Halloween is complicated. To celebrate it or to not celebrate it: everybody has an opinion. You have one. I have one. Your neighbors have one. And many, many people with typing fingers also have one.
That said, many this year are claiming in capital letters, 'YOU'RE NOT A CHRISTIAN IF YOU CELEBRATE HALLOWEEN'.
You aren't saved.
You're going to hell.
But that's not exactly true.
A person only goes to heaven when they have been born again. Spirit filled. Forgiven of their sins. That can only happen when a person realizes their sinfulness and asks Jesus to forgive them, meaning it isn't contingent upon whether or not a person celebrates Halloween.
But isn't Halloween the occult?
Not exactly. Last year, I saw a panda costume in the 18-month size that I desperately wanted to buy but didn't. Because Halloween. Because that would be sinful.
If I could time travel in my 1996 white spray-painted Chevy Lumina (because debt-free living is how I roll), I would go back to that store and buy that silly costume. Because it would make my heart sing.
My child will never be 18 months old again.
That ridiculous panda outfit is an opportunity lost. It would not have invited the occult into my house to have done that. For the record, I have not celebrated Halloween in any way, shape, or form since becoming a Christian.
I have a storied history with stuff like that.
'But you said it wasn't the occult?!' you say? I said it wasn't exactly the occult.
What in the world does that mean?!
It means that motivation matters. Dressing my child up in a dumb outfit, to me, is not a celebration of anything but polyester fibers in a mock panda bear display around the chubby arms and legs of my delicious baby.
Giving out candy to establish a relationship with your neighbors instead of shutting off the lights, to others, is not a walk on the dark side. Also for the record, I don't hand out candy because of where I live, but I know many who feel called to do so but who feel judged or ashamed because of it.
The motivations of the heart are many, and only you know what you are doing or why you are doing it. If it needs defending, then rethink it. If you conscience isn't clear, then, well, you know the answer. And if you can't tell...ask God. He WILL tell you.
But, seriously, can we quit with the 'you're not saved if'...? That is some seriously faulty theology, and you're assuming you know what another person is doing and why they are doing it.
You see something flagrantly sinful, and you're warning a brother or sister away from it. In that case, carry on. But even so, the declaration about who and who isn't saved rings false to me, and I'll tell you why.
There is no gospel message or call to salvation in such proclamations. A simple, 'I'm better than you, so boo', won't get anybody saved. You may say that a person is backslidden, but you should get your theology straight about what and what does not make a person a Christian.
I do believe that there are many practices associated with Halloween to beware of, and I will be the first one to say it. I will also say that there are many things that people do which are not a sin. Only that person knows, and it is between him or her and God. It's a slippery slope when we begin to destroy other people's salvation based on a certain practice.
I've seen this done with regards to whether or not a person fights against abortion or believes in six literal creation days. Friends, the Bible doesn't say that.
And with regards to many of the church fathers, a great deal of them didn't believe in what we consider essential doctrine today, so we'd be throwing a great deal of our favorite theologians out the window, too.
I daresay theology is the greater casualty in our wars over whether or not to celebrate Halloween. We're not winning people over to our side in most cases, and in some instances, relationships are destroyed over it.
As touching salvation, it's so simple that even a child can believe. Know that you are a sinner, as you have broken God's commandments not to lie, steal, cheat, lust after others, disrespect father or mother, and that Jesus paid for your sins on the cross.
Accept His sacrifice, as He fulfilled the law perfectly, and trust on Him for salvation. John 3:16 says that whosoever believes on Him will not perish but have everlasting life.
'Nuff said. No mention of Halloween or anything else.
Admonish people to beware the occult, but don't say they aren't saved. Admonish people to stay away from Halloween if you want to, but don't tell them they are going to hell. When we throw works-based religion as a pre-requisite for salvation, it's pretty safe to say we'd all be screwed whether we celebrate Halloween of not.
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