Posted in chris koelle, chris powers, discernment, evil, halloween, jesus, william blake

Potpourri: Halloween, Demons on a leash, evil in art, Jesus triumphant

Potpourri:
1. a mixture of dried petals and spices placed in a bowl or small sack to perfume clothing or a room.
2. a mixture of things, especially a musical or literary medley.

Remember the category “potpourri” on the long-running game show Jeopardy? I always liked that show, though I enjoyed host Art Fleming who MC’d the show from 1964 to 1975, more than Alex Trebek, who started in 1984 and is still hosting 31 years later!

Here is a mixture of items for you, potpourri-style!

Halloween is coming, a holiday that is impossible to ignore when you work in a public elementary school among the youngest of students, as I do. I have an abounding abhorrence to anything related to Halloween.

As a child with Aspergers my particular dislikes involved costumes, makeup, mascots, noise and chaos, so being among ALL of that was a trial for me. I also didn’t like approaching homes and talking to people. So, ditto. But I loved candy, running around outside with friends, and being allowed out after dark was thrilling too.

As a Christian adult, promoting a night of evil and buying into satan’s lies galls me too. Some churches forgo the evening entirely and do nothing regarding a “Fall Festival” or “Harvest Fest” while others change the name of their event from Halloween to ‘Hallelujah Fest’ and invite the community in for hot dogs and games as a Gospel outreach. I’ve wrestled with both sides of the argument: I hate satan…I love outreach. I eventually decided that I want nothing to do with the holiday, not even if it has been re-constituted into a more innocent guise like a ‘Trunk-Or-Treat’. However since it is a question of Christian liberty, I tried to do all as unto the Lord and not cause anyone to stumble, so I remained silent about my decisions and simply helped where I could and then bowed out where my conscience came in. Make your decisions thoughtfully and prayerfully, and remember not to become prideful about whatever you decide.

Here are a few balanced essays discussing the question of Christians celebrating Halloween.

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

Where Did Halloween Come From? Can a Christian celebrate it?

Christians and Halloween

Speaking of evil spirits, here is a terrific essay on demonology from Answers in Genesis. In American culture we are so sanitized, so scientific, such a high-falutin’ advanced First World country that even Christians find mention of demons or evil spirits distasteful. The subtle or not-so-subtle undercurrent to such discussions even in church is “haven’t we gone beyond that?” Well, no. And certainly satan has not, either.

The opposite problem holds true as well. Churches, especially ones that are starting to absorb Charismatic doctrines, tend to attribute every negative thing to satan, as if he was hiding behind every tree and was the evil force behind everything from spilling your coffee to the paper cut on your finger. Here is a biblical view of satan in an excellent article by noted scholar C. Fred Dickason. Professor Dickason is known as a biblical expert on angelology and demonology. He presents the truth of satan’s influence, extent, and limits, while focusing on the grace of God and the hope we have in Jesus. I recommend the article.

Demons on a leash
Demons are alive and active today, but we can rest in the reality of our Father’s gracious and powerful control.

He examines the following topics in the article:

Biblical Perspective on Satan’s Role
Demons Through the Ages
Demonic Activity in the World
Demonic Opposition to Believers
The Time of Satan’s Fall (and refuting the popular ‘Gap Theory’)
God’s Provision in Our Battle
God’s Sovereign Control
Our Authority in the Battle

Some artists have done an interesting job depicting biblical evil. As a blogger, I am aware that the world is not just words, but desires or needs visual images to accompany and enhance the written works. Yet whenever I write about anything from the dark side of biblical concepts, it’s always a struggle to find appropriate, biblical, measured, and interesting art to go along with the writing.

William Blake was not only a poet but a master artist. He was proficient in engraving, where he served an apprenticeship, and also watercolor and oils. Blake sought to emulate the example of artists such as Raphael, Michelangelo, and Dürer in producing timeless, “Gothic” art, infused with Christian spirituality and created with poetic genius. I do not believe William Blake adhered to orthodox Christianity, but his interest and focus over time allowed him to produce some interesting works.
Blake’s patron Thomas Butts commissioned from Blake a series of illustrations to the Bible that included about fifty tempera paintings and more than eighty watercolors. These focus on Old Testament prefigurations of Christ, the life of Christ, and apocalyptic subjects from the Book of Revelation. (Source, Metropolitan Museum of Art). Blake also is famous for 21 copperplate etchings illustrating the Book of Job in the Old Testament. Here are but two examples from the prolific works of William Blake. His art is in many major museums from around the world, including this at the British Museum

Satan inflicting Job with boils

and this from the Tate Museum, Agony in the Garden (of Gethsemane)

It is a dicey proposition, for an artist to biblically depict evil without idealizing, sanitizing, or glamorizing it. As for a more modern artist, I refer you to Chris Koelle. Mr Koelle illustrated the Book of Revelation a few years ago and his depictions are compelling. The book blurb says,

192-page graphic novel (paperback) Featuring almost 600 illustrations Including all 404 verses of the final book of the Bible Translation by Mark Arey & Philemon Sevastiades Adaptation by Matt Dorff Illustrations by Chris Koelle

Here is his page where you can buy the book and see thumbnails

Of course you know if you read my blog often enough that I enjoy artist Chris Powers. His visual theology is biblically accurate and aesthetically beautiful. Where Blake or Koelle’s depictions of evil both stir and frighten, Powers’ work has a lighter feel. However he still does a magnificent job visually depicting sin, wrath, and death in a way that is thought provoking. Since Mr Powers’ creates his works specifically to be shared, he includes explanations of the verses the powerful images depict and includes his thought process of what he wanted to convey. Like this from Isaiah 42:13-

Source

The LORD goes out like a mighty man, like a man of war he stirs up his zeal; he cries out, he shouts aloud, he shows himself mighty against his foes.” – Isaiah 42:13

In this passage, the YHWH is talking about His zeal-fueled, end-time action against the enemies of His people and that will bring lasting joy and life to those who trust in Him, and as you read the whole of this chapter there will be many allusions that point us to the person and work of Jesus Christ.

As we read this verse in light of the cross, we know that YHWH did in fact “go out as a mighty man” when He came as a man and dwelt among us journeying unstoppably to the cross…It was there at the cross that He cried out and shouted aloud and showed Himself infinitely mighty against all His foes in a way they could never have anticipated. What glory and beauty that our God so zealously pours Himself out for the sake of His glory and the sake of our joy.

So, in this image, I wanted to represent the Cross-Event in light of YHWH’s infinite, warrior-like zeal that we read about here in Isaiah

If you write for an online journal or run a blog, I recommend Chris Powers’ work as the visual enhancement to your writing, especially because of the artist’s explanations of the verses that accompany the visual pieces and his willingness to share for the good of the Body and the glory of Christ.

http://www.fullofeyes.com

So there is your potpourri for the day. As Halloween approaches evil is increasingly on the mind of the pagans and even the Christians. Our eyes are assaulted by movie posters lauding the latest graphic depiction of the underworld. Our eyes avert from the neighbor’s brutal yard art depicting scenes of evil, all in “celebration” of Halloween.

Our sensibilities will be assaulted by seeing yet another child absorbed into accepting the occult as normal, or another adult who succumbs to performing an evil crime on that most dastardly of days. Or simply enduring the abounding sin that Halloween seems to loose. Yet we take heart. Jesus has overcome the world.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33).

The reality is,evil exists in the actual person of satan and his fallen demon-angels. However, we trust in Christ who has overcome and in whom we rest assured of ultimate victory.

But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. (2 Corinthians 2:14)

He made a spectacle of them in His triumph of the cross!

He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. (Colossians 2:15)

Posted in christian liberty, discernment, fall festival, halloween

For Christians, is Halloween a trick, or a treat?

Halloween: demonically evil, or harmless fun?
(EPrata artwork)
Here are some different views on Christians celebrating or not celebrating Halloween.

Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry: What is Halloween? | Can Christians celebrate Halloween? / Origins of Halloween

Al Mohler: Halloween and the Dark Side: What should Christians Think?

Grace To You/Travis Allen:  Christians and Halloween

GotQuestions: Should Christians celebrate Halloween?

Kirk Cameron Called to ‘Repent’ for Encouraging Christians to Celebrate Halloween

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween? Kirk Cameron & John MacArthur Think So [VIDEO]

Brent Larson at Crosswalk: Trunk or Treat?

LifeWay: Fall Alternatives to Halloween

EPrata photo

News Stories in the culture about Halloween

Women beheaded in what observers thought was a gruesome Halloween prank
[Ed. Note: There’s something wrong with a society that cannot figure out the difference between a grisly live murder and a holiday prank]

Good Girls Go Bad, For A Day
IN her thigh-highs and ruby miniskirt, Little Red Riding Hood does not appear to be en route to her grandmother’s house. And Goldilocks, in a snug bodice and platform heels, gives the impression she has been sleeping in everyone’s bed. There is a witch wearing little more than a Laker Girl uniform, a fairy who appears to shop at Victoria’s Secret and a cowgirl with a skirt the size of a tea towel. Halloween is a day to flaunt your inner vixen. Anyone who has watched the evolution of women’s Halloween costumes in the last several years will not be surprised that these images — culled from the Web sites of some of the largest Halloween costume retailers — are more strip club than storybook.

Millions spent on pet Halloween costumes
[Oy is all I can say]

Posted in faith, halloween, zombie apocalypse

It’s Halloween. Zombies!

Today is Halloween. I hate Halloween. I really loathe it. There are too many reasons to go into. Some involve me being an Asperger’s person dealing with costumes, masks and makeup, not to mention parties and being among masses of people. Some reasons involve the open invitation (one that I didn’t issue) to come to my house. Some objections involve being a teacher and having strangers offer candy to children. And most of my reasons are spiritual.

I grew up in New England, not too far from the Salem Witch House.

I went to college in Bangor and lived lived in Maine most of my adult life, where Stephen King’s wrought iron fence in Bangor adorned with bats, spiders and three-headed dragons was part of the neighborhood landscape.

Stephen King opens the new gates to his bat-guarded Victorian home
in this November 1982 photograph.1982 BDN photo by Carroll Hall

Michael Jackson’s Thriller scared us to pieces when it first came out on MTV.

I’m well aware of the origins of Halloween, and I’m pointedly aware of the holiday’s occultic embeddedness on secular people. That’s why I’m always conflicted over Halloween when it comes to church activities. John MacArthur has a good essay on it here.

Anyway the whole zombie thing was on my mind. What are zombies, anyway? Wikipedia has a nifty definition.

A zombie is an animated corpse raised by magical means, such as witchcraft. The term is often figuratively applied to describe a hypnotized person bereft of consciousness and self-awareness, yet ambulant and able to respond to surrounding stimuli.

You’ve seen it, the shuffling walk, the ghostly rotting flesh, the audible groans. Zombies.

The zombie’s rise in cultural consciousness has grown to the point of the notion of the zombie apocalypse.

Intimately tied to the conception of the modern zombie is the “zombie apocalypse”; the breakdown of society as a result of an initial zombie outbreak which spreads. This archetype has emerged as a prolific subgenre of apocalyptic fiction and been portrayed in many zombie-related media after Night of the Living Dead. In a zombie apocalypse, a widespread (usually global) rise of zombies hostile to human life engages in a general assault on civilization.”

George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead is
considered a progenitor of the fictional zombie
of modern culture.

Walking corpses. Does that remind you of anyone? The animated dead. Still nothing coming to mind?

Animated dead people, conscious and able to respond to outward stimuli?

Lost people.

Every person on the planet who does not believe in the name of the resurrected Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, is a zombie. They are alive, but they are dead.

“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,” (Colossians 2:13)

Please always remember that those without Christ are just as empty as the fake zombies appearing in movies and television. They do not have the hope of Christ in them. Only Christ makes us alive!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.“(2 Corinthians 5:17)

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26)

Even the description of the zombie apocalypse sounds like the conditions will be like on earth immediately after the rapture, when no true believer is left. In those moments after the rapture, the entire earth will be populated with zombies: lost people who are dead in their sins and trespasses, robotically walking around and unknowingly or knowingly submitted to satan, who roams the earth looking for those whom they may devour.

I don’t need to ‘celebrate’ Halloween, not when every day I see a lost person in their hopeless state and I am in agony for them. Not when I am being attacked at every turn by false teacher zombies holding out hands grabbing for my money, or putting books full of poisonous false teachings into my and my friends’ hands. I don’t need to pay any more attention to Halloween than it deserves, because on earth, every day is Halloween. Why look at costumes of bloody people when the only blood that can re-animate dead corpses was shed on the cross at Calvary? Blood that has been and is forever once for all shed?

The earth is a graveyard of sin and death, lost people are un-animated corpses needing to be born-again, and the costumes we wear are the soiled garments of unrighteousness.

Jesus Christ is the Light, the only Light in a dark, dark world. What we should celebrate is being born from above and entering the kingdom of heaven This is what we can and should celebrate. Why look at death, zombies, and hell, when heaven is available to each and every person on earth during this age of Grace! Let grace reign, look to Jesus. Look up, our redemption draweth high!

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” (John 1:16)