The Meaning of the End of October

Well, it’s coming to the end of October, and that means several things. First, the epicness that is Thanksgiving and Christmas is just around the corner. Second, the celebration of the beloved Reformation Day is coming up. Third, every blogger in all of Christendom is going to write a blog about Halloween or Hell houses. Well, I don’t see a reason to fight the trend here.

Reformation Day is something that I’ve just recently become aware of, thanks to Justin Taylor’s recent post. If you’ve never heard of it, don’t worry. I’m a Calvinist, go to a reformed church, read a lot of material written by Presbyterians, and I just found out about it this week. Despite the fact that it’s only one of the most important pieces of Church History: it celebrates the day of Martin Luther’s nailing of the 95 Theses on the Wittenberg Door on October 31, 1517. With that, I have two questions: 1) Does that make me a bad Calvinist? 2) Why isn’t this a national holiday? I mean, it’s practically the whole reason this country is here. No protestant reformation, no search for religious freedom, no America. Makes sense, right?

I’ve heard it said that Alfred Hitchcock believed that people love to be scared to death. That’s why we have horror movies, haunted houses, the glory of God’s good gift of awesome roller coasters, and even Judgment Houses — the Christian version of a haunted house, with a slight evangelistic twist. The problem with that is that these Judgement Houses just aren’t scary enough. And they can’t be, because as Russell Moore says, “nothing we could conjure up can convey the anguish of the damned walled off from relationship with God.”

What is really scary, though, is how most Christians treat Halloween. They run from it like the plague! There’s certainly wisdom in making a clear distinction of why Christians are involved in Halloween. It can’t be for historical pagan purposes, to be sure, and simply claiming naivete isn’t good enough either. What concerns me about this, and has for a while, is something that David Mathis says on the latest Desiring God post: that Halloween evenings of the past have been occasions where “Christians retreated in disapproval” and simply shut off their lights to the world around them. So, for one night, the salt of the earth and the light to the nations is simply not there. What if Christians, as David Mathis asks, used this evening as an opportunity to storm the gates of hell? Not in silent disapproval, civil disobedience, or creating “Christian alternatives” to Halloween, but showed that we really believe in the power of the gospel. Think about this for a minute: Jesus redeemed the very instrument of His execution. We now CHERISH the most excruciating means of execution ever invented.

David Mathis presses us on this concept:

What if we took to the offensive on Halloween? Isn’t this how our God loves to show himself mighty? Just when the devil has a good head of steam, God, like a skilled ninja, uses the adversary’s body weight against him. It’s Satan’s own inertia that drives the stake into his heart. Just like the cross. It’s a kind of divine “trick”: Precisely when the demonic community thinks for sure they have Jesus cornered, he delivers the deathblow. Wasn’t it a Halloween-like gathering of darkness and demonic festival at Golgotha, the place of the Skull, when the God-man “disarmed the powers and authorities [and] made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them” at the cross (Colossians 2:15)?

Christ said that He would build His church (Matt. 16:18), and after all authority had been given to Him, He sent us out into a world of darkness to be a light (Matt. 28:18-20). Are we really afraid of Halloween being more powerful than the blood of Christ? Or is it that the concept of storming the gates of Hell is simply too terrifying to us? It should be, but that is what Christ calls us to, and commands us to do. That’s the march we’re on every day of our lives. It’s just easier to ignore Satan’s defenses at our jobs and schools than it is on Halloween. But, we do not march alone. We march with Jesus, the Christus Victor, in front of us. So, what if we dug down deep and found the kind of courage that Martin Luther exhibited when he nailed the 95 Theses to the church door?

So, I invite you, and challenge you, to really examine any reasons behind apprehension to Halloween. If the Spirit convicts of underestimating the power of Christ in this area, then repent. And “give the good candy” this year.

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