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Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that "an idol has no real existence," and that "there is no God but one." For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth--as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"-- yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. -- 1Corinthians 8: 4-6 (ESV)
This is how compromised the modern American church has become. We have been so immersed within the culture of Americana that we reflect to it first before our citizenship in heaven. The mere thought of not partaking in any Americanized ritual is seeming anathema to Christians. I have written responses to two articles this season defending Christian participation in Halloween and thought I was done. That was until I saw young gun pastor poster child Matt Chandler post a very short video, which I linked above. In it he tries to green light the Christian celebration of the satanic high holy day, along with one biblical mangling and two "guidelines, which completely miss the point. Let us reason together beloved, once more.
The key verses are referenced by Chandler in his attempt to legitimize Halloween. This is the chapter that deals with Paul addressing the eating of foods sacrificed to idols. Chandler viewed this chapter as Paul redeeming what was good from something evil. The evil being the idol sacrifice and the good being that God still made the meat. He then says that he believes this can be applied to Halloween. Huh? Beloved the bible is not meant to be wielded in such a manner. Chandler assumes a principle that quite frankly is not there. This is not God setting up the principle of redeeming things out of evil. In fact let's examine the key verses to see what God is actually saying. God is saying regarding meats sacrificed to idols that we know that idols represent things that do not actually exist. Even a false god is non-existent. Just like when Elijah squared off against the prophets of Baal and no one answered their cries because Baal does not exist. So the issue of eating meat sacrificed to idols is irrelevant since it has been sacrificed to an entity that does not really exist. Pretty straightforward and not one mention of redeeming anything or Halloween. The chapter is not done however. Here is the remaining context:
However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol's temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble. -- 1Corinthians 8: 7-13 (ESV)
So God goes on to say that while these things are true regarding idols, not everyone possesses this knowledge. So even though food does not commend nor condemn us to God their consciences are genuinely seared if they partake. So what does the Apostle Paul teach here? That if your possession of truth is going to cause a brother to stumble, then do not exercise it. If my eating meat makes my brother stumble than I will no longer eat meat! Now you may be wondering how Chandler applied this to Halloween and if so, I am with you. There is no application. Paul is not teaching about evil but about knowledge and not offending your brother. Putting their needs above yours. Even if we were to go down this line of reasoning, Chandler correctly pointed out that the meat was ultimately made by God so man's attempt to sacrifice it to a nonexistent entity does not change the inherent goodness of what God has made.
In the great Halloween debate you have one side that says Christians can celebrate it and another that says they should abstain. Neither was "made by God." Chandler is comparing apples and orangutans. Halloween was actually made by the devil. Its roots are demonic. Its history is demonic and yes, the current celebration of it is demonic. Chandler then provides two guidelines for Christians who wish to partake from this cup of demons. The first he says is to dress appropriately. Nothing sinister or evil in appearance and nothing sultry or sexual. While I cannot argue with that it provides no real guidelines at all because parents decide what their kids will wear when they are kids but as they grow these choices will reside with the child. So yes, it is adorable and cute when your six year old dresses like a princess or Peter Pan but what lesson are you teaching them? You cannot dress them up for ten years and then cry Satan when they are teens trying to dress like the undead or a prostitute. It is too late then. You had your chance to teach them that Christians are different or even peculiar. You had your chance to teach them how to truly be salt and light to an evil culture but you dressed them up and sent them door to door in that culture. Lest you think it too burdensome, consider how many Jewish kids you see dressed up and going door to door. You generally do not because they still adhere to the law prohibiting participation in gentile customs. So it is possible to tell your kids no; we do not do that.
The second guideline offered by Chandler is to use this as an opportunity to spread the Gospel. Noble and pious as this sounds it is simply putting lipstick on a pig. If we were truly concerned about the souls of our neighbors we wouldn't wait until Satan Day to try and preach the Gospel to them. Isn't Christmas or Easter a more natural fit to discuss the birth or resurrection of our Lord and Savior? By the way, you can still pass out tracts with candy or speak to your neighbors without dressing your kids up and actually partaking of the holiday itself.
Beloved, I have said I understand this is not an easy subject but the bible is painfully clear. The essential argument Matt Chandler makes here is one of moral relativism. That if your seared conscience is not pricked by Halloween -- hey have fun! It's just like when the early Christians who knew that idols represented non-entities could decide to eat meat. Except it is not like that at all. The decision of the early Christians was based on knowledge and who God is. The decision of Matt Chandler and Halloween Christians is based on ignorance to the Word of God and who the devil really is.