Halloween and the Spectrum of Evangelical Identity

Picking up on the old definition “An evangelical is a fundamentalist who likes Billy Graham,” Russell D. Moore, the Dean of the School of Theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, used a tongue-in-cheek approach to classify evangelicals based on their position with respect to Halloween.  This is in an article published today in The Christian Post.  But on a deeper level, this comical analysis reveals a lot of truth about how evangelicals are divided on the issue.  My comments are in parenthesis.  I welcome your comments to each class listed below!  Enjoy!

1. An evangelical is a fundamentalist whose kids dress up for Halloween. (This is unfortunately a majority of so-called american “evangelicals”)

2. A conservative evangelical is a fundamentalist whose kids dress up for the church’s “Fall Festival.” (With the stipulation that… it’s no longer dressing up for “Halloween”)

3. A confessional evangelical is a fundamentalist whose kids dress up as [Calvin] and [Luther] for “Reformation Day.” (Reformation Day celebration begins on Halloween… Now, we’re getting closer to real Calvinistic fundamentalism 🙂 )

4. A revivalist evangelical is a fundamentalist whose kids dress up as demons and angels for the church’s Judgment House community evangelism outreach. (Heaven vs Hell theater drama…?)

5. An Emerging Church evangelical is a fundamentalist who has no kids, but who dresses up for Halloween anyway. (Isn’t an Emerging fundamentalist an oxymoron? 🙂 )

6. A [real evangelical] fundamentalist is a fundamentalist whose kids hand out gospel tracts to all those mentioned above.

Perspective on Halloween

Most people view Halloween as innocent entertainment and fun, and some even make the argument that it is a “Christian” holiday by invoking the Catholic celebration of All Saints’ day.  In 835, due to Germanic and Irish influence, All Saints’ day (All Hallow day) was moved by Pope Gregory IV from May 13th to November 1st.  Therefore, on October 31st the world celebrates the All Hallow’s Eve or commonly known in modern times as Halloween.

But the truth is that Halloween symbols and rituals are deeply rooted in paganism and occultism.  The carved and lighted pumpkin, references to witchcraft and broomsticks, superstition about bats and black cats can all be traced to western european occult practices which survived in parallel with Christianity over the years.  It’s no wonder that October 31st is an important date in the Occult calendar of Druids, and witches, Satanists, and Pagans mark Halloween as one of their most “holy” days.

The Bible is very clear in asserting that children of God cannot associate themselves with the darkness found in things like Halloween rituals.  Apostolic teaching often uses antonyms such as “light” and “dark” to make the case that we are designated as holy and separated from the things that God abhors. Apostles Paul and John both make strong references to this:

Ephesians 5:8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

1 John 5:5 This is the message we have heard from Him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

May God keep us in the light!