Little Ann Sucking Her Finger Embraced by Her Mother by Mary Cassatt

A dear family in my church is expecting their tenth child next month. Monday night we celebrated this joyous event with a baby shower. I was asked to give a devotional; below is what the Lord laid on my heart to share (with some minor editing for the sake of clarity and readability).

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What do the following people have in common?

  • Franz Schubert—the famous Austrian composer
  • Bedřich Smetana—the “Father of Czech Music” (He composed the opera The Bartered Bride, among others works.)
  • Modest Mussorgsky—a great Russian composer (Pictures at an Exhibition is one of his best known works)
  • Johann Christian Bach—the youngest surviving son of J.S. Bach and a great composer himself
  • Benjamin Franklin—one of America’s Founding Fathers
  • Benjamin West—famous painter (if you’ve ever been to BJU’s War Memorial Chapel, you have seen his work)
  • Sylvanus Crosby—grandfather of Fanny Crosby, the great hymn writer
  • Jonathan Edwards—theologian who played a huge part in the First Great Awakening
  • Susanna Wesley—the godly mother of 19 children, including John and Charles Wesley
  • John and Charles Wesley—Founders of Methodism and hymn writers

All of these people made significant contributions to the world—through their music, art, inventions, writing, teaching, preaching—and they were all from large families (in fact they were child number 10 or beyond in their families). [1] The newest C— Baby is in good company, I think.

The Bible says children are a blessing

Ps. 127:3 “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.”

We tend to agree that children are a blessing—as long as there are only two (especially one boy and one girl) or at the most three. However, the Bible doesn’t set a limit on how many children constitute a blessing. In fact many passages indicate that the more children you have, the more blessed you are.

Gen. 1:28 “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it:”

Gen. 24:60 “And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions…”

When the children of Israel were preparing to enter the promised land, Moses told them,

Deut. 1:10-11 “The LORD your God hath multiplied you, and, behold, ye are this day as the stars of heaven for multitude. (The LORD God of your fathers make you a thousand times so many more as ye are, and bless you, as he hath promised you!)”

Deut. 33:24 “And of Asher he said, Let Asher be blessed with children;

I Chron. 25:4-5 “Of Heman: the sons of Heman; Bukkiah, Mattaniah, Uzziel, Shebuel, and Jerimoth, Hananiah, Hanani, Eliathah, Giddalti, and Romamtiezer, Joshbekashah, Mallothi, Hothir, and Mahazioth: All these were the sons of Heman the king’s seer in the words of God, to lift up the horn [exalt, honor him]. And God gave to Heman fourteen sons and three daughters.

I Chron. 26:4-5 “Moreover the sons of Obededom were, Shemaiah the firstborn, Jehozabad the second, Joah the third, and Sacar the fourth, and Nethaneel the fifth, Ammiel the sixth, Issachar the seventh, Peulthai the eighth: for God blessed him.

If God says that children are a blessing from Him—a reward, a heritage, a way in which He honors people—why do we as Christians not see it this way today?

There are many arguments against having more than just a few children. For time sake, we are going to focus on what is probably the most popular “Christian” argument against having many children:

The Stewardship Argument

It runs something like this:

“God has given us resources of time, energy, money, possessions, etc. We must be wise stewards of all the resources God has given us. Having more children when the economy is bad, or when dad doesn’t have a job, or when money is scarce and we barely have enough to feed, clothe, and house the children we do have would be foolish and very poor stewardship. Also having more children would cause us to be a bad stewards of the ones we already have. How can we possibly train more when our hands are already full with two?!”

Let’s examine this argument.

Bob Acres and His Servant by Edwin Austin Abbey

First, what is a steward? A steward is someone who takes care of another’s resources—whatever the master gives him, he takes care of it, uses it wisely, makes a profit. The steward of an estate, for example, takes care of the house, property, belongings, etc. of the estate owner.

The steward does not have the authority to say, “Master, you already have such a big estate! I’m already overworked as it is. Adding on another room to your house means more for me to clean. Buying another car means more maintenance for me to do each month. Adding another horse to your stable means another animal to care for, groom, and ride. Taking care of all your stuff is taking too much of my time and energy and it costs you so much! I don’t want to be a bad steward, so I’m not going to let you add anything else to your estate.”

Whose estate is it? The master’s. It is the steward’s job to take care of it all, wisely manage it. It is not his job to tell the master what he can and cannot add to the estate.

It is the same with us. God has entrusted us with life, health, money, things—it all belongs to Him and we are to use it for His glory and the furthering of His kingdom.

If God says to us, “You have done such a good job with what I have given you. I’m now going to give you more money to take care of (steward) for me.” We say, “Wow! Thank you, God! Yes, I’ll gladly accept more money and use it for you.”

If God says, “You have done a good job with that beat up little car. You’ve been using it for My glory. I’m going to give you a nice, new car to use for Me.” We say, “Thank you, God! Yes, a nice, new car will be so much easier. I’ll take good care of it and use it for You.”

But if God says, “You’re doing such a good job with those little children I’ve given you. You are raising them for My glory. I’m going to give you more children to raise for Me.” We say, “Oh, no, God! That’s too much! I’m having a hard enough time with the ones you’ve already given me. I would be such a bad steward of Your money and car and house and even of the time You’ve given me if I let You give me one more child! How can I serve You if I’m tied down at home with another baby? I don’t want to be a bad steward, so I’m going to have to tell You, ‘No, I won’t take any more children.’”

Do you see the faulty reasoning? Who is the Master and who is the steward? We are to steward whatever God in His wisdom and kindness chooses to entrust to our care. We are not wiser than God. [2]

We would do well to remind ourselves who creates life. Do parents create life? Many think that they do, that it is completely up to the mom and dad as to whether or not they have a baby.

The Bible doesn’t teach that. The Bible tells us that it is God alone who gives children. Consider, for example, the account of Rachel and Leah. Jacob was tricked into marrying Leah. He didn’t really love her, he loved Rachel.

Gen. 29:31 And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren.

God blessed Leah and gave her four sons. After the birth of her fourth son, “she left bearing” (v. 35).

She didn’t want to stop having children (that is clear from what she did in the next chapter—giving her maid to her husband so she could have more children by her), but God had decided four children was enough for the time being. (Later, God gave her three more children.)

Rachel also wanted children. However, years went by, and still she had no child. The Bible records a conversation she had with her husband:

And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die. And Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God’s stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?” (Gen. 30:1-2).

Clearly, it wasn’t up to Jacob whether or not they had a child. Nor was it up to Rachel. God had chosen not to give them a child.

Several more years went by,

And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb. And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach: And she called his name Joseph; and said, The LORD shall add to me another son” (Gen. 30:22-24).

Just before she died, she gave birth to her second son, Benjamin.

Both women wanted children (and neither took measures to prevent them), but God was in control of how many they received. God gave Leah seven. After years of barrenness He gave Rachel two.

People say, “Well certainly people wanted children way back then, but nowadays children are expensive and times are hard. Surely God wants us to be careful and make sure we don’t add another mouth to feed when money is so tight.”

In the Bible, even when commodities were scarce and life was hard, God still blessed His people with children.

Consider the time before Moses was born. The Children of Israel were slaves in Egypt and life was incredibly hard for them. Yet God kept giving them children.

Ex. 1:12 “But the more they [the Egyptians] afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew.”

In fact, they were having so many babies the king of Egypt was scared that in the case of war the Hebrews would side with the Egyptian’s enemies, fight against them and leave the land of Egypt. To keep this from happening he tried desperately to kill all the baby boys who were being born.

Yet, even in the face of their children being potentially murdered, God kept giving them babies. He wanted His people to have many children, even in this tremendously difficult time.

It was in the midst of all of this that Moses was born. If we had been there, we would have called Moses’ parents “bad stewards.”

“Don’t they know they are endangering the life of their child by bringing him into this awful world?! They should have prevented his birth. Now he’s going to be murdered!”

In our human reasoning we would have prevented God from sending the very one who was to deliver them from their bondage and lead them to the Promised Land.

Today there is a profusion of “Christian” advice to, “Be wise! Don’t have a baby unless you can afford one.” Or, “Don’t have any more children! You can barely afford the ones you have and, besides, you don’t have time to do anything else. God wants you to be a good steward.”

This is simply not Biblical. Nowhere does the Bible teach that parents have the authority or responsibility to decide whether or not God should give them another baby. Using our brains and the available technology to “play God” and try to control the timing and number of children is a very dangerous thing. It’s trying to be the master, not the steward.

Actually rejecting children, doing all we can to prevent ourselves from bearing children, is a sign that we are under the wrath and judgment of God. It is beyond the scope of this talk to fully study Romans 1:18-32, so I challenge you to take some time to prayerfully examine this passage on your own in the near future. In brief, this passage reveals a progression of rejecting God, turning to idols, and the judgment that follows.

One of the consequences listed here for turning away from God is that of God giving people up to “vile affections.”

Vile is defined as “wretchedly bad; repulsive, disgusting; morally debased, depraved, despicable; foul, filthy.” [3]

Two vile affections are then listed:

Rom. 1:26-27 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

First, women change the natural use for that which is against nature. I always assumed, because of what follows in verse 27, that this was talking about females engaging in the sin of sodomy. That could be the case. Sodomy is definitely against nature—unnatural and contrary to God’s design. However, generally speaking, in various cultures throughout history men tend to embrace this sin before women do. [4]

Could this then be referring to something else? What is the natural use of the woman? What did God design a woman to do that a man cannot do? The answer is evident from the features of a woman’s body: God designed her to bear and nurture children. [5] The Greek word used here for “women” (thelus, as opposed to the more commonly used gune) underscores this point. “Thelus comes from the root word thele, which means, ‘nipple, to suck, to nurse, to mother”[6]. Bearing and nurturing children is the natural use of the woman.

When women take either permanent or temporary measures to prevent themselves from bearing children, they are going against nature and, according to this verse, engaging in vile affections—sin before God and, in fact, a sign of His judgment.

The next verse makes it clear that when men separate the act of marriage from God’s design of bearing children, God is giving them up to a second “vile affection,” that of sodomy and the practice of unspeakable perversion.

At this point some of you are probably thinking, “Vida, are you actually suggesting that birth control is sin?? I can understand your reasoning that it is a rejection of God’s blessing and that it is a lack of trusting God (like a steward telling the Master he knows better than him), but now you’re saying practicing birth control is a vile affection—SIN—and a sign of God’s judgment?!”

I know this flies in the face of everything our culture – and even the church at large – says. Actually though, up until about the early 1930s, the church as a whole preached against birth control. They taught that it was indeed sin. It was primarily through the indefatigable work of that wicked woman [7] Margaret Sanger (the founder of what is now known as Planned Parenthood, the organization that has been instrumental in the murder of 1000s of unborn babies) that birth control became widely accessible and finally completely legalized (in 1965,[8]). Only now—within the past 50 years or so—is birth control culturally acceptable, normative, and even the “Christian” thing to do.

Allegorie des Lebens by Karl Geiger

I challenge you to study what the Bible actually says about this subject. Ask God to give you a clear understanding that is not muddled by cultural expectations. (Some books that you might find helpful in your study: Be Fruitful and Multiply by Nancy Campbell; The Way Home by Mary Pride; A Full Quiver by Rick and Jan Hess; and The Bible and Birth Control by Charles D. Provan.) I submit to you that if you truly search out what the Scriptures say, you will see that we must repent—of our vile affections, of our rejection of God’s blessings—turn from our sin, and even take measures to get things reversed if possible and open ourselves back up to the blessings of God.

Ps. 127:3-5 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

There are people who look at the C— family and say they already have a full quiver.

“Wasn’t 9 enough?? We don’t believe in abortion, but surely they should stop after the 10th is born. Surely that’s a full quiver!”

Only God knows if the quiver is actually full. For Abraham and Sarah, their quiver was full with the one arrow He gave them—Isaac. The same was true for Zacharias and Elisabeth, the parents of John the Baptist. But what if Mrs. Mary Annesley (the mother of 25 children, the last of whom was Susanna Wesley) had said, “10 is enough for me!” or “I’ll stop now that I’ve given birth 20 times,” or “Surely 24 is enough!”? No one would have blamed her or thought she was limiting God if she had prevented further childbearing. In fact, today people would be encouraging her to stop, “Don’t you know what causes that?!” If she had used her human reasoning to take control of the number of children she had, Susanna would not have been born. Yet the world would have never known what it was missing.

I’m so glad this woman allowed God to decide when their quiver was full! Her final arrow—Susanna—would go on to be the mother of a very full quiver herself (19 children, in spite of marital difficulties, financial straits, bereavement, and even a house fire). Two of her youngest children—John (child #15) and Charles (child #17)—went on to make humanly incalculable impact for Christ. There are probably people in this room who came to Christ because of the impact of these men. God knows best and we must trust Him!

Woe to us if we discourage, tease, or mock those who are obeying the Lord and trusting Him to decide when the quiver is full. Woe to us if we through our words—negative comments, snide remarks, or even reproachful sighs—encourage someone to prevent further blessings from God. And woe to us if we ourselves have cut off the blessings God wanted to send. Only God knows if we have been the cause of cutting off our generation’s equivalent of John and Charles Wesley.

Let us search our Bibles and our hearts, repent, and do all in our power to accept all the blessings God wants to give us and encourage others to do the same.

At Play by Dorothy Tennant

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1 This list comes, in part, from Rick and Jan Hess, A Full Quiver: Family Planning and the Lordship of Christ (Brentwood: Wolgemuth and Hyatt, 1990), chapter 4, “Guess Who’s Not Coming to Dinner.”

2 A 2nd Generation of Homeschooling has an excellent article on this subject here: http://www.a2ndgenerationofhomeschooling.com/2010/07/having-many-children-is-poor.html (accessed: March 27, 2012).

3 vile. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/vile (accessed: March 27, 2012).

4 Mary Pride, The Way Home: Beyond Feminism, Back to Reality (Westchester: Crossway Books, 1985), 27.

5 Charles D. Provan, The Bible and Birth Control (Monongahela: Zimmer Printing, 1989), 27-28.

6 Nancy Campbell, Be Fruitful and Multiply: What the Bible Says About Having Children (San Antonio: Vision Forum Ministries, 2003), 106.

7 Campbell, pp. 151-152, states, “Margaret Sanger [was] a woman who ferociously believed in Malthusian Eugenics and who practiced and promoted blatant sexual promiscuity. Margaret Sanger championed the cause of the elimination of inferior races. Her plan was to ‘create a race of thoroughbreds.’ She coined names for all those who were not of the superior Aryan race–‘morons, misfits, and the maladjusted’ and ‘defectives, delinquents, and dependents.’ She believed that the physically unfit, the materially poor, the racially inferior–including the Jews and the African Americans–must be restricted or eliminated. Contraception, sterilization, and abortion were the perfect methods for getting rid of these ‘human weeds.’ This is the origin of today’s birth control movement which the Christian church has ignorantly embraced.”

8 In my talk I mistakenly gave the date 1916 as the year abortion was legalized in the US. Actually 1916 was the year Margaret Sanger opened the first birth control clinic in the US. The police shut down this illegally operating clinic 9 days after its opening and Sanger spent 30 days in prison.

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Addendum:

It was not my intention in giving this talk (or in publishing this article) to leave anyone feeling hopelessly condemned under the wrath of God. No matter how grave the sin, the blood of Christ can completely cleanse us. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” I John 1:9. Praise be to God!

Also, lest my words be misconstrued, let me give further clarification to a point I made above. Merely looking at the number of children a couple has (be it many or few or even none) is not an indicator of their obedience or disobedience in this matter. I gave as examples Abraham and Sarah and Zacharias and Elisabeth, two couples whom, if we had known them personally yet had not talked with them or heard their hearts, we could have easily judged as being disobedient to the Lord in this matter because of sustained barrenness. We would have been wrong. God, in His perfect timing, gave to each of those couples only one “arrow.” Their quivers were full in His sight.

On the other hand, we could look at a couple with 24 children (the Annesleys before the birth of Susanna) and judge them to be completely obedient to the Lord in this matter. Yet, if they had decided to take control and prevented any further children, their quiver would not have been full. Likely (because people did not openly talk about their personal practices then as they do today) only God would have known that they had cut off His opportunity to bless them (and the world).

My point is that we cannot–must not–judge one another on the basis of how many children we have.

However, because birth control is now culturally acceptable (and expected) people often openly talk about their practices. Because the church has been largely silent on the Scripture’s teaching about this subject for the past 50+ years, most Christians are not even aware that God has an opinion on the matter. They honestly think the Scriptures are silent. That is why talks (and articles) like this are necessary. I do not present this information judgmentally or as one who is wanting to stir up discord among the brethren. Instead I write and speak these words with the earnest prayer that God will open our eyes to truly see this matter as He sees it and that He in His goodness will lead us to repentance.

This is my reply to a letter I recieved regarding my article Dabbling in the Occult.  I post it here for your consideration.   

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Dear Friend,

I appreciate your kindness in expressing concern over my article Dabbling in the Occult. I have spent the last number of days in prayer and Bible study, ransacking the Scriptures and the Internet for all I could find pertinent to the topic.

Graveyard Under Snow by Caspar David Friedrich

I agree with you that Halloween, with its focus on death and all manner of demonically inspired characters, is an especially good time to share the good news of eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. It would be wrong to hide the Gospel from those who are lost and blinded to the truth by the god of this world. “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:3-6).

However, we must be very careful not to embrace worldly means in our endeavor to spread the truth. For example, we would both agree, I believe, that using rock music with Christian words in order to reach the lost would be gross compromise. We would reference:

Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

2 Cor. 6:14-18 “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in [them]; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”

Would not these same principles apply to every means of evangelism? Evangelism is necessary, commanded by our Lord. However, should we evangelize the lost through participation in their celebration of a pagan holiday?

Now I must back up and explain that, yes, Halloween is indeed a pagan holiday. As I stated in my article, Halloween began with the Druids as the feast of Samhein. It was a three day event focused on worshiping pagan deities, appeasing evil spirits through sacrifices, communicating with the dead, etc. It was not until the 800s that Pope Boniface IV moved the Catholic holiday All Saint’s Day from May 13 to November 1. This was probably done to “Christianize” the pagan holiday. “Christianizing” pagan practices and holidays was a common practice of the Catholic church.

Allow me to share the perspective of several modern day pagans on Halloween. The first is Isaac Bonewits, author of several pagan books (about witches, Wicca, Druids). In his article The Real Origins of Halloween he writes,

“The Christian Church was unable to get the people to stop celebrating this holiday, so they simply sprinkled a little holy water on it and gave it new names, as they did with other Paleopagan holidays and customs. This was a form of calendrical imperialism, co- opting Paleopagan sacred times, as they had Paleopagan sacred places (most if not all of the great cathedrals of Europe were built on top of earlier Paleopagan shrines and sacred groves). So when Fundamentalists come to your local school board and try to get Halloween removed from the public schools because ‘it’s a Pagan holiday,’ they are perfectly correct. Of course, Valentine’s Day/Lupercalia, Easter/Eostre, and Christmas/Yule also have many Paleopagan elements associated with their dating and/or symbols, as the Jehovah’s Witnesses and others have pointed out for decades. So if we decide to rid the public schools of all holidays that have Pagan aspects to them, there won’t be many left for the kids to enjoy.”

Mr. Bonewits does not see the holiday as being evil. He and other neopagans celebrate by taking the kids trick-or-treating, handing out candy, having parties, and participating in divination. He also states “Halloween is a time to deepen our connection to the cycles of the seasons, to the generations that have come before us and those that will follow, and to the Gods and Goddesses we worship.” He claims that the evil symbols associated with Halloween (“ghosts, skeletons, black cats, ugly witches, demons, monsters, and Jack O’Lanterns”) are not really evil. “The ones that are negative were added by people opposed to the holiday.”

(It is actually very sad to read his articles. He and other pagans would say they are NOT worshiping the lord of death or Satan. They are simply worshiping ancient gods and goddesses. The poor man does not know how blinded he is! The worship of any false god is ultimately worshiping Satan. The Bible is clear that demons are behind all false gods that have been worshiped throughout history. 1 Cor. 10:20-21 “But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.” See also Lev. 17:7, Deut. 32:16-18, and Ps. 106:36-37)

The second perspective comes from a former witch (now born again) named Valerie Duffy. Berit Kjos in her 1999 article Halloween, a Seductive Bridge Between Two Worlds, writes,

Valerie knows all too well why Neopagans love Halloween. The old Celtic “sabbat” is their main feast — a window of time when the walls between the physical and spiritual worlds supposedly become thin enough to allow easy crossovers. This was the time to catch up with one’s ancestors and other spirits from the underworld. But don’t think the Vigil of Samhain was just a fun holiday. The ‘Lord of the Dead’, Samhain himself, is no deity to laugh at. Valerie explains why:

‘On October 31, black-cloaked Druids bearing torches would go door to door to select humans for their New Year’s sacrifice to the Lord of the Dead. In return for the child or infant, they would leave a hollowed turnip with candle light shining through the carved face — a satanic counterfeit for the biblical Passover.

‘In the reveling that took place on that night to Samhain, the demons supposedly loosed for the night would pass over the homes ‘marked’ by the carved lantern. Those families had provided the required gift or sacrifice. Other homes could be hit — sometimes with sudden death.

‘The children selected for sacrifice were tossed into a bonfire. The Druids called it a bone-fire since only the bones were left. From the agonizing screams of the dying, the divining priests would foretell the future of the village.’”

It seems to be mostly Christians who do not see Halloween as a pagan holiday. Yes, there is, as you say, “nothing ‘inherently evil’ about dressing up in appropriate costumes, getting candy from neighbors and handing out candy to neighbors” any other time of the year, but, according to a former high priest of Wicca, Tom Sanguinet, at Halloween these fun customs unfortunately represent evil practices. He writes, “Trick or Treat is a reenactment of the Druidic practices. The candy has replaced the human sacrifices of old, but it is still an appeasement of those deceptive evil spirits. The traditional response to those who do not treat is to have a trick played on them. When you give out Halloween candy, you are, in essence providing a sacrifice to false gods. You are participating in idolatry.”

(I know this sounds rather extreme. I’m just telling how a former pagan who is now saved views the festivities.)

Oftentimes what one generation allows in moderation the next practices in excess. Halloween was not really celebrated in America until the late 1800s when the Irish came here as a result of the potato famine. The Puritans would not allow it before then. Gradually the holiday has been accepted and now participation is taken for granted, even in Christian circles. It is sobering to think that small areas of compromise in our lives today may result in major aberrations in future generations.

Well, what about Christmas and Easter? If we cut out Halloween, would not consistency demand the elimination of these holidays also? Honestly, I haven’t had time to research these yet. Yes, these holidays have pagan roots also, but to my currently un-researched way of thinking there is a big difference. While Christmas and Easter have major Christian emphases—the birth, crucifixion, and resurrection of Christ—there is absolutely nothing Christian about Halloween.

As I researched the topic of Halloween, I came across articles representative of nearly every view on the subject. It is vital to go back to the authority of the Word of God. We know from Scripture that paganism, witchcraft, and the Occult are abominable to the Lord (Ex. 22:18, Lev. 19:26-31, Lev. 20:27, Deut. 18:10-14). God tells us to “come out from among them and be ye separate…touch not the unclean thing” (2 Cor. 6:17). Eph. 5:11 “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”

When Christians dress up in costumes along with everyone else on this day (even cute, innocent costumes) and go trick-or-treating, how does a non-Christian discern the difference? One pagan said that they liked Halloween so much because that was the time when Christians and pagans worshiped the same god. It appears to them that the Christian is celebrating Halloween just like them. The Bible says, “Only let your conversation [conduct, manner of living] be as it becometh the gospel of Christ” (Phil. 1:27a).

Yes, share the Gospel. Be out on the street talking, witnessing to neighbors you wouldn’t see otherwise. Take full advantage of their willingness to talk on that night. Yes, give a gospel witness and tracts to those who come knocking at your door. But wouldn’t it be better to do it un-costumed and without participating in the festivities in any way, so as not to give an uncertain picture?

I Thess. 5:21-22 “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

Dear friend, please know that if you do not agree with my conclusions, I will not think harshly of you.  I truly appreciate your questioning me on my article. It drove me to the Word of God, forced me to deepen my study, and further substantiate my convictions. I simply share these thoughts for your prayerful consideration.

 

Dearly,

Vida

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© Copyright 2007 by Vida Earnshaw

(Note: The first painting above is titled Graveyard Under Snow by Caspar David Friedrich.  The second is The Crystal Ball by John William Waterhouse.)

 

 By Vida Earnshaw

Autumn Leaves by John Everett MillaisIn a little over a week our country will be celebrating Halloween. Kids everywhere will dress up in costumes ranging from cute little bunny rabbits to hideous monsters. There will be haunted houses, trick-or-treating, and more candy than one should eat in a life time! Is Halloween simply a fun, harmless time? Is it something in which Christians should freely participate?

What about the other things this season brings to mind: fortune telling, ghost stories, horoscopes, Harry Potter, Pokemon, witches, the occult? People have an innate fascination with such things, wanting to peer into mysterious, dark realms, tap into secret powers. As Christians, we must be careful to examine everything in light of the Word of God. Does the Bible have anything to say about this subject?

Indeed it does! Deuteronomy 18:10-14 “There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire [a practice in the worship of the idol Molech], or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer, For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee. Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God. For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.” God strictly prohibits involvement with the “dark arts.” This is not the only passage.

Exodus 22:18 “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.”

Leviticus 19:26,31 “Thou shalt not eat anything with the blood: neither shall ye use enchantment, nor observe times. Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.”

Leviticus 20:27 “A man also or a woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.”

God is very clear in His abhorrence and prohibition of such things! Yet our society is full of such sin. Sadly, many in the church have blindly embraced this wickedness also. We call it cute, innocent, harmless, and fun. We have made light of what God calls an abomination.

Take the Harry Potter books for example. These books are extremely popular.  At each new release, hundreds of kids all across the nation have stood in line for hours waiting to obtain their own copies.  Are these simply fun, fantasy books; intriguing stories that have encouraged many children to learn to love reading? Isn’t Harry Potter just another good vs. evil story?

Think about it for a moment.  The whole theme of this series is witches and witchcraft. The main character is studying to become a wizard. Granted, the author, R.K. Rowlings, presents Harry and his friends as good witches using good magic to fight against bad witches. However, is there really such a thing as a “good” witch? Not according to the Bible! (Remember Exodus 22:18?)

I read the testimony of a woman who was formerly involved in Wicca, studying to become a witch.  She said that those who join Wicca all want to be good witches, using their powers to fight against evil in the world.  It is not until their final initiation that they learn and have to accept the fact that there is no difference between good and bad witches.  They are all the same, all enslaved to the same master–Satan.  The claim that Harry Potter books are acceptable because they present a clear distinction between good and evil is a giant deception.

Many say, “But these stories are just fantasy!”  Consider: Is it lawful to engage in sin through fantasy?  What about the sin of  adultery?  Is it acceptable to God to fantasize about committing adultery?  Jesus said, “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matthew 5:28).   God condemns sin at the heart level.  Why then do we think it okay to fantasize about witchcraft?

Although many claim these books are fantasy stories, they are actually full of real occult teachings.  A man who was a former temple master in an occult order, writes “[The story of Harry Potter] is written and packaged to look like fantasy when, in truth, it is a carefully written true description of the training and work of an initiate in an occult order” (A Review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Berit Kjos).   The elements introduced in these books may be slightly disguised and candy coated, but they are the real thing. A Christian, especially a child, has no business reading these books!

(Doug Phillips, founder and president of the Vision Forum, has written some excellent articles on this subject.  Read them here and here.)

What about popular games like Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and other role-playing games?  These games and cartoons are not innocent, harmless fun.  The word Pokémon stands for pocket monster.  Players catch “cute,” fuzzy little monsters and then collect cards which make the monsters grow and gain supernatural powers.  Soon they are pitting their monsters against others.  This game is full of occult teachings and opens children up to all kinds of evil.  Dr. David L. Brown writes, “Pokémon is designed to be a stepping stone to harder occult oriented games like ‘Magic: the Gathering’ and ‘Dungeons and Dragons.'”  The cartoon and game Yu-Gi-Oh! is even worse.  (For more information read Yu-Gi-Oh, Who is Really Behind the Phenomenon?.)  Role-playing games simulate real occult teachings, rituals, and practices.  Players are just a step away from doing it for real.  A former Occultist said that Occult leaders attend gaming tournaments to scout out skilled players and entice them to “do it for real.”  He said that when he did this, none of the players ever said “No.”

What about horoscopes, psychic readers, fortune tellers?  The Bible forbids these too!  The Bible words for these things include divination, soothsaying, observer of times, necromancy.  We must not look to Satan for what the future holds.  Our times are in God’s hands (Psalm 31:15).  “He performs what is appointed for me” (Job 23:14).  We must trust God and rest in His sovereignty.

What about Halloween?  What is wrong with this “fun” holiday?  Consider its history.  The Magic Circle by John W. WaterhouseHalloween originated with the ancient Druids as Samhein [pronounced sow–en], a feast to the lord of the dead, and  marked the beginning of their new year.  They believed that the spirits of all who died that past year would return to haunt the earth that night.  The Druids would offer human and animal sacrifices in a large bonfire (bone-fire) in an attempt to appease the spirits.  They went door to door to obtain these sacrifices.  Whoever gave a treat (sacrifice) would not be tricked (harmed by the evil spirits).  Jack-o-lanterns were used to scare away evil spirits, indicate which houses had given sacrifices, or to demonstrate to the Druids that a particular house was in sympathy with their cause and would willingly give them a sacrifice if they came there.  Halloween is still one of the Occult’s high holy days.  Christians should have no part in it!  Ephesians 5:8,10-11 “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:… Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.  And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”

Instead of celebrating the day, Christians should use Halloween as a special time of prayer, intense spiritual warfare.  Ephesians 6:12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”  We should pray for protection for those out trick-or-treating  (Occultists use Halloween as a major recruiting time.), and for the salvation of those who are blinded by Satan and held captive by him to do his will.

(For further study on this subject read Halloween, Kid’s Treat or Pagan Trick? and The Darkside of Halloween.)

Although the world dresses evil up as good and presents it as fun and exciting (through Halloween festivities, popular books, movies, t.v. shows, and games), a Christian should have no part in these things.  2 Corinthians 6:14-15a, 17 “What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?  and what communion hath light with darkness?  And what concord hath Christ with Belial?  Wherefore come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing: and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”

If you are God’s child, He does not want you to dabble (even just mentally) in what He calls an abomination.   You are His.  You are to be set apart for His purposes.  “Be ye holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16).  God gives solemn warning in Leviticus 20:6 “And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set My face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people.  Sanctify yourselves therefore and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.  And ye shall keep my statutes, and do them: I am the LORD which sanctify you.”

We must allow Christ to cleanse our hearts, minds, and lives of all that is displeasing to Him.  Acts 19:19 tells of Christians who were involved in “curious arts” (witchcraft) before they came to Christ.  When they realized that this was displeasing to God they burned all their valuable magic books.  Let us examine our lives.  1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 “Prove all things; hold fast to that which is good.  Abstain from all appearance of evil.”  We must get rid of any evil we may have let creep into our lives (because it’s cute, fun, everyone does/has it), and replace it with things that glorify God.  Romans 12:9  “Abhor [hate] that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.”

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© Copyright 2007 by Vida Earnshaw

Note:  The links attached to this article are here to aid your further study of the topic and do not necessarily indicate endorsement of the authors or websites.

The Monstrous Regiment of WomenLast night my family and I watched a powerful new documentary called The Monstrous Regiment of Women by the Gunn Brothers.  Through a number of commentators, including Mrs. Jennie Chancey of LAF and Mrs. Stacy McDonald of Family Reformation Ministries, this DVD graphically exposes some of the lies of feminism and extols the virtues of godly womanhood.  Men and women indeed have equal value before God, but He has given them unique roles.  This film demonstrates that when women reject their God-given role to pursue the feminist ideal, sorrow ensues.  Sadly, even the church has blindly embraced feminism.  Although most Christian women would say they are not feminists, they are living the lifestyle feminism upholds.  I highly recommend this documentary and trust that God will use it to turn many women back to their homes and encourage those who have already made this decision.

Thank you Gunn Brothers for all the time and effort you invested in this much needed production.  May God raise up many more voices to cry against feminism!

You can watch a preview and order a copy of the documentary HERE.

Note: Because of some mature content, including graphic abortion footage, this film is not recommended for young viewers.