folautattsYour kid might not be desperate to get inked, but the prevalence of tattoos these days means they are going to be on their radar. 

Doesn’t the Bible say something about body markings?

How do we interpret and apply the Old Testament laws?

Isn’t it inconsistent to apply some and not all of the laws?

Professional Footballer Sacked for quoting 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

Recently in Australia a footballer was sacked for quoting/paraphrasing 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 on his Instagram page, but he was also covered in tattoos. Was that hypocritical?

Here’s the Instagram post that got him sacked:



He has been criticized for not ‘softening’ the word and labelled a ‘gay hater’ but it is clear from his other comments he not only spoke truthfully but with the motivation of love and kindness.

Here’s a clarifying comment he made below the post:

‘Those that are living in sin will end up in Hell unless they repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to Him”. (my emphasis)

But peeps were quick to impugn his motives and slam him as using ‘hate speech’ and criticize him as being a hypocrite. They mock him, crying hypocrite, because they see him applying the laws against homosexuality on the one hand but not others from the Old Testament Law, such as those against body markings or eating shell fish. 'How come he eats prawns? What's with the tatts? Looks like there's more going to hell than he realises!'

You can see what I mean by the article:Tattoos and Other sins that could send us all to Hell

Is Folau a hypocrite who selectively applies the Law to suit himself and persecute gays?

In this post I want to answer the question about body markings so we can have better conversations with those we disagree with.

“How to apply 'Law' as a Christian 101”

In the FB ad promotions I did for Skito’s Israel Folau’s protest song, called "Out On My Erse”, I was asked ‘surely his god does not approve of his body markings?’

Here’s Skito’s response in the ad comments section:

“Ok I see where ya goin'. Thing is, interpretation is not flat. We gotta take into consideration the continuous and discontinuous nature of the aw in the Bible. So if you just pick the book up you see one law in one place and one law right down the other end...are both not equally applicable? answer: depends on how you interpret the bible. If you think its all flat and one contour then yes. Most people go make that mistake. But the way to undersand the Bible is through Jesus. He shows what is continuous and what is discontinuous. So for example, Christians eat whatever they like, but Jewish people who don't accept Jesus as messiah, still have restrictions. But Jesus declared all foods as 'clean'. So we go eat whatever, it no longer has holiness implications. Same goes for a lot of law, it once held value and importance but not since the big JC came. And some, even the Jewish people can't fulfil 'cause they ain’t got not temple no more, so ceremonially, they just can't do it. Point being, don't read the Bible flat like gotta take more time to feel the contours and where it's all goin'. The answer is its all goin' to JC.The New Testament shows us how to understand him and what laws are still to be upheld and what are of no lasting significance...we ain't national Israel livin' in a promised land no more, we people livin' all over from all cultures, united by God's love to us in Jesus”

Universal 'moral' laws and temporary, sign pointers

What I’m saying is there are some laws we understand as being morally binding that are universal and apply even before the law was given to Moses. God made male and female in Genesis 2, establishing the two genders and giving them purpose and moral accountability within creation. The law of Moses which came long after, often amplifies and details moral obligations, civil order and ceremonial practices for the nation of Israel. However, in many cases law that applied to the nation state of Israel have been rendered complete by Jesus in his death and resurrection. That is, they were signs pointing the way to Jesus; they were charcoal sketches and patterns (Hebrews) for us to understand who and what Jesus would do for us. But when he came, we threw out the charcoal sketch and embraced the real deal. For example the food laws; Jesus declared all foods ‘clean’; the ceremonial laws surrounding the temple and sacrifices Jesus fulfilled and brought to an end by becoming the ‘once for all sacrifice’ in the temple, since his body was the temple of God and the sacrifice, in one. Consequently, laws that apply to food (shell fish, pork) and what we wear or markings on the body, aren’t the concern of Christians as they might have been 'markers' of holy Israelites as our holiness is primarily demonstrated by godly living instead of external treatments to the body. Christians might be dags, but you won't often find us dressing in a way that says...oh there go the Christians, unlike Buddhist monks, Hari Krishnas, Orthodox Jews etc.

Not so fast Mr!

However, the Mosaic law isn’t always neatly cut into sections that are clearly ‘fulfilled’ and therefore don’t apply and ones that still have some moral implications for Christians. There are no clear headings in the Law that say ‘ceremonial’ or ‘civil’ or ‘moral’, therefore, it’s not a simple ‘chapters 25-37 are out, but 28 is in’, scenario. Sometimes there are moral implications within the Mosaic law that are not so obvious at first sight, e.g. ‘don’t muzzle the ox’ immediately applies to farming in Israel in the promised land, but St Paul applies it to humans being kind to each other; letting those who work unpaid in Christian ministry to get a meal from those they serve now and then! Remember Jubilee 2000? Here the compassionate beauty of dropping debts at the year of Jubilee in Israel was seen as a good example for us to follow in dropping the debt of nations in extreme poverty by the year 2000. So don't throw out all the Mosaic law of Genesis to Deuteronomy, just because 'Jesus came and fulfilled it'. That is true, but it doesn't eliminate the entire law from having any moral implications into your daily practice.

'those laws considered moral'

In the 39 articles of the Anglican church, ministers have to sign off on one article in particular that accepts obedience to all law ‘considered moral’ and so it’s not as though we can randomly ignore verses of Mosaic law as we please. Instead, consideration ought to be given to whether Jesus’ words or actions have abrogated them (e.g. unclean food and sacrifices) or if there is still some universal moral force to be considered within those laws. By in large, in practice it means letting the New Testament and what we learn about Jesus and how he applies and fulfils the law, determine what law is continuous and discontinuous.

The early church had to wrestle with what the law meant for non-jewish Christians

In Acts we see the mainly Jewish-Christian church in Jerusalem struggle to work out whether non-Jews, who also were becoming Christians elsewhere in the Roman Empire, should obey some if any of the Mosaic law. They answered in the negative: ‘that was a burden none of us Jews were able to bear, so why lump it on gentiles?’ What they did recommend was sexual purity in contrast to the sexually immoral Roman society they lived in and to ‘abstain from food given to idols’, most likely to avoid harming the conscience of jewish-christian brothers and sisters who would find that hard to reconcile.

Has this been helpful?

What questions do you have about the law? How do you read apply it?

Getting out on your erse for Jesus

Working through these issues enables us to have better conversations with those that criticize Christians for saying that the practice of homosexuality is wrong and faces God’s judgement (as do all sins and sinners who do not turn to God for forgiveness in Jesus’ name btw) but then see us ignoring other aspects of the Mosaic law.

In the end, it may not make a lot of difference, people just want us to shut up and remove our voice from public space.

Doesn’t mean we should absent ourselves or be silent.

Which is why I wrote the protest song about Israel Folau:

Listen to Out On My Erse here

Share "Out On My Erse" with someone today!