Christians With A Tattoo Is Not Taboo!

jesus-tattoo“Christians With A Tattoo Is Not Taboo” seems to be the place that society has landed; especially within pockets of the Christian Community.  As a Pastor a common question that I’m asked is “Should Christians Get Tattoos?”   The answer to this question is an argument that has been debated thoroughly with people outlining scripture for both points of view.  I personally don’t have a problem with tattoos; however I believe that we should always use good judgement, which applies to what we permanently tattoo on our bodies. 

I got a tattoo when I was in college and it was relative to my Fraternity.  Although, my tattoo is very appropriate and still relevant; at times I have considered getting something added to it, or over it.  I have come to the realization that my tattoo represents part of my story and my journey so I have left it alone. (I personally wouldn’t get anything below the short-sleeve line… however there are some great-looking sleeve tats, just not my deal)

There are a lot of church staff members, worship leaders, youth pastors, senior pastors… at my church and churches around the country that have tattoos;  some of which are evangelistic in nature and others are not.  If you have never seen the Director of Service Programming at Buckhead Church in Atlanta, Mr. Ragamuffin Soul Carlos Whittaker’s  LA Ink segment you should check it out here

Times are changing, church leaders and church congregants have spoken and they’re saying: “Christians With A Tattoo Is Not Taboo!”

To Tat or No To Tat… That Is The Question?  Share your thoughts/opinions!  Do you have a tattoo?

  • Jay

    Don’t have a tat, though I am not opposed to it. What settles it for me is motivation. What is the Christ followers motive for getting a tattoo? If somebody thinks a tattoo is cool and they just want to have one, great. If they’re using it as a tool for evangelism, even better.

    If their motivation however is to draw attention to themselves, then they should reconsider.

  • Great topic Scott. I wrote about this not too long ago.

    http://www.jasonsalamun.com/2009/03/tattoos-and-jesus/

  • irishwetter

    I have 9 tats (and I will eventually get more) which include the word “servant” and the word “disciple” on my arm. I have been able to use those tats as tools for witnessing, which is great. I think tattoos are a great art and (when tastefully done) they’re definetly a great conversation starter. But, you have to make sure you get one that means something to you! Don’t just walk into a shop and go “oh, that’s cool. I’ll take that.” Think it over, make it your own. With my tattoos, I have a rule: it must have something to do with my faith or my heritage. Tats aren’t taboo for Christians! If anything, they can be a great evangelism tool. Makes it easier to follow what St. Francis said about preaching the Gospel without using words…(jk). And it is irritating when you get labled by other Christians for getting inked…come on! Lighten up, people! Anyway, tats are a great thing…whether Christian or not. Unless you’re planning to tattoo 666 on you somwhere…that I would not recommend. Love the blog, Steve!

  • I got my first tattoo exactly 3 weeks ago. It is below the sleeve line and is located on my left wrist. It says “Love Wins” and is a reminder to me that the love Christ showed to people is what truly wins their hearts. I have a LONG way to go before I’m any where close to loving others like Christ did, but I’m trying!

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  • Lev 19:28 You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead nor print any marks on you (tattoo) yourselves: I am the LORD.

    To say that getting a Tattoo is OK, then what do you do with God’s command regarding printing any marks (tattoos) on your body Lev 19:28. And it is later we learn why God said this, we learn our bodies are not ours but the Lords, the temple of the Holy Spirit (1Co 6:19). So to God to tattoo our bodies would be the same as going to the Temple and putting graffiti on the walls of it, defiling what God has made holy.

    And sense Jesus said “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” and He said He wrote them all Gen to Rev, that He was the written word, then every word in the bible is His commandments. So it really comes down to a matter of obedience, one must chose to read the word of God and keep it, or always look for excuses to not keep it, that is to live in the original sin as Eve chose too and take Satan’s temptation, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” “Did God actually say, you can not get a tattoo?” the motivation to do so “for God knows that in the day you eat of it, even your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as God, deciding for yourself what is good and evil.” that is becoming as God and do what every you want.

    And if you justify it with the old argument that was law we are under grace, well then that give me the same right to say fornication, adultery and any other sin of my liking is open for me under the same justification. It really comes down to if one wants to live a life pleasing God, a life of obedience to God’s word, or live a life always looking for an out, a loophole to get a way with sin.

    For years Christians have told people not to smoke, that it was a sin based soley on 1Co 6:19, that it defiles the temple of God. But God never said smoking was a sin, not to do it, but He did say getting a tattoo was. So if we are going to say getting a tattoo is Ok regardless of what God said, then we should put in smoking sections in church buildings, put ashtrays in the pews and sell cigarettes in the lobbies. After all if tattooing is not defiling the Holy Temple (even thou God said it is), then nether is smoking.

    Just something to think about.

  • Thanks for this posts! I’m a tattooed pastor’s wife, and am never really sure how people will react. We’re in our 6th month at a new appointment in rural Indiana, and I don’t think our “old school” church members would like it very much! As far as I know they haven’t seen my ink yet. Years ago I had someone tell me that my body is a temple, and I shouldn’t defile it. I replied by saying, “My body is indeed a temple…and I just installed some stained glass windows!” A little cheeky, but it got them off my case! 🙂

  • Dennis,
    really? Be careful. If you’re gonna play the Leviticus card, I have to remind you to not eat pork, deer, or wear clothes made of a cotton blend. Oh…and don’t forget to tell the women in your church to be sure and cover their heads when they pray.

    That’s the whole reason Jesus showed up–to show us how utterly incompetent we are at keeping the law…e.g. it’s not just adultery that is sin, but if you look at a woman with lust, you’ve sinned…it’s not just murder, but when you have hate (‘raca’) you’ve sinned..etc. Isaiah says that even our righteousness is as filthy rags (literally, ‘bloody tampon). We should be careful, lest we become prideful in offering bloody tampons to Jesus…

    Of course, I’m not of the opinion that tattooing OR smoking is defiling the temple… scripture says that it’s not what goes into the body, but what comes out of the mouth (heart) that makes us unclean.

    so, thank you, Jesus, for grace and for ‘matters of conscience’ (eating meat, drinking wine…and tattoos) taught in Scripture.

  • Jay

    Dennis, I am going to copy and paste from this blog here because I think this man says it perfectly:

    Those who argue against it often quote Leviticus 19:28, “You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the Lord.” The word for “tattoo” in its original Hebrew is qa-aqa, which appears only this one time in the entire Scripture. Proper hermeneutic requires us to read any Bible passage with the actual context in mind. Practically all Bible commentaries agree that the context of Leviticus 19 is God prohibiting the Israelites from adopting the religious practices of the pagan nations surrounding them. Adam Clarke’s Commentary of the Old Testament says that the pagans were carrying “marks on the body in honor of the object of their worship … for superstitious purposes … in honor of different idols.” Nelson’s NKJV Study Bible says that the practice “had religious significance among Israel’s pagan neighbors.” But what if there is no religious, superstitious or idolatrous implication? Is a believer allowed to tattoo then?

    Technically, if one takes the view that Leviticus 19 prohibits tattooing for all people in all circumstances, then for consistency’s sake, one must also abide by all the letters of the law here. That includes no shaving around the sides of the head, and the mandatory keeping of beards for all men (v27), which is a near impossibility for any serving in the military today. That also includes not wearing clothes made of different fabrics (v19). Should we then also continue with slavery and the keeping of mistresses, both accepted practices during the ancient days of Leviticus (v20)? Should we continue the Old Testament dietary restrictions like no eating of pork, shrimp, crab or shellfish? What about headscarves for women? Do we need to enforce that on all Christian women today? Most of us will agree that the answers to all the above are an emphatic no.

    Read the rest of it.

  • I love seeing other Christians with tattoos. I personally would love to get one, because I’m cheeky like that. However, I know myself too well: My tastes change way too often to make a permanent mark on my body. I’d love it this week and hate it next year… so I generally stick with the temporary type that rub off after a couple of days. Not near as fun, but much more versatile.

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  • I got my first tattoo in Feb for my 30th b-day. I blogged about my reasons for the tat here: http://thebransonfamily.blogspot.com/2009/03/chris-breanne-and-john-asked-me-what.html

    Probably won’t get another one, but who knows…. 🙂

  • I think it depends on the person. I personally do have several tattoos: some without a Christian message and one that does. Most people that see my tattoos ask what they mean and I usually respond with “these have no meaning other than I liked the design, but this one reminds me to live my life for Christ. Every situation brings it’s opportunities for positive and negative opinions.
    I am a teacher/youth pastor and with students my tattoos have been a way to start relationships that might have not been possible with out, but I also have students that don’t know I have “ink”.
    This is why I say it depends on the person: if you can have them and not let the focus be on them all the time then I say go for it… but if that is a way to draw atention to yourself then maybe you shouldn’t get them. Just my thoughts.

    Great topic Scott

  • Sylvia Caruso

    I personally don’t have any tattoos. But if you want one, then by all means get one. I agree that you should think carefully about what you permanently mark your body with, and what is motivating you to getting one. I also think that some people go way overboard. To me that just screams, “Hey look at me!” Especially on women. Young girls are getting tattooed like crazy and they don’t realize that when they are 70 yrs old that tattoo will still be there. Some tattoos just don’t look attractive.

  • Hi there,

    I think that those who are Christians should focus on going out and sharing Jesus Christ with those who are not saved. Once all of the unsaved are saved, THEN we can spend our time sitting around talking about tatoos.

    Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!
    Lisa

  • Oh…to answer the question… *smiles*

    I don’t have a tat and never thought about getting one. My choice not to have one has nothing at all to do with what church folks would say about a minister having one.

  • JW

    Addressing the ‘grafitti’ on the temples.. I have adorned my temple!

  • God tattooed me in his own way. A scar across my knee reminds me daily that he is in charge and I am not. I don’t think I need any extra markings on my body. But that’s just me. =)

  • I have a couple of tattoos! I got them on what I feel was the Word of the Lord!

    And in Revelation we see that Jesus has a tattoo!! Here is a link http://www.youversion.com/bible/asv/rev/19/16

    Just my thoughts.

    @bobbyshirley

  • @bobbyshirley…you have to admit, Revelation presents a pretty battle-ready, blood-soaked, tatted-up picture of the Lion of Judah! blood soaked robe. tattoos on his thigh and palm. the vengence of his sword at the ready…

    much different than the pale, pasty-skinned Caucasian Jesus I hear about so often around my neck of the woods. makes me wonder which ‘jesus’ the Church is worshipping…

  • @tomcottar I completely agree. A.W. Tozer says we must think rightly about God.

    If God has a tat, then I think I can as well! 😉

  • Alastair

    Taken from: http://www.gotquestions.org/tattoos-sin.html

    just sharing. not presenting as my actual… stance.

    ——————————————————

    Question: “What does the Bible say about tattoos / body piercings?”

    Answer: The Old Testament law commanded the Israelites, “Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD” (Leviticus 19:28). So, even though believers today are not under the Old Testament law (Romans 10:4; Galatians 3:23-25; Ephesians 2:15), the fact that there was a command against tattoos should cause us to question. The New Testament does not say anything about whether a believer should or should not get a tattoo.

    In relation to tattoos and body piercings, a good test is to determine whether we can honestly, in good conscience, ask God to bless and use the particular activity for His own good purposes. “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). The New Testament does not command against tattoos or body piercings, but it also does not give us any reason to believe God would have us get tattoos or body piercings.

    Another issue to consider is modesty. The Bible instructs us to dress modestly (1 Timothy 2:9). One aspect of dressing modestly is making sure everything that should be covered by clothing is adequately covered. However, the essential meaning of modesty is not drawing attention to oneself. Tattoos and body piercings most definitely draw attention to the body. In this sense, tattoos and body piercings are not modest.

    An important scriptural principle on issues that the Bible does not specifically address is that if there is room for doubt as to whether it pleases God, then it is best to not engage in that activity. Romans 14:23 reminds us that anything that does not come from faith is sin. We need to remember that our bodies, as well as our souls, have been redeemed and belong to God. Although 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 does not directly apply to tattoos or body piercings, it does give us a principle: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” This great truth should have a real bearing on what we do and where we go with our bodies. If our bodies belong to God, we should make sure we have His clear “permission” before we “mark it up” with tattoos or body piercings.

  • dalordservant

    it is true, times are changing but the lord does not change (Malachi 3:6).
    The lord is also against tatoo’s (Leviticus 19:28).
    Brothers do not be decieved by false prophets and false teachers who say that it is okay for u to get a tatoo. Be smart READ THE BIBLE. If u have any questions bend your knees and bow your heads, ask the Holy Spirit. He will answer all of your questions. God bless!!!!

  • Astansberry

    I have tattoos. 7 of them. I believe God loves me & my tattoos. I even got one for my Baptism “present” in 2006, it says Isaiah 53:5, I also believe people tend to interpret the Bible in which ever way benefits them.

  • berrylious

    technicly we shouldn’t scare ourselves with ink, its stated in the bible. I have 3 1)the peace sign trying to deal w/ the death of my mom (3/4/01) I knew I wasn’t suppose two so for a loong while I didn’t 2)an olive branch & the letter ‘D’ for my late mom Deborah. 3)a dove. I’ve made peace w/ myself for making these decisions & understand I will be judged on judgment day. where mine are located are tasteful & not distacting. to each his own

    • Servant32

      Be sure to research ALL symbols before using them in any way. I’m referring to the “peace” symbol.

  • Motown Mike

    My daughter’s father-in-law (he and I have tried to determine how we are related: we’ve decided we are outlaws) is about 60, looks like a bad old biker and has a bunch of tatoos. He looks cool and it helps him as a Christian to relate to certain people. I’m 60, too, and I’m a college professor who looks like an older Glenn Beck with glasses. I don’t think a tattoo would work for me. Personally, I don’t like them, but I’m pretty old school and it’s just a preference on my part.

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