Wednesday, October 31, 2018

God is Love, BUT...

...God is also firm.

Too many people are neglecting what is in the scriptures and trying to justify sin or lifestyles that go against God's word, simply because God is love, but that doesn't mean that God accepts sin.

Too often we read or use a few scriptures that make us feel good and then omit everything else that we know about Jesus Christ, God and His word that might convict us.   Some have bowed down to modern trends and allowed themselves to be manipulated by their feelings, messages from any other teacher besides God and the Holy Spirit, and other gospels. Too many people are looking for a religion that is easy and makes us feel good. In the world, we are taught about a Christ that accepts everyone just the way they are, with no judgement on anything, and the prosperity gospel.  Instead of looking for a Church that teaches truth, many are on a quest to find a church that can satisfy their desire to worship God, but only in their own way.....or live the lifestyle that they want to live, regardless of how ungodly it really is and neglecting The Bible on the matter.  The Christian life is not a ‘buffet’ that you can compile your  perfect life from. There is no salvation in building your own religion or customizing Christ to suit your needs and wants, but the popular trend is to determine how you’d like to live your life and then to conform Christ to that lifestyle. One way it is done is by appealing to Christ’s infinite love and mercy, but we can’t just go around reciting that “God is Love” (1 John 4:8) and disregard the truth and seriousness of sin.  John 3:16 is a beloved verse and amazing to ponder.  In addition to this great and wonderful verse, there is a seriousness in God's actions.  The seriousness to judge, righteously, sin and to please God the Father with a sacrifice for ALL sin.  Only one could satisfy, totally, God.  The God-man, Jesus Christ.  A perfectly sinless man who willingly GAVE his life to please his Father in Heaven.  This is the seriousness of God's love.  Christ's sacrificial death wasn't just a show of infinite and holy love, however it certainly was a magnificent display of God's love,.  In addition to that love, many more attributes are.also involved, simultaneously.  God's judgement on sin means that God hates sin (Proverbs 6:16-19 ; Proverbs 8:13) and the perfect sacrifice, Jesus Christ, was needed to atone for all mankind. 

I've noticed a trend over the years that is growing greater among Christians and it is an unhinged focus on the Love of God.  At the base of this movement is the feeling that Christ was so loving and accepting of everyone, that He would never stand for any kind of exclusion or discrimination. This could not be further from the truth. Yes… it is true that Christ loves everyone and yes it is true that we should practice inclusion, but Christ was far from accepting behaviors that were not in accordance with His commandments or His word.  He didn’t come to this earth and just let people act however they wanted to act. “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” he said in Matthew 10 verse 34. He continues, “For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.”  How and why will “a man’s foes be they of his own household?” Because Christ asks Christians to take a stand and that stand is even more important than family.  In essence, He asks which side of the line you’re going to be on…and you prove which side you are on by “keeping the faith” and standing firm to God's word. Not everything is ok or accepted by God.  All are loved by Him, but our behaviors, if not in line with God's word, need to be repented of.

Does that sound all-inclusive and accepting of anything opposite God's word?

If Christ were walking the earth today preaching the same things He was preaching back in His day, people would be flying off the handle. He’d teach hard things, draw a line in the sand, tell people He loves them and ask them to repent. Maybe He would even get mad and turn over some tables, (or big, amplified speakers) (Matt 21:12-13) But then people would call Him a bigot, self-righteous, and un-accepting of others. People that oppose any part of God's word would just go their own way, and maybe start their own form of religion, just like when Christ was on earth and the disciples were offended and departed. The question you have to ask yourself is the same question He asked His disciples, “Will ye also go away”? (John 6:67)

People get mad at Bible Churches, it’s leaders, and individual Christians across the world for trying to defend some of the basic commandments.  Christians inside and outside of the Church label bible doctrine as old and outdated, and in the same breath say that firm Christians are taking things way to far or reading into scripture.  Consider the woman taken in adultery in John 8. The Savior did not condemn her… but he also didn’t condone what she did. He loved her and He forgave her, but He also meant what He said when He told her to “go and sin no more.” The forgiveness of Christ should not be misinterpreted for acceptance. 

Another issue that the Bible clearly teaches about is the doctrine of seperation.  Being separate UNTO God, yet also APART from the world.  The absence of this is clearly seen in the worship wars.  The Bible tells the believer in 1 John 2:15  "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him."  This is a powerful verse.  Love not the things of this world, and yet it seems that Christians love their way of worship and their preference for Christian music, more than obedience to God's prescription of worship, after all.....does the CREATION get a say in how his or her CREATOR is approached?

(To learn more about Biblical worship, visit my worship blog.  Link is in the right hand column.)

We should be  loving and compassionate but we should never allow ourselves to believe that Christ just accepts our behaviors or lifestyles, just because we are His children.  That was never in the program. He’s always asked us to change, to repent, to get better, and to overcome the things that we struggle with. (Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.)  Christians need to quit trying to align God's will with ours and let God's will rule and lead our lives.

It is also necessary and loving, and Biblical to follow Galations 6:1-2, which commands believers to "bear each other's burdens", or in other words, come along side a brother or sister and disciple them out of that fault and share the scriptures that refute that fault.  Sadly, that too, is seen as unloving and judgemental in today's world. 

Many people are taking the equality and fairness argument to the extreme, assuming that Jesus is accepting of everything, especially if the word Christian is attached.  It’s just not true according to the scriptures. 

James 1:5-6 "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.  But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed."

Friday, September 28, 2018

Why I do not support John MacArthur and John Piper

This piece on John MacArthur is borrowed from the Salem Bible church's website, Salem NH.

A lot of popular speakers and teachers may use the same terminology that all other Christians use, however they are different. 1 thing I have noticed while listening to both, MacArthur and Piper and others is that they assign a different meaning to those terms.  That is evidenced by the context in which it is used.  It does not always make Biblical sense.  I dont believe these men intentionally confuse biblical truth, however it is always wise to be aware of theses things and follow the biblical command of comparing things to scripture.

They may have also, at one time, been spot on accurate in some views, but have recently changed.  Like in the case of MacArthur's view on music.

"Why I cannot support

MacArthur’s


Shepherd’s Conferences


Because he teaches Lordship salvation and says the gospel  I proclaim sends men to Hell


“Several who disagree with my views have said in print that the lordship controversy is a matter of eternal consequence. This means that whoever is wrong on this question is proclaiming a message that can send people to hell. On that we agree…. The two sides in this argument have distinctly different views of salvation.”   (Gospel According to Jesus, pg.xiv)

Because he denies and ridicules the doctrine of the two natures of the believer


“The new nature is not added to the old nature but replaces it… Biblical terminology, then, does not say that a Christian has two different natures. He has but one nature, the new nature in Christ.” He also mockingly refers to the doctrine of the two natures of the believer as “spiritual schizophrenia.”  (Macarthur Commentary on Ephesians, chapter 13, p. 164)

Because he promotes rock and roll music for the youth


The Resolved Conference which Macarthur promotes and at which he speaks incorporates worldly rock music, in direct contradiction to his earlier excellent statements against such music.  Go to resolved.org   and listen for yourself.

Because he is not a separatist


His speakers have included John Piper (extreme Calvinist; believer in sign gifts), R.C. Sproul (believes in baptismal regeneration), C.J. Mahaney (charismatic); etc.

Because the speakers at the Shepherd’s  Conferences have included the country’s leading criticsof dispensational theology


R.C. Sproul has been one of the nation’s leading critics of Dispensational theology and yet has been a featured speaker at Macarthur’s conferences. Many of his speakers are Reformed and decidedly anti-dispensational.

Because he minimizes the importance and value of dispensational theology and  disparages many of its tenets


Macarthur on Dispensationalism: “I will try to condense this because I don’t want to get too bogged down. Dispensationalism is a system. It is a system that got, sort of, out of control.”    He calls himself a “leaky dispensationalist” and does not like to use the term because he said it carries too much “baggage.”

Because his conferences include a confusing mixture of speakers who hold conflicting theological positions 


(i.e. dispensational & anti-dispensational; premillennial & amillennial; charismatic & non-charismatic)

Because he and his speakers promote a wide range of extreme Calvinistic views


Many of the speakers are Reformed Theologians who hold and promote their extreme Calvinistic views at the conferences.

Because he is a neo evangelical in his approach to ministry


Most of his speakers refer to themselves as “conservative evangelicals” which is the new name for those who seek to distance themselves from fundamentalists. They are characterized by a lack of separation, a lowering of music standards, a disparaging of dispensationalism, and the acceptance of charismatic style worship.

Because his ministry is dividing fundamentalism and drawing young people in a wrong direction


In a day when churches are losing their young people to the world and worldly churches, we don’t need another “bridge-maker” to lure them away from Dispensationalism to Reformed Theology and away from traditional, sacred Christian music, to loud, raucous, “Christian” pop and rock, and away from reverential worship to a casual, worldly, charismatic style of worship.

 

“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.” (Rom. 16:17)"



Friday, April 20, 2018

Waiting on the Lord, or becoming stagnant?

I've noticed a trend when Christians are waiting on an answer from the Lord.  Christians (me included) always want an immediate answer from the Lord, whether yes or no, so we can move forward in whatever we think is the next step.  A lot of times, claiming to be waiting on the Lord isn't always resting in His sovereignty, but rather stalling ourselves from moving forward and, as a result, facilitating a season of stagnation.


1. Do what you want to.

One of the major inner conflicts Christians face when trying to discern God’s will is knowing the difference between God’s voice and their own desires.

Was that me or God?”

This is not only frustrating; it’s actually the wrong question. God sometimes leads us through our own desires and He’s the one who has placed those desires inside of us.  So if there is something you're interested in and want to do, go do it.

Make a decision, take a risk, chase a dream.....yes, I said it, chase a dream.  Keeping in mind, of course, God's sovereignty and God's commands. 

You don’t necessarily need God’s permission to go to a farewell party, where others would be drinking, for a good friend or go on a vacation trip that you've always wanted to go on; you already have it. He designed you and gave you the desires you have for a reason. Go explore them and find out what that reason is (Maybe it's just a time of enjoyment, maybe there's a bigger opportunity the Lord has planned), but grow in the Lord in that endeavor.....and seek opportunities to be a witness for Christ in where ever you go.


2. Do what you have to.

The question really shouldn’t be, “What do you want to do with your life?” It should be, “What do you have to do with your life?”  With the life God has given you.

At the same time, what are you so passionate about or have always wanted to do that you feel you need to do?  What has grabbed your heart and wont let go? Go do that.

You never know the opportunities God has for you, in whatever circumstances you choose to create.

3. Do what magnifies God.


To magnify is to make something look bigger. Another way to say it is, do what makes much of God. Or to say it Biblically, “Whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God,” (I Cor. 10:31).

This can be just about anything.

You can magnify God as a plumber, an accountant or an actor on Broadway. You can magnify God by going to the local college, to Harvard, or even by not going at all. And you can magnify God, not by trying to find the most perfect, God-ordained spouse, but by being faithful to whoever you choose and are allowed to marry.

Magnifying God is only sourced from having a humble heart of worship, and you can do that with just about any life decision you make.


4. Do what’s in front of you.

This might be the most important one.

Many people believe they have a big calling, but they don’t want to do the hard work to get there and so, it's never pursued. Instead, they wait for God to drop a big opportunity into their laps, but following God's lead doesn’t mean you get to take a shortcut to where you think your calling might be.

You might want to be a CEO, or a successful artist, or a pastor. Those are all great desires, but none of those opportunities will just fall into your lap. They take time, experience and hard work, even if they are the Lord's will.

Our focus, though, should be doing the best at what's in front of us.  For the most part, that’s what you can have immediate say in and you won't become stagnant.

You can’t make someone hire you as a CEO, but you can work hard to earn a management position, and you can seek wisdom from other business owners you know. You can’t make someone pay you for your art, but you can start working on your art form or get to know others in that art form. You can’t make a church hire you as their pastor, but you can disciple the people around you and ask your pastor to mentor you.


Becoming stagnant is never a good idea for any Christian and following the Lord's will is always best, however it's not always easy to discern.  Thankfully, God leads his children in His plan for them, regardless of their choices. Yes, because of poor choices, God's plan for his children can be delayed, but with a studious heart to His word, constant prayer, and Biblically practical habits, that "dream" can turn into Godly opportunities for God's plan. Dreams may be out of reach, that’s why they’re called dreams, but the next step is not. It’s right in front of you.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Harry Potter, Game of Thrones and the Bible.

There’s no denying that Harry Potter has taken the world by storm and continues to.  It’s also quite clear that the Bible speaks out against sorcery and witchcraft. However, the vast majority of Bible believers have tried to find ways to defuse whatever the Bible says about sorcery by claiming that it has nothing to do with Harry Potter.

In Galatians 5:20, sorcery is listed as part of the “deeds of the flesh” along with things like idolatry, drunkenness, and fornication. “Sorcerers” are named in a similar list in Revelation 21:8. In Acts 19:19, those that practice magic brought their books and burned them when they turned to the Lord. In the Old Testament, Deuteronomy 18:10-14 WARNS the nation of Israel about the things they will face in their new land – like idolatry, child sacrifices, and witchcraft. 2 Chronicles 33:6 says that King Manasseh “practiced witchcraft, used divination, practiced sorcery and dealt with mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking Him to anger”.  Clearly, in both the Old and New Testaments God was and still is against sorcery, witchcraft, and divination

So, how does that NOT apply to Harry Potter? The first claim is that the words mean something different than the kind of magic practiced in Harry Potter. Let’s look at the words. The Greek word (roughly transliterated) is pharmakeia. Yes, that’s where our word “pharmacy” comes from. Typically that leads people to say that this word is talking about drug abuse, thus it does not apply to HP.  While I can see why they make that claim, those that translated practically every English version of the Bible seem to think that it had to do with more than drug abuse.   Bauer's lexicon, a definitive lexicon on New Testament Greek, defines it as “sorcery, magic” and “magic arts” (Bauer 1049). Clearly it implies more than just simple drug use. However, even if it did, would Harry Potter’s use of potions pass this test?

What about “witchcraft”? This one is a little tougher since it isn’t used in the New Testament. The Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon defines it as one who practices “soothsaying or spiritism or magic or augury” (Strong #6049). So, witchcraft is a much broader term than sorcery. It includes magic, but it basically is about fortune telling and divining the future. These (sorcery and witchcraft) terms have everything to do with the kind of magic practiced in Harry Potter.

The next claim is that Harry Potter is just fiction and this kind of magic isn’t real, so there’s nothing wrong with HP. First, just because it is fictional doesn’t get us off the hook. Remember, sorcery was listed as a deed of the flesh along with idolatry and sexual immorality. I don’t know of any Christian that would make a case for watching movies where fornicators and homosexuals are the heroes. I have a hard time seeing how just saying “it’s fictional” makes it acceptable. Second, this magic may not exist as much today (although there are still practicing witches, warlocks, magicians, psychics, vampires and vampiresses, etc.), but it clearly isn’t a completely foreign idea. In Exodus 7, Pharaoh had sorcerers that would come out and try to match the miracles of God. This is why God felt it necessary to warn His people about these men in Deuteronomy 18. King Nebuchadnezzar also kept a staff of magicians, sorcerers, and conjurers in Daniel 2:2. While some may claim that people can’t work these acts today, it hasn’t stopped the wiccan “religion” from staying alive and well. It hasn’t disappeared completely, so saying that it is fiction or such a far-fetched idea that we need not worry about it, doesn’t work either.  Let's not forget that Ephesians chapter 6 warns that the Christian battles against SPIRITUAL wickedness.

Game of Thrones is another popular show among Christians.  Entertainment is not a neutral exercise. In every instance, it’s going to be a net positive or a net negative for the mental and spiritual welfare and inviting these messages, images, and ideas into the mind is detrimental. We are doing something that is active and purposeful, and it will either help or hurt in the end.

Music, movies, TV, games — we spend so much of our lives wrapped up in all this stuff because it affects us. There’s a reason why Americans still commit an inordinate amount of their income to cable bills, Netflix accounts, movie tickets, and video games. It’s important to us. Too important, clearly. But even in proper proportion, this is art, and art is a powerful thing. Art says something to us and about us. It drives us and transforms us. Art moves the heart and the mind in a particular direction. It can pull us closer to God or push us further away from our Creator, but whatever it does, it does something.

So anytime we sit in front of the tube, we should ask: Am I progressing or regressing? Is this drawing me to God or away from Him? What am I getting out of this?

The opposing argument, however, says that entertainment is never a moral concern. A thing is pleasurable because it is, and it is because it is. Why worry about it? Why analyze it? Just sit back and let it sweep you away into its world. Be so utterly passive and lethargic that you don’t even stop to think about what you’re thinking about. Become like a vacant shell, filled in and emptied again according to the whims of these glowing screens. If the entertainment industry says, “here, stuff this in your brain, it’ll feel good,” just do it and take whatever they give you. Take it and go with the flow.

Game of Thrones has certainly benefited from this careless attitude immensely, although sometimes they can take it too far, even by their audience’s permissive standards. Occasionally, the debauchery on the show runs a bit ahead of Hollywood’s campaign of desensitization, and viewers are confronted with material that they aren’t quite numb enough to accept (yet).

No, it wasn’t real, it was a fantasy, but that’s the point. A choice was made to include this material into an entertainment show about dragons and guys with swords. So what was the point? Why did it need to be shown? What purpose did it serve? What value did it have? And from the viewer’s perspective, is there ever a good reason to watch a rape happen, even if it’s just pretend?


Answers:

What was the point? Shock and spectacle.

Why did it need to be shown? It didn’t.

What purpose did it serve? Promotional tool.

What value did it have? None. Also, entertainment.


Is there ever a good reason to watch a rape? 

Of course not.

The arguments in defense of christians watching these show can be summarized as follows: The shows reveals the complexity of human nature and illustrates the ugliness of sin, therefore viewers can learn from it.

Seemingly clever rationalizations, but flimsy. Flimsy particularly because this could apply to literally everything that’s ever been filmed. By this line of reasoning, Christians should watch the bloodiest and most graphic imagery just to fully understand the realities of our imperfect existence.

Of course, the only thing worse than the “it shows what sin looks like” excuse is the “Christians shouldn’t hide from the culture” bit. And they’re correct. We shouldn’t hide. But we shouldn’t go along with it or follow its dictates or conform to it, either. (Romans 12:1-2) In this culture, lots of sins are considered fun, harmless, and entertaining. Do I need to actually commit them all, or watch someone commit them while I sit on my couch and cheer along, in order to not be guilty of “hiding”?

I mean, does anyone believe that the producers of the show choose to pepper it with non-stop nudity and sex in order to sharpen our moral sensibilities or to teach us something? Does anyone buy that? Is HBO filling the airwaves with graphic sex in order to show that man is fallen? They are indeed demonstrating that fact by putting this on TV, but is that their intent?  Doubtful. Whatever their intent, should we participate in it? Should we indulge in it? Is it cool to sit down once a week to watch something that we know will involve graphic sex and stylized violence? If you wouldn’t want your spouse watching that garbage on the internet, is it alright as long as there’s a more intricate story and better acting surrounding it?

I’m not saying that Christians should only watch children’s cartoons. I’m not saying Christians should insulate themselves from the culture entirely, or relegate all of their viewing habits to Charlie Brown specials or veggietales. The Bible tells us to protect our purity of heart and mind, and if those exhortations don’t apply to shows like Game of Thrones and  Harry Potter when and where do they apply?  


A simple illustration.

Perhaps we should treat our brains and souls with the same respect we give a kitchen sponge. You wouldn’t put your sponge in the toilet and then use it to clean your dinner plate. Why, then, do we let our brains absorb hours of filth every day and then think we can turn around and use those same minds to be decent, virtuous and Godly people in real life?

A lot of Christians (me included) are willing to write off bad language, sex scenes, or practices contrary to the Bible that we're commanded to avoid, in movies and books because we like the story. Let us never become desensitized.  Daily, we have to go back to Philippians 4:8 and guard our ear gates and eyegates with the Word of God.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

More than a blog

Did you know I have another blog and a facebook page for my book?

Please feel free to check out my worship blog, and follow my book's facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/PleasingDeceiving/

www.biblicalworshipstudy.blogspot.com

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

SINGLE PONDERINGS

Singleness can be a very lonely time.
Almost every Christian single knows all too well the overwhelming feeling of loneliness, sometimes to the point that going food shopping gets depressing.......SIMPLY and ONLY because you have no company, but whether it’s living with an unfulfilled desire, or just being alone a lot, like a lot, singleness can be the loneliest season, that seems to just drag on and on.

Being single in your 20’s is far different from your 30’s and beyond.

When we think of singles, we think of teens and college kids. But it’s far more than that. Churches all across the world are filled with singles who are divorced, widowed, or over the age of 29. “Being single in your 30’s is so different from your twenties, sometimes, I feel lost.” a friend once told me

I'm still in my 30s, but as the years go by, I can already see the feelings, attitudes, and perspectives toward singleness changing to that of a sort of terminally diseased person.  Obviously, this makes for super awkward encounters, or it makes singles choose to avoid those people.  At times, it's like other Christians seem ashamed to be seen having a conversation with a single person. 

Things to be mindful of

Watch your social media posts. Not every single social media update has to be about your spouse. Admittedly, this is obviously more to fault the singles over the married couples, but constant posts about your spouse or family, or anything related to that can create envy in singles and further push them away.  This is just something to be aware of.

Watch your words closely. "Stop saying, ‘just be content in Christ,' " is, unfortunately, very likely the first thought that enters the mind of a single person in conversation. When people rush into truthful statements, or rush to a specific point without first listening and understanding what a Christian single is saying, it makes singles feel like you don’t care.  I'm always reminded of this quote .

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply” Stephen R. Covey.

Give the truth in love, however, jumping to these blunt, albeit very true statements can also be perceived as "This is what you need to know, but stop talking to me."

Don’t try to play “Match-Maker.” This is a BIG one. Introducing a godly guy to a godly gal is fine, but constantly trying to hook singles up in your church is exasperating.  I'm sure I'm not the only single that finds this exhaustingly annoying.

Intentionally pursue GENUINE friendships with singles. Married, it's ok to genuinely be friends with a single person.  They don't have leprosy and just because you’re married doesn’t mean you can’t hang out. Just don't ALWAYS talk about setting them up with so-and-so or even go through the names of all the single people you could introduce them to.

Ways churches can help

Provide Bible studies for singles.....of ALL ages.  A lot of "singles ministries" are nothing more than social clubs.  Perhaps that bible study could be a series of messages on all the single people in the Bible and applied to current day situations, encouragement for waiting on the Lord.....or being prepared to never be married. 

Maybe host an annual game night at church, encouraging singles to come out.  Churches can help by facilitating an atmosphere of genuine friendship building. That is, set things up to where married folks hang out with single folks more often.

Answer the questions singles are asking. However, when answering questions, don't look down at the person as if to say, "you should know this..why don't you know this?"  Or " I don't need to talk to you, I'm married, go look it up/study it yourself"  That tone just pushes them away.

FOSTER and ENCOURAGE the talent of talented single Christians. Many churches are “run” by married folks. We must adhere to the biblical guidelines of church leadership found in 1 Tim. 3 and other places, but let’s not forget about singles when it comes to small group leaders, giving announcements, and other such roles.

Ways anybody can encourage singles in their lives.

Encourage and remind them of the blessings of their time.  Many Christian singles feel lonely, but not all.  Yes, singleness can be painful, but it doesn’t have to be joyless. Whether it’s overseas missions, serving the church, or more time for evangelism, singleness offers a lot of advantages that married people don’t have and encourage the singles you know in this.

Some singles definitely have a deep and, at times, burning desire to be married one day and some will probably get married...and some may not. The big wedding day, honeymoon, and family that they envision for their life may come......or it may not. No one has any idea what’s going to happen to them tomorrow, let alone their future. Instead of placing hope in a spouse, place hope in the perfect life, death, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, and encourage living for the glory of Christ.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A Biblical perspective

Does God detest the occult?

Ephesians 5:11-12 "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.  For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret."
Witchcraft and sorcery is specifically named by God in the old and new testaments. 
Deuteronomy 18:10-11 "There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, 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."

      Pay close attention to the next verse

"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."
These verses are under a different dispensation and so some say that God has changed, but let's look in the new testament.   The Holy Spirit groups witchcraft, idolatry, sorcery, etc. under sins that are a direct result of the sinful nature.

Galatians 5:19-21 "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, WITCHCRAFT, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."

I'm not sure that anything can be misinterpreted here.  Witchcraft, idolatry, sorcery, etc. are all works of the flesh.  Romans 8:8 is also very clear in stating "So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God."  This verse, itself, is convicting.  How often do Christians do things in the flesh?  Sometimes even witnessing to others can be done in the flesh.  It is so prevalent that we don't even think about it most times, yet this verse tells all believers that when something is done in the flesh, it's useless.  The Christian's goal, like the apostle Paul in Philippians chapter 3, ought to be to please God in every aspect of life.   

Here are some brief and initial thoughts from a few new believers.

-God is a God of life, but Halloween focuses on death. Should I participate in a holiday where people decorate their front yards with tombstones?

-The Scriptures tell us to put away deeds of darkness (Rom.13:12) and that light has nothing in common with darkness (2 Cor. 6:14). Is celebrating a dark holiday something a child of the light should be doing?

-I had been delivered from fear and panic attacks and knew that fear comes from the enemy. Should I participate in a holiday that has fear as its very foundation?

-Witchcraft is clearly detestable to the Lord (Deut 18:10-13). Shouldn't something that glorifies witchcraft (just take a walk through the Halloween store) be detestable to me as well?"

-Halloween is a sacred, high holiday for wiccans (the official religion of witchcraft). Is this a holiday Christians should celebrate alongside wiccans?
-Is it cute when we dress our kids like the devil (or witches, ghouls, scary characters, etc.)? Isn't it, well, demonic?

-What if my child dresses in a wholesome fireman costume? Romans 16:19 says that we need to be wise to what is good and innocent of evil. If I let him participate in Halloween, even while dressed as a fireman, aren't I sending him a mixed message by allowing him to participate in a celebration of evil?

-The Lord said in 2 Cor. 6:17, "Come out from among them and be ye separate ... Touch no unclean thing ..." Doesn't God want His children to be set apart from the world and from sin and evil? Aren't we supposed to be a peculiar people?

-My extended family thinks it's ridiculous that we not allow our son to dress up for Halloween. Should their opinions matter to me more than God's? Shouldn't pleasing God be my utmost concern?

-If there is even a question in my heart and mind that it might be wrong, shouldn't that be my first clue? Why would I continue to do so with even a lingering thought that it is wrong?

-Does Halloween bring glory to God? No! It glorifies the devil!