Note:  There was one short discourse between Mike and I before this last exchange.  I never heard from Mike again.

Pat,

Don't get me wrong I dont mean to be dissrespectful in any way. As a 2nd gen. Christian raised in the stictest of baptist church and home i was taught all this was wrong. But then I studied for myself.

Lev. 19:28... the favorite verse of christians like yourself...

Did it ever occur to you that this is really the only place in the scripture that outright condemns tattoos or scarring? And it also is condemning it because they were doing it to worship false Gods and to remember the dead? does this make it wrong for all of us?

Also in the same passage the Lord prohibits and condemns the wearing of
garments of mixed fabrics...so if the tattoo "commandment" is what you say it is... then are you just as wrong for wearing that tie to church on sunday?

The old testament also commands the "children of God" not to mingle with the people of other countries...so according to these "old laws" are we as Americans wrong for even practicing this faith of "christianity"? I hardly think so. I think this probably applys to most of these "old" laws as Christ came to set us free from these laws

Romans 7:6 also states that we are free from the old laws That christ died and all we have to do is have faith in him , we dont have to follow the old laws.

Or what about Is. 44:5 where he says...one man will put a mark on his hand saying "the Lord's" ... Is this a temporary mark? Wouldnt that be kind of ineffective?

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 tells us to honor God with our bodies...what better wa to do this than to permanently declare your faith through tattoos? My tattoos all have a religeous meaning to them and have countlessly helped me be a witness to those in this "BM" society. I cant count the ammount of people in thes community that I have Got to witness to because of how I look or what "mods" i have, the same people who would problably never give you the time of day.

Also not all piercings and tattoos have a "pagan spiritualism" attached them a majority of people just do it for the "look". And if it is wrong for a christian to have a piercig its wrong for all not just men, It doesnt make it any more right for a women to have an ear pierced...its still a piercing.

If the bible does truly say its ok for the slaves and the women to have their ears peirced than you can call me a "slave for Christ and that should justify me! j/k Any ways again dont get me wrong just because I think a Christian has the right to get tattooed doesnt mean I think that same christian has the right to put any random image on his body. I think a great deal of thought should go behind each one and most importantly it should in some way be glorifying to God.

--Mike



Dear Mike,

Sorry to be so long getting back with you.

To begin with, we do have at least one point of agreement: The Bible does prohibit tattooing one’s self.

The real question, then, is if what the Bible says about tattooing (as well as other issues that you mentioned in your last email) applies to NT Christians today. Does any of the law apply to Christians today?

The common answers are:
A. No
B. Some
C. All (i.e., Jehovah Witness)
D. Who cares

If you are true to your closing statement in your last post, “…and most importantly it should in some way be glorifying to God,” then D isn’t a good answer.

“A.” is not a good answer if you believe “Thou shalt not kill” and “Thou shalt not commit adultery” and the such is valid for today’s Christian. Even if one believes Christians should not commit murder or adultery ONLY because it is stated so in the NT, I think one must agree that it is stated in the NT because it is stated in the OT.

“C.” is not a good answer because the NT teaches that Christ fulfilled and completed the Law. Thus those things that pointed the OT saints forward to the coming Messiah (i.e., ceremonial laws) is superceded by the one and only efficacious sacrifice, Jesus Christ.

That leaves us (or at least me) with “B.” At least, that is how I am proceeding with the discussion.

The problem with answer “B” is deciding which ones apply and which ones don’t. Some decisions are made easily and agreed upon by the vast majority, others become increasingly difficult to apply (such as you’re example of the prohibition against mixed threads, or mixed seed, etc…) BTW, you don’t know if I wear a tie to church or not. 

As you know, it’s not a new problem for the Church. Paul dealt with it as soon as the gospel was revealed to the Gentiles. Jesus dealt with it before that. The Church will continue to wrestle with it until Jesus comes again.

But the solution isn’t to just ignore it or treat it with “pat” answers. As Rev Schlissel pointed out in his article, we continue to be sinners even after conversion and thus, “in our fallen estate, a darkness-loving lot that excels in creatively justifying any sin-embracing choice we desire to make.”

But rather than try to justify or debunk any particulars of the law, I would like to see if we agree on the purpose of the law and see if we can agree on whether or not it’s purpose remains applicable for Christians today. If we can get that far, then I think we have a basis for duking it out over the particulars of the law.

For you see, Schlissel’s article was less concerned about tattooing and more concerned about the kind of thinking that pervades today’s Church that allows or promotes a certain kind of behavior – in this case tattooing and piercings.

I propose the following purposes of the law:
1. To teach His people how to worship Him better. The preface to the 10 Commandments is “I [am] the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.” Jesus answered when asked about the greatest of the law, 'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,' and 'your neighbor as yourself.' The law builds our faith in God.
2. Which shows another purpose of the law, how to love and treat other people.
3. The law sets God’s people apart from people not of God. God’s people are called to be a “peculiar people.” Schlissel stated in the article, “In every dispensation God has made it clear that his people are a people of life, a people distinct from the world, a people with a different idea of wisdom, a people with a different way of living. God’s word to Israel and the church is (of course) one: Do not think as they think; do not do as they do (Dt. 18:9; Eph. 4:17-20).” I would add to the list of verses Dt14:2; Titus 2:14 and 1 Peter 2:9.

Finally, I believe it is a mistake of modern theology to pit grace against law as if they are opposites or one excludes the other. This has come about, I think, due to popular teaching that concluded that the OT saints were saved by keeping the law whereas the NT saints are saved by grace through faith. But the NT clearly teaches that the OT saints were saved by grace through faith just like the NT saints are and will continue to be. The Bible is clear that the law was never intended to justify anyone at anytime but, rather, to point the OT saints forward in their faith for a Messiah.

We still have to deal with the law of the NT: The Law of Liberty (James 1:25;2:12), the Royal Law (James 2:8), and the Law of Christ (Gal 6:2). But it is wrong to view the OT law as different as the NT law. 

A fellow by the name of Rushdoony wrote, "Man as covenant-breaker is in 'enmity against God' (Romans 8:7) and is subject to 'the law of sin and death' (Romans 8:2), whereas the believer is under 'the law of the Spirit of life in Christ' (Romans 8:2). The law is one law, the law of God. To the man on death row in a prison, the law is death; to the godly man the same law which places another on death row is life, in that it protects him and his property from criminals."

Perhaps this is enough to chew on for now. Perhaps at the very least we can learn something and know that perhaps everyone we disagree with is not just “to thick headed to see otherwise.”  I agree with you about our words and actions, “I think a great deal of thought should go behind each one and most importantly it should in some way be glorifying to God.”

God’s grace,

Pat Hurd

"Man as covenant-breaker is in 'enmity against God' (Romans 8:7) and is subject to 'the law of sin and death' (Romans 8:2), whereas the believer is under 'the law of the Spirit of life in Christ' (Romans 8:2). The law is one law, the law of God. To the man on death row in a prison, the law is death; to the godly man the same law which places another on death row is life, in that it protects him and his property from criminals." - R.J. Rushdoony, Institutes of Biblical Law

 

For more discussion on Christians and tattooing and body modification see What People Are Saying.