This is a exerpt from Dr. Mark Young course on missions concerning Halloween. Mark is now the President of Dever Seminary. He is a guy who was responsible for causing many of us students to have complete paradigm shifts in more ways than one.

During this particular class he taught about Halloween, Mark brought the mission of Christ to our neighborhoods and had many of us in tears of shame. It is the class I referred to on the previous post on Halloween. Thanks to Lisa Robinson for getting this excerpt.


So after Halloween, I go down the street to intentionally meet my neighbors and I knock on the first dark house. I introduce myself:

“You know my name?”

Neighbor: “Oh I’ve heard about you. You’re the professor down at DTS.”

Yeah, yeah that’s me, I’m working downtown – we were missionaries.

Neighbor: “Oh that’s wonderful; you know we really love the Lord.”

“Oh that’s good. You know I noticed on Halloween night that your house was dark.”

Neighbor: “Oh yeah, we don’t engage in Halloween.”


Neighbor: “No, no, no, we go down to the church, we have a harvest festival at church.”


Neighbor: “Yeah, yeah we believe that Halloween is the night of the devil, night of satan.”

“No kidding?”

Neighbor: “Yeah. In fact I meant to talk to you about your jack-o-lanterns, they were offensive to me.”


Neighbor:  “Yeah. You know several centuries ago in England those jack-o-lanterns were used to ward off evil spirits.

“Oh, okay.”

So I went to two or three others houses, got basically the same story. The dark houses where the Christians live. They were all at church having a harvest festival.

Why? Why would a Christian choose not to be at home on the night that 82 children walk up to your front door? What on earth would possess a Christian not to want to be there?

So I did some investigation. Indeed, you can on the Internet you can find stories of how these jack-o-lanterns were used in ancient pagan religions to scare away saints. So then I decided maybe the Internet wasn’t the best place to look. So I began to read Celtic history and began to understand a bit about that world and lo and behold I asked myself the question finally after all my reading, what difference does it make? In 1995, in south Garland [TX], what function did this cultural form fulfill? What did it do? Did it drive away demons that night? What function did that jack-o-lantern perform on October 31st, 1995 in south Garland? Because that’s the ultimate question. What did it do?

Student response: It welcomed your neighbors.

Mark: It welcomed, it welcomed people. It said to them, come up to my house tonight. It also communicated participation in this holiday. Part of a structure? Sure it’s a part of a structure. It’s a part of a structure you could call a community, a place where people lived and organized their lives with one another. Well what meaning did those 82 kids ascribe to that jack-o-lantern when they saw it or those jack-o-lanterns outside my front door? What meaning did they ascribe to? Candy! This guy has candy! Maybe he is a nice guy.

Anything in my worldview that makes me want to be a nice guy? Sure, it’s called the love of Christ for the lost. That type of cultural analysis it seems to me has far, far, far more validity than what happened with this particular kind of cultural object 600 years ago in England but yet Christians are willing to step out of their communities and not be home when 82 kids walk up to their front door because they’re bringing a function and a meaning from 600 years ago into a cultural form today.

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

    41 replies to "Dr. Mark Young on the Celebration of Halloween"

    • Ed Kratz

      Cheryl, forgive me for saying what seems obvious to me, but do you really expect us to look into some obscure satanic Bible and wicca religion and take our cues from them? What if they said that good Friday was a high holy day since they celebrate the death of Christ? Are we obligated to follow their calendar?

      Mark’s point is the same as mine. The kids out there are not drawing such associations. They just see “there is a nice guy with candy.” It is us Christians who keep handing it back to Satan by running scared!

    • cherylu


      What is obvious to you is certainly not that obvious to me!

      Halloween is something that has at it’s roots–at least a large part of it’s roots–pagan beliefs and practices. And for many people today, that is what it still is. And unless things are a whole lot different where you live then where I live, the emphasis is certainly on the macabre and ghoulish for a large part of society.

      I guess I just can’t help but wonder why we as Chrisians feel such a need to enter into the culture around us that we have to find a way to to make something like Halloween into a time of just fun and games for our kids–something which at root it is not at all.

      Do we as Christians really have such a need to enter into all that society has to offer that we can’t just leave something alone that has so many negative/pagan connotations both in the past and in the present? Can’t we as Christians just admit that some things in culture are best just left alone? I can’t help but wonder how/if I John 2:15 applies in this situation?

      I can certainly understand wanting to reach out to our neighbors during this time. But it seems to me that is different then entering into the whole celebration with our kids.

      It is certainly a human desire to enter into all of these things around us and it is very easy to give in to that desire. But it seems to me that it is something we all have to be aware of at all times and keep evaluating our responses on this and other similar issues.

    • cherylu


      In all honesty, I must admit that this is an issue I have personally been dealing with again this year because of my grandkids. On the one hand part of me says, “What is the big deal, they are just having fun.” And another part of me feels very uncomfortable with that. I haven’t felt altogether comfortable with the way I have handled the situation with them this far at all.

      So, even though I believe the things I have been saying, I certainly do understand the desire to just enjoy the day and enter in. It is not always an easy thing to know how to be “in the world but not of the world” and then to actually live it in our daily lives. And I think there will always be a tension there as each of us tries to work out how this all should be applied in our lives.

    • JM


      I think you’re missing the point of this excerpt. He is not saying to fully partake in the holiday, he is simply encouraging believers to not go off in a “holy huddle” and spend the evening away from the many opportunities to be a light for Christ in the community by being friendly and caring to kids in the neighborhood.

      Logically it would follow that if you feel this way about Halloween, that you celebrate Christmas in the Spring? Historically, Jesus Christ was probably born in the spring, not in December. The reason we celebrate Christmas in December is because it coincided with pagan festivals celebrating the birth of pagan gods. The idea of celebrating the birth of a deity period is, at it’s base, a pagan idea. Does that mean we shouldn’t celebrate Christmas?

      I was raised in a fundamental, Bible-believing, Bible-preaching pastor’s home and we always celebrated Halloween. I didn’t even know how macabre some people were about it until one of my high school teachers (at a Christian school) taught a whole class on the “evils” of celebrating Halloween.

      And by the way, the name “Halloween” has Christian origins, as it is a derivative of “All-Hallows-Even” (“evening”), that is, the night before All Hallows Day (All Saints Day). It was an evening to prepare for the celebration of All Saints Day.

      I see no problem with Halloween, in balance, but, just like with the rest of the holidays most people celebrate, there are people that celebrate them for the wrong reasons, or go too far (Gluttony on Thanksgiving, Materialism at Christmas time {and even Easter with new clothes, etc . . . }, etc . . .

    • cherylu


      Maybe I’m missing the point of this excerpt. However, taken with Michael’s previous post about Halloween, I don’t think so. This seems to be an extension of that post and Dr Young was mentioned there.

      In that post Michael spoke of how his family is participating–what his kids are wearing for Halloween and in a comment said to let the idea that it is a pagan holiday “die and just have fun.” So unless I have totally misunderstood what he is saying, I don’t see how I have missed the point. The two posts seem to go together in my mind anyway.

    • Michael L.


      I don’t very often address people directly in the blog. And I want you to know I do respect anyone who decides, for whatever personal reasons, not to participate in Halloween.

      That being out of the way, one has to be careful lumping stuff together.

      Of course Halloween is a big day for anyone Wiccan or other nature-mother earth-season oriented religious culture. It traditionally is their new year celebration. More the “end of old year” celebration. And in pre-medieval times a lot was attributed to spirits, so it found its way into all their holidays.

      But also do realize many Christian holidays were picked because they coincide with those days and the Christianization of Europe led to attempts to convert those pagan holidays into Christian holidays. It’s how we got Halloween as the night before “All Hallows Day” aka “All Hallows Eve”.

      There are wiccan practices during the winter solstice (ever heard the term Yuletide ? Comes from the wiccan term Yule btw), there are wiccan practices during spring equinox (which wiccans call Ostara… ring a bell with Easter ??), etc etc…

      The United States, being mainly Protestant, just never really got to observe All Saints Day and All Souls day on Nov 1 and Nov 2, hence we lost that Christian aspect of it. Hence it became this really gnarly problem for us Protestants.

      In short, yes there’s Wiccan connotations with Halloween. But realize they exist with many of our “true” Christian holidays. So let’s take them for what they are worth. We remember the birth of our Savior, we remember His sacrifice.. or we have a night of just good fun and candy sharing 😉

      I’d point you to the entry on my blog on some other cultural background and information on Halloween, but that would be a shameless plug 😉

      Again, feel free to take 1Cor 8 and do what you feel the Spirit is leading you to do. Anything else usually just leads to never ending arguments.

      In Him

    • JM


      First of all, I do agree that the occult, demons, etc . . . are not something to make light of, as we are specifically instructed to “[Not] give place to the devil” . That’s probably where I disagree with these posts – I was never allowed to dress up like a wizard or the devil or anything, nor was I allowed to play games that dealt with the occult or a lot of “magic” and I had no problem with that (as I see that my parents didn’t want to open us up to that part of the holiday, or to that part of the spiritual realm, period, and rightly so ).
      What I’m saying (similarly to a comment on the previous post about Halloween) is that going headlong in to celebrating Halloween (demons, occult, wicca, etc . . . ) and turning the lights out or leaving the house so as not to “participate” in Halloween are not our only two choices.
      Much like Christians use other holidays to get to know their neighbors and to be a light in the community, I don’t see what is wrong with handing out candy to neighborhood kids, or even “Trick-or-Treating” with my own kids. Not that going to a “Harvest Party” at church that night is wrong, but I agree with the point that we have a great opportunity to be a light and a witness, and many churches decide to have a party at church with other believers instead of coming in to contact with potentially hundreds of unbelievers that yes, may take Halloween too far, but still need Jesus.
      It is true that Jesus did not participate in sin with sinners, nor did He go to “places of sin”, but he did eat dinner with “sinners” – Mark 2:17 – He came to minister to sinners and call them to salvation, not to call the “righteous”.

    • Wolf Paul

      I knew Mark Young before his DTS prof days, when he was a missionary to Eastern Europe based in Vienna, in the late 70s and early 80s, and it is good to hear of him.

      What he fails to address in this lecture, and what Cheryl’s uneasiness about Halloween seems to be related to is the fact that many evangelical Christians, who deny the efficacy of sacraments and tend to see them only as symbols and commemorations, nevertheless seem to ascribe some sort of mystic efficacy (for evil) to celebrations that have even a vague historical association with pagan religion.

      And it doesn’t seem to make much difference how tenuous that historical association is — Wicca is not the old paganism, but a modern invention that tries to legitimize itself by claiming historic links, and there is no evidence that jack-o-lanterns have any connection with the historic celtic holiday (for one thing, those kinds of pumpkins are not native to the British isles, and the type of pumpkin used for the purpose is the product of cross-breeding experiments beginning in the early 19th century).

      So why is it that evangelical Christians will reject the 2000-year tradition of the church concerning the sacraments, but accept the relatively recent claims of a self-proclaimed revival of ancient paganism concerning this festival and the traditions surrounding it?

      It seems we give not enough credence to God working through the signs Jesus instituted, and too much credence to the devil and those who claim to follow him.

      Until we address that, calls to engage with our community will fall on deaf ears as Christians fearfully circle the wagons against “the ghoulish and macabre”.

    • JM

      By the way, I strongly believe that if a family chooses not to participate because of a personal preference issue, that’s their God-given prerogative, and it doesn’t bother me at all.

      What bothers me (and I’m not saying you did this, I’m just giving a general example) is when I hear statements about how it’s “Wrong for Christians to participate in Halloween.” Or “I’m offended by your involvement in Halloween as a Christian.”

    • Dave Z

      Just seems right to point out that the history of Halloween has little to do with wicca or the satanic bible.

      Wicca has, at best, very loose association with a history of ancient witchcraft. It’s better described as a modern pagan belief system. IOW, Halloween is older than wicca. Any association between the two is something wiccans (and Christians) have promoted.

      The Satanic Bible (not “satanist bible”) is the product of one man, Anton LaVey, and was first published in the late 1960’s. It is not a basis for some historical religion of satanism. In fact, it is not really occult oriented as much as it is a philosophy of hedonism. Truth is, LaVey was kind of an agnostic regarding the very existence of Satan. As I understand it, he just saw Satan as a fitting symbol for his philosophy of self-indulgence. And, just as with wicca, LaVey latched onto Halloween as something he could use. Again, Halloween is older than whatever “organized” religion of Satanism that may exist.

      To be clear, Halloween does NOT have roots in Wicca or Satanism.

    • Richard R

      I don’t understand Christians like Cheryl who don’t see the opportunity to reach out to children — we are not to curse the darkness, but to light a torch.

      Each year I carve a big pumpkin and set up some orange lights. Dozens of children come and as I hand out candy, I ask their first name and bless them. Their smiling faces and joyful actions are more than worth the money and time I spent preparing. Later, I record their name in a journal and pledge to pray day for them and their families.

      I use the day to glorify and honor Jesus — the very One who ‘cast out’ Satan by His death.

    • JM


      I see Cheryl as a caring mother and grandmother who desires to be a careful influence on her children and grandchildren. I don’t take her comments as a lack of seeing the opportunity, I see her comments as a concern over the extremes some take to celebrate Halloween.

      The point is that whether we blame current Wicca/Paganism or Christians or something else for giving Halloween a more demonic reputation than some think it should have, the fact is that many people DO take the celebration too far with their focus on death and demonic forces. God is a God of life, not death, and we are told that the devil is not someone to be messed with. Yes, God has the ultimate victory, but the truth is that demonic activity is alive and well, and it is easy to take Halloween out of balance to an unhealthy level of infatuation, and demonic activity is not something to take lightly.

      If parents believe that they can have fun with their kids at Halloween and not become too focused on the spiritually unhealthy aspects, great, I respect that. But if parents believe that it is not wise for their family to be involved with something that is associated with witchcraft, demons, etc . . . (whether a right or wrong association, the fact is that it is commonly associated with that type of thing), then great, I respect that also.

    • Michael L.


      If parents believe that they can have fun with their kids at Halloween and not become too focused on the spiritually unhealthy aspects, great, I respect that. But if parents believe that it is not wise for their family to be involved with something that is associated with witchcraft, demons, etc . . . (whether a right or wrong association, the fact is that it is commonly associated with that type of thing), then great, I respect that also

      Amen brother !


    • Richard R


      I understand that, and I certainly respect believers like Cheryl wo are concerned about spiritual compromise, but what if we all practised as some do? Would we ever penetrate the culture? Halloween is the perfect opportunity to shine for Christ.

      Jesus Himsel infiltrated this time-space continuum; far be it from me that I refuse to engage the culture as it stands.

    • cherylu

      Richard R,

      It doesn’t seem to me that the question here is whether we need to engage those around us or not. That is a given, indeed a command. We are told to “go into all the world.”

      I think the question here is how we effectively engage the culture around us and do it in a way that is not a compromise. If one has to do something that they believe is spiritual compromise in order to engage the culture, is there not something wrong with that picture?

    • Richard R


      Can you really conclude after all I’ve said above that I may be engaging in spiritual compromise? Do you really think children will sense this?

      Which do you think shows our love for Christ, a dark house or a welcoming face?

      Instead of compromise, look at it as piercing the darkness with the Light of life.

    • Michael L.


      I think the question here is how we effectively engage the culture around us and do it in a way that is not a compromise. If one has to do something that they believe is spiritual compromise in order to engage the culture, is there not something wrong with that picture?

      That is exactly the nail on the head ! I strongly believe there are essentials to our faith that do not allow any compromise, spiritual or other. When we get to the more fringe or less essential elements or doctrines, I do believe it is up to the person to decide how far they are willing to compromise and remain In the world, yet not of the world

      The items this can be applied to are music, consuming alcohol, movies, etc.. Unless you are willing to move into more secluded and strict branches such as Mennonite or Amish, I’m afraid we will struggle with those and never reach consensus.

      We should pray about it and see where the Spirit leads us. Engaging in, often quite emotional, arguments and discussion about these topics leads to broken relationships. Which are worse than the original behavior we were trying to discuss.


    • Richard R

      Michael L.:

      Neither should we surrender the culture to those who will continue to rule over it and in ways that are decidedly un-Christian and unholy.

      Like CMP said, “It is us Christians who keep handing it back to Satan by running scared!”

    • Marv

      Leave aside for a moment the “roots” of Halloween or it’s current significance to pagans such as Wiccans.

      What the holiday represents for the general culture is focus on horror, death, violence, blood, and evil supernatural beings.

      What do ghosts, goblins, black cats, skeletons, spiders, witches, werewolves, vampires, chain-saw murderers, severed body parts, etc. have in common? They are all current symbols and representations of the evil of this fallen world.

      If the very real evil that these various icons of Halloween point to is something Christians ought to celebrate, glorify, have fun with, treat lightly, then perhaps Halloween in itself is a good idea for a Christian to indulge in.

      If not, then is celebrating it–just a little bit–really a good idea?

    • cherylu


      For me the question certainly is how to or if we can engage the culture in participating in a Halloween activity (or some other similar activity) without spiritual compromise. I see this issue in a totally different way then you do obviously.

      I asked this question, If one has to do something that they believe is spiritual compromise in order to engage the culture, is there not something wrong with that picture? If it is indeed compromise, it that not a wrong way to reach out to people?

      And for that matter, if the position I have taken here as well as the position some others have taken in the discussion on these two threads should ultimately be proven to be the correct one, would it not be true that you are engaging in spiritual compromise? Would compromise ever be justified to reach out to people or do we need to find another avenue to do so?

      Some of you are l00% convinced that nothing is wrong with participating in Halloween and you seem to be very blunt in saying so. (Starting with Michael Patton in his first article on the subject.)

      You, (some of the commentors and Michael Patton), don’t seem to hesitate in saying that those that take the opposite approach are really wrong in belief and practice both.

      So please give us the same privilege of stating that we think you are wrong! 🙂 (Although I never actually said I thought you were compromising). I certainly do not think any one here is doing something that they believe is compromise. If they indeed are, they are doing it unknowingly, in good faith, and with the best of intentions.

      And remember too, I did say I can understand the desire to stay home and reach out to the children that come, but it is taking it to another whole level to actually go out and celibrate the night with your kids.

      This has been an area of disagreement in the church for years, so I doubt we will resolve it here!

    • Richard R


      I did make it clear above that I respect your decision. It’s up to you how you choose to treat such issues.

      Obviously, I believe my approach qualifies as outreach.

      Think of the imagery: a dark house owned by people who are ambassadors of the Light. There’s something wrong with that picture, no?

    • Ed Kratz

      Cheryl, you know that I will think none the less of you! You are one of my beloved favorites who sticks it out no matter how many people line up to take a shot!

      However, you should understand that from my perspective and the perspective of many others, not celebrating Halloween is not unlike not eating meat sacrificed to idols (although even further removed from the idol). I am sure that there will be people who have a problem with it no matter what. But sense this is the type of forum it is, I feel compelled to attempt to break the ice on these issues as best I can. In the end, my hopes are that in this area where some people have scruples, we either free them or keep them from being judgmental as they live with their own opinions.

    • Marv

      If Halloween fits into the “meat sacrificed to idols” category, please bear in mind the following. There is no actual physical tainting of the meat (of the candy). This we understand.

      The biggest problem with “meat sacrificed to idols” is encouraging people to do it who are not easy in their conscience about it. So by ridicule and even shame (the Mark Young quote) and labelling the not-hot-on-Halloween stand as “fundamentalist” what are you doing but trying to persuade those of persuasion A to pracice B?

      What the Scriptures seem to say is, if you are clear in your conscience about it, it isn’t going to hurt you. But Paul doesn’t advise encouraging others to go ahead and do it.

      “For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols?”

      You are not posting these to encourage the “strong” to practice what they already are, right? You are posting these to encourage those who would here be called “weak” to practice it despite their misgivings (here spun as that fundy or evangelcal thing).

      What would Jesus do?
      What would Jesus say?

      How about what Jesus DID say?

      But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. (Rev. 2:14)

      But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. (Rev. 2:20)

      Apparently, to do is ultimately not problematic. Not to do is perfectly respectable. I’m not altogether sure that we can say the same of encouraging or teaching those that do not to do?

    • cherylu

      Michael Patton,


      I guess maybe at least part of the difference is we don’t see it as very far removed from the idol at all!

      If you take into consideration what has been said about the wiccans and witches practice of today and the comment Marv just made, it seems pretty close to the idol to us.

      I can, however, see your point and the point that others have been making. Knowing for sure how to apply various Scriptures in all of the situations we face on a daily basis in this world can be tricky for sure.

    • Ed Kratz

      I’m not trying to teach people to do, anymore than I might try to teach people to drink beer. Once they realize that it is within our freedom and there is no scruples that need to be held biblically, they have the freedom to do or not to do.

      However, I would then move it to the next issue. While you may not want to dress up as Captin America or Superman (I do, but I would look stupid), shouldn’t we use the opportunity to be seen as a light. I am not saying that it will be THAT bright of a light, but I do think a dark house=Christian house is a terrible cultural taboo that we find ourselves having to overcome.

      Therefore, turn on the lights!

    • Dave Z

      I want to be clear that I am not trying to encourage people to do something they do not feel good about. I have no problem if Cheryl does not want to participate in Halloween. I start speaking up when someone tells me that MY decision to participate is evil. Same thing if I have a beer or smoke a cigar. Or read C.S. Lewis (carried over from the other Halloween thread).

      Marv, I think it’s good to try to educate people, to get them to rethink positions that may (or may not) be based on folk theology or cultural taboos as opposed to scriptural principles. Paul certainly did that, and did so quite pointedly with the folks in Corinth and Galatia.

      Shall we not teach? Seems to me the alternative would be to allow folks to continue on in erroneous belief about whatever issue may be current.

    • Ed Kratz

      I found this testimony interesting as an antidote for my cause 🙂

      Unnamed Christian who responded to this post:
      “I personally found it almost cult-like behavior when I was a young trick-or-treater that one of my neighbors, who was a devout christian made a stand against Halloween every year. That scared me more than anything. They became “the house on the hill” that no one wanted to go to or was welcome at until Nov.1st the next day. Then they turned back on accepting, loving, good little neighbors. Hard to explain that double-sided coin to a kid!””

    • Marv

      Well, if you are not teaching or encouraging those of the persuasion not to celebrate Halloween that they ought at least to use Halloween, then what on earth are you doing it for?

      Paul talks about those who have “knowledge.” This is strikingly like the “I ain’t no fundy club” that is very vocal in putting down the “dark house.” Ooooh.

      So again, meat-idol thing.

      For those who have no problem… he essentially has a don’t ask don’t tell approach. Don’t ask (1 Cor. 10:25, 27), Don’t tell, or don’t be too visible about it (1 Cor. 8:10). It’s a matter of personal freedom, not exhibition of one’s own enlightenment to those you consider less so. This is considered sinning against your neighbor. Again, with Paul, do it to your heart’s content. To blog thereon might seem to be more like flaunting one’s freedom, as you have absolutely no idea who will read it (apart from the potential 6 billion people on earth).

      That’s more like, more than someone happening to see you in an idol’s temple, you video yourself dining there and put it on youtube.

      For those who are more persuaded by “not sharing the cup of demons” (1 Cor 10:20) that’s a pretty seriously sound reason to abstain from the activity. In other words, that’s a good thing. To come down on their dark (and spooky!) house is therefore calling good evil and evil good. Encouraging them to do it anyway for the sake of being a friendly stranger who gives candy to children is perilously close (for them) to calling evil good and good evil.

      Anyway, you cannot be intending to persuade the already persuaded. The sweeties for the kiddies argument is really kind of well, spurious. End run around the real issue.

      You’ve pointed out why the thing itself is really not so bad. Why is it, in itself, something a Christian should be attracted to participate in?

    • Dave Z

      You’ve pointed out why the thing itself is really not so bad. Why is it, in itself, something a Christian should be attracted to participate in?

      Interesting… that’s exactly the same thing my mom says in her argument against any alcohol use. And I’ll give the same answer – because I enjoy it!

    • Wolf Paul


      your arguments would mean that anytime a Christian wants to persist in a particular stance all they have to do to shut up contrary teaching in the church or some other setting is claim their conscience. That can’t be it.

      Note also that Paul himself argues for the legitimacy of eating that meat, and in the process calls those who won’t eat it for conscience’s sake, “weaker brethren.” Yes, he says not to try to persuade them against their conscience, but he himself makes the case for the legitimacy of eating; he can’t thus be banning all teaching on the subject because of the

    • Wolf Paul

      (continued from previous comment)
      … he can’t thus be banning all teaching on the subject because of the “weaker brethren.” He argues against bullying them into behavior they are uneasy about; he does not argue that they need to be protected from other viewpoints .

      As he calls them “weaker brethren”, which is a judgment (not a condemnation but a judgment, an assessment), while we are not to condemn those with an overly sensitive conscience, it is apparently not inappropriate to form judgements or make assessments about their stance, and to voice these.

      And since all those here on this blog who advocate Christian involvement with Halloween as a missionary opportunity have repeatedly stressed the right of others to refrain, I don’t see where CMP or any of the commenters have run afoul of what Paul is saying in this passage.

    • Ed Kratz

      I was just about to say the same thing Wolf said. In short, for eductional purposes, when you have an audience who is willing to listen or under your authority, we need to educate them rather than giving them a silent pat on the head as we live a secret life of freedom. Paul was not silent about it and his book has sold over six billion copies!

      In short, weaker brethern are not to be confirmed in their weakness by our silence, but educated by our sensitivity.

    • Brian Bennett

      Interesting subject. How about using scripture to validate positions, these are some that i use to lead, and teach my children and larger spiritual family.

      As believers, we are called to “test everything, hold on to the good, avoid every kind of evil” 1Thes 5-21,22

      Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. Eph 5:“

      Do not conform any longer to the patterns of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12-2

      What harmony is there between Christ an Belial? 2 Cor 6-14,15

      Abstain from all appearance of evil 1 Thess 5-22

    • Danquo

      Well, the lights at my house will be off…but only because my wife will be taking the kids to fall festivals around town AND then taking them out trick or treating later in the evening. This allows for maximum fun, maximum candy gathering, and maximum use of the costumes which will soon be too small for rapidly growing boys.

      I, on the other hand, will be out of town at a football game.

      I’d leave the light on and a bowl of candy outside, but I know about how long that would last…

    • cherylu

      I went to bed last night thinking that I would comment again today with some other Scriture verese.

      It seems that the only one (as I remember it) used by the folks that think Christians should be involved in Halloween is the one that speaks about meat and idols.

      The ones that Brian mentioned above were ones I may have included in my list.

      What do all of you that participate in Halloween think about them?

      I think it seems rather unfair that anyone that “has a problem with Halloween” is automatically thought to be the weaker brother that has to be educated on the subject because you seem to think that one verse is the end all of the discussion.

    • Ed Kratz

      From Dr. Young through an email he sent to clarify:

      “I really don’t want to jump into the comments on your blog as I don’t have time to interact with folks extensively, but there are couple of things that I think would be important for your readers to know in order to understand my thoughts more fully. As you recall that lecture occurred in the context of a consideration of my definition of “culture.” That definition identifies three dimensions of culture—forms, structures, and worldview. Regarding the Halloween example, we were exploring how the forms in a culture have meaning, in that the people of a culture ascribe meaning to cultural forms. We discussed examples of how the meaning of cultural forms changes through generations, including the forms associated with the holiday that we now call Halloween. My point was that, as believers, we have the privilege and responsibility to understand how the forms of a culture are understood in any given time and place, and then, on the basis of that cultural analysis, to adopt, reject, or modify those forms for the sake of the gospel. Cross-cultural missionaries do this all over the world every day of their lives. In the particular example of the jack-o-lantern, I wanted folks to recognize how cultural analysis of the meaning ascribed to that particular form (both the artifact and it’s use) in my setting in South Garland in 1995, allowed me to engage in a community event during which we met 82 children and many of their families. Having lived as a cross-cultural missionary I do that kind of analysis instinctively and purposefully (1 Cor. 9:19-23). Meeting those children and those families that Halloween evening was the foundation for ongoing relationships that led to many opportunities to share the gospel. Unfortunately, as the transcript points out, I found that many Christians had refused to do that kind of cultural analysis and chosen to be absent when most of the neighborhood could have been walking up to their front door. The point of the lecture was not to endorse Halloween per se but to help us to consider how to live intentionally with regard to the gospel and the culture in which we live. If, for example, I had the slightest inkling that our neighbors interpreted our jack-o-lantern to mean that we worship false gods, I would find another culturally neutral symbol to invite our neighbors to our front door on that evening. What was so striking to me on that Halloween back in 1995 was that three of our neighbors had created a block party in their cul de sac that drew well over a hundred people. None of those three families, as far as I know, was churched, yet they had a greater presence in our neighborhood that evening than the many Christian families that lived in our neighborhood.

      If you’d like to post the paragraph above to provide some clarification to my views, you’re welcome to do so. “

    • s ramsey

      For so many years I saw the whole Christian experience in black and white. It was a very safe place to be because I always had a “Christian” answer, and I didn’t have to think. I like the way you explained how we need to do a cultural analysis when we are confronted with seemingly “taboo” issues. How does one construct a Biblical cultural analysis when one side is saying “Black” and the other side “White?”

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