Monday, March 5, 2012

Tats for my hipster dude Jesus

"Inking for Jesus: Dozens of church members take Lenten tattoo challenge"
"In a hip, artsy, area of Houston, a hip, artsy pastor is taking an unorthodox approach to Lent. Standing in front of his congregation at Ecclesia Church, a congregation he admits is different - more diverse, more urban - than many evangelical churches - Chris Seay encouraged them to do so something he said combines the ideas of sacrifice and devotion that mark the Lenten season, the 40-day lead up to Easter. He asked them to get tattoos. Specifically, he asked congregants to get a tattoo corresponding with one of the Stations of the Cross, the collection of images that depict scenes in Jesus’ journey to his crucifixion. ... To help with the project, Seay enlisted Scott Erickson, artist-in-residence at his church. ... The Stations of the Cross depict Jesus from his condemnation to the Resurrection.The church is now displaying photographs of the tattoos in the church’s art gallery, in an exhibition called “Cruciformity: Stations on the Skin.” Initially, Seay has hoped that enough people – 10– would sign up to fill each station of the cross. But his expectations were far exceeded.Seay says that more than 50 people are now brandishing one of Erickson’s designs on their bodies. ... Margaret Feinberg, an evangelical Christian author, spoke at the gallery opening. She said she was taken by the “beautiful blend of art and flesh.”

Let's talk about Christians doing lent, Christians getting tattoos and a Christian Church mimicking the Catholic 'Stations of the Cross'.

A good article is from GotQuestions: Is it OK to get tattoos if they are of a Christian nature? and it concludes--

"With that said, the biblically based conclusion would seem to be that Christian tattoos are permissible, but it is highly questionable whether they can be considered beneficial and constructive. A Christian considering getting a tattoo should pray for wisdom (James 1:5) and ask the Lord to provide pure motives and discernment."

In my opinion it is telling that the Houston Ecclesia Church put up an art show about the tattoos, glorifying both the flesh and promoting commercial opportunities for the artist based on what was supposed to be a spiritual activity...

This is what I mean by a different Gospel. This church calls itself Christian, but they adopt pagan practices. Lent is from Roman Catholicism, [which is a false religion]. Stations of the Cross is from Roman Catholicism. [which is a false religion]. Lent is a forty day period between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. Usually it is accompanied by some form of prayer and fasting. (source)

"Lent is not from the Bible. There is no such thing in the Bible. It comes from the mystery religions of the cults of Babylon and was connected with the supposed killing of Baal by a wild boar; and for forty days and forty nights, the priestesses and the followers of Baal mourned his death until, supposedly, he rose from the dead on the 40th day, and that is where Lent came from, and it has been superimposed on Christianity..." (source)

"I believe the 40 day period called Lent had its origin in Babylon and came into the Catholic church with other pagan traditions at the time the Church and the pagan Roman religion were merged, in the 4th Century. That’s why you won’t find Lent mentioned anywhere in the Bible. As to whether or not you should observe it, that’s a matter for your own conscience (Romans 14:5). If you use the 40 day period to reflect on what Jesus did for you on the cross and express your gratitude for His completed work, I think that’s appropriate. But any attempt to make yourself more worthy of your salvation by temporarily denying yourself certain things is just religious work and is of no value." (source)

We know that adding to the Word will cause plagues and curses upon the speaker, (Rev 22:18) but lies of omission are just as blasphemous.

As an example, remember that when satan tempted Eve to take of the fruit and Eve balked because God had said that they would die, satan said, "You sill not surely die." He was not giving the whole counsel of God. They did not die- physically. They did die- spiritually. Do you see how devastating satan's lie of omission was?

Remember, nature abhors a vacuum. Remember, satan is sly and crafty. When preachers fail to preach the whole counsel of God, and when congregations cease diligent study of the whole counsel of God, then satan will fill that void with falsity, subtly at first, then increasingly, until you have what Ecclesia Church did- glorification of the flesh. The Holy Spirit is within us, because His work is to regenerate us from the inside out. That regeneration is supposed to show as Light and Salt, not tats for Jesus. (Matthew 5:13-16). He is sealed within us, we don't need tattoos on the outside to remind us that we are Christians. What, like 40 years from now, the Christian will forget he is a Christian but will remember if he looks at his tattoo? Though tattoos are currently trendy, we are not supposed to be of the world. (Romans 12:2, 1 John 2:15). Therefore, permanently marking our flesh 'for Jesus' in my opinion serves no fruitful purpose.

Paul says to Timothy, "preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry." (2 Tim 4:2-5)

Those are good words. Paul also said to pray without ceasing and those are good words too. Pray for your pastor. Pray for your leaders. Pray for your teachers, elders, deacons! Pray for each other. This essay, " The best thing you can do for your pastor" gives advice in praying for him, and what to pray, too. And please, don't get 'inked for Jesus.'


  1. Wow -- another great post Elizabeth! You seriously make me think.

    Where do you get all your ideas for these posts? Whatever it is you do, keep 'em coming!

    Again, I really appreciate all your hard work. I know there is a ton of effort going on behind the scenes. Thank you!

  2. Hi Elizabeth,

    Thank you for this post. I respectfully had a few thoughts on this:

    1) I question tatooing in light of Leviticus 19:28.

    2) Body "modification" has always been associated with pagan spiritual worship and witchcraft.

    3) This "hip, artsy" (isn't that prideful?) church's tatooing, seems all about works and "LOOK AT US! AND WHAT I / WE DID!". Jesus seems to be a secondary reason, to the "effort".

    ...I;m not throwing stones.

    in the love of Jesus,

  3. While I've found much truth on, I've also seen them not be accurate.

    That it is saying tattoos are permissible is a good example of them giving wrong information.

    From scripture it's clear that it's wrong and why. And it's not simple the Leviticus scripture which I've many a time had refuted, because of it being old testament, by both those not Christian, not of any faith, and those who claim to be Christian or Catholic, who think it's the same.

    The best scripture I used to prove why tattoos, as well as piercings, and any other form of body modification done for vain reasons, is wrong, is the scripture about our bodies belonging to God, and being temples made to honor Him.

    The metaphor I give is for people to think of ourselves as a masterpiece painting, with God being the master artist. The image God makes us in, is in His likeness, and He is perfect. We are like a finished work of art, that an earthly artist, would hang on a wall to be displayed and admired. When people modify their body for vain reasons, it's akin to someone not the artist, taking a paintbrush, dipping it into paint, and putting their own strokes onto someone else's work of art, and changing what the original artist intended for his work of art.

    It's like saying "God, I don't appreciate your design, so I'm going to modify it, and make it to my liking". Even if a person doesn't think that in their heart. That is what is says to God, because they are taking control over a body God says belongs to Him, and that is supposed to be taken care of, as a holy temple, and desecrating it.

    I've met many people claiming to be Christian, who got tattoos that they believe reflect their faith. And I've heard the various excuses to justify them, such as them being a witnessing tool. If the word isn't good enough on its own, that doesn't speak very highly of God now does it. It's like the false pastors who do the big shows with the false healings, using it to reel people in. I've often found that those not drawn in by God's word, but by something else, often fall away, or don't produce much if any, good fruit.


  4. Hi J.L.

    I do not agree with you that GotQuestions is at times inaccurate. I have never found them to be less than stellar in their use of scripture to present reasonable answers to questions.

    Paul's admonition that everything is permissible but not everything is constructive (1 Cor 10:23) is a good example of a principle to follow when a Christian is considering a course of action that falls into the gray areas.

    Though the OT banned tattoos (Lev 19:28) we are under a new covenant and we need to see what the NT says about body cutting and body art. Because there is no specific command one way or the other about it, this activity falls into a gray area.

    Here are some things to consider when an action falls into a gray area to help the Christian decide: "What to do in the gray areas"


  5. Will it benefit me spiritually?

    All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify (1 Cor. 10:23).

    A "profitable" thing is useful, helpful, or to your advantage to do; and the idea behind "edify" is to build up spiritually. So based on this verse, ask yourself, "Will doing this enhance my spiritual life? Will it cultivate godliness? Will it build me up spiritually?" If not, you should seriously question whether that behavior is the best choice.

    Will it bring bondage?

    All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything (1 Cor. 6:12).

    In the second part of this verse, Paul is saying, "I will not be brought under the power of anything." If what you are considering can be habit-forming, why pursue it? Don't allow yourself to be in bondage to anything or anyone. You are a bond-servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, and Him alone.

    Will it defile God's temple?

    Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body (1 Cor. 6:19-20).

    Don't do anything that you know will harm your body or bring shame-it is the only instrument you have to glorify God. Romans 6:13 says, "Present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God." How you choose to use your body should always reflect your concern to honor Jesus Christ.

  6. Will it cause anyone to stumble?

    Food will not commend us to God; we are neither the worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do eat. But take care lest this liberty of yours somehow become a stumbling block to the weak (1 Cor. 8:8-9).

    This is the principle of love. As Romans 13:10 says: "Love does no wrong to a neighbor; love therefore is the fulfillment of the law." If you know that your choice-what you consider "in bounds" and approved-causes another Christian to stumble and sin, love that brother or sister enough to restrict your own freedom. That is not very popular in our self-absorbed society, but it is biblical. To continue to indulge in a legitimate freedom that causes problems for another Christian is a sin. For "by sinning against the brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore," Paul said, "if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, that I might not cause my brother to stumble" (1 Cor. 8:12-13).

    Will it further the cause of evangelism?

    Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God; just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of the many, that they may be saved (1 Cor. 10:32-33).

    Whether you are aware of it, what you allow or disallow in your behavior affects your witness for Christ-and the world is watching. It's an issue of testimony-what your life says about God. Your testimony either tells the truth about God, or it tells a lie. The choices you make in the "gray" areas should reflect your concern not to bring offense to God's reputation but to bring Him praise instead.

    Will it violate my conscience?

    He who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin (Rom. 14:23).

    First Corinthians 10:25-29 contains three references to abstaining from a certain practice "for conscience sake." Never train yourself to violate your conscience. If your conscience is troubled by what you consider, don't do it. If you aren't sure about it, don't do it. It is hard to overstate the value of a clean conscience, but it is worth keeping your conscience clear so that your relationship to God will not be hindered. If you'll keep yourself in prayer and the study of God's Word, you will inform your conscience so you can "walk as children of light...finding out what is acceptable to the Lord" (Eph. 5:8, 10).

    Will it bring glory to God?

    Therefore, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31).

    That verse is clearly both the summary and the goal of all the principles I've shared. Isn't our heart's cry to glorify our Lord and Savior with our lives? Think about your decision-Will He be glorified, honored, and praised through it? May we say along with Jesus, "I glorified You on the earth" (John 17:4).

    So what questions do you have? Run them through the principles above and enjoy your freedom in Christ - the freedom to be what He created you to be!


  7. Hi WingAbouts,

    Thank you! It is the Holy Spirit that pours His guidance into me. He has given me a burden for learning more every day, time and space to study, and His ideas are infinite because He is infinite. I'm happy to be used by Him in His communicative ministries.


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