Saturday, October 27, 2012

Christians and Halloween

By Stephen Piersall
Deliverance Ministry, Central NY

I thought I would take on the subject of Halloween since it is coming up. I had received in the mail some great articles and rather than me try to say it, I am going to use articles from Kristine McGuire and Bill Sudduth and give them full credit as they are saying it better then I could:

Kristine McGuire who writes a blog “Kristine Remixed” wrote the following two articles.

Trick or Treat? Article One:
Because of my background in the occult, I am asked to share my opinion on a variety of related topics. In addition, every October finds me receiving many questions on how a Christian parent should respond to our cultures favorite spooky holiday – Halloween. What I have observed over the last few years is this. When it comes to Halloween, there are (generally speaking) two major camps within the church on the issue:

Those who celebrate the day in some form (traditionally or by offering an alternative harvest celebration).
Those who vehemently oppose any observance or activity. But I've discovered there is a growing third group (including some who used to be in one of the first two). These people tend to be:

§  Those who have listened to arguments from both sides but are kind of at a loss as to how to proceed. 
§  Parents who took their kids to alternative events at their church as youngsters who are now facing teenagers wanting to make their own decision about Halloween. 
§  "Empty Nesters" who are tired of all the shenanigans of the day but have grandchildren to consider.
I'll be honest. My personal position on Halloween has changed a little, even since I wrote a chapter on the subject for my book, “Escaping the Cauldron” While I still believe it's a great opportunity to be salt and light to our neighbors (we should be doing so every day anyway), I will no longer participate in Halloween observance (including Trunk or Treat – which has looked less like the alternative it's meant to be for years as far as I've seen).

What I will be doing this October 31st. And let's face it. There are plenty of harvest festivals to enjoy throughout the month if I really want to go to one without connecting to Halloween. BUT that's what God's been speaking to me for several months now. I'm not going to tell you what to do or how your family should deal with Halloween, trick-or-treating, and the like. However, if you are struggling with how to handle this issue you might want to take this into consideration. If you have a "gut feeling" or "spiritual red flag" or some other "spiritual check" when it comes to Halloween (any part of it) you have the answer you seek. If God has been poking at you, it's important to respond to Him with obedience. How that plays out is for you to determine but I imagine it's finding something completely"other" to do.

Finally, allow me to add this caveat to one more group who tends to fall through the cracks of this debate (because most of the time the focus is on children and trick-or-treating). For anyone intrigued or drawn by the fright factor (ghost hunting programs, horror novels, haunted houses) or dabbling in other forms of occultism (Ouija boards, divination, psychics, mediums, etc.) Halloween is the penultimateboo-fest. You truly need to step away, especially if you believe yourself to be a Christian. Find something else to do (not to mention stop feeding those occult interests every other day of the year as well).

Why? While for many October 31st is simply a secular holiday, a night of fun (re: what I wrote above), there are many others who take the spiritual reality of the day seriously. The ancients believed October 31st was a time between times. A day when the "veil" between our world and the spirit realm is at it's most thin. Five years past renouncing all of my occult activities (and abilities), I believe this is very true. Seeking an "experience" through ghost hunting on Halloween (which a lot of people do now), or simply opening your mind (and spirit) to fear through what you see, hear, or do is risky, but this day seems to be even more so. And those spiritual doors (once opened) can be very difficult to close. Even if you do not personally see the effects of dabbling (or actual practice) within your ownlife, there is a real possibility your descendants will. Now, I'm not saying all this to freak you out ("For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7 NLTbut to encourage you. The Lord is calling people into freedom from the occult deception running rampant in our culture today. He is declaring what the world considers spooky "fun" or a form of "spiritual enlightenment" to be a lie. So look to God for the truth, repent, follow Him. He will set you free.

There is a group on Facebook  called "I Hate Halloween" (remember – some vehemently oppose the day). One of the moderators (all former occultists) wrote something recently which I think sums up what I'm trying to communicate: "If we are to be wholehearted followers of Christ, we have to be willing to give Him everything! If we aren't willing to give up a little "fun" for God, what kind of Christians are we?"
Trick or Treat? Article Two:
Halloween is happening. Every day there are more aisles filled with candy and all the trappings associated with the day. Parties are planned. Even a number of television programs will have some kind of Halloween theme. So now what?

Some people choose to close the curtains, turn off the light, and ignore the doorbell. Others post signs saying they do not celebrate Halloween. Now, I do respect the decision these Christians have made and their reasoning. However, I can't help but think the wrong message is being promoted. In my opinion,(and that's all it is) there are positive approaches people can take while choosing not to participate in Halloween which perhaps presents a message which will resonate in a deeper way.

– Host a prayer meeting or worship night.
– Have a Reformation Day party.
– Enjoy dinner and a family movie (and invite some friends to join you).
There are also ways to be an effective witness if you do choose to open your door to children hollering, "Trick-or-Treat!" as well.
– Be the neighbor who shines light (literally – create a cheerful, inviting doorway or porch) on what is considered a dark, spooky night.
– Play uplifting contemporary Christian or praise and worship music which people can hear when you open the door.
– Offer the best candy along with a Pocket Sized Gospel of John and a winsome tract explaining the gospel.
– Talk to your neighbors (especially if you do not interact much the rest of the year). Offer parents coffee or hot cider, especially if the evening is cold. Let people see Christ shining through you. Several years ago, a friend shared with me how the pumpkin luminaries her family creates every year for their doorstep provided a light in the dark for a little girl. I recorded the story last year (with my friend's permission). I would love to share the story with you again.

My point is this. While there are some dark things, which take place on Halloween, I can assure you these same things will occur any other day within the year as well. However, JESUS CHRIST has overcome the world. The enemy is defeated. Every day belongs to God. We are meant to honor the Lord with our words and actions. Let us fulfill the call God places on all Christians to engage the people in our sphere of influence for HIM — especially on Halloween.

Go On this site and see how you can obtain her new book “Escaping the Cauldron”

Bill Sudduth - Righteous Acts Ministries - Trick or Treat - Should We.
There are many controversial subjects in the church today and Halloween is no exception. As Christians, we are called to glorify God in all we do! How then as Christians do we embrace such activities? Who receives glory and honor on Halloween? Does our Lord and savior Jesus Christ; or does Satan? The book of Isaiah, chapter 14, verses 12 through 15 tell of Satan's fall from heaven andincludes the (I wills.) This is a well-known section of scripture, which clearly demonstrates Satan's desire and intent to receive the praises of men, to make himself as God. I'll ask you again, who receives glory and honor and the praises of men on Halloween night? I think it's no coincidence that Halloween today and its origin have the same key ingredient, that ingredient is compromise

In 43 AD, the Romans conquered these Celtic lands and soon mixed and mingled their beliefs and customs with that of the Celtics. When the Romans Adopted Christianity as the state religion the Catholic Church rapidly spread throughout Europe and the British Isles. The church converted the Celts but had great difficulty bringing an end to their customs and festivals. So the Catholic Church, under the direction of Pope Boniface IV decided to make a compromise. They replaced this old harvest festival with a new one called "All Saints Day”, November 1st. The problem was the Celts continued to celebrate the Harvest festival as they always did, and by the 1500's you could no longer distinguish between the two. All Saints Day had become All Hallows Day, and hallows eve became Halloween. Halloween was brought to America by Irish immigrants in the early to mid-1800's. In 1921, Anoka, Minnesota celebrated the first citywide Halloween festival. New York started celebrationsin 1923 and Los Angeles in 1925. We now celebrate it as a nation, with literally millions of dollars spent annually to glorify Satan, death and hell

The devil has done an excellent job in recent years desensitizing our culture, this nation and the church to all kinds of witchcraft and occult practices. The origins of Halloween are tied to pagan festivals at the transition of nature and seasons. Oddly enough, that is some of the same terminology and reasoning used by modem day witches and wiccan's. Halloween is a Holy day or actually an un-holy day for these people who practice witchcraft and sorcery. I believe it is no coincidence that witch covens across this nation seek power from Satan on this most un-holy day. I truly believe the many and varied reports that Satan is worshiped on Halloween through rites, rituals and ceremonies with every kind of debauchery. I believe all Christians should not only refrain from involving themselves with Halloween activities but they should help educate others in doing the same! I also would encourage the church not to compromise (again) and have costume events at churches but instead, educate our young people. We can have an alternative event, but have a truly Christian event. It is time the church "Come out from among them and be separate”.

Bill Sudduth
Righteous Acts Ministries

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