Over a hundred years ago, the great Dutch theologian Hermann Bavinck predicted that the 20th century would "witness a gigantic conflict of spirits." His prediction turned out to be an understatement, and this great conflict continues into the 21st century.
The issue of Halloween presses itself annually upon the Christian conscience. Acutely aware of dangers new and old, many Christian parents choose to withdraw their children from the holiday altogether. Others choose to follow a strategic battle plan for engagement with the holiday. Still others have gone further, seeking to convert Halloween into an evangelistic opportunity. Is Halloween really that significant?
Well, Halloween is a big deal in the marketplace. Halloween is surpassed only by Christmas in terms of economic activity. According to David J. Skal, "Precise figures are difficult to determine, but the annual economic impact of Halloween is now somewhere between 4 billion and 6 billion dollars depending on the number and kinds of industries one includes in the calculations." more >>
Tonight will be another night of costumed children knocking on doors for treats and roaming the neighborhoods. For some Christians, it's a dark holiday that they want to keep their kids from joining. For other believers, it's a night turned holy with opportunity for outreach.
Halloween is estimated to represent a $6 billion annual market in consumer goods and services. So although many believers don't want to endorse a holiday that's rooted in pagan rituals and aimed at appeasing the spirit world, as Christian author Dianne E. Butts states in the North American Mission Board's On Mission magazine, "what can we do when neighborhood ghouls come ringing our doorbells expecting a treat?
Turn off the lights and hide in the dark?" more >>
Is Halloween good for more than a sugar-induced high? Can you really share your faith using Halloween?? While this may sound like a contradiction in terms, with a little forethought, the ghosts and ghouls of Halloween can be a natural conversation starter for talking about the spiritual dimension.
Christian views of Halloween vary dramatically from a fun-filled, sugar high for little kids in cute costumes to an evil holiday which focuses on the occult, devils, and all things dark and demonic. So out of respect for those divergent opinions, approach this topic with your friends in the way that best fits you. But don't let the opportunity for a conversation about the spiritual dimension and eternal life slip by!
Halloween was originally known as the Festival of the Dead and was a time of fear and fright. The ghosts, goblins, and the Grim Reaper-esque characters that inhabit the holiday provide an easy transition into the topic of what happens when we die and whether we should be afraid of dying. Take the opportunity to share with your friends some of the truths of the Bible when it comes to the topics of death and dying. Check out some of these verses: more >>
The wildly popular Harry Potter books and their author, J.K. Rowling, have already been blasted by Christian conservatives for glamorizing witchcraft and the occult. The fantasy series is now charged with encouraging homosexuality following the authors announcement that one of the novels main characters is gay.
Roberta Combs, president of the 2.5 million strong Christian Coalition of America, said she was disappointed that Rowling chose to label Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of fictional Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, as gay.
It's not a good example for our children, who really like the books and the movies. I think it encourages homosexuality, said Combs, who has called for a ban on the seven-book series. more >>
After years of averting questions on whether Christian themes were present in her wildly popular Harry Potter books, author J.K. Rowling finally opened up this week about the Christian allegory in her latest book, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
During a press conference at the kick-off of her Open Book Tour on Monday, the British author told reporters that while religious themes were always present she purposely refrained from referencing any particular religion in order to conceal the ending.
To me, [the religious parallels have] always been obvious, Rowling said. But I never wanted to talk too openly about it because I thought it might show people who just wanted the story where we were going. more >>
In response to media speculation, Focus on the Family (FOTF) posted a statement on its website this weekend titled Dr. Dobson: 'What I Think About Harry Potter.'
In the statement, the conservative pro-family ministry explained that FOTF founder Dr. James Dobson has never endorsed books or films from the megahit fantasy series, and that many papers mistakenly reported that he had given them an OK for Christian families.
The posting directly confronts the Washington Post, which published an article about what Christians think of the craze, and how the reporter had incorrectly assumed that Dobson favored the boy wizard. more >>