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Reformation Day - Redeeming October 31

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From the editor: The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Christian Broadcasting Network. Leading Christian thinkers have disparate views on Halloween and how Christians should respond to it. We offer you, the reader, several different viewpoints on CBN.com so that you can prayerfully decide what is the correct response for your family.

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What will your church be doing this Reformation Day, October 31st? For so many Halloween presents a dilemma, what do you do with a holiday with roots in the occult?

It would be something like walking home late at night, past a graveyard on a windy, partially cloudy night, with a quarter moon peering through the overhanging, leafless trees. Hurrying past the cemetery you hear the ghoulish sounds of frivolity and celebration in the air as a group of merrymakers are vaguely seen reveling in the darkness, thoroughly enjoying themselves amidst the gravestones and bidding you to join them. You try to ignore it and rush home with a sense that something is VERY wrong.

Halloween is now the most celebrated holiday of the year in our government schools (since Christmas and Easter are BIG no-no’s). You will see the signs of the event on schoolhouse windows and you can expect large celebrations of this occultic day.

Even a cursory look at the origins of Halloween will reveal satanic rituals played out in trick and treating, jack-o-lanterns, witches, ghosts, the dead and on and on. If you've ever taken time to research any of these Halloween practices you'll see the satanic background from the Celtic tribes of Scotland and Ireland.

So, should we retreat into the basements and attics of our homes, turn out the lights and hope that our ghoulishly dressed neighborhood children will pass us by? Our children would probably get the idea that the reasons for retreating are not sufficient to deny them activities every child loves -- dressing up and eating candy!

Well, how about a Reformation Day party at your church? I know that many churches have a "Harvest Day Celebration" or other such event where kids get dressed up as Bible characters and the fellowship hall is full of games to keep the kids off the streets. But I'm suggesting going a step further. Let's make it a day where we can learn more about our Reformation roots.

Martin Luther - Wittenburg Church

October 31 celebrates the day that the Reformation in Europe began with Martin Luther posting his 95 theses on the Wittenburg church door, leading to a firestorm response in Germany. Why not use this occasion for a celebration of our Reformed heritage. And yes, this can be fun for the kids too!

Why not have a celebration at church where all get dressed up as characters from the Reformation (I've dressed up as John Calvin, Martin Luther, a peasant, and even John Tetzel (the salesman of those infamous indulgences)? When I couldn't get a 16th century idea then I dressed as a Bible character. You can transform the fellowship hall into Wittenburg, Germany or Geneva. Here is an opportunity to go over the great "solas" of the Reformation: by Scripture alone, by grace alone, by Christ alone, by faith alone, and to God be the glory alone. Have people explain them. Show a video of one of the reformers. Draw murals of Reformation events.

Here are some other things our church has done over the years: Medieval line dancing (a lot like Scottish line dancing), Medieval relay races (put the indulgences in the bottle), bobbing for apples, German cover dish dinner, acting out your character (don't tell anyone who you are, but act it out -- the ideas are limited only by time and background).

Children's Ministry International has developed a small booklet, Heroes of the Reformation, that contains many of these ideas in it, along with lessons on the lives of Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Knox and other reformers. 

Let's make October 31 a day of great remembrance (and educational opportunity) of our Reformed heritage.

Copyright PCA News. Used by permission.

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