Americans love their tattoos and Christians are no exception. Also known as “body art,” it is becoming more common even as some argue permanently staining skin with words and images conflicts with Christian values. The Pew Research Institute calls
tattoos “the most popular form of self-expression” among young adults. About 36% of Millennials and 40% of Gen-Xers have tattoos. Those who love tattoos say it can be an important part of expressing the Christian faith:
Here are 5 reasons some Christians say tattoos are okay:
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1. Tattoos are a permanent sign of loving God: Christian tattoo artists say their work is a ministry. While they do not argue that most tattoo parlors are places that do not glorify God, they point to their own “safe” shops as good places for Christians to explore body art which glorifies God.
2. Christians are free:The Alliance of Christian Tattooers points
to the Bible verse Romans 8:1
which emphasizes Christian freedom. It says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Having a Jesus tattoo may give you the opportunity to talk about Jesus.
3. Scriptural prohibitions are taken out of context: While some point to the Leviticus 19:28 verse
which seems to prohibit the practice of tattooing for Christians, Santa Cruz Bible Church pastor Chuck Gerwig offers advice
to take this and all scripture in context. Gerwig says the verse really refers to false religious practices of the day, not a specific prohibition against body art.
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4. Tattoos can give an opportunity to talk about Jesus: Gerwig also points out that many Christians use tattooing as a permanent way to glorify God and to remind themselves and others of the faith. Gerwig writes, “Christian tattoos attract questions about faith and provide opportunities to give God glory by allowing the story telling of his Love to those who aren’t convinced yet.”
5. God cares most about the heart: Christian tattoo proponents say that tattooed heart on your arm is far less important than the one beating inside your body and soul. Christian tattoos point to what is going on inside the body, not the outside. Proponents of Christian tattoos believe arguments against the body art are little more than vanity, pointing to 1 Samuel 16:7 which says,
“The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
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