"Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that "all of us possess knowledge." This "knowledge" puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God. Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that "an idol has no real existence," and that "there is no God but one." For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth--as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"-- yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol's temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble." (1 Corinthians 8:1-13).
Legalism. It's a word that is thrown around in churches, rather loosely at times. Just what defines legalism depends on who you ask. Most dispensationalists would define a legalist as anyone who preaches or teaches obedience to God's law, thus making Jesus Christ Himself a "legalist" (Matthew 5:17-18). One of the godfathers of dispensationalism, Charles Ryrie writes, "our Lord... terminated the Law and provided a new and living way to God". I'll deal more with this nonsense in another discourse, but for the present subject, we'll focus in on the need for God's Law as a remedy, rather than a cause, of legalism. As it turns out, some of our more dispensationalist churches are the most legalistic. Having removed God's Law as a standard for righteous living, they are free to create their own laws. These legalistic rules range from forbidding the use of alcoholic beverages (which the Bible allows) to the more left wing "What would Jesus Drive?" condemnation of Sports Utility Vehicles, all without the slightest mention of such regulations in Scripture. The blessed part about being a Christian is that we are free from man-made religious ordinances. We are free to eat what we want, drink what we want, and yes, drive what we want. For "... if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8:36).
In 1 Corinthians 8, Paul was dealing with the issue of eating meats offered to idols. Obviously, this isn't much of an issue today, but we can glean much in the area of Christian liberty from this passage. Of course you can eat the meat, Paul tells the Corinthians, for "Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do" (1 Corinthians 8:8). This is because "an idol has no real existence" (1 Corinthians 8:4). The same can be said for drinking alcoholic beverages, listening to secular music, use of tobacco products, the celebration of holidays (including Halloween1), eating meat, and driving SUVs. The commandments of men to "forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created" is referred to as "seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils" (1 Timothy 4:1-2). While everyone has different standards for their own lives concerning these issues, the Bible leaves the final decision up to the individual to decide. “So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths” (Colossians 2:16). While the church cannot condone what the Bible forbids (see United Church of Christ backs gay marriage) neither can the church forbid what the Bible allows (See Does Scripture Permit Us to Drink Alcoholic Beverages?). However...
This isn't the end of Paul's answer, and we need to consider the rest of the story in regard to Christian Liberty. Obviously, Christian liberty does not give us the freedom to disobey civil ordinances just because the Bible doesn’t specifically support the ordinance (Romans 13:1-7). Freedom to partake of alcohol requires a certain age, and disobedience to that requirement is a sin against God. Freedom to listen to secular music or go to the movie theatre doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t guard carefully what enters our ears and eyes (See Job 31:1 and Psalm 103:3. David can give you a firsthand testimony about the need to guard one’s eyes.) As we study further in 1 Corinthians 8, Paul exhorts us to "...take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol's temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols?" (1 Corinthians 8:9-10). As a result, “the weak person is destroyed" (1 Corinthians 8:11). For example, I am free, as a Christian, to partake of alcohol. However, most of my Christian friends abhor the use of alcohol and are offended by it. Should I rub it in their faces as a matter of Christian liberty? Furthermore, several of my Christian friends are former alcoholics. It would not only be foolish to offer them a drink in the name of Christian liberty, but a sin against Christ (1 Corinthians 8:12). As Christians, we have great freedom in Christ. However, with freedom comes the responsibility to exhort and strengthen weaker brethren, even if it means giving up some of our freedom. (We can always have a beer in the privacy of our own homes). "Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble" (1 Corinthians 8:13), (or have a beer).
1.) There has been a lot of, to put it politely, bad information regarding the History of Halloween. Dennis Rupert wrote a good article to sort fact from fiction called The History of Halloween -- It's Probably Not What You Think. That said, a Christian parent should really consider the kind of costume that his child wears.