Monthly Archives: October 2018

BreakPoint: To Boo or Not to Boo What Christians Should Do with Halloween

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Today is that strange holiday that many of us don’t know what to do with. Here’s a history of Halloween, and what it has to do with Christians.

Every year around this time, the ritual begins anew. The weather cools off, leaves change color and Christians start arguing about Halloween.

Many people love this night. It gives them an excuse to host parties, kick off the holiday spending season, and it  provides economic stimulus for the dental industry. Others use it as an excuse to flirt with things much darker than plastic skeletons and creative jack-o’lanterns. But what is Halloween really about? Is there something spiritual behind all the ghoulishness?

“Halloween is a satanic holiday,” say some. “It’s a celebration of death,” insist others. Back when I was a kid, a series of comic-book style tracts went around claiming that Halloween was a pagan holiday called Samhain, where ancient Druids used to carry out human sacrifice under a full moon.

Even modern pagans who love Halloween admit that this story is mostly made-up.

The very name “Halloween” means “holy evening”—a throwback to when Catholic Christians prepared for the Feast of All Saints on November 1st.

A few years back, Kirk Cameron urged Christians to make the most of Halloween’s Christian origins. In 2014 he told the Christian Post that Christians should be throwing “the biggest Halloween party on your block.” He argued that not only is it a great way to make fun of the devil, but a great opportunity to proclaim Jesus’ victory over sin and death to our neighbors. In fact, in his book “For the Glory of God,” historian Rodney Stark argues that Christians in the early centuries of the church frequently reacted to pagan practices like fortune-telling, alchemy, and even sorcery, by not taking them seriously. Stark records how Augustine, for example, myth-busted astrology by pointing out how twins born under the same star sign were often very different in personality. St. Boniface taught that “to believe in ‘witches’ is un-Christian,” and pope Gregory the Great even advised a missionary to Britain to destroy idols but to re-purpose pagan temples for Christian worship.

Steven Wedgeworth, a pastor writing at the Calvinist International, gives a third perspective. In one of the best overviews out there on Halloween’s history, he concludes that while there are definitely echoes of paganism and Christian re-purposing in Halloween, the holiday of today—especially the costumes and trick-or-treating—is a recent invention. Like the commercialized secular Christmas, he writes, Halloween as we know it has more to do with department stores than druids.

Well here’s my take: What Paul wrote in Philippians 4 should guide all our celebrations, no matter what day it is. Christians should think on “whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and commendable.” It’s hard to imagine that axe-murderer get-ups and sexually provocative costumes pass that test. And we should also consider his teaching on meat sacrificed to idols in 1 Corinthians 9. Idol worship is always wrong, but eating meat sacrificed to idols is a matter of conscience.

If you can’t in good conscience participate in Halloween, there are plenty of other things to celebrate this time of year: Reformation Day, All Saints Day on November 1, the beauty of fall’s changing colors, and as always, the sovereignty of God and the victory of Christ over everything.

And if you and your kids do enjoy a little spooky stuff, just remember,  as Paul Pastor wrote over at Christianity Today, “monsters should point us to God.” “No story worth listening to,” he says, “lacks a villain. And no villain worth fighting lacks monstrosity.”

And there’s no story with more monstrous villains or darker darkness than the story of Scripture. And so, wherever you land on Halloween, don’t fear. Any real evil out there is, because of Jesus Christ, a defeated foe.

(This commentary updates one first aired on Oct. 31, 2014.)

Resources

How Monsters Point Us to God

  • Paul Pastor | Christianity Today | October 30, 2013
Halloween: Its Creation and Recreation

  • Steven Wedgeworth | The Calvinist International | October 30, 2013
Honoring the Witnesses

  • Chuck Colson | BreakPoint.org | October 31, 2007
We Don’t Own Halloween

  • Jason Mankey | Patheos.com | October 22, 2013
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‘Boy Meets World’ actor William Daniels foils attempted burglary at Studio City home

LOS ANGELES – William Daniels, the actor known for playing George Feeny on “Boy Meets World,” Dr. Mark Craig on “St. Elsewhere” and the voice of Kitt in “Knight Rider,” thwarted a burglary in his home Saturday, KABC reported.

“How odd of God to choose the Jew, But not so odd as those who choose The Jewish God and hate the Jew.”

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The written copy is here.

The Point: Doulas Meet the Culture of Death

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Read the commentary.

Perpetual Kids

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Senator Ben Sasse writes in his new book about, The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance. He recently took some material from the book and wrote about “What Happens When We Don’t Raise Kids to Become Adults.”

He tells the story of being tapped to become president of Midland University at the age of 37-years-old. The board of directors did so because Ben Sasse had the reputation as a “turnaround” guy who specialized in helping troubled companies become solvent. The university certainly needed his help. They were on the verge of missing payroll four months in a row. But he soon discovered that “finances might not have been the biggest problem at the school.”

One student, for example, staged a sit-in in the president’s office and announced he would not leave until the president resolved a scheduling problem for him. He was upset that the registrar wouldn’t be offering a particular course he needed the following semester. When Ben Sasse engaged the student in conversation, he proclaimed, “You need to figure this out. I pay tuition to go to this school, which means I pay your salary. So you work for me.”

( Read the rest of this commentary. )

Michael Medved: Beto’s Blunder shows us a vote for any Democrat is a vote for the same

Here is the commentary.

The Point: Start “the talk” early

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Start “the talk” early…

The average age for an internet user’s first encounter with pornography is somewhere between 9 and 11 years old. That’s not even counting the constant conversation our culture is trying to have about sex on television, in movies, commercials—almost everywhere. In other words, if you’re not talking to your kid about sex, someone else is.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not promoting sharing graphic details with young children. But if you’re thinking “are my kids old enough for ‘the talk?’” the answer is probably “yes.” And the best place to begin is by helping them understand what God created their bodies for. They have a design, a purpose. This gives them the “why” first, but be sure to also get to the “what”—those clear lines, appropriate touching, etc. And, of course, be wise: don’t leave them alone online.

But, still, please have the talk. They need to know the truth, and they need to know to have the conversation first and foremost with you, not the culture.

NBC News concealed info refuting gang rape claim vs. Kavanaugh

NBC News is in the center of a new controversy after admittingly sitting on information that contradicted the gang rape charges made by the client of attorney Michael Avenatti against now-United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Last month, Avenatti claimed that he had a witness corroborating his client, Julie Swetnick’s, account that Kavanaugh participated in gang rapes during high school – new supposed evidence that came at the same time the beleaguered judge was fighting off another uncorroborated allegation of sexual assault.

“Avenatti connected NBC News with an anonymous woman he claimed could corroborate Swetnick’s allegations, but [she] instead accused the lawyer of ‘twisting’ her words,” Fox News reported. “Still, NBC went with Swetnick’s story without disclosing the exculpatory reporting.”

Suppressing the truth?

Nearly three weeks after Kavanaugh’s confirmation proceedings came to a close on October 6 with a 50–48 Senate vote confirming him as the newest SCOTUS justice, NBC News published a shocking article on Thursday – revealing that there were numerous “inconsistencies” with Swetnick’s accusations, and noting that there was a suspected corroboration between the news outlet and the accusing party to conceal information that would have helped the beleaguered nominee.

“When Sen. Chuck Grassley referred attorney Michael Avenatti and his client Julie Swetnick to the Justice 

Department for criminal investigation Thursday, he cited Swetnick’s interview with NBC News as evidence the two were trying to mislead the Senate Judiciary Committee,” NBC News divulged in an article it published Thursday with the headline, “New questions raised about Avenatti claims regarding Kavanaugh.”

NBC News admitted in its own story that the unidentified woman rejected Avenatti’s sworn statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee on her behalf – one that backed Swetnick’s allegations against Kavanaugh.

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God will not blessed this no matter how many religious and spiritual leaders ask him to

We should not Amen every prayer we hear we hear. Jesus doesn’t. Some prayers today are being prayed by Pastors who are will wolfs. Listen to a commentary on this issue.

“If I were the devil”

Here is a good piece that was part of the late Paul Harvey radio program a number of years ago. How I miss his voice. It would be good to hear what he would have to say to our anything goes culture today. Listen to If I were the Devil.