Why Celebrate Halloween…

When there is a much better alternative holiday to observe on October 31st!

What other holiday?’ you may wonder.

Well, let me enlighten you! The day we most commonly refer to as Halloween is also known as…

REFORMATION DAY!

95-theses.jpg

On October 31st, 1517, Martin Luther, an Augustinian monk, nailed his 95 theses on the castle church door in Wittenburg, protesting the sale of indulgences by the Roman Catholic church. Luther eventually went to trial for heresy at the Diet of Worms where he was asked to repent of his teachings upon penalty of excommunication. His teachings opposed many accepted doctrines and practices of the church. He also challenged the authority and infallibility of the Pope. Luther refused to recant, famously stating:

Your Imperial Majesty and Your Lordships demand a simple answer. Here it is, plain and unvarnished. Unless I am convicted of error by the testimony of Scripture or since I put no trust in the unsupported authority of Pope or councils, since it is plain that they have often erred and often contradicted themselves by manifest reasoning, I stand convicted by the Scriptures to which I have appealed, and my conscience is taken captive by God’s word, I cannot and will not recant anything, for to act against our conscience is neither safe for us, nor open to us.

On this I take my stand. I can do no other. God help me.

Amen.

The spark of the revolution began with the posting of the 95 Theses. The fires were kindled with his defiant words at Worms. The Protestant Reformation began in earnest in 1521. Protestant means protester. A protestant opposes the false teachings of Roman Catholicism.

All of us who are protestants owe a certain debt of gratitude to Martin Luther. He boldly helped to recover the glorious truths of God’s holy word. The historic Apostolic doctrines were uncovered in those tumultuous times. They centered around the doctrine of Justification. In defiance of Rome, Luther taught our justification comes not by a combination of faith and works but by faith alone. He once said:

This one and firm rock, which we call the doctrine of justification, is the chief article of the whole Christian doctrine, which comprehends the understanding of all godliness.

From this bedrock, sprang what we now call the Five Solas of the Reformation. They are:

  • Sola Gratia – Grace Alone
  • Sola Fide – Faith Alone
  • Solus Christus – Christ Alone
  • Sola Scriptura – Scripture Alone
  • Soli Deo Gloria – Glory of God Alone

Sola Gratia – God’s loving and compassionate grace to lost sinners saves us from his fierce wrath. This grace is not based on any goodness within ourselves. His grace is according to his good pleasure and his purpose. God is not obligated to save one single soul. If he were to send all of humanity to hell he would be just in doing so. However, God in his mercy has bestowed grace upon man, giving every person opportunity to repent of his sin and embrace Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Believers are ‘… justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus’, (Rom 3:24) Only by God’s loving grace is salvation made possible to the human race.

Sola Fide – We are saved through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We trust his sacrificial death on a cross has washed away our sins and redeemed our souls from death, hell and the grave, forever. This faith is a gift of God’s grace. It is not of ourselves, lest any man should boast in his salvation. Faith needs no help to make it complete. Our good works do not alter our standing before God. The Apostle Paul wrote, ‘For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law’. (Rom 3:28) We are saved by faith alone.

Solus Christus – The Son of God clearly named the narrow road that leads to eternal life. it is called Jesus Christ Boulevard and it is clearly marked by his stripes and paved with his blood. He claimed, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) The Apostle Peter proclaimed, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Act 4:12) We are saved by Christ and no other.

Sola Scriptura – The truths we adhere to have been graciously given to us in the form of the holy bible. It is a testament of God’s people throughout the course of human history, detailing the account of man’s fall and redemption through Jesus Christ. No other source is authoritative in establishing Christian doctrine and practice. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (2Ti 3:16-17) The revelation of scriptures alone through the illumination of the Holy Spirit shall lead us to all truth.

Soli Deo Gloria -The deeds of the saints, the wicked and all the host of heaven are ultimately accomplished for the glory of God. Believers glorify God by displaying His attributes of love, grace, mercy and compassion. The reprobate glorify God by displaying God’s equally glorious attributes of wrath, righteousness and justice. The contrast between sin and righteousness magnifies the holiness, purity and majesty of Almighty God. Jesus came to glorify the Father and in return the Father glorified him. The author of Hebrews wrote of Christ, ‘He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature’, (Heb 1:3) The chief end of man, according to the Westminster Shorter Catechism is to ‘glorify God and enjoy him forever’. Psalms 79 states ‘Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and atone for our sins, for your name’s sake!’ (Psa 79:9) Let nothing we do or say be done for our glory or for the glory of others, but for the glory of God alone.

In summary, the Reformation sparked by Martin Luther taught us that God justifies the guilty by Grace Alone through Faith Alone in Christ Alone according to the Scriptures Alone for the Glory of God Alone.

So put away all your ghost and goblin decorations. To the trash barrel with all your jack-o-lanterns and scarecrows! Honor God this holiday season by celebrating the Reformation he sovereignly brought to pass. Close your front door and turn off your porch light this Halloween. Open up the scriptures and read about the glory of God revealed in our justification by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

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7 thoughts on “Why Celebrate Halloween…

  1. One other thing to consider is that the root word for Halloween is “hallow” which means:

    “Consecrate: render holy by means of religious rites.” -wordnet.princeton.edu

    It is my understanding (so it is possible I may error in my thinking) that Halloween once went by a pseudonym of “All hallows eve,” or something like that. You could also call it “All Saint’s Day,” because it has been a day of remembrance for the saints.

    Of course, like Christmas, it has its Pagan roots.

  2. Nice post, Brandon! My thought is… Monergismbooks.com has free shipping through Reformation Day, so instead of spending money on a costume, go buy a book, or two! The book Here I Stand is a good bio of Martin Luther, and of course, Bondage of the Will is a classic by Luther himself. Thanks. It looks like you broke writer’s block!

    T-bone.

  3. I just recently finished ‘Bondage of the Will’ and am actually looking for some good historical books on the Reformation. I will put ‘Here I Stand’ on my book list.
    And yes, I crashed through the blockade and my fingers are dancing once again! Praise God!

    God Bless
    Brandon L.

  4. Hey Brandon;

    I will send you a couple titles on the Reformation that are at monergismbooks. HOWEVER, if you have itchy fingers, please jump to my blog and give me a hand with this dude at http://theologyandsteak.wordpress.com/2007/10/22/the-atheist-indoctrination-project/. He wants to pick at the Bible but refuses to answer my gospel questions. I am tempted to stop responding, but hate to blow him off. I am wonering at what point, though, should I just let the Holy Spirit work. Help!

    Brett

  5. T-Bone,
    Well, I threw in my meager 2 cents worth on the atheist post. Hope it helps – even if just a little.
    BTW – I think it’s getting close to the point of closing down the dialog. It appears he only wishes to argue his position. I’ve read little evidence of any spiritual hearing – if you know what I mean.

    I have 2 books on the history of the Reformation on my wishlist at Monergism Books. They are:
    http://www.monergismbooks.com/The-Reformation-A-History-p-16576.html
    http://www.monergismbooks.com/The-Reformation-A-Handbook-p-16587.html

    What do you think? Do these books come highly recommended? Let me know soon, I need to finalize my Christmas list 🙂

  6. Halloween comes from the pagions who like to dress up and it encourge young Children to go out trickle treating where the parents should be not encourge them to take part in this evil event which comes at the end of October.So let us pray against this evil and lead our children to stay close to christ and his word and not be part of the evil world wich craft and hiding maskets for the fun of it.May we learn from this and not encourge our christian children espeacily Pastors who have Children who children are brought up in the true Christian faith who stad against this evil.Godbless.

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