One of the questions I’ve had to wrestle with — not only as a Pastor, but as a dad — and one that I’ve been asked a lot: should we allow our kids to celebrate Halloween?
It’s a good question, asked by honest Christians who are just trying to do the right thing. And seriously: it’s obviously got pagan origins, it glorifies the demonic and death, and there’s gotta be a better thing to focus on, right?
I think the bigger question — the question behind the question — is this: What parts of culture do we take part in?
This question pre-dates all of us. In fact, many of Paul’s New Testament Epistles were letters written to new churches that were asking exactly questions like that. They were brand new believers, not Jewish, and had their own culture and way of doing things, and they wanted to know how the Gospel should change things, so they asked questions like:
- What day of the week do we worship?
- What holidays can we celebrate?
- What sexual practices can we engage in?
- What foods can we eat?
Many of Paul’s letters addressed these questions, and they’re great questions! And every culture is different, and how the Gospel brings change might look different to each of them.
When it comes to cultural practices (like celebrating holidays), as believers, we do one of three things: Receive, Reject, or Redeem. We have to decide — for ourselves and for our families — which of these three we should implement. Let’s break them down.
This means we take a cultural practice and embrace it as good and right, even though it’s not explicitly mandated in the Bible.
An example of this is Mother’s Day. We’re instructed in the Bible to honor our parents, but there’s no specific mention of a holiday set aside for them. But we receive it anyway, and we do it with gladness. Get her a card and take her to church.
This means we have nothing to do with these practices, no matter how popular or accepted they are in our culture.
We don’t have Christian porn. Or Christian heroin. Or Christian gang drive-by’s. We reject these things. Even if it’s not explicitly forbidden in the Bible, we know that the teachings of Scripture make it clear that we aren’t to engage in these practices.
This means to take something that can be used for good or evil, or something that is morally neutral, and we use it for the glory of God. It all depends on the heart and motivation of the person doing it.
Some examples: social media. We can redeem that. It can be used for awful purposes, but that doesn’t mean Christians have to log off of Facebook. Use it for good purposes, and all is well.
Another example: money. Money is neutral. It’s a tool, and like all tools, can be used for good or harm. Believers redeem it, and use it for generosity, joy, and good.
Another example: holidays. Most of them, in my opinion, can be redeemed.
And I say that knowing that good, godly people reject many of them! For example, the Puritans rejected Christmas in the 1600’s because of its pagan origins. They specifically worked at their jobs on December 25 in protest.
It used to be the pagan holiday Saturnalia, and the 1st-century Christians decided, “We already have the day off, let’s not celebrate a false god on this day, let’s celebrate the real God instead.” And the rest of the Christian world followed suit. That’s a solid example of redeeming a holiday for the glory of God.
So what does the Bible say about Halloween? It says just as much about Halloween as it does about Netflix, Instagram, vaccines, and cell phone usage: it’s just not in there.
What IS in the Bible is that we are to stay away from the demonic, that there are spiritual powers beyond what we can see, and that the Devil and demons are real. So I think it’s smart to definitely REJECT anything — like costumes — that has to do with evil, or gore, or murder, or pain.
What’s ALSO in the Bible is a call to modesty and purity, so we can also reject anything that is overly sexualized, like ‘naughty’ costumes. We stay away from that.
But what is REDEEMABLE about Halloween are things like eating candy, wearing fun costumes, knocking on doors in your neighborhood, meeting neighbors, making friends, spreading the love of Jesus, inviting people to church. Those are good things. And Biblical too. We can wisely engage in holidays and enjoy the good while rejecting the bad. We can redeem it.
All of this is to say: if your conscience doesn’t allow you to engage in Halloween at all, I respect that. Celebrate “Reformation Day” instead, the day Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg, which was also October 31, in 1517. Dress as a monk, maybe shave the top of your head, and give your kids 95 pieces of candy. Enjoy yourself.
And if you DO celebrate Halloween with your family, do it guilt-free! Stay away from gory, ugly, demonic or naughty costumes, and eat candy to your heart’s content. You can do that and still love Jesus, I promise.
Either way, brush your teeth afterward.
What an awesome Prayer Gathering we had this past Monday. It was an hour long, powerful, fun, and uplifting. If you can make it to the next one, tentatively scheduled for Monday, November 18, from 10-11 AM, please be there. You’ll walk out fired up and refreshed!
Thanks to all who have brought in items for our extra Operation: Christmas Child shoeboxes! Much appreciated.
This Sunday, we’ll be collecting SMALL TOYS. Anything that can fit in a shoebox (without taking up the entire thing).
If you’re at Walmart or Target, grab a few out of the $1 section, and drop them off in the box in the lobby this Sunday.
Portia and the girls get back home late tonight from their 10-day trip to Israel and Greece. The return trip, when you add up the flight time, the layovers, and the time spent going through Customs, is a 30-hour trip home. Yikes. They’ll be tired, and jet-lagged too.
But I’ve heard some amazing things from Portia about this trip. And they’ll be sharing about it at our next Wednesday Night Connect!
This Sunday might be my favorite Sunday of the year, for 2 reasons:
1- It’s FALL BACK Sunday. We gain an hour of sleep. It’s proof that Jesus loves us.
2- It’s CELEBRATION SUNDAY! Baptisms, baby dedications, Communion, worship, and of course: tacos! The weather looks like it’ll be just right, too.
Looking forward to seeing you all on the walkway!