Happy Halloween and Happy Reformation Day!

Some Christian folks lose their minds around Halloween. Some are so freaked out by the evils of the occult out in full force that they lock their doors and turn out their lights, huddling in fear lest they be assaulted by…what exactly? A couple dozen children hoping for some chocolate? Or maybe instead of giving out cavity-inducing treats they slip a Jesus tract into the bags of unsuspecting neighbor children. This is bizarre.

I like Halloween. I speak to more of my neighbors in the context of trick or treat than I do all year long. I literally have a conversation with every neighbor on the street. And I give away loads of candy to children. How could it be a bad thing to smile and give candy to children? (Unless it’s peanut butter candy to my fourth-born – hold the Reese’s for that guy!)

And my kids trick or treat. They like to dress up and they like to eat candy. We don’t have any dripping blood or detached body parts. This year we have a football player, a bat, another football player, and a kitty. Hardly gruesome. Even the bat is, I promise you, the cutest bat you’ll ever set eyes on. Past costumes have included princesses, a couple Darth Vaders, and (my personal favorite) Abraham Lincoln. How can any of that be a bad thing? Lighten up church people. Happy Halloween!

My biggest complaint about Halloween is that it overshadows one of the most important events in history, one to which Christian people ought to pay an awful lot of attention: Reformation Day. On October 31st, 1517 Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the Cathedral door in Wittenberg, thereby setting in motion the Protestant Reformation. If you are a Christian of any Protestant denomination (or non-denomination), you owe an immense debt of gratitude to Luther and the Reformers who followed in his wake. Even if you’re a Roman Catholic you should recognize the impetus his work provided for bringing much needed reform to that body. Even if you are non-religious, you owe Luther your gratitude for the protections for religious liberty (and the liberty to be non-religious) which are the direct outgrowth of the principles of the Reformation. If you own a bible in your vernacular tongue, if you recognize the importance of the doctrine of justification by faith alone, if you recognize the significance of lay ministry (a direct outgrowth of the Protestant emphasis on the priesthood of all believers), then you owe a debt of gratitude to the Reformers.

I would really recommend if you haven’t done any study of the history of the Reformation that you pick up a copy of Reformation Heroes by Diana Kleyn and Joel R. Beeke. It is technically a children’s book and would be great to work through with your kids, but any adult would really benefit from the book. Most of us are far too historically illiterate, particularly the history of the faith, and you will be tremendously inspired by the biographies of the brave men and women featured in this book. Happy Reformation Day!