11 September 2012

James MacDonald Gets Inked for the Kingdom?

The Resurgence has just posted a short video discussion between Mark Driscoll and James MacDonald. Below the video, we read:
Down with horizontal helpfulness, and up with the vertical manifestation presence of God in the presence of his church. That's the motto for James MacDonald's Vertical Church Tour—he even got a tattoo to represent it. (Source)
Now, I'm not quite sure what that first sentence is supposed to mean. The rest of the brief post attempts to explain it, but I think they were just trying to impress us with multisyllabic words (watch out, Rick Warren) and alliteration.

Regardless, the second sentence is true. Yes, Vertical Church is here to stay...on James MacDonald's arm:
Screenshot: YouTube
Screenshot: YouTube
Are we to suppose that James MacDonald plans to walk around with his hand raised up in the air most of the time (as a friend pointed out, perhaps he's planning on challenging this man)? I hope so, otherwise this artwork will be pointing downward which, if I'm not mistaken, runs a bit contrary to what MacDonald claims Vertical Church is all about.

And is it just my imagination, or does it look a bit crooked? Bummer.

Further Reading
The Resurgence Reminds Us of the Piper-Warren Embrace
No Compromise Ever: Episode 1
Learning to Pray with Steven Furtick and Joel Osteen

39 comments:

  1. He should get an elephant on his other arm to balance things out a bit.

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  2. How ironic the vertical tat is pointing downward most of the time. Hmmmmmm..... makes you stop and ponder.

    Thanks for all you do!

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  3. I'm confused, doesn't Leviticus 19.28 tell us not to get a tattoo? Isn't obedience to His word a sign of a true believer? Shouldn't the Pastor of a mega church ( of which I have many friends) lead his church(es) by example,(" follow me as I follow Christ")? How sad!!!!

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    1. To answer your question? YES God hates tattooing just the same as he still hates bestiality or homosexuality. He has not changed his mind because THIS reflects HIS HOLY CHARACTER.

      People often misapply the "We're no longer under law we're under grace" verse to justify their actions. And yes we ARE under grace but Paul also said we should NOT use this FREEDOM as a license to SIN. Rom 6:15 "What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!"
      Rom 6:16 "Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey--whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?"

      Basically Paul is saying we are FREE and slaves unto righteousness so ACT LIKE IT and represent the Character of your FATHER in heaven and stop living like you are slaves to SIN which is uncharacteristic of your Father but more representing the unholy character of the world's father-Satan.

      God in the Old Testament has revealed his character to us. God has not changed his character simply because we are under grace. the things he condemns and the things he loves in the O.T. are the same things he still loves and hates.. The same language HE had for Israel in setting them (apart) from the heathen nations is carried over into the New Testament. . In Leviticus, He used language such as you are a Redeemed, peculiar and special people- (act, dress and talk appropriately)--Why? "I am the Lord." So you’re going to be my people and demonstrate that you are my people by the way you look and act and dress and eat and worship because Israel was his chosen nation. It’s clear-In the N.T.--we see the same sort of language in the New Covenant for God’s redeemed chosen people as was in the Old Cove. With God’s restriction of our behavior on the basis of his purchase of us, his redemption of us. This precisely and exactly what we find in 1 Cor. chapter 6.

      We're representing the very Character of our GOD.

      as a dear brother said once~"This is the issue of how the ambassador of Christ is to rightly represent the Almighty God, Sovereign King, Supreme Judge, Only Savior and Redeemer of all mankind. How we represent Him in the world directly impacts the Holy and Righteous Character we are presenting to the world. For we don’t just preach words. We show the evidence of a transformed life to a fallen world, and thus the miraculous proof that verifies His Words.. When we show we are not transformed by having changed lives (no longer like we were when we were unregenerated, and thus no longer of the world or like the world), we are by our lives denying the very truths of Scripture that we are claiming in His name. Thus, to show ourselves as worldly as the rest of the unregenerated lost world (whether in appearance, behavior, speech, etc.) is to display for them that either we don’t believe the very Bible we claim to follow, or that we represent some “christ” that is not holy at all, but worldly. And since that is not the Jesus Christ of the Scriptures, that would be in a very real and practical sense, representing a false Christ to the world."

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    2. ok ... so lets read the verse right before the one that condemns James for getting a tattoo ... Lev. 19:27 "You shall not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edges of your beard." ... uh oh James cut the hair on his temples and he definitely trimmed his beard. This guy is a total pagan. Please read and study your Bible!

      James MacDonald got a tattoo ... let's move on.

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  4. Leviticus 19:28? Really? Please people, read and study your Bible before just grabbing random verses to judge others. If we are truly sola scriptura kind of people shouldn't we actually study the Scriptures. How sad!!!

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  5. The Tattoo is so bad, I'm pretty sure that Pastor James is playing around and the tattoo is fake (washable). Maybe, getting marked is his way of trying to feed silly info to (and discredit) any blogs that challenge a more serious doctrinal and ecclesiology problem.

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    1. Could be, Anonymous, but there seems to be a fair amount of evidence to the contrary. There are several links included in this comment string that seem to indicate that this is a true tattoo and that other members of the Vertical Church tour have followed the leader. And, judging from this July 1 tweet by James MacDonald himself, I'd say that Vertical Church is here to stay.

      If it is just a tattoo from a box of Cracker Jacks, then I'll be happy to pass that information along once it washes off.

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  6. The Director of the Women's Ministry at Harvest Bible Chapel in Rolling Meadows has a blog post today on Cool Christians in which she mentions tattoos. Sounds like James MacDonald should have consulted with her before getting inked.

    http://livingwithpower.org/

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    1. Now that's interesting. Thanks for sharing, Anonymous.

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    2. Just read this link of Women's Ministry director at Harvest Rolling Meadows. Somebody named Joe actually called her out about this.

      BTW, I don't think that tatoos are wrong and sinful. We are not under the law of the OT any longer. The reason that homosexuality is still sinful is because God's condemnation of it is repeated in the NT.

      Here's an excellent article concerning these kinds of subjects - http://thecripplegate.com/shellfish-mixed-fabrics-and-homosexuality-picking-and-choosing/

      However, I think it quite strange that this man, being a pastor, decides to tatoo himself with his own special brand and encourages others around him to do the same. Sorry, though its not sin to me, it is somewhat cultic.

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    3. Anon @ 11:51, Let's keep the record straight on the OT sins and the NT ones. Which OT sin are we now permitted to participate in with impunity and for which Christ died in vain? EVERY OT sin that is named is still on the "books". The NT actually goes futher that the OT in many ways---Try Matt. 5:28 for starters. Try Deut. 4:2 and Rev. 22:18 & 19.

      As for James and his tat it's as if the snake said to the wolf: "Nice tat, no? Yeah, but who cares?" Children at play in their sandbox.

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    4. All of Joe's comments pointing out the inconsistency of her blog article and her own pastor's behavior have been erased. Fear of the catapult strikes again!

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    5. It looks like that posting from Joe was removed from her blog comments. She herself has a comment indicating she removed some controversial comments made by someone. Go figure.

      HBC and JM in particular are not hesitant in applying the OT tithing command of Malachi 3:10 to the local church (i.e. the "storehouse") but I guess OT anti tattoo command doesn't apply.

      While preaching thru Book of Revelation a couple years ago (Rev 19:16 I think), JM mentioned that Jesus may have a tattoo like marking on his thigh. He wasn't dogmatic on it but seemed to be open to the idea that tatoos are not neccesssarily bad.

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    6. I just checked her blog. All the posts regarding MacDonald and his tattoo and his band's tattoos have been taken down. There were more than just from the guy named Joe. Too bad. There were some good points made in those posts and some good questions asked.

      Once again, The Catapult reigns!

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    7. Darrel, did you read the article, or are you still living with a guilty conscience about eating a good round of oyster's and clams? Certain things were specific to the OT people of Israel under the Old Covenant. Jesus died, fulfilled the Law, and moved us into the New Covenant, no longer bound by those OT regulations that were specific to Israel. You need to read the book of Galatians.

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    8. Can we please disagree and discuss while still remaining civil? If not, I will close comments.

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    9. anonymous 4:56 PM, I understand what you are saying and I agree with you about the different laws, the priestly, ceremonial and moral laws. Jesus Christ fulfilled the Priestly and ceremonial laws and the Moral laws. He is our Prophet, Priest and King.. I agree with you that eating oysters or mixing different materials etc are not under the moral laws such as homosexuality or bestiality.

      I would honestly ask that you would watch this film. It has helped me to understand WHY it is wrong to mark your body. Also if you read the surrounding verses in Leviticus 19:28 you will notice God said not to cut yourself or to prostitute your daughters.. We would all agree (no questions asked) that this is obviously wrong... Jim McClarty brings this out very well and ties it all together as to WHY it is wrong even in the New Testament.. I have gleaned much from him..So please I would implore you as a Sister in the LORD to you, when you have the time to watch and listen to what he has to say
      Sincerely in Christ, Linda

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l19HCUS7NrE

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    10. anon @4;56, Bring on the oysters, shrimp, crabs, and the crawfish----you can have the clams. No, I can't read or type, but my point was that OT sins are still sins and all the more so in the NT, hence the references. I guess I won't get a pass for intent and will held to the strictest interpretation of the law, yes, I'm a hopeless sinner.

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  7. Old MacDonald had an arm, e i e i o
    And on that arm he had some ink, e i e i o

    Meh ... just another goofy stunt. I feel embarrassed for him actually. I hope some day he'll find out that God's Word will accomplish its work without trying to be hip and cool.

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  8. For the record, my posting this article is not meant as a commentary on whether or not Christians should get tattoos. I certainly have my own opinions on the matter—namely, that it is a foolish, worldly decision, but that is not the primary purpose of this post.

    Okay, carry on.

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    1. Tattoos being okay or not, doesn't he seem a bit *old* for a tattoo? I mean, it's sort of like going to a tanning salon after you're retired. Or getting a faux hawk at age 59... Certain things are just for younger folk, right?

      Sorry for my useless commentary, but something about "no longer doing childish things" comes to mind as a way to represent a mature man of faith.

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    2. *Ding Ding Ding*

      That's the sound of Frank reading my thoughts without even trying.

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    3. Some adult "children" feel less inhibited about doing things once their parents pass away. Not sure if this is the case with JM but his mom (who apparently was a good, godly lady with influence over him) passed away a few years ago so he may now feel more free to do things that his mother may have disapproved of then.

      If so, just wait til his dad passes away. 777 on the forehead? :)

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  9. Reread your post ... sorry to have missed the point. What I get now is that the point was that James got a poorly done tattoo. I don't know how I missed what you were saying earlier.

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    1. What I was endeavoring to say in my previous comment was that the post fails to actually offer an opinion on the liberty of the Christian to obtain a tattoo. Had that been the primary point of my posting this, then it would have been obvious within the post itself. That said, if you, as readers, wish to debate the subject here in the comments, then by all means please do. My regular readers know that I don't typically have the time to actively engage in the discussions here, though, so don't wait for my two cents.

      What I get now is that the point was that James got a poorly done tattoo.

      Actually, that wasn't the point either, but thanks for playing. This really was merely posted as a human interest piece (for lack of a better descriptive phrase).

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  10. The question for me is what is James MacDonald trying to communicate by tattooing himself and his band? Harvest Bible Chapel is already being called a cult. You would think he would do everything in his power to fight that image. This just seems to reinforce it

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  11. Treading out the GainSeptember 12, 2012 at 8:55 PM

    And yet these compounds continue to set record attendances. His little math equation just proves that seeker-driven works-based theology is starting to take hold there. https://twitter.com/jamesmacdonald/status/245889779101732864

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  12. Glad I got out of there when I did. He was starting his death spiral then and frankly I smelled something funny. Couldn't put my finger on it, but when I was being high pressured to join a small group and told that I was not in compliance, oops I mean obedience, the hair on the back of my neck stood up as it felt creepy and cult-like, very reminiscent of my long stint at Willow Creek which followed 30 years in the Roman Catholic system. Talk about a long journey to freedom!!!

    I don't much care one way or the other about his tattoo (though he is on the down side of the trend) and the fact that it's upside down, wierd. I don't care if he asked his band to get one too, though that seems cult-like, but this traveling around the country on tour like a rock star, and speaking at a lot of these questionable churches alongside questionable speakers and leaders, leaving his congregation so he can shill his book(s), dvd's, future conferences and elephant rooms is unfair to those he is called to pastor. But then again, is he a pastor by definition? I think not. It's all a farce and one day he will be held accountable for the way he stewarded his ministry.

    And shame on the HBC for their gestapo tactics to shut anyone down who has a legitimate beef with what he is doing. I hated his ugly comment at the pastor's seminar he held when he described his fantasy of putting a catapult in the parking lot for those who disagree with him and his ways. That should have sent those pastors out into the parking lot to their cars to drive far, far away. He's scary!!!

    Connie

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    1. I'm so happy for you Connie my precious sister in the Lord Jesus Christ. It just makes me rejoice in the powerful ARM of the LORD to his blood bought Children. That he will go and leave the 99 sheep to get the one sheep that has strayed. He placed you on his shoulders and the Holy Spirit was the conviction that made you notice the cultish tendencies that man is trying to place on you. Jesus is soo very faithful to us and he WILL bring out ALL his sheep because we do not listen to a strangers voice!

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    2. Thank you for you kind words, Linda. I am so amazed at God's faithfulness to His people, though I really don't deserve His kindness but am grateful for it. He is also patient, which I am praying and hoping that His patience won't run out for these folks who have been jumping outside of the safety of the sheepfold to do their own thing. Though it is frustrating to see guys like MacDonald do such silly things, we do know that nothing, even these shenanigans will separate them from the love of God if in fact they really are His people. Let's pray they come back to their first love.

      Connie

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    3. No one deserves God's loving-kindness. We are no better than the most nefarious human beings who have ever lived by God's standards.

      It's solely on the righteousness of Jesus Christ. I agree with you that we should be praying and hoping- for their eternity is at stake and time is indeed running out--it's bittersweet Connie. We know that whatever God does HE knows what is best and HE is righteous and Just in all he does.. We have to rest in that and in his Character that he's always good..

      Jesus even scalded the Pharisees and YET he still loved them and had compassion just as we should as well.

      We have to let the wheat and tares grow up together

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  13. it didn't send them far away... they laughed. AND he gets the same response each week when he speaks and tells his stories.

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    1. And the Pied Piper kept on playing. There will be a day of reckoning.

      Connie

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  14. What is happening in these last days is nothing new under the sun. Paul had to contend with “super apostles” in the Corinthian church (see 2 Corinthians 11) and it just seems to be escalating today. We need to mark those who cause division and create obstacles, those who teach contrary to sound doctrine. There are many super apostles who smooth talk and deceive naïve hearts and we need to avoid them. Spiritual discernment is so essential in the body and praise the Lord that He gifts His church with eyes that see and ears that hear.

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  15. What a pathetic display of arrogance! Now all of the young people will be lining up at the tattoo parlors. I once herd an affrican convert from a tribal/pagan background. He could not understand why the church in the west approved of tattoo. He gave an illustration of the demonic origins of this practice. What scares me is that because this man speaks well and is very wealthy he has a lot of influence in the Christian community. Is there a chapter in the Vertical church book about church being closed if Christmas falls on a Sunday? I pray that Moody Bible Institute will distance itself from the Harvest organization. Other religions laugh at this "great" leader. How many of his followers can defend the faith when the cults knock at the door? How many have they converted? Take away the happy clappy concerts and where will there kids be? Who will say anything? It is a very well paying job.

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    1. This I agree with. I know more than one that has fallen away to cults such as LDS. It may not have stopped it, but if the focus was more on shepherding instead of fleecing the flock, maybe more would stay and be fed.

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  16. Christians are being slaughtered in the mideast. To your crowds of thousands Mr. McDonald pray for the persuced church. This man is a clever business man. He is building his empire by corporate takeovers of smaller churches. His family members get paid very well to lead sing alongs and to play at camp.

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  17. It is a secular military tatto. Did he serve? PHONY. DO NOT INK YOU BODY. Ask those who came from african tribal background and now follow Christ Jesus!

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