Should Christians Get Tattoos? Regarding Todd Bentley And Leviticus 19:28
Posted by Job on May 22, 2008
Note: this was my response to a “Contact Us” query, but unfortunately the person who sent the question did not leave a valid email address. So perhaps the questioner will see my reply cut and pasted here.
Some say that Leviticus 19:28 forbids getting tattoos. The verse reads “‘You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the LORD” according to most of the newer translations. Others say that Leviticus 19:28 is taken out of context or applies only to Israel living under the old covenant. I personally would urge a Christian not to get a tattoo. Tattooing is part of the practice of a lot of pagan religions. Also, a lot of the popular tattoos literally are symbols from the occult, wicca, paganism, earth worship, etc., or they are rebellious political symbols. Furthermore, you are going to know very little about the person with the needle punching holes in your skin … about that person’s religious beliefs or what motivated him or her to become a tattoo artist in the first place. And it is also unhealthy: various diseases like herpes, hepatitis, even AIDS have been known to be transmitted by tattoo parlors that do not sterilize their needles. So not getting tattoos is my personal recommendation, and because it is so unwise – in addition to being quite painful – I cannot help but wonder about any Christian that has one. And I feel quite comfortable in saying that because I myself have a tattoo that I got back when I was unsaved and living quite foolishly, and to this day regard it as one of the worst of my many very bad decisions! If someone were to make the case that having a tattoo is a sin, based on my own experience I would not disagree.
But I am not willing to go that far myself. Since I do not know if it is mentioned in the New Testament – and even its mention in the Old Testament is singular and in a questionable context – I am not going to create a doctrine out of it. I would rather not be guilty of what Jesus Christ convicted the unbelieving Pharisees of in the Gospel of John, of judging by external standards. So, I will leave it at what Paul said in the 1 Corinthians 10:23: all things are lawful for me but not all things are expedient. This selection particularly fits the larger context of 1 Corinthians 10, which is dealing with temptation, and the books of Corinthians, where Paul was writing to a worldly carnal church in a heavily paganized and immoral city … Corinth was a “port city” with all that implied, and it also contained a bunch of social climbers and status seekers. Quite frankly I do not see the need for a tattoo, or nor do I know what purpose it would have in praising or bringing someone closer to God. I do not know how getting a tattoo uplifts Jesus Christ.
Even putting a tattoo depicting cross or the Name of God … that is sketchy territory because God says no graven images (and yes tattooing is engraving in your skin, trust me I have one and I know!) and not to take His Name in vain. So even if it technically is not a sin, it is foolishness that serves no good purpose and reflects badly on someone’s judgment. After all, why even get a tattoo? Because a person see someone else with it and it looks cool. Chances are that cool looking person with the tattoo is a secular celebrity: a rock or rap musician, an actor, or an athlete. Or in this instance a famous preacher! I feel safe to say that not very many people can claim to have gotten their desire to get a tattoo from what they received during their intensive Bible study, for if they did that person would have to deal with Leviticus 19:28!
So, if the case against Todd Bentley was his tattoos (and his pierced lip … and I do not have any piercings, just the one tattoo!), I would not be the one to make it. As it is, I do not have to judge him by those external standards, but rather by spiritual standards. Which spiritual standards? The doctrine that he preaches, which is incontrovertibly false, and the people that he associates with, which are those known to not only preach false doctrines but also have dishonest financial dealings and histories of sexual immorality. To sum it all up, the case against Todd Bentley can be made by comparing this YouTube clip of him preaching against the contents of the Bible. Please watch the YouTube clip below to understand that no matter what the man’s appearance is, he preaches dangerous heresies and Christians should denounce rather than follow him.
In addition, here are the views of some other Christians on this topic:
It contains these videos:
- Todd Bentley and the Florida Outpouring Part 2
- Todd Bentley and the Florida Outpouring Part 4
- Todd Bentley and the Florida Outpouring Part 5