Abstain from every form of evil. -- 1Thessalonians 5:22 (ESV)
It seems every year some Christian leader comes out in favor of Halloween. One year it was the yet to be disgraced Mark Driscoll who whined how he didn't want to be that weird church in the neighborhood. Way to have the goals of Christ in mind Mark. Another year it was Natalie Grant dancing with the devil because she wanted to see her eight-year-old dressed up like a princess. Way to see how you lay out your child's future in what we you allow when they are young Natalie. This year we have Rosalind Jukic, who penned the above linked article entitled, "If We Reject Halloween, Are we Rejecting Opportunities to Spread God's Love?" I know the answer to that one! Rosalind is a missionary in Croatia and in her defense, she gets some of the point. Far more than Driscoll or Grant but she just misses the mark in some crucial areas. Now in the spirit of full disclosure, I do not have children and I recognize this is far easier for me to take this stance than Christian parents but sometimes, we are called to be that peculiar people. Halloween is one of those times. Let us reason together through Mrs. Jukic's article.
"As we near the Halloween season, many questions are raised about whether one ought to celebrate it or not. For some these questions extend even beyond Halloween, encompassing Christmas and Easter, in an effort to distance themselves from all things pagan. If we were to distance ourselves from all things pagan, we'd barely be able to exist in this present culture at all. To be sure, Halloween's origins are dark, pagan and demonic. I could go into a huge history lesson here--but it really would not serve the purpose for what I want to share. I think the majority of us know Halloween's Celtic origins, how jack-o'-lanterns came to be, why they dressed up and so on. Additionally, I think we could all agree that the way Halloween is currently celebrated hardly at all resembles the way it was originally celebrated. It is commercialized, and I'd argue that most parents are not focused on the pagan aspects of the holiday--they simply want their children to have a good time. When the topic comes up among Christians, the opinions are varied and deeply rooted. Some are so steadfastly convinced that all Christians should completely ignore the day, along with any kids who come calling." -- Rosalind Jukic
There is a lot to unpack here so let's start with the pagan angle. The fact that Halloween has pagan roots is not the issue. Usually that is brought up as a red herring designed to dismiss any criticism of celebrating it. Christmas has pagan roots but has become part of Americana. I take no issue with Christmas, even though Jesus was not really born in December. Easter is Resurrection Sunday and should be the most important date of our faith. Just ditch the bunnies and eggs and we are fine. The difference between these three holidays is that Halloween is evil. It was born of evil and has stayed such throughout history. It is currently a high holy day in Satanism. Now call me crazy, but I do not think we should be celebrating the high holy day of Satanism. So the point is not in avoiding everything pagan but everything inherently evil. The way Halloween is currently celebrated is still evil. Sure kiddos dressed up like Captain America is not evil but it is still the day that mischief is generally tolerated. Remember, your Captain America or little princess is not going to be eight years old forever. When they are 16 and they want to be a zombie or sexy nurse you must realize that YOU taught them that was ok when they were eight. You lost the moral high ground. The spiritual warfare we face is real, and comes against us at any age.
Then we come to the typical "not what we are focusing on" argument. Often this is represented as "that's not what we are celebrating for." I am sure the devil cares why you are celebrating his high holy day. I am sure parents just want their kids to have a good time. That is an exercise in missing the point by miles. Jesus Christ died and suffered on the cross for our sins. So that we might be redeemed. So that we would carry our own cross daily and die to self. Now I understand these lessons are not taught in church anymore but it is from the bible. Is asking to not go door to door for candy one time per year a bridge to far? Is it too heavy a cross to bear? I think we need to take inventory of our spiritual life.
"Should Christians Celebrate Halloween? The Bible does command us to reject--indeed flee from--evil, specifically demons, witches and witchcraft in all its forms. And to a degree, Halloween falls into that category. Yet, it begs the question that if we as believers so reject Halloween as a day, refuse to open our door to trick-or-treating kids or allow our churches to be a safe haven for those who would otherwise be on the streets, are we missing out on an opportunity to share Christ's love? Did Jesus literally turn away sinners in an effort to broadcast a message about sin? Did Jesus isolate Himself from unbelievers in an effort to protect Himself from pagan customs? And let us not forget that in His day paganism abounded--as did every other form of wicked behavior. Turning our lights out and pretending Halloween doesn't exist doesn't mean it ceases to exist. Our refusal to acknowledge the day doesn't make it go away.
People still celebrate Halloween--people who need the love of Jesus. If our quest is to be like Him, let us look to His behavior as an example of how we ought to respond when faced with paganism, evil, and even wickedness in our culture. The church can and should capitalize upon every opportunity presented to bring the gospel to the lost. So I challenge my readers this year to consider how you might use Halloween to reach out to your neighbors and those you usually do not get a chance to talk with." -- Rosalind Jukic