Obligatory Pre-Halloween Post

Well, here we are, just a few days out from October 31 — Halloween. And it’s no secret that the “Christian camp” is widely divided on the issue of Halloween. Some people celebrate it without a second thought. Others believe that recognizing the day as special in any way is giving place to heathen traditions & Satan’s influence.

And quite a few take some hard-to-define middle road.

And there’s no doubt about it: I’m treading that road myself.

After all, I spent all afternoon & evening yesterday with my wife & our best friends watching horror movies (The Ring, The Ring 2, and 1408).

Likewise, I think our plan is to spend Halloween at our friends’ apartment, passing out candy. And if you happen to visit this blog on October 31, you’ll even be greeted by a special Halloween-esque header, courtesy Vladstudio.

Perhaps you’re wondering how it is I can call myself a Christian & still do these things. Fair enough. Would you be so kind as to show me in the Scriptures where I’m told not to do these things?

That’s really what it boils down to for me. At one point, I was very much against the concept of Halloween. But as I grew in wisdom, I realized something: my understanding of holidays was not based upon the Scriptures but upon the traditions of fundamental Baptists whom I respected.

And try as I might, I really couldn’t find Halloween — among other things — condemned in the proof texts used to condemn them. Here is perhaps the most commonly used verse for this purpose:

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 1 John 2:15, ESV

This verse, taken alone as it is so often presented, does seem to warn against loving things like Halloween. After all, though it isn’t “the world,” it is certainly a thing “in the world.”

The key is in the next verse; however, I do want to point out that this verse warns against loving this world (as opposed to the Kingdom of God) and the things thereof (as opposed to the things of the Kingdom of God). If handing out candy constitutes loving Halloween, would not making use of a car day-in and day-out constitute a lifelong sensuous affair with the automotive industry?

Truly, just as I can play a game of basketball without loving the sport, so can I watch a horror movie without loving real life serial killers. What a low view of love one would need to have in order to take 1 John 2:15 in that way!

So what does verse 16 say?

For all that is in the world–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions–is not from the Father but is from the world. ESV

Here John defines for us “the things of the world” mentioned in verse 15. He doesn’t leave us to our own imaginations, lest we start looking around our rooms and condemning computers, desks, photographs, and fans for being “in the world”!

John lays out three things for us:

  • The desires of the flesh.
  • The desires of the eyes.
  • Pride in possessions.

You’ll be hard pressed to fit anything which I mentioned doing above into any of those three phrases. The closest you’d be able to get is making “being entertained” a “desire of the eyes.” However, if that is the case, you must be consistent and apply it to every fictional work — book, movie, play, or song — ever composed.

Admittedly, much is forbidden in the above verses — much more than most Christians would be comfortable with, I’d wager.

But handing out candy or even dressing up like a bottle of ketchup is not. We must be careful not to be stricter than God, lest we add to His Word & rob the Christian of his liberty.

Ah, liberty. And that is exactly what we do have. Titus 1:15 tells us that, “To the pure, all things are pure.” Indeed, Paul would tell the Colossians that we should not submit to those who would impose upon us rules of the world regarding things which perish — “‘Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch'” (Colossians 2:21, ESV).

And if you can embrace that freedom, you may find that Halloween may in fact be the second-most-important holiday to the body of Christ. What’s your perspective?

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