Last Tuesday began my favorite month of the year, October. A month that is often associated with things such as the season of autumn, football, doughnuts, apple cider, bonfires, corn mazes, and many other things that I thoroughly enjoy. However, what most often is associated with the month of October is the holiday Halloween. For anyone who is at all familiar with the origins of Halloween, it is not a God-honoring holiday, but much more of a demonic-inspired one. The origins of Halloween date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived roughly 2,000 years ago in the areas which we now know as Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day for them marked the end of the summer months which is associated with light and life, and it likewise marked the beginning of the dark and bitterly cold days of winter, a time that was often associated with death. The Celts believed that on the night before their new year (Halloween) the spirits of the dead returned to earth to cause chaos and torment. To supposedly ward off such spirits, the Celtic druids and priests would build large fires and dress in animal skins, wearing the faces of animals as masks, and attempt to predict the future. While Halloween in America has developed its unique traditions, it is still a night of darkness. Not only are thousands of people roaming the streets dressed in horrific and gruesome costumes, but it has been reported that crimes are up by 17% on Halloween night as opposed to other nights of the year. Needless to say, my wife and I do not celebrate Halloween with our children, instead, we take the opportunity to celebrate something we believe is far more glorifying to God, the Protestant Reformation.
On All Hallows Eve (Halloween) in 1517, an Augustinian monk named Martin Luther shook the world of Christendom by taking a stand against the corruption of the Roman Catholic Church. Luther had no intention of rebelling and sparking a revolution but only sought to hold the church accountable for their deviations from the clear teaching of God’s Holy Word. Creating an uprising within the church was the last thing that Luther had on his mind, he simply believed that his 95 Theses on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences would serve to course-correct the church back to fixing its eyes solely upon Jesus and its mission of discipling the nations. Seeing as how the Roman Catholic Church was not fond of being corrected, Luther’s 95 Theses was not well received. Standing on the authority of the Word of God, Luther was also unwilling to back down and as a result, the Protestant Reformation was born. As a result of the Holy Spirit of God working in the hearts of His people, the Five Solas (Sola is Latin for “only” or “alone”) of the Reformation were drafted to keep the focus of Christ’s bride upon Him and fulfilling the Great Commission. The Sola statements are as follows: Sola Gratia (Grace Alone), Sola Fide (Faith Alone), Sola Christus (Christ Alone), Soli Deo Gloria (Glory of God Alone), and Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone). In other words, mankind is saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, for the glory of God alone, according to the authority of Scripture alone.
Studying and celebrating the Reformation is important for the Church to be reminded that we are capable of erroring and that we ought to desire for the Church to be discerning and for God to be glorified. It could be argued that today the church is in even greater need of being reformed to the Holy Word of God than even those days when the Protestant Reformation began. When we look at the landscape of Christianity in America today, there are far more deviations from the truth, and a greater need to call for renewing our minds and reforming our hearts to the clear and authoritative teaching of God’s Holy Word.
Therefore, I would encourage you all with the words of the Apostle Paul when speaking to the Church in Rome,
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12:1-2
And rather than spend the month celebrating a wicked holiday like Halloween, which embraces sin and the world, I would strongly encourage you to research the Protestant Reformation and begin a tradition of celebrating Reformation Day!
Soli Deo Gloria!
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Pastor Justin Myers is an avid student of God's Holy Word and received his M.Div. in biblical studies from Liberty University School of Divinity. Pastor Justin considers himself a family man who loves his wife and children dearly. He has been married for over nine years and has four children.