The following video is lengthy but well worth the time.
Principle # 1: As Christians we should view our financial affairs as a spiritual matter. (Luke 19:11 – 13)
Principle # 2: As Christians we should have a reasonable expectation of accountability concerning our finances. (Luke 19:14 – 15)
Principle # 3: If we do not identify and honestly address our monetary issues, then we’re heading for financial doom. (Luke 19:20 – 21)
Several months ago I started to write a blog on what has become a common practice with many Christians and I decided to hold off until just a few days ago. What changed my mind? A simple but brief texting session with one of my sons spurred me to finish what I began. I hesitated because I suspected my statements would once again run against the grain of the majority. I’m fairly sure a significant number of my Christian brothers and sisters will even disagree with me. Disagreements aren't always negative. Opposing views and conflict should cause us to examine an issue in life more closely.
So with the likely potential of ruffling a few feathers here goes…
The common practice among Christians I write about today is that of tattooing. Now by no means do I want to give anyone the idea that getting a tattoo is some sort of “mortal” sin. There are numerous New Testament passages that would suggest we’re at liberty to do many things that were once condemned under the Old Covenant. My query with Christians marking their bodies with tattoos is one of testimony. I believe we need to ask ourselves the question of why God at one time condemned the practice of tattooing. Note Leviticus 19: 28 were God states: “You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves: I am the Lord.”
So if you haven’t studied this passage before “Joe” or “Sally” Christian what would your answer be if someone inquired about the rightness or wrongness of believers getting tattoos?
Would you say that’s just the Old Testament and it no longer applies to us today? Or would you take a more defensive approach and answer the question with another question? A defensive posture would be to question the practice of eating certain meats from unclean animals, blending different cloths together, or planting a field with two kinds of seeds also known as intercropping. These three practices were at one time forbidden for God’s people to do but not now. I’m sure many believers would argue that the prohibition for tattooing is no different than these other restrictions, and with the establishment of the New Covenant our views on such a practice should change. In support of this argument one most likely would point to a passage such as Acts 10 where God corrects Peter’s attitude concerning things clean and unclean or the writings of the Apostle Paul (I Corinthians 8) where he addresses meats offered to idols.
Actually it’s unfair to take one verse out of a particular writing without providing the proper context to the whole article. So, Leviticus 19 begins by focusing on the holiness of God and the statutes which follow are standards for the nation of Israel to keep which reflect His holiness. The keeping of these laws also served as a testimony to the world that God’s people were to be a separate people. Again we need to take the entire passage in its proper context. Each of the laws in Leviticus 19 fall under one of the three distinctions: ceremonial, civil, or moral, and it’s not uncommon as we read the Old Testament to find these distinctions overlapping.
Ceremonial laws related to Israel’s worship and ceased with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Civil laws were those which guided Israel’s daily life, and moral laws were those such as the Ten Commandments which addressed man’s relationship with God and other individuals. Of the Ten Commandments, nine are spoken of in the New Testament as still in effect today. We should expect then that a multiplicity of unquestionable behaviors and activities would be categorized under these nine commandments.
As one reads through Leviticus 19 it becomes obvious that verses 26 – 31 are religious in nature and address pagan practices dating back to the time of Moses and before. It’s also clear that some of these statutes would fall under the area of civil law while others under the moral banner. One could say there are no specific prohibitions against these practices in the New Testament, but then how does one deal with verse 29 which speaks of turning one’s daughter over to prostitution? Surely all would agree to sell a daughter into prostitution is morally reprehensible. I also believe many Christians would agree that verses 26 and 31 concerning witchcraft and other contrary religious practices are wrong from at least a spiritual standpoint. We cannot isolate one part of a scriptural passage in order to justify or condemn a particular practice we may or may not agree with, in general. Remember many laws overlap where we might find commonality with a civil law and a moral law.
When the Apostle Paul wrote to the Church at Corinth he did address at least one pagan practice and the applications derived from this teaching are many today. To make a long story short, Paul essentially states we’re at liberty to partake of some things that were once considered part of pagan rituals but freedom doesn’t necessarily equate to a right action. The bottom line comes back to our Christian witness. Again I’m not saying that getting a tattoo is a sin. What I am questioning is the message we’re sending to other impressionable Christians and the world.
In our social media driven society do we really need to see “Sally Christian’s” new tattoo emblazoned across the upper portion of her breast or her lower back? Does “Joe Christian” need to show us his new cross tat and scripture verse on Facebook no matter how good the message may be? When the Church begins to look and act like the secular society in which we live how can we expect the world to see any real distinction? Isn’t the Church called to be different just as the nation of Israel was called to be a separate nation?
I hope you know I don’t mean to sound legalistic or judgmental. I’m just asking a question in brotherly love. Maybe you see tattoos as an art form or even a way of expressing your faith. I’m really just questioning the wisdom of the placing and exhibiting of these markings.
I realize all Christians have a life before Christ and a life with Christ. I readily admit I’ve made many mistakes in my life and even now I still don’t get everything right. Also, in light of all that is taking place in our world with terrorism, extreme poverty, and assortment of other issues in humanity tattoos aren’t a big deal, but our Christian witness is always significant to a lost and dying world.
P.S. No I do not have any tats!
Asking the right questions when looking for a new church home is vital for your spiritual well-being and that of your family.
The article below was written by a good friend named Chuck Wilson, and is part of a conversation he had with his son, a student at Duke University School of Law concerning our Constitution. I received permission from Chuck to print this some time ago and was waiting for the right time; today is the right day as our country once again heads to the polls.
Just a little about Chuck Wilson. He served our country in Iraq as member of the United States Marines, and his service continues presently as a law enforcement officer. Chuck is extremely intelligent and well versed biblically. I hope he will consider writing more in the future.
By Chuck Wilson
The United States Constitution should not be abandoned, rather it should be held up as a triumph of mankind and divine inspiration. It was cultivated in the fertile minds of some of the greatest men in human history. Two men in particular; John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, proved that their dichotomous relationship and mutual respect of one another despite starkly different ideological views was the perfect recipe for a document that has stood the test of time and will likely endure for centuries to come.
The United States Constitution is the perfect mix of dogma and flexibility. The constitution's primary genius is the idea of "checks and balances." It seems likely that in light of the preceding document, "The Declaration of Independence" (of which the United States Constitution appears to be the natural outgrowth) which employed language invoking divine authority, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
It appears the constitution is a microcosm of the Christian faith. Indeed the separation of powers between a strong executive, a bicameral congress and an independent judiciary is reminiscent of the separate but equal powers of the Holy Trinity; God the Father, God the Son (who is both God and man), and God the Spirit. The idea that government governs with the consent of the governed seems reminiscent of a superior and sovereign God Who is yet so inclined to extend to men the freewill to choose their own eternal destinies.
The bill of rights seems to further the image of a magnanimous God Who has the perfect mix of absolute authority and divine mercy which does not violate the will or rights of men even when at times it is to the detriment of those men. The United States Constitution is a picture of the principals of the Christian faith which has stood the test of millennia. Judeo Christian values are the bed rock of our society and western culture in general, which is modeled most superbly in the United States Constitution.
Additionally, because our forefathers unanimously believed that men are made in the image of God each individual in American society has intrinsic value and should be trusted and heeded not subjugated and controlled. Because the souls of men are eternal they should be served by the services and functions of a finite government.
The constitution is flexible in that specific changes can be made as needed yet the enduring principles of the document are rigid and unchanging. This resoluteness gives the constitution an authority that transcends governments and documents speaking to the law which is written within the hearts of men. The constitution is not a "living" document subject to the whims and contrivances of frail humanity. The constitution is a declaration of natural and self evident fact which is so organized so as to maintain its efficiency and effectiveness by it shear simplistic genius for as long as mankind shall exists.
Dark indeed will be the day when the fads and sins of fallen men dictate what truth is by epoch rather than the transcendent and self efficacious truth that resonates in the souls and consciousness of mankind.
Last week the Supreme Court of the United States may have showed its hand by staying a ruling of a lower court which ruled against the gay marriage ban in Virginia and thereby affecting similar laws in other states. Many political insiders and judicial watchers believe this decision is an indication of how the High Court will eventually rule. Many cultural experts, and seemingly most Americans if we believe the polls, suggest that gay marriage is inevitable. The cynic in me, or maybe I should say the realist in me agrees with their assessment.
Approximately six years ago I was serving in a new church and one of my parishioners approached me with several questions regarding my position on certain doctrinal and social issues. (As a side note, this member served for a period of time in the Clinton administration, and the reason I make mention of this is that it may help to clarify his own political views and the context of our conversation. To say the least, we had our differences but got along well as brothers in Christ.) One of his questions concerned my views on homosexuality and why my sermons early on at this particular church seemed to focus on the gay marriage debate. My answer; “Gay marriage is the number one social issue on the horizon, and how we handle it may very well determine the direction of the Church in America and our country for generations. It’s only a matter of time before gay marriage will be made legal in all 50 states. Once it’s the law of the land the homosexual agenda will turn its focus on Christian organizations including the Church.”
This may have seemed like an exaggeration at the moment to this former church member, but time I believe is proving me right. I wasn’t speaking then nor am I now as some sort of prophet who foretells the future. I’m simply an observer of our culture and its rapidly changing beliefs. These changes reveal much about our view of the Scriptures and God’s authority. The Bible once held in high esteem apparently no longer serves as America’s moral compass.
To be frank, gay marriage is only the next step along this path we’ve been on for years now, and when proponents have raised questions concerning other “sins” the Church has often appeared to minimize their seriousness in comparison to homosexuality. Adopting a “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” philosophy regarding sex outside of marriage seems to be the case across the broad spectrum of the Church. This is a problem, but a problem with differences. As a pastor I can honestly say most clergy probably don’t address fornication in its various forms enough to help our congregations maintain a sense of real purity. We don’t speak enough about the battles men and women face with pornography and how to overcome its addictive draw. There’s no doubt sexual immorality is an issue even among seniors who now have one of the highest STD rates among all age groups in America. (Report: STDs on the Rise Among America’s Senior Citizens)
The real issue is the attempts made by gay marriage proponents to normalize a sinful behavior as non-sinful. A large portion of the Church still acknowledges any sex outside of marriage as sinful and not something to promote as right and wholesome. This would also hold true for most who watch pornography. If these were not still considered sinful behaviors then individuals wouldn’t have such strong desires to keep their actions secret from family, friends, and the Church.
I recently watched a commercial on a local station with the tag line “Marriage is Marriage.” The advertisement showed three gay couples and two straight couples in supposed marital relationships with young families in tow. The message was clear; the union of a homosexual couple is just as normal and legitimate as that of a heterosexual couple. According to God’s Word “Marriage is NOT Marriage” in a homosexual context. From the earliest of times marriage has been recognized as the union of a man and woman with God performing the first recorded marriage in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:18, 21 – 25). Even Christ confirms the idea of marriage being only between a man and woman in Matthew 19 when He states:
Matthew 19:4-6 (ESV) He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
Please permit me just a few more thoughts on the subject.