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Halloween for Christians: Oppression or Opportunity

Hank Hanegraaff

A myriad of questions have been raised about Halloween. Should Christians participate in Halloween? What should our attitude be towards Halloween? Should we simply ignore it? Should we vigorously attack it? Or should we, as Christians, find ways in which to accommodate it?

Before offering some suggestions on how we as Christians might best relate to Halloween, I think it would be appropriate to first consider the pagan origin of Halloween.

The celebration of Halloween, also known as the witches’ new year, is rooted in the ancient pagan calendar which divided the year into Summer and Winter by two fire festivals. Before the birth of Christ, the day we know as Halloween was part of the Celtic Feast of Samhain (sah–ween). This feast was a celebration of Druid priests from Britain and France and commemorated the beginning of Winter. It was a night on which the veil between the present world and the world beyond was pierced. The festivals were marked by animal sacrifices, offerings to the dead, and bonfires in recognition of departed souls. It was believed that on this night demons, witches, hobgoblins, and elves were released en masse to harass and to oppress the living. For self-preservation many Druids would dress up as witches, devils, and ghouls, and would even involve themselves in demonic activities and thus make themselves immune from attack.

In direct response to this pagan tradition, the early Christian church moved a festive celebration called All Saints’ Day from May to November 1st and renamed October 31st All Hallows’ Eve, from which we get the word Halloween. This was an overt attempt on the part of believers to infiltrate pagan tradition with the truth of the gospel.

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“This generation of Christians is responsible for this generation of souls on the earth!”

Keith Green

“Revival, as contrasted with a Holy Ghost atmosphere is a clean- cut breakthrough of the Spirit, a sweep of Holy Ghost power, bending the hearts of hardened sinners as the wheat before the wind, breaking up the fountains of the great deep, sweeping the whole range of the emotions, as the master hand moves across the harp strings, from the tears and cries of the penitent to the holy laughter and triumphant joy of the cleansed.”

Norman Grubb

“Prayer – secret, fervent, believing prayer – lies at the root of all personal godliness.”

William Carey

You didn’t become the salt of the earth by your good behavior.

You didn’t develop supernatural influence by keeping all the right rules.

You are the salt of the earth because of your connection to Jesus (89).

Jon Walker‘s recent book, Costly Grace is based on Dietrich Bonhoeffer‘s classic work, The Cost of Discipleship.

 

“Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?” 

Corrie Ten Boom

Lamentations 3:40 tells us that we must make sure that we are living holy lives.  If we are not, then we must repent and return to the Lord…

“Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord!

May we all seek the Lord this day in humility and may the gracious Lord send revival!

“A man may study because his brain is hungry for knowledge, even Bible knowledge. But he prays because his soul is hungry for God.”

(Leonard Ravenhill)

By John Piper

I am often asked, “If you believe God works all things according to the counsel of his will (Ephesians 1:11) and that his knowledge of all things past, present, and future is infallible, then what is the point of praying that anything happen?” Usually this question is asked in relation to human decision: “If God has predestined some to be his sons and chosen them before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4,5), then what’s the point in praying for anyone’s conversion?”

The implicit argument here is that if prayer is to be possible at all man must have the power of self-determination. That is, all man’s decisions must ultimately belong to himself, not God. For otherwise he is determined by God and all his decisions are really fixed in God’s eternal counsel. Let’s examine the reasonableness of this argument by reflecting on the example cited above.

1. “Why pray for anyone’s conversion if God has chosen before the foundation of the world who will be his sons?” A person in need of conversion is “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1); he is “enslaved to sin” (Romans 6:17; John 8:34); “the god of this world has blinded his mind that he might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” (II Corinthians. 4:4); his heart is hardened against God (Ephesians 4:18) so that he is hostile to God and in rebellion against God’s will (Romans 8:7).

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It was seven years

… before Cary baptized his first convert in India.

… before Judson won his first disciple in Burma.

… that Morrison toiled before the first Chinaman was brought to Christ.

… declares Moffett, that he waited to see the first evident moving of the Holy Spirit upon his Bechuanas of Africa.

… before Henry Richards wrought the first convert, gained at Banza Manteka.

A. J. Gordon

 

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