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Ill try make this as short as possible. I was christian throughout my childhood. I lost christ at aroubd age 12 and took up paganism and witchcraft. Some time in my late teens i found god for a short time got baptised then lost him again. I have children all with pagan names and i also have a pagan tattoo. Even if i found god again i cant exactly change my childrens names and cant afford tattoo removal etc. This is holding me back from seeking god
 

Lämmchen

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Unfortunately the pastor will not be able to post his response here until next week. Keep watching this thread :)
 

Lämmchen

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Pastor Rickert asked me to copy and paste his response here to your question:

The Lord be with you,


The short answer to your question is: Come back. Tattoos and the names of your children are no barrier to the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord.


Now, the longer answer: There are examples of believers having names that honor false gods. Anenath was the daughter of Potiphera, a priest of the Idol On. She is the mother of two of the tribes of Israel, Manasseh and Ephraim (Genesis 41:50-52). Though she had a “pagan” name, she never changed her name nor was the name an impediment to her becoming a true believer. The opening chapters of Joshua relate the story of Israel’s conquest of the city of Jericho. In chapter 2 we read about Rahab, a temple prostitute, who helped the spies escape capture. Following the fall of Jericho, she continued to live among the people of God and even became an ancestor of Jesus. Her pagan background didn’t keep her out of membership into the kingdom of God. Ruth (who has a whole book named after her) was a Moabite. Moabites were officially barred from becoming part of Israel because they opposed Israel when they entered the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 23:3; Numbers 22-23). Nonetheless, she married one of the sons of Elimelech and Naomi and became the mother of Obed and the ancestor, not only of David and Solomon, but also Jesus. Again, the Gospel is stronger than the Law. Baal, a pagan idol, literally means “lord” and was a composite in many names, including names of people who were true believers. Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah had their names changed to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego by Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 1:6-7). They go by these pagan names for the rest of the book. Again, names are no obstacle. Silas is the English form of the Latin Silvanus (which is used in the KJV). He was a co-worker with Saint Paul (Acts 15:22). He never changed his name, even though it was the name of the Roman god of the forest. Again, we find names as no obstacle to coming to faith in Jesus and becoming part of the Church. When the Gospel spread into the pagan Roman Empire, we find no record of a movement in the Church of a mass name change among believers, not in the New Testament nor in the traditions passed down to us.


This same principle holds true for your tattoo. We have one direct reference to tattoos in the Bible, Leviticus 19:28. It is part of a larger list of things to avoid by the Israelites once they enter the Promised Land. These are practices of the pagans that surround them. If I wanted to be hard nosed about this, I’d have to admit that it is not a prohibition against old tattoos but against new tattoos. However, this text is directed to specific people (Old Testament Israel) in a specific setting (living in the Promised Land). It is not a general prohibition for all people for all time. No where do we read we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus and having no tattoos. This was part of the ceremonial law which was fulfilled by Jesus (Romans 10:4; Colossians 2:16-17). If the tattoo truly bothers you, you can have it modified. I have a friend who had his DFFD (a biker tattoo standing for Demon Forever, Forever Demon) changed to LFFL (Lutheran Forever, Forever Lutheran).


Two more points. First, the fact that the Holy Spirit has called you back through the word, that the baptism you received so long ago is still valid and being used by the Holy Spirit, is a wonderful witness. It actually gives you an opportunity to share the Gospel in a way I never can, except by saying “I heard once about …”


Second, the message that you cannot join the Church because of the names of your children and/or your tattoos, is not the message of Christ. It is the message of Satan seeking to keep you pagan by sowing false information. Christ has done everything necessary for our salvation, and his work is more powerful than any work we may have done.


Finally, I’ve answered this from an historic, confessional, Lutheran point-of-view. We make a big deal about separating Law and Gospel. Those who do not make a big deal about this difference might give you a different answer. I firmly believe this answer about your questions reflects the Bible.


Blessings in Christ,

Pastor John Rickert

Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod
 
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