As fathers, we must be vigilant about the spiritual atmosphere and well being of our loved ones. Today I want to discuss the issue of Halloween from a Christian perspective. A Christian Halloween for 2018! Should we be involved in the celebration of Halloween? Let’s understand Halloween and God’s protection, provision and purpose for our lives.
Finding the answer to this question has been interesting and fun. I began by asking several people I know and then looking into what many leading Christian writers, authors and spokesmen have written about the subject.
The Origin of Halloween
I also searched various websites such as christianitytoday.com, focusonthefamily.org, and cbn.com to read what others might be saying. I came to the conclusion that they all agreed on the origins of Halloween. However, just about everyone had a different take on the matter of allowing our children to participate in this super-charged media driven holiday.
As a Christian father, I have a responsibility to make sure my family and I live according to God’s written word, therefore, the Bible has the final say on this matter.
Let’s briefly discuss where this Holiday came from. The origins of Halloween are Celtic in tradition and have to do with observing the end of the summer sacrifices to the gods in Druidic tradition. In what is now Britain and France, it was the beginning of the Celtic year, and they believed Samhain, the lord of death, sent evil spirits abroad to attack humans, who could escape only by assuming disguises and looking like evil spirits themselves. The fact that the day’s became shorter and that a dark winter was fast approaching made the evil spirits rejoice and play nasty tricks. Believe it or not, most of our Halloween practices can be traced back to these old pagan rites and superstitions.
A Christian Halloween?
So, when did this pagan holiday get its Christian influences? That’s a good question! In the fourth century, Christians attempted to Christianize the holiday by celebrating the lives of faithful saints the day before Halloween. This was a conscious attempt to provide an alternative and focus on other things rather than on ghouls, goblins, ghosts, witches and other “haunted” experiences. The word Halloween actually came from this practice of celebrating “All Hallow’s Eve” which when shortened became “Hallows Eve” and then “Halloween”.
Since the fourth century many Christians have decided to allow their children to dress in more “innocent” costumes of pumpkins, princesses, Superman or as a cowboy. Part of this is due to the simple reality that in today’s Western culture it is nearly impossible to “avoid” Halloween.
The Purpose of Halloween
So, how should we as Christians respond to the celebration and to our friends and family who join in on celebrating Halloween?
I. First, it’s important to mention that as Christians, we should not respond to Halloween like superstitious pagans do. What I mean by this is that pagans are superstitious, but Christians are enlightened by the truth of God’s word. Evil spirits are no more active and sinister on Halloween than they are on any other day of the year; in fact, any day is a good day for Satan to prowl about seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).
But “greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). God has forever “disarmed principalities and powers” through the cross of Christ and “made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them through [Christ]” (Colossians 2:15).
God’s Protection on Halloween
II. Second, Christians should respond to Halloween with cautionary wisdom. Some people fear the activity of Satanists or pagan witches, but the actual incidents of satanic-associated crime are very low. The real threat on Halloween is from the social problems that attend sinful behavior—drunk driving, pranksters and vandals, and unsupervised children.
Like any other day of the year, Christians should exercise caution as wise stewards of their possessions and protectors of their families. Christian young people should stay away from secular Halloween parties since those are breeding grounds for trouble. Christian parents can protect their children by keeping them well-supervised and restricting treat consumption to those goodies received from trusted sources. But overall remember that it is God’s protection we need and we must trust our Lord to do so.
God’s Provision on Halloween
III. Third, Christians should respond to Halloween with gospel compassion. The unbelieving, Christ-rejecting world lives in perpetual fear of death. It isn’t just the experience of death, but rather what the Bible calls “a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and the fury of a fire which will consume [God’s] adversaries” (Hebrews 10:27). Witches, ghosts, and evil spirits are not terrifying; God’s wrath unleashed on the unforgiven sinner—now that is truly terrifying.
Christians should use Halloween and all that it brings to the imagination—death imagery, superstition, expressions of debauched revelry, as an opportunity to engage the unbelieving world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. God has given everyone a conscience that responds to His truth (Romans 2:14-16), and it is the Christian’s ally in the evangelistic enterprise. Christians should take time to inform the consciences of friends and family with biblical truth regarding God, the Bible, sin, Christ, future judgment, and the hope of eternal life in Jesus Christ for the repentant sinner.
There are several different ways Christians will engage in Halloween evangelism. Some will adopt a “No Participation” policy. As Christian parents, they don’t want their kids participating in spiritually compromising activities such as listening to ghost stories and coloring pictures of witches. They don’t want their kids to dress up in costumes for trick-or-treating or even attending Halloween alternatives.
That response naturally raises eyebrows and provides a good opportunity to share the gospel to those who ask. It’s also important that parents explain their stand to their children and prepare them to face the teasing or ridicule of their peers and the disapproval or scorn of their teachers.Other Christians will opt for Halloween alternatives called “Harvest Festivals” or “Reformation Festivals” and lately the church’s version of trick or treating called “Trunk or Treat”. That’s where the kids dress up as farmers, Bible characters, or Any non scary thing you can fathom. It’s ironic when you consider Halloween’s beginning as an alternative, but it can be an effective means of reaching out to neighborhood families with the gospel. Some churches leave the church building behind and take acts of mercy into their community, “treating” needy families with food baskets, gift cards, and the gospel message.
Hell House Evangelism
All of these things are good alternatives; there are others that are not so good. Some churches are using “Hell House” evangelism to shock young people and scare them into becoming Christians. They walk people through rooms patterned after carnival-style haunted houses and put sin on display—women undergoing abortions, people sacrificed in a satanic ritual, consequences of premarital sex, dangers of rave parties, demon possession, and other tragedies.
Here’s the problem with so-called Hell House evangelism: To shock an unshockable culture, you have to get pretty graphic. Graphic exhibits of sin and its consequences are unnecessary! Unbelieving minds are already full of such images. What they need to see is a life truly transformed by the power of God, and what they need to hear is the truth of God in an accurate presentation of the gospel. Cheap gimmickry is unfitting for Christ’s ambassadors.
Trick or Treat
There’s another option open to Christians: limited, non-compromising participation in Halloween. There’s nothing inherently evil about candy, costumes, or trick-or-treating in the neighborhood. In fact, all of that can provide a unique gospel opportunity with neighbors. Even handing out candy to neighborhood children (provided you’re not stingy) can improve your reputation among the kids. As long as the costumes are innocent and the behavior does not dishonor Christ, trick-or-treating can be used to further gospel interests.
Ultimately, Christian participation in Halloween is a matter of conscience before God. Whatever level of Halloween participation you choose, you must honor God by keeping yourself separate from the world and by showing mercy to those who are perishing. Halloween provides the Christian with the opportunity to accomplish both of those things in the gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s a message that is holy, set apart from the world; it’s a message that is the very mercy of a forgiving God. What better time of the year is there to share such a message than Halloween?
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© 2016 MANLY TRAINING
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