ADVERTISING
 
Monday, May 21   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 

 
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 
 

POLL
State and Religion
Should religious symbols be displayed in buildings of the public administration?



SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



Will Graham
 

Is it a sin to get a tattoo?

One recurring question that has surfaced in almost every Christian camp has been: “Is it a sin to get a tattoo?” I want to add my voice to the debate today. 

FRESH BREEZE AUTHOR Will Graham 19 JULY 2015 07:00 h GMT+1

Throughout these last five to six years I’ve been preaching the Word of God to the youth of Spain. And one recurring question that has surfaced in almost every Christian camp has been: “Is it a sin to get a tattoo?” I want to add my voice to the debate today. And remember: I write to the family of faith; not to unbelievers.



Before beginning, I just want to clarify that I don’t think we can lay a hold of Leviticus 19:28 to uphold an anti-tattoo stance. The body-marking mentioned therein has to do with ritual pagan mourning; not with a contemporary fashion statement. I think using Leviticus may be one of those occasions where we try to fit the Word of God into our preconceived scheme rather than doing things the other way around. Faithfulness to the context of Scripture won’t allow me to bash tattoo artists with Leviticus.



With that observation out of the way, let’s repeat the question: “Is it a sin to get a tattoo?”



Now, I write to you from the Western world. I am European born and bred. Only once in my lifetime have I been outside of Europe. That was when I preached in the United States and Mexico for three months back in 2009. I make this point because I know the European scene. I am familiar with European culture. I understand the worldview of European youth. And that’s the chief reason why I see tattoos in such a negative light. I think they are a hindrance for Christ’s cause here in the West. If a young believer wanted to get a tattoo here, I would have some very straight forward questions to ask him (her). Maybe you will find these questions useful too.



 



1. Will this tattoo glorify God?



The Christian will have to ask him or herself whether or not getting a tattoo can truly glorify God. What is the real motive behind getting the body-marking? This is where we can make mention of Leviticus’ key ethical principle: “You shall not be like the other nations.” Is the person in question getting a tattoo to extend the Kingdom of God in the world or to merely go with the flow in a world obsessed by superficial appearances and fashion and trends? In most of the cases I know, the latter mentality prevails. The New Testament calls on us not to be conformed to this present world (Romans 12:2).



 



2. What does your conscience say?



When Luther defended himself at the Diet of Worms he stressed that he would not go against the Word of God or his conscience. If your conscience has any scruple at all regarding the issue of tattoos then you definitely should not get one. That is to sin. Whatsoever is not of faith, said Paul, is sin (Romans 14:23). The mere fact that someone asks the question, “Is it a sin to get a tattoo?” reveals to me that his (her) conscience is not at peace in the matter and therefore, he (she) should not get one. If you had 100% respite in your soul about the issue, you wouldn’t have to ask anyone about it.



 



3. Will you offend any believers by getting one?



The whole epistle of 1 Corinthians revolves around the theme of cruciform love. Paul confronts ten different pastoral situations with the radical message of the cross. Will your actions benefit or hurt others? Will they bless or offend? Will they do good or evil? The Christian must realize that he (she) is no longer his (her) own. He (she) lives for the Lord and the church. If I suspect that getting a tattoo may upset men or women of God in my congregation then I put my love for them before my own desires and keep my body clean. I apply the law of love so that others aren’t made to stumble by my action. My actions will either have positive or negative effects on others. I don’t want to harm the body of Christ. Thus I fulfil the apostolic plea of 1 Corinthians by walking in love.



 



4. What will the unbelievers think?



And not only must Christians think about other Christians but about unbelievers as well. How will they react if they see me witnessing of Christ and then getting a tattoo? Will I not become a rock of offense of them? Will they not think I’m a hypocrite? After all, I am the Bible they read. Do you think my impression on them will be beneficial or detrimental? One guy said to me, “With a Christian tattoo I can show others I’m a Christian.” I replied, “I think it’s very sad that you need a tattoo for someone to know that you’re a Christian.” Ye shall know them by their fruits; not by their body-markings.



 



5. Would Jesus get one?



And last but not least here’s the big question that underlines all Christian behaviour and morality: “What would Jesus do?” If Jesus of Nazareth or John the Baptist or Paul the Apostle lived in the twenty-first century, do you honestly think they would go rushing to the tattoo parlour to join the latest craze? For some strange reason, I think not. If I’m entirely honest, most of the ‘Christian’ folk I’ve met who are aching to get tattooed are none too serious about their spiritual life. They tend to be folk that you won’t find labouring in intercession or longing after holiness. They may be nice guys, say cool things and be popular; but spiritual weightiness and maturity are lacking. That has been my own personal experience. I’ve yet to meet a Holy Ghost filled prayer warrior ask me about whether or not he (she) should get tattooed. I wonder why.



 



Conclusion



I think that if any Christian answers these five questions sincerely and prayerfully I very much doubt that he (she) would march on with his (her) desire to get a tattoo. That’s why I don’t have one and I’m never going to get one. I don’t see how it could glorify God; my conscience is uneasy about it; I know I would offend many brothers and sisters in Christ if I had one; I’m sure some unbelievers who know me would be shocked too and I am absolutely convinced that Jesus (nor any other man or woman of God in the Bible) would get one. 


 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - - Is it a sin to get a tattoo?
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation

Are Christians called to make a difference in environmental care? What has creation care to do with "loving our neighbours"? An interview with the Global Advocacy and Influencing Director of Tearfund.

 
Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA

“Prostitution is nobody’s dream,  it’s a very traumatic lifestyle”, says Kathy Bryan, director of the Elevate Academy. She mentors former victims.

 
Christians in politics? Christians in politics?

What is the role of Christians serving in politics? An interview with Auke Minnema, the new General Director of the European Christian Political Movement (ECPM).

 
Michael Ramsden: Communicating the Gospel in today’s societies Michael Ramsden: Communicating the Gospel in today’s societies

RZIM International Director Michael Ramsden responds to questions about the secularisation of Europe, the role of Christians in public leadership and the new ‘culture of victimism’.

 
Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe

The economist summarises the manifesto “Confederal Europe: Strong Nations, Strong Union” and explains why personal relationships should be at the centre of our economy, education and democracy. 

 
Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues

The World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General participated in the Italian Evangelical Alliance assembly (Rome, 8-9 April). In this interview with Evangelical Focus, Bp Tendero talks about the need to listen to local churches and to face challenges like the refugee crisis and climate change. 

 
Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum

Pritchard explains the vision of ELF, comments on the 2015 event in Poland and reflects on what it means to have an "evangelical identity".

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
Analysing current issues in the light of the Bible Analysing current issues in the light of the Bible

At the 2018 Apologetics Forum in Comarruga (Spain), Michael Ramsden, Pablo Martinez, Ruth Valerio and José de Segovia analysed how society and the Bible approach the issues of personal identity, integrity, sexuality, pop culture, and environmental care.

 
European “Bridges to Inclusion” gathering 2018, in Riga European “Bridges to Inclusion” gathering 2018, in Riga

The network of Christian ministries working for the inclusion of people with disabilities, celebrated its tenth continental meeting in Latvia with the participation of 12 countries.

 

 
Coexistence in the church - a model for society Coexistence in the church - a model for society

“Gospel, identity and coexistence” were the themes of the General Assembly of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance. Two days in Palma de Mallorca to reflect about the role of evangelical churches in society.

 
'Ungi kulimi changana' 'Ungi kulimi changana'

Educator and journalist Jordi Torrents shares images of the Sekeleka social centre in Mozambique. About 50 children live there, many with some kind of disability. All photos were taken with permission.

 
The President in an evangelical church on Christmas Eve The President in an evangelical church on Christmas Eve

For the first time, the President of Portugal attended a worship service in an evangelical church. It was in Sintra, on Christmas Eve.

 
Stamps to commemorate the Reformation Stamps to commemorate the Reformation

Poland, Lithuania, Namibia and Brazil are some of the countries that have issued special stamps on the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 theses.

 
VIDEO Video
 
What are the cultural roots of the transgender movement? What are the cultural roots of the transgender movement?

Peter Saunders, CEO of the Christian Medical Fellowship (UK) summarises>the philosophical framework that made the transgender movement so popular.

 
Pitfalls that Christian artists should avoid Pitfalls that Christian artists should avoid

Delta David Gier, Conductor and Music Director, on some of the dangers for artists.

 
Why are Christian leaders particularly vulnerable to sexual temptation? Why are Christian leaders particularly vulnerable to sexual temptation?

“The reasons why somebody might have sex with a prostitute are very different from the reasons why somebody might want to have an affair with a member of their congregation”. An analysis by John Stevens, National Director of FIEC (UK).

 
Be safe on social media Be safe on social media

A video about the way traffickers target teenage girls online, produced by anti-slavery gorup Abolishion.

 
In Mission In Mission

A 360º lyric video about how all followers of Jesus Christ are called to serve God. Duo in Spanish (Alex Sampedro) and Portuguese (Marcos Martins).

 
Heart Heart

A short animation film by Swiss cartoonist Alain Auderset tells the message of the Bible in four minutes.

 
Philip Yancey interview Philip Yancey interview

An 8-minute interview with Philip Yancey on the role of Christians in a secularised society. Recorded in Madrid, September 2016.

 
An interview with Prof. John Lennox An interview with Prof. John Lennox

New atheism, the definition of "faith", Christianity in Europe, the role of the Bible in mission, and the need to listen more. An exclusive interview recorded at "Forum Apologética" (Tarragona, Spain) in May 2016.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.