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Dear Mark,

Thank you for taking the time to read the article, Tattoo You? , by Rev. Steve Schlissel.

Since the Bible speaks uniformly to the whole community of Christian faith, oneís interpretation, response, and application should not be contingent upon whether Schlissel is a Covenant/Reformed type of guy or if you are an Independent Evangelical type of guy.

But what does happen is each individual person and groups of people place higher regards to certain scriptural texts than others.  People prioritize, emphasize, and assign importance upon various admonitions and instructions differently.  The result is differing applications and ethics.

This is not necessarily bad but, as is the case of all things, too much of a good thing begins to stack up and rot.  In other words, there are some absolute truths that apply to everyone in every circumstance.

Schlisselís article assumes at least 3 biblical truths that are ranked very high on the priority list:

1.      For Christianís there are no matters of personal preference.  All that matters is the preference of our Lord Jesus Christ who ransomed us from the sting of death with His own precious blood and, therefore, I am not my own but belong, body and soul, to my faithful savior.  It is a matter of fidelity Ė there is no middle ground, no neutral issues.

2.      The Christian duty is to be a transformer of culture, not a conformer to culture.  God continues to call His people out of the mass to be a peculiar people.  Manís sinful nature desires synthesis.  Godís holy requirements forces antithesis. (Luke 12:41 & 2 Cor 6:17)

3.      As a peculiar people, God has ordained that His people be marked as a sign of His covenant.  The Old Testament mark was circumcision.  The New Testament mark is Baptism and corresponds to circumcision.  As sure as the lost and un-saved are marked accordingly, so every one of Godís children is marked by God Himself.  Godís people are to be content with the marking of God.

 Finally, to assert that these principals rank very high in the life of Christian believers and, thus, are to influence the way Christians think, act, and live is not an automatic criticism of someone who has a different set of priorities (or none at all, as is most of the case).  Rather, it is a challenge to all Christians to acknowledge that ideas do have consequences, what is in the heart is the way we will act, that God does seem to care that His people behave like they are His children, and that sanctification is a process by which we learn to bring our knowledge of learning to worship Him better to bear on a lost and dying world around us.

 Godís grace to you,

 Pat Hurd