Thursday, October 15, 2009

Christians and Halloween II

All I know is that this is definitely an issue where all the answers are not clear, and also that many parents think about. And that Lew and Matt need to get together and study Rom 14 together ;) . If I had know that this blog post was going to generate so many comments, I would have waited to respond to my parents until now, because the discussion has been interesting and helpful for the most part. I am simply going to post my response to this young couple. Some of you may think I am too harsh, and some will think I am too lax, but this is just where I come down. And I don't think to be a "good Christian" that you necessarily have to agree with me. Ultimately his is a matter of liberty that should be approached with thoughtfulness, biblical honesty, care for other brethren, and not flaunted or
legalized. I hope that it is helpful at some level.

Thanks for your email. That is a tough question. Let me say up front that the bible doesn’t speak specifically about Halloween. And that I don’t think there is necessarily a right or wrong answer, because of no explicit biblical prescription. And I do think that well-intentioned bible believing Christians can disagree on this, and will come down on both sides of the issue. I don’t think it is a hill to die on. That having been said, I do think that there on principles in the bible that can be helpful. And you will find lots of material on both sides on the internet, some good and some bad.

But I will tell you both what I think, and what Erika and I do. But the bottom line will be that you and Jason will have to talk it out and figure out the path that God would have you and your family on.

If it were solely up to me, I don’t think I would encourage my kids to participate. Obviously there are some dark overtones with a celebration of the undead. And the whole observance verges on occult practice and is devoid of anything godly. But much of the same can be said about Easter and Christmas. Do the research on those and you will find mostly pagan roots, and things unhelpful to biblical teaching. But we don’t completely jettison those holidays. And I don’t think that Satan is out more on that night than others, or anything weird like that. Some Christians go way overboard in my opinion.

Erika and I have mixed feelings about it all. We were both raised trick or treating, and it didn’t seem to do much damage. And I guess I don’t have the backbone, and Erika doesn’t have the heart to refuse to let them go out and get candy. So we participate, I guess. But like Christmas and Easter, we just emphasize the right things, and don’t make a big deal about it. We don’t encourage them to dress up in scary stuff. We don’t decorate the house or the yard with ghosts and black cats. We carve pumpkins, but we put crosses in them instead of faces. And in general we don’t make a big deal of it all. We let the kids dress up as princesses or musketeers, or pumpkins or whatever. At Christmas we don’t mention Santa much, but obviously it’s everywhere, and if the kids ask, we tell them the truth, but we make the focus of Christmas Jesus, and the same with the Easter bunny. But we don’t go overboard on getting them to disbelieve in Santa either. And we get them gifts for Christmas morning. And sometimes they ask, and we don’t lie, but don’t make a big deal of the non-Christian parts. It’s all in how you approach it.

If you all decided that your conviction was to keep your kids from Halloween, I think that would be fine. However, don’t harp on others who don’t feel that way. But if you feel the liberty to participate at some level, I definitely think that there are lines to be drawn and limits to set. I am not sure that this is an issue to fight over, but I do believe it is an issue to be thought through from a Christian standpoint. I may blog about it and see what kind of response I get.

I hope this helps, sorry I couldn’t give you more clear guidance. But I believe it is an area where we can rely on the Spirit, and do what we feel is best.

Blessings,

And just by the way, Lew wrote a very humorous blog post on Halloween that you will get a kick out of. You can read it here.

Thanks for reading...

3 comments:

  1. I thought it was very clear. Good answer to this couple. Misty and I approach the holidays in the same manner.

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  2. Hey Jason,

    You actually pretty much fall where I fall when it comes to Halloween. We don't decorate our house, but that's mostly because of Kati's wishes. We do however carve pumpkins - mostly because I like to bake the pumpkin seeds :).

    Other than that, I probably wouldn't encourage children to dress up like evil things, but I would like to take them trick-or-treating (if we had any).

    By the way, this whole thing got me thinking about Satan and how we associate him with evil/ugly things. But there is at least some evidence that he is a beautiful Angel. Perhaps we should not encourage our children to dress up like Angels on Halloween too :).

    Oh, thanks for the link ;).

    God Speed,
    Lew

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