Posts Tagged ‘Halloween’

Annual Halloween Thoughts

October 29, 2014

How should a Christian respond to Halloween? Let’s dive into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I’ll start this by saying that I am offering this advice as a non-parent. What I am offering this advice as is someone highly familiar with Christianity and Christian doctrines, being a Christian most of my life and being an apologist for nearly the past fifteen years. I do write something like this most every year, but some matters are worth repeating.

So with Halloween coming up a lot of people wonder about how they should observe the day. I recently interviewed Marcia Montenegro who runs Christian Answers For The New Age. I agree with much of what she said about Halloween, but I would like to add in my own two bits.

First off, with the claim that Halloween is a pagan holiday, I am highly suspicious of that. I also think it sets up a dangerous precedent. If we say that something is pagan repeatedly, we will end up having people be suspicious that Christians stole everything from the pagans and then what happens when someone says “Hey. Ever heard of Mithras?” When I have seen claims of stealing form pagans, I have for the most part found them incredibly lacking.

Second, even if it was pagan, so what? Seriously. So what? Today we acknowledge this day by dressing up in costumes, pulling pranks on one another, and asking for candy. Do we really think pagan gods would think we are honoring them by doing this? Most likely, this would instead be seen as an insult. (An interesting discussion on this with a Wiccan and a Christian can be found on the Unbelievable? episode from October 25th, 2014.

The analogy I use is wedding rings. Let’s suppose you came to me and convinced me beyond a shadow of a doubt that wedding rings were pagan in origin. Will that change anything that I do? No. Not a bit. Why? Because I know why I wear my wedding ring. I did not wear it in honor of Zeus or Odin. I do not make a promise before Baal or Molech that I would love my wife and honor her. I made that covenant before God and man. That is what matters.

So thus, we need to look at our intentions. Why are we celebrating the day?

Since most of us are just celebrating it as a chance to dress up in costumes and get candy, I have no objection to it whatsoever. If you want to go to your church for a trunk or treat party, go right ahead. If you want to stay home, then this is my advice. Make sure that you get the best candy on the block. Let people know your house is the one to go to. Don’t just give out tracts. Kids won’t read them likely and will mark you down as a house to avoid.

Instead, let your house be the house everyone wants to go to and when they find out you’re a Christian, that will make them more likely to listen to what you have to say. Note that this is one day that children are coming to your house. Not only are children coming, many children are coming with their parents. This is a chance for you to let your light shine for them. Do you really want to have your lights out on your house when children and parents who need to hear the Gospel are coming right to your door?

Of course, if you think your community isn’t a safe one, a church outing could be a better idea and naturally, you will want to be with your children wherever they go and I have no problem with that. I also think Marcia’s advice on my show was excellent. Try to spend some time that day praying for people who are caught in the occult.

We are meant to go out and claim this world for Christ. That includes every day of the year. Halloween is a day God owns just like every other day and we need not be running in retreat. We have too often practiced a fear of anything that might have a whiff of pagan to it. We should consider that if historically Christians had avoided all contact with the pagans, then Christianity would have never got off the ground. The reason Christianity survived was it had no fear of engaging the pagans. Let us not have that same fear. Halloween belongs to God. Let’s celebrate it to His glory.

In Christ,

Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 10/25/2014: Marcia Montenegro

October 23, 2014

What’s coming up on this Saturday’s episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s dive into the Deeper Waters and find out.

First off, we unfortunately had to postpone the interview we had scheduled with Matthew Flannagan. Why? I came down with a virus and I was in no condition whatsoever to do an interview. Unfortunately, my wife was a recipient of my generosity and she is just now starting to get over it. So if you’re wondering why the latest episode didn’t upload on ITunes, that’s why.

Now I am in good enough health that I am ready to continue doing the show again and this Saturday, we’re doing a show in preparation for Halloween. As you can expect, there’s a lot going on around this time of year. Many Christians wonder if they should participate in Halloween. There is also supposed to come out this weekend the movie “Ouija.” Is this just a harmless children’s game or is there something more to it?

Years ago, Gary Habermas advised me to not study the occult for myself. It can be too powerful of a draw. Instead, I should save such discussions for those who have come out of it and know it from the inside-out. I am fortunate to be friends with one such person and am honored that this Saturday I get to welcome Marcia Montenegro to the Deeper Waters Podcast.

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Prior to trusting Christ, Marcia was involved for many years in Eastern and New Age beliefs, and was a licensed professional astrologer for 8 yrs. During that time, she also taught astrology, and was President of the Metropolitan Atlanta Astrological Society. Marcia has a Masters in Religion from Southern Evangelical Seminary, Charlotte, NC, and is a missionary with Fellowship International Mission. Through her ministry, Christian Answers for the New Age, she has spoken in 30 states and is a frequent guest on radio, and has published articles in several Christian publications, informing Christians about the New Age as well as reaching out to those who are part of it. Marcia is the mother of an adult son, and is the author of SpellBound: The Paranormal Seduction of Today’s Kids (Cook, 2006).

Marcia has now come out of the New Age movement and has devoted her life to helping others to come out of it. In fact, many times I have messaged her about something that sounds as if it was New Age to get her opinion on it. Unfortunately, much of this can also be found in the Christian church as many of the notions that are seen as popular today are actually quite occult in their mindset. (Consider the Word of Faith movement as an example of this.)

I hope you’ll be listening as you and your family prepare for Halloween just as ours is. You want your children to be fun and safe this time of year and you also should want to know about any dangers of the occult that you might not be aware of. Please be watching your podcast feed for the latest episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast featuring Marcia Montenegro.

In Christ,

Nick Peters

The Christian Who Cried Pagan

October 14, 2014

Are some Christians overplaying the danger in a field? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

In the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf there is a little boy tending the flocks and he gets bored so he cries out that there’s a wolf coming. Twice the people of the town come out to help him deal with the wolf, and twice they find out that he was making it up. The third time he cries, he does so because there really is a wolf, and no one heeds the call, and the boy has to take responsibility for a destroyed flock.

A lot of Christians are like that boy, especially as we get closer to Halloween, although to be fair, most are certainly not intentionally or even unintentionally pulling a prank. What they are often doing is getting it so people will either not listen at all or will listen too much.

Let’s start with the danger of listening too much. How is that possible? What happens is often a pagan paranoia is developed where it is seen that most everything is pagan and we must avoid any mixture of Christianity with paganism. Now of course, I’m not for combining Christianity with pagan beliefs, but let’s make sure that’s what is really being done.

When it is said too often, a Christian unprepared will see paganism in everything around him and especially think that the Christians stole ideas from the pagans. What about Christmas? It was pagan! What about Easter? It was pagan! All this is believed usually on someone else’s say so. Halloween can easily fall into that category. What’s a possible end result?

Ever heard of Mithras?

If you go this route, then what is going to happen when Christians meet internet atheists who will be more than happy to tell them that Jesus is based on pagan myths of the time like the story of Mithras? They’ve believed you on Christians copying from the pagans in every other area so why not believe you on this one? The constant cry of pagan has led them to believe that indeed, everything is pagan.

Now what about the other end? I don’t deny there are some real dangers out there with people really trying to contact other spirits, like the usage of the Ouija Board, but the danger in this one is it does become a boy crying wolf and after awhile, people just don’t really listen. There are many things in my life that I assure you many well-meaning Christians have told me are pagan/demonic/etc. It has reached the point where it gets so bizarre I don’t even really listen any more.

That’s not as much to worry about if you think the person has discernment, but if they don’t, then when you make claims they are sure are absolutely ridiculous, they will be less prone to hear you on other claims. “Yeah. I know that person said that Transcendental Meditation is dangerous, but they also told me that watching that Disney movie was dangerous as well. They’re just scared of everything.”

The reality is that we are to be careful, but we are not to live in fear. Jesus is Lord of all and is claiming the world for Himself. That includes the days of the year. (By the way, those days of the week are named after pagans but I don’t see these Christians making a loud cry to change the names of the days of the calendar.) The main question I want to ask you is about your intent. Who do you want to serve?

For instance, let’s suppose you told me and convinced me that wedding rings were really pagan in origin. Let’s suppose you told me they were used to commemorate a pagan deity in a covenant.

Okay. That’s nice.

I’m still wearing mine.

Why? Because I know why I wear it. I wear it to honor my wife and to proclaim to the world that we are married. I didn’t make a covenant before a pagan god. I made it before the God of Scripture and fellow believers. I say the same for Halloween. If today on Halloween what we do is dress up in costumes and get candy, I think any pagan deities would be insulted. Here a day meant to worship them has turned into getting candy in costumes?

Sounds like if that were the case (And I’m not saying Halloween is a pagan holiday. I doubt that very much in fact.) then we’ve made a spectacle.

If you want to say something is pagan, make sure you have some real solid evidences for that. It can’t just be speculation. We’re to be people of truth, that includes not just representing ourselves, but representing others. To claim something is pagan when it is not is in fact to bear false witness and can only lead to more trouble.

In Christ,

Nick Peters

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

October 31, 2013

What’s going to be your response to all the little monsters running around tonight? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Tonight, several kids are going to be roaming our neighborhoods going door to door and asking for candy. Tonight also, a number of Christians are concerned. Should we even celebrate Halloween? Isn’t this a day rooted in paganism meant to worship the devil?

After several years of ministry work, I have become more and more suspicious of this idea that “X has its origin in paganism! Let’s not use it!” Chances are, I suspect most of you refer to the days of the week by their traditional names, names that come straight out of Norse mythology. Do you think you’re honoring paganism?

Some people think the wedding ring comes from a pagan tradition. I’m not here to say if it did or not, but let’s suppose it did. How many of you out there are going to chuck your wedding ring at this point so you can be free from the stigma of paganism?

As Christians, we are called to go out and to redeem the world. We are not called to run in fright from it, and unfortunately days like Halloween often get Christians in a reaction mode instead of a proactive mode. It is this idea that we must avoid any taint of something that comes from pagans.

The greatest philosophical traditions we have today find their roots in Plato and Aristotle. They weren’t Christians. Shall we reject the syllogism? Greek plays are still around today. Should we avoid reading those? If we were to visit Greece or Rome, must we avoid the temples in order to avoid paganism?

Or should we say what Paul said, that these are not gods at all. We can eat meat in the marketplace with confidence because we know the idols are just statues. We can also give out candy with confidence in the marketplace because we know today belongs to the Lord, just like any other day!

When we run from the threat of paganism constantly, we are only getting ourselves into a fear mode thinking that God cannot overcome the world. I can point to several activities out there I enjoy that some Christians will say are demonic. I can point to some that you likely enjoy as well that some Christians will say the same thing about.

I grew up playing RPGs like D&D and Collectible Card Games like Magic: The Gathering. I never once had any inkling to get into the occult because of it. I have read all the Harry Potter books and I own all the movies. I still play Final Fantasy to this day.

Now some of you might think you don’t do anything like that. Okay. Do you read a Bible other than the KJV? Do you know there are some extreme groups out there that would say you’re doing something demonic? Yes. They really exist. Some Christians are so scared of demons that they lose sight of the fact that God is greater than the demons.

My wife has a story that several years ago when she was in Middle School, she went out walking with the dog and local kids starting making fun of her. She came in crying to which one of her Dad’s friends, a big muscular guy said “Do you want me to go out walking with you?” Now I can assure you as much as she could be scared to go out walking again, if she had this friend with her, she wouldn’t be so scared. If any kid tried to give her any lip, he’d be right there to deal with them.

In the same way, you have the God of the universe on your side. Why on Earth should you be afraid of something like a demon? Now I’m not advocating being cocky or foolhardy. Don’t go out there looking for this stuff, but don’t be out there living in fear of it either.

If you’re scared you’re going to be influenced by paganism on this day, well it looks like you already are. You’re letting it control your life in that you’re unable to celebrate a day when all that is going on for the huge majority of people is just kids going out and getting candy.

If you want to be concerned about the well-being of your kids, and you should be, I wouldn’t be scared about getting candy, save for health and dental reasons, but be concerned about real threats that are out there for your children.

Be concerned about the rampant materialism that ends up in greed wanting to get hold of your kids. Get concerned about the loose sexual ethics (or lack thereof) that could get your kid sleeping with their date on prom night. Get concerned with the atheism in colleges and universities today that are out there seeking to deconvert your children. These are real threats and these are the ones to be concerned about.

As for the origins of Halloween, let’s suppose for the sake of argument, it’s pagan. So what? Really? So what? Yes. So what? If we look at Psalm 51, our origins are that we were conceived in sin and we have been redeemed. Are we saying the God of the universe is too powerful to redeem a day? In fact, if the original goal of the day had been to worship the devil and today, kids run around just getting candy, I’d say “Job well done!”

And when you give our candy, don’t be boring in it. If you’re a Christian family, you make sure you give out the best candy on the block! You do your best to make sure kids know that your Christianity does not mean you live in fear of the world.

And if you come by the Peters’ household, we’ll have some waiting for you.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Why I Observed Halloween

November 2, 2012

Have I contributed to devil worship? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Halloween has come and gone and now after the holiday, I am hearing that a number of Christians did not observe. I find this to be simply tragic. At our house, we had gone out and got some candy for any kids that would come by. (Unfortunately, we didn’t get any. Now we have a moral dilemma. What are we to do with all that leftover candy? Tough problem huh?) We also had costumes. My wife dressed up as L, a character from her favorite anime, Death Note. I had gone to Wal-Mart and found a costume of a priest and decided to wear that. (Quite interesting going to one party and seeing a monk there)

Ah, but was I not contributing to the worship of the devil by going out on this day?

You can’t seriously be thinking that can you?

Unfortunately, I think some of you are.

As a kid, I went out regularly on Halloween. Heck, even as an adult I still liked a costume. I did not hesitate to go out wearing a red cape to match the Superman look in public even as an adult. Why? Because I don’t really care too much about what other people think. I like being uniquely myself and Halloween is a great day to just pretend. Often, we think on Christmas that we want to be kids again. I do that on Halloween. Had we had trick-or-treaters come by, they would have seen me in my priest costume this year.

Yes. Some of you do fear I gave in to the dark side. What I would ask is how many of you know some children that have gone into witchcraft because they went Trick-or-Treating? Whenever I went out, the thought of darkness was never on my mind. Instead, I simply had one thought. I want to go out with my Dad, show people my costume, let them try to figure out who I am (I often went as a ninja and the mask covered my face), and then get candy. (I was also a strange kid as I rarely could go through all my candy. I’m just not much of a candy guy.)

In fact, if there is anything that is getting our children often, it’s greed and materialism, yet few of you are saying “We refuse to buy Christmas and birthday gifts for our children!” Now when I say this, I’m not saying to ignore witchcraft. By all means, you want your children to avoid the occult, but dressing up and pretending for a day is not going to get them into the occult. Most children do know the difference between reality and fantasy. (I wonder with this if most adults know the difference.)

In fact, it is on this day that you could have children coming to your door. What message do you want to give to those children? My religion forbids me from letting you come to see me in a costume and give you candy? The day when you have people coming to your door and you have so many of them that you can show the love of Christ to and your option is to turn out your lights and have no interaction with them?

Why should we Christians be living out of fear on this day? When we do that, for those of you who are afraid of the devil, you are giving him a victory. You are saying that Jesus Christ owns 364 days of the year, but when it comes to this day, this is the day that belongs to the devil. Jesus Christ is Lord on Halloween just as much as He is Lord on Easter and on Christmas.

But Nick! The holiday has pagan origins!

Let’s suppose for the sake of argument that’s true. I don’t think it is. I’m going to assume for the sake of argument that it is.

My reply?

So what?

Seriously. We have calendars that have pagan names. We have days of the week that have pagan names. Our idea of carrying a bride across the threshold comes from paganism. What is the problem with this exactly? The only pagan activity you need to worry about is if you’re actually doing something like, you know, worshiping pagan gods.

If anything, what does it mean if a holiday was made for a pagan festival and now we celebrate it by dressing up in costumes, going to parties, and giving candy to kids. It seems like by doing this, we are making a mockery of a pagan holiday. We are saying a day dedicated to honoring a pagan deity then has been reduced to being a day to dress up in costumes and to give out candy.

Sounds to me like the pagan lost.

We are to go out as Christians and claim this world for Christ, and that means every day is to be claimed for Christ. That means that we are not live in fear on one day and isolate ourselves. Also, as I have read earlier, don’t be the house that just gives out tracts. That will turn kids off even more. Make sure you give out some of the best candy on the block. Let it be that the Christians are the ones who really know how to celebrate a holiday and have a good time. Don’t be afraid of Halloween. Jesus is Lord then as well.

In Christ,
Nick Peters