I am the vine, you are the branches. In me you will bear much fruit, but you can do nothing apart from me. John 15:5

Halloween – What to do?

We will not be meeting together for bible study on 10.31.11 and will resume on 11.7.11 With John 7. There will be updates to the blog for devotionals and preparing for our next study together.

Regarding Halloween, there may be a diversity of perspectives on how Christians ought to relate to it. As with many activities or products in our surrounding culture, the framework described by Mark Driscoll as “Receive, Reject, Redeem” is helpful to determine how we engage:

1) There are things in our surrounding world to be received just as they are. In and of themselves they represent no challenge to our witness, love, or allegiance to Christ. Consider automobiles or community associations.
2) There are things to be rejected without consideration of how they could have value. Participation or acknowledge of such things compromises our identity and holiness in Christ. Consider pornography or fight clubs.
3) There are many other things, that fall in-between the two. As a response to how Christ transforms us and our lives, we have the opportunity to bring change to things, that in an of themselves have lost their value or are easily corrupted. Consider Facebook or television.

Holidays are a great example to explain this idea.

Some holidays should represent no concerns for Christians to celebrate or participate in. For example, celebrating our Nation’s Independence on the 4th of July aligns with the bible’s call to submit to civil authorities. The typical nature of this celebration can be fully received without qualm, challenge, or change by a Christian and not impact our witness, love or allegiance to Christ.

On the contrary, Laylat al-Qadr, Arabic for “The Night of Power”, ought to be rejected as it celebrates false claims about worship and the Quran.

Other holidays however cry out for our redemption. Think of Easter or Christmas in America. Does the media or your neighbor grasp the fullness of those celebrations? Should we completely reject any use of Christmas lights or gift giving? These represent opportunities for believers to share the depth of the message and the love of Christ with others while sharing in life – in the way Christ shared in the humanity of the woman at the well: “give me a drink.” This is not a mandate – our particular convictions have important value, rather it is an invitation.

Halloween, in and of itself, is playfully or wickedly associated with the occult, spiritual darkness, death, and horror. Paradoxically, it is only the Christian worldview that rightly understands the power of evil and it’s need to be destroyed – not playfully entertained. However, as our consciences may allow, how could we redeem Halloween?

– Pray against the domain of darkness, Satan and his demons that torment, lie, and destroy countless lives
– Create opportunities for friends and neighbors enjoy one another’s company.
– Look for opportunities to talk about spiritual realities or “the masks” that we may put on everyday to hide our true selves. The “on-ramps” to the gospel are wide open.

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