Thursday, October 19, 2006

You ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?

Holidays often pose a question for Christians regarding participation. Such questions are also applicable to a church.

For each holiday, we should ask, "Is it appropriate to be involved in such a celebration?" Our country has days special to it (i.e., "holy days"), but are they special to the Christian as well? Where might there be a conflict between the two?

For example, to what extent should a Christian participate in Independence Day celebrations? To what extent should a church celebrate? Where is the line crossed into worship of country instead of Christ in a service?

Should a Christian tell his/her children Santa brings the gifts and puts them under the tree? Should a church have the Easter bunny host an Easter egg hunt as an outreach event?

Some of those questions have hotly debated answers, but it seems to me that one holiday that should be a slam dunk to the Christian (and the church) is Halloween.

There may be pagan elements mixed up with certain holidays that Christian are involved in, minus the deviltry, but is that possible with Halloween?

I celebrated Halloween as a kid, dressing up and seeking candy. In an unchurched home, we thought nothing of it. But shortly after becoming a Christian I realized the just how heinous a day holy to all things unholy would be for a Christian.

Reading the World Book encyclopedia I realized the origins of Halloween and what all the symbols meant and how it was a day of celebration of the dead and so special to the witches and satanists. Then it hit me. There is nothing whatsoever redeeming about Halloween. Not only is it not Christian, it's blatantly anti-Christian.

It celebrates witches, demons, death, vampires, ghosts, mummies, superstitious black cats, the occult, and all things eviltry. In essence, it's the glorification of evil, with an emphasis on horror and fear. The impact is, at a minimum, desensitization to evil.

As such, I'm often shocked when those professing Christ try to defend participating in such festivities.

Some like to draw a parallel to a Christian's liberty in doing things like eating meat sacrificed to idols (1 Cor 8-10). But is that a valid parallel? Paul never said a Christian had the liberty to actually participate in a ritual whereby the meat was sacrificed to idols. That would be the parallel to participating in Halloween. Eating meat sacrificed to idols would be akin to hitting the stores on November 1 and buying up all the discounted candy.

I thought of an analogy that I'll share. Suppose you lived in a non-Christian country, a land actually hostile to God and the Lord Jesus. You're not too concerned, because you know you're citizenship is in heaven, but it's tough at times.

Now suppose this country had a day in which masses of Christians were slaughtered, martyred for their love for and faithfulness to Christ. Each year that country celebrates their demise with glee. Would a Christian participate in their carnivals or parties?

That may seem far fetched, but Halloween is not merely a holy day of this country that is ant-Christians, but even worse anti-God. Halloween celebrates the supernatural, but His enemies ... and our enemies.
"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." - Eph 6:12
The joker asked, "You ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?"

I hope not. Just as I would never want leave my wife on the sidelines at a reception while I danced with she who was her sworn enemy and mocked my wife at every opportunity. Would I say to her, "Hey, it's just a little dancing?" Wouldn't who I was doing it with be the obstacle more so than what I was doing?

There's nothing inherently evil in dressing up or in seeking or eating candy. It's not the dancing, it's the dance partner. Don't dance with the devil in the pale moonlight!

Let's not fool ourselves; this is a country that is opposed to Christ. Halloween is a huge part of its culture, but I fear this is another area where the culture in the grip of the evil one has had more impact on the church than the church has had impact on this culture.

In Ephesians 5:11, the Apostle Paul commands that Christians, "Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them" (ESV).


At 20 October, 2006 14:19, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Now suppose this country had a day in which masses of Christians were slaughtered, martyred for their love for and faithfulness to Christ. Each year that country celebrates their demise with glee. Would a Christian participate in their carnivals or parties?"
Only if they were being slaughtered at the carnival or party. That was a trick question, I almost said no.

At 21 October, 2006 09:47, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does this count as the bad kind of participation?

At 22 October, 2006 16:28, Anonymous Ron said...

Actually, Halloween has been a Christian holiday since the 800s --- or at least it was up until after the Reformation, when the Reformed churches essentially gave it back to the pagans. Now, all that remains of its Christian nature is its name. Personally, I think Christians should take it back from the pagans like we did before. Perhaps a good start would be to establish a reputation for handing out the best candy in the neighborhood!

Christmas is another day successfully redeemed from the pagans by the Church, although we seem to be losing that one also. Will this same conversation be taking place about Christmas 100 years from now?

Perhaps if Christians learned to throw the best parties and have the best holidays, the world might start to think we really do have something to celebrate.

At 30 December, 2009 15:48, Blogger Brandi said...

Fall Fun Fest is far more fun than any trick or treating or Haunted House. I live in San Antonio and at Cornerstone Church they put on a fantastic "Hallelujah Night." I think the name makes us Christians look little over the top but the festival itself is way over the top. It is during the day too, which I like. It ends at 9pm. So even the light is part of the celebration and not the dark. I hear they put on an even better Feasts of the Tabernacles the week before for Thur, Fri, and Sat. I'll have to make it there next time.


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