An Unapologetically Dark House on Halloween
by Motte Brown on 10/23/2006 at 3:03 PM
I guess I'll represent the dissenting voice on Halloween here. My family doesn't participate. Instead, we take our kids to the Reformation Celebration held at our church. There they play games such as "Bible Smuggling" or "Pin the 95 Theses" to receive prizes and candy. My kids actually prefer it.
It's our personal conviction. One that my wife and I have talked about, prayed about, and sought the advice of Christians we respect. Apparently, that's not good enough for Tim Challies.
Challies writes on his blog today that "(Christians) have to trust our consciences" on the matter but then proceeds to condemn those who would abstain as "a very poor witness." First, if it is a matter of conscience, he shouldn't make judgments on Christians who have prayed about it and concluded that they can best honor God another way. After all, as Paul instructs the Colossians, "Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath."
Secondly, I reject the premise that Halloween presents a "unique opportunity" to engage in the lives of our neighbors -- it's one opportunity among many. For example, one of the pastoral wives in our church has a "cookie witness" in their neighborhood and we enjoyed a block party in ours this past summer. I can think of numerous other moments when we've (kids included) engaged our non-believing neighbors on their terms since we moved into our house.
Just because Challies is constricted from being neighborly every other day of the year because of "social etiquette" doesn't mean everyone is. Besides, if we all based our decisions on the etiquette of our day then we would never participate in what some would consider to be the pinnacle of rudeness -- sharing the Gospel.
Since this is a matter of conscience, I would not presume that those Christians who do participate somehow honor God less. Dr. Dobson is a bit more forgiving than Challies in his response to Halloween.
I realize that (Halloween) is controversial among committed Christians, and I'm sensitive to the reasons for their misgivings. My final word to parents on the subject would be "Stay true to your own convictions."
I think I will. And with a clear conscience I'll have a dark house this Halloween because we try and keep it lit the other 364 days of the year.