It’s that time of the year again. Christian parents everywhere enter into a discussion of whether or not to allow their kids to go trick-or-treating.
Nathan Finochio, author and pastor at Hillsong Church, is tackling the topic this year, arguing that the word of God allows Christians to redefine everything.
In a story shared to Instagram, Finochio listed out 10 reasons parents should let their children trick or treat:
- Don’t instill fear of the world.
- Don’t teach them that the world has more fun.
- Don’t teach them superstition.
- Don’t teach them isolationism.
- Don’t teach them a lack of faith.
- Teach them common grace – candy is from God and that to the pure all things are pure.
- Teach them the redemptive motif – that we reinterpret culture and give it a new meaning.
- Teach them that the demonic works by willful agreement, bot accidental consumption.
- Teach them in but not of, not out and not of.
- Critique loudly what you see as you walk. Make them brave and discerning, not scared and superstitious.
In an interview with Faithwire, Finochio pointed out that while there is nothing wrong with celebrating Halloween, it’s the role of a parent to properly teach their children about things like Halloween because spiritual darkness is real and ever-present.
“There is spiritual darkness surrounding everything,” Finchio stated. “Films, books, politics, and yes, even Christian holidays like Christmas and Easter.”
“I think humanity is fascinated with the afterlife, with death, with good and evil. And Halloween is a cultural recognition, a sort of strange negotiation with some of these concepts.”
He pointed out that while there are still witches, warlocks, and pagans that consider Halloween a high festival, Christians took power away from the dark even ages ago.
“This is their last stand, and we actually took it from them a long time ago,” he argued. “In the British Isles, it is known that churches were already celebrating All Saints on 1 November at the beginning of the 8th century to coincide with or replace the Celtic festival of Samhain.”
“Pope Gregory III made All Saints Day official in 837 by appointing November 1st as the official day,” he added, “but many historians believe it was just to recognize what was happening in Northern Europe (the Germanies and Britain) with respect to reinterpreting a pagan holiday.”
The importance of teaching kids history
Finochio pointed out that it is also important for parents to teach their children the history of different holidays, and the real evil that takes place in the world.
“Kids don’t learn because parents don’t talk,” he added. “All of life should be a running commentary for the Christian parent.”
Finochio explained that a lot of modern Christian holidays fall on or near dates that were once pagan festivals.
“Christianity, rather than shying from the roots of things, baptized the pagan festivals and gave them new meaning,” he added. “This is the Christian tradition with which the angry secular academic world is so incensed at.”
“Jesus wasn’t born in December,” he explained. “The Winter Solstice, a festival held wide across cultures in the Northern Hemisphere, occurred around December 21, the shortest day of the year. It was believed in many pagan traditions that the birth of the next year occurred on the 22nd. And as meats had been slaughtered and cured, and ales had had time to ferment—essentially that winter stores were at their absolute peak in preparation for the coming months—a party was in order.”
Finochio also pointed out that in general, Christians are good at celebrating “The sweetness and bitterness of life at the exact same time.”
“Seems that the real heresy of the Age is the refusal and theological inability to do both simultaneously,” he stated. “And a heresy is just a truth out of balance.”
“October 31 is ‘All Hallows Eve.’ It’s when the liturgical celebration begins at Vespers that night. This is the Christian tradition. We have the fascination with death a new meaning—an awareness and thankfulness for the great Saints gone before us. The Easter Bunny and chocolate eggs have nothing to do with Easter either, but that’s actually a Lutheran tradition.”
Finochio’s advice for parents that are nervous about the holiday
Even though Finochio does not believe trick or treating is inherently wrong, he encourages parents who are nervous about allowing their children to participate, to sit it out.
“Don’t teach your children double-mindedness, anxiety, and doubt,” he explained. “Romans 14 teaches us to be fully convinced and to do things from faith. If you have strong faith, you eat and drink; if you have a weak conscience, you abstain. But the point is not to stay weak, is it? Get a revelation of the Gospel!”
Lastly, Finochio points out that God, and one’s faith in God, has the power to redefine all things.
“Christianity doesn’t stop feasts, it reinterprets them,” he said. “God never put an end to the feasts of Israel because of excesses. Paul didn’t shut down Prophecy in Corinth because of abuse of Gifts.”
“Historically, Christianity has this incredible ability to live in the world but not be of it by imparting strength and stability and meaning. If there is joy and mirth, we repurpose it. We drink to remember, not to forget. But by God we drink. Scrooge was converted to the punchbowl, not from it.”
“Joy belongs to us.”