eyewitness

Zzzzzzzzzzz...

Many people would say that's the sound of a church service on any typical Sunday morning. Deadly boring... soapy platitudes... hypocritical denunciations... prudish warnings against anything real and deeply pleasurable... ranks of drowsy worshipers putting in their mandatory time in "God's house" before being released once more to life outside the dim stained glass, behind which they comfortably deposit most of their religion until the next weekend.

If that's Christianity, who wants it?

On the contrary, Christianity is a face-to-face reunion with God. Visit our "Eyewitnesses" section to read how Jesus Christ is wonderfully alive and busy in the world today, bringing people to life. As people believe in him and open their hearts and lives to him, they find that he is undeniably real, powerful, and good. Our earnest hope is that you also will become an eyewitness of his majesty.

pumpkin

Pastor’s Note
What About Halloween?

Our church does not forbid participation in Halloween, because the Bible does not. Therefore, going “trick-or-treating” is not necessarily wrong. Some on the session remain fascinated by jack-o-lanterns. Nor do we think all scary things must be automatically reviled. Nonetheless, the following biblical considerations keep us from an uncritical, full-blown participation in Halloween. We do not condemn Christians who disagree, as long as they share their candy with us.

1. Even though its origins (whether in pagan celebrations or medieval church events such as All Souls Day or All Saints Day) have become somewhat distant, Halloween is still an observance linked to night and the powers of darkness. This is seen in the preponderance of witches, ghosts, monsters, death, fear, the grotesque, the occult, and the openly demonic. However, Scripture says that Christians are now children of the light and of the day, not participating in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but exposing their polluted nature by our godly lives. The more direct the connection, the more are things associated with the demonic to be rejected. [Eph.5:6-16, 1Ths.5:4-8, 1Cor.10:20-21]

2. Because of Halloween’s link to darkness and demonic powers, it also holds in the popular mind an emphasis on chaos, mischief, pranks, vandalism, and the rejection of authority. These things are to be avoided by Christians. [1Pet.2:12-17, Tit.3:1-2]

3. We ought always to be conscious of our testimony to unbelievers and our encouragement of what is good among the brethren. We are to avoid fellowship with unbelievers in a way that might compromise our witness or influence us to share their sinful mindset or deeds. [1Cor.5:33-34, 2Cor.6:14-18]

4. Nonetheless, Christ has given us great liberty of conscience to decide how we will accept, reject, or transmute the society in which we live. Drawing our battle lines over particular words is misleading, causing us to misunderstand our actual conflict with the world. The process shown in the Bible and in history is for Christians to take over words and cultural forms and pack them with new meaning. Neither the etymology of the word, nor its historical origin, make “Halloween” good or bad. The same is true of “Christmas,” “Easter,” and Christmas trees and Easter eggs. “Sunday” was originally the day of sun worship, but Christ has taken it over for his worship. If you have a party on “Thursday,” you are not celebrating the Norse god “Thor” on his day. Similarly, if you observe the cultural moment of Halloween, turn it to the glory of Christ. He it is who gave us candy corn and caramel apples and brisk days and colorful leaves and even the freedom and imagination to play dress up. [1Cor.8:1-7]

[REFERENCES] Eph.5:6-16 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not associate with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.

1Ths.5:4-8 But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.

1Cor.10:20-21 No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.

1Pet.2:12-17 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evil doers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

Tit.3:1-2 Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.

1Cor.5:33-34 Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.

2Cor.6:14-18 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living Go; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”

1Cor.8:1-7 Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that “there is no God but one.” For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth-as indeed there are many “god” and many “lords”-yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.

 
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