucial? Second, you concede above that OT law is abrogated with… Read more »

antexw
Member

No, I don’t think tats and gashing necessarily share the same motivation. It may very well be that your wife not see it that way either. But, maybe she, like many other wives, only tend to call you to pick things up at the store when there is an immediate/urgent desire/need to use them that very night. That doesn’t seem urgent if they’re not for the party. More importantly, the fact remains that ‘You shall not do X for reason Y, nor shall you do Z’ doesn’t deductively imply Z has the same reason as X if Z and X… Read more »

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

I perceive you have more free time than I do. I’ll answer what I can at the moment re: tattooing as a moral issue. Your idea that tattooing is forbidden because it is an injury is unpersuasive. There are other ways to mark the skin in accordance with pagan customs than actual penetrating it with tiny holes. On this argument, tattooing would be all right so long as you use some kind of non-penetrating stain. I can look like a Canaanite all I want as long as it’s only henna. Second, the physical harm of a tattoo is so miniscule… Read more »

antexw
Member

Once again, you’ve irrationally strawmanned in your refutation. Those two reasons are given to show how the tattoo and cutting oneself up commandment are different from the ceremonial discontinuities that you offered up(which the henna case is still covered by the second case), and thus not qualifying to be abolished according to the letter given NT revelation that abolishes other commandments for practical observance in their letter. Those two reasons (as general principles, which may have Scripturally warranted exceptions, (e.g. earrings and moral freedom to circumcise under the New Covenant) are not given to provide the reasons as a basis… Read more »

Roy Gilmore
Guest
Roy Gilmore

1Co_6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

bethyada
Member

And the defilement is sexual not inking

Jane
Member

Repeating a verse does not address my question of whether the body is a literal temple, how that pertains to embedding ink in it, and whether that constitutes “graffiti”.

Bro. Steve
Guest
Bro. Steve

Evangelicals following fads always end up looking like the guy who came to the wedding last week wearing his leisure suit from 1976 with the bold white top stitching. We’re late. We don’t do a good job of catching the wave. The tattoo fad is a case in point, and so is the current, lamentable fad in “praise teams” and other folderol. The other thing I wish Bro. Doug would address is how this reflects upon the image of God that people bear. If you adorned the Pieta with a Sharpie pen and “John 3:16” on Mary’s hand, people would… Read more »

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

Leisure suits are timeless. Timeless, I say.

timothy
Guest
timothy

Like mullets!

Dan Glover
Guest
Dan Glover

Obviously tattoos are permanent and t-shirts and bumper stickers are not. However, could you comment on how much of your overall argument applies to “Christian” t-shirts etc., especially your points 5, 6 and 7? Brand clothing is also a big deal. Ought we be jumping on that cultural bandwagon, just with our own Jesus brand (or “Calvin is my homie”, or “Spurgeon beard” shirts, etc)? thanks.

Steve H
Guest
Steve H

We all follow cultural fads. Nike t-shirts, khakis, and sports are safe icons in the conservative Christian scene and they all come from the “world” and represent nothing all that important, other than looking like whatever Target wants you to.

Robert Zeurunkl
Guest
Robert Zeurunkl

The reason I have never gotten a tattoo is quite simply because my body is most certainly NOT mine. It is not my property to take liberties with.

Roy Gilmore
Guest
Roy Gilmore

Hi Robert
Before becoming a Christian my reason for not having tattoos was a little more practical rather than spiritual.
When I was about 14 years old and living in Northern Ireland, my father (who had a few tattoos) said to me “don’t ever get any tattoos, because if anyone is looking for you will be to easy to find”.

It made sense to me at that time even as an unsaved teenager and although times have changed still has a certain wisdom about it from a secular point of view.

Steve H
Guest
Steve H

I burned off my finger prints for the same reason

Andy
Guest
Andy

I hope you don’t ever cut your hair, shave, or put on deodorant then. ;)

Robert Zeurunkl
Guest
Robert Zeurunkl

Why? None of these things are forbidden. I’m guessing you are not aware that there was this dude named Jesus Christ a while back in human history.

David Sprinkle
Guest
David Sprinkle

Actually, uhhhm, the verse RIGHT BEFORE 19:28 says to not cut your sideburns.

Jane
Member

That begs the question of whether tattoos are forbidden. You can’t prove tattoos are forbidden by saying it’s forbidden to do forbidden things to your body.

JP Stewart
Member

So now tattoos are in the category of personal hygiene?

ArwenB
Guest
ArwenB

Or public health hazard.

Considering that the Red Cross forbids you to donate blood if you’ve gotten one in the last year… that argument could be made.

Dave
Guest
Dave

Additionally, there is the identification with the prison population that has that thrill factor and anti-establishment statement about it. When it was long hair and beards we could cut off the symbols of our anarchy when we grew up. That fad turned to piercings which could also be removed with not much evidence left behind. Those wanting to hold onto the piercing culture with a more permanent symbol went with the ear hoops that disfigure the ear lobs to the point of no return. Tats will not be the last fad statement of our alleged rage but I hate to… Read more »

Conserbatives_conserve_little
Guest
Conserbatives_conserve_little

I think you overemphasize baptism, or emphasize it in the wrong way but most of the rest of this is good. Tats are spiritual. That is why God says not to do it. In a lot of those Mother Earth religions, tats represent certain spiritual elements, forces, gods, etc. when a marine gets a tat of the corps, he is idolizing the corps by stamping their image on the image of God.

David Sprinkle
Guest
David Sprinkle

So we can assume, when you take a picture or description of the haircut you want to the barber shop, you are idolizing the haircut or the model illustrating the haircut.

Steven Blann
Guest
Steven Blann

Any suggested reading for point 1 … “the relationship of Old Testament law to the question of Christian ethics” articles, blogs, books?

David Sprinkle
Guest
David Sprinkle

Yes….Romans 3:19-20, and John 16:5-15. And not blog posts that pick one verse out of Leviticus while breaking multiple others IN THE SAME CHAPTER.

Evan
Guest
Evan

I have a few Christian friends who have their wife’s name tattooed on them. What category does that fall under?

JP Stewart
Member

I’m not sure. Making an idol out of your spouse? Some celebrities have tried that, in hopes it will help them remain faithful, but it hasn’t worked…

Evan
Guest
Evan

I always joke with them that it helps them to remember their wife’s name.

“I love you to…(looks at shoulder tat)…Martha.”

wtrsims
Member

If you have a) memory problems and b) a wife named Martha, ginkgo biloba is probably going to help you more than the tattoo! Just take it with your Centrum Silver and wash it down with your daily Metamucil.

David Sprinkle
Guest
David Sprinkle

I think it falls under the category of not understanding that 45-75% of marriages have an infidelity at some point, and 52% end up in divorce, infidelity or not.

Jane
Member
David Sprinkle
Guest
David Sprinkle

Well…that IS good news! “Only” 42% failure rate…sounds like a solid place to invest an indelible mark to me! :-)

Jane
Member

Obviously, your point still stands, at least insofar as your point follows from the divorce rate, about which I have my doubts. I just thought you might wish to avoid using bogus statistics in the future.

David Sprinkle
Guest
David Sprinkle

Absolutely….thanks for the correction. From now on, I’ll call it 45-75% cheating, and 42% divorce rate…..

Drew Koehler
Guest
Drew Koehler
insanitybytes22
Member

“Let me begin by saying that God takes you from where you are, and not from where you should have been. If anyone is in Christ, there is no condemnation” Ha! Our host has already won this debate simply by starting with my two favorite sayings. My husband has trouble wearing a wedding ring at work and so I suggested maybe he would want a tattoo instead. He didn’t like that idea either and continued to wear his ring, complaining about how it snagged on everything. One day he slipped on a roof and would have landed in nasty place… Read more »

Jerrod Arnold
Guest
Jerrod Arnold

Let me begin by saying that I appreciate your thoughts on this issue. I believe they are solid points in and of themselves, and if one of my children were to come to me and say they wanted to get a tattoo I would gladly point them to your post. However, I will joyfully give some push back on each of your points. 1. This is in my opinion the weakest argument from scripture against getting tattoos. You are well versed enough to know the context of this passage and its relevance to the New Covenant Christian. A 21 year… Read more »

Jd Ritenburg
Guest
Jd Ritenburg

Mr. Arnold, Your points are well taken and gratefully received. Meditating on them will be enjoyed more than reading your response as pondering the appropriate application of God and His great Gospel is always relevant to all things under the sun and desperately essential. O that everything about us would be joyfully given that Christ be exalted. Reading Brother Wilson’s post initially, i found comfort and even some confirmation that i have wisely resisted the ink for 36 years. I sincerely appreciate Pastor Wilson and his pastoral wisdom and care in this and all matters. I confess that the dominant… Read more »

CJ
Guest
CJ

#1 Has a reference to Leviticus 19:28. Following is the text of the verse just previous to that one:

“Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard” (Leviticus 19:27)

I was given a very nice beard care kit as a gift – Christmas of 2009. Just wondering if I might be sinning each time I use that?

smpitts77
Guest
smpitts77

“I’m reformed, therefore I must have a beard, not drink Bud Light and I must smoke a cigar to show that I’m different from my other ‘status quo’ evangelical individuals.” “There are one or two facets of Anglican theology that I don’t ‘agree with,’ therefore I will start my own ‘liturgical’ denomination to show how we are different….without bishops! So there!” I think 6/7 (except #1…which this passage has many other prohibitions that many are quilts of) apply to both of these.

Scott Limkeman
Guest
Scott Limkeman

Most of this piece either addresses only a subset of people who get tattoos or misses the mark completely, not understanding tattoos or the reasons and meaning behind them for many people. 1. OK, so it was wrong for Israelites to get tattoos. My wife is from Kansas City and I’m salivating thinking about my next BBQ pulled pork sandwich. And I hold strongly to the validity of Old Testament law where it is meant to carry forward into this age. 2. I’m not sure vague appeals to ‘worldliness’ are really going to convince anyone not already convinced that tattoos… Read more »

C Stein
Guest
C Stein

I think like everything else in the Christian walk this is a matter of the heart and it’s a matter of love. For some who are convicted by the jewish OT sacrificial laws, then yes, this is a very moral issue. If you are convicted by something then you probably shouldn’t do it. It’s the same as those in 1 Cor 8 who were convicted about eating meat sacrificed to idols. However, there were those who “possessed knowledge”– namely the knowledge that all things were made clean and for them eating meat was not a moral issue. HOWEVER…. in this… Read more »

Lance Roberts
Guest

No, that isn’t how everything else is in the Christian walk. We are commanded to obey all that God has told us that he hasn’t abrogated. It’s a complete strawman argument to bring up the food laws, since those were abrogated. The clear command to not get tatoos wasn’t abrogated. Also there is no more an erroneous belief than feeling that God’s laws depend on culture. If there were any that were culturally dependent, then they were abrogated, and no long apply. Murder is still wrong and isn’t a matter of the heart.

C Stein
Guest
C Stein

Thank you, brother, for your response. I’d ask that you allow me an opportunity to be more clear with supporting scripture. While I can appreciate your comment, respectfully, I feel it shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose of the law. You say that we are commanded to obey all that God has told us and hasn’t abrogated. I agree with the statement, however, the questions I would ask are what has he commanded of us (in my case a Gentile Christian) and what of that has been abrogated? Romans 2:14 makes it clear that the law of Moses was… Read more »

David Sprinkle
Guest
David Sprinkle

Where is the verse overturning mandatory sideburns, dressing in two different fabrics, harvesting the entire crop (or the other 600+ laws?

smpitts77
Guest
smpitts77

“I’m reformed, therefore I must have a beard, not drink Bud Light and I must smoke a cigar to show that I’m different from my other ‘status quo’ individuals.” “There are one or two facets of Anglican theology that I don’t ‘agree with,’ therefore I will start my own ‘liturgical’ denomination to show how we are different….without bishops! So there!”

Bike bubba
Guest

The thing that strikes me about tattoos is that, since skin moves around when it’s pulled (especially when you get to my age!), the tattoo artist is going to have to have his (her) hand on whatever area is being decorated for a prolonged period of time. Now the question I have is this; is my wife going to be happy with that? There is inavoidable contact with certain areas, as when a doctor needs to do something, but I would anticipate that in many cases, getting a tattoo would very likely alienate one’s spouse. But that said, I don’t… Read more »

yom24hrday
Member
yom24hrday

Christ was pierced for our iniquities, we don’t have to pierced at all.

antexw
Member

As an expansion of Doug’s Reason ‘1.’ : What did God reveal in the New Testament to permit the belief that although “all Scripture” is profitable for training in righteousness and being equipped for every good work, God no longer is concerned about us in arbitrary personal preference marking/staining/cutting up our flesh, marring the body of the image of God? From the New Testament, exceptions of such “all Scripture” (2 Tm 3:16-17; cf. Mt 5:19; Ro 3:31; 7:22; 1 Pe 1:25; Hb 8:10) ethical relevance according to the letter (aside/beyond from their general equity) could easily be offered up regarding… Read more »

David Sprinkle
Guest
David Sprinkle

Sorry for the novel, but on an otherwise emotional day, this blog post really pushed the big red “Don’t push this button” button. So… I would never get a tattoo because there is nothing in this world that I could put my trust in enough to warrant a tattoo. Nothing. NO-THING. There is no such thing as unconditional love on earth, so everything stands the potential of burning you, ergo, no tattoos for me. That said…. Stuff like this blog makes me crazy for a couple of reasons….first, because Doug argues that: 1.) “The tattoo industry is driven by the… Read more »

Carter
Guest
Carter

These are good points on the whole and I’d like to see them interacted with more substantially since I lean towards opposition to tattoos but have not seen it dealt with comprehensively yet. I do want to point out that how well done your meat is has nothing to do with whether it has blood in it or not. Properly butchered meat does not have blood in it – the red color of raw meat comes from the protein myoglobin, which denatures and becomes clear as it is cooked. Obviously has nothing to do with the substance of your post,… Read more »

bethyada
Member

Good post and some good pushback. Doug does preempt some of this by saying that one size does not fit all. Radiation tattoos would not be included under this post, and I think the tattooed ring idea would be an example of an exclusion. In defence of #1 I think Doug is saying that a man should not have a tattoo unless he is convinced of the meaning of Leviticus. I think this is reasonable. He should have an understanding. Though it is unlikely that this law is applicable to us as others have noted. The connection is to honouring… Read more »

OrganicGirl
Guest
OrganicGirl

I despise tattoos; enough said.

Capndweeb
Guest
Capndweeb

Will we take our tattoos to heaven with us?

adad0
Member

I got a tattoo from cracker jacks once!

It was a great tattoo of Popeye!

However, it washed off about 50 years ago.!

Capndweeb
Guest
Capndweeb

See, now there’s a reasonable solution that pretty much negates all seven reasons not to get a tattoo. And, it’s a million-dollar idea! Marketing slogans could include:
1. Christian Tattoos–You can wash ’em off, just like Jesus washes away your sin!
2. Christian Tattoos–Guaranteed to wash off during any and all baptisms!

adad0
Member

Once again, I was not consulted! ; – )

JP Stewart
Member

One thing is for sure with a post like this: in response you get laundry lists of questionable loopholes, excuses, rationalizations, spirited-but-weak Christian liberty screeds, pep talks about being “relevant,” “authentic” and engaging with our culture instead of running away from it, etc.

Calcoyote
Guest
Calcoyote

I am against tattoos but I think the context of Leviticus 19:28 would be speaking about making marks in your body for the dead (which was a pagan practice) and not the penning of a tattoo for decoration as our modern custom is. I would love to find an article or booklet that deals with tattoos on an exegetical basis. I have a strong personal conviction against them and feel they do not represent Christ well, but the sola scriptura in me yearns for textual evidence for my conviction.

Emily
Guest
Emily

I so appreciate your admitting the misuse of Leviticus 19:28 even though you are against tattoos. Thank you for being honest about this. As far as finding the issue dealt with on an exegetical basis, I do not believe you will find such as I do not believe the Bible speaks directly and specifically to the issue. I believe a Romans 14 approach is what is best here.

Emily
Guest
Emily

Douglas, I could point by point refute this article of yours. But while I could argue your misuses of Scripture, judgmental assumptions, poor analogies, and other errors in this blog, I doubt that would be helpful. So I will leave you with this: Sir, you are adding to what God has said. You are using His Word out of context. You are stretching analogies and examples to suit your own views and comforts. You are judging the heart postures of your brothers and sisters in Christ. These are grave sins on your part. May we be careful to not encourage… Read more »

Tom©
Guest
Tom©

“You are judging the heart postures of your brothers and sisters in Christ.”
Next sentence: “These are grave sins on your part.”
Ironic that.

Emily
Guest
Emily

I am judging his actions which are crystal clear. He is judging the heart which he cannot know: “The point is to make people think, “Whoa, he really did that.” “Another name
for that is boasting, or showing off.”

Eric T
Guest
Eric T

Wow, Emily. You just judged Doug Wilson’s thoughts.

Eric T
Guest
Eric T

I’m sorry, Emily. I misread your comment.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Haha – so now that you realized that the statement you were critiquing was a quote from Pastor Wilson, and not Emily’s quote, are you willing to throw the same critique at Pastor Wilson that you just threw at Emily?

David Sprinkle
Guest
David Sprinkle

Busting her chops for that? You should cut the apostle Paul to bits.

Jane
Member

He’s busting her for calling Wilson out for grave sins after criticizing him for judging. Paul never claimed that judging others was unacceptable.

David Sprinkle
Guest
David Sprinkle

I wasn’t talking about Paul prohibiting judging….I was saying that Paul called false teachers false teachers, and that’s exactly what Emily did.

Jane
Member

You weren’t talking about that — IMO Emily was.

Tom©
Guest
Tom©

No, I would not cut sacred scripture to bits.
Why do you ask David? Are you just busting my chops?

David Sprinkle
Guest
David Sprinkle

Well, Paul called false teachers false teachers, and that’s exactly what Emily did.

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

You’re pretty quick on the draw, judgment-wise. Did you even read Doug’s post? He said this right near the beginning:

“But the fact that there is no condemnation in Christ does not mean that in Christ there is no such thing as a bad idea.”

He does not say that tattoos are sin, in light of which, your attack is absurd.

Sasak
Guest
Sasak

Don’t cut your hair at the sides or trim your beard either. Leviticus 19:24 (the verse preceding the one about tattoos.) Can’t take one without the other. Last time I looked at Doug it appeared that his hair was cut at the sides.

David R
Guest
David R

To all those who keep pointing to beard trimming as a “rebuttal” to the prohibition on tattooing, do you apply this same reasoning to the next verse after Lev 19: 28? Let’s read Lev 19:29 shall we. “Do not profane your daughter by making her a harlot, so that the land will not fall to harlotry and the land become full of lewdness.” So then since it is OK to trim your beard, and therefore get tattoos. Is it also OK to make your daughter a harlot? I mean it is contextually right next to the beard trimming and tattoo… Read more »

David Sprinkle
Guest
David Sprinkle

That’s a slippery slope….(not that people haven’t been posting without looking at scripture on the whole already)…..

The argument being made is that someone who ignores verse 19:19, and 19:27 (among others), has no call to shine a spotlight on 19:28.

And yes, using Leviticus 19 to back your point, without following ALL of it, IS lazy and ignorant…which is part of what made this blog post so distasteful….

Jane
Member

The point of that argument is that you can’t throw stuff out willy-nilly, not that you have to obey it purely because it’s in Leviticus.

Make a good argument why verses 19 and 27 don’t apply, then we can consider whether that argument also applies to 28. “Tchah! I’ll bet you trim your beard!” is not doing justice to the authority of scripture.

John
Guest
John

It seems to me that the burden of proof would be on the person claiming that the verse applies while it’s context does not.

Jane
Member

That may be, but I’m talking about the mocking, dismissive attitude that doesn’t interact with scripture, but merely throws out an ad hominem about whether someone trims his beard.

Lance Roberts
Guest

I agree with your main point. The reason people keep bringing up other verses is because they don’t have a counter-argument for tatoos, so they are trying to create an argument that they think can be linked to it, and be knocked down easy – a strawman argument. Their assertions could be answered, since they’re not looking at those other verses correctly either, but it really doesn’t matter for the tatoo argument. The real problem is that instead of looking into the Bible to see what God has called us to do, and then simply submitting to it, they want… Read more »

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

The reason not to pimp out your daughter is not that Leviticus says we mayn’t. It is because adultery and fornication are wrong. On this we have the testimony of both Testaments.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Arguments like David’s have always blown my mind. If you can’t figure out that pimping out your daughter is wrong without using Leviticus 19:29, then you probably shouldn’t be allowed to exposit the Bible in public OR have a daughter.

eadiegoose
Guest
eadiegoose

I can’t help but think that the primary motivation for much of this (I didn’t say all), at least at the beginning of this fad, is nihilism and self-rejection. The guys that got this started were the punk rockers of the mid-70’s (Sex Pistols/Johnny Rotten) and nihilism and self-rejection were the name of their game. Accepting who you are as God made you, and honouring your baptism (especially, great point, Doug) do not lead to that destination.

David Sprinkle
Guest
David Sprinkle

Huh….and I thought it was all of those WWII sailors honoring their country, their mothers, their wives, and their branch of the service.

eadiegoose
Guest
eadiegoose

I said at the beginning of THIS fad. Tattoos weren’t happening very much in the 60’s and early 70’s. Punk rockers got it going, then more rockers, then surfers, then….

Steve H
Guest
Steve H

As a tattooed person, I find the most compelling argument to not get a tattoo is that it is vain. I probably need less reasons to think about my appearance than more. Most of my tats are reminders of something and pride (like the names of my wife and kids) based. Kinda like wearing my Seahawks hat, but arguably more important. No I can’t take them off easily, but it would be weirder to do that now. Tattoo removal seems to be the most vain thing, kinda close to vanity plastic surgery. Ultimately, I don’t think that much about my… Read more »

William Ritter
Guest
William Ritter

My wife got a tattoo to mark a victory over a brain tumor and because it was pleasing to the eye. I helped her pick it out and I consider it very attractive and an accentuation of her natural beauty. None of these 5 points address that. The truth is that there isn’t a clear teaching in Scripture, and that’s for a reason. The Levitical law mentions it in the same breadth as not wearing clothing made of multiple fabrics or sowing your field with two kinds of seed. It also says earlier in chapter 19 that as we make… Read more »

William Ritter
Guest
William Ritter

For that matter, what about the Maori that is also a Christian?

Mariano Ifran
Guest
Mariano Ifran

While I find your experience compelling, and truly wish the best regarding your wife’s health, I can’t grasp the theology of the body behind that. Phrases like “mark a victory”, “her natural beauty” and specially “pleasing to the eye” sound troubling to me, at least in my view of biblical suffering & stewardship. Anyway, the best for you both in the future. Mariano. PD: Sorry for my English!

John
Guest
John

Why did she get the tattoo? What was it’s intended purpose?

I don’t understand the reason of “marking her victory.” What does that even mean? Is it like a trophy?

Daedronus
Guest
Daedronus

The tumor in her pituitary gland caused strange, purple, stretchmark-like striations along both sides of her waist, stretching maybe 8 – 12 inches from her thighs up to her torso.

Her tattoos transform these striations into vines with flowers blooming from them.

John
Guest
John

It seems like it might be comparable to some form of plastic surgery, then, and honestly, I have no idea where I stand on that. As far as I can tell, it’s well within Christian freedom. I do think that that doesn’t represent the vast majority of tattoos, though.

sean carlson
Guest
sean carlson

Other than the biblical command, don’t really find your arguments compelling. I thought of the teaching that our bodies are not our own, they belong to the Lord. Therefore one should slowly weigh how they might mark their body. On another note – tattoos lose their shape & form as one ages – they get ugly. Again slowly weigh such a decision

Jesse
Guest
Jesse

Lol… I have heard this argument from the fire and brimstone crowd, that are drowning in their dying paradigm, far too many times. The old testament is apparently ripe for cherry picking how you want to express your personal biases. They love eating crab legs and bacon, but boy, if you have a mimosa with breakfast you’re in a lot of trouble. Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material. Leviticus 19:19 (We’re all screwed….but did it say “Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material made in a sweat factory in China?”, no? then we’re… Read more »

TattooFreeChruch
Guest
TattooFreeChruch

All the energy in the wedding ring industry is coming from the world. This is a cultural phenomenon, and we should want to know a lot more about the hidden cultural drivers. Wedding rings are a way to “commit” yourself to something. The point is to make people think, “Whoa, he really did that.” You have done something that appears to be an irrevocable step. You are an “all-in” kind of guy. But if you cash this out, what you have is “all of the dedication, none of the accomplishment.” Another name for that is boasting, or showing off. Let… Read more »

phillyhawk
Guest
phillyhawk

To me they all look like blue blobs.

Jane
Member

That’s what I don’t get. All arguments about permissibility aside, your tattoo WILL look like a greenish blue blob in a decade or two, and like a wrinkled mess 40-50 years on.

Steve H
Guest
Steve H

Those are the best kind, the ones old Navy dudes have. Takes a while for them to get that legit

Capndweeb
Guest
Capndweeb

After careful consideration of the points listed above and the comments listed below, I have arrived at a definitive policy regarding this topic: I will consider getting a tattoo on the day I discover I have become infallible.

Bo Melton
Guest
Bo Melton

Did you really take a position on tattoos? We are not bound by the Jewish laws (there are many you do not abide by). Revelation 19:16 (could be symbolism or not).

Ben C
Guest
Ben C

On Lev. 19:28, the more relevant question is, “What is your understanding of OT laws compared to the ancient Near Eastern customs of that day?” Consider the wisdom of this hermeneutics text: “Why, for example, were Israelites not permitted to clip the edges of their beards or tattoo their bodies (Lev. 19:27-28)? Bible students need to consult commentaries or encyclopedias to learn about these customs. They will discover that the two practices proscribed in Leviticus, like many mentioned in the OT laws, formed part of Canaanite religious ritual. So is it acceptable for Christians to be tattooed today? Some say… Read more »

David Sprinkle
Guest
David Sprinkle

Really? You mean I can break the verse before that one because of culture and the fact that my salvation and righteousness is in Christ, AND can break THAT VERSE because of culture and the fact that my salvation and righteousness is in Christ? Whew! Imma goin’ to Heaven!!!* (I don’t have tattoos, but also no sideburns….) *I’m actually not all that sure I’m going to Heaven, since God decides that, I’m not him, and I’m keenly aware of the struggle in me….I think I’ll continue to work out my salvation with fear and trembling, instead of thinking that was… Read more »

jeers1215
Guest
jeers1215

Tattoos are trashy, low culture, evince a lack of judgement, but most significantly, they are political. A tattoo is an assertion that the expectations of others are permanently less important than the person’s chosen means of expression. It is a passive-aggressive form of social and cultural dominance. When social norms change, the person with the tattoo can never be made to conform, such that the definition of polite society must necessarily revolve around their unyielding condition.

ashv
Guest
ashv

I never thought I could be tempted into getting a tattoo, but this is the best case for ’em I’ve heard yet.

Anne
Guest
Anne

I have told my three teenage children: as believers we want to be always ready — Nikes and backpacks by the front door — for whatever God has in store, whether it be material or intellectual: the mission field or “just” a change of heart or mind. It seems wise to make few *permanent* commitments (vs short term commitments), that we may always be as open as possible — physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually — to God’s will and plans to grow us. And those few, wonderful, permanent commitments we are to seek, as followers of Jesus (orthodoxy, marriage, parenthood, etc)… Read more »

Joshua Lister
Guest
Joshua Lister

Coming in admittedly a little late on the discussion. I was wondering if one accepted point number 7 as true what would that mean for other Christian symbols. Would one then have to consider a cross necklace, a WWJD bracelet, or a cheesy Christian tee-shirt as an attempt to add to or replace their baptism?

Stephen Anderson
Guest

Sound arguments. Joel McDurmon seems to have taken offense: http://americanvision.org/13392/bad-reasons-to-not-tattoo-you-a-response-to-douglas-wilson/

The weakness of his position makes me suspect he is defensive about his tatts.

Sky Simone Photography
Guest

Or he just wants to be cool.. Neither is ok..

Charles Evans
Guest
Charles Evans

The tats of our ancestors were integrity, character, wisdom, discernment and the like. A man or woman bore the ‘tat’ of testimony – an emblem fixed inwardly, not outwardly – “…the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” 1Peter 3:4. We have utterly failed the recent 2, maybe 3 generations by downplaying emphasis on individual character in favor of homogeneity of thought to a universal model. Left with no tools with which to build inner beauty, our children can only compete for recognition… Read more »