[Every year around this time I receive questions regarding Halloween (should Christians celebrate it? how should we react to it? etc.). A few years back, I wrote an article to address these questions and since a number of people have asked about it again, here the article one more time:]
Each year at this time questions arise regarding the celebration of Halloween and if Christians should participate in it. Many Christians view Halloween as an expression of Satan-worship (with all its pagan roots and fruits). I’m sympathetic and certainly agree that not every practice connected with Halloween should be tolerated or imitated. Christians clearly, must be careful and thoughtful here and guard against the spirit of the world which does in fact worship Satan (though often unawares). But that’s only half the work. The other half involves refusing to allow Satan to get credit for things that don’t belong to him.
It is interesting how Satan works. He is not creative. He does not invent things. But he is expert in twisting good things into instruments of evil. He is a genius when it comes to perversion — turning things upside down. He loves to take the things of God and twist them into instruments of ungodliness.
The Church’s job in many ways comes down to turning everything that has been turned upside down by sin and Satan, rightside up again. Reconciliation means upturning those things that have been overturned by sin and twisted into instruments of unrighteousness, so that they bring glory to God again. This is precisely what the Church has done in regard to sensuality and sexuality. Over the years the Church has performed the service of re-instructing the world regarding the truth and proper place of the family, the arts, entertainment, business and labor, and many other fields of human endeavor.
But we must not forget that the Church has had to do this because it has itself been deceived and misled by Satan concerning these things. And such is the case, at least in part, with the celebration of Halloween.
It was no accident that Luther made his “95 Theses” public on “Halloween” — “all saints eve.” The word “Halloween” is of course simply a contraction for “All Hallow’s Eve.” The word “hallow” means “sanctify” or “saint.” It is simply synonym for the word “holy” (thus we pray “hallowed be Thy name” when we desire God to glorify and exalt His name in the earth). The church, following the pattern of beginning the celebration of feasts the evening before the actual feast day, began the celebration of All Saints Day the evening before (All Saints Eve, “Halloween”).
All Saints Day is the celebration of the victory of the all saints who, because of their union with Christ have triumphed over the world, the flesh, and the devil. The observance of various celebrations of All Saints arose in the late 300s, and in the late 700s these various celebrations were united and fixed on November 1.
Contrary to modern legend, the origin of All Saints Day and All Saints Eve in European Christianity had nothing to do with Celtic paganism or the Church’s fight against the pagan Druids (and serious questions are being raised now by scholars about what we have been told regarding the Druids. Many are coming to believe that much of what we have been told is actually a myth concocted in the 19th century by neo-pagans).
In any case, with the coming of Christ and the completion of His work, we no longer fight against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against fallen angels who bind the hearts and minds of men in ignorance and fear. Jesus’ work purchased our victory and made it certain, but the war is not yet over. He struck the decisive blow and we have the privilege of carrying out the mop-up operation. And we do battle against these evil spirits with the weapons given to us by the Spirit; the weapons of faith, prayer, joyful celebration, and faithful obedience. By these means we will be victorious in Christ. Thus Paul assures us, “The God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.” So, century by century the Christian faith has rolled back the demonic realm of ignorance, fear, and superstition. The feast of All Saints reminds us of this glorious victory of the Church over Satan and his hosts. (more…)