Halloween Hollerin’ and the Christian Backbone
First things first. Since becoming a blood-bought child of the holy and living God, I cannot help but hate Halloween. This, because Scripture says “The fear of God is to hate evil” (Prov. 8:13). New Testament Christians are commanded to “not love the world or the things in the world” (1 Jn. 2:15); to “not imitate what is evil, but what is good” (3 Jn. 11); and to avoid even the “appearance of evil” (1 Thess. 5:22 KJV). How is it even remotely possible – and especially to a people who are typically so cognitive of the distinctive origins of those things which they do and do not practice – to participate in any and all such Halloween celebrations and festivities which are so deeply steeped in the dark and satanic, without breaking every one of those God-given commandments?!? (1)
However, having said that, although it is neither specifically indicative of, nor exclusively devoted to the celebration of Halloween, there is a T-shirt often seen out there this time of year that always seems to give me a chuckle whenever I see it. That particular shirt’s message actually serves as the centerpiece illustration for this article. It is the shirt with the two skeletons, one of which is holding the spine of the other in his hand, and with a caption which reads something along the lines of, “I got your back, bro.”
But let’s face it folks, there is absolutely nothing funny about – and in fact it is nothing short of a terrible tragedy – having a body without a backbone. Such a body can never be fully and truly healthy, and in reality, in most cases it cannot even actually long survive. And sadly, the same is just as true in the spiritual world, as it is in the physical one.
In Scripture, the church is often referred to and illustrated by utilizing the analogy of a “body” (Romans 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27; and etc), with Christ as its head (Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18, 24; and etc.), and with each and every member – just like the joints and ligaments in a human body – doing their best to help the body grow as strong and healthy as is absolutely possible (Ephesians 4:11-16).
In order to best accomplish that level of true biblical and spiritual growth, the local body, church, or congregation of God’s people must have at its core, the type of strong leadership – the evangelists, pastors (or elders), and teachers (vs. 11) – that will serve as it’s straight and narrow, unyielding and unbreakable, spiritual backbone. These must be the mature, learned, devoted, committed kind of Christian men and servants of the living God who will not for even a moment, treasonously or treacherously compromise or seek to pervert the powerful truth of God’s eternal word for any reason, person, price, or problem (Galatians 1:6-3:1, 5:1-12). These are the type of “backbone” leaders who would never sell out the truth for the sake of attendance, nor insist on shelving or silencing the sharing of certain texts for the sake of the church checking or savings account.
And brethren; above all, if the body of Christ where you work and worship is blessed enough to enjoy the life-giving and body-building benefits of such a vital “backbone” of spiritual leadership, then love, serve, guard, respect, obey, and pray for them constantly. This is exactly what the Apostle Paul was pleading for His brethren in the Thessalonian congregation to recognize and respond with when He wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13: “And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves.” As Hebrews 13:17 would similarly instruct: “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.”
Always remember, they have your back… let’s make sure that we have theirs!
Footnote (1): See: http://churchofchristarticles.com/blog/administrator/halloween-festivities