From My Perspective - - -
If one enters a store such as Target or Wal-Mart this week, it will become obvious that there is an effort to sell assortments of candy and costumes for the Celebration of Halloween. On the 31st of October, carloads of children, dressed in all kinds of costumes, will be taken to various neighborhoods so they can do their “Trick or Treat” moment and have people, who they don’t know, give them Candy and other treats they do not need. It is a strange custom that has been perpetuated for many years. Churches have sought to offer an alternative for the safety of children by having Trunk or Treat Parties on Church Parking Lots.
In terms of the “church”, what is it that they have missed? What historic moment and significant teaching has the “church” missed for too long? Why does the “church” participate in such a secular charade? Where is the reference point for the “church” today? Is the secular approach all that October 31st represents? Has the “church” become part of the Great Masquerade as it ignores why the “church” exists and what its message and mission should be? I appreciate the statement entitled, “How To Know Sin When It Masquerades As Good” by Paul Tripp. He writes, “In order for sin to do its evil work, it must present itself as something that is anything but evil. Lust masquerades as a love for beauty. Gossip lives in the costume of concern and prayer. Craving for power and control wears the mask of biblical leadership. Fear of man gets dressed up as being a peacemaker or having a servant heart. Pride in always being right masquerades as a love for biblical wisdom.”
The problem within the “church” has existed and prevailed for a long time. Over the years, there were those who dared to point out the inconsistencies and false applications within the “church”. John Wycliffe (1330–84) attacked what he saw as corruptions within the church, including the sale of indulgences, pilgrimages, the excessive veneration of saints, and the low moral and intellectual standards of ordained priests. John Hus (1369–1415) a Bohemian priest, excommunicated in 1410, and burned at the stake for heresy in 1415, followed Wycliffe's teachings closely. He believed in predestination, regarded the Bible as the ultimate religious authority, and argued that Christ, rather than any ecclesiastical official, is the true head of the church. Martin Luther (1483–1546) in 1517, nailed his 95 theses onto a Wittenberg Church Door. He opposed the manner in which indulgences (release from the temporal penalties for sin through the payment of money) were being sold in order to raise money for the building of Saint Peter's in Rome. John Calvin (1509–64) was a French theologian and reformer who fled religious persecution in France and settled in Geneva in 1536. He instituted a form of church government in Geneva which has become known as the Presbyterian Church. He insisted on reforms including: the congregational singing of the Psalms as part of church worship, the teaching of a catechism and confession of faith to children, and the enforcement of a strict moral discipline in the community by the pastors and members of the church. John Knox (1513–1572) was an ardent disciple of Calvin, and established Calvinistic Protestantism as the national religion of Scotland.
A seed of The Reformation is found in Romans 1:17. Martin Luther was captivated by the phrase, “The just/righteous shall live by his faith”! Why is it that today so many misconstrue true faith? A possible and rational reason may be hinted at in, Today In The Word for Saturday, October 27th. It begins, "Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is a little-known syndrome that affects an estimated 2 to 5 percent of all children. APD interferes with the brain’s ability to recognize and interpret sounds. Words such as “bed” and “dead” might sound the same. Abstract language and wordplay might be confusing. APD usually leads to poor performance in school and trouble listening and paying attention…A lack of faith can lead to a similar experience with our spiritual ears. Only ears of faith can understand the Words of God. An important distinction for the follower of Christ is I Corinthians 2:12-14, “We have not received the spiritof the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us…not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit…the man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” Have you been tricked into being part of the Secular Culture, or have you committed yourself to Biblical Values and the Scriptural/Spiritual Culture? These are words and thoughts worth pondering. Consider these things with me!