Receive, Reject, or Redeem?

reformation-dayHalloween is coming up and there are all sorts of events and even critiques how we should engage the world.  Kids will dress up, adults will give out candy, and all this will be done without any thought or real tie to its pagan history.  American are superstitious and this superstitious is heightened during Halloween.  For example many Chicago Cubs fans foolish believe in “The Curse or the Billy Goat” upon their team.  This belief originated when the “Billy Goat Tavern” owner was kicked out of Wrigley Field because of the smell of of his pet goat at the game.  He then pronounced that the Cubs would not win any more, and until this year they had not been back to the MLB World Series since the year 1945.

October 31 is also Reformation Day, when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the Door at Wittenberg Germany.  He did this to redeem false religious observances that promoted false godliness and exploited people’s fear of judgment and purgatory.

First Martin Luther was redeeming a pagan holiday that had its beginning with a Celtic winter holiday.  The Celts at this time would celebrate death lord named “Samhain.”  It was a time of evil sacrifices and idolatrous celebrations.

engage-that-cultureSecond Martin Luther was redeeming people who were trying to justify themselves with charitable works, pilgrimages, and other religious observances.  The Roman Catholic Church was encouraging people to acquire “merit” from the church by purchasing indulgences.  The people never had assurance if they had done enough works to appease God’s judgement.  Justin Holcomb, in a Christianity Today article, says that these events motivated “Luther’s desire to refocus the church on salvation by grace through faith on account of Christ’s [merit] by imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us … to those spiritually oppressed by indulgences and not given assurance of God’s grace…”

Faithful Christians have always engaged the world’s culture in 3 ways– receive, reject, or redeem.  I believe that to receive or reject this holiday is naïve and will not engage our community for Christ.  Instead Come to MRBC On October 31, and redeem this holiday (Reformation Day) by coming to serve our community at MRBC on October 31 (Reformation Day), from 6pm – 8pm, as we engage Baltimore with the gospel of Jesus Christ at our annual “Trunk or Treat Outreach.”

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