Gospel freedom or divine prohibition?

As a pastor with some tattoos, I want to thank you for your Q & A response to the letter regarding tattoos. Aside from having personal meaning for me, my tattoos have opened many doors to witnessing, both to those who question why a pastor would do such a thing (to speak of Gospel freedom and not turning personal preferences into divine prohibitions) and to those who have tattoos (to let them know instantly that I am not a person/pastor/Christian who is prejudiced against them because of their appearance). While your correspondent is certainly entitled to his/her opinions and preferences, I would encourage him/her to look more deeply into others and remember that beauty is always more than skin deep.

Rev. David Boedecker
Marshall, Mich.

Thank you for your article on tattooing. This question came up in my congregation recently, and I did an extensive amount of research into the question of whether tattooing is forbidden by God or not. As a result of that research, I have come to the conclusion that the answer is not as clear as your article indicates. To dismiss the prohibition as simply being a part of the ceremonial law is not convincing since it is not clear that the prohibition has anything to do with the ceremonial law at all. I think that additional study into this question would be helpful, especially since so many of our young people are engaging in this activity.

Rev. Wayne Schwiesow
Cape Girardeau, Mo.

While I cannot disagree with anything the Rev. Dr. Jerald Joersz stated in the September 2011 The Lutheran Witness Q & A, I wish he had developed the last sentence more: But decisions in this area [regarding tattoos] are best left up to individuals, with encouragement to seek wise and informed counsel of others. While there are no applicable biblical prohibitions that prohibit Christians to have tattoos today, the temporal reasons should encourage those considering tattoos to seek the wise and informed counsel of others. I have never heard a person say, Oh, I sure wish I had gotten tattoos when I was young. I have, however, heard many people say, I regret getting this tattoo. I wish I could get it removed. Wise counsel would have those who are considering self-expression in the form of body art to think twice about it.

Rev. Mark Carnahan
Hot Springs Village, Ark.

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