Many Americans, especially children, eagerly await the arrival of Halloween this Saturday. I understand and respect that some of my readers choose not to participate in the tradition of the day. If that is you, I appreciate your convictions. However, I think equally devoted Christians can respond differently. My wife and I have opted to allow our sons to trick-or-treat over the years.
We do, though, impose one important caveat: We’ve chosen to stay away from any of the gore and horror of the holiday. Because of that, we only allow our boys to don positive-themed costumes. In the Daly household, no one dresses up in anything dark, bloody or related to the occult.
Of course, on the Christian calendar, Oct. 31 is remembered as “Reformation Day,” a key date in Church history. It was on the last day of October in 1517 when Martin Luther wrote a letter to the Catholic Archbishop of Mainz and Magdeburg, protesting, among other things, the sale of indulgences. He had other complaints, too, and what would become known as the “95 Theses” were nailed to the door of the Schlosskirche (Castle Church) in Wittenburg, Germany.
The Protestant Reformation was officially underway, forever transforming Christianity.
Halloween pales in comparison to the theological earthquake surrounding Luther’s action. Indeed, Martin Luther changed the course of the world.
Many of Luther’s grievances were addressed over the years, but what would a similar proclamation or charter look like today?
As we consider the state of Christianity in the 21st century, here are a few points I would pose for your consideration:
The 9.5 Theses of Today
1. Despite what popular culture preaches, Truth is not subjective.
2. Although the news is negative, with Christ, there is hope. In Him, all things are possible.
3. Hollywood may distort the definition of love, but true love is patient, kind, selfless and keeps no record of wrongs. (1 Cor. 13)
4. It may be tempting to appoint oneself the “editor” of the Bible, but the inspired Canon of Scripture is complete and relevant for every time and culture, not available for picking and choosing sections to discard based on personal preference or social trends.
5. As believers, we must always stand strong for our faith, regardless of the ridicule it may elicit. In doing so, however, we shouldn’t go out of our way to be confrontational, rude or difficult. We must not bend on principle. But in conversation, our words are to be “full of grace and seasoned with salt” (Col. 4:6). It’s God’s love that opens the ear and heart of those that oppose us.
6. We can’t expect the world to act like the church, especially when the church so often acts like the world. Instead, we must live out our faith in front of the world in such a way that it glorifies the Lord and brings honor to Him. In doing so, it will also bring honor to our marriages, our families and in every area of our life.
7. God’s unique design for men and women and His institution of the family do not change with the cultural tides. They span the ages as a time-tested blueprint for human flourishing.
8. Let’s be careful to measure all teaching by God’s Holy Word. Be wary of false teachers who would “tickle our ears” while deadening our souls.
9. All life, from conception to last breath, is sacred and worthy of protection. As Christian believers, we must never tire of the now four-decade pursuit to preserve the sanctity of life.
.5 “And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness” (2 Tim 2:24).
Finally, we must remember that God often uses the most unlikely people to do His most extraordinary work. Just consider the aforementioned Apostle Paul. How does a man go from murdering and persecuting Christians to being the architect of the early Church? By God’s grace, the most vile sinner among us can be transformed into the most effective saint. It is wise to pray and watch for opportunities to be used by the Lord to witness to those who might one day be used in mighty ways.
I welcome your feedback, whether it’s about Martin Luther, the 9.5 Theses or Halloween. How would you add or subtract from this list?