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Beliefnet News

Does Bible ban tattoos? No, scoffs shopping center church that also offers cage fighting

The Bridge, an offbeat church in a Flint, Michigan shopping center, is offering tattoos to its members. It also offers occasional classes in cage fighting, poetry slams and auto repair.

“A Michigan pastor who says he’s doing everything he can to reach out to people who don’t feel comfortable at a traditional house of worship has opened a tattoo parlor inside his church,” reports Businessweek magazine.

Pastor Steve Bentley's tattoo


But tattoos? What’s next, mixed martial arts? Professional wrestling exhibitions? Actually, the Bridge church has already offered both. It seems the Rev. Steve Bentley says his ministry is built on his conviction that mainstream Christian evangelism has become ineffective and irrelevant to most folks.

Toward that end, he hired Tattoo artists Ryan Brown and Drew Blaisdell and opened Serenity Tattoo inside the 30,000 square feet that the 500-member church owns at Flint Township’s Carman Plaza shopping center.

“Just down the hall from the Rev. Steve Bentley’s office and around the corner from the galvanized watering trough used for baptisms,” reports the Mlive news website. There the tattoo artists ply “their trade by appointment or from noon until 8 p.m., Monday-Saturday.


And one of their best customers is the parson. His back is a Christian mural.

But what about Leviticus 19:28, which plainly says, “You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves.” That would seem pretty straightforward.

Yeah, counters Bentley, but what about Isaiah 44:5, which proclaims in part: “This one will say, ‘I am the Lord’s’ and … another will write on — Continued on Page Two

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Penny

    The Bible warns us against tattoos in Leviticus 19:28 (Amplified) which says, “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print or tattoo any marks upon you: I am the Lord.”
    The bible states this, it does not say, “you can have ones that praise the Lord”

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Jeff

    Wow, this is apostasy!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Marlon

    @Penny … Read verse 27 ”Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard”

    so we’re not supposed to cut our hair?!

    That’s part of the old testament!!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Keith

    @Penny, I agree with @Marlon (and I also think your spelling and shouting might not help your cause).
    I can certainly understand your viewpoint if you conform to all the Leviticus rules, but you cannot pick and choose between adjacent verses and apply them differently.
    So I’d hope that do you not lie (at all, really), or do anything to endanger another’s life (no weasel words about acceptable risks, etc.), or wear clothing of two kinds of material, or eat fruit from a tree in its first 4 years of growth (sacrificing all 4th year’s fruit to God and not eat it), or eat meat with blood in it (so no rare steaks), or cut the hair at the sides of your head, clip the edges of your beard (may not apply to you @Penny). I hope that you stand up in the presence of the aged, observe the Sabbath (properly, e.g. do you ever shop or do any kind of work on Sunday), etc.
    In general we all break many of these rules – often knowingly and usually with a “well that obviously doesn’t apply to me in these days” kind of attitude. We usually use these arguments for the things that we want to do, while being very literal about things we don’t like or that we just don’t want to do ourselves.
    In my own opinion (just mine, not claiming it any wider than that), the tattoo verse seems to apply to particular practices “for the dead” that are inappropriate for a believer and not to tattoos altogether; in the same way that I believe the hair cutting restriction wasn’t literally meant to prevent us ever cutting our hair/beards.

    Phew – I wrote more than I meant to.
    The summary for me is that belief & faith are much more important than adherence to individual rules and if this gets more people into the kingdom then it is good; and at the very least it is redeemable by God.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment maryb

    marlon, that means even God is against a mullett.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Mobower

    This is Emergent Church Philosophy…IT IS APOSTASTY! Repent and flee from this way of thinking…Aarons’ sons brought strange fire before the Lord God and were judged accordingly…These are not Gods ideas but mans

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment mkg

    Leviticus 19:28
    New King James Version (NKJV)

    28 You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the Lord.

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