So it’s that time of year again. Halloween. Every year it brings division amongst the Christian community. You have Camp A….those who staunchly oppose all things Halloween related. They believe that Halloween is rooted in paganism, is a celebration of all that is demonic and Satanic, and is to be avoided and opposed at all costs. Then there is Camp B…they see Halloween as nothing more than a fun day for kids to dress up and eat candy, and therefore figure, why not? They don’t celebrate ghouls and goblins, but see no harm in their kids dressing up as a princess or cowboy and eating candy. Which camp do you belong to? And which camp do I belong to, you may ask? Well for me, I probably belong more to Camp B but recognize both sides and will tell you why.
Read Romans 14 and it pretty much sums up how I feel about this topic. (All passages in bold are my editing).
The Weak and the Strong
14 Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarrelling over disputable matters. 2 One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.
5 One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind.6 Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. 8 If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.
10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written:
“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will acknowledge God.’”
12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.
13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. 15 If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.
19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.
22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.
In all honesty, I do believe that both Halloween and Christmas do indeed have some roots in paganism (just do some research and you will soon agree). However, what I love about Christianity is that it has this pesky way of turning everything around for the glory of Christ, much to the chagrin of the enemy I’m sure. Satan’s tactic to persecute the church in its early days only led to the gospel spreading further into regions beyond and Christians becoming known for their radical devotion to their King and Saviour. The early days of our church fellowship were birthed in the midst of the 1970’s love, sex and rock & roll movement. A miraculous thing happened though… a bunch of wild hippies started getting saved! What a miracle! Our churches could have tried to turn them against their roots of rock & roll, but instead turned rock & roll into an opportunity for the gospel. Now, rock & roll obviously was not birthed with Christ in mind and has over the years most definitely been a tool of Satan, however we chose not to hide from it but rather use it as a tool and opportunity for evangelism. Over the years, thousands have heard the gospel through our rock & roll concert scenes…chalk one up for Jesus! Now interestingly enough, the same thing is happening with our churches and hip hop. Hip hop is powerfully being used to reach the lost in today’s generation.
That brings me to Halloween and Christmas. If you look at the roots of Christmas for example….the evergreen…the yule log…mistletoe….many of that can be traced back to druidism and celtic paganism. Does anyone today really think of druids and pagan gods though when they think of Christmas? I think the answer more or less is a resounding no (unless you happen to be one of those modern day hippie witches that’s into tarot cards, the moon phases, crystals and all that junk…they’re around). Christmas and the winter season has beautifully been turned around to celebrate the birth of a Saviour, the joys of giving, and the celebration of family and friends. Simply listen to some of the Christmas classics on the birth of Christ and you immediately are moved by their inspiring lyrics of an amazing God who would humble himself to come and dwell amongst us. Many of us know that a large number of people that aren’t normally open to coming to church or are particularly receptive to the gospel are somehow softened to the gospel during this season. Chalk another one up for Jesus!
Jesus instructed us in Matthew 10:16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” (ESV) We are called to be shrewd and wise in our dealings and part of that I believe is being strategic in making and using opportunities to spread the gospel. In our church this past weekend, we hosted a two night Halloween themed drama presentation that we used to invite visitors out to. We saw many visitors and many people receive the gospel message through the drama we put together. Before the events started, we held a costume party for kids in the community. My son dressed up as a dragon, and even ate candy. I did not feel convicted in the slightest about letting him participate. In his three years, he has dressed up every year thus far but has been a part of some kind of Halloween outreach or other church event. The reality is that if your children are fully involved in the kingdom of God and living a life actively ministering to the church and the world, that will impact them far greater than letting them participate or not participate in Halloween festivities.
As it said in Romans 14, you should be “fully convinced in your own mind” on what you believe. I am fully convinced in my mind that my kids are free to enjoy pumpkins, dressing up and candy provided that we continue to live a life that is sold out to Jesus…going to church as a family, outreaching as a family, practicing hospitality as a family…these things are far weightier matters to me.
That said, I don’t disdain those who choose not to participate in Halloween. If they are convinced in their own minds and have worked out their own reasoning, then I support their decision. The other day, a lady sent me a link to a video by ex Satanist John Ramirez (who has a very powerful testimony by the way), of him explaining why Christians should not participate in Halloween. Now coming from someone who once actively followed Satan, was filled with demons, and is coming from a background that is full of witchcraft, I can understand why he chooses to speak out against Halloween so ardently. I think I probably would too if that was my testimony and background as well. There are others I deeply respect (like Dale Partridge) who also speak out against Christians celebrating Halloween. Then there are still others who speak out against Halloween yet are filled with gossip, slander, bitterness,etc. These people have missed the boat completely in my mind. If you won’t celebrate a holiday because of your supposed religiosity yet are actively holding onto secret sin, then your stand against Halloween is for naught.
At the end of the day, as Romans states…be fully convinced in your own mind. Paul wrote about these things because sometimes we can get tripped up over disputes such as this. There are obvious sins that we must avoid, but then there are these issues such as choosing to celebrate Halloween, watching movies or not, having a TV or not…these issues that can be argued over with different sides being argued for and against. My thought on this is what Paul said…do what you do with confidence being led by His Spirit and anything that causes a brother or sister to stumble, keep away from.
I choose to let my kids celebrate Halloween because for us, it is an opportunity for evangelism and a day for the kids to have fun. We live a life that is active in the kingdom of God with strong morals and standards and so I don’t worry about my kids being won over to the dark side through one day. I am convinced in my own mind. What about you? Whatever you decide, be led by His spirit and be fully convinced. Feel free to share comments and thoughts on this controversial topic below!