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Several 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 the question is asked as to whether Christians should have anything to do with Halloween, or not. And each year it only divides those who are opposed to it and those who think it’s okay for one reason or another. You would think that the answer to the question is a simple one, and it really is, but when we determine our answer according to our personal opinions and feelings, instead of what Scripture has to say about it, then the answer becomes nothing less than complicated and divisive within church circles.
When we see that day approaching, 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?
I’ve heard it argued by one pastor that even though their church has a community event on Halloween, an event where those who are organizing and putting it on incorporate costumes, various Halloween decorations, as well as activities that are clearly Halloween in nature, not to mention a name which is clearly a Halloween like name, that they are not participating in the Halloween festivities. Well, I don’t know what his definition of participation is, but common sense for most people know that they are in fact participating in and celebrating Halloween.
There was a time several years ago that the United States was trying to befriend the nation of Iran, a country that is bent on nothing less than the total destruction of America and Israel. It seemed like we were rolling out the red carpet of friendship with them, ignoring the fact that they did not share in that same endeavor. As I observed what was happening, I couldn’t help but think of Halloween and how some churches and Christians seem to be okay with it. Everything about Halloween and what it represents is anti-God, anti-Christ, anti-Bible, and anti-life, just to name a few. There is absolutely nothing redeeming about it, yet we have churches and Christians trying to find creative ways to “Christianize” the celebration to justify their involvement with it. Contrary to how many seem to view Halloween, we are told in Ephesians 5:11 not to have any part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather to expose them. We are also told in 1 Thessalonians 5:22 to abstain from every form of evil, and in Deuteronomy 18:9-14 and Leviticus 19:30-31 we are told of some of those things God says are evil.
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 sin, 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, perfect and without sin, 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 same Apostle Paul, the 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. 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 these converts to Christ 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, 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 Halloween 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, and Christians, 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, those who are not followers of Christ, 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 club.
I’ve heard it said that it’s okay for a church to have Halloween like events for the community because someone got saved or started attending their church as a result of these. There’s a problem with this logic, however. I’ve heard testimonies of some who were high on drugs or in a drunken state, how that in that condition they had an encounter with Jesus and got saved, and as a result they were radically transformed and set free from their addiction to drugs or alcohol. Since people have been reached for salvation while in these intoxicated states, does it mean, based on the above logic, that churches and Christians should encourage or embrace the use of drugs and alcohol as a way to reach the lost with the message of salvation through Christ? I think not! God is sovereign, and as such He can reach people in whatever condition they may be in, but that does not mean that we can discount what Scripture otherwise commands us just so we can “reach” someone. To ignore or discount the commands and instructions of God for the purpose of community acceptance and gaining followers, that is nothing less than rebellion towards God fueled by pride that puts our opinion on an equal or higher level than God and His Word. This must not be the case in the life of a Christian.
Halloween. A controversial subject for Christians as some are okay with it while others are not. The question is whether 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 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.
Are you a Christian that has participated in Halloween one way or another over the years, or even in those things that God identifies as detestable? If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to repent of your involvement in these, and to turn from them having any part in your life from here on out. We hear of animal shelters taking these things very seriously, law enforcement taking them very seriously, especially on October 31st of each year, and how much more should we as Christians who have been given very clear and specific instructions from God Himself regarding this? What’s been said and done in the past can be forgiven, but you need to repent and turn from them today.
Maybe you have never given your life over to Jesus. Maybe you have been living life as you wanted, and on your terms, but in listening to me today you realize there needs to be a change in your life. You are seeing the influence and impact of evil upon society is only increasing, and you can tell things are not going to get any better but instead much worse. There is victory through Jesus, and there is a hope beyond anything this world can even imagine giving you through Jesus only, and you would like to receive Jesus as savior and Lord of your life. Well, you can make that change right now wherever you are. It’s simple, as simple as “A, B, C”. Let me tell you how.
For you to be considering making such a change in your life, this only shows that God is speaking to you. He wants to have that saving relationship with you far more than you could ever want it yourself. To enter that relationship with Him, the first thing you need to do is acknowledge that you are a sinner. To acknowledge, or to admit, that you are a sinner is the “A” in the “A, B, C’s”. This may be difficult for some to do, but it’s vitally important. We are told in Romans 3:10 that no one is righteous or good, no, not one. The reason for that is found in Romans 3:23 where we’re told that all, everyone, has sinned and fall short of the glory of God. This means that nobody is good enough, no matter how good we may be, because we all have sin in our lives. Continuing in Romans, we are told in Romans 6:23 that the wages of our sin is death, or in other words the penalty of the sin in our life is eternal death. So, where does that leave us? We are told in Ephesians 2:8-9 that the salvation God offers us is a gift of God, something we receive by grace and through faith. No one deserves salvation, and no one certainly can earn it through works of any kind, but rather it is a gift from God. To receive this gift from God, the first thing a person must do is “A”, acknowledge or admit that they are a sinner.
The second thing a person must do, and this is “B” in the “ABC’s”, is to “BELIEVE” in their heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and that God raised Him from the dead. Romans 10:9-10 tells us that if we confess with our mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead, we will be saved. It’s not just a mental believing as some would like it to be, but rather a believing that dictates the way one lives their life. It’s a way of life that reflects and supports what they say they believe. In James 2:19 were told that even the demons believe, and they tremble, but salvation is not available to them. Just having a head knowledge is not enough.
The third thing a person must do, and this is “C” in the “ABC’s”, is to “CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD.” You need to call Jesus Lord, and to do so means one must surrender their life to Him. There is coming a time when every knee will bow before Him, and every tongue will confess to God that He is Lord. Now is the time for salvation, and now is the time to voluntarily surrender your life to Him. The eternal rewards for surrendering your life to Jesus is far greater than anything this world could ever hope to give you.
Is a relationship with Jesus like I’ve described important and worth it? It is most definitely worth it, and then some. I won’t say that life will be easier or with less problems, but it will be more fulfilling, and with that there is a Blessed Hope for all Christians to embrace and pursue. More and more people are beginning to feel hopeless with life, especially when they see everything that is happening around them and around the world, but as Christians we have a hope that is solid and independent of anything this world could ever hope to offer us. The signs we are seeing across the news headlines now days only energizes the hope we have of Jesus’ ever imminent return for us. It is that same hope, that Blessed Hope, that encourages Christians to keep the faith and to continue living for Him and Him alone. Are you one of those who place their trust and hope in Jesus?
If you do not have a saving relationship with Jesus, and you would like to, I encourage you to talk to God right now. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or eloquent, just a sharing of your heart to Him. If that is you, and you’re ready to give your life to Jesus, then say this prayer from your heart and to Him. Again, it’s not a formula, just a sharing of your heart to Him.
“O God, I am a sinner. I’m sorry for my sin. I want to turn from my sin. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son; I believe that He died on the cross for my sin, that He was buried, that You raised Him to life, and that He’s coming to take me back to His house in heaven very soon. I have decided to place my faith in Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord, trusting only in His shed blood as more than sufficient to save my soul and to take me to heaven. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for saving me. Amen.”
Now that you have entered into this relationship with Jesus, I strongly encourage you to find a Bible and start reading it, and to find and get plugged into a solid Bible-believing church that teaches and preaches the full Gospel of Jesus, which includes Bible prophecy and the need to be living righteously and holy before the Lord in all your ways.
In closing, know that Jesus is coming soon, very soon, for His followers, and it is vitally important for each of us to be found both watching and ready for Him when He does. Don’t get lulled into the deceptive thinking that His return is not near for one reason or another, especially when the fulfillment of the signs given in the Bible tell us that it’s at the door. It’s our responsibility to be watching the signs for Him, and to be ready, free of any spots, blemishes, or wrinkles brought on through sin in our lives.
By John Johansson