Tag Archive | Modern Churches

Perils of Pride #8: Pride of Self-Righteousness

Luke 18:9-14

9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable:
10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.
11 The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men — robbers, evildoers, adulterers — or even like this tax collector.
12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
(NIV)

The third type of pride which I confess that I find resides in my heart is the pride of self-righteousness hidden behind a thin veil of dedication to holiness. I am guilty of being proud that I do not do certain things that the world does. I am proud that I don’t go see movies with any sex or cussing and I don’t drink beer. I think that sets me apart from a vast majority of people in the church. Now I see that this is nothing but self-righteousness and a cover-up for sins I do commit on a regular basis. There is a parable in the Bible in which I star as the main character. It is the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector in Luke 18:9-14, as quoted at the beginning of this post. When I examine the pride of my heart, I realize that my prayers and my attitudes are the same as that of the Pharisee. Let’s take a look at this parable.

The first thing we notice about this parable in verse 9 is the audience to whom this parable is addressed. It is addressed to those who are confident in themselves. It is addressed to those who are self-righteous. It is addressed to those who look down on other people. In other words, it is addressed to me. I am guilty of all these things. I am guilty of all these things in my heart. And many times these sins in my heart flow outward toward others in my actions.

The parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector is a story of similarities and contrasts. Let’s look at the similarities in these two men first. This will not take long. The only similarity between these two men is that they both went to the temple to pray. Everything else in this parable is a study in contrasts.

The contrasts between these two men are the theme of the parable. The first contrast to notice is their station in life. The first man was a Pharisee, a highly respected member of society, known for his piety and holiness. The other man was a tax collector, perhaps the most hated member of society. How often does our pride and self-righteousness show through because we have a respectable job, keep a clean and orderly house, and go to church on Sunday morning? How often do we look down on people because they don’t measure up to our standards in these areas?

The second contrast to notice is their non-verbal attitude in prayer. The Pharisee stood up to pray. The Amplified Bible tells us that the Pharisee “took his stand ostentatiously” (AMP). The tax collector stood far away and would not even look up to heaven as he prayed. And he also beat on his breast as he prayed. How often does our pride and self-righteousness drive us to want to stand in front and be noticed?

The third contrast to notice is the audience of their prayers. The NIV says that the Pharisee prayed “about himself”; however, I like the KJV better which says that the Pharisee prayed “thus with himself”. Why did he pray with himself? Because no one else wanted to listen to his prayer. Especially not God. But how about the tax collector? What is the first word out of his mouth? God. The tax collector is praying to God. How often does our pride drive us to speak things in order to toot our own horn?

The fourth contrast to notice is the length of their prayers. The Pharisee prayed a long prayer. But why? In Matthew 6:5 Jesus says “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.” (NIV) But the tax collector’s prayer was short and to the point. Maybe you can identify with me here: Have you ever thought about what you would have prayed when someone else is praying in church instead of listening and praying along with the person who was praying? I think this shows pride and self-righteousness.

The fifth contrast to notice is the subject of their prayers. What did the Pharisee cover in his prayer? Take a look at verse 11. He prays about his lack of sin as compared to other people. He prays about his good works as compared to other people. The tax collector’s prayer is significantly different. He prays about his sinfulness when compared to a holy God. At the end of verse 13, we see this phrase: “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” (NIV). However, this is a poor translation. The words really read like this: “God have mercy on me, the sinner.” The tax collector prays for mercy when his works are held up to God’s standards. If anything in this parable is an indictment against my pride and self-righteousness, it is this. My pride drives me to compare myself to other people, especially those people who I think are worse off than me, instead of looking to the example of righteousness given to us in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The sixth contrast to notice is the petition of their prayers. What does the Pharisee ask God for in his prayer? Nothing. He asks for nothing because he feels that he needs nothing from God. He is satisfied with his self-sufficiency. But what does the tax collector ask for? Mercy. Because he knows that he is damned because of his sinfulness unless God has mercy on him. My prayers are shallow and superficial because they are driven by my pride. I never take the time to examine the ugliness of my heart and confess what I find before God.

The seventh contrast to notice is the result of their prayers. The Pharisee went back home the same way he came into the temple – unjustified before God. The tax collector went home justified before God.

The application of this parable is found in the last half of verse 14: “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (NIV) What is it that made the difference in the prayers of the two men? The difference was due to the fact that one man prayed with pride, while the other man prayed with humility. So, let me ask you a question as we conclude our look at this text: Is your attitude toward pride more like the Pharisee’s or more like the tax collector’s? Don’t be too quick to answer that question. Think with me for a minute through these questions:

How often do we ask God to contribute his power to the work we’ve already begun or done ourselves?

How often do we look around at society and thank God that we’re keeping ourselves pure compared to everyone else we know?

How often do we complain to God when we think we’ve been treated unfairly?

How often do we offer to do something for God in exchange for his positive answer to our prayer?

Here is a verse to contemplate as we close today. Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” (NIV)

By Berean Husband

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Perils of Pride #7: Pride of Imagined Authority

Matthew 20:20-28

20 Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him.
21 “What is it you want?” he asked. She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.”
22 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We can,” they answered.
23 Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.”
24 When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers.
25 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.
26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,
27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—
28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
(NIV)

An ill which we find in too many modern evangelical churches today is their model of leadership. So many churches have a mindset that the church is just like a business. Pastors are sought out who have the skills of a CEO and then they lead the church just like they are at the helm of a Fortune 500 corporation. Men and women in the church assume positions of leadership too often based on their desire for authority rather than based on a desire for service and the use of their spiritual gifts. I have been a member of such churches, and I have been one of those people who have wrongly assumed that power and authority came along with certain positions in the church. I am guilty of being proud that I was entrusted with positions of authority in the church. I used my authority as a source of pride, not an opportunity for service.

I can identify with James and John in the passage cited at the beginning of the post. They desired positions of authority within the kingdom of Jesus Christ. But they were too “humble” to ask for themselves, so they hid behind their mother while she asked for them. Verse 20 says “Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him.” (NIV) Just like James and John, I am too “humble” to brazenly seek out positions of authority for myself. But if someone would only ask me to serve in a position of leadership, then my pride kicks in because I think that I deserve such authority.

What positions of authority do James and John want? Only to sit at the right hand and the left hand of Jesus in his kingdom. That’s not asking too much, is it? Look at verse 21.”What is it you want?” he asked. She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.” (NIV) What an indictment against my own heart. Just like James and John, I recognize that Jesus is Lord, but I so want to be his partner, his right hand man. I want to be intimate with all the details of all his plans. What’s the problem with this? My heart should long to be Jesus’ slave, not his partner. Paul repeatedly refers to himself as a slave of Jesus Christ. Some versions of the Bible use the word “servant” instead of slave. But we never see the word “doulos” properly translated as “partner” or any such nonsense. What is wonderful is the grace that Jesus extends to those who become his slaves indeed. John 15:15 tells us these words of Jesus spoken to his disciples “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” (NIV)

Notice how Jesus sees past the front James and John are using their mother for. In verse 22, Jesus looks past their mother and addresses the two brothers directly. “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We can,” they answered. (NIV) Is Jesus amused at their request? Or maybe Jesus is perplexed by their request. We cannot tell his tone of voice. But we do know one thing. It is not a light thing to desire to partake of authority in the kingdom of Jesus Christ. True authority in the kingdom of Jesus Christ involves not positions of power, but positions of service and positions of sacrifice. In John 15:20-21, Jesus tells the disciples “Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me.” (NIV)

The transition in these verses occurs in verse 24. “When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers.” (NIV) The attention shifts from only James and John to the other ten disciples. When the other ten disciples heard about the request of James and John, they were indignant. Why? I think for one of two reasons. First, perhaps they were indignant because each one of them thought that they should be the one to sit at Jesus’ right hand or left hand. Or second, perhaps they thought that James and John definitely did not deserve to sit at the right hand or left hand of Jesus. Either way, this is a manifestation of pride. And does not this same thing happen in our churches today? When someone is asked to serve in a position of leadership, how many of us say that we should have been asked first? Or how many times do we take shots from the sideline when someone takes a job in the church that we don’t think they are qualified for. Or that we think we are more qualified for.

In verses 25-27, Jesus offers the disciples a new paradigm for what authority within his kingdom really means. Notice that Jesus begins with a contrast in verse 25. “Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.” (NIV) Here is the world’s model of authority: people who are in charge act like they are in charge. There are any number of so-called “leadership courses” that go about training people how to act like they are in charge. And we carry this same mentality into the church with us. And how can this method of leadership not incite pride in the human heart? When we act like we have authority, it cannot be long before we attribute our authority to our own self worth.

But notice the true paradigm of leadership in the body of Christ in verses 26-27 “Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave” (NIV) Here is Jesus’ model of authority: the greatest person is the one who is a servant of all. How is real authority granted within the kingdom of God? It flows from service, not from power. And how can this method of leadership not beat down pride in the human heart? When we act like a slave, we find nothing in and of ourselves to be proud of. Any pride we find is pride in our master, not in ourselves.

But I hear someone out there saying “Someone has got to be in charge or nothing will ever get done around here.” You are exactly right. I propose that we let Jesus be in charge. Now I hear another objection being raised. “That’s not practical,” someone says. “A person needs to be there to lead and direct.” Supposing that is true, I have another proposal for you. Find the person who is serving the Lord and start working for them. Not the person who has the most authority, and not the person who is the most charismatic leader, but the person who is quietly serving the Lord that you never hear get a word of credit or a word of thanks. Go serve that person. You see, the example is given for us in verse 28 “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (NIV) The one man who had every right to be in authority because he was also God, the one man who had every right to be served because he is the King of kings, instead came to serve. And who did he chose to serve? A wretch like me, to borrow words from John Newton. And such a great and marvelous service – he gave his life as a ransom for my soul. How can I not serve such as one as this?

Here are a few verses to contemplate as we end today:

John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (NIV)

Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (NIV)

Philippians 2:5-8
5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross!
(NIV)

By Berean Husband

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Judgment Houses

Here is one thought about why Judgment houses do not work. Maybe it will get you thinking about the question “Do Halloween “judgment houses” win many people to Christ?”

‘Judgment house’ evangelism

Do Halloween “judgment houses” win many people to Christ? I’d like to offer seven reasons why I think they don’t.

1) “Judgment houses” aren’t scary enough. To speak of hell, Jesus used the image of a garbage dump overrun with worms, a place where babies were once sacrificed to demons (Mark 9:43-48). Teenagers in plastic devil masks and Styrofoam pitchforks usually don’t convey what it means to “fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).


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Halloween – Just Innocent Fun for Kids?

Real Halloween back for long traumatized Pa. town (link broken)

For 16 years, real horror overshadowed the make-believe terror of Halloween in this Pennsylvania town, where trick-or-treating after dark was banned after an 11-year-old girl was abducted off the street and murdered.

But on Friday, pint-sized witches, princesses and vampires will once again be shuffling from house to house at night, thanks to a petition drive by a fifth-grader.

With the town gripped by fear that a child killer was on the loose, trick-or-treating the next day was held in daylight for the first time. Police watched from helicopters as parents led their children from house to house along quiet streets.

Residents also began locking their doors and driving their children to school. And every year afterward, the City Council voted to allow trick-or-treating in the afternoon only, a move duplicated around the same time by many other U.S. cities and towns worried about children’s safety.

Thousands to douse annual Detroit arson tradition

The city that used to burn on the night before Halloween as mischief-makers torched abandoned buildings has largely doused its Devil’s Night by mobilizing tens of thousands of citizens and law-enforcement personnel each year to patrol city neighborhoods.

“It’s unfortunate of course that we have to do this, but this is the hand we’re dealt,” said Luther Keith, executive director of ARISE Detroit!, a coalition of community groups hoping to keep Detroit safe from fires and vandalism around Halloween.

At its peak in 1984, 810 fires were reported in Detroit from Oct. 29 to 31, fueled by, among other things, Devil’s Night’s growing notoriety and the city’s large number of abandoned buildings.

Locally, the news is suggesting that parents check the registered sex offender websites before allowing their children to “Trick or Treat” in the neighborhood.

See also:

Halloween – What do you think?

Learn Not The Way of The Heathen…

What does the Bible say about Halloween?

Halloween – “Evil in the Sight of the Lord” or “Glorifying the Lord”?

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Halloween – “Evil in the Sight of the Lord” or “Glorifying the Lord”?

The phrase “evil in the sight of the Lord” has caught my attention. It is a very appropriate question to ask about any activity we support or participate in.

2 Kings 23:37 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his fathers had done. KJV

The other question is do our actions “glorify the Lord”?

Ps 86:12 I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore. KJV

The phrase “evil in the sight of the Lord” is found 44 times in the KJV and 55 times in the ESV. If something is repeated that often then I think we should pay special attention to what was evil in the Lord’s sight.

1 Kings 11:6 And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father. KJV

1 Kings 14:22-24
22 And Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins which they had committed, above all that their fathers had done.
23 For they also built them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree.
24 And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord cast out before the children of Israel
. KJV

1 Kings 15:26 And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way of his father, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin. KJV

1 Kings 16:30-31
30 And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before him.
31 And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam…
KJV

Notice the phrase “as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins” is that not what we often hear? “Oh, What’s the big deal?” “You’re making a mountain out of a molehill.” Are we not guilty of thinking that it is a “light thing” to celebrate Halloween?

When we take a holiday like Halloween and try to clean it up might we not be guilty like Jehoram of still doing “evil in the sight of the Lord” even when we think we have cleaned up the holiday or provided an alternative for it. Did we just “remove the image but cleave to the sin“? Took away the skeletons, ghosts and witches but kept the sin?

2 Kings 3:2-3 2 And he wrought evil in the sight of the Lord; but not like his father, and like his mother: for he put away the image of Baal that his father had made. 3 Nevertheless he cleaved unto the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which made Israel to sin; he departed not therefrom. KJV

2 Chron 33:2 But did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, like unto the abominations of the heathen, whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel. KJV

Carved images – Jack o’Lanterns?

2 Chron 33:22 But he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, as did Manasseh his father: for Amon sacrificed unto all the carved images which Manasseh his father had made, and served them; KJV

Many Christians discount the fact that Halloween might still be a celebrated pagan holiday beyond the obvious decorations, costumes and “Trick or Treating.” Some try to discount the truth of the ancient pagan Druid celebrations that occurred during that time which the Catholic church tried to “redeem” by All-Saints Day and All-Hallows Eve. Many more say that the holiday Halloween has lost all the Druid worship associated with Samhain.

In medieval Ireland, Samhain became the principal festival, celebrated with a great assembly at the royal court in Tara, lasting for three days. After being ritually started on the Hill of Tlachtga, a bonfire was set alight on the Hill of Tara, which served as a beacon, signaling to people gathered atop hills all across Ireland to light their ritual bonfires. The custom has survived to some extent, and recent years have seen a resurgence in participation in the festival.

Bonfires played a large part in the festivities celebrated down through the last several centuries, and up through the present day in some rural areas of the Celtic nations and the diaspora. Villagers were said to have cast the bones of the slaughtered cattle upon the flames. In the pre-Christian Gaelic world, cattle were the primary unit of currency and the center of agricultural and pastoral life. Samhain was the traditional time for slaughter, for preparing stores of meat and grain to last through the coming winter. The word ‘bonfire‘, or ‘bonefire‘ is a direct translation of the Gaelic tine cnámh. With the bonfire ablaze, the villagers extinguished all other fires. Each family then solemnly lit its hearth from the common flame, thus bonding the families of the village together. Often two bonfires would be built side by side, and the people would walk between the fires as a ritual of purification. Sometimes the cattle and other livestock would be driven between the fires, as well. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samhain

However, a simple search will show that Samhain is still well celebrated and is even making a comeback of sorts. There are Wicca Covens and Druids that are organized within 20 miles of my house (that was very surprising to me since I live in the middle of nowhere!).

Many of the elements of our ancient festival have turned into secular folk customs. The candles, costumes, ghosts, and spooks are all dim memories of a time when people welcomed their beloved dead back to their homes and propitiated spirits with offerings.

For your Samhain, try one or more of these rituals:

~ Think of the candy you give to young trick-or-treaters as offerings to the ancestors, who return as the children of a new generation. Imagine that with each treat, you also give a blessing.

~ Gather your friends and family and set out pictures of your beloved dead. Light a candle (perhaps in a jack-o-lantern), then tell their stories and give thanks for what they’ve given you. Gaze into the candle flame, envisioning the renewal you want to support in your own life, community, and the world. Share your visions, write or draw them, or set out objects on your altar that represent the rebirth you hope for.

~ Share food and leave a bit of each dish on the altar (or outside, near the compost) as an offering for the ancestors.

Halloween is a time when powerful forces converge. Our most sacred holiday is also, unfortunately, the time when anti-witch propaganda may abound.

I believe the way to respond to fear and misinformation is to tell the truth about what we do. Halloween gives us a great opportunity to educate the public by speaking at your child’s school or giving an interview to the local press. In 25 years of public life as a witch, what amazes me is not the prejudice I’ve encountered, but how many open and supportive people I’ve met. http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Pagan-and-Earth-Based/2000/10/The-Witches-New-Year.aspx?p=2

If that doesn’t convince you that there is a problem how about this:

Samhain, “Summer’s End,” the Celtic New Year, the Blood Harvest, Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead… Death – a constant source of mystery and intrigue that beckons us to journey beyond the comfort of our five senses and into the realm of the shadow.

In the twilight-dusk of the year, the stillness of Wintertime approaches. The days grow shorter — and the nights deeper. We come together with intent, to pay heed to ancient whispers, voices that urge us to prepare for the cold, and the long nights to come. Over head, the Frost Moon waxes to Full while the Earth drowses in Her first stages of sleep. In the flickering candlelight, by the warmth of the fire, together we slip into a space of darkness, and there find the embrace of the shadow.

This event provides a special opportunity for you to take an active role to transform yourself. Out of respect for the rest of the community, you must be willing to take part in the ritual in order to attend the event. Together we will build the container in which to conduct the work. We will not harm you, but we will try to unsettle you, and touch you emotionally. We will ask you to face your fears, confront your Shadow, and emerge from the Cauldron renewed. PLEASE plan to be responsible for your own emotional balance and grounding. We will, of course, provide space in the ritual for appropriate grounding, but cannot be responsible for the consequences you take away from the experience.

Samhain – Nov 8, 2008 http://www.gaiaswomb.com/event-nov08.htm

Therefore, the excuse that Halloween has lost all its evil connotations is just wrong. However, that does not mean that as Christians we should live in fear about Halloween. We who are Christians are under the protective hand of the Lord and not even a hair of our head will be harmed unless He allows it.

1 Peter 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. KJV

Should we not participate by not “Trick or Treating” ourselves yet use the opportunity to give out candy and gospel tracts in order to be a witness? I think that is over the line into participating. Is that not “bidding them God speed”?

2 John 10-11
10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:
11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.
KJV

2 John 10-11
10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. 11 Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work. NIV

Rom 12:9 Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. KJV

So is Halloween “Evil in the Sight of the Lord” or “Glorifying the Lord”?

See also:

Halloween – What do you think?

Learn Not The Way of The Heathen…

What does the Bible say about Halloween?

Halloween – “Evil in the Sight of the Lord” or “Glorifying the Lord”?


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What does the Bible say about Halloween?

Well if you want to be technical, it says nothing about that particular holiday. However, the Bible is very clear about what to do in response to Pagan holidays, evil celebrations and evil.

1 Thess 5:21-22

21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. KJV

Does Halloween count as evil or at least as having an appearance of evil? Yes, it does. From witches and ghosts to blood and gore, who could say that it does not have the appearance of evil?

Eph 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. KJV

1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: KJV

2 Cor 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath
light with darkness?
KJV

Doesn’t Halloween relish the dark and evil of the world in both the literal sense and also in the spiritual sense?

Christians are called to share the light of Jesus with others.

Matt 5:14-16
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
KJV

Christians today also take lightly the commands of the Lord to stay away from evil, evil spirits, witches and those who conjure the dead. Most of the time it is because they do not believe that such things as witches and evil spirits exists. Notice that this is not just Old Testament verses, which many like to ignore, but it is also in New Testament verses.

Deut 18:10-12
10 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch,
11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.
12 For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee
. KJV

Gal 5:20-21
20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God
. KJV

Rev 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. KJV

Those who were saved did away with their books and magic arts.


Acts 19:18-20
18 Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. 19 And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily. ESV

We cannot redeem something evil into something clean and Holy.


Job 14:4 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one. KJV

Even the phrase “Trick or Treat” is contrary to the Bible. “Trick or Treat” means if you do not give me a treat, I will trick you. Contrary to what my younger son suggested, it dosen’t mean they will do a cartwheel or a magic trick, but that something will be damaged or destroyed.


1 Thess 5:15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. KJV

1 Peter 3:9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. KJV

Many people have written about the origins of Halloween and the continuing evil that goes on during that time. I won’t bother explaining those right now.

Jer 10:2 Learn not the way of the heathen,… KJV

Ephesians 4:27 warns: “Neither give place to the devil.”

1 Peter 5:8 warns, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,” -2nd Corinthians 6:17

Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.” -1st Corinthians 10:21

RW had these verses in his comments on Halloween – What do you think?

1 Cor 10:31 KJV – Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

Is the holiday of Halloween glorifying to God? It has all the appearance of evil.

2Tim 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of
love, and of a sound mind.

Phil 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things.

1Thess 5:21-23 Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The next thing to think about is does a “Fall Festival”, “Trunk or Treat”, or “Judgment Houses” done by churches provide a valid and Biblical alternative to Halloween?


See also:

Halloween – What do you think?

Learn Not The Way of The Heathen…

What does the Bible say about Halloween?

Halloween – “Evil in the Sight of the Lord” or “Glorifying the Lord”?


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Learn Not The Way of The Heathen…

Jer 10:2 Learn not the way of the heathen,… KJV

This article is the best source I have found so far for information about a Christian and Halloween. It actually isn’t as brief as it says.

The Way of the Heathen: A Brief Survey of Halloween from a Puritan’s Mind.

How much ground should the Christian give the devil? Is there any room for compromise? No, there is none. The Christian should have a holy hatred of the devil and everything he represents. “Give no place to the devil, (Eph. 4:2).” Halloween represents all that the devil loves and propagates against the holiness of God’s character. When Christians participate in occult festivals, they are ascribing glory of the lord Samhain, the devil, the god of this world. They may ease their conscience by saying they are worshipping God at their Fall Festival, the true Lord of the harvest, but when has God ever inaugurated this kind of worship? I have no qualms about having a costume party on June17th, or February 12th, insignificant days (provided the costumes are not degrading or evil). Costume parties are not the issue, nor are they sinful in and of themselves. It is the festival of Samhain which is the issue; it is Halloween. Will Christian parents plan a costume party in July instead of October 31st? No they will not. Why? Because they desire to make their children happy and fit in with the neighbors. Christian parents should be teaching their children to hate worldliness, not thriving after it. “You adulterous generation, do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity towards God? Anyone who is a friend of the world is at enmity with God” (James 4:4-5).

Thank you for the previous comments I am still working on this.


See also:

Halloween – What do you think?

Learn Not The Way of The Heathen…

What does the Bible say about Halloween?

Halloween – “Evil in the Sight of the Lord” or “Glorifying the Lord”?

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Halloween – What do you think?

Churches that I have been a part of have all had some kind of celebration for Halloween. It may not have been the night of Halloween maybe it was the weekend before or right around Halloween. Even as a child, Halloween was celebrated in our family. Trick or treating, fall festivals and haunted houses were all part of my growing up.

As a matter of fact not very many people can say they have driven around town in a station wagon with a casket in it, unless of course you work for a mortuary. My mother actually picked up a casket for a school haunted house when I was a child and I remember riding through town getting all kinds of strange stares. For a chocoholic, sweet eater like me, Halloween was a well-loved holiday. I also tend to do things at 110% until the next thing comes along. So costumes where well thought out even if money couldn’t be spent on them. I just tell you this so you know I didn’t grow up with an aversion to Halloween.

After I had children and started growing as a Christian, I begin to question things like Halloween. Nevertheless, since churches felt that fall festivals were acceptable I didn’t worry too much about it. My oldest children went to fall festivals dressed as Biblical characters, Noah & the animals, David and a sheep, etc. However, I always was uneasy about whether it was appropriate or not.

When we had two preschoolers, we visited a church’s Bible Story Land for Halloween. It was very interesting and so far has been the most useful church activity we have participated in for Halloween. The church was decorated as different places throughout the Bible. People were dressed and acted out the parts. We are not talking about just Noah’s ark and Baby Jesus but serious Bible stories. There were Paul’s shipwreck, Jonah and the whale, David and Goliath, the woman at the well, and several others. During the initial wait to go through the stations information on the church was given out and a gospel presentation along with snacks.

The most interesting part was a station that was dark and lit only with black lights. A spotlight shone on a person dressed as Ezekiel. Ezekiel was told to preach to a valley of dry bones. Then you saw that the floor was covered with apparent skeletons. Upon preaching to the dry bones they begin to come alive and soon were up and moving. The bones were people in black clothing with glow-in-the-dark skeletons on their clothes. I knew this story but many there did not even realize this was actually in the Bible. I think it had a profound effect on those there. I remember it just as if it was yesterday.

Ezek 37:1-10
1The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD , and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones,
2 And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.
3 And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD , thou knowest.
4 Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD .
5 Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live:
6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD .
7 So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.
8 And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.
9 Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD ; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.
10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.
KJV

That is the only time I think a church that I attended actually impacted others with the truth while providing an alternative to Halloween. Most of the time there is nothing different about what a church does compared to a school fall festival. Handing someone a piece of paper about the church doesn’t do much to share the gospel. It usually ends up in the closest garbage can.

An even worse activity is the “Trunk or Treat.” This is where cars are lined up in the parking lot with the trunks open. Children go around from car to car to get their “Trick or Treats.” Supposedly, this is a safer alternative than going house to house but what really happens is the kids go “Trunk or Treating” then they go house to house. Often the cars are decorated with pumpkins, black and orange decorations, maybe even witches, ghosts, and goblins. Nevertheless, information about the church is given out as if that would redeem anything.

Reformation Day also falls on October 31. There are a few churches that celebrate Reformation Day, but very few, and I haven’t had the opportunity to see a celebration before. Around here, you would have to explain what Reformation Day is for people to understand.

I have researched information for years trying to understand what if anything a Christian should do with Halloween. I have found very little information and much conflicting information. It might be shocking to find out who has no problem with Halloween and who does. Some say that the reports of evil and Satanic influences are blown out of proportion and others who deal with cults say otherwise.

I will post more about what the Bible has to say about this later.

What do you think the appropriate response should be for a church and for individual Christians?


See also:

Halloween – What do you think?

Learn Not The Way of The Heathen…

What does the Bible say about Halloween?

Halloween – “Evil in the Sight of the Lord” or “Glorifying the Lord”?


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