by Kevin Burton
If you’re looking for proof of societal spiritual blindness, you need look no further than the celebration of Halloween.
What is passed off as being a benign, sugar-soaked party for children, has with it much darker elements that are a danger to children and adults alike.
But this danger is not visible in the physical sense to the human eye. That’s why Halloween is the subject at a special assembly today at our Earthly School for the Spiritually Blind.
Halloween has emerged from the combined ancient traditions of Samhain and All Hollows Eve. There are long histories of both available on the internet if you want that full story.
The origin of Halloween in the occult is relevant, but we want to address it in the realm of the here and now. In other words, the day is here, what is the proper response to it?
Here I must admit my approach has been a lazy one. I have said “My family doesn’t celebrate Halloween” and left it there, with no attempt to love or educate people on the why of it.
A better approach is outlined by John McArthur, speaker on the Grace to You radio ministry.
“Christians should use Halloween and all that it brings to the imagination—death imagery, superstition, expressions of debauched revelry—as an opportunity to engage the unbelieving world with the gospel of Jesus Christ,” McArthur writes.
“Christians should take time to inform the consciences of friends and family with biblical truth regarding God, the Bible, sin, Christ, future judgment, and the hope of eternal life in Jesus Christ for the repentant sinner.”
How you approach Halloween boils down to what you believe about the Bible.
The Bible teaches that there is a spirit world that exists alongside and interacts with the physical world. This spiritual world has both good spirits working to reunite God with fallen man, and evil spirits working to keep men away from God and salvation through Jesus.
Ignorance of the spirit world or all-out denial that one exists does not exempt one from its dangers.
To call benign a day that glorifies evil and exposes children to ghosts, witches and goblins, is to deny the truth of the existence of the spirit world. It serves to trivialize the concept.
But for many this is not hostility to the gospel, but spiritual blindness. It is easy to condemn them, but the lost don’t need heat, they need light.
Remember the goal, spreading the gospel to all the world and seeing souls saved to Jesus.
“Christians should respond to Halloween with gospel compassion. The unbelieving, Christ-rejecting world lives in perpetual fear of death. It isn’t just the experience of death, but rather what the Bible calls “a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and the fury of a fire which will consume [God’s] adversaries” (Heb. 10:27). Witches, ghosts, and evil spirits are not terrifying; God’s wrath unleashed on the unforgiven sinner—now that is truly terrifying,” McArthur writes.
“Evil spirits are no more active and sinister on Halloween than they are on any other day of the year; in fact, any day is a good day for Satan to prowl about seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). But ‘greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world’ (1 John 4:4).”
McArthur writes that my approach, no participation in Halloween at all, “naturally raises eyebrows and provides a good opportunity to share the gospel to those who ask. It’s also important that parents explain their stand to their children and prepare them to face the teasing or ridicule of their peers and the disapproval or scorn of their teachers.”
Some churches have “harvest festivals” as an alternative to Halloween. I steer clear of them, McArthur says they are acceptable.
“The kids dress up as farmers, Bible characters, or Reformation heroes,” he writes. “It can be an effective means of reaching out to neighborhood families with the gospel. Some churches leave the church building behind and take acts of mercy into their community, “treating” needy families with food baskets, gift cards, and the gospel message.”
I stay away from harvest festivals and trick or treating on the grounds of 2 Cor. 6:17 (KJV):
“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.”
“Ultimately, Christian participation in Halloween is a matter of conscience before God. Whatever level of Halloween participation you choose, you must honor God by keeping yourself separate from the world and by showing mercy to those who are perishing,” McArthur writes.
Class Notes, special assembly, Halloween: Christians should let the light of God’s word shine on Halloween and inform their response to it. We should tell the truth in love about Halloween to unbelievers who are blind to its dangers.
One for the Spiritual road: “But examine everything; hold firmly to that which is good, abstain from every form of evil,” (1 Thess. 5: 21-23, NASB).