By Elizabeth Prata
The ‘holiday’ of Halloween tends to bring out in Christians some firm convictions from two sides. There are those who insist we/the children should have nothing whatsoever to do with Halloween, that it’s an evil holiday with devilish origins. Many are concerned with the fact that it seems to spur on society’s fascination with the paranormal and other ghostly phenomena.
The other side says that its origins touch back to the Reformation, when Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the door of All Saints’ Church Wittenberg where he was Professor of Moral Theology at the University. This type of posting was the usual University custom to ignite discussion, and it’s commonly held that Luther posted it on 31 October 1517. His act sparked the Reformation.
Many churches hold some kind of family friendly event for their congregants, where children can dress up and play games and have fun in a way that is separate from the bloody specters too often sadly seen by families who do not hold to Christian tenets. Churches invite the local community to these events, and share information about Jesus in between all the fun.
With those two camps in mind, here are two resources for you. Use them as you wish, either to crystallize your own thoughts or to read ‘the other side’ and perhaps come to a different conclusion.
In this podcast, “Fred Butler: Halloween” Fred Butler, who works at Grace to You, the radio ministry of John MacArthur, where he coordinates and directs the volunteer ministries, joins Andy Olson of Echo Zoe (in 2016) for an informal discussion on the topic of Halloween. Should Christians participate in Halloween? Fred and Andy had similar backgrounds in regards to how they approached Halloween early in our Christian walks, and how they approach it now. The podcast discussion revealed how Fred and his wife gravitated from a strict no-participation approach, to one that fully embraces what they see as an opportunity to both have fun and share Christ with people.
In this booklet, “Halloween Under The Light of Scripture: The History of Halloween“, (56 pages, or on Kindle), Justin Pierce summarized the history of Halloween and its occultist history and practices. It is a primer for the Christian to understand the evils of Halloween. It is Mr Pierce’s contention that our kids should not participate in it. Justin is a pastor, co-host of Apologetics Live, and Pastor at Grace Reformed Baptist Church in TN.
Alternately, here is an interview with Justin Pierce by Doreen Virtue.
As each family decides upon the level of participation they feel comfortable with, remember that these kinds of discussions and decisions are individual based on conscience. It’s a gray area, and there should be no dogmatic pronouncements one way or another. Christian liberty still exists, and hopefully, so does charity.
Four Principles for the Exercise of Christian Liberty, Sinclair Ferguson at Ligonier
What does Christian Liberty Mean? Compelling Truth
Halloween: History, & The Bible, Answers in Genesis
2 thoughts on “Two perspectives on Halloween”
I was conflicted when raising our boys. Half the time we made fun costumes (not the dreadful kind), visited neighbors, and they loved the candy. Other times, we went to “harvest festivals” at church in nice costumes, dunked for apples, played games, and also came home with lots of candy. I vaccilated between “It’s Satan’s Day” and “It’s just fun for kids.”
Now, Hubby and I have a bowl of candy (and Christian Halloween materials) by the door to put into kids’ bags. The little ones are really very cute. The older teens… not so much. The REALLY BAD THING is if we have a lot of candy left and just eat it all ourselves!!
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I vacillate too. I give a treat every day to my kids at school, so I bought a candy I hate- candy corn! I’d eat one or two then go ugh, no way. If I bought them chocolate, forget it, they’d never see a bite!.
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