Today’s rant is not brought to you by yours truely. I have two rants to share with you: one from a well respected blogger and the second comes from an even more respected mother, wife and children’s minister. The first is rant is an the Annual Halloween Rant by the Internet Monk. Please take your time reading his post. I wait for you.
Done? Good wasn’t it.
Here is another rant that was part of the children’s program at my church from a few years back.
It’s funny, everyone seemed to like this presentation that was given to the whole church, but just this week I was having coffee with someone from my church who said that maybe we need to take a stand on Halloween. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t talking above getting inline with these rants either!
This is a touchy subject and Paul dealt with it in 1 Corinthians 8:
Now concerning [Halloween], we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies. If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know; but if anyone loves God, he is known by Him. Therefore concerning [Halloween], we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one. For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him. However not all men have this knowledge; but some, being accustomed to the idol until now, [considers Halloween evil]; and their conscience being weak is defiled. But [Halloween] will not commend us to God; we are neither the worse if we [abstain from Halloween], nor the better if we [participate]. But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if someone sees you, who have knowledge, dining in an idol’s temple [attending a pagan Halloween service], will not his conscience, if he is weak, be strengthened to [participate in Halloween]? For through your knowledge he who is weak is ruined, the brother for whose sake Christ died. And so, by sinning against the brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if [Halloween] causes my brother to stumble, I will never [participate in Halloween] again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble.
Elsewhere he says in Romans 14:
Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. One person has faith that he may [participate in Halloween], but he who is weak [thinks it is evil]. The one who [participates] is not to regard with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not [participates] is not to judge the one who does, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who [participates in Halloween], does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who does not, for the Lord he does not [participate], and gives thanks to God. For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written,
“AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME,
AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD.”
So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this–not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way. I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died. Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense. It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles. The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.
Both these letters were written to communities where people held opposing views and therefore the one thing that we can conclude is that discussing these issues is not what could be classified as causing a weaker brother to stumble. Paul called them weaker brothers. He makes it pretty clear where maturity and strong faith lays and were weak faith lays. He was also not afraid to enter into dialogue with the whole body [not just the clergy]. I will come out and say that those that fear Halloween or think that it is evil have the weaker faith and I will not let them speak evil of what is for me a good thing.
That said, we must be careful to not judge or condemn our brothers. These verses make it clear to me that I can participate and voice my opinions and not be guilty of judgment or condemnation. Paul is talking about eating meat in 1 Corinthians 8 but doesn’t say: “For if someone sees you, who have knowledge, eating meat, will not his conscience…” rather it says: “For if someone sees you, who have knowledge, dining in an idol’s temple, will not his conscience…”. This to me talks about provoking the weak, not just living out our faith by eating meat.
So, there is a place for the rants. There is a place for speaking out for what is good and not letting that good be spoken as evil. There is a place to speak out and bring into light the fear that is in the weak. Paul had no problem with this. Finally, we are also not to stop eating meat or participating in Halloween, however, we do not want to do any of this in a provoking manner, puffed up in our knowledge. We need to tread these waters lightly, walking in love.
Here is ten practical things for celebrating Halloween.
Finally, let’s listen to the Great Pumpkin as he gives his Halloween toast.