Tattoos & Cutting of the Flesh

Since most churches today have rejected the Bible's command to separate from the world (1 John 2:15-17), it is not surprising that most churches are deeply infected with worldliness.

The average church member watches worldly PG-13 and R-rated movies, listens to worldly rock & roll or country-western music, and dresses in worldly immodest fashions.

Now we find that the average "evangelical" church member thinks there is nothing wrong with tattoos. A recent survey found that "75% of young conservative Christians believe tattooing is a valid spiritual expression" ("For the Love of God," The Vancouver Sun, Vancouver, British Columbia, Feb. 1999).

Reporter Douglas Todd of The Vancouver Sun visited the Vineyard Christian Fellowship in Langley, British Columbia, and found that tattoos are the newest "in thing" for Vineyard Christians. Amy Bonde, who is a staff member at the Vineyard in Langley, has a large Celtic cross tattooed on the small of her back. Encircling the cross are Hebrew letters that allegedly mean, "I am my beloved's, and he is mine." Bonde says the tattoo signifies that she looks upon Jesus Christ as her "lover." Another Vineyard member, Peter Davyduck, has a tattoo of the word "SIN" on his ankle. He says this is a message to "judgmental Christians that everyone is a sinner and should be accepted in spite of it."

The Vancouver Sun report notes that the tattooing represents "a sign of a seismic shift in evangelical Christianity, which has been associated for most of this century with harsh rules about controlling one's body: no dancing, no long hair on men, no pants on women, no drinking, no dancing, no jewelry and certainly NO TATTOOING."

The Bismarck Tribune (North Dakota) ran an article in November 1998 about the Christian Tattoo Association operated by Randy Mastre and two other members of New Song Community Church in Bismarck. Their goal is "to bring Christianity to tattooers."

The Old Testament plainly forbade tattooing.
Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD Lev. 19:28

They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard, nor make any cuttings in their flesh Lev. 21:5

Then, as now, tattooing was associated with idolatry and paganism.

Amy Bonde admits that she got a tattoo "partly out of rebellion against the normal Christian stereotype of 'You can't do this, you can't do that.'" She admits that her mother did not want her to get a tattoo and did not like it. The Bible has a lot to say about what a Christian can and cannot do! The apostolic instructions to the churches contain many "dos and don'ts."

1. The Christian is to love not the world 1 John 2:15-17
1Jo 2:15 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. 16 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. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

2. The Christian is to serve God in reverence and fear Heb. 12:28:
Heb 12:28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

3. The Christian is to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness Eph. 5:11:
Eph 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

4. The Christian is to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts Titus 2:12:
Tit 2:12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

5. The Christian is to abstain from all appearance of evil 1 Thess. 5:22:
1Th 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

6. The Christian is to walk circumspectly Eph. 5:15.
Eph 5:15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,

The average church today emphasizes liberty, fun, and self-esteem whereas the Bible emphasizes holiness, dedication, and sacrifice. Not only is the Christian to avoid things that are obviously evil, but he is to avoid things that would cause offense to others even if those things are in not necessarily wrong:

It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak Romans 14:21

The Christian is to live his life to please others instead of himself. Ecumenical Christians, though, do not care if they offend others with their rock music and worldly appearance. They protest that they have liberty to do as they please. This is carnal rebellion, and it is the attitude that lies at the heart of apostasy. Those who desire to throw off restrictions upon their lifestyles are not following the Bible but their own self-willed lusts.

They are fulfilling 2 Timothy 4:3-4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but AFTER THEIR OWN LUSTS shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

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