Rethink the Ink

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Introduction

I stated in my earlier post on tattoos that there are Christians I respect who differ with me on the subject, and Joel McDurmon would certainly be in that number. And, just so you know, another example would be Jeff Durbin and the Apologia guys. My appreciation is specific, not generic. Now in order to provide me with an opportunity for more respectful engagement on the topic, Joel posted a little respectful engagement of his own. You can read his responses to my 7 reasons to rethink the ink here.

I am not going to walk through this point by point, but rather make three observations that I believe generally cover the waterfront.

A Good Idea at the Time

First, Joel included with his argument a picture of a tattooed hand, reproduced here on the right, with a tattoo declaring allegiance to the 1689 London Baptist Confession. And that pretty much sums up all my “it seemed like a good idea at the time” concerns. For someone like me who served as baptistic minister for about 16 years, and as a Calvinistic baptistic minister for the last 5 of those 16, this just makes me want to tattoo Q.E.D. on the palm. 1689 Tattoo

Imagine being a Reformed Baptist pastor wrestling with the arguments for paedobaptism (and there are some, work with me here) and every night looking down on that tattoo on your left hand. The only thing you could perhaps say is that you were not going to let your left hand know what your right brain was doing.

Do you really want to ink yourself into a corner? That corner might be doctrinal, aesthetic, or something else embarrassing, like the girlfriend you thought would agree to marry you. How many of us have been part of conversations where there is a great deal of hilarity over photos of your parents or grandparents in the seventies? How much hooting was there? We have not yet brought up the eighties hair, or the sixties bell bottoms. But — and here is the cash value — when you grow up you can always get a haircut, and you can burn the bell bottoms. We can laugh at the funny clothes because the funny clothes are all gone now. They can’t hurt us anymore. But we can’t laugh out loud at tattoos in the same way because Uncle Murgatroyd is alive and present, along with his Stryper Farewell Concert Tour tat, and laughing out loud would be bad manners.

Suppose there were something you could have done back then that would make those fashionable sideburns of the moment permanent? Suppose you could make that orange shag carpet a perpetual feature of the house you built until the house had to be torn down? Suppose, egged on by your buddies, you could decide that the style of glasses you wore in high school would be what you had to be wearing in your sixties? Or, to bring it down to the point, suppose you got a tattoo.

To use Andrew Lytle’s great phrase, we pride ourselves on being modern men, but we are actually momentary men. The vibe of the present moment is transiency itself, but it wants to speak to us as though it were the law of the Medes and Persians. You might say in response that you could pick something that, Lord willing, you would never be ashamed of — like “grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of the Lord remains forever.” Yes, the sentiment is right on, but what font are you going to use? I have a pretty good guess — it will be a font that a bunch of people in 2016 like.  And will snort at in 2036. Take a look at the nice font from 1957, and click on it for more where that came from.

spacepatrol.regularEnculturation

Henry Van Til said that culture is religion externalized. Chesterton said that we should never tear down a fence unless we knew why it had been put up in the first place. Put those two things together.

Before developing this point, I want to acknowledge a danger that flows from taking the position I am arguing for here. A living faith results in a living culture, but more than once in the history of civilization living cultures turns into a beautiful but dead coral reefs. When a religion externalizes, it can take a bad turn and become a hardened, dead, and legalistic thing. I grant it.

There is such a thing as legalism with regard to lipstick, sashes, tattoos, make-up, elaborate hair designs, and so on. But the fact that a blind legalist can foolishly object to a rubber-banded pony tail does not affect whether or not the apostle Peter warned Christians to pay attention to the way they dress (1 Pet. 3:4; cf. 1 Tim. 2:9). So yes, the heart of the legalist is all wrong, but the legalist who wants Christians to live “separated lives” is not creating rules ex nihilo. He has biblical material to work with. We are supposed to do something with it.

So the non-legalist should beware, when answering the legalist, not to use any arguments that would work equally well on some pious woman trying to follow Paul and Peter’s instructions to her. The verses mean something.

So then, worldviews work their way out over time. You cannot be a Kuyperian and claim cathedrals and Bach cantatas and modern science as downstream consequences of the Christian faith, and then say that reasoning in a similar way about tats is arbitrary and capricious. Inking and piercing are characteristic pagan phenomena. Can we talk about why that might be? And might we have the discussion before a third of the body of Christ is already inked? Staying free of such things has generally been characteristic of God’s covenant people, both Jewish and Christian — and the exceptions, like pierced ears for demure Christian women, are strikingly modest.

In short, the presence of the gospel in a society for hundreds of years will have a necessary impact on dress, hair, adornment, etc. The wooden legalist thinks that one particular display of such an outworking is the only possible one, and there is certainly rigidity in his folly. But it is just as foolish to say that there are no possible outworkings, and notice the plural.

Nowhere in the New Testament does it prohibit the deacons from presenting the offering at the front of the church by dancing around the communion table, cutting themselves with knives. But it would not be legalism to wonder to yourself, and perhaps aloud, “who else in the Bible does things like that?”

Worldliness

One of the things I appreciated about Joel’s post was his description of how difficult the discernment of worldliness can be. He is exactly right — it is difficult. But being difficult makes it no less obligatory.

“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. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1 John 2:15-17).

“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (Jas. 4:4).

Not only is this a hard task, but the Bible itself tells us it is a hard task. And it explains part of the reason why it is hard.

“But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil” (Heb. 5:14, ESV).

You don’t need constant practice to know that murder and rape are wrong. You don’t need constant practice to know there is something wrong with a life of unbridled greed. Even nonbelievers know that.

But we are told in this passage that there is a distinction between good and evil, and that the ability to make that distinction is the prerogative of mature Christians, who have been practicing constantly. The implication is that they have been practicing for years, for decades.

The problem, as I know well, is that if you grant this principle, every legalist is going to set up shop as that “mature Christian,” and is going to tell you that he is the one who has been “constantly practicing” and that he KNOWS that seventh chords are forged in the cauldrons of Hell, and that anybody who knowingly plays one is headed straight for the bad place, apart from sincere repentance. Okay, that’s a problem.

But the fact that foolish people will claim to be wise does not mean that there is no such thing as wisdom. Nor does it remove this statement from Scripture that says that we should labor to become the kind of Christians who see things that other Christians do not yet see. The Bible is telling us here that we should want a wisdom that will not be immediately obvious to everyone.

The danger in pointing out things like this is that you run the risk of looking like you are making things up, ad libitum. Yes, it can look like that. But is it?

Someone might say that they don’t believe this principle applies to tattoos. I believe it does, but leave that aside for a moment.

What does it apply to? What ethical issues should we refer to our fathers, who have known Him who was from the beginning?

I certainly do not think we should give unrestricted authority to anyone. I don’t want some Reformed Sanhedrin of graybeards telling me to get Leon Russell off my playlist. Great. But such things as respect for this kind of moral authority are not on an on/off switch — they are on a dimmer switch. God commands the fathers to make certain things known to their children, that they should make them know to their children (Ps. 78:5-6) so that they might hope in God. But in the next breath He says the goal is that this new generation of believers “might not be as their fathers” (Ps. 78:8). We are to imitate our fathers, and we are to turn away from our fathers. And we are to know when to do the one, and when to do the other. Embrace their wisdom, reject their follies.

So I believe that Heb. 5:14 applies to tats, plugs, rings, and so on. But the applications won’t fall out of the sky on us. The applications will come as the result of charitable Christian debate, and a willingness to change if shown from the Word of God that your opponent has a point.

So if you were thinking about getting a tat, I would ask only one thing. Wait until after a biblical debate that you have made a point to follow carefully.

And many thanks for Joel for the good interaction.

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bethyada
Member

On point 2. I think pluralism has infected the Western Christian too profoundly. We know that everything is cultural and different cultures can express Christianity differently. True. But syncretism is hardest to see in your own culture. Further, we forget that Europe has been christianised over 2000 years. Western culture is very much Christian culture in many ways because European paganism was Christianised. So the Hipster (Western) Christian rejects Western culture too easily and adopts non-Christian culture too easily. Western Christians should listen to non-Western Christians when they critique them, and vice versa. _______ I realise that modernism and, more… Read more »

timothy
Guest
timothy

I also realise that the traditionalist may hold onto culture to tightly claiming it is Christian when it is just culture.

That’s interesting.

I would venture the tip-off would be the idolatry; which suggests a question, “what are the symptoms of this sort of idolatry?”

insanitybytes22
Member

Something no one really discusses is the huge cost of tattoos. We have many people, in line at the food bank, homeless, covered in tattoos, always saving up 500 more dollars for their next bit of ink. Kids too, teen agers, saving up so they can get their tattoos when they’ve got no where to live, no future plans, and this is all they can think to invest in.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Money issues really aren’t covered here. We’ve very big capitalists, and critiquing the private use of money based on the Gospel witness hits a little too close to home.

Christopher
Member

Something about the foolish man building his house on ink?……

adad0
Member

J’ – buddy! As a friendly thought, please consider that you might be sounding a bit more like Rachel Miller on this comment, than you might want. Please, don’t go “Rachel Miller” on me! Anyway, if you go to the search bar on this site and search “tithe”, you would find that money issues are covered quite well by CC and DW. (16 pages of posts?) The below quote re: tithing is from a 2007 post. Let’s keep each other sharp, as the Word instructs! “….we want to be a people who pay tribute to God. That is what the… Read more »

Jonathan
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Jonathan

I’m not talking about tithing, I’m talking about the private use of money outside the church. Although church spending is a big one too. I did what you suggested, started reading through a few at random and wasn’t coming across any serious discussions of the Gospel approach to possessions, spending, money, wealth, the handling of private property, etc. There’s a LOT of material in the Bible to address those things. I’ve been reading this blog off-and-on for over ten years, and the only time I recall any of those passages being discussed or any of those general concepts being talked… Read more »

adad0
Member

J’, thanks again for your response! I thought Wilson’s statement; “Rather we give ten percent as tribute, a ten percent that says in a very tangible way that one hundred percent belongs to God.” was the CC / DW fundamental principle about the godly use of money. (it is 100% God’s.) Also, I do think tithing is all about the private use of money. After tithing, providing for one’s family is next, then I think people are pretty free after that. In similar fashion, Wilson has a lot to say about sex, but I don’t think he tells anyone much… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Nah, got back from church a bit earlier today. First off, I feel like saying, “100% to God” is at the same time true and, in a practical discipline sense, almost meaningless. In the current generation, and likely many before this, saying “100% belongs to God” often means “I try to superficially think of God when I spend it” and just about nothing else. Doug doesn’t try to just say, “give 100% of your vote to God”, he tells you where he thinks your vote should be spent. And whether you should get tattoos. And exactly what he thinks of… Read more »

insanitybytes22
Member

We discuss money at our church and some of the biblical ideas around it and stewardship. Tithing 10% really is not in the bible, you are right. I think it’s a shame we don’t speak of money more because so many things that ails us are related to the economy at large and, to our own economy.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Yup. Jesus talks about money the same way the OT talks about Baal and Asheroth. It was clearly a HUGE heart issue and rival for God, even among the most religious, in 1st-century Israel – how is it not obviously much more so in 21st-century America?

Caleb Wallace
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Caleb Wallace

It speaks of “money” in that way? No, it is the love of money (i.e. the ability to determine for oneself reality) which is the “root of all evil”. This was the temptation of the serpent in Eden and continues the be the sinful desire of men today. Remember, God doesn’t send people to hell as a place they don’t want to be, he just says “thy will be done”. Hell is the will of sinful man.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

That’s a single verse, and not even the one I was primarily thinking of. Plus, considering the reality of how the world is at this very moment right now, it’s sort of like saying that it’s okay to have lots of gods around, just don’t worship them! Sort of makes you wonder how one ended up with all that money on accident without loving it or desiring it. Look at how many people just trip and fall into a big pot of money! It’s especially funny when the same people who talk about how they don’t have any problem with… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Jonathan wrote: Tithing 10% to the church is never mentioned anywhere in the Bible, and as far as I’m aware it really wasn’t generally practiced until somewhere around the 6th-8th century. Given that God gave His sword (and taxation authority) to the State, as an institution, we should ask what God gave to the Church to carry out its Motherly roles of benevolence and charity and teaching. Jonathan’s answer seems to be that God has given the Church nothing. Perhaps he can clarify. Given the number of times that Jonathan has sided with statist/socialist economic interventions over against the Church’s… Read more »

insanitybytes22
Member

It’s a good question. Myself, I think there is something all wrong with giving the state 30%, the church 10%…and than having to deal with the fallout, with the collateral damage of the world that is not being well served. We have prosperity preachers buying private jets and politicians buying 700 dollar toilet seats and the poor just get poorer and the rich get richer and nobody ever seems to want to address what has gone wrong.

adad0
Member

K’ and Memi, J’ does think about what he says, which I appreciate, even where we don’t agree. He is being too vauge on this issue. The Word says that the left hand should not know what the right hand is doing with regard to giving. CC and DW likely are charitable in this fashion, hence the lack of “show”. The Word also tells us to render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s, which DW does when he pays taxes. None of these instructions conflict with whatever other scriptures J’ might have in mind!????

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I don’t actually care what CC and DW are doing with their right hand, and I don’t ever want them to talk about. But they certainly should talk about what the rest of us SHOULD do, as they talk about what we should do with everything else. I thought I already mentioned that “render to Caesar what is Caesar’s” has nothing to do with dividing up our money into Caesar’s and God’s. Like N.T. Wright put it, Jesus is quite clear that if Jesus is Lord, Caesar is not. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/articles/unpublished-papers/behind-lukes-gospel-the-roman-empire-during-the-time-of-jesus/ As far as the other Scriptures I have in mind,… Read more »

adad0
Member

J’, good morning! Re: Wilson’s tattoo posts, he says “this is not a one size fits all argument “, hence you are overstating when you say he is telling us what “we should do along with everything else.” He is offering his opinion, and making a case for it. We both do the same! The Word of Jesus about paying taxes to Caesar is certainly about money, and if Jesus is really our Lord we will obey Him in paying tax to His civil magistrate. Paying tax does not mean that the magistrate is lord. Please let me know what… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Thank you, and thank you for your frequently warm salutations! Dividing them up in general clumps due to focus. I’ll start with Luke 14:12-14. I start with that because it is extremely specific, clearly in command form, falls perfectly in line with Jesus’s ministry, and yet I have never once heard a preacher preach on it, read an online article about it from a preacher, or seen a church community insist that it’s members practice it. Other than some communities in the DTES of Vancouver and my own Bible study, I’ve never seen it put into practice in any meaningful… Read more »

adad0
Member

J’! Wow! that was quite a sermon! Luke 14:12-14. J’, CC has the: “Mercy Ministry meeting the needs of the least of these”, that would appear to minister to the needy. As far as godly people being charitable to the poor, crippled, lame and blind, my church has a pretty good special needs ministry, which my son benefits from. So to some degree, my church practices this passage, and let’s not forget that the passage is metaphorical as well. I am not willing to speculate that most christians do not obey this passage, as they are led. Other Christian are… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

On the note of how the Church handles spending and giving to the poor through its “mercy ministries”, I highly recommend the Ray Mayhew paper, “EMBEZZLEMENT: THE CORPORATE SIN OF CONTEMPORARY CHRISTIANITY?” I don’t know who he is outside of this paper, but someone sent it to me more than 10 years ago and I think it puts ideas out there which need to be debated and taken seriously: http://www.nextreformation.com/wp-admin/resources/Embezzlement.pdf But that’s not Luke 14:12-14. Luke 14:12-14 is not about ministry to the needy, and isn’t about the church. It’s a statement to private followers of Christ about what they… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Katecho, your previous history of saying false stuff about me that isn’t true, and then apparently believing your own statements as if they were true, is making it completely impossible for you to get any meaning whatsoever out of the actual things I say. I challenge you to make explicit the “number of times that Jonathan has sided with statist/socialist economic interventions over the Church’s role in charity”. You made that up in the minimum wage discussion, and I’m not even sure what other examples you’re speaking of. In the minimum wage discussion, I kept challenging you with the question… Read more »

timothy
Guest
timothy

The thing about Sin, ME is that the devil makes us work for our damnation.

The wages of sin is death while the free gift of God is eternal life (with and in Him)

Wages are paid for work done and they are “reverse” wages. The poor souls are trying to get out of the pit of hell and only after working for getting a bit out, they end up deeper in.

Jacob Schroeder
Member
Jacob Schroeder

I would argue too that there is a particular danger with Christian/Biblical tattoos. Before getting inked up, we would do well to consider whether we are “redeeming the culture” or just making broad our phylacteries. And I note (with tongue somewhat in cheek) that this suggestion has the advantage of placing the tattooed in the position of the Pharisees—a fun reversal I think. I know several tatted-up folks (friends, family, and public figures) for whom I have great love and respect. I don’t think they are Pharisees. But I can’t think of a good reason why tattooing even “the grass… Read more »

holmegm
Guest
holmegm

They are clearly for others to see … that alone should give us pause.

James Bramer
Guest
James Bramer

Perhaps my generation largely eschewed tats because so many of the examples we saw were on the skin of aging WWll vets, not a few of whom regretted a choice they made in some far off place in a drunken stupor. It seemed clear to me growing up around such men, that for the most part, they would rather not have that greenish blob on their aging skin. It’s hard to think it won’t go the same for the generation that has to view all these hipster tats, when the hipsters are getting hip replacements.

insanitybytes22
Member

This is a really good point. I’ve never met an older person who didn’t regret their tattoos, many of them veterans. Now we are seeing aging boomers and they express the same thing, regret. Tattoos are for life and there are some things you wish to put behind you, feelings about events change, bodies change, people themselves change. Tattoos are forever.

Rob Steele
Guest
Rob Steele

Tattoos say whatever they say and they also say this: “I have never laughed at old photos of myself.”

Jane
Member

This is a really good point. I think the average person might have to be past 40 to appreciate the fact that even if you’re a reasonably mature young adult, you’re going to think that some of the things you did, said, and believed in your 20s and 30s are kinda embarrassing to recall a few decades later. I had my head on pretty straight when I was younger, but I still blush to think about quite a few aspects of my younger self. I don’t think I’d want whatever it was I thought was really great when I was… Read more »

adad0
Member

Wait! What?!
Bell bottoms went out of style?
Bummer man. ????

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

You may still wear yours. An edict from the Fashion Police.

adad0
Member

Thanks Jilly!
That was like wowsville and
….groovy!????

bethyada
Member

On the McDurmont piece. Item #1. Doug says make sure you understand Leviticus. I think this is reasonable. Joel says Leviticus doesn’t count because does the Hebrew really mean tattoo and because it is not about cutting but about uncleanness. Otherwise surgery would be sin. Well he is right Leviticus doesn’t really count and I said this in my earlier post. One can cut himself for a false god (bad) or cut himself for the True God (good). Yet the pagans always go further with their false theology, so it is about the practice. The false theology doesn’t just demand… Read more »

bethyada
Member

#2 Doug says don’t love the world, Joel says silicon valley and fashion is of the world and how do we know that Christians wouldn’t have got tatted up sans unbeliever precedence. The second seems fairly obvious. Doug’s claim is fairly certain: that an increasing Christendom and no pagan tattoos would not lead to this degree of inked up Christians. Joel may not be descended from Issachar but plenty of men are. The first objection confuses things. All men are made in the image of God. So unbelievers can pursue glorious things, especially as science has its origins in Christian… Read more »

bethyada
Member

#3 Yes Joel is correct here, but it depends on who you see the target audience as. Doug said not everything applies rigidly. I think the admonishment is applicable to teens, not to the middle-aged man with his own family.

insanitybytes22
Member

I think he put it well here, “So yes, the heart of the legalist is all wrong, but the legalist who wants Christians to live “separated lives” is not creating rules ex nihilo. He has biblical material to work with.” The problem with these discussions is that there often is a very superficial, legalistic, judgment behind them, a religious spirit. Christians as a group will jump on the tattoo bandwagon or the immodest swimwear or the titilating sexual sins of any sort, and completely ignore things that really matter, gossip,outright racism spoken in Christ’s name, child abuse, drug addiction. There… Read more »

bethyada
Member

I agree there can be a judgmentalism (though I would not call it a religious spirit but a judgmental spirit; while it is toxic in the church it is very much present outside the church). I don’t know if me and you would weigh up sins the same way. I think Scripture treats many sexual sins as extremely serious. I agree gossip can be underrated by the church. I think racism is overrated by Americans, everyone is tribalist to a degree, though racism often is sin. I do think that Christians focus on what is the issue. Sexual sins are… Read more »

bethyada
Member

#4 Doug: regrets. Joel: people regret marriage.

Not certain the parallel is overly apt, but going with it: Marriage is forever; be very careful who you marry.

So marriage choice is more important. But if people are getting tattoos lightly and there is a lot of regret then be more careful. And it not like tattoos offer significant benefits that marriage does. Not marrying can have downsides. Not tattooing doesn’t have any.

bethyada
Member

#5 This is getting into some ideas that are more subtle. Best both sides expand on them. But I think Doug’s point is this The reason for doing something is important, often more important. And even if tattoos are completely fine, why are people getting them? If the reason for doing something is bad and most people are doing this thing for this bad reason then watch yourself, it seems like the bad reason is the real temptation here. So while the problem seems to apply to high liturgy and may apply to Bible reading, charity, etc; is it in… Read more »

bethyada
Member

#6 Tattoos have pagan origins. I touched on this in my response to #2. But Joel also mentions the issues of fashion and women dressing in finery. I would say that one should be as concerned about the fashion industry. A Christian should be heading in quite a different direction. For all Joel’s exegesis of Leviticus, I find the reference to braided hair and jewelery a little superficial. Clearly women made themselves beautiful throughout the OT. Sarah was hot. Canticles celebrates beauty. The problem isn’t external glory in as much as either an ostentatious display, or an outward finery without… Read more »

bethyada
Member

#7 Baptism is a mark that is invisible and tattoos are supplements or erasers.

I don’t know what I think about this, and it is one of Doug’s typically enigmatic and controversial claims.

Giving Doug the benefit of the doubt perhaps we could ask are there many Christians getting tattoos because they want some kind of approval from unbelievers—he is a Christian and can still be cool—or some kind or mild rebellion against the church. (I knew a youth leader like this).

carandc
Member

“Stryper Farewell Concert Tour tat”

Awesome. Made my blog-day. Thank you for that. Thank you.

carandc
Member

Curious – would you say that Timothy’s circumcision would be in the same boat as a missionary to hipsters who gets a tat or two – let’s say even that he doesn’t particularly like tattoos, but does it in the heart of 1 Cor. 9:20? To your point above, let’s say Timothy eventually moved on to minister the Gospel to a non-Jewish people group – he likely would regret his circumcision. According to your argument, would Paul have been wrong to have him circumcised? By the way, if it’s wrong to cut the body, how’s circumcision work into that?

Evangeline Wolford
Guest
Evangeline Wolford

Egyptian Christians have been getting tattoos for centuries in a culture where the Muslim religion forbids its adherents from getting permanent tattoos. In Egypt a tattoo is an identifier of a Christian. This is especially true of the small cross that the Christians have traditionally had tattooed on the inside of their right wrist.

Nathan Smith
Member

Would like to see some posts on paedobaptism.

Also, I really appreciate point 7 as something to meditate on though I generally disagree with the proprietor on the issue of tattoos, at least on the other points. Still, the heart of the article is that tattoos are a bad idea, not that tattoos are sinful. There is a difference. And I don’t really have a problem with the “bad idea” aspect as much as the “sinful” aspect. I appreciate the conversation and generally agree with the Joel’s response.

mikebull1
Member

Circumcision cut actual flesh because it signified and substituted for genealogical death. But Israel was not baptised into Abraham. When the nation came of age in Egypt it was invested with authority via baptism corporately (via the Red Sea) then personally (the Levite priests). Body modifications signify slavery (Egypt) but investiture signifies voluntary service (Sinai), that is, willing allegiance, like Joseph’s robe. Israelites’ tasseled robes were a reminder and a testimony, akin to New Covenant baptism. Modern tattoos are an attempt at permanence, a vow of allegiance in the flesh, but in truth an expression of slavery. Besides the fact… Read more »

Doug Wright
Guest
Doug Wright

God’s Law is relative; what is absolute is the authority; good on ya!; we need more people inoculating against God’s Law and less trying to force it on others. The Bible could teach not to eat blood or women cover your head, or don’t mark your skin….but, what really counts is what that means today. Oh, and public opinion.

Bike bubba
Guest

It strikes me that 1 Timothy 2:9-10 actually speaks not against “revealing skin” specifically, but rather against ostentation in attire, and specifically against a situation where one’s attire/appearance was the sole indication of beauty on the part of a man or woman. In the case of a tattoo, we have a fairly large expense for someone to have some fairly extensive contact with the area being tattooed for the purpose of….well, sometimes it’s a memorial, as a Marine noted in one of the earlier posts, and sometimes….as in the case of the proverbial rose on the breast or the “tramp… Read more »

JP Stewart
Member

I saw a guy this weekend with tats all over his forearms, a pro wrestling event t-shirt and a hat that said something like “Nothing Scares Me–I’m a Youth Pastor.” Some of his tats had Christian themes. I overheard one of his kids say something about “one of our stepmoms.” I’m not sure how you can have more than one current stepmom, but I’m almost sure he used the word in the plural form.

I talked to him a bit and he told me he was an ordained minister and youth pastor, working especially with teens in his church.