You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the evil powers of the world. So why do you keep on following rules of the world, such as, “Don’t handle, don’t eat, don’t touch.” Such rules are mere human teaching about things that are gone as soon as we use them. These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, humility and severe bodily discipline. But they have no effect when it comes to conquering a person’s evil thoughts and desires (Colossians 2:20-23, NLT).
At HomeWord, we receive questions from time to time about Halloween. Should parents allow their kids to “celebrate” or not? To avoid “giving the devil his due,” so to speak, some Christians change the name of their festivities from a Halloween party to a “Harvest Party” (while pretty much everything looks exactly the same!). Churches throughout our country use Halloween as a means for outreach to the community. So what’s up with Halloween?
There is no doubt that Halloween's origins can be traced to pagan beliefs and rituals. Satanic groups have also attached meaning to Halloween, celebrating it as a special holiday. These origins and meanings can be researched pretty easily on the Internet. Christians of good conscience differ on their views of whether or not believers should have any participation in Halloween celebrations. Certainly, Christians should not participate in the "dark side" of Halloween – to in any way approve of the satanic, or the focus on paganism, evil, death, etc.
Yet, the reality of Halloween participation for many - believers and unbelievers alike - is that of exercising a bit of fantasy, dressing up in costumes and having fun trick-or-treating around the neighborhood. To many, this is what Halloween is about, without any connection to occult or pagan practices. I have a hard time saying that there is anything wrong with this.
Let me give an illustration: We know the source and heritage of Christmas. We also know that for many people, Christmas is a very non-religious holiday. People give Christmas their own meaning, regardless of its origins. We would never say that everyone who celebrates Christmas is a follower of Christ or honors God. Halloween, I believe, is similar. People give Halloween their own meaning, regardless of its origins. Consequently, just because people participate in Halloween does not necessarily mean they are promoting or encouraging occult or pagan practices and beliefs.
Whatever conviction you hold about participating in Halloween, live it out for God’s glory! In all these things, a person should follow his or her own convictions, while understanding that Christians may differ in their beliefs about this issue. So, if you run into those fellow believers who differ from your stance on Halloween, give them freedom to live out their own convictions. The Apostle Paul said it this way, “Who are you to condemn God’s servants? They are responsible to the Lord, so let him tell them whether they are right or wrong. The Lord’s power will help them do as they should” (Romans 14:4, NLT).
Going Deeper Responding to today’s culture can lead to two extremes: either isolating oneself entirely from the culture or immersing oneself totally in the culture without using any discernment. How can either of these extremes be destructive to God’s work your life?
What do you believe about participating in Halloween and why?
In Perspective: The Christian and the Jack-o'-Lantern The September 11 terrorist attacks force Americans to rethink Halloween—something Christians have done for a long time. Todd Hertz | posted 10/01/2001 12:00AM
Halloween has changed. After September 11, the holiday's usual gore and horror now seem inappropriate. According to USA Today, this "kinder, gentler Halloween" is predicted to feature fewer ghost and goblin costumes and more firefighters, police officers, and angels.
The real world has become so frightening, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported, that schools are taking the festive scares out of the day. Instead, many classrooms are focusing on patriotism. According to the Inquirer, some teachers are even "suggesting that Halloween be more like the Fourth of July this year."
Along with new sensitivities and deepened patriotism, events since the terrorist attacks have also added increased fear to Halloween. Recent media coverage has focused on how rumors, anthrax worries, and extra precautions will change Halloween for many communities.
These added fears and cautions might have many parents reconsidering how they treat Halloween—something Christians have extensively analyzed and debated. To celebrate or not to celebrate
October 31 has historically been a controversial date for Christians. Originally a Celtic festival, Samhain, the last day of October became All Hallows Eve in the eighth century when Pope Gregory III moved All Saints' Day (or Hallows' Day) to November 1. The move was a means to claim the day for Christians, yet connections to pagan, Wiccan, and Druid beliefs remained.
These ties have long split Christian thought on whether to engage in the holiday, celebrate it in alternative Christian ways, or boycott it altogether.
In 1982, Christianity Today corporate editor Harold L. Myra wrote that Halloween gives Christians the opportunity to "celebrate the fact that at death we pass from the land of shadows into the land of light." It can be a unique time for thoughtful evangelism and remembrance of all saints—including those who were once a major part of our church's life but have been forgotten. A Christian response to October 31, Myra wrote, does not have to be shallow or negative but invites imagination and celebration rooted in great tradition.
On the Focus on the Family Web site, Dr. James Dobson advises that "if the Halloween experience is focused on fantasy rather than the occult, I see no harm in it. My final word to parents on the subject would be 'stay true to your own convictions.'"
Many sites—including ChristianityToday.com and Family Life Communications—provide perspective on the day and alternative ideas for celebrating. Meanwhile, Crosswalk.com provides a list of "reasons why it might not be wise to participate in Halloween."
Jack Chick publications encourage involvement in Halloween—but by making it a night of evangelism. Why give out candy when you can drop cartoon tracts on Satan worship, live sacrifices, and going to hell in trick-or-treat bags?
Scaring people out of sinning is also the theme for Hell House, an outreach event structured as a typical haunted house. The attraction depicts Satan's destruction and has drawn protests because of scenes about homosexuality and abortion.
The original Hell House began at Colorado's Abundant Life Christian Center, but has spread to churches nationwide. This month, 30,000 people are expected to visit Georgia's "Tribulation Trail" with depictions influenced by the Book of Revelation and September 11. A microcosm for the believer's stance in the world
Some Christian writers in recent weeks have suggested that ignoring Halloween or celebrating it only with other believers is not evangelical.
Last week, Breakpoint columnist John Fischer wrote that Christians need to question the approach of removing themselves from the world.
"What we do with Halloween is a kind of microcosm for our positioning in the world as Christians," Fischer said. "It all comes down to why we are here. Are we here to enjoy life in as safe an environment as possible? … Or are we here to bring Jesus to the world, however dangerous that might be?"
He recommends that believers use the opportunity to renew relationships with longtime neighbors and meet new ones. "If anything is good about this day, it is a day that brings people out," Fischer wrote. "It would be a shame for Christians to be absent from the neighborhood when this happens."
On CBN.com, Regent University communications professor Andy Freeman says that Christians should look to Jesus as an example. "He would never have said, 'run and hide, it's Halloween!'" Freeman wrote.
"The biggest trick played on Halloween is Christian kids and adults being bottled up inside churches or homes all night. Hiding from the devil … is a victory for old Beelzebub. He's got the church right where he wants it: inside the four walls, hunkered down behind the stained glass."
Freeman suggests that Halloween is an opportunity to socialize with—and evangelize—neighbors and not to "hustle the kids over to church before nightfall [and] turn out the lights."
Fischer encourages Christians not to be scared off by Halloween, but to seize it as an opportunity. "Why allow those [darker elements] to drive me away from my home on a night I am guaranteed to have visitors?" Fischer wrote. "Which is more of a victory for Satan, I wonder—a shining Jack-o-lantern and five costumed kids at my door, or a dark house where the light should be?"
Halloween: Is It for Real? A note to parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles …
Millions of children celebrate Halloween each year with costumes, parties, and hi-jinks. But what are they celebrating? Where did these customs arise?
Some Christians strongly denounce any involvement in this spectacle of ghosts, witches, and evil spirits. Others wonder, "If it's 'All Hallow's Eve,' what in the world is 'holy' about it?"
The truth is that Halloween's deepest roots are decidedly pagan, and unlike Christmas and Easter, it as kept those pagan roots, despite its now Christian name. The controversy surrounding this holiday goes back well over a thousand years to when Christians confronted pagan rites of appeasing the lord of death and evil spirits. But the early Christians didn't simply speak out; they tried to institute a Christian alternative. All Hallow's Day (November 1) was a celebration of all "the holies" - those people who had died faithful to Christ.
Light against darkness. Life against death.
But Halloween in our culture has become an odd mixture of tributes to Draculas and roaming spirits, TV superheroes and comic characters, and participation in innocent harvest festivals and costume parties. Through the centuries, Christians of most persuasions have tried to transform this pagan holiday into a Christian one. How does one take a genuinely Christian stance today?
"Trick or treating" becomes a special problem. Children love the adventure of going out in costumes, but some parents have rejected trick or treating entirely. They argue that no matter how universal and supposedly harmless, "blackmailing neighbors for candy" is hardly appropriate. Instead, some create a wide variety of wholesome parties. Others carefully supervise their children as they canvass the neighborhood, perhaps having them add "God bless you" to their thanks for treats.
Certainly of all people, Christians should be joyful. The challenge is to use the creativity of the Creator to celebrate both the light and life He brought into this world, and His victory over evil - and evil spirits - which extends into the next. Halloween: Is It for Real? "Hey, that was fun!" Todd exclaimed as they left the amusement park's haunted house. "What a ride! Let's go again!"
But Greg was very quiet. "I want to go back to Tom Sawyer's Island."
"Did the haunted house scare you?" Dad asked.
"Yes!" Greg answered loudly, "and I'm not going back. Not ever!"
"Aw, it wasn't scary, it was funny!" Todd insisted.
Later they tried on masks in the magic shop. "This one's gross," Todd said with a grimace, holding up a mangled face with bulging eyes. "I like the one of the old man better."
"For sure!" Michelle agreed. "Who needs this creepy stuff anyway? Greg's right about that haunted house!"
"Yeah," Greg said, sneaking a fake tarantula onto Mother's arm.
Michelle frowned at him. "Why do people love this stuff?'
"Because it's neat-o!" Todd answered.
Todd put on the old-man mask. "Next month's Halloween. I'm going to make a monster room with bloody bones and peeled grapes for eyeballs."
"Yuck!" Michelle said. "What's Halloween all about, anyway? All those horrible severed heads and dead people and ghosts! I've heard people say it's about the devil, and that we're stupid to celebrate it."
"Well, it is known as the devil's holiday," Mother said.
"How'd it start?" Todd asked. "Where'd all the witches and goblins come from?"
"It all started long ago - even back before Christ was born," Dad explained. "In what is now Britain and France, people called the Celts observed the end of summer with pagan rites. They believed a lord of death sent evil spirits into animals, who then roamed around all winter playing terrible tricks on people. To escape, you had to wear a disguise so that the evil spirits would think you were one of them."
"Weird," Michelle said. "Is that how the idea of wearing scary costumes got started?"
"Sure. And the pranks kids play now copy those of the ancient evil spirits. The Celtic priests - called Druids - offered sacrifices to the gods, and the people built huge bonfires on the hill tops."
"Sounds like fun," Greg said.
"Actually, more fear than fun! They lighted bonfires to frighten the spirits away. They even killed people in their rituals. It wasn't just toasting marshmallows and shouting 'Boo.'"
"Is that what Halloween means, then? Horrible evening, or something?" Michelle asked.
"Just the opposite," Dad said. "Centuries later, Christians came along and tried to change the holiday from a festival of fear to one of joy. October 31 eventually became All Hallow's Eve."
"What's that mean?" Todd asked.
"It's a beautiful idea! 'All Hallows' means 'all holies,' or 'all the saints'"
"You mean those guys with beards and halos?" Todd interrupted.
"Not exactly. This is the beautiful part. The Bible says every true Christian is a saint. We celebrate all saints. That means if you had a brother or sister or grandparent who loved God and died, you'd remember that person. You'd celebrate the joy those loved ones are experiencing in heaven and remember the good times you had with them when they were alive."
"Hey, neat!" Michelle exclaimed.
"Do you think, "Mother asked, "that Cousin Lois is happy in heaven? She loved Jesus very much."
"She still does!" Michelle said. "I'll bet she's having a wonderful time!"
"I thought Halloween was all about ghosts," Greg objected.
"In a way, you're right, Greg," Dad explained. "The Celts believed the dead would harm them. But we know that Christians who die are happy with Jesus Christ. Our loved ones aren't nasty ghosts. Don't forget ( when Jesus rose from the dead, He had a real body. He walked, talked, touched things, and even ate fish!"
"If Christians changed Halloween so long ago, how come it's still about witches and skeletons and black cats?" Todd asked.
"Oh, the pagans just laughed at the church celebrations," Dad answered. "They made All Hallow's Eve into "The Witches' Sabbath," and they met to worship the devil. People were still frightened. Some waved pitchforks of burning straw into the air to scare witches away."
"That's silly" Greg said with a laugh.
"Sure is," Dad agreed. "Of course, today most people see this sort of thing as innocent fun. Witches, vampires, dungeons, and chains become nothing more than paper cutouts. Most people see soaping windows and overturning garbage cans as harmless pranks. They forget where all that came from."
"Well, what I'd like to know is how we can celebrate Halloween and not feel guilty," Michelle said.
"Let's have a festival this year at our house," Mother suggested.
"You mean with pumpkins and bales of hay and costumes and all?" Greg asked.
"Sure. And Dad can tell about Halloween."
Todd looked up at Dad. "You mean dressing like Dracula or a witch is okay?"
"Certainly not!" Michelle declared.
"Well, there's nothing wrong with my Captain Lightning suit," Greg insisted. "The Captain's a good guy!"
Michelle, Todd, and Greg were each allowed to invite four friends. So, on October 31, a lot of elves, hobbits, Indians, princesses and a Captain Lightning were playing among the pumpkins and corn shocks in the backyard. What a sight! They joined in all sorts of games and fun, including the silliest pumpkin-decorating contest the kids had ever seen.
Later everyone jammed into the family room for cider, candied apples, and popcorn.
"Dad," Michelle said, "tell everyone about how Halloween started. I'll bet they've never heard about it before."
Dad told about the Celts and Druids, and how the early Christians celebrated. All Hallow's Eve. "It's our time to remember the 'saints' we've loved. Actually, they aren't dead at all!"
A boy next to the fireplace said soberly, with a sad smile, "Guess that means Stacy."
All the kids had known his sister Stacy, who had died of leukemia. Dad smiled back at him. "Alan, it sure does mean Stacy. She loved Jesus very much. And remember the giraffe and elephant pictures she drew? And how well she could kick a soccer ball?"
"I even sort of miss the way she bossed me around sometimes," Alan said. "I really wish she were still here." He sniffed a little.
"It's natural to feel sad about loved ones who have died," Dad said. "Death is an enemy, and we miss our friends. But the Bible talks of streets of gold and the tree of life. The greatest adventure you'll ever have is going into the next world. Christians like Stacy who have gone there already link us to it even more."
"My grandpa died last year," Jamie said. "He taught me a lot about Jesus."
"Tell us about him," Dad said.
Jamie described his grandpa, how he had let him ride in his hardware delivery truck and how he had played the harmonica. Alan talked some more about Stacy and her stuffed animals and her butterfly collection.
"We miss them," Dad said, "and it's good to remember them. But they're not sad; they're alive with Christ, awake in a different world."
A serious voice from a back corner said, "Maybe next year one of us will be there."
"We're all close to the next world," Dad agreed. "That's one reason it's so important to let Jesus take charge of our lives now. Christ has conquered the forces of death and evil." Before leaving, everyone joined in singing songs about light and hope, finishing with "Amazing Grace":
"When we've been there then thousand years, Bright shining as the sun, We've no less days to sing God's praise Than when we've first begun.
That night, in his pj's, Greg said, "I'm still scared of ghosts! When I'm trying to get to sleep, the plant in my room looks like a monster, and I get bad dreams."
Michelle said, "Greg, when I pray about it before I go to sleep, I don't get nightmares." Then she asked, "But, Dad, how come we still like scary graveyard stories and horror movies, no matter how much we believe in Christ?'
Dad sat down and put his arms around the kids. "There is a supernatural world. We're fascinated by it, and there's nothing like a graveyard story to scare us awake! But evil does exist. That's why stories like the "The Wizard of Oz" and "The Chronicles of Narnia" ring true. Temptations. Evil spirits. A lot of horrible things happen in this world. Evil powers are nothing to fool around with! But the Bible teaches us that 'God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love . …'"*
That night, when gusty winds rattled the windows and the noises outside sounded scary, Michelle, Todd, and Greg snuggled under their warm blankets and smiled. They found themselves talking to Jesus about their thoughts and wondering if next Halloween could possibly turn out as well as this one had!
*2 Timothy 1:17 in "The New King James Bible" Halloween: Is It For Real?, written by Harold Myra, illustrated by Dwight Walles, published by Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN, 1982.
The Hijacking of Hallow's Eveorder back issues of this story WE KNOW THAT CHRISTMAS is the holiday which brings the most income to business, but do you know which holiday is second most profitable? Valentine’s day? -- No. Easter? -- No. Thanksgiving? -- No again. The answer is Halloween. Halloween has become both very popular and very profitable in the US So where did Halloween come from?
"Hallow" in Old English means "holy" or "sacred" (as in the Lord's Prayer, "Hallowed by Thy Name"). "Hallow's Eve" or "Halloween" simply means the "evening of holy persons" and refers to the evening before All Saints Day, which is November 1 on both Anglican and Roman Catholic calendars.
In the early years when Rome persecuted Christians, so many martyrs died for the faith that the Church set aside special days to honor them. In 607 Emperor Phocas presented to the Pope the beautiful Pantheon temple in Rome. Originally built in 27 BC by Agrippa in honor of Augustus' victory at Actium and dedicated to Jupiter and the planetary divinities, the Pantheon was one of the few remaining old heathen temples. Pope Boniface IV quickly removed the statues of Jupiter and the pagan gods and consecrated the Pantheon to "all saints" who had died from Roman persecutions in the first three hundred years after Christ. During the dedication on May 13 in the year 609 or 610, a procession of twenty-eight carriages brought the bones of martyrs from the various cemeteries to the church. In following years, a festival of All Hallows or All Saints Day honoring all martyrs spread throughout the western part of the Roman Empire.
Pagan Practices In the eighth century Pope Gregory II moved the church festival of All Saints to November 1. The move in part offered a substitute for the popular pagan celebration of the Celtic New Year, which honored both the Sun god and Samhain, Summer's End. The Celts believed at the New Year the dead came back to mingle among the living. As the ghosts thronged about the houses of the living, they were greeted with tables loaded with food. After feasting, masked and costumed villagers, representing the souls of the dead, paraded to the outskirts of the town leading the ghosts away. Horses, sacred to the Sun god, were often sacrificed, and there are some records of human sacrifice during the festival.
Pope Gregory the Great (540-604) moved to restrict such pagan practices and told the people that "They are no longer to sacrifice beasts to the Devil, but they may kill them for food to the praise of God, and give thanks to the giver of all gifts for His bounty." Many, however, held on to pagan beliefs along with Christianity. Sometimes ancient gods were transformed into Christian saints, angels, and heroes. Scriptures were allegorized to allow for many of these beliefs. Even into the eleventh century, many pagan beliefs were accepted by Christians--beliefs such as the fear of Fate, the use of medicinal herbs with incantations, sacrifices at springs and crossroads to the spirits of the place (still observable in Mexico, for example), and the night flight or Wild Ride of the spirits, led by Diana. The devil became absorbed into the magical world of fairies, goblins, dwarfs and imps. Demons were said to appear in animal forms. Such beliefs, of course, diverged markedly from the Scriptural account of the devil and his demons as cosmic personalities conquered by Christ on the cross.
In the tenth century, Abbot Odilo of Cluny began celebrating the November 2nd following "All Saints' Day" as "All Souls' Day" to honor not just the martyrs, but all Christians who had died. People prayed for the dead, and many other superstitions continued. Food was offered to the dead, and it was often believed that on these two festivals souls in purgatory would take the form of witches, toads or demons and haunt people who wronged them during their lifetimes.
Though the church was able to destroy the pagan temples, it never fully eradicated pagan beliefs. In the Middle Ages, witchcraft and the worship of Satan continued to find followers, even in some places of "Christian" Europe.
Find out more about bulk subscriptions to Glimpses and Glimpses for Kids right now or request our full-color information packet to be mailed to you. Its free! You'll find these leaflets ideal for your church, club or school. But don't take our word for it. Download sample issues of Glimpses and Glimpses for Kids in pdf format and see for yourself. Our Glimpses products are attractively designed, competitively priced and well-suited for church bulletin inserts or Sunday school handouts. Banned in Boston During the first two hundred years in America, Halloween was not observed; many of the Protestant settlers rejected the holiday along with other feasts on the calendar of the Roman Church.
With the large Irish immigration in the 1840's, the holiday became more popular. Many of the old Celtic beliefs and practices were perpetuated in its celebration. Now at the end of the twentieth century, Halloween has become an important holiday to the growing number of believers in Satanism and practitioners of the occult.
WHERE DID IT COME FROM? • Jack o'lantern --Druid priests instructed followers to extinguish their fires and light and make sacrifices to the Lord of Death. They gathered around a fire of sacrifice--thought to be a sacred fire--and took fire from that to rekindle their own hearths. A vegetable was carved out and used to carry the fire home.
• And there is a strange tale of Mr. Jack O' Lantern. For Halloween Irish children would carve large rutabagas, turnips or potatoes and place candles inside of them. (In America, the pumpkin became the vegetable of choice.) The legend goes that a drunken man named Jack tricked the Devil into climbing into an apple tree to get some fruit, then carved a sign of the cross into the trunk of the tree to prevent the devil from coming down. Jack made the devil swear he would never come after his soul. But, when Jack died, he wasn't good enough to go to heaven, and the Devil wouldn't take him to hell, so Jack was left to wander about. The Devil had thrown Jack a coal, and Jack put it in a turnip he had to help light his way as he searched for a place to rest.
• "Trick or treat" is derived from the Druid superstition that souls of the dead in the world of darkness were hungry on the festal day, and the souls had to be appeased or else risk tricks and curses.
• Costumes reflect the pagan belief that the gods allowed the souls of the dead to return on that festal night, and the living entered a ritual imitation of them by dressing up to wander about with them.
• Popular superstitions have deemed that children born on Halloween had unique powers of contacting and conversing with supernatural beings.
LUTHER'S HALLOWEEN BOMBSHELL The sixteenth century Reformation was in part a call to put aside the pagan beliefs and practices which people had long accepted. It was a call to purify the Church and its doctrines. Martin Luther's nailing of his 95 theses on the church door is often noted as a pivotal point in the Reformation. The timing and place of Luther's posting is significant -- Halloween -- October 31, 1517, on the Castle Church in Wittenberg.
That Church held one of the largest collections of supposed relics outside of Rome. Pieces of bones from saints, locks of hairs from martyrs, a piece of the true cross, a twig from Moses’ burning bush, bread from the Last Supper, a veil sprinkled with the blood of Christ -- all were venerated and held in holy awe. The relics were kept in special reliquaries, ornamented with gold, silver, and precious stones. They were exhibited on All Saints Day. By 1518, 17,443 pieces were on display in twelve aisles! The church taught that paying the special fee and viewing the relics would shorten a soul's stay in purgatory by 1,902,202 years and 270 days! This was one teaching Luther challenged in his 95 theses. On Halloween, the day before All Saints Day when the relics would be specially exhibited, Luther nailed his theses on the church door, challenging scholars to debate the virtue of indulgences, the church's teaching that by certain works a person could hasten his entrance into heaven. Luther publicly professed the free and gratuitous remission of sin, not by relics, papal pardons, or indulgences, but by faith in Jesus Christ.
A CONFESSION and an ALTERNATIVE (EDITOR'S NOTEBOOK) So what are we, as Christians, to make of Halloween? Are we to be spoilsports and deprive children of fun enjoyed on Halloween?
First, I will confess that my wife and I allowed our children to participate in the usual custom of dressing up, going door to door for candy, and living through the necessary regiment of regulating the consumption of goodies gathered. We also enjoyed, as I would expect most of you do, having the neighborhood children come to our front door, trying to guess who was behind the masks, and giving them some candies.
All harmless fun, or at least it seemed so to me until editing this issue (done at the time of the mass suicide of the Heaven's Gate cult). Thus, we include a sober warning from an Orthodox publication.
We at Christian History Institute mourn the loss (in many of our Protestant churches at least) of any meaningful celebration of the earlier observance of Hallow's Eve. Our mission is to remind the Body of Christ of our heritage, and surely a day a year to recall the great leaders and martyrs of the faith is one small way to celebrate how God has worked across the ages, surely more important than encouraging kids to gorge themselves on candy.
It's one thing to complain, another to do something. We have prepared a new series of video programs, "Children's Heroes from Christian History." These would serve well for a "Hallow's Eve" gathering for kids as an alternative to Halloween. Besides, it would be better for their teeth.
One final thought: The All Hallow's background to Halloween was set forth in recognition, celebration, and gratitude for all of God's saints, known and unknown. We can only rejoice in their wisdom of realizing many of the Lord's choicest servants live in obscurity only to be revealed at the last day.
--Ken Curtis SOME CHRISTIANS JUST SAY "NO." [A periodical from the Eastern Orthodox Church cautioned its readers to have nothing to do with Halloween, saying:]
With regard to our non-participation in the pagan festival of Halloween, we will be strengthened by an understanding of the spiritual danger and history of this anti-Christian feast. The feast of Halloween began in pre-Christian times among the Celtic peoples of Great Britain, Ireland and northern France. These pagan peoples believed that physical life was born from death. Therefore, they celebrated the beginning of the "new year" in the fall (on the eve of October 31 and into the day of November 1), when, as they believed, the season of cold, darkness, decay and death began. A certain deity, whom they called Samhain, was believed by the Celts to be the lord of Death, and it was he whom they honored at their New Year's festival.…
From an Orthodox Christian point of view, participation in these practices at any level is impossible and idolatrous, a genuine betrayal of our God and our holy Faith. For if we participate in the ritual activity of imitating the dead by dressing up in their attire or by wandering about in the dark, or by begging with them, then we have willfully sought fellowship with the dead, whose lord is not Samhain, as the Celts believed, but Satan, the Evil One who stands against God. Further, if we submit to the dialogue of "trick or treat," we make our offering not to innocent children, but rather to Samhain, the lord of Death whom they have come to serve as imitators of the dead, wandering in the dark of night. (From Orthodox Life, Vol. 43, No. 5, Sept.-Oct. 1993.)
From Pantheon to Pumpkins It feels almost like you are inside a gigantic pumpkin in the awesome Pantheon in Rome. It was originally built before Jesus and rebuilt by the Roman Emperor Hadrian in the second century. You can still visit it today. Its name means "to all gods." This pagan temple was taken over by the church and dedicated to "all saints" or "all hallows" from which Halloween was derived as explained in this article.
Autumn at Our House: Skip Halloween for a Hallelujah Night Karen Ehman with Kelly Hovermale & Trish Smith Authors
Every year, I get that old familiar feeling when the first crisp fall day arrives. It's a warm feeling of nostalgia for a simpler, beautiful time when I could smell the burning leaves, feel the wool of my brown and green Tartan plaid skirt itching my legs, and hear the radio faintly cranking out an early 1970s tune. I had the vibrant colors in my box of thirty-two perfectly pointed Crayolas, and my mind teetered between two very crucial topics: who would be my new teacher and what costume would my mom sew for me this year?
It's fall flashback time, and it always makes me wonder if today's children would remember the same happy feelings I had doing simple things like walking among the changing autumn foliage and enjoying natural pleasures like the taste of an apple freshly picked from the tree.
I know we can never replicate the memories we have. Many of today's children are homeschooled or celebrate Harvest Festival instead of Halloween. My family has made some of these same choices. And yet...
One year my fall flashback occurred as my three children and I were taking an afternoon stroll in our small Midwestern town. We rounded the corner to the library and were met by the most glorious maple tree that had already turned a bright, golden yellow. The very first tree to change color, it stood out from the others still sporting their summer green. "Mom, look!" Mitchell said. "Ooooohhhh!" baby Spencer cooed. "Can we take home some leaves?" asked Mackenzie.
Before answering, I paused for a moment remembering vividly my own autumn as a child. I then looked down at my own children, their pockets now stuffed full of leaves, and wondered just what kind of fall memories I'm making for them. "Sure," I said. "Grab a bunch. We'll hang them in the front window."
Back home, with the baby down for a nap, we got out the wax paper and iron and set to work filling our front window with beautiful pressed maple leaves. As we hung each one, I realized there's plenty I can do to help my children see the beauty in God's creation as the seasons change. There are orchards full of fruit waiting to be picked by chubby little hands, hot dogs waiting to be roasted by children with hungry tummies, and precious teens waiting to open up and talk to you as you take an evening stroll.
As that fall turned to winter, I reluctantly took down the golden leaves we'd pressed. I'm determined not to let the memory of that day fade. I've saved our pressed golden leaves.
The next autumn I hung them once again in our picture window just as the mail arrived via our mailman, Mr. Brown. "How beautiful!" he exclaimed. "Takes me back to the time the wife and I pressed leaves with out own kids years ago! Oh, how they loved that!"
I'm not the only dreamer.
Skip Halloween for a Hallelujah Night
For an alternative to Halloween, hold a church-wide Hallelujah Night. Children can come dressed as their favorite Bible character or Christian missionary of old. Or they can get creative when it comes to playing out the Bible theme.
We've seen entire families each with a different fruit costume and - viola! - the fruit of the Spirit! One youngster tied up his Beanie Babies on a rope and let them trail behind him two by two. He was - you guessed it - Noah! The most clever getup: a woman dressed in red flannel pajamas, red socks, and a red stocking cap. On the front, in black, she sported a big letter C. What was she? The Red Sea, of course!
You may wish to have carnival-style games and prizes, a cake or cookie walk, and of course donuts and Hot Spiced Cider (see recipe below) for refreshments. Other ideas:
• Hold a pumpkin carving contest. But for a twist, the carving must be based on something from the Bible. How about a candle, based on Psalm 27:1, "The Lord is my light and my salvation - whom shall I fear?" Or what about a cross to symbolize the cross on which Jesus Christ died for us?
• Host a "Trunk or Treat" time. In the parking lot of your church, have folks park in a circle with trunks to the inside of the circle. Open your trunks and place your Hallelujah Night candy inside. Have kids travel around the circle saying, "Trunk or Treat!" What a safe, memorable evening you'll have!
Hot Spiced Cider
10 cinnamon sticks, broken up 1 teaspoon whole cloves 2 tablespoons whole allspice 2 quarts apple cider 1 quart water 1 orange, sliced
Mix the first three ingredients in a small bowl. Cut three 7-inch squares of cheesecloth and layer them. Place the spice mixture on top. Gather the four corners and tie with string. Place the spice packet in a large saucepan or slow cooker. Add liquid and orange slices and heat until warm, but do not boil. Serve warm.
Adapted from Homespun Memories for the Heart: More than 200 Ideas to Make Unforgettable Moments by Karen Ehman, Kelly Hovermale, & Trish Smith.
Trick-or-Treating with Purpose Kim Wier Contributing Writer
Editor's Note: This is a two-part series on redeeming Halloween. Click here for part 1.
You may think it is impossible for God to redeem Halloween in its present state, but that is all the better, for when He accomplishes it — He alone will receive the glory. We have discovered that in the case of Halloween, the truth really can set you free -- free to celebrate the power and goodness of God as you do so in the spirit of remembrance for which it was first established
One simple but meaningful way to begin redeeming the season is to embrace the fun of trick-or-treating by changing the focus. The early faith heroes died because they wanted others to have the opportunity to hear the life-giving message that Jesus is the Son of God. Begin planting seeds of eagerness to share the gospel in the hearts of your children through the fun of going door to door.
First, help them think of different kinds of people who need to hear about Jesus. Let them dress up like one of those groups of people. Children are so creative. They may dress like a sea creature as they remember how sailors need Jesus. It could be a ninja as they consider those on the Asian continent. Football players, cowboys and policemen need to hear the good news. Depending on your child’s age, you can make this a more significant event.
• Talk about how people who have not accepted Jesus have been "tricked" into believing they don’t need Him, but that God wants them to receive the greatest "treat," salvation through Jesus and eternal life in heaven.
• Make a list of some specific ways that your children could pray for that group of people to be prepared to hear the gospel. Include asking God to send workers into that harvest field.
• Each night for a week before or after Halloween, pray with your children for those people.
• Look together at Jesus’ commission given to us in Matthew 28:18-20. Explain to your children that we should go and make disciples everywhere in the world. Take some time to talk about how each of us can obey that command right now and in the future.
• On the night of Halloween, as you prepare to send your children out to trick-or-treat, be sure to go over safety rules and accompany them from house to house.
• It is always a good idea to remind them to say thank you at each place you visit. Have a great time enjoying a fun experience with your children that will result in spiritual training as well.
• After you arrive home and admire the abundance of candy, finish the night with a Scripture verse that promises sweet rewards for those who do God’s work on earth. "It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing [good things] when he returns" (Luke 12:43). And, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" (Romans 10:15).
• Help your children see that while trick-or-treating can be a fun time one night a year, following God and sharing the good news of Jesus is an adventure that lasts a whole lifetime.
• Finish your trick-or-treat night with prayer as you tuck them into bed. Thank God that someone told you about Jesus, and ask Him to use your family to do the same for others.
God has not given us a spirit of fear. He has given us a sound mind and the gift of love. Halloween, originally a church holiday, should not have Christians running scared. Instead, we can celebrate without selling out when we "remember those who have gone before us" and follow in their footsteps.
_____________________________________________________ This article was adapted from Redeeming Halloween: Celebrating without Selling Out (Focus on the Family and Tyndale House).
Remembering Martin Luther on October 31 J. D. Wetterling PCA News
There’s a carved pumpkin on my doorstep this season but it's no pagan icon. It honors a backwoods monk from sixteenth century Saxony who, in God’s providence, changed the world on what the culture now calls Halloween.
It was on that day in 1517 that 37-year-old monk and University of Wittenburg theology professor, Martin Luther, nailed a challenge to the church authorities on the bulletin board—the church door—to debate 95 points of Scripture and church custom.
It set in motion a chain of earthshaking events over the next three-and-a-half years that led to what British historian Thomas Carlyle called "The greatest moment in the modern history of man"—Luther before the Diet of Worms on April 18, 1521. We know it as the Reformation.
On that day in 1521, Dr. Luther stood before the assembled heads of state of the known world. It was standing room only at the Diet of Worms, with the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, Charles V, an awesome collection of lesser provincial kings, princes, nobles, prelates, burghers, and two high-powered representatives of Pope Leo X. The room was so crowded with spectators that the blue bloods could hardly get to their seats. It would be like a meeting of the United Nations today; only this group had real power.
Johann Eck, the pope's envoy, after an exchange of viewpoints that was going nowhere fast, said in Latin:
Martinus, your plea to be heard from Scripture is the one always made by heretics. You do nothing but renew the errors of Wyclif and Huss...How can you assume that you are the only one to understand the sense of Scripture? Would you put your judgment above that of so many famous men and claim that you know more than all of them? You have no right to call into question the most holy orthodox faith, instituted by Christ the perfect Lawgiver, proclaimed throughout the world by the Apostles, sealed by the red blood of martyrs, confirmed by the sacred councils, and defined by the church...and which we are forbidden by the Pope and the Emperor to discuss, lest there be no end to debate. I ask you, Martinus, answer candidly and without distinctions, do you or do you not repudiate your books and the errors they contain?
The air in the room was electric with tension. Luther knew the fate of the Bohemian John Huss 111 years earlier—no doubt Eck mentioned his name on purpose. Huss’s beliefs were similar to Luther’s and he was burned at the stake.
The Future Monk?
It was never Luther’s desire to create such a ruckus. Neither he nor his family planned that he should even be a monk. It was one of the least regarded professions of the day. There was a widely held suspicion that monastic vows were a copout—an excuse for a man to secure a pleasant, comfortable life without having to work or worry about where his next meal was coming from.
Corruption abounded in the church, and monasteries and nunneries were known for their sexual promiscuity and drunken excesses. It is reported that the highest-ranking church official in England had six illegitimate children in spite of his vows of abstinence.
But Luther's life was forever changed, at age 21, while riding a horse with a friend through the woods during a violent storm. In the midst of a series of lightening bolts that killed his friend, he cried in mortal fear, "Help, St. Anne, I will become a monk."
Two weeks later, on July 17, 1505, he said good-bye to an appalled father, had a wild farewell party with his friends, and told them at the door of the Augustinian monastery in Wittenburg, "You see me today and never again."
But God had other plans.
In his later years he said of that moment, "To the world I had died, till God thought it was time."
Martin Luther took his vows very seriously. He was driven by his desire to find the merciful God. He said, "In the monastery I did not think about women, money, or possessions; instead my heart trembled and fidgeted about whether God would bestow his grace on me. For I had strayed from faith and could not but imagine that I had angered God, whom I in turn had to appease by doing good works."
A Lack of Peace
Luther worked so hard at fasting and prayer that he was sometimes found unconscious in his austere little cubicle. He was obsessed that he would die with some unknown sin that would condemn him. In spite of fasting, detailed self-examination, even scourging, and every form of self-discipline that existed in the already strict order he had joined, he was utterly without peace of mind.
The awful consciousness of the majesty and holiness of God, which had almost crushed him as he celebrated his first mass, never completely left him. He was tormented by the recognition of his own sin, and by the question, "Have I fasted, watched, prayed and confessed enough?"
It was one day in 1508 or 1509 that the Holy Spirit opened Martin Luther's eyes. He had been a monk for three or four years when, while reading the first chapter of Romans, he was struck by verse 17: "...as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.’" It was as if "…the door of heaven had been thrown open wide."
It was to become the heart of Luther's theology, the truth that he would be willing to die for: "justification by faith offered to us freely in the gospel of Jesus Christ." All of his writings, which were encyclopedic by any human measure in any era, and for which he never took one cent while making his publisher wealthy, were nothing but an expansion of those six words—the just shall live by faith.
Those words did not remotely describe the Christian practice of his day, and the unlikely monk began to write and preach his way, as a professor and pastor of the Castle Church of Wittenburg, toward the collision with the Church of Rome that changed history. He knew eternity was in the balance every time he preached to his Saxon congregation and he knew the truth by which God had enlightened him was unpopular and objectionable to some, but he could do no less for the immortal souls entrusted to his care.
The Real Issue of the Reformation
Most historians skim over the Reformation as an argument over indulgences that financed all manner of escapades by a corrupt pope. Church members were enticed to purchase them by the pope’s pronouncements that such would buy their deceased relatives out of purgatory and into heaven—a blasphemous idea and one of Luther’s ninety-five debating points.
But the real issue of the Reformation, "the hinge," as Luther called it, was justification by faith alone. Luther believed that justification by works as practiced by the Catholic Church was not what God had revealed in the Scriptures and was in fact under condemnation. He shared Augustine’s conviction, stated over a thousand years earlier, and of course the apostle Paul, that salvation was by grace alone.
As Luther stood before his accusers at the Diet of Worms he was the picture of godly calm, but the day before, April 17th, the first day of his trial had been a different story. He had ridden proudly into Worms at the head of a massive entourage of his followers. When a friend advised him enroute by letter not to enter Worms, he replied by letter in his usual bombastic way, "Though there were as many devils in Worms as there are tiles on the roofs, I will go there."
Yet he was gravely ill enroute, probably from the stress. A crowd of 2000 people gathered around his carriage when he arrived in Worms at a guesthouse of his King, Frederick the Wise of Saxony. He had been given safe passage by the pope, but so had John Huss a century earlier, and virtually no one thought it meant anything this time either. People were more anxious to see Luther than the Emperor Charles V himself, a fact that must been hard on the ego of the twenty-one-year-old emperor.
The first day of his trial Luther responded like a scared, almost crazy person to Eck's demand to repudiate his writings. He bobbed his head up and down and wrung his hands and asked in a barely audible voice for more time to consider. They gave him overnight—most assuredly the longest night in his life. It was up to him to decide whether to recant and live...or die in the most hideous manner society of the Middle Ages could devise.
Some members of the Diet, as well as many others, actually came to him that night and encouraged him to stick to his guns. Most secular rulers were sick and tired of the Church of Rome siphoning off all the money of their subjects. It left nothing for them to tax and their lifestyle suffered, but they did not have the nerve themselves to defy the Church of Rome.
Some of them were very excited about the possibility of the separation of church and state for the first time, and in Luther they saw the possibilities for that to become a reality...and it did. Hence, Carlyle's comment that it was the greatest moment in modern history. Distraught Brother Martin prayed and prayed. He said, "Amen," then prayed some more. "Help me, God. Help me, God. Amen. Help me, God. Help me, God."
The next day, April 18th, was his last chance, and Eck repeated his question in Latin, "Martinus, do you or do you not repudiate your books and the errors they contain?"
Martin Luther, standing behind a table piled high with his writings, replied in German rather than Latin, the mother tongue of all scholars and church officials. His response was short and concluded with:
Unless I am convicted by the testimony of Sacred Scripture or by evident reason...my conscience is captive to the word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against my conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen.
Emperor Charles V was shaken. He foresaw the very foundations of the existing social order crumbling if Luther was allowed to go unpunished and his ideas proliferate...and he was right.
Luther went unpunished by the church in spite of their best efforts, because his king, Frederick the Wise, arranged to have him "kidnapped" on his way home from Worms. Martin was taken to one of the king’s cloud-shrouded mountaintop castles where he dressed in knight’s clothes and went by the moniker, Junker Georg.
A Long Year
That long year might as well been spent in prison as far as Luther was concerned. His health suffered mightily there. He blamed it on bad beer (probably a correct assumption, but water was not safe to drink) and the devil. Luther had a highly developed sense of the devil and demons. He kept a bucket of walnuts by his bed at night to throw at demons in that cold, spooky old castle.
All of Europe was in such turmoil that Luther threw caution to the winds and came down off the mountaintop. Thus the reluctant monk from Saxony who loved life, loved to socialize with friends, sing and play the lute, was used by God to change the world. He was bombastic, as were his writings and he was usually his own worst enemy when it came to debate, but his sermons, hymns and writings electrified his age and every age since. And his theme was the heart of the gospel: "…the just shall live by faith" in Jesus Christ, the Son of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Every Maundy Thursday as long as he lived—28 more tumultuous years—Luther was number one on the pope’s published excommunication list. Even on his deathbed at age fifty-seven an emissary of the pope was with Luther, asking him to his last breath if he would repent.
It is in honor of Martin Luther, man of God, that my October pumpkin is carved not with a ghoulish smile, but with the cross of my Savior, Jesus Christ, who died to give this unworthy eternal life. And it burns incongruously among the jack-o-lanterns of the night to tell the world that by faith alone here I stand at its foot. I can do other.
JD Wetterling is a PCA ruling elder and regular contributor to PCA News. He is Resident Manager of Ridge Haven, the Camp and Conference Grounds of the PCA. For more articles like this, click here.
Bibliography and suggested readings: Luther, Martin, The Bondage of The Will, Translated by James I. Packer and O.R. Johnson, Revell Co., Tarrytown, N.Y., 1957.
Kepler, Thomas S., Editor, The Table Talk of Martin Luther, Translated by William Hazlitt, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, Mich., 1995.
Oberman, Heiko A., Luther, Man Between God and the Devil, Image Books, N.Y., N.Y., 1982.
Durant, Will, The Story of Civilization, Vol. 6: The Reformation, MJF Books, N.Y., N.Y., 1957.
Plass, Ewald M., This Is Luther, Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, Mo., 1984.
Halloween: Oppression Or Opportunity? Hank Hanegraaff
A myriad of questions have been raised about Halloween. Should Christians participate in Halloween? What should our attitude be towards Halloween? Should we simply ignore it? Should we vigorously attack it? Or should we, as Christians, find ways in which to accommodate it?
Before offering some suggestions on how we as Christians might best relate to Halloween, I think it would be appropriate to first consider the pagan origin of Halloween.
The celebration of Halloween, also known as the witches' new year, is rooted in the ancient pagan calendar which divided the year into Summer and Winter by two fire festivals. Before the birth of Christ, the day we know as Halloween was part of the Celtic Feast of Samhain (sah-ween). This feast was a celebration of Druid priests from Britain and France and commemorated the beginning of Winter.
It was a night on which the veil between the present world and the world beyond was pierced. The festivals were marked by animal sacrifices, offerings to the dead, and bonfires in recognition of departed souls. It was believed that on this night demons, witches, hobgoblins, and elves were released en masse to harass and to oppress the living. For self-preservation many Druids would dress up as witches, devils, and ghouls, and would even involve themselves in demonic activities and thus make themselves immune from attack.
In direct response to this pagan tradition, the early Christian church moved a festive celebration called All Saints' Day from May to November 1 and renamed it All Hallows' Eve, from which we get the word Halloween. This was an overt attempt on the part of believers to infiltrate pagan tradition with the truth of the gospel.
It was a bold evangelistic move designed to demonstrate that only the power of the resurrected Christ could protect men and women from the destructive ploys of Satan and his minions. This was a time in which they boldly proclaimed the marvelous fact of the resurrection and the lordship of Jesus Christ.
Believers in post-Christian America today should do no less. Halloween can be for us, like the early Christian church, an open door for evangelism. The deception of Halloween, with its witches, demons, skeletons, and allusions to death, can become a powerful springboard to demonstrate the dramatic power of Christ to redeem us from death, to fill us with His Spirit, and to give our lives meaning, purpose, and direction.
There are three specific things which I would suggest that you and your family plan for Halloween: First of all, I would use Halloween as an opportunity to communicate to your children, your family members, and your friends that although death and the grave are very real, we are more than conquerors over the powers of darkness through Jesus Christ.
Second, this is an appropriate time to consider the saints who have gone on before us - those loved ones who make the thought of heaven sweet. Even now my mind goes back to precious moments of days spent with Walter Martin. When I think of heaven, I think not only of what it will be like to meet Jesus Christ, but I think of what it will be like to be reunited with this marvelous saint who has had such a significant impact not only on my life but the lives of countless others as well.
This is also a great opportunity to share with my children the life of a saintly grandmother who prayed earnestly for me night after night while I was engulfed in a life of sin. Although she is no longer with us, the answers to her prayers live on.
Christians, this is not a time to look the other way as we do so often when passing by a graveyard. Halloween is not a time for avoidance; this is an opportunity, so seize the moment! Death, demons, pain, and suffering are real in a cursed creation. All of us have to struggle with it, and so will our children.
This is not a time for glib and superficial answers - this is a time to build intimate and lasting relationships with those whom God has entrusted to our care. This is the time to reach them and to nurture them in the rich traditions of the Christian faith. Let your children know that Satan is not a character dressed in a red union suit with horns and a pitchfork; instead, he is a very real and powerful adversary whose goal is to steal, kill, and destroy.
Finally, let me suggest that this would be a time to share some of the great classics of the Christian faith with your children. Perhaps you could curl up on the floor with them before a roaring fire and read to them from Pilgrim's Progress, or from C. S. Lewis's masterful work The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.
Yes, this is not a time to curse the darkness, but a time to light a candle. If we are indeed serious about making an impact on a lost and dying world, Halloween represents not just satanic oppression but a strategic opportunity.
For more information about CRI, and further resources on Halloween, visit www.equip.org
Christian Research Institute, P.O. Box 7000, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688
But draw near hither, ye sons of the sorceress, the seed of the adulterer and the whore.
Note: This lengthy introduction will be followed by two short emails with tips on how to evangelize during Halloween. Following those emails is are articles on the history of halloween and a good halloween poem.
This introduction is particularly for the professed Christian reader who "celebrates" Halloween / HELLoween. The one who dresses their ignorant child like a devil, or a werewolf or a fairy witch or a magic-working purple dinosaur named Barney. Do you think this is GOOD in the sight of God? Perhaps you've never stopped to think about God's reaction to horror houses and creep shows and tarot card readers and witches. Perhaps you think Cinderella's fairy godmother is a "good witch". Maybe the "Wizard" of Oz is your favorite movie. Maybe in the old days you watched, "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir". That is necromancy--intercourse with the dead. Necromancer is a Bible word (e.g., Deu 18:11). I used to be very ignorant of all righteousness. When I was of the world, I probably watched more occult than most people. May I counsel you to shake the fuzz out of your head? What we often call "nostalgia" are the remnants of sorceries that have been worked on us. If you claim to know Christ will you stop to consider WHAT GOD THINKS?
face Leviticus 19:31 REGARD NOT them that have familiar spirits, NEITHER SEEK AFTER wizards, to be DEFILED by them: I am the LORD your God.
20:6 And THE SOUL THAT TURNETH AFTER such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people.
2 Chronicles 33:6 And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and DEALT WITH a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, TO PROVOKE HIM TO ANGER.
Are you angry that these scriptures are before thee? Will you "celebrate" Satan's holiday anyway? If so, your rebellion fits right in with Halloween.
1 Samuel 15:23 For REBELLION is as the sin of WITCHCRAFT, and STUBBORNNESS is as INIQUITY AND IDOLATRY. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.
Sorcerers will go to the lake of fire. Do you allow your children to watch occultic "family" movies and videos? Do you let them read such books? You are selling your own child into the hand of the devil. Whether Cinderalla, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Harry Potter, the Exorcist, etc. they all deal with the occult. Witches, wizards, warlocks, spells, magic, astrology, horoscope, zodiac, psychic hotline, numerology, familiar spirits, etc. all deal with the occult. All that intercourse with and traffick in these things will go to hell.
Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
The rebellious may say, "But we are not practicing witchcraft," -- I wouldn't be so sure of that, but I won't argue with you because THE BIBLE SAYS DO NOT EVEN LEARN THE WAYS OF THE HEATHEN--
Jeremiah 10:2 Thus saith the LORD, LEARN NOT THE WAY of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.
The latter part of the above verse speaks to astrology ("astrologer" is a Bible word as are "magician", "stargazers", "monthly prognosticators", etc.). People who claim to the know the Lord (and their children) call 900 numbers, get palms read, etc. They seek unto them that have familiar spirits and unto wizards that peep and that mutter (ref Is 8:19) INSTEAD of living righteously and seeking after God. By their fruits ye shall know them.
EVANGELIZE YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD
Dear CHRISTIAN Friends:
This is my yearly reminder to order your tracts for the upcoming Satanic holiday called Halloween.
Below are my Halloween emails from 1999 and 1998...
Greetings in the name of the ONLY wise God and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Halloween is coming up next month. Many Christians do not open their doors for little children at Halloween but they will go to the drunkenest part of town and pass out tracts. Some will even stand in front of porno shops to witness, yet will not pass out tracts to little kids. Many will go to what is basically a church Halloween service but look down on those that choose to pass out tracts to little kids that night.
1997 was the first year I can remember being home for part of Halloween. I was armed with some Chick tracts and a boxload of the gospel of John booklets (you can 300 of them for about $48--International Bible Society).
One little girl looked in her bag and exclaimed, "Wow, Chick tracts!" After that night, I decided whenever possible, I was going to be home on that night.
Last year (1998) after coming to our door, a little boy about 5 years old yelled, "Mooooom! I gotta Bible!" He was running towards his mom to show her. I put our name and address on the back of our tracts. I believe we also put the website address on them. I passed out almost 50 "packets" of gospel material. I didn't include candy but I received no complaints. I would come to the door with a smile on my face and say something like "Hello, little children. Here is something to read about Jesus. God bless you." I would also acknowledge the parents with a friendly greeting.
I had just about ALL the lights on in my house cause Jesus is the Light of the world. There is no darkness in Him. I had just about all the windows open. Everything was free and open and light. This year, I plan to switch up the tracts I give out. Last year was "The Trick", "This was Your Life" and the gospel of John (I may pass this out again).
Below is the 1998 letter about Halloween (with just a few changes). Dear Friends, may we all pray for the little children this Halloween and for every tract and Bible given out that night too.
It's almost time for Halloween, the time when Satan is glorified through a night when human beings pay homage to devils, witches, monsters, goblins, fairy princesses, etc. Halloween is evil. That night there'll be plenty of horror movies on hell-i-vision and haunted houses. Plenty of fake blood on masks and plenty of depraved young people actually sucking each others blood in vampirism. Some of them are actually getting vampire crowns permanently placed on their teeth. Unsurprisingly, the Catholic religion made this Druid paganism popular. People will be getting killed and sacrificed to Satan this night. Some kids will be drugged by the candy. Others will have their little mouths cut open by razor blades. See the article at: http://www.chick.com/seasonal/halloweenarticle.asp
Since I've been married, we've been working with young people and have missed Halloween practically every year--but last year (1997) was different. I wasn't going out until 8 pm. I had some Chick tracts called "The Trick" (this is my favorite Halloween tract) and I had some gospel of Johns.
When the kids came to the door I greeted them and their parents very kindly and gave the children one of each item. I blessed them and sent them on their way. If you'd like to read the tract, go here: http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/0011/0011_1.htm
These kids are coming right to our door. Instead of cutting the lights out and acting like we don't hear their little knocks, why not open the door to a human being that needs the gospel and is openly asking you for something? I prayed to Jesus after reading a Chick tract when I was about 7 years old. Nobody in my family was saved but reading that little book impressed on my spirit that Jesus Christ is the Lord and that I needed to get right before the Judgment Day. I saw that same tract when I was 25 years old and I have been walking with Jesus ever since. An unknown soulwinner gave me the gospel through a Chick tract and now I am a soulwinner doing the same thing. Jesus is the Lord. Please share the gospel with a little kid.
Order your tracts now. No telling who might get saved and what mighty things they'll do for the Lord Jesus Christ. God speed as you pursue, and serve, the ONLY wise God and Saviour Jesus Christ.
For Jesus' sake, tracy -- http://www.jesus-is-lord.com I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD.
And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house. Ezekiel 2:4, 6
WHERE DID HALLOWEEN COME FROM?
This article was forwarded to me. I do not know who the author is.
Where Did Halloween Come From? What is Halloween really all about? Have you ever asked yourself, "Who in the world ever thought of the idea of walking around in weird costumes, trick or treating, and/or putting a carved-out pumpkin in your window?"
werewolfYou will agree with me that Halloween is really one of the strangest days of the year, is it not? Perhaps you wonder how the celebration of such a day ever got started. In this pamphlet I would like to answer this question for you!
Where and when did Halloween customs originate?
The many customs we have today in relation to Halloween have their origins in the religious practices of the Romans and the Druids, therefore dating back many centuries. The Romans worshiped various gods and on October 31, a special feast was held in honor of Pomona, goddess of the fruit trees. Later, the Druids, an ancient order of Celtic priests in Britain, made this feast an even more extensive celebration by also honoring Samhain, lord of the dead. This was normally done on November 1 and it was therefore decided to conveniently honor both Pomona and Samhain on October 31 and November 1.
These Druids believed that on the night before November 1 (October 31) Samhain called together wicked souls or spirits which had been condemned to live in the bodies of animals during the year which had just transpired. Since they were afraid of these spirits, they chose October 31 as a day to sacrifice to their gods, hoping they would protect them. They really believed that on this day they were surrounded by strange spirits, ghosts, witches, fairies, and elves, who came out to hurt them. In addition to this, they also believed that cats were holy animals, as they considered them to represent people who lived formerly, and as punishment for evil deeds were reincarnated as a cat. All this explains why witches, ghosts, and cats are a part of Halloween today.
The custom of trick-or-treating and the use of "jack-o'-lanterns" comes from Ireland. Hundreds of years ago, Irish farmers went from house to house, begging for food, in the name of their ancient gods, to be used at the village Halloween celebration. They would promise good luck to those who gave them good, and made threats to those who refused to give. They simply told the people, "You treat me, or else I will trick you!"
The apparently harmless lightened pumpkin face or "jack-o'-lantern" actually is an old Irish symbol of damned soul. A man named Jack was supposed to be able unable to enter heaven due to his miserliness, and unable to enter hell because he had played practice jokes on the devil. As a result, he was condemned to wander over the earth with his lantern until judgment day (i.e., the end of the world). The Irish were so afraid that they would receive an identical plight, that they began to hollow out pumpkins and place lighted candles inside to scare away evil spirits from their home.
screamingmask When did the modern Halloween celebration begin?
During the Middle Ages (about 600 years ago), the Roman Catholic Church at that time, decided to make the change-over from pagan religion to Christianity a bit easier, and therefore allowed the new converts to maintain some of their pagan feasts. It was agreed, however, that from now on they would be celebrated as "Christian" feasts. So instead of praying to their heathen gods, they would now pray to, and remember the deaths of saints. For this reason the church decided to call November 1 the "Day of All Saints," and the mass to be celebrated on that day "Alhallowmass." In consequence of this, the evening prior to this day was named, "All Hallowed Evening" which subsequently was abbreviated as "Halloween." In spite of this effort to make October 31 a "holy evening," all the old customs continued to be practiced, and made this evening anything BUT a holy evening!
You would have to agree with me that also today Halloween is most definently not a holy evening!! This annual event is far from the harmless, innocent tradition it is promoted to be. Many dread this "holy" evening as they think what could happen to them, their property, and/or their children! Consistent with its historical roots, this evening is charecterized by fear, and frequently arouses dormant fears in many. The fear generated by this event is symbolic of the fear which plagues so many in our moden, morally bankrupt world. It is a gripping fear for an unknown and very threatening future, a fear caused by a gnawing inner emptiness.
An alternative for October 31.
For many in this land, this day stands for the very opposite of fear!! On this day in 1517, a German monk and professor of theology, Dr. Martin Luther, courageously published the simple, straightforward truth of the Bible. God's Word, which he has rediscovered after a long and intense spiritual struggle. God used the truth of his own Word to give Luther the inner peace he had so desperately longed for. The Bible pointed him the way to God Himself, and when he found God through Jesus Christ, he found this peace which passes all understanding! He himself stated that it was as if he entered Paradise itself.
As a result of his courageous act on October 31, 1517, the Bible came into the hands of the common people again, and many, who as he, were deeply troubled by sin and it's consequences, found peace with God as well!
It was God himself, Who used Martin Luther to bring His message of deliverance into the hands and hearts of sinners, in order to bring them back to Himself, and give then TRUE peace!! It is therefore with deep gratitude to God that we wish commemorate October 31, as it reminds us of God's gracious and mighty deeds nearly five centuries ago.
It is the Word of God, and its precious truth, rediscover by Martin Luther, which still gives true peace to many today. In the Bible ALONE will you find the ONLY answer to the deep yearning of your heart. ONLY when God becomes your God through Jesus Christ, you will find rest at last and you will answer to the true purpose of human existence, namely, to honor, serve, and enjoy our Creator!!
Is the God of heaven and earth YOUR God? If not, seek Him TODAY, while He still may be found!!
God, manifested in Jesus Christ, invited you Himself in His Word. Turn to the gospel of Matthew and read chapter 11:28,
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest!"
Those who insist on seeking inner peace without being reconciled to God through Jesus Christ, will have to endure eternal misery without God. God does not desire the eternal misery of man and therefore He also extends this invitation in Ezekiel 33:11,
"As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked (i.e. Sinner) but that the wicked turn from his way and live! Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways: for why will ye die?"
WHERE DID HALLOWEEN COME FROM? Re: [kingdom-alert-update] #180 (10-23-02), Pastor Joey Faust
HALLOWEEN: A CELBRATION FOR SATANISTS, WITCHES, AND CATHOLICS - NOT FUNDAMENTAL CHRISTIANS!
A Roman Catholic website briefly describes the meaning of Halloween to modern Catholics:
"Halloween (the 'e'en' or evening before 'All Hallow's,' or all the 'Holy Ones,' the saints) is the vigil of two feast days. All Saints Day is November 1, and All Souls Day is November 2....On All Saints we celebrate the lives of the saints, especially those in heaven. On All Souls Day we remember those who have died, especially in our immediate family....Skeletons and skulls are naturally symbols at Halloween because of All Souls Day, 'the Day of the Dead,' as some countries call it. It doesn't hurt us to think about death once a year. We're all going to die someday. Skeletons and skulls remind us of this. Figures of devils and witches can also remind us of the ever-present temptation to be like God. Halloween is not 'of the devil,' as some FUNDAMENTALISTS say. Many denominations don't teach about the COMMUNION OF SAINTS, so naturally they don't celebrate All Saints Day or All Souls Day. All they have left of Halloween is pre-Christian superstition about the dead." (Americancatholic.org)
The same website also describes the ORIGINS of Halloween:
"The true origins of Halloween lie with the ancient Celtic tribes who lived in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Brittany. For the Celts, November 1 marked the beginning of a new year and the coming of winter. The night before the new year, they celebrated the festival of Samhain, Lord of the Dead. During this festival, Celts believed the souls of the dead -including ghosts, goblins and witches - returned to mingle with the living. In order to scare away the evil spirits, people would wear masks and light bonfires. When the Romans conquered the Celts, they added their own touches to the Samhain festival, such as making centerpieces out of apples and nuts for Pomona, the Roman goddess of the orchards. The Romans also bobbed for apples and drank cider - traditions which may sound familiar to you. But where does the Christian aspect of the holiday come into play? In 835, Pope Gregory IV moved the celebration for all the martyrs (later all saints) from May 13 to November 1. The night before became known as All Hallow's Even or 'holy evening.' Eventually the name was shortened to the current Halloween. On November 2, the Church celebrates All Souls Day. The purpose of these feasts is to remember those who have died, whether they are officially recognized by the Church as saints or not. It is a celebration of the 'communion of saints,' which reminds us that the Church is not bound by space or time. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that through the communion of saints 'a perennial link of charity exists between the faithful who have already reached their heavenly home, those who are expiating their sins in purgatory and those who are still pilgrims on earth. Between them there is, too, an abundant exchange of all good things.' (#1475)." (AmericanCatholic.org)
Finally, this same website also reveals Halloween's relatively recent birth in the U.S.:
"...the current custom of going door-to-door to collect treats actually started in Ireland hundreds of years ago...When an influx of Irish Catholic immigrants came to the United States in the 1800s, the custom of trick-or-treating came with them. Does your family carve a pumpkin to place on your porch for Halloween? If so, then you can once again thank the Irish for the tradition. Actually, the custom began with a turnip. People would hollow out the turnips and place lighted candles inside to scare off the evil spirits. When the Irish came to America, they discovered the pumpkin as a larger substitute for the turnip. And so, we now carve pumpkins instead of turnips for Halloween." (AmericanCatholic.org)
Indeed, Halloween was not popular in the U.S. until the 20th century, when it spread from the Irish Catholic settlements, and was later re-energized by the Wiccans. There is much common ground between Catholics and pagans, especially concerning the dead. As America grows increasingly Catholic and pagan (with the aid of the federal government through public education, etc.), it is no wonder that Halloween is increasingly growing in popularity. Paganism went mainstream in America in 1979 when two books (i.e. ''The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess'' by Starhawk, and ''Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today'' by Margot Adler) were both released on Halloween. The Harry Potter movement is insuring that the children are not left out of this "new age."
While Catholics are busy praying for, and TO, dead people, and the pagans are likewise communing with their dead ancestors (not to mention the modern, Druid sacrifices of some serious Satanic groups), Halloween is obviously a night when the devils will run wild! One pagan witch describes the importance of Halloween for communicating with the dead (i.e. "the communion of saints"):
"'There is a recognition of our close ties with our ancestors and a recognition that the veils between the worlds are thin at this time of year." (Chapin-Bishop, WiccaNet.org)
On Halloween, Pagans will usually prepare a meal and set plates for dead relatives. The favorite foods of deceased relatives are prepared. The meal is usually consumed in total silence. After the meal, the food that was set out for the deceased is poured out in the woods as an offering to spirits. Another Wiccan high priestess, Marsha Smith, likewise describes the importance of Halloween for "communion" with departed spirits:
"'It's a time to celebrate our ancestors and to communicate with the other side through meditation (or) tarot cards or by inviting the spirits to possess us,' she said. 'We believe souls are reincarnated and our loved ones come back to be with us again.'" (Holly Edwards Staff Writer, Los Angeles Daily News)
While Halloween may be important for Catholics and pagans, fundamental Christians should avoid any association with or celebration of the day. The Bible teaches that sorcery will be revived in the last days, and that this would move God to bring the Tribulation curses upon mankind:
Revelation 9:21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their SORCERIES, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.
The Bible also teaches that Rome will continue to "whitewash" pagan divination, until she becomes accepted as the center of world religion:
Revelation 17:5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
There is NOTHING "cute" about witches and devils. Christians are losing the minds of their children by foolishly opening the gates to the enemy (through TV, movies, public education, pagan/Catholic holidays such as Halloween, etc.). Witchcraft is no longer cute and funny; it never was, but it especially is not cute in this late day, as thousands of teenagers are taking it seriously. Paul warns Christians that those who flirt with witchcraft will be excluded from the Kingdom of God (Galatians 5:20).
The ancient Druids were the "priests" of the Celtic religion. The Druid priests practiced horrible, mass human sacrifices on Halloween (although some modern pagans attempt to deny this fact, at least in public). Tacitus (the Roman historian) confirms this fact. The feast of Samhain (pronounced "sow-win") was the feast of the dead. At this time, as we have seen, it was believed that the veil between the living and the dead (i.e. spirit world) was at its thinnest. I do believe the veil between the spirit world and the living is indeed at its thinnest at this time - not just on Halloween, but during this whole final age. However, it is not DEAD people, but DEVILS who are close at hand, ready for "communion" (1 Timothy 4:1, 2 Timothy 3:8). How long will it be before these devils once AGAIN (as with the Druids of old) begin to move mankind to practice the human sacrifices the Bible predicts will intoxicate Rome (Revelation 17:6)?
I personally do not think Christians should hold similar "alternatives" on Halloween. I think they should hit the streets and confront the world with strong preaching, or they should gather together for fervent prayer. Should such a night be an evening for fun, games, and "mock" divination for discerning Christians? Is there not a cause? Can we not rejoice in Christ in fellowship, spiritual songs, soul winning, and prayer, or must we imitate the joy of pagans and Catholics? What does it teach children when we train them that they must always have a "Christian" imitation of pagan fun? Will not many children soon realize that the world can "out-do" the Christian on pagan ground? I am certainly not against holy fun and recreation for children. I am against attempting to "Christianize" divination. I know there are many who teach that there is merit in attracting children to churches, away from a dangerous environment. Yet, many churches are having to become increasingly pagan and grotesque every year to attract the kids (who have been raised on horror movies with millions of dollars of special effects). "Hell houses" with rape, murder, suicide, blood and violence, acted out, etc. are sadly, becoming increasingly common in churches on Halloween.
But my main point is that Halloween is a pagan and Roman Catholic festival. Fundamental Christians should not have witches and skeletons on their doors.
THAT HALLOWEEN! By S.S.
I'VE SAID WHAT I'VE SAID,
IT'S NOT TO BE MEAN,
I SIMPLY DON'T DO
No Party, No Goodies, No Trick-or-Treating,
Instead I'll be praying, fasting and reading,
No, I'm not taking this satanic force lightly,
I'm saying "No!" to it, and I'm saying it rightly.
No ghosts, jack-o-lanterns, broomsticks and witches,
Those things should offend even the non-religious,
Stop trying to force me to participate,
In celebrations and rituals that my God hates.
I know it's origin—where it all comes from,
So, I won't be quiet, I'll sound the alarm,
The observance of Halloween has evil as it's base,
So keep that ungodliness out of my face.
I'VE SAID WHAT I'VE SAID,
IT'S NOT TO BE MEAN,
I SIMPLY DON'T DO
"Calm down. Relax" , you say, "It's fun. It's make-believe!"
Is that so, or have you just completely been deceived?
Has God ever been pleased when His children played with idols?
If you don't know the answer, you can find it in the Bible.
"Well, we don't really celebrate it quite that way."
"A holy house—not haunted — a Fall festival", you say;
"Our children dress as Bible figures, now how could that be wrong?"
Oh please, my friend, don't compromise—Just leave it all alone!
To some it may seen strange, I know, to take such bold position,
And yes, it can be difficult to break those old traditions,
But when you have committed your life to following the truth,
Neither pressure, rejection, nor separation...not even death will stop you.