Is the prohibition on tatoos moral law or judicial law?

Discussion in 'The Law of God' started by BayouHuguenot, Jun 6, 2013.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. reformedminister

    reformedminister Puritan Board Sophomore

    Caroline, are you sure that your insistence upon your daughters wearing pants over skirts and you marking your body with ink under the umbrella of Christian liberty is not in some way psychologically connected to your past history of legalism? There is a tendency for someone like yourself to go to the other end of the pendulum in rebellion against their spiritual bondage, which in your case was a legalistic church. Sometimes, we have to bring ourselves back after we have stepped across the edge from both extremes. If this is true, you would not be the only one. However, if you can honestly say that this is not true, and can justify your actions by God's Word and sound reason then just ignore what I just said. :2cents:
  2. Caroline

    Caroline Puritan Board Sophomore

    Well, that is a good question. I actually don't insist on my daughters wearing pants--except when they will be in situations likely to expose themselves in skirts. I bought my younger daughter a pretty sundress that she wanted just yesterday, although I will probably advise her to wear shorts under it if we are going out.

    My tattoo may be in part a reaction, but I'm okay with that. We are allowed to react in non-sinful ways, I think. I painted the wall of my office orange in part as a reaction to dull, bland, colorlessness of legalism that won't let you decide anything for yourself and try anything new. I think it looks pretty.

    I think a whole paper could be written about how people react to things in their past and it is a very interest topic when you bring it up. People's past makes them what they are, and I think reactions can be categorized all kinds of ways. But that is probably for another thread.
  3. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritanboard Commissioner

    You should know those gifts have ceased, are given to ecclesiastical office, etc. (ha,ha),

    No, all that happened is your post somehow got sandwiched between a double post that was deleted. (I was wondering that as well).:)
  4. Vladimir

    Vladimir Puritan Board Freshman

    Now, you're misinterpreting my words.
    I did not know that. I apologize.
    Women used to wear pants or shorts under skirts when working in the field. There is also other legwear that provides covering while not promoting the frame of the body.
    Why I wear skirts all the timeā€¦ - there are women dealing with the issue. Can you honestly call pants more modest than sticking with skirts and trying to work it out, like generations and generations did in the past? I can't. Pants, tight skirts and dresses were candy for my eyes most of my life before I was converted.
    I did not say I judge anyone's intentions. I think a lot of it is unintentional. And I think the issue has been given less attention than it's ought to be given.
  5. Skyler

    Skyler Puritan Board Graduate

    I can.
  6. Andres

    Andres Puritan Board Doctor

    Agreed. :hug:
  7. Mushroom

    Mushroom Puritan Board Doctor

    Hey! I don't have any tattoos - but for a sinful reason. That being at an early age being asked by a uniformed representative of the state, as he was snapping those cute little bracelets on my wrists, if I had any identifying marks, scars, or tattoos. Being at that time one who wanted to maintain my freedoms while engaged in activities that should have caused them to be relinquished, I chose to have as few of those as possible. I was allergic to cops - whenever I was around them I tended to break out in handcuffs. Perhaps I should repent and go get the "Texan 'Til I Die" over an armadillo tat I was mulling over way back when.

    This is a silly discussion. I can't believe that brothers, even Pastors and Officers of our Lord's Bride, are being impugned, and their qualifications disdained, over tattoos. Puh-leeze.
  8. irresistible_grace

    irresistible_grace Puritan Board Junior

    I found the second sermon particularly helpful... Thanks!
  9. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    I think because of its permanency it's unwise, including in the light of the Israelites being told to eschew them.

    There also may be sometimes a sense of claiming the body from God, as one's own to do with as one likes.

    Impermanent or semi-permanent tatoos seem wiser.

    There are probably more important things to make a fuss of than one or two discreet tatoos, unless someone is making a complete mess of their body or face with piercings, tatoos, etc. Aesthetically-speaking, if not morally-speaking, some of these people are - no offence to anyone here who has some tatoos - fools.
  10. SinnerSavedByChrist

    SinnerSavedByChrist Puritan Board Freshman


    I think we have to be very careful: we eisegete heavily if we read into this tatoo law from leviticus too far. If we take it as moral law, then there's heaps of stuff in the same passage about clothes, farming and all kinds of stuff which belong entirely to the Old Covenant. The perishable things have passed - we have a glorious liberty.

    " free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God." ( 1 Peter 2)

    To a kid who walks up to me and asks "Brother, what does the bible say about me getting this mad-tatoo?" I would answer:
    "Son, what are your motivations? If it's to be cool, get attention, decorate your body, then the God says don't do it. Secondly, how does this tatoo glorify God? If it doesn't glorify God, then what profit is there?"

    But if this kid has been convicted by such a verse in scripture such as 2 Corinthians 5:21 "He who knew no sin became sin for us, that we might become in Him the righteousness of God", and he wanted a daily reminder on his forearm, I say "Well if you've really thought through this and want the tat - then pray about it. If your conscience is not provoked, then get a small one to start with. Because they tend to be quite irreversible... you won't want to pay a plastic surgeon years later to take it off!!!
  11. reformedminister

    reformedminister Puritan Board Sophomore

    Just take a good look at the church and the world around you. What you may deem as "silly" can be healthy and good to talk about. While discussions may get heated at times, it is better than SILENCE, which is part of the problem with the church today. Yes, I agree that there may be topics more important to discuss but that does not take away from the need to talk about this one.
  12. irresistible_grace

    irresistible_grace Puritan Board Junior

    My brother has a tattoo "In memory of" his best friend who died in high school... His is a tattoo "for the dead." He calls himself a deist but lives like an atheist so any appeal to Scripture, to moral law or nature... was in one ear & out the other! When I tried to talk to him before he got it, the argument he gave for why he was going to get it was very "emotional" but rather pathetic. My sister got her tattoo while she was drunk as a skunk at Myrtle Beach & my mother got hers when she was in the Navy.

    I personally don't know of any Confessional Christians (who are staunchly "Reformed") that got tattooed because it was Scripturally advisable or edifying to other Brothers & Sisters. The few in this thread that are tattooed have argued that they "look cool" & they "like them." I do not believe we should marginalize those that are tattooed or make generalizations but the fact of the matter is though it may be permissable, it is not advisable. This topic kind of reminds me of a quote about the lovers of books...

    Are the lovers of tattoos, the greatest lovers of God?

    I see no arguments from the Puritans that indicate any of them promoted putting permanent markings on the body. I see no argument from the Apostles that promote or encourage tattoos. And, I don't see anywhere in Scripture where tattooing is looked upon favorable.

    PS - Not that it maters but I do not wear high heels or makeup & my husband doesn't wear a tie! ;)
  13. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    I think this comment is very telling. Culture is strong. Where does the impetus come from when thinking of tattooing one's self? I can't think of anyone saying with a straight face that it was from the Bible or from the church fathers or something that I read in the Institutes. It's the culture. It's the world. I am not going to cast a sweeping condemnation on every soul who has a tattoo, but let's not try to waffle or tiptoe around where the idea comes from.
  14. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritanboard Commissioner

    While Leviticus 19:28 prohibited God's people Israel from defacing their bodies with things like tattoos, identifying with the darkness of the Gentile world, the New Testament discussion for us begins with God's revealed will here:


  15. Tirian

    Tirian Puritan Board Sophomore

    With respect, Rev. Andy Eppard, I may be wrong, but I think that Brad's comment about this discussion being "silly" spoke more about the manner of how it has been conducted in some posts, and not the topic.

    In Christ,
  16. Boosterseat_91

    Boosterseat_91 Puritan Board Freshman

    Is this meant to be a refutation against tattoos? An exposition of these verses would be helpful because both sides of the debate undoubtedly accept these verses as inspired and authoritative in what they are teaching but disagree about what they are teaching.

    It seems to me like the majority of arguments against tattoos (if not all) are pragmatic rather than Scriptural. Asking questions like "Do tattoos do the most glorifying of God?" just beg the question. If they're not sinful inherently or by their content (a blasphemous tattoo would undoubtedly be sinful) or done with a sinful motive, then yes they do. But if they are inherently sinful, then no they don't. Cultural perceptions about tattoos change. If something is said to be inherently sinful, then it must be proven through exposition of Scripture, not the perceived motives of the person.
  17. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritanboard Commissioner

    Not narrowly, Leah.

    The way in which we look at the vainglorious display of imagines on the bodies God gave us is the context of its purpose.

    Our sinful natures think it utterly outrageous that God has a claim on our bodies, that what He says matters, or how it will affect others matters.

    This really is the principle application of Old Testament laws that are not strictly binding on us today.
  18. Tirian

    Tirian Puritan Board Sophomore

    You can't escape making your daughter an adulterer/fornicator if you compel her to be a prostitute. It seems more difficult to appeal so directly to God's moral law through the lens of inking skin in v28.

    If the argument is therefore more about not Christianising pagan practices, then we would all be forced to give up Christmas and Easter!!

  19. Boosterseat_91

    Boosterseat_91 Puritan Board Freshman

    This post is still not very clearly. I only know that you are arguing against tattoos in some way because of your previous posts. I think that one can consistently confirm that God is Lord over our bodies and still get a tattoo. How do you know that all tattoos are inherently vainglorious displays and therefore sinful? Where does Scripture ever say that something becomes inherently sinful because some people have a negative reaction to it?

    We both agree that tattoos can be sinful because of either (1) their content or (2) the motivation for getting it. But in order to prove that they are inherently sinful needs a proper explication of Scripture that shows tattoos are forbidden in all cases.
  20. Boosterseat_91

    Boosterseat_91 Puritan Board Freshman

    I do not agree with this reasoning to give up tattoos, but most certainly Christians should give up Christmas and Easter! :lol:
  21. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    In Genesis 24 we have Rebekah given jewelry, to include a nose ring, as a gift. It seems some degree of adornment, beautification and even piercing is permitted and is not merely a vainglorious display:

    Gen. 24:20 So [Rebekah] quickly emptied her jar into the trough, ran back to the well to draw more water, and drew enough for all his camels. 21Without saying a word, the man [Abraham's servant] watched her closely to learn whether or not the LORD had made his journey successful.
    22When the camels had finished drinking, the man took out a gold nose ring weighing a beka [1/5 oz.] and two gold bracelets weighing ten shekels [4 oz.]. 23 Then he asked, "Whose daughter are you? Please tell me, is there room in your father's house for us to spend the night?"

    Earrings and nose-rings appear in Scripture, not always in a negative sense (Ezekial 16, for example). A hole in the ear or the nose is, to some degree, body modification. When these practices are done for purposes of grieving/mutilation, or for the dead, or for one to wear amulets (maybe the reason earrings where removed in Gen. 35:2), then it seems forbidden. But for beauty, piercing or other adornments (to which I would include tattoos) there is no general prohibition (although caution and wisdom should be exercised in all that we wear and all that we do with and to our bodies).
  22. hammondjones

    hammondjones Puritan Board Sophomore

    This goes a long way.
  23. Rich Koster

    Rich Koster Puritan Board Post-Graduate

  24. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Graduate

    We could solve all of this by just passing a law that states that no one may acquire a tattoo until they have reached 30 years of age.
  25. Skyler

    Skyler Puritan Board Graduate

    Because legislation is the solution to all debate.
  26. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Graduate

    I was not being serious, but my point was that people tend to do stupid things when they are in their teens and twenties that would not have done in their thirties and beyond.
  27. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritanboard Commissioner

    It's more than intellectually acknowledging that "God is Lord over our bodies." It might be more correct to say, biblically, our bodies are not our own, but are the temples of the Holy Spirit (cf earlier Scriptures).

    Nor is it the mere act of getting a tattoo.

    What is it for? To show off a defacement of the body with permanent (or semi-permanent) scarring, so the public can see an image not naturally part of the human body.

    Is the sole criteria one thinks it is beautiful. Or whether it will attract attention to ones self?

    What's the reason for an unnatural scarring of the skin with flamboyant color? It's to show off something (to who?)
    You may find helpful going back and looking at the Scriptural principles cited in post#77.
    Christians have a duty not to create an appearance of evil, not to cause a weaker brother to stumble, to witness the truth God owns our body, to not exhibit worldliness. Again, its not mere the act of getting a tattoo.

    It's much more than a case of I want to do it because I think it will look beautiful to me, and attract other people's attention to me, and the Old Testament prohibition doesn't apply to me, and if another brother is offended it's his problem because it's my body and what I do is all about me, and what I think.

    (This is the way the fallen mind, centered in self measures all things, it is not the way of the redeemed.)

    But understand, it was prohibited for God's people (Israel) in the Old Testament.
    The question really is, since that law is not strictly applicable to God's people not living as a "church under age" as was ancient Israel,
    are there New Testament principles that continue? (Clearly, there are at least many, many qualifications- including what does it show to our neighbor).

    I would allow that we could construct a hypothetical situation that might simplistically seem to not be sin.

    But for the vast majority of cases, there is harm to self, neighbor and witness,

    and even before we get to the hygiene and medical reasons.
    (Many in old age regret the defacement of their skin, and health and medical problems that later can stem from it, but that's another story)
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2013
  28. Skyler

    Skyler Puritan Board Graduate

    I know. :) If I thought you were being serious I wouldn't have given a snide one-liner in response.
  29. Caroline

    Caroline Puritan Board Sophomore

    Actually, I was 34 when I got my first tattoo. I had always wanted one, and people kept saying I'd regret it. Then I met this old lady who had a cool tattoo, and she said she loved it and had never regretted it for a second. That made me realize that not everybody is the same. Some people never do regret their tattoos. I'd advise anyone away from being impulsive about it, though. If you want one, wait a year. If you still want it, make an appointment for six months away. And then, if you STILL want the SAME tattoo (and your spouse has no problem with it), then go for it. But I'd also advise people to put it somewhere not obvious. Contrary to what Scott thinks, most people aren't showing off with their tattoos, and the best advice is to remember that some people WILL be judgmental, so make sure it is somewhere that you can cover with socks or shirt sleeves to humor those who are inclined to snap character judgments. It is sad that people are so inclined to belittle others over something so insignificant, but unfortunately, such is human nature.
  30. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritanboard Commissioner

    Granted, that is anecdotal. "Most people," in my experience, are intending their tattoo to be seen by others, but that too, is anecdotal. One does wonder what the purpose generally is if it is not to be seen by others, at least sometime.

    The biblical standard is not really someone being judgmental,
    it is, does it give appearance of worldliness, appear to countenance lust, immorality, curiosity of occult, promote violence, etc.
    Or does, it reflect that persons propensity toward it.

    That goes for a lot of things, because after all, our bodies are not our own.

    Indeed, our lives are not our own.

    And this world is not our home.

    And modesty in dress and appearance are biblical virtues.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page