By Darrell Brooker @ http://drbrooker.net/ responded to the Halloween arguments of involvement. He starts with a general comment:
I do not think that Halloween is an innocent, benign, or neutral event that is only an opportunity for kids to get some candy. It is a day when death and darkness are glorified and celebrated, and the world revels in those things that Jesus Christ died to redeem us from. The popular sugar-coating of much of it only serves to desensitize ourselves and our children to the evil and darkness that Halloween represents. No one will convince me that all the decorations, (tombstones, ghosts, witches, vampires, etc.), regardless of their “cartoonish” nature, do not represent the darkness of this world and the Ruler of it. I sincerely think it naive to believe otherwise.
Argument #1 - Historically speaking, Halloween really means this…or signifies that, etc.
This argument is completely irrelevant to the discussion. The history, which is not as positive as some like to portray, matters not one whit to what is actually celebrated today. Whether it originated from pagan roots or medieval Catholicism is moot; we should not be quick to ally ourselves with either. Do a quick search of the web and you will see that this is the day of celebration for pagans, wiccans, Satanists, etc.; that is to say, those in direct opposition to Christ. The day is hardly benign to those who glory in evil and darkness and use this day, above all others, to celebrate that which is evil in God’s eyes.
Argument #2 - It is a poor witness for our neighbours to see a darkened house.
I don’t understand this line of thinking. In fact, I think just the opposite is true. I think it is a better witness to show our neighbours that there is a difference with us and that we are a people willing to stand (or sacrifice) for that difference. Must we participate in worldly things in order to reach our neighbours for Christ? I think the answer is obvious.
Our first responsibility is to glorify God in our actions, not show our neighbours that we’re just like them (ie. likeable people) in order to make Christianity look appealing. What should appeal to them is our stand for that which is true. One of Jesus’ key evangelistic demonstrations was to show his power by casting out demons and opposing the forces of darkness. Rather than worrying about causing offence, Jesus was more concerned that the reality, truth, and power of God be made manifest to those watching. Our opposition to the powers of darkness should be just as visible. By participating in Halloween we blur the line between ourselves as Christians (a people set apart), and the world, and in turn impair our witness. Perhaps, viewing Christ’s example, we should consider becoming more bold and more outspoken in our opposition beyond just non-participation in the day.
Argument #3 - Halloween presents an opportunity to interact with our neighbours, to meet their children and to prove that we are part of the community, for the purposes of evangelism.
There are 365 days in a year and if we’re serious about it, our witness should be on a continual basis. We should be looking for opportunities to engage them, whether it be as they walk their dog by our house, or when we see them at a local store; it should be something that we think of doing at every opportunity. A key to our witness is an uncompromising integrity to the transcendent truth of the gospel, a truth that exists above man and his ways. We are bound by that which God calls good and evil, not what we may think is good or evil. Our witnessing reflects what we have become: new creatures, and representatives of the light. Consistency with this truth demands a separation from evil; even those things that have the appearance of evil. Part of our evangelistic task is to highlight the differences between “light” and “dark,” and expose the evil in the world. Our differences with unbelievers are the very basis of good evangelistic discussions with our neighbours as we can both show and tell them about what separates “children of light” and “children of darkness.” I believe participation in Halloween only weakens our overall witness to our neighbours and opens us to charges of worldliness and hypocrisy. We must necessarily show them, for the sake of the gospel and their salvation, that our differences are real and distinct.
An integral part of this consistent evangelical witness is the elevation of Biblical truth as a testimony of our lives both in word and deed. Is Halloween evil? Is it representative of evil? I think it is. But for those who disagree, you will have to concede, at a minimum, that it glorifies evil, and as I said previously, it glorifies those things which Christ died to redeem us from. The scripture tells us to abhor and avoid (even the appearance of) evil:
1 Thessalonians 5:22 - “Abstain from every form of evil (KJV the appearance of evil).”
Romans 12:9 - “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.”
Romans 12:21 - “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Romans 16:19 - “For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil.”
Galatians 1:3-4 - “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father…”
Our battle is not against little children in costumes trick or treating, but against demonic forces that disguise themselves as light and innocence. What better way for children to become desensitized to the reality of evil powers in this world, and the demonic realm that exists all around us, then to view it all as something akin to loveable cartoon characters. The whole idea of witchcraft and demonic activities that our culture celebrates at Halloween is the antithesis of the person of God. These forces exist to oppose the very purposes of God! We are to be “aliens” in this world, that is to say “other-worldly,” and separation from the world unto holiness is an integral part of a pure and true witness of God’s work in our lives. We are here to transform the world, and not conform to it on the basis of a weak and sentimental counterfeit love for an already over-indulged generation of children who want candy. We need to show our children by way of example that the life of a follower of Christ is one of sacrifice and separation from the world, and that example needs to be strong, for they will pick up on even the slightest compromise. We are children of light, why do we still want to play with darkness?
My wife and I have explained to our children from early on why we do not participate in Halloween, and thankfully, they have never questioned or complained. The day simply comes and goes like any other. We feel no necessity to take them out trick-or-treating just so they don’t have to be embarrassed when other kids ask them what they dressed up as. And if they are asked, I hope the occasion for boldness early in life will be used by God to strengthen them to stand against the world for what will hopefully be a life of opposition to it.
Argument #4 - I read one comment that said something to this effect: One of the greatest fallacies Christians believe about Halloween is that by refusing to participate in the day we are somehow taking a stand against Satan. And second to that, is that participation in the day is an endorsement of Satan and his evil holidays…The truth is that Halloween is not much different from any other day in this world where, at least for the time being, every day is Satan’s day and a celebration of him and his power.
While I agree with the last line of this argument, one needs to ask, What is Halloween if not a unique celebration of evil? The world may not see it as such but it is a celebration geared towards themes of darkness, evil, and the occult; all things overtly in oppostion to God. The fact that it has become mainstream and involves children and candy proves Satan’s success in making these things appear good, fun, and normal. “And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14 ). By refusing to participate in a celebration of darkness, no matter how positively it is perceived by those who don’t have the Spirit, we are opposing Satan and his purposes in this world. There is an enormous difference between Halloween and every other day and to suggest otherwise, to my mind, seems wholly inaccurate.
So, if you knock on our door on October 31st, no one will answer until the lights come back on at about 9pm. And if you see us after that and wonder why we did not particpate, we will be glad to share with you why we did not get involved in a celebration that glorifies those things that Christ’s death purposed to save us from.
“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” -Ephesians 5:11-16
The days are indeed evil, so evil in fact that in the next chapter of Ephesians, Paul tells of the weapons that God has given us in order to stand against such wickedness.
“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” -Ephesians 6:11-13