Faith

Reformation Day & Halloween

The overlap between Reformation Day and Halloween may be more than just a coincidence. In the following article, we’ll take a look at a surprising connection between Reformation Day and Halloween–and what this can show us about following Christ in the 21st century.

H1 What’s a Rich Text element?

H2 What’s a Rich Text element?

H3 What’s a Rich Text element?

H4 What’s a Rich Text element?

H5 What’s a Rich Text element?
H6 What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

H4 Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

H4 How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

  • List Item 1
  • List Item 2
  • List Item 3

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Every year on October 31, we celebrate two holidays–Reformation Day and Halloween. 

In the Church, we might see this as an odd coincidence. Reformation Day is acknowledged as the start of the Protestant Reformation and associated with greater Biblical literacy. Halloween, on the other hand, is a day known for spookier stuff, with roots in pagan rituals and even witchcraft. 

The overlap between Reformation Day and Halloween may be more than just a coincidence, however. In the following article, we’ll take a look at a surprising connection between Reformation Day and Halloween–and what this can show us about following Christ in the 21st century. 

What is Reformation Day?

Reformation Day effectively commemorates the birth of Protestantism. In 1517, an Augustinian monk and professor of philosophy named Martin Luther posted a document known as the Ninety-five Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. 

The document addressed the practice of selling so-called indulgences to absolve believers of their sin. In a series of questions and propositions, Luther effectively pointed out the error in thinking that one could “purchase” his or her own salvation. 

The main point? 

Salvation comes by faith in Jesus alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). The Ninety-five Theses states, “Hence it comes that faith alone makes righteous and fulfills the law.” Luther also established the Bible as the supreme religious authority for believers in Christ, emphasizing Scripture as the basis for his beliefs and propositions. 

Today, that event is recognized as the start of the Protestant Reformation. In much of Germany, Reformation Day is recognized as an official public holiday, with some attending special church services and others simply taking the day off to rest or travel.

Finally, Reformation Day isn’t a source of contention between the Protestant and Catholic Church, at least not anymore. On the 499th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, Pope Francis traveled to Sweden to take part in a joint commemoration of the holiday, along with Lutheran leaders. 

Today, we can safely say that Reformation Day is a holiday that celebrates Biblical truth, salvation by grace, and even unity. 

But what does it have to do with Halloween?

Why is Reformation Day on Halloween? 

To understand why Luther chose October 31 to post his 95 Theses, we’ll need to first take a look at what Halloween represented in 1517. 

Back in the 16th century, Halloween may not have been an occasion to buy candy in bulk or host a party. But there was still an observed holiday, commonly known as All Hallows Day, on November 1. The day was created as an alternative to a Celtic pagan holiday known as “Samhain.” According to tradition, people could ward off evil spirits during this time by dressing as evil spirits themselves (hence the tradition of dressing up as ghosts, witches, and ghouls). 

A little disturbing, right?

To offer an alternative, the Church began All Saints Day on November 1, a day commemorating saints and martyrs. The day was also known as “All Hallows Day” (“Hallowed” being another word for “Holy”)–hence, All Hallows Eve, or Halloween, is the evening before November 1. 

According to scholars, it’s no coincidence that Martin Luther chose All Hallows Eve to post the 95 theses. 

“The reason he did that was because the next day was All Saints' Day," explains Steven Martinson, professor of German Studies at University of Arizona. "He knew that well-educated people were going to come to the services."

Castle Church, where Luther posted the Ninety-five theses, was home to over 5,000 relics–one for each saint. Since one of the most important parts of All Hallows Day was to visit the church to observe the relics, Luther knew that faithful believers would come to this specific church on this specific day. 

In short, Luther was strategic. He had a message of truth for the followers of Christ, some of which were being deceived into thinking they could (or should) purchase their way into heaven. By asking some simple questions and citing the Scriptures in a well-researched academic document, Luther effectively changed the course of history. 

What Can We Learn from Reformation Day?

The message of Reformation Day isn’t denominational or exclusive to a specific group of believers in Christ. The message is simple: salvation by faith alone, outlined throughout the Bible. 

Here are several scriptures that outline salvation by faith alone.

  • For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
  • Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:1)
  • Know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified. (Galatians 2:16)

Luther is also famous for saying, “We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone.” He was by no means an advocate of ignoring the need for good works, and he believed James 2:14–What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 

What Luther advocated for was the primacy of Scripture in a world that seemed to have forgotten Biblical truth in many ways. He wanted believers to know “Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2), and to know that their sin was paid for on the Cross–not in the coffers. 

A Final Note on Martin Luther

While Luther was by no means a perfect man, he did set a powerful example for believers then and today. He was bold and strategic in setting forth Scriptural truth, despite knowing that he would come under attack for doing so (and he did; Luther was officially declared a heretic four weeks after posting the Ninety-five Theses). 

What can we learn from him? Be brave in proclaiming the gospel, and be strategic about how you share your message. Now is no time to shrink back, and though we may be facing a different set of challenges than paying for indulgences, the solution remains the same–Christ and the centrality of Scripture. 

podcast transcript

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H1 What’s a Rich Text element?

H2 What’s a Rich Text element?

H3 What’s a Rich Text element?

H4 What’s a Rich Text element?

H5 What’s a Rich Text element?
H6 What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

H4 Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

H4 How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

  • List Item 1
  • List Item 2
  • List Item 3

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

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Reformation Day & Halloween

Reformation Day & Halloween

The overlap between Reformation Day and Halloween may be more than just a coincidence. In the following article, we’ll take a look at a surprising connection between Reformation Day and Halloween–and what this can show us about following Christ in the 21st century.

Show notes

Every year on October 31, we celebrate two holidays–Reformation Day and Halloween. 

In the Church, we might see this as an odd coincidence. Reformation Day is acknowledged as the start of the Protestant Reformation and associated with greater Biblical literacy. Halloween, on the other hand, is a day known for spookier stuff, with roots in pagan rituals and even witchcraft. 

The overlap between Reformation Day and Halloween may be more than just a coincidence, however. In the following article, we’ll take a look at a surprising connection between Reformation Day and Halloween–and what this can show us about following Christ in the 21st century. 

What is Reformation Day?

Reformation Day effectively commemorates the birth of Protestantism. In 1517, an Augustinian monk and professor of philosophy named Martin Luther posted a document known as the Ninety-five Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. 

The document addressed the practice of selling so-called indulgences to absolve believers of their sin. In a series of questions and propositions, Luther effectively pointed out the error in thinking that one could “purchase” his or her own salvation. 

The main point? 

Salvation comes by faith in Jesus alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). The Ninety-five Theses states, “Hence it comes that faith alone makes righteous and fulfills the law.” Luther also established the Bible as the supreme religious authority for believers in Christ, emphasizing Scripture as the basis for his beliefs and propositions. 

Today, that event is recognized as the start of the Protestant Reformation. In much of Germany, Reformation Day is recognized as an official public holiday, with some attending special church services and others simply taking the day off to rest or travel.

Finally, Reformation Day isn’t a source of contention between the Protestant and Catholic Church, at least not anymore. On the 499th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, Pope Francis traveled to Sweden to take part in a joint commemoration of the holiday, along with Lutheran leaders. 

Today, we can safely say that Reformation Day is a holiday that celebrates Biblical truth, salvation by grace, and even unity. 

But what does it have to do with Halloween?

Why is Reformation Day on Halloween? 

To understand why Luther chose October 31 to post his 95 Theses, we’ll need to first take a look at what Halloween represented in 1517. 

Back in the 16th century, Halloween may not have been an occasion to buy candy in bulk or host a party. But there was still an observed holiday, commonly known as All Hallows Day, on November 1. The day was created as an alternative to a Celtic pagan holiday known as “Samhain.” According to tradition, people could ward off evil spirits during this time by dressing as evil spirits themselves (hence the tradition of dressing up as ghosts, witches, and ghouls). 

A little disturbing, right?

To offer an alternative, the Church began All Saints Day on November 1, a day commemorating saints and martyrs. The day was also known as “All Hallows Day” (“Hallowed” being another word for “Holy”)–hence, All Hallows Eve, or Halloween, is the evening before November 1. 

According to scholars, it’s no coincidence that Martin Luther chose All Hallows Eve to post the 95 theses. 

“The reason he did that was because the next day was All Saints' Day," explains Steven Martinson, professor of German Studies at University of Arizona. "He knew that well-educated people were going to come to the services."

Castle Church, where Luther posted the Ninety-five theses, was home to over 5,000 relics–one for each saint. Since one of the most important parts of All Hallows Day was to visit the church to observe the relics, Luther knew that faithful believers would come to this specific church on this specific day. 

In short, Luther was strategic. He had a message of truth for the followers of Christ, some of which were being deceived into thinking they could (or should) purchase their way into heaven. By asking some simple questions and citing the Scriptures in a well-researched academic document, Luther effectively changed the course of history. 

What Can We Learn from Reformation Day?

The message of Reformation Day isn’t denominational or exclusive to a specific group of believers in Christ. The message is simple: salvation by faith alone, outlined throughout the Bible. 

Here are several scriptures that outline salvation by faith alone.

  • For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
  • Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:1)
  • Know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified. (Galatians 2:16)

Luther is also famous for saying, “We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone.” He was by no means an advocate of ignoring the need for good works, and he believed James 2:14–What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 

What Luther advocated for was the primacy of Scripture in a world that seemed to have forgotten Biblical truth in many ways. He wanted believers to know “Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2), and to know that their sin was paid for on the Cross–not in the coffers. 

A Final Note on Martin Luther

While Luther was by no means a perfect man, he did set a powerful example for believers then and today. He was bold and strategic in setting forth Scriptural truth, despite knowing that he would come under attack for doing so (and he did; Luther was officially declared a heretic four weeks after posting the Ninety-five Theses). 

What can we learn from him? Be brave in proclaiming the gospel, and be strategic about how you share your message. Now is no time to shrink back, and though we may be facing a different set of challenges than paying for indulgences, the solution remains the same–Christ and the centrality of Scripture. 

video transcript

(Scroll for more)