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Reformation Day 2012

October 29, 2012

I am not a huge fan of Halloween. Perhaps that is not accurate. After all there is nothing about the day in particular that I dislike. It is a day that the Lord has made like any other. What I do not like about it is the way we as Christians have decided to adopt the philosophy of, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” I make no mistake about this and it is a small source of contention between me and many evangelical Christians and churches today. Personally, it do not believe it is appropriate to celebrate a “holiday” with it’s roots in paganism, it’s symbols designed to frighten and entice, and it’s practice filled with disturbing imagery and (let’s be honest) the appearance of evil.

What is there about this “holiday” that is so special? What is it that makes believers in Christ want to emulate the world and culture around them? This is a holiday with its roots in pure paganism and superstition yet churches everywhere emulate it. They don’t usually call them Halloween parties. Rather they are referred to as “Fall Festivals” or, as when I was young, “Harvest parties.” Same candy with a different label on the package. Where is the Scriptural support for this? You won’t find it. Instead you will find well-meaning Christians trying to “redeem” the day by handing out Gospel tracts and calling this an evangelistic opportunity. I’m all for evangelism and preaching the beautiful Gospel of Christ but how much credibility do we have when we hand out candy and tracts with one hand and in the other our Bible says things like:

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:2 ESV

Our culture can discern inconsistency better than we can sometimes. What happens when one of these people start asking questions about personal and corporate holiness in the Church and then we do things like this? Is this a consistent message? I think not.

One could certainly argue that we have absorbed other pagan rituals into Christian holidays and they would be correct. After all things like Christmas trees and Easter eggs have little to do with the holidays in question and are in fact carried over from ancient worldly rituals. To be honest there are aspects of some of these things that I find uncomfortable as well. However at least I can draw a crystal clear line down to a specific Christian event from which these holidays originate. (Though the dating of Christmas is dubious at best.) Such cannot be said of Halloween.

(For a fuller discussion of the issues around Halloween I refer you to Al Mohler’s excellent article on the subject, Christianity and the Dark Side — What About Halloween?).

There is a significance to October 31st that, sadly, goes unnoticed by most all of your average Christians. While the rest of the country is celebrating ghosts, goblins, vampires, and generally scaring the pants off each other, I sincerely hope that there are some Christians out there who join me in celebrating another holiday commemorating an event that took place on October 31 – Reformation day. 495 years ago (1517 to be exact) in the town of Wittenberg, Germany an Augustinian monk by the name of Martin Luther posted his 95 Thesis on the door to the church in Wittenberg. Thus striking the match of the Reformation and setting the gospel free from its Roman imprisonment.

I am not a Lutheran (the denomination that sprung from Luther’s reformation) but even as a Baptist I can appreciate the way God used this man. To be fair, Luther never intended to spark a Reformation. He was severely displeased with the practice of selling indulgences and wrote the Thesis as a scholarly objection to this practice and others. He sought to truly reform the church rather than break from it. Time does not permit me to recount the whole story but after some time Luther was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic church and he, along with others helped to bring about the Protestant Reformation.

Where would we be without men like this? The gospel would still be tied to the Roman system of works, penance, and indulgences. While I am in no way attempting to exalt Luther, I must acknowledge the contribution he made and the way he was used by God. May we all spend a few minutes today apart from the silliness that is Halloween and thank God for men like Luther, Calvin, Knox, and many other Reformers. Thank Him for giving these men the courage and conviction to stand up against the only system they knew and embrace the God-breathed Scriptures and the freedom of the Gospel. Thank Him for reviving the gospel.

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it– the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. (Romans 3:21-25 ESV)

Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone)
Sola Fide (Faith Alone)
Sola Gratia (Grace Alone)
Solus Christus (Christ Alone)
Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone)

God bless.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Gonzo permalink
    July 27, 2014 1:04 am

    So I’m back first I would like to give a very special thanks to Bryan and the Christian knight for there help and especially their patience. I’m happy to say I have both a ESV and NASB study bibles and love them. I also have gotten myself a HCSB study bible kindle version for only $7.99 so I couldn’t pass it up. So this is what my question is about and it has to do with Matthew 21:32 in how the scripture us translated I have heard some folks knock it because they feel it doesn’t convey regret in changing one’s mind. I feel it did a fine job of translating the scripture but maybe I’m wrong love to hear others opinion on this. God bless

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