CGOM-UK, Christianity Today, & Halloween

History of Early Christianity 

In its latest newsletter, CGOMUK reports:

…Christian bodies…worship on the seventh-day Sabbath. They avoid Christmas, Easter. They observe the Biblical worship days – called in Leviticus 23 ‘the feasts of the LORD’ and ‘My feasts’.

Danger…ghoulish glee

It’s now the second largest annual celebration, pushing Easter into third. In the USA there’s a $2.5 billion spend and a projected £140 million in the UK. Ghouls, witches, horror masks – all ‘a bit of fun’. It’s the night that spirits, supposedly, walk the earth. That’s Hallowe’en.  It’s the night – 31st October – that Satan has implanted as a fun time especially for impressionable children. An ensnarement to make out he’s a nice kind of guy (II Corinthians 11:15). In reality he is the great Deceiver who has ensnared mankind and plans to one day demand universal worship. Not a day, surely, for Christian celebration! 

CGOM is correct that Christians should not celebrate Halloween, and no early Christian ever claimed to. 

Even though it endorses it, according to Christianity Today, Halloween is clearly of pagan origin.  Notice what it admits and implies:

More than a thousand years ago Christians confronted pagan rites appeasing the lord of death and evil spirits. Halloween’s unsavory beginnings preceded Christ’s birth when the druids, in what is now Britain and France, observed the end of summer with sacrifices to the gods. It was the beginning of the Celtic year, and they believed Samhain, the lord of death, sent evil spirits abroad to attack humans, who could escape only by assuming disguises and looking like evil spirits themselves. The waning of the sun and the approach of dark winter made the evil spirits rejoice and play nasty tricks. Most of our Halloween practices can be traced back to the old pagan rites and superstitions…

Chrysostom tells us that as early as the fourth century, the Eastern church celebrated a festival in honor of all saints…Some people question the whole idea of co-opting pagan festivals and injecting them with biblical values. Did moving the celebration to November to coincide with the druidic practices of the recently conquered Scandinavians simply lay a thin Christian veneer over a pagan celebration? Have we really succeeded in co-opting Christmas and Easter, or have neopagans taken them back with Easter bunnies and reindeer? In a sense, it’s always been the same debate: do we ignore a pagan romp, merge with it, attack it, or cover it up with seasonal fun?…

However we must never be superficial about it. Evil exists. It impinges on our world. Jesus, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, was never naive about evil. Some, hearing the call for celebration of the light, would reassure all with a Disneyesque church production on heaven’s delights.

Unfortunately, the more gruesome aspects of Halloween observances carry a certain authenticity…

Those who feel squeamish about immature children identifying with evil should not be too lightly dismissed. Nor is it necessarily healthy for witches to be depicted as darling little black-magic miscreants, as if all evil were simply a silly folklore heritage for our enlightened contemporary amusement…(Myra H. Is Halloween a Witches Brew? Christianity Today, October 22, 1982. verfied 10/18/07).

Comments by COGwriter: 

Although the above implies early Christian observance of an all saints day, this is simply not true of the early true Christians.  Halloween/All Saints’ Day is NOT listed in the early observances of even the Roman of Eastern Orthodox  Catholic churches as the early writings by Tertullian and Origen show (see article What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days?).

Furthermore, three points related to John Chrysostom need to be mentioned.

The first is that a careful reading of his 74th homily (which supposedly is where he declared this observation according to The Catholic Encylopedia) shows that he discussed the deaths of prophets, but it is not clear to me that John Chrysostom declared the “Christian” observation something that resembles “All Saints’ Day”.

The second is that John Chrysostom was a hater of Jews and biblical practices (see article Did Early Christians Observe the Fall Holy Days?). So even if he somehow was endorsing something, why would anyone wish to cite him for support of activities for true Christians? 

And the third point, is that John Chrysostom was speaking over a century after the Greco-Roman confederation took over as the predominant claimers of Christianity (this is discussed in the article The History of Early Christianity), hence John Chrysostom was not even part of the true Church of God when he spoke.

Of course, as even Christianity Today admits, the more gruesome aspects of Halloween reflect undesirable pagan authenticity. So contrary to the leanings of Christianity Today, its own writings should be understood as admitting that Halloween should be condemned and not observed by true Christians. 

Christianity Today is an essentially Protestant publication.  Those who are Protestants may wish to ask themselves,

“Why would those who claim to be Protestants to the unbiblical practices of the Roman Catholic Church embrace a clearly pagan observance of the church they supposedly are protesting against?” 

The plain truth is that the Protestant reformation simply did not go back to true early Christianity.  But instead the Protestant movement has made too many compromises with unbiblical doctrines that were either introduced or endorsed by the Roman Church.  If Protestants, including Martin Luther, truly believed in Sola Scriptura, they would not accept as doctrines of God, the traditions of men.

Surely, as CGOM has written, real Christians do not celebrate Halloween, but instead avoid such pagan practices and observe the biblical Holy Days.

Several articles of related interest may include:

Is Halloween Holy Time for Christians? This article provides some historical and biblical insight on this question.
What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? Do you know what the Catholic Church says were the original Christian holy days? Was Christmas among them?
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church?
Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance?
Hope of Salvation: How the COGs differ from most ProtestantsHow the COGs differ from mainstream Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a COG background.

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