A Brief History of Halloween - by Dr. C. Mathew McMahonArticles on the Christian Walk, Systematic Theology and Practical Theology
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“After one’s own birthday, the two major Satanic holidays are Walpurgisnacht (May 1st) and Halloween.” The Satanic Bible, by Anton Levey, Page 96, Segment on Religious Holidays
“Learn not the way of the heathen.” Jeremiah 10:2
Around October 1st, American grocery stores stock their shelves with candy corn, chocolate bats, and miniature Snickers bars. They lace the isles with cobwebs, hang pictures of witches on top of the shelves, setup small graveyards surrounded by ghoulish figurines and call it fun. Why do they do this? Well, they are readying themselves for the upcoming celebration of Halloween. Halloween purports to offer a time where people can have fun at the expense of all that is righteous and holy. It is a celebration of devils. At this time of the year, the “Christian” is faced with the dilemma, “Should I have anything to do with the celebration of Halloween?” I am going to give the pre-climactic and unwavering answer of “absolutely and biblically not!” There are a variety of reasons why this is so. Really, the question should be “Should I have anything to do with the blatant nature of Satan’s influence on the American mind?” Halloween is blatantly, and immodestly open about its Satanic nature. Without desiring to portray a disposition of sanctimoniousness, I am always amazed that articles and tracts such as this one even need to be written. Are “Christians” that much deceived and in the dark about such issues? Why is there a need to place forward and convince the Christian community that such a “holy day” is utterly evil and abominable to God? As I probe these questions, I am also going to set forth some arguments against the “fall festival replacement theory.” This teaches that instead of celebrating the pagan festival of Halloween, Christians can practice a “Halloween-like festival” dedicated to the Lord of the harvest; this is known as the fall festival celebrated in place of Halloween.
I believe it would be most beneficial to be familiar with, and to understand, what influences and ideas lay behind the concept of Halloween. Halloween is intricately linked to certain ideas and motives. It will give us an answer to the question, “Why would anyone desire to partake in a day which glorifies all that is cold, dark, and dead?” There were a number of Celtic and Druidic holy days (“holiday”) which aid us in understanding the rise of Halloween. Days of “remembrance” concerning the solstices and equinoxes relating to the year’s four seasons were hallmark days of worship for these pagan religions. These eight celebration days (the eve of the day and the day itself four times a year) were the most important times of the year for the ancient Druids, the priestly class among the Celts. Among these 4 solstice days reigned the most significant remembrance of an event known as “Samhain,” a celebration of the end of autumn and the beginning of darkness, of winter and the New Year. Samhain was one of the four key parts of the Celtic seasonal calendar. (However, it was much more than just a celebration of coming winter.) “Imbolg” was the advent of springtime signifying birth. This was the season of the ancient pagan goddess Brigit. The coming of summer was represented by the festival of “Beltane” on the first of May (this is also called May Day today). “Lughnasad” on August 1 was another key day of the Celtic year relating to the Celtic god Lugh. This day was seen as the beginning of the harvest season. In more modern times this pagan celebration transformed into the festival called “Lammas.”
Samhain occurred on November 1st and its eve was October 31st – the time when the celebrating actually commenced. This ancient festival was in honor of their lord of the dead, a Druid deity, who later became known as “the grim reaper.” On this night, the pagan Celts believed that the two worlds, the physical world and the spirit world, drew closest together on this date and that ghosts and apparitions of the dead could roam about the physical plane. For the Celts, Samhain was a “magical” time, a time of the lighting of bonfires, which had a spiritual significance. Pagans customarily would put their fires out, then re-light them to represent the end of the year and the coming of the next. It was a Druidical belief that on the eve of this festival Samhain, lord of death, called together the wicked spirits that within the past 12 months had been condemned to inhabit the bodies of animals. Literal human sacrifices were offered on this night to the spirits of the dead, as they supposedly visited their earthly haunts and their friends.
For several hundred years before the birth of Christ, the Celts inhabited what is now France, Germany, England, Scotland and Ireland. These people were eventually conquered by the Romans. Information about the Celts and Druids comes from Roman historians and Greek writings from about 200 B.C., and very early records found in Ireland. Greek and Roman writings about the Druids dwell heavily on their frequent and barbaric human sacrifices. The ancient Irish texts say little about human sacrifices, but detail the Druids’ use of magic to raise storms, lay curses on places, kill by the use of spells, and create magical obstacles.
The modern custom of going from door to door asking for food and candy goes back to the time of the Druids. They believed that sinful, lost souls were released upon the earth by Samhain for one night on October 31st while they awaited their judgment. Lost souls were thought to throng about the houses of the living and were greeted with banquet-laden tables. People greatly feared these spirits and thought that the spirits would harm and even kill them if the sacrifices they gave did not appease Samhain. They carved demonic faces into large turnips, placing a candle in them to keep the evil spirits away from their homes. They believed it was the best time for divinations concerning the future, including marriage, luck, health, and death. They invoked the help of their false god for these purposes. Believing this was the time to appease the supernatural powers which controlled the processes of nature, these pagan worshipers made offerings of food and drink, performed rituals, and sacrificed animals and humans in huge fires atop “sacred” hilltops in an attempt to ward off these spirits.
To protect themselves from the mean tricks of these spirits (like killing livestock), the Druids offered them good things to eat (sometimes food, sometimes female children). The Druids also disguised themselves in order that the spirits would think the Druids belonged to their own evil company, and therefore, not bring any harm to the Druids. The most horrible practice during this festival were the sacrifices made by the Druids. The sacrifices were both for divination purposes and to ward off disease, defeats in battle, etc. These sacrifices were both animal and human. Those human sacrifices killed could include criminals, captured enemies, volunteers and kidnap victims. They were gruesome sacrifices, and the divination was based on how the person reacted as they died. Caesar wrote, “They believe that human life must be rendered for human life if the divinity of the immortal gods is to be appeased.” Cannibalism was also practiced for medical and cultic purposes.
After the death of the Lord Jesus Christ, Christianity spread throughout Europe and many Celts were converted. Catholic priests tried to replace the Celtic holidays with “Christian” ones. Around 610 A.D., they created a new holiday in May, All Hallows’ Day (now All Saints’ Day) to honor martyred saints. The Roman Catholic church became interested in these people while attempting to “evangelize” them. Irish records tell of the fascination the Catholic monks had with the “powerful” Druids, and Druids soon became important members of their monasteries. Later, around the 5th century, as the Catholic Church developed and moved into the area, instead of adding a new day to celebrate, the Roman Church took over the Samhain celebration. A later custom developed where people would go door-to-door on Nov. 2, requesting small cakes in exchange for the promise of saying prayers for some of the dead relatives of each house. This arose out of the religious belief that the dead were in a state of limbo before they went to heaven or hell and that the prayers of the living could influence the outcome (which is totally fallacious). Pope Gregory the Great decided to incorporate the Druids’ holiday into the church. He made the proclamation, “They are no longer to sacrifice beasts to the devil, but they may kill them for food to the praise of God, and give thanks to the giver of all gifts for His bounty.” In the 9th century “All Hallow’s Day” was moved to November 1st to replace Samhain. After the Roman Catholic Church became the “official” religion of the empire, Pope Gregory III set aside a day in which those who had died for the Christian faith would be remembered. Part of the festivity would include a pageant where people would dress up as one of these departed “saints” and some as the devil. This day had been in May, but by the 9th century it was moved to Nov. 1 and called “All Saints’ Day” to remember the church saints that had died. November 2 was called “All Souls’ Day” and it honored the souls of those who had died the previous year. An alternate name for All Saints Day was “All Hallows Day” and the night prior then would be “All Hallows Eve” which then became shortened to “Halloween.” Pope Gregory IV decreed that the day was to be a universal Roman Catholic church observance. So, the origins of contemporary Halloween are a mixture of old Celtic pagan rituals, superstitions, and varied Roman Catholic traditions.
The English Puritans, and founding fathers of America, refused to permit the holiday to be observed because they knew it was a Satanic holiday which was condemned by the Biblical record. Halloween was not widely celebrated in the U.S. until about 1900. It seems that its vibrancy began in the 1840’s where there was a potato famine in Ireland which sent thousands of Roman Catholic Irish to America. Unfortunately, they brought Halloween with them.
Not only is it important to understand the historical background to the day, but it is also important to understand the various ideas which are purposed for the “worship” of the day. For instance, the huge fires atop the “sacred” hilltops in which the Druids sacrificed animals and humans derived their name from the skeletons of those who died in them. The words “bone” and “fire” formed the word “bonfire.” The orange flames lit up the black night, and here is where we find the commonly accepted colors of Halloween. As these pagan worshipers danced around and jumped through the fire, they wore masks of animal-heads and animal-skin costumes. The head of each household was given live embers to start a new fire on his hearth which would last until the next autumn. It was believed this fire would protect their homes from danger throughout the year.
Jack-o’-lanterns were originally carved from large turnips. The Celts carried these carved lanterns through their villages in an attempt to ward off evil spirits. Later, Irish folklore resulted in a tale explaining the use of “jack-o’-lanterns”: a man named Jack tricked the devil into climbing a tree. Once the devil was in the tree, Jack carved a cross on the trunk, “preventing” the devil from coming down. The devil then made a deal with Jack promising to keep him out of hell after he died if only he would remove the cross from the tree. After Jack died, he could not go to hell, and he was not allowed to enter into heaven. He was forced to wander around the earth with a single candle to light his way. The candle was placed in a turnip to keep it burning longer. When the Irish came to America in the 1800’s (during the potato famine), they adopted the pumpkin instead of the turnip. Along with these traditions, they brought the idea that the black cat was considered by some to be reincarnated spirits who had prophetic abilities.
What about all those “kids” games like bobbing for apples? The Romans honored the dead with a festival called Feralia, conveniently dated in late October. It was a festival to honor Pomona, their goddess of fruit trees, who was often pictured wearing a crown of apples. During this festival, they ran races and played games to honor the “Apple Queen” and used omens such as apple parings thrown over the shoulder or nuts burned in the fire in order to predict the future concerning their marital prospects. When the Romans conquered the Celts, they combined local Samhain customs with their own pagan harvest festival. Bobbing for apples was derived from this blended pagan celebration.
And what of the old saying, “Trick-or-Treat?” The Druids would visit house to house, knocking on doors and requesting a “treat;” food, clothing, etc, for departed spirits (which, no doubt, they kept for themselves. They were clothed in their animal masks and skins, and carried candle-lit, carved turnips, (or sometimes squashes) to ward off evil spirits, as mentioned before. If the party of the house denied their request for “treats” then they would pronounce a curse on the household with their powerful magic, and summon demons, nymphs and devils to torment the property, livestock, and family of the household. These are the “tricks.” Conveniently this was a day when the moon was full, the most “sacred” time of the month for occultist practitioners, and the ominous for the superstitious.
What is the Christian to make of all this? What directive should the Christian think about concerning this holy day in pagan history which now invades itself into our homes through advertising, and in the common market through selling its wares?
Should a Christian partake or relate to the unfruitful works of darkness? Ephesians 5:11-12 says, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.” What does it mean to have “fellowship?” The word derives from the Greek “koinonia” which means, literally, “commonness.” Those who follow the Lord should have no commonness with the unfruitful works of darkness. Halloween is filled with darkness. Dark, evil, wicked occultist practices makes Halloween Halloween. The Bible specifically commands us to avoid every kind of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22). How could we possibly, knowing the Bible condemns the practices and ideas of Halloween as intrinsically anti-Christian, partake in such a day?
The Old Testament is leavened with a multitude of verses which condemn occultism and its practices, and to avoid them completely: Exodus 22:18; Leviticus 3:17; Leviticus 7:26; Leviticus 17:12-14; Leviticus 19:26, 31; Deuteronomy 12:31; 2 Kings 17:16-17; 1 Chronicles 10:13-14; 2 Chronicles 28:3-4; 2 Chronicles 33:1-6; Isaiah 8:19; Jeremiah 10:2; Ezekiel 20:31, and many others. Deuteronomy 18:9-14 is one of the more explicit pericopes covering an overview of the occult practices to disdain, “When you are come into the land which Jehovah your God gives you, you shall not learn to do according to the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you he that makes his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, that uses divination, that uses auguries, or an enchanter, or a sorcerer, or a charmer, or one that inquires of a spirit of Python, or a soothsayer, or one that consults the dead. For every one that does these things is an abomination to Jehovah, and because of these abominations Jehovah your God does dispossess them from before you. You shall be perfect with Jehovah your God. For these nations, which you shall dispossess, hearkened unto those that use auguries, and that use divination; but as for you, Jehovah your God has not suffered you to do so.” The strongest word in the Old Testament for wicked actions, besides the word “wicked” itself, is the word “abomination.” These practices are abominable. They are abominable whether they are just for fun, or for real. God desired that his people abhor such practices, and rid the land of those who practice such evils. Exodus 22:18, “You shall not let a witch live.” They were to kill them and liberate the land of the abominable practice of witchcraft and sorcery.
The sign or symbol of a thing is not the thing itself, but a representative of the thing. For instance, the Lord’s Supper is a sign or symbol of the body of Christ – not the body itself. Halloween, in its essence, is representative of wickedness, and a host of abominable practices condemned by God. This means that those who practice Halloween are representing those abominable practices even if they dress their children up in a clown’s outfit instead of a vampire’s cloak. The Druids did not wear costumes which represented Frankenstein, or the Mummy. They wore outfits of animal skins; bears, wolves, and the like. They were not “horrific” perse; much like the Halloween costume of a clown. The outfit does not make Halloween evil, rather, Halloween dictates that the participator wear an outfit. And the outfit, whatsoever that may entail, represents the wickedness of the day, and glorifies the devil – even if it is simply a cowboy outfit. Its not the outfit, but the day which is necessarily wicked. So, what should the Christian do? “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues (Rev 18:4).”
Halloween is a festival based on fear (think about the “fun” of a haunted house). The Druids were power-hungry sinners who desired to gain control over others for their own purposes, quickly. This is at the essence of “witchcraft” which literally means “manipulation.” In complete contrast, however, the Scriptures replace fear with love. 2 Timothy 1:7 says that the Spirit of God has not given us a “spirit of fear.” The fear in this passage is for the Lord, and His ability to judge and dispose of men in hell. Men are afraid of a God who can do this. They have a spirit of fear – they are afraid. Rather, those who are saved and regenerated by the Spirit of God gain a spirit of love. This is obtained from the fruit of the Spirit, and knows no place of fear, or being afraid (reverence – yes, fearfulness – no). Why would the Christian desire to entangle themselves in any variety of fear at all? Does the Christian realize that fear, in its root, is a fear of death? The sting of death has been done away with in Christ. When someone attends a “haunted house” or a “scary movie” they jump in fright because they are housed in mortal bodies that can experience pain and suffering (a foretaste of hell). They are scared to die, but receive a type of exhilaration from their “brush with death.” This is the result of a twisted and perverse fallen soul. Why would they want to glorify fear, dying, and death? Why do they enjoy it? It is part of the curse and fall of man (cf. Genesis 3).
How much ground should the Christian give the devil? Is there any room for compromise? No, there is none. The Christian should have a holy hatred of the devil and everything he represents. “Give no place to the devil, (Eph. 4:2).” Halloween represents all that the devil loves and propagates against the holiness of God’s character. When Christians participate in occult festivals, they are ascribing glory of the lord Samhain, the devil, the god of this world. They may ease their conscience by saying they are worshipping God at their Fall Festival, the true Lord of the harvest, but when has God ever inaugurated this kind of worship? I have no qualms about having a costume party on June17th, or February 12th, insignificant days (provided the costumes are not degrading or evil). Costume parties are not the issue, nor are they sinful in and of themselves. It is the festival of Samhain which is the issue; it is Halloween. Will Christian parents plan a costume party in July instead of October 31st? No they will not. Why? Because they desire to make their children happy and fit in with the neighbors. Christian parents should be teaching their children to hate worldliness, not thriving after it. “You adulterous generation, do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity towards God? Anyone who is a friend of the world is at enmity with God” (James 4:4-5).
If a Christian participates in this unholy festival, they must consider that the world is watching them. For instance, let us imagine Jack is a next-door neighbor to Bob. Both have families with young children. Jack is a witch (warlock). Bob is a Christian. Jack and his family know that Bob claims Christianity as their faith. On Halloween Jack dresses up the children and takes them Trick-or-Treating, (before he brings them into the woods for his Wicca rituals.) Bob dresses his three children up as a beaver, a clown, and a cowboy. Jack dresses his children up as a hobo, a pirate and a ghost. What will Jack think? As much as Bob may explain “it is just for the kids,” Jack is actually at liberty to expound the significance of the influences Bob is exposing his children to. This is the reverse to evangelism since Bob wanted the children to have “fun.” If Jack is a thinking man, he will quickly see the hypocrisy in Bob’s involvement with Halloween as a professing “holy” Christian, one who says he desires to follow Christ.
The previous situation may even escalate to a greater level. Bob may tell Jack that he is going to his church’s Fall Festival held as an alternative to Halloween. Why do Christians need alternatives to pagan festivals? What is this? What do they think they are missing by not worshipping all that is cold, dark and dead? Why are they out to redeem the unredeemable? The Fall Festival is supposed to replace Halloween by taking a day surrounded by demonic influences, and regress nostalgically to the fall festivals of the Druids. The Druids were engaged in many of the same ideas of celebrating fall as the Fall Festival purports. Does this make sense? The only difference in its outward manifestation is that the Druids sacrificed animals and humans while worshipping a pagan idol, and the realm of nature, where Christians are having “fun” (not worship) around a Fall Festival they are trying to reclaim back for God. When was God ever in dire need of reclaiming pagan influences, or demonic worship back to Himself? The Bible speaks vehemently against the practices to do away with them, not reclaim them. There is nothing inherently good in them to reclaim! “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:10–12) Where is the voice of reclamation here? The Scriptures tell us to fight against the wiles of the devil (and principally that means in every way). Opening ourselves up to the spiritual warfare of the malicious devil by candidly partaking in a day which has its roots in the person and work of the devil cannot be accepted by the Christian who is reading their Bible. God exhorts us vehemently, “Learn not the way of the heathen (Jeremiah 10:2).” Paul exhorts us in another context that “…I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils (1 Cor. 10:20).” Why would we want to? Rather, “Submit yourself to God, Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7).” Resist him! Do not make him attractive by decorating the sanctuary of God with leaves and bushels of hay and dressing up the children as clowns or cowboys.
The unregenerate and reprobate are attracted to the macabre. The Christian should never be attracted to such filth. When the book of Philippians exhorts the Christian to think about that which is lovely, noble, etc., the devil exhorts the lost to think on that which is ghastly, gruesome, horrific, grisly, chilling, morbid, and down-right disgusting. Why is the populous at large so enamored with the horror movies of today? The answer is actually quite easy: they are servants of sin, and sons of the devil. God has given them over to a debased mind that they would not do that which is fitting. You would be appalled at me if I documented the sexually deviant, and gruesome details of the worship of the Druids, or of witches, or of Satanists even in our own day. You would be repulsed and sickened. But these people love Halloween, and mark it as a special day. The Christian ought never to do this.
Some may attempt to reclaim the day under the guise of godly means such as, “Why can’t we use the day to win others over – to be all things to all men? I give out candy at Halloween to spark up conversations with those who come to the door and to distribute tracts about Christ.” Ok, then be consistent. Let us go to the brothel, pay for the prostitute, rub shoulders with her, and then witness to her. Then, let us go to the nude beach and witness to them as well. Of course we would have to remove our clothes to get onto the beach, but it is for a good cause – the witness of Christ! We could even do this on some of the public beaches, especially around the muscle bound males or the barely clothed women sun-tanning on the shoreline. They need Christ too! Come now, let us be all things to all men! Why stop at Halloween? Or would we wait until a more opportune time where temptation and sin are not knocking at our door? (This is like the fallacy of missionary dating.) We are to be separate from the darkness of the world. Such things should not attract us. If they do, then there is something dreadfully wrong with our Christianity, or our misguided interpretation of the Bible. Why not witness to those who participate in Halloween before Halloween, or on the day after Halloween? Why not witness in protest of the day by removing your child from the school’s Halloween party? Why not be true light in a dark world, not a confusion to them!
The Bible is explicit in that it commands us to be sons and daughters of light, those opposed to darkness. John 12:46, “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.” John 8:12, “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 3:19-21, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” Romans 13:12 “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.” 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” 1 Peter 2:9-12, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” 1 Corinthians 10:18-22, “Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? What say I then? That the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? But I say, that the things that the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils. Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?”
The Bible calls men wicked and evil who partake and relate to such abominations as Halloween. Manasseh, one of the most wicked kings of Israel, did evil in the sight of the Lord. “…He observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards (2 Chronicles 33:6).” The word “dealt” in Hebrew is “mar’arab” which means “setting place.” Where one would sit down and discourse with another, or come into relationship with another. It is the point of interaction. What is the point of interaction with those who come into contact with the principles of Halloween? The Ephesians who were converted burned their books of magic – they wholly gave them up. They did not desire a continued relationship with darkness since they knew that had been delivered from the dominion of darkness. You cannot sit in the foyer of the devil’s castle and say you are not visiting his home.
What, then, must the Christian do? I believe Halloween and all its darkness is biblically condemned. The Christian ought never to partake in it. However, there is an alternative. I can hear you now, “Wait! Wait! You said no alternatives two pages ago!” No, this is not what I mean as an alternative. I am speaking in the scope of the entire paper. I do not mean that we should substitute Halloween for something else. No, not that at all. Rather, we must renew our thinking to disregard Halloween all together, and hold steadfastly to a real Protestant watershed event in the history of the church. The Reformation is something we should have known about long before Halloween ever came into the American picture.
The Devil is constantly involved in taking the believer’s eyes off of what his eyes should be on – the truth of Christ’s grace. Halloween is a macabre sort of “fun” to our fallen natures, and we desire to involve ourselves with all that is cold, dark and dead. But what we should be setting our eyes on are those things relating to, and surrounding, the Gospel and the grace of God. “Coincidentally,” (providentially!) the full birth of the Reformation was on October 31st and then flamed on November 1st. After the Roman Catholic church had been influenced by these pagan days and claimed them as “All Saint’s Day,” they had special vigils in church for that special occasion of remembering the long departed saints who had gone before. Martin Luther, an Augustinian monk who was wrestling with the grace of God, placed in order a set of propositions against the tyranny of the Roman Catholic church and their misconceptions about grace. Luther wrote out 95 theses on a large parchment, in Latin, and hung them on the door of Wittenberg’s chapel on October 31, 1517, where he knew the priests and monks would see them the next day during church service. The nailing of his thesis on the door of the chapel sparked a great anger between the Roman Catholic Church and the rising questions of Luther. Ultimately, the Protestant (protesting) church came to light, and the once hidden Gospel under the darkness of a Roman Catholic cloak, was in full glory. This is a watershed point in the history of the church. Any Christian who acknowledges the grace of God should be ashamed of their ignorance of this. They cannot ignore it. Many churches set specific events surrounding this time at church and in the homes of family to commemorate the time when God providentially and sovereignly poured out His grace on men like Wycliffe, Hus, Luther, Calvin, Beza, Bullinger, Latimer, Cranmer, and others. Reading selected passages from history, playing games surrounding the Reformation, and like ideas concerning grace are often inaugurated. At that time grace was seen for what it truly is – sovereign grace. Here is our joy in the Gospel. The Protestant Church ought to be celebrating Reformation Day, not Halloween. Halloween should be detestable, and the reality of Reformation should be sweet to the Christian. The Reformation is a holy convocation of God’s grace realized in the lives of the regenerate. Do not trade Halloween for the Reformation, simply realize that October 31st is the day of the Reformation which is commemorated. It is mutually exclusive to the pagan holy day of All Hallow’s Eve, or Halloween.
Might we be exhorted? “Learn not the way of the heathen.” Jeremiah 10:2