Monday, October 29, 2007

Remembering the Reformation

Good Evening. A Puritan’s Mind brings you the old time radio program The Wild Boar News Podcast from Sunny South Florida. Welcome, I’m Dr. Matthew McMahon.

History cannot be documented simply as chronological events, but the intrusion of God into time to establish His redemptive purposes in and through men. Two epochs in this Spirit’s work point to the greatest revolutions ever documented: the entrance of the Lord of Glory in the fullness of time in the little town of Bethlehem, and the era of the Reformation breaking out of a reign of eclipsing doctrinal darkness and superstition. Christ brought forth the Gospel of God, and the Reformers rescued the Gospel from drowning in a sea of ecclesiastical expedience. Since the Gospel writers, carried along by the Spirit inspired as they were, have given an accurate account of the life of Christ and the early church, in today’s modern age, we ought always to desire to remember our roots, and the reformation.

God does not intrude into time to arrange events, but to begin revolutions that cover over the face of the earth. Revolution is what the Reformation was all about. Can you, listener, say the same about your church? Is your church revolutionary? Would the Reformers think of your church as one partaking in their revolution, or would your pastor and the people that attend to hear him, say that they exist to meet the needs of the emerging culture that the church today exists in?

Though God has His providential hand in the affairs of Alexander the Great as well as the apostle Paul, the greater question that should concern the Christian surrounds the remedy of the fallen soul. To truly document history is to set one’s historical eye upon the Gospel of Christ and its affect on the world.

The Reformation would bring back justification by faith alone, where the popes has set up a capitalistic endeavor to make faith something to be bought, and achieved by works. The indulgence rapidly affected the superstitious that had already been familiar to a submission of their will under the Vicar of Christ on earth. The clergy had become the conduits by which the grace of God, or the favor of the popes, was to be dispensed. The works of bygones saints, even the supererogatory merits of Jesus Christ, could be bought for a price in order to secure the salvation of the buyer, or aid in the release of those already captive to the purging of sin in purgatory. Financial advantage to the Roman Church did not go unnoticed, and purgatory became one of the chief doctrines to validate indulgences in the thirteenth century, and to furnish the livelihood of the Pope.

The Reformation brought man face to face with God rather than having popery “interpose the Church between God and man.” Popery separates men from God and hides the Gospel from them, where the Reformation, through the true Gospel of Jesus Christ and justification by faith alone, will unite men to God. Does your church bring men face to face with the Jesus Christ of the Bible and of the Reformation, or does your pastor meet the needs of the people in his sermons. Does your church hold steadfastly to the doctrines taught by the Reformation, or just those that your church and pastor deem convenient? And what about you, listener? Are you a closet reformist? Or are you a revolutionary?

I can hear you now. You’ve seen the Luther movie. You’d shake your fist and stand your ground amidst opposition. You’d say the same things and borrow the same lines Luther did, right? Would the people in your church, at your work, in your family, amidst your friends say the same things about you? Would they say you are a revolutionary in the same light as the reformation?
Ok, I know, you are no Luther or Calvin. That’s not your place, right? That’s for your pastor to emulate. You are just a simple hard working Christian. You are just trying to get through the day at work, and get through a simple devotion time with your family. You don’t have the time to be a revolutionary.

The Reformation had made its way from the minds of a few men zealous for the truth, to the practical application of the doctrines they represented in the life of the Church. People lived out, upon pain of death, their Christianity. I know, I know, listener, your persecution doesn’t extend that far. We aren’t speaking about when you get a flat tire and feel God is against you today, or when your pool pump breaks. We are talking about, however, the reality behind a true Christianity. You, listener, may not have to worry so much, because, as you already made clear, you are not a revolutionary. You loved to watch the Luther Movie each year, it gets you stoked, but far be it for you to challenge your church on whether or not it really falls in line with the reformation, and with the Gospel they preached.

Here is the difference between your “reformation” ideas and “The Protestant Reformation”: you enjoy the emotional high that a movie brings with ideas that you might hold dear. Would you lose your job for your beliefs? Would your pastor be willing to be thrown out of his church for teaching the Regulative Principle? Would it be OK if your family was divided as a result of the truth of Scripture as long as Christ was being glorified in the truth? If you really embrace the Reformation as a revolutionary, how could these things not happen? True Biblical Reformation, on the other hand, advanced the truth of academic learning and filtered that down into the hand of the laity, regardless of the outcome. It may be that you need not only remember the Reformation in some touching recollection of a scene Hollywood has drummed up with Luther standing at the Diet of Worms, but rather go back and read of the life and deaths of those men and women that held steadfast to being revolutionaries of their time.

In truly remembering the Reformation historically, one has no choice but to practically apply it as a revolutionary today. Is the Reformation just a picture in a book, or a scene from a movie? Or is it real to you, embraced by you, propagated through you and lived out?

Remember the Reformation differently this year. Make it count all year through.

This is Dr. Matthew McMahon signing off.

Keep checking back at A Puritan’s Mind – the series on Election and Reprobation has just been completed. Go to and click on “What’s New?” There you will find information on this 9 part lecture series. Also in the works is an MP3 series on the Covenant of Grace, and a new book that will be first in a series called “The Writings of A Puritan’s Mind” which will be a compilation of Puritan sermons not yet published. Puritan Publications has already released its latest book, “A Heart for Reformation” which covers how every Christian should desire true biblical reformation. For more on Reformed and Puritan Theology that honors the Lord Jesus Christ, visit

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bad Plagiarists for the Reformation

Good Evening. A Puritan’s Mind brings you the old time radio program The Wild Boar News Podcast from Sunny South Florida. Welcome, I’m Dr. Matthew McMahon.

Jeremiah 6:16, “Thus says the LORD: "Stand in the ways and see, And ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls.”

There are a variety of preachers that strive after reformation out there in the world, many with good intentions. They preach cardinal truths in order to propagate the teachings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the teachings of the Reformation, as much as they are able. We don’t look down upon such things. God has granted many preachers a mediocrity that they are unable to escape, even to His glory, yet still they desire to preach God’s word and give it a little help. What do I mean?

Let pull a file. Case number 4,324,345. For the establishment of secrecy and non-embarrassment, let’s call this pastoral case number “Pastor Harry.” Pastor Harry knows its Reformation month. October rises up among the months of the year as one in which we remember the recovery of the Gospel from the cloak and darkness of the papists. Hus, Wycliffe, Tyndale, Luther, Calvin, Farel, Corrault, Oecolampadius, Zwingli and others gave themselves over the recovery of the Word of God. Pastor Harry decides to take a reformation sermon, let’s say a sermon from Calvin, and “adapt” it to today’s congregation. After a week’s preparation of taking a good sermon by Calvin and adapting it for the 21st century church, Pastor Harry feels as though he will now be able to take such an exposition of the Word of God and deliver it to his congregation. He ascends the pulpit, and begins with an announcement to read the Scriptures, but first tells his people a story about his childhood, his job, or some other illustrious notation that he believes will hook the hearer. Then he segues into a prayer asking for the Holy Spirit’s help, and then after the “amen”, continues with another illustration.

Next, he announces that the sermon was adapted from Calvin’s works, and he finally, after 10 minutes, reads the Scripture. After a 30 minute unzealous explanation, he uses Calvin’s commentary and application, and then closes, hoping that his congregation would see some of the same truths he did in the passage at hand.

People like this may be zealous for the reformation, and for that credit is due. But the Reformation was founded upon a return to the Word of God, not the help that a 10 minute introduction had on childhood illustrations or talks that hook the listener. The very day such a pastor is to honor, he actually detracts from when he follows that kind of thinking. Instead, he should realize, with the Reformers, that the Word of God does not need any help. What do I mean?

Look at the prophets – when they came a spoke, they said, “Thus says the Lord” and then continued to explain what the Lord said. Not childhood illustrations or clever anecdotes that hook the listener. God’s Word was enough. Calvin began his sermon on the Passion of Christ by quoting the Scripture, and then immediately by saying, after the Scripture was read, “We have already seen in the preceding verses…” etc. In Calvin’s 16th sermon on Pentecost, he quotes Acts 2:1-4 and then begins to explain the passage. In Calvin’s first sermon on the deity of Christ he reads John 1:1-5 and then says “The Word “Gospel” declares how God loved us…” and goes to explain the passage. In his first sermon on Election and Reprobation, Calvin read Genesis 25:12 and then says “We have here to consider the difference…” and then further explains the passage. Luther did the same. Wycliffe did the same. Tyndale did the same. Every republished Puritan work does the same. Those hungry and excited for reformation in this light read the Scriptures first, and then preached what the Scriptures meant, pulled a doctrine from the Scriptures, and then applied those Scriptures. All their time was spent about the Word of God. They trusted that the Word of God was enough.

Now Pastor Harry not only began wrong, but bored his congregation with a so-so sermon. It was not that Pastor Harry bored his congregation; he’s done that before. What is astounding that he bored them with an adapted sermon of Calvin. Calvin’s sermons are not boring. Calvin’s sermons were huge flames of heartfelt power and energy surrounding recovering a glimpsed Gospel. Pastor Harry not only bored his congregation with a so-so message, he could not even copy the reformer well. Such is the state of Christianity with men who stand behind the pulpit and are only wishful in their thinking toward the Reformation. They do not stand upon the Word, and the Word alone, because the Word needs help. It needs to be coddled, and adapted.

Maybe you have experienced this in your own church.

In remembering the reformation and the power behind it, one must see, at least historically if not practically, that all these faithful theologians and preachers were used by God because they stood firmly upon the Word of God and “desired the old paths.”

Remember Jeremiah 6:16 says, “Thus says the LORD: "Stand in the ways and see, And ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls.” The Scripture does not stop there. Its continues, “But they said, 'We will not walk in it.'”

Such is the case of many pastors who desire reformation today, but are unwilling to be unswerving in their devotion to its principles. Its principles stand firmly on the old paths, on the Word of God alone. Such men are simply bad plagiarists.

This is Dr. Matthew McMahon signing off.

Keep checking back at A Puritan’s Mind – the series on Election and Reprobation has just been completed. Go to and click on “What’s New?” There you will find information on this 9 part lecture series. Also in the works is an MP3 series on the Covenant of Grace, and a new book that will be first in a series called “The Writings of A Puritan’s Mind” which will be a compilation of Puritan sermons not yet published. Puritan Publications has already released its latest book, “A Heart for Reformation” which covers how every Christian should desire true biblical reformation. For more on Reformed and Puritan Theology that honors the Lord Jesus Christ, visit

Monday, October 01, 2007

The Way of the Heathen

Good Evening. A Puritan’s Mind brings you the old time radio program The Wild Boar News Podcast from Sunny South Florida. Welcome, I’m Dr. Matthew McMahon.

“After one's own birthday, the two major Satanic holidays are Walpurgisnacht (May 1st) and Halloween.”

The Satanic Bible, by Anton Levey, Page 96, Segment on Religious Holidays

Around October 1st, American grocery stores stock their shelves with candy corn, chocolate bats, and miniature Snickers bars. They lace the isles with cobwebs, hang pictures of witches on top of the shelves, setup small graveyards surrounded by ghoulish figurines and call it fun. Why do they do this? Well, they are readying themselves for the upcoming celebration of Halloween, and they know you, Christian listener, will partake of their fun. Halloween purports to offer a time where people can have fun at the expense of all that is righteous and holy. It is a celebration of devils.

Halloween is blatantly, and immodestly open about its Satanic nature. Halloween is intricately linked to certain ideas and motives. There were a number of Celtic and Druidic holy days (“holiday”) which aid us in understanding the rise of Halloween. Days of “remembrance” concerning the solstices and equinoxes relating to the year's four seasons were hallmark days of worship for these pagan religions. These eight celebration days (the eve of the day and the day itself four times a year) were the most important times of the year for the ancient Druids, the priestly class among the Celts. Among these 4 solstice days reigned the most significant remembrance of an event known as “Samhain,” a celebration of the end of autumn and the beginning of darkness, of winter and the New Year. Samhain was one of the four key parts of the Celtic seasonal calendar.

Samhain occurred on November 1st and its eve was October 31st – the time when the celebrating actually commenced. This ancient festival was in honor of their lord of the dead, a Druid deity, who later became known as “the grim reaper.” On this night, the pagan Celts believed that the two worlds, the physical world and the spirit world, drew closest together and that ghosts and apparitions of the dead could roam about the physical plane.

It was the Druidical belief that on the eve of this festival Samhain, lord of death, called together the wicked spirits that within the past 12 months had been condemned to inhabit the bodies of animals. Literal human sacrifices were offered on this night to the spirits of the dead, as they supposedly visited their earthly haunts and their friends.

The modern custom of going from door to door asking for food and candy goes back to the time of the Druids. They believed that sinful, lost souls were released upon the earth by Samhain for one night on October 31st while they awaited their judgment. Lost souls were thought to throng about the houses of the living and were greeted with banquet-laden tables. People greatly feared these spirits and thought that the spirits would harm and even kill them if the sacrifices they gave did not appease Samhain. They carved demonic faces into large turnips, placing a candle in them to keep the evil spirits away from their homes. They believed it was the best time for divinations concerning the future, including marriage, luck, health, and death. They invoked the help of their false god for these purposes. Believing this was the time to appease the supernatural powers which controlled the processes of nature, these pagan worshipers made offerings of food and drink, performed rituals, and sacrificed animals and humans in huge fires atop “sacred” hilltops in an attempt to ward off these spirits.

To protect themselves from the mean tricks of these spirits (like killing livestock), the Druids offered them good things to eat (sometimes food, sometimes female children). The Druids also disguised themselves in order that the spirits would think the Druids belonged to their own evil company, and therefore, not bring any harm to the Druids. The most horrible practice during this festival were the sacrifices made by the Druids. The sacrifices were both for divination purposes and to ward off disease, defeats in battle, etc. These sacrifices were both animal and human. Those human sacrifices killed could include criminals, captured enemies, volunteers and kidnap victims. They were gruesome sacrifices, and the divination was based on how the person reacted as they died. Caesar wrote, “They believe that human life must be rendered for human life if the divinity of the immortal gods is to be appeased.” Cannibalism was also practiced for medical and cultic purposes.

After the death of the Lord Jesus Christ, Christianity spread throughout Europe and many Celts were converted. Catholic priests tried to replace the Celtic holidays with “Christian” ones. Around 610 A.D., they created a new holiday in May, All Hallows' Day (now All Saints' Day) to honor martyred saints. The Roman Catholic church became interested in these people while attempting to “evangelize” them. Irish records tell of the fascination the Catholic monks had with the “powerful” Druids, and Druids soon became important members of their monasteries. Later, around the 5th century, as the Catholic Church developed and moved into the area, instead of adding a new day to celebrate, the Roman Church took over the Samhain celebration. A later custom developed where people would go door-to-door on Nov. 2, requesting small cakes in exchange for the promise of saying prayers for some of the dead relatives of each house. This arose out of the religious belief that the dead were in a state of limbo before they went to heaven or hell and that the prayers of the living could influence the outcome (which is totally fallacious). Pope Gregory the Great decided to incorporate the Druids' holiday into the church. He made the proclamation, “They are no longer to sacrifice beasts to the devil, but they may kill them for food to the praise of God, and give thanks to the giver of all gifts for His bounty.” In the 9th century “All Hallow's Day” was moved to November 1st to replace Samhain. After the Roman Catholic Church became the “official” religion of the empire, Pope Gregory III set aside a day in which those who had died for the Christian faith would be remembered. Part of the festivity would include a pageant where people would dress up as one of these departed “saints” and some as the devil. This day had been in May, but by the 9th century it was moved to Nov. 1 and called “All Saints' Day” to remember the church saints that had died. November 2 was called “All Souls' Day” and it honored the souls of those who had died the previous year. An alternate name for All Saints Day was “All Hallows Day” and the night prior then would be “All Hallows Eve” which then became shortened to “Halloween.” Pope Gregory IV decreed that the day was to be a universal Roman Catholic church observance. So, the origins of contemporary Halloween are a mixture of old Celtic pagan rituals, superstitions, and varied Roman Catholic traditions.

The English Puritans, and founding fathers of America, refused to permit the holiday to be observed because they knew it was a Satanic holiday which was condemned by the Biblical record. Halloween was not widely celebrated in the U.S. until about 1900. It seems that its vibrancy began in the 1840's where there was a potato famine in Ireland which sent thousands of Roman Catholic Irish to America. Unfortunately, they brought Halloween with them.

Not only is it important to understand the historical background to the day, but it is also important to understand the various ideas which are purposed for the “worship” of the day. For instance, the huge fires atop the “sacred” hilltops in which the Druids sacrificed animals and humans derived their name from the skeletons of those who died in them. The words “bone” and “fire” formed the word “bonfire.” The orange flames lit up the black night, and here is where we find the commonly accepted colors of Halloween. As these pagan worshipers danced around and jumped through the fire, they wore masks of animal-heads and animal-skin costumes. The head of each household was given live embers to start a new fire on his hearth which would last until the next autumn. It was believed this fire would protect their homes from danger throughout the year.

Jack-o'-lanterns were originally carved from large turnips. The Celts carried these carved lanterns through their villages in an attempt to ward off evil spirits. Later, Irish folklore resulted in a tale explaining the use of “jack-o'-lanterns”: a man named Jack tricked the devil into climbing a tree. Once the devil was in the tree, Jack carved a cross on the trunk, “preventing” the devil from coming down. The devil then made a deal with Jack promising to keep him out of hell after he died if only he would remove the cross from the tree. After Jack died, he could not go to hell, and he was not allowed to enter into heaven. He was forced to wander around the earth with a single candle to light his way. The candle was placed in a turnip to keep it burning longer. When the Irish came to America in the 1800's (during the potato famine), they adopted the pumpkin instead of the turnip. Along with these traditions, they brought the idea that the black cat was considered by some to be reincarnated spirits who had prophetic abilities.

What about all those “kids” games like bobbing for apples? The Romans honored the dead with a festival called Feralia, conveniently dated in late October. It was a festival to honor Pomona, their goddess of fruit trees, who was often pictured wearing a crown of apples. During this festival, they ran races and played games to honor the “Apple Queen” and used omens such as apple parings thrown over the shoulder or nuts burned in the fire in order to predict the future concerning their marital prospects. When the Romans conquered the Celts, they combined local Samhain customs with their own pagan harvest festival. Bobbing for apples was derived from this blended pagan celebration.

And what of the old saying, “Trick-or-Treat?” The Druids would visit house to house, knocking on doors and requesting a “treat;” food, clothing, etc, for departed spirits (which, no doubt, they kept for themselves. They were clothed in their animal masks and skins, and carried candle-lit, carved turnips, (or sometimes squashes) to ward off evil spirits, as mentioned before. If the party of the house denied their request for “treats” then they would pronounce a curse on the household with their powerful magic, and summon demons, nymphs and devils to torment the property, livestock, and family of the household. These are the “tricks.” Conveniently this was a day when the moon was full, the most “sacred” time of the month for occultist practitioners, and the ominous for the superstitious.

What is the Christian to make of all this? What directive should the Christian think about concerning this holy day in pagan history which now invades itself into our homes through advertising, and in the common market through selling its wares?

Should a Christian partake or relate to the unfruitful works of darkness? Ephesians 5:11-12 says, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.” What does it mean to have “fellowship?” The word derives from the Greek “koinonia” which means, literally, “commonness.” Those who follow the Lord should have no commonness with the unfruitful works of darkness. Halloween is filled with darkness. Dark, evil, wicked occultic practices makes Halloween Halloween. The Bible specifically commands us to avoid every kind of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22). How could we possibly, knowing the Bible condemns the practices and ideas of Halloween as intrinsically anti-Christian, partake in such a day?

The Old Testament is leavened with a multitude of verses which condemn occultism and its practices, and to avoid them completely: Deuteronomy 18:9-14 is one of the more explicit passages covering an overview of the occult practices to disdain, “When you are come into the land which Jehovah your God gives you, you shall not learn to do according to the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you he that makes his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, that uses divination, that uses auguries, or an enchanter, or a sorcerer, or a charmer, or one that inquires of a spirit of Python, or a soothsayer, or one that consults the dead. For every one that does these things is an abomination to Jehovah, and because of these abominations Jehovah your God does dispossess them from before you. You shall be perfect with Jehovah your God. For these nations, which you shall dispossess, hearkened unto those that use auguries, and that use divination; but as for you, Jehovah your God has not suffered you to do so.” The strongest word in the Old Testament for wicked actions, besides the word “wicked” itself, is the word “abomination.” These practices are abominable. They are abominable whether they are just for fun, or for real. God desired that his people abhor such practices, and rid the land of those who practice such evils. Exodus 22:18, “You shall not let a witch live.” They were to kill them and liberate the land of the abominable practice of witchcraft and sorcery.

The sign or symbol of a thing is not the thing itself, but a representative of the thing. For instance, the Lord’s Supper is a sign or symbol of the body of Christ – not the body itself. Halloween, in its essence, is representative of wickedness, and a host of abominable practices condemned by God. This means that those who practice Halloween are representing those abominable practices even if they dress their children up in a clown’s outfit instead of a vampire’s cloak. The Druids did not wear costumes which represented Frankenstein, or the Mummy. They wore outfits of animal skins; bears, wolves, and the like. They were not “horrific” perse; much like the Halloween costume of a clown. The outfit does not make Halloween evil, rather, Halloween dictates that the participator wear an outfit. And the outfit, whatsoever that may entail, represents the wickedness of the day, and glorifies the devil – even if it is simply a cowboy outfit. It’s not the outfit, but the day which is necessarily wicked. So, what should the Christian do? “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues (Rev 18:4).”

Halloween is a festival based on fear (think about the “fun” of a haunted house). The Druids were power-hungry sinners who desired to gain control over others for their own purposes, quickly. This is at the essence of “witchcraft” which literally means “manipulation.” In complete contrast, however, the Scriptures replace fear with love. 2 Timothy 1:7 says that the Spirit of God has not given us a “spirit of fear.” The fear in this passage is for the Lord, and His ability to judge and dispose of men in hell. Men are afraid of a God who can do this. They have a spirit of fear – they are afraid. Rather, those who are saved and regenerated by the Spirit of God gain a spirit of love. This is obtained from the fruit of the Spirit, and knows no place of fear, or being afraid (reverence - yes, fearfulness - no). Why would the Christian desire to entangle themselves in any variety of fear at all? Does the Christian realize that fear, in its root, is a fear of death? The sting of death has been done away with in Christ. When someone attends a “haunted house” or a “scary movie” they jump in fright because they are housed in mortal bodies that can experience pain and suffering (a foretaste of hell). They are scared to die, but receive a type of exhilaration from their “brush with death.” This is the result of a twisted and perverse fallen soul. Why would they want to glorify fear, dying, and death? Why do they enjoy it? It is part of the curse and fall of man (cf. Genesis 3).

How much ground should the Christian give the devil? Is there any room for compromise? No, there is none. The Christian should have a holy hatred of the devil and everything he represents. “Give no place to the devil, (Eph. 4:2).” Halloween represents all that the devil loves and propagates against the holiness of God’s character. When Christians participate in occult festivals, they are ascribing glory of the lord Samhain, the devil, the god of this world. They may ease their conscience by saying they are worshipping God at their Fall Festival, the true Lord of the harvest, but when has God ever inaugurated this kind of worship? I have no qualms about having a costume party on June17th, or February 12th, insignificant days (provided the costumes are not degrading or evil). Costume parties are not the issue, nor are they sinful in and of themselves. It is the festival of Samhain which is the issue; it is Halloween. Will Christian parents plan a costume party in July instead of October 31st? No they will not. Why? Because they desire to make their children happy and fit in with the neighbors. Christian parents should be teaching their children to hate worldliness, not thriving after it. “You adulterous generation, do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity towards God? Anyone who is a friend of the world is at enmity with God” (James 4:4-5).

If a Christian participates in this unholy festival, they must consider that the world is watching them. For instance, let us imagine Jack is a next-door neighbor to Bob. Both have families with young children. Jack is a witch (warlock). Bob is a Christian. Jack and his family know that Bob claims Christianity as their faith. On Halloween Jack dresses up the children and takes them Trick-or-Treating, (before he brings them into the woods for his Wicca rituals.) Bob dresses his three children up as a beaver, a clown, and a cowboy. Jack dresses his children up as a hobo, a pirate and a ghost. What will Jack think? As much as Bob may explain “it is just for the kids,” Jack is actually at liberty to expound the significance of the influences Bob is exposing his children to. This is the reverse to evangelism since Bob wanted the children to have “fun.” If Jack is a thinking man, he will quickly see the hypocrisy in Bob’s involvement with Halloween as a professing “holy” Christian, one who says he desires to follow Christ.

The previous situation may even escalate to a greater level. Bob may tell Jack that he is going to his church’s Fall Festival held as an alternative to Halloween. Why do Christians need alternatives to pagan festivals? What is this? What do they think they are missing by not worshipping all that is cold, dark and dead? Why are they out to redeem the unredeemable? The Fall Festival is supposed to replace Halloween by taking a day surrounded by demonic influences, and regress nostalgically to the fall festivals of the Druids. The Druids were engaged in many of the same ideas of celebrating fall as the Fall Festival purports. Does this make sense? The only difference in its outward manifestation is that the Druids sacrificed animals and humans while worshipping a pagan idol, and the realm of nature, where Christians are having “fun” (not worship) around a Fall Festival they are trying to reclaim back for God. When was God ever in dire need of reclaiming pagan influences, or demonic worship back to Himself? The Bible speaks vehemently against the practices to do away with them, not reclaim them. There is nothing inherently good in them to reclaim! “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:10–12) Where is the voice of reclamation here? The Scriptures tell us to fight against the wiles of the devil (and principally that means in every way). Opening ourselves up to the spiritual warfare of the malicious devil by candidly partaking in a day which has its roots in the person and work of the devil cannot be accepted by the Christian who is reading their Bible. God exhorts us vehemently, “Learn not the way of the heathen (Jeremiah 10:2).” Paul exhorts us in another context that “…I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils (1 Cor. 10:20).” Why would we want to? Rather, “Submit yourself to God, Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7).” Resist him! Do not make him attractive by decorating the sanctuary of God with leaves and bushels of hay and dressing up the children as clowns or cowboys.

The unregenerate and reprobate are attracted to the macabre. The Christian should never be attracted to such filth. When the book of Philippians exhorts the Christian to think about that which is lovely, noble, etc., the devil exhorts the lost to think on that which is ghastly, gruesome, horrific, grisly, chilling, morbid, and down-right disgusting. Why is the populous at large so enamored with the horror movies of today? The answer is actually quite easy: they are servants of sin, and sons of the devil. God has given them over to a debased mind that they would not do that which is fitting. You would be appalled at me if I documented the sexually deviant and gruesome details of the worship of the Druids, or of witches, or of Satanists even in our own day. You would be repulsed and sickened. But these people love Halloween, and mark it as a special day. The Christian ought never to do this.

We are to be separate from the darkness of the world. Such things should not attract us. If they do, then there is something dreadfully wrong with our Christianity, or our misguided interpretation of the Bible. Why not witness to those who participate in Halloween before Halloween, or on the day after Halloween? Why not witness in protest of the day by removing your child from the school’s Halloween party? Why not be true light in a dark world, not a confusion to them!

The Bible is explicit in that it commands us to be sons and daughters of light, those opposed to darkness. John 12:46, “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.” John 8:12, “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 3:19-21, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” Romans 13:12 “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.” 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” 1 Peter 2:9-12, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” 1 Corinthians 10:18-22, “Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? What say I then? That the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? But I say, that the things that the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils. Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?”

The Bible calls men wicked and evil who partake and relate to such abominations as Halloween. Manasseh, one of the most wicked kings of Israel, did evil in the sight of the Lord. “…He observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards (2 Chronicles 33:6).” The word “dealt” in Hebrew is “mar’arab” which means “setting place.” Where one would sit down and discourse with another, or come into relationship with another. It is the point of interaction. What is the point of interaction with those who come into contact with the principles of Halloween? The Ephesians who were converted burned their books of magic – they wholly gave them up. They did not desire a continued relationship with darkness since they knew that had been delivered from the dominion of darkness. You cannot sit in the foyer of the devil’s castle and say you are not visiting his home.

What, then, must the Christian do? I believe Halloween and all its darkness is biblically condemned. The Christian ought never to partake in it. However, there is an alternative. I can hear you now, “Wait! Wait! You said no alternatives two pages ago!” No, this is not what I mean as an alternative. I am speaking in the scope of the entire paper. I do not mean that we should substitute Halloween for something else. No, not that at all. Rather, we must renew our thinking to disregard Halloween all together, and hold steadfastly to a real Protestant watershed event in the history of the church. The Reformation is something we should have known about long before Halloween ever came into the American picture.

The Devil is constantly involved in taking the believer’s eyes off of what his eyes should be on – the truth of Christ’s grace. Halloween is a macabre sort of “fun” to our fallen natures, and we desire to involve ourselves with all that is cold, dark and dead. But what we should be setting our eyes on are those things relating to, and surrounding, the Gospel and the grace of God. “Coincidentally,” (providentially!) the full birth of the Reformation was on October 31st and then flamed on November 1st. After the Roman Catholic church had been influenced by these pagan days and claimed them as “All Saint’s Day,” they had special vigils in church for that special occasion of remembering the long departed saints who had gone before. Martin Luther, an Augustinian monk who was wrestling with the grace of God, placed in order a set of propositions against the tyranny of the Roman Catholic church and their misconceptions about grace. Luther wrote out 95 theses on a large parchment, in Latin, and hung them on the door of Wittenberg’s chapel on October 31, 1517, where he knew the priests and monks would see them the next day during church service. The nailing of his thesis on the door of the chapel sparked a great anger between the Roman Catholic Church and the rising questions of Luther. Ultimately, the Protestant (protesting) church came to light, and the once hidden Gospel under the darkness of a Roman Catholic cloak, was in full glory. This is a watershed point in the history of the church. Any Christian who acknowledges the grace of God should be ashamed of their ignorance of this. They cannot ignore it. Many churches set specific events surrounding this time at church and in the homes of family to commemorate the time when God providentially and sovereignly poured out His grace on men like Wycliffe, Hus, Luther, Calvin, Beza, Bullinger, Latimer, Cranmer, and others. Reading selected passages from history, playing games surrounding the Reformation, and like ideas concerning grace are often inaugurated. At that time grace was seen for what it truly is – sovereign grace. Here is our joy in the Gospel. The Protestant Church ought to be celebrating Reformation Day, not Halloween. Halloween should be detestable, and the reality of Reformation should be sweet to the Christian. The Reformation is a holy convocation of God’s grace realized in the lives of the regenerate. Do not trade Halloween for the Reformation, simply realize that October 31st is the day of the Reformation which is commemorated. It is mutually exclusive to the pagan holy day of All Hallow’s Eve, or Halloween.

Might we be exhorted?
“Learn not the way of the heathen.”
Jeremiah 10:2

This is Dr. Matthew McMahon signing off.

Keep checking back at A Puritan’s Mind – the series on Election and Reprobation has just been completed. Go to and click on “What’s New?” There you will find information on this 9 part lecture series. Also in the works is an MP3 series on the Covenant of Grace, and a new book that will be first in a series called “The Writings of A Puritan’s Mind” which will be a compilation of Puritan sermons not yet published. Puritan Publications has already released its latest book, “A Heart for Reformation” which covers how every Christian should desire true biblical reformation. For more on Reformed and Puritan Theology, visit