The Theology of Halloween

What do you think about Halloween?

Is it O.K. for Christians to participate in “trick-or-treating”?

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Christian Halloween?

I’ve talked to a lot of Christians what have told me that they have no problems participating in Halloween festivities.  They say there’s nothing wrong with it.  They just change the name from Halloween to Harvest Festival or something like  that.  They also say it’s completely acceptable to be involved in any or all Halloween activities, besides, we should “become all things to all men so that by all possible means” we might save some (1 Cor. 9:22).

Yet there are many Christians who do not believe it’s acceptable to participate in Halloween.  They ask the question, “why would a Christian want to associate or celebrate on the devil’s day?”  Those who argue against taking part in Halloween say that it is not a good thing and that Christians should “avoid every appearance of evil” (I Thess. 5:22).

What do you believe?

As you can tell this is a sensitive subject.  I believe that most people just don’t know much about Halloween.  Most people do not know its history, whether it’s good or evil, or whether or not to participate in Halloween.  What about you?  Do you know why you are in favor or against participating in Halloween?

Growing up as a child I remember the fun I had dressing up as Satan with my brothers and sister and going out trick-or-treating (with my parents)  We had a blast!   Today, I’m a licensed minister.  I think I turned out alright.   So what’s the big deal?  Am I just lucky not to have been sucked into the dark world of evil and demonic activity?

If you ask me today, would I dress up any of my children as a devil for Halloween?  The answer is a definite NEVER!  I’ve often wondered, what were my parents thinking?  I even asked my mom about this but she doesn’t even remember me dressing up a devil.  Maybe the costume was on-sale?  Oh well.

Did you know that October 31st. is an important date for Protestants, and that it has nothing do with Halloween?  October 31st is known as Reformation Day.  It was this day in 1517 that Martin Luther, a Catholic monk, nailed his 95 Theses for discussion to the church door in Wittenberg.  What resulted over the course of many years was a massive reformation of the Christian church.  O.K. enough church history.


Is Halloween OK?
I recently read two good arguments for participating in Halloween. The first is that historically, “festivities on “All Hallows Eve” were the Christian’s way of laughing at death and evil, something that can be done in certain hope of Christ’s victory over the powers of darkness.  The Church for centuries, however, has seen All Hallows Eve not as a glorification of evil, but as a chance to affirm eternal life in the face of the death of our mortal bodies. Just as Easter is a celebration of Jesus’ victory over death and evil, so is Halloween!”

The second reason in favor of participating in Halloween is that “besides serving as the only time many people bother to go up to their neighbors’ houses and actually interact with them, it holds deeper meaning.  It is not about being afraid, believe it or not. It is rather about laughing in the face of fear and the things we fear: darkness, death, superstition, and monsters of every kind.  It’s about mocking the god of fear while meeting our neighbors face-to-face.”

Halloween
Although both reasons above sound good to me, not everyone agrees.  The arguments go back and forth and have been for years. Here’s a short list of pro’s and con’s on this ongoing dialogue.


Below are several articles that present reasons why Christians SHOULD NOT participate in Halloween.

  1. Why NOT TO participate in Halloween.
  2. Don’t Sup with the Devil
  3. It’s wrong but use Halloween to evangelize.
  4. Ten Reasons Christians Should Not Celebrate Halloween


Below are several articles that present reasons why IT’S OK for Christians to participate in Halloween.

  1. Halloween as an opportunity to win people to Christ.
  2. Christian Halloween
  3. Halloween Alternatives.
  4. Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?
  5. 7 Great Ideas for Halloween


Here’s the best answer I have found, so far, as to whether or not a Christian should participate in Halloween.

Is there a correct answer to the question as to whether or not a believer in Jesus Christ should participate in Halloween?  If there is, I think I found it right here. In a nutshell, the article says that since the debate about Halloween has been an ongoing question it falls under the category of “Romans 14”, a disputable matter.

happy halloween
The article goes on to say that participating in Halloween should be a personal conviction.  If a person does not agree with it, he/she should not judge someone else who does.  Finally, the article concludes by saying that maybe there is no real right or wrong answer to this question.

I believe Christians can and should use the occasion of Halloween to be a light to the world, (why not, we live here).  Whether you’re doing a “trunk of treats”, a Halloween skating party or a drama depicting the power of Christ over evil, teach people about the supreme power of Christ over darkness, (1 John 3:8).  Let people know that Christ can take away all fear (1 John 4:18).  Tell people that if and when they walk through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4) they do not have to fear evil when Jesus is Lord of their lives, just lean toward the Light,  (John 3:16).  Tell people that God loves them, and that He can make a difference in their lives. (Matt 4:17).  Tell people they do not have to fear but that they too can be safe and secure in the hands of a living God.

So I ask again, what do you believe about Halloween?  How does your church respond on this day?  Does your church hide out or reach out?  Has this post changed your view?  Agree? Disagree? Agree to Disagree?  I welcome all feedback, the good, the bad and the ugly.

Saw 1

B.T.W. I haven’t even started to address the issue watching gory, scary and horror films.   Is it wrong or just “entertainment”?   Isn’t it probably worse than participating in Halloween? (which is only one night a year for just a few hours)

Should a person who practices Christianity not watch horror movies like, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, The Blair Witch Project, The Exorcist, Saw 6 and Paranormal Activities?  What about you?   Don’t you like a good horror flick every now and then?  Would you let you children watch scary movies?   If so, at what age would you allow them to start watching them?  If you don’t participate in Halloween but do habitually watch horror films, what’s the difference? Talk to me.

As you are probably thinking this conversation can lead us to ask many other questions about the life of a believer in Jesus Christ.  I’m talking about the basic characteristics of a Christian; living in holiness & righteousness, being a light to the world, being honest, having integrity, honoring God on a daily basis, being careful to the things you listen to, people you hang around with, being faithful to church, not living a life of sin, etc.   We can also talk on the subject of spiritual warfare, spiritual darkness and evil spirits but we’ll get to that later.

This conversation all started with one simple question, “What do you think about Halloween?”  It seems that there are so many other questions that must be asked along with it.  Maybe the title of this post shouldn’t be, “The Theology of Halloween”, perhaps a more appropriate tile would be, “The Theology of a Christian”.  If that’s the case, maybe just maybe, I’m asking the wrong question.  What do you say?

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P.S.  I welcome all comments.
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Choosing a Bible Translation

BibleTranslation

BibleTranslation

“Before the year 1881, you had three choices for an English Bible Translation: the KJV, the KJV, or the KJV.  Obviously, this is no longer the case.  How did the King James Version get dethroned?  Which translation is best today?  Are any of the modern translations faithful to the original?

Many people today think that a faithful translation of the Bible means a “word for word” translation.  If the original has a noun, they expect a noun in the translation.  If the original has sixteen words, they don’t want to see seventeen in the translation.  This type of translation is called, “formal equivalence.”  The KJV, ASV, and NASB, come closest to this deal”.

This is just a snippet from the article “Choosing a Bible Translation” by Daniel B. Wallace.  To read the rest of this article in pdf format click here.   My personal preference for Bible translations is the English Standard Version, (E.S.V.)  For the complete history of the ESV Bible click here.  To read my review of the ESV Study Bible click here.   So what’s your favorite Bible translation?

Bible Study Magazine

I first read the article, “Choosing a Bible Translation” in the Nov. / Dec. 2008 issue of BibleStudyMagazine.com which they sent me free.  (Thanks Ryan Burns!!!) I found it very helpful and easy to read & understand.  If you qualify, you can get a free “review copy” of their first issue here.

Library Journal, the premier magazine for librarians, featured Bible Study Magazine as one of the top 10 magazines launched in 2008.  According to Michael S. Heiser, Editor of the magazine, “Bible Study Magazine will enhance your study of God’s word in variety of ways, suggesting methods of Bible Study and offering tips on Bible study tools”.  I agree.

BibleStudyMagazine.com

BibleStudyMagazine.com

BibleStudyMagazine.com provides lots of interesting and challenging content.  You can check out other articles available free here.  Check back often because every month they post a new article.  To subscribe at almost 50% off the cover price click here.  If you like Bible Study, I think you will enjoy Bible Study Magazine.

Here’s John Barry, Associate Editor, introducing the very first issue of the magazine on YouTube.

So, what’s your favorite Bible translation?


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Answering Athiests – Free Ebook

Here’s a free ebook by Hank Hanegraaff, president of the Christian Research Institute, entitled, “Answering Athiests, What Every Christian Should Know“.   His daily radio program helps to equip believers defend their faith against errors and false teachers.

I downloaded this “question and answer” book myself and find its 33 pages very easy to understand, although I did have to re-read a few paragraphs.   Questions include:

*  Are the Bible manuscripts reliable?
*  Does the Bible promote slavery?
*  Is there evidence for life after death?
*  If Christianity is true, why are so many atrocities committed in the name of Christ?
*  Who made God?
*  Is the Big Bang biblical?
*  Is Intelligent Design really a choice?
…and a whole bunch more.

Oneplace.com also has a huge selection of question and answers called, Biblical Answers to Life Questions here.  Check them out.

Both of these resources can come in handy for Bible study, group discussion, for individual reference but mostly to be able to answer some of the tough questions that are many times asked of us.

If you enjoyed this post you may also like this one, “Dad, I’m not sure I believe in God anymore” also stop by and visit, “Biblical Answers to Life’s Questions” here.

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Download Apostle Paul

Download, Apostle Paul, a full-length college course for only $15.95 (price will increase soon).  If you don’t have time to take a college class then you definitely do not want to miss out on this excellent opportunity.  I’ve purchased this product myself and it’s very engaging.  It even comes with class notes!

Paul

Historian Luke Timothy Johnson, the best-selling author of The Real Jesus, offers a fresh and historically grounded assessment of the life and letters of Christianity’s “apostle to the Gentiles” in this 12-lecture series.

“One of the most fascinating, important, and controversial figures in the religious history of the West, Paul the Apostle continues to find champions and detractors, sometimes in surprising places,” says Professor Johnson.

Coming to grips with Christianity means coming to grips with Paul. There is no figure aside from Jesus himself who is more important to the history of this world religion, and no figure from the age of the early church about whom we know more or of whom we have a more rounded view.

You consider his letters to the Thessalonians, Corinthians, and Galatians. You explore his religious commitments as a member of the Pharisaic movement, his persecution of the Christian sect, the dramatic experience that changed him into an apostle, and his work as a missionary and church founder.

Course Lecture Titles include:

1.    An Apostle Admired and Despised
2.    How Should We Read Paul?
3.    Paul’s Life and Letters
4.    Problems of Early Christianity
5.    First and Second Thessalonians
6.    Life in the World—First Corinthians
7.    Life in Christ—Second Corinthians
8.    Life and Law—Galatians
9.    Life and Righteousness—Romans
10.    Fellowship—Letters from Captivity
11.    History and Theology
12.    Paul’s Influence

The course, Apostle Paul, is being offered by The Teaching Company, the force in adult education that distributes lectures by professors from some of the nation’s leading universities.

Download the 12 lectures for only $15.95 (my preference) or purchase the six audio CD’s for only $19.95.  What have you got to loose?

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with Good Theology and Good Technology FREE! “

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Got Small Groups?

If you have a lot of Bible Study Groups in your church (sometimes called small groups, life cell groups, ministry teams etc.) you know how challenging it can be to manage all of the information involved (structure, enrollment, attendance, etc.)  If you’re tired of all the paperwork required to track your church small groups let ChurchTeams help.

church reams

Church Teams is a web based program that empowers your leaders to update and use the information they need in order to enhance the quality of your small group’s communication, coaching, and tracking.  The beauty of ChurchTeams.com is that the entire program is available from any computer with internet access.  Some of the other features include:

  • Easy integration with your church website in minutes.
  • Built in mapping and filtering make it easy for people to find the best group for them.
  • Group leaders receive automatic e-mail reminders to post group attendance and notes each week.
  • Administrators and leaders can quickly generate attendance, absentee, and other reports.
  • Leaders, group members, and people not yet in groups can be e-mailed directly.
  • Five layers of security ensure that your data is safe.

We recently have started using this program at my church and I like it a lot.  Church Teams allows group leaders to post their attendance and group notes from their home or workplace over the Internet.  Leaders can even use it to communicate to their whole group.  This weekly update can help even the infrequent attenders feel connected and helps coaches and pastors know the condition of their groups better than ever before.  Check them out at ChurchTeams.com

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Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

indianajonesHere’s a creative discussion guide based on the new Indiana Jones Movie.

Indiana Jones first cracked his whip in 1981, with Raiders of the Lost Ark. Almost three decades later, he’s back at it in The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

This guide will help you consider some of the themes of the new Indiana Jones, such as knowledge, mystery, and nostalgia.

The three discussion scenes include:

1. — Knowledge: “I want to know everything.” (Genesis 3)
2. — Mystery: “We don’t want to go that way.” (Exodus 33:12–23; Colossians 2:2–3)
3. — Nostalgia: “Not as easy as it used to be.” (Psalm 77)

When you download the file you’ll receive a Bible-based guide for personal use or group discussion after the movie. The cost of the download is only $5.95. Check it out.

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The Bible Experience!

“The Bible Experience” provides an excellent method to enjoy the Bible by hearing it in dramatic form. If you don’t have much time to read, but want to “redeem the time” listen to the Bible on your the way to work, during lunch or while you are on the go. Remember you challenged yourself to read the Bible more? Well, here’s one way to keep that promise.


The most ambitious audio presentation of the complete Bible ever produced, Inspired By … The Bible Experience, is now the foundation from which daily inspirational podcasts are available.

Listen to Inspired By...The Bible Experience Daily Podcast

The daily podcast runs Monday-Friday through the end of the year. Each day features a 2-minute clip from one of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Inspired By…The Bible Experience is produced by Inspired By… Media Group and published by Zondervan. The daily podcast clips are edited by Westar Media Group.

If you have iTunes loaded on your computer, click to subscribe to the Inspired By…The Bible Experience daily podcast. If you don’t have iTunes, go to

The Bible Experience FeedBurner page to subscribe to an

RSS feed of the daily podcasts or listen online.

We hope these free daily podcasts will provide you with encouragement and growth in your spiritual life in 2008. Please share the news of these daily podcasts with your family and friends.

Visit the Inspired By…The Bible Experience feature page at www.zondervan.com/tbe for even more audio clips, behind-the-scenes videos, and information.

Bible Experience

Watch Denzel Washington and his wife Pauletta, as they talk about their recording of the love story in Song of Songs

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