A number of weeks ago I walked into the local Wal-Mart and was immediately reminded about the time of year we were entering into. You know that time of year, when fear, hate, terror, and the occult are glamorized and embraced with passion and excitement, reaching its peak on a day we call Halloween. I’ve written since 2011 what my position is regarding this day that comes every year, and that hasn’t changed, but I want to take a different approach to the subject this year.
Each year as that day approaches, it’s not uncommon to see and hear of churches gearing up and planning what they will do on Halloween. Usually, the rationale they will embrace will go along one of two lines of thought; 1) they want to offer a Halloween alternative, or 2) they want to provide a safe place for children and adults. But is Halloween something that Christians and churches should be involved with? Unlike Christmas and Easter, holidays that some argue have both Christian and pagan roots, there is absolutely nothing Christian or God honoring when it comes to Halloween. In fact, everything Halloween represents is anti-God and contrary to the mind and character of Jesus. So, why is it that churches seem to believe that it’s okay to participate in one way or another on this holiday?
To justify their participation in Halloween, some will argue with the rationale that God made that day, October 31st, and therefore there is nothing wrong with them participating in Halloween and all or part of what it represents. When you think about it, that’s a dangerous rationale to have. For example, based on the idea that God made October 31st as a rationale to ignore how many view what that day represents, one could say that since God made Lucifer, who is also known as Satan, it would be okay to befriend him and allow him to speak into their lives on some level. After all, we’re already seeing people use that kind of rationale to justify the use of marijuana and other hallucinogenic herbs and fermented fruit. Is this a rationale that can be supported in scripture?
Some will argue that it’s okay to do so because Jesus was a friend of sinners, a term that was given more as an insult to Him than a compliment. Just because He associated with those considered to be sinners does not mean that He was a participant in that which was opposed to God in any way, or that He encouraged or condoned such activity. To have done so, Jesus would have certainly lost His credibility as one sent of God to them as such activity was explicitly prohibited by God, Himself, and if He had done so that surely would have been mentioned in Scripture and at His trial before going to the cross. Instead, Jesus strongly promoted purity of heart and an undivided and total devotion to the Father and Himself. Nowhere in Scripture will you find that Jesus was okay with or was involved in any way with that which was opposed to God, yet for some reason we have Christians and churches thinking differently about this subject.
What about the Apostle Paul? After all, he was sent to preach Jesus to the gentiles, people who were actively involved in various forms of pagan holidays, worship and activities. The Apostle Paul, the same one who taught us of the grace of God, who showed us that our relationship with Jesus is a marriage relationship, who revealed to us the return of Jesus for us in an event known as the Rapture, the same one that told us to not sin and to flee even the appearance of evil. Does he tell us anything that would relate to the subject at hand? In Philippians 4:8-11, he speaks against observing days, months and years, but this was in relation to the pagan practices they once participated in before they received salvation. However, in Colossians 2:16-17, when he addresses festivals and a new moon, he is referring to the seven feasts God instituted back in Leviticus 23, all of which point to Jesus. It’s important to make that distinction as some will assume both passages are referring to the same things, but that is not the case. In 1 Thessalonians 5:22, the Apostle Paul instructs us to avoid or flee from the appearance of evil, and in Ephesians 5:11 he also tells us to take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness but to instead expose them. So, it would appear that Paul, identified by some as the Apostle of Grace, left no room or argument condoning a Christian’s involvement with things like Halloween.
At this point I feel the need to clarify something. When I mention the participation of Christians and churches in the Halloween festivities, I am not referring to those who are opposed to that day but do what they can to reach the lost with the full and unadulterated gospel of Jesus. There are churches that reject the idea of Christians participating in that day, but they will do something purely as a ministry outreach of some sort that does not resemble Halloween in any way. I applaud these churches as they take a stand against the growing trend within church circles, but at the same time doing all they can to reach those who are lost and spiritually dead in sin.
While I have no objections to having an alternative to offer people, and certainly no objections to having a safe place for children and adults alike, I do find myself questioning the reasons and the motivations one has in doing so, and how they are going about it. For many churches, they are quick to say they are reaching out to the lost in doing so, wanting to use these activities as a means of doing so, but is that true or just words to ease their conscience or silence those who object? When a church does this, incorporating an appearance or activity that resembles Halloween in some way, they give the unsaved mixed messages as to what it means to be a Christian, a disciple and follower of Christ. Also, if the focal point is only to provide an alternative or a safe place, and very little to nothing is said or done to present the full gospel and each persons need of a savior, then all they are doing is building a reputation within the community and growing a religious social group.
Halloween. A controversial subject for Christians as some are okay with it while others are not. The question is whether or not God is okay with it, and the answer is found within Scripture. Are we taking a stand for Christ, or are we more concerned about getting people to join our religious social club? If we are to do something on Halloween, let’s make sure it doesn’t resemble in appearance or activity to Halloween in any way, and that the gospel is clearly presented as the main focus and theme of the event. Time is short, and we need to focus more on the salvation of the lost than building our social clubs and community reputations.