A Christian Witness Regarding Witchcraft Author:
Russ Wise Date:6/8/2004 5:53:56 PM
Witchcraft is on the rise and the youth of our culture are paying attention. They are enticed by witchcraft because they believe it offers them autonomy over their futures and yet they are naive about its consequences.
These young people are not simply naïve about their new-found belief. They are ill-informed about their Christian faith. Youth and adults alike often do not have a strong biblical foundation when it comes to rightly believing and understanding the teachings found in the Bible. As a result, they tend to doubt the reliability of the Scriptures and discount the gospel.
One’s worldview (the grid through which one views the world and his surroundings) shapes the individual’s beliefs and determines the route he or she takes to discover truth. Postmodernism1 is the predominate worldview of the day. Those who hold this view have a tendency to tolerate all others. Views that seem to be in opposition to one another are held in equality without one being superior to another. The view that one takes is determined by personal preference rather than its ability to justify truth claims. However, it is important to recognize that these same individuals do not accept worldviews that hold absolutist ideals, such as the Christian worldview.
Young people who have accepted postmodernism as their personal worldview are more susceptible to deception than those who hold a biblical worldview. They have a tendency to accept contradictory claims such as witchcraft without question because those truth claims are held by others who have personally experienced them. Their experience gives the claim credibility. A cognitive approach to understanding truth is seen as being too limiting. Experience is seen as the superior teacher.
Christian and non-Christian youth alike are equally open to this subtle form of deception. Many youth in our churches do not have an adequate understanding of their own faith and are often easily misled by false teachers and their own selfish desire to control their destiny. They do not want to accept a worldview that would cause them to obey someone or something beyond themselves. Postmodernism gives them the opportunity to build a belief system that they can relish and thereby be their own authority.
So, how do we witness to this postmodern youth and his or her peers? First, it may be helpful to understand some of the beliefs that these young people hold as truth.
·They tend to question authority and any one understanding of truth.
·They believe that all views are equally valid for their use. They are syncretistic.
·They believe that truth is determined by experience rather than by knowledge.
·They believe truth to be relative. It changes according to the current consensus.
·They do not believe in absolute truth as seen in the Scriptures.
·They desire oneness regarding spirituality. There is no one right way or truth.
Their desire to achieve oneness regarding spirituality and their rejection of all forms of authority leads them to a point of acceptance of all beliefs, even though this new “truth” may contradict their Christian faith or, at least, what they may know of it. This subjective understanding of life opens them up to spiritual manipulation and ultimately causes them confusion about who God is.
Once these new initiates have accepted the false premise that truth is experiential they no longer hold to an orthodox understanding of who God is and they begin to espouse an erroneous view of life. They often hold the following false assumptions:
·They differentiate between black and white witchcraft or magick (magic).
·They scoff at biblical teachings regarding the return of Christ. God(ess) is love and she would not send anyone to hell, if there was such a place.
·They do not believe in absolute truth as defined in the Scriptures. There is no right or wrong, only freedom of choice.
·They believe in the Law of Karma and reincarnation rather than the Law of God, judgment, and resurrection.
·They do not believe in the Christian or biblical hell. Their understanding does not allow them to accept such a narrow view of eternity. In their view, the Goddess will provide a way for them to achieve oneness with the divine. Nature is considered to be deity. Mankind is but a part of this garden of divine understanding.
The Witches’ Rede (Law)
Do what thou wilt, but harm none. Or more commonly stated, “As long as your actions don’t hurt anyone, you can do whatever you want.” No consequences! This innocent phrase causes the new believer to think that witchcraft (wicca) is neutral in its outlook and expression. The Wiccan Rede is often given as an excuse to practice the craft. However, the Scriptures do not agree with this naïve conclusion.
The unaware individual considers that since they are not directly going in the direction of evil or the dark side they must be OK. They are practicing “white” magick or witchcraft and in their view it is compatible with their Christian faith, as weak as it may be. One growing aspect of wicca that affects the Christian with a minimal understanding of his faith is Christian Wicca. This is the blending of Christianity and witchcraft.2 This syncretistic model of belief is more wiccan than it is Christian. It is a form of Gnosticism and an introduction of pagan beliefs shrouded in Christian jargon.
The Sacred Feminine is another foundational aspect of this pseudo-Christian teaching. It emphasizes the idea that God is holistic and the trinity is in fact, God as Goddess, Father as Mother, and Jesus Christ as the Sophia, and the Holy Spirit as a feminine presence.3 This concept is taught by Miss Rawna Moon, a wiccan priestess, who encourages her initiates to construct an altar in their homes to help them focus on the “divine feminine”. Miss Moon states that, “Since we live out a good part of our spirituality within the structure of the Christian Church which tends to use masculine language for God, we balance this by using feminine language for Goddess in our life as a Witch.” She continues by stating, “An important way to keep this fresh in our daily life is to have a Goddess Altar in our home.
The concept of God as being both genders can be understood in light of ancient cultures and their recognition of the divine. “The Goddess was a symbol of the oceans, the earth, and the moon.”4 God, as male, was her other half, her consort. He was often seen as the sun. The ancient Greeks knew God as Helios the sun god and Selene the moon goddess. The Romans saw them as Apollo and Diana. The Egyptians saw them as Isis and Osiris. The indigenous peoples of North America saw them as Earth Mother and Father Sky. Wiccans consider them as their spiritual parents who guide them and keep them safe from the forces of evil.
Another attraction that entices young people is that wicca nests comfortably within the idea of perceived total freedom and sexual license. Anything that doesn’t hurt anyone and is consensual is alright. Once again this postmodern approach to right and wrong regarding sexual expression has dire consequences morally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
The Wiccan Rede fosters such an attitude with its “harm none” code of ethics. Pre-marital sex, homosexuality, and other forms of sexual license are held in high regard and offered as personal choices for those who follow their own understanding.
Witchcraft has become the new form of rebellion for our youth. The disregard for authority, the “it’s all good” mentality, and the desired sexual freedom that accompanies witchcraft becomes a strong lure for many youth and adults. Just do what you want; no one can tell you it’s wrong. It is just another choice among many; live life your way. There are no consequences, no judgments, just choices!
Wicca: Right and Wrong
When attempting to witness to a pagan it is important for the Christian to know what witchcraft is and is not. Wicca is a nature-centered belief system. Wiccans do not believe in Satan or any form of evil. Their view is that Satan is a Christian concoction and he is not real. Many wiccans believe the early church made him up so the hierarchy could control its membership and gain financially.
Wiccans view their belief system as a benign set of ideals. They honor the Goddess through their ecological practices. They use their knowledge to heal and to divine information that will help humanity. Their ultimate goal is to heal the planet, including man/womankind.
Although this is their desire and their goal is noble, it is misguided. The focus of the wiccan rests on the individual and the spells cast to bring about a desired result: healing the Earth or a simple sprain. It is the author’s contention that God does have a great concern about who receives the honor and glory when He has purposefully intervened in someone’s life and touched them. The important ingredient in the mix is our recognition of God’s hand at work in our lives and not our spell work.
Wiccans do not believe in sin or the need for forgiveness. If we are one with nature (read: Goddess) then how can we sin? We just are! There is no need to repent and seek forgiveness; we simply need to recognize our divine inheritance and oneness. Salvation, as it is understood, comes when the individual recognizes his or her oneness with the Goddess.
A Wiccan’s Challenge
“Pagans do not appreciate being witnessed to.” Silver DawnHawk makes this abundantly clear in her essay Witnessing to a Witch.5 She reiterates that pagans do not need salvation. They have nothing to need saving from! She does, however, offer the Christian some decent advice. “Forget everything you have ever heard about paganism and instead see the person as just that, a person. Let them explain their religion to you, and do not accuse.”
Of course, her admonition would exclude the information above since it is taken from their writings. Her reference is to the depiction of witchcraft on television and elsewhere that distorts their true beliefs.
Where to Start!
The starting point is simply to gain a working knowledge of the craft. What do wiccans really believe and why do they believe it to be true. The above material is helpful, but you need a more in-depth understanding to adequately share your faith with a wiccan with any credibility. You don’t have to become saturated; you simply need to know what you are talking about so you can rightly discuss their beliefs. Whatever you do, do not misrepresent their beliefs through ignorance or become accusatory. You will not only offend your wiccan friend; you will likely do a great disservice in the name of God and thereby be written off by the one whom you wish to bring to Christ.
You need to know that wiccans do not accept the Bible as being true. You do, however, need to have more than a working knowledge of the Scriptures. Do you believe in the inerrancy of Scripture and its foundational teachings? If not, then it would likely prove to be an exercise in futility to witness of a faith you do not possess. The probability of being turned into a spiritual pretzel would remain high, not to mention the possibility of losing what faith you do possess.
Can you defend the Scriptural texts? the deity of Christ? the resurrection?6 Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus to share with your pagan friend? The understanding of these truths is essential to being an effective witness. But, it is not all about a cognitive understanding of biblical truths that will strengthen your position. You must prayerfully enter the presence of your Father and put on the spiritual armor7 you will need to wage the battle at hand. Your witness is not of the flesh, but of the spirit and it must be fought on that ground. Prayer is the key to victory! Yet, this victory is won through humility.8You are not winning a battle of ideas; God is using you as His vessel to save another of His children from the darkness of deception and an even darker eternity.
You need to gain an understanding of the passages in Scripture that teach what wiccans/pagans believe and how they practice those beliefs (Deut. 18:10-12; Gal. 5:20; Rev. 21:8; ). It is vital to share these Scriptures with humility and allow your friend to see that you deeply care for them. Otherwise, the Scripture simply becomes another club to beat him with. Your kindness and gentleness will speak volumes to the wiccan with whom you share your faith.
Do not assume your pagan friend rightly understands Christianity. He might quote a verse or two but he will not likely know the full meaning of the text. He has been taught through a filter of Gnosticism and he will not have a thorough understanding of the gospel. It is imperative that you help your friend see that Christ is Christianity: a relationship with God through His Son Jesus. You need to help your friend recognize that your faith is not built on rules and dogma, but a genuine relationship that will last throughout eternity.
Ask your pagan friend what he or she knows about Christianity; then, if need be, gently correct his or her misunderstanding with the truth. Allow your friend to share his beliefs and seek common ground for further discussion. Look for ways to establish a beachhead in his thought process. As an example: if you find an equal desire to care for the environment use this point of common ground to share your desire to be a good steward of all that God created and placed mankind to care for.
Attempt to stay away from using exclusive language. Refer to God and Jesus as the ones to whom we owe our allegiance and worship. The use of male pronouns in referring to God will set your friend’s ear on edge and your witness will be diminished. Also, help your friend know that Jesus accepted you where He found you. He will accept him where he is as well. Help him realize that an appropriate response on his part would be to recognize his need for a Savior and repent of his sin. God will do the rest, the scrubbing and all! Help your friend understand that Jesus continues to smooth out the rough places in your life.
Your pagan friend will need to further see that you walk your talk. He needs to see that you have a growing and dynamic love affair with your creator. Otherwise, he will likely remain at home with his ritualism and spell-casting. Let your friend know that you believe in prayer and that you will pray for him. Then pray with him if he is agreeable! Do not push or become overly aggressive.
Postmodernism as a worldview teaches that truth is a construct.Truth is relative rather than fixed or absolute. It is constructed by the majority. Therefore, one can never know something without question because the majority opinion may change. Truth is subjective rather than objective. What is true for one person may not be true for another because truth is experienced rather than known. Individuals and cultures construct truths that work for them. Truth is not discovered ― but constructed. Since truth is constructed and relative – one truth is as valid as another. Truth can be revised without contradiction. In postmodernism – “spin” is everything. Truth is not absolutely knowable. Truth is a matter of interpretation. All perceived truths are open to re-interpretation. Truth is not only to be re-interpreted - it is to be deconstructed.
McDowell, Josh, The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict, (Nashville, TN, Thomas Nelson Publishers 1999). Josh McDowell offers the individual the evidence needed to cement one’s faith by supporting Scriptural truths. He underscores the trustworthiness of the Bible, the deity of Christ, Christ’s resurrection, and the biblical prophesies that point to Jesus’ true nature; truly God and truly man. McDowell’s text is an excellent resource for the Christian to defend the Christian faith with solid evidence.
The above is my attempt to answer the daunting question. How does a Christian witness to someone who holds a pagan worldview? My thoughts are the summation of my personal thinking about the subject along with the thoughts of others who equally desire good footing for their Christian witness. I trust you will find the above thoughts of value. I solicit your thoughts as well!