The Rev. Barry Watts, associate pastor, Lawrence Heights Christian Church, 2321 Peterson Road:
I believe Christians can participate in Halloween, without becoming involved in the celebration and activities of the devil, demons and ghosts. In advertising our church’s Trunk or Treat event, we describe it as “a safe, family-friendly environment for children to explore themed vehicles and receive lots of cool treats! A great way to dress up and enjoy Halloween without celebrating demons, vampires and witches.” For my 3-year-old son, Halloween will be about dressing up in a fun costume and getting buckets full of candy. There will not be talk about the darker aspects of the holiday.
However, when it comes to the dark side of Halloween, Christians beware. If you are going to dance with the devil, don’t be surprised when he stomps on your foot and stabs you in the back. Ephesians 5:11-12 says, “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.” Throughout the Old and New Testaments, witchcraft, sorcery and things of the occult are revealed as being in opposition to God. (Exodus 22:18; Leviticus 19:31; 20:6, 27; Acts 8:9-24; 13:6-11; 19:19)
If participating in Halloween is going to cause you to dwell on “fruitless deeds of darkness”, then refrain. “If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell.” (Mark 9:47) If Halloween is going to be a stumbling block for your faith, causing you to sin, then have nothing to do with it.
Whether you decide to participate or not, remember the words of the Apostle Paul, “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” (Philippians 1:27)
— Send e-mail to Barry Watts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Rev. John McFarland, pastor, Christ Covenant Reformed Presbyterian Church, 2312 Harvard Road:
“The secret things belong to the Lord, but things revealed belong to us & our children forever.” This truth drives Christians to be “people of the Book,” striving to understand (stand-under) what may be perceived only through the inspired scriptures. People the world over are fascinated with the spiritual realm. It is not “spiritual interest” which makes one a Christian. Ninety-five percent of all people are intrigued by things invisible. The Day of the Dead and Santeria are famous festivals reminding Christians to discipline ourselves under “scripture alone,” or we will syncretize truth with error. Halloween, more acceptable in the modern West, is similarly dangerous ground where truth and falsehood mix. But Christian parents might make use of our culture’s fascination with zombies (today’s fashionably “undead”!) to consider what God says.
The devil, demons and post-death human spirits are real. The Bible warns us not to seek communication with the dead (necromancy), not because it is silly but because it is seriously dangerous. When God brought Israel into the Promised Land, the familiar practices of tribes seeking a word from beyond were forbidden. But the spiritual realm is not a level field, with good and bad spirits dueling over a universe up for grabs. The Bible from first to last depicts the Holy God in total control, determining how far unclean spirits may go in their efforts to steal, kill and destroy. They know they are doomed, as a terrified demon asked Jesus, “Have You come to torment us before the time?” Finally, it is important for children to know that this same Jesus is the one to whom they must go, in faith, to be delivered from fear of the devil and his juniors. Halloween is no laughing matter, but Christians who love truth himself will have the joy that remains.
— Send email to John McFarland at JMMLawrence@aol.com.