I would like to know if witchcraft is real in our world today. I know that it was real and 'worked' in the new testament times, and I also know that it's listed in Galatians 5:20 as one of the works of the flesh (verses 19 -21). So is witchcraft and Satan worship real today? Does it really 'work' Satanic 'stuff''? Or did it only exist in Biblical times like the apostles power to heal (and other things)? Is anything that concerns witchcraft today all hoaxes? Thanks.
This question will be addressed as briefly as possible. There is certainly no desire to create an unhealthy curiosity in the occult. The words of C.S. Lewis should be kept in mind:
“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.”
There are many different types of witchcraft. Some do not call themselves witches and, even among some who are of the same “type,” there is substantial variation. A list of different religions related to witchcraft includes:
Wicca is a common and much older name for Witchcraft. In the past Witchcraft has been most closely associated with the human harnessing of “supernatural powers” for the purpose of practicing black magic. As a result, witchcraft, sorcery, and magic are somewhat synonymous. Witchcraft is not synonymous with Satanism; not all witches worship Satan and some do not believe in Satan, evil, and hell at all. According to them Satan is a creation of Christianity. To the extent that they believe in Satan, they describe him as just another Christian deity. They do not believe in demons; their deities are “immanent,” or within each human, which makes each human a deity.
On the other hand, some groups worship Satan. In the Middle Ages the supernatural became popular and superstition abounded. Witchcraft flourished. Although some techniques were complicated and others simple, the initiation process to become a with usually contained two requirements: 1) the initiate must join of his or her own free will; and 2) the initiate must be willing to worship the Devil. Typically, modern-day witches are not Devil-worshippers.
Most Wiccans, like the New Age Movement, do not accept the existence of good or evil. They contend that there are only forces that must be balanced; evil is a necessary part of good and can be transmuted into the positive. Most witches support neo-tolerance and reject the existence of absolute truth. They advocate women’s rights and matriarchy, sexual freedom (homosexuality, polyamory, non-monogamy, sexual activity by teens), abortion, and the abolition of Christianity from public life, especially in schools and governmental functions. Pagans have filed suit against such things as “In God We Trust,” student-led prayer in schools, the Ten Commandments, and Christian symbols such as a cross in city and county seals. On the other hand, some Wiccans have been active in seeking observances of Wiccan holidays (Halloween, winter solstice, etc.), pagan elements of “Earth Day,” and Pagan symbolism.
Modern Wiccans want to distance themselves from Christianity because they perceive of it as a proliferation of a patriarchal male-dominated religion that has historically ignored the role of women in the church and society. Traditionally, however, there have been as many, if not more, male witches/sorcerers than female in some pagan circles (e.g., Druids). While not a religion for women only, witchcraft today is a female dominated religion.
The modern witchcraft era began with Gerald Gardner (1884-1964). An archeologist, Gardner accumulated an extensive occult background. While in Southeast Asia, he learned the secrets of the Malaysian magical knife and became a Mason and a nudist. He returned to England in 1939 where he became a member of the Rosicrucians where he met Dorothy Clutterbuck. She initiated Gardner into witchcraft. A paper by Gardner published by Ripley’s Believe It or Not disclosed that Gardner took the magical resources he learned in Asia and some Western magical texts and created a new religion centered upon the worship of the Mother-Goddess.
This was an important beginning in witchcraft. The worship of the Mother-Goddess has become the focus of modern witchcraft. Modern day Wicca came from Gardner’s writings plus the influence of Aleister Crowley, Theosophy, Freemasonry, ritual/sex magic, and numerous other occult sources.
While there is pluralism and diversity and a wide variety of beliefs and practices in modern Wicca, distinct principles derived from Gardnerian Wicca are common to most modern witches. Some of them are:
Similar to Hinduism, the serpent is believes by Wiccans to be a symbol of eternal life and female spiritual awakening or power. In Hinduism, yoga and meditation results in enlightenment from awakening the kundalini, or power known as the serpent power believed to be coiled at the base of the spine. Other symbols used in witchcraft are:
Views of afterlife vary among groups. Witches do not believe in heaven or hell and usually espouse the concept of karma and endless reincarnation. Relying on “memories” of “past lives” they insist that the idea of living only once is ridiculous. Others believe in reincarnation until enlightenment, or endless rebirth until such times as the person is enlightened enough to pass on to some other existence. Still others have no idea of what will happen after death and say they will find out when they get there.
Clearly there is a parallel between Wiccans and the humanist religion that permeates modern society – everything goes as long as it doesn’t oppose their claim to being god/goddess or hold them accountable to a higher power. This “anything goes” rule applies to everything except Christianity. They take it as an insult to be told that there is evil in the world and that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. There is only one absolute and that is that there is no absolute truth.
The bible condemns any and all occultic practices. Deuteronomy 18:10-12; Galatians 5:20; Acts 13:6-12; 19:19. See also, Ex. 22:18; Lev. 19:26, 31; 20:6, 27; 1Sam. 15:23a; 2Kings 23:24; 1Chron. 10:13; Isa. 2:6; 8:19-20; 47:13-14; Ezek. 13:20-23; Dan. 2:27-28; 5:15-17; Acts 13:7-10a; 16:16-18; Gal. 5:19-20; Rev. 22:15.
Some may argue that sorcery is black magic used for evil and that they practice white magic used for good. However, the Bible makes no distinction between good or evil magic or sorcery. All sorcery comes from the same source and falls under the same condemnation. See the verses above.
They argue that the return of Christ is a great evil. Witches scoff at the teaching saying that their goddess isn’t some spiteful deity that will one day destroy the Earth. Their goddess, they say, loves us enough to let us do what we want and make our own choices. Their argument is foolish. Love implies a relationship. If the goddess is us or at least in us, and is the earth, trees, and a rock, no relationship is possible. More importantly, it is impossible to be loved by such a goddess. The God of the Bible is separate from man making a relationship possible. Being distinct from us He can provide guidance through His word, he can listen to us, he can love us. He could do none of these things if He were only an aspect of our nature or of nature itself.
Pagans believe there is no absolute truth and therefore there is no right or wrong. Obviously, Pagans will forget that there is no absolute truth long enough to assert that such an affirmation is absolutely wrong. While there may be exceptions, it is certainly bordering on impossible to do something evil that does not harm someone either immediately or ultimately. Without a set of moral standards we will negatively impact others. The Pagan will argue that Christians can hold “their truth” but that they shouldn’t impose those beliefs on others. Pagans also argue that we should not harm the environment. But if an atheist who believes that the Earth is just a rock, then should that atheist not be free to do anything to the environment that he desires. To say that he can’t is to say that his belief is wrong; thereby the Pagan has lost his argument that there is no right or wrong. In fact, the word “wrong” should not be in the Pagan’s vocabulary except to say that it is “wrong” to believe that something is “wrong.” The Pagan argues that Earth is a goddess, but the atheist who believes that Earth is not a goddess is also right. If nothing else, this should alert the Pagan to the possibility that he is “wrong.” Since eternity is in the balance it might be worth investigating.
Witches believe in endless reincarnation and Karma that is passed on from life to life in the struggle to reach enlightenment. The Pagan goddess has nothing to offer but an endless wheel of life cycles and eternal punishment for past mistakes. The Pagan goddess offers no other choice. How much more God offers. God so loved the world that he sent his son to save it. He gives man a choice to choose Him or not to choose Him. Jesus does not require us to spend life after life trying to improve our karma, all the while not remembering what we did in a prior life to receive the less-than-perfect karma rating that sent us back to Earth for another cycle. He has set out his terms for you to receive His salvation. See “What Must I Do To Be Saved” on this website.
Pagans find the doctrine of hell a stumbling block, considering it a cruel and heartless teaching that God created a place like hell for humans who reject Jesus and His word. They do not realize that hell was not created for man, but for the devil and his angels. Matt. 25:41; 2 Peter 2:4. Hell is not a place for humans to go unless they choose to follow the devil instead of following and obeying God according to His will. Matthew 7:21-23. Additionally, man’s sin was not created or caused by God. It resulted from man’s free will. Man is not a robot who is forced to follow God. Man is made in the image of God, has the ability freely to choose to enter into a relationship with God. A relationship is no relationship at all if a person is forced to be in it. It certainly cannot be a reciprocal loving relationship.
The Pagans may argue that if hell is a reality no one would choose to go there. Thus, all who go there go because of a lack of knowledge which is unfair. First, everyday people make poor choices with full knowledge of what they are doing – drive drunk, do drugs, break the law. It is the way lives are lived and there are consequences for the choices we make. Is it unfair to send the murderer and the rapist to jail? Is it unfair to punish the child rapist? It all comes back to the freedom to choose, and few would “choose” to live without it. It is not unfair to be punished for our actions. Just as in live, there are consequences for those who refuse to obey God and follow Him.
Finally, they may argue that if God is so good, why doesn’t He give man a second chance. Once again the argument ignores free will. Once a man steps across the threshold of hell there is little doubt about his choice the second time around. When the Rich Man of Luke 16 looked from Hades to the other side and saw Father Abraham, knowing that he did not have a second chance, he asked Father Abraham to send Lazarus to speak to his brothers that they did not come to the place where he was. Hell quickly changes a man’s mind! A second chance when the race is over is like getting to bet on a horse race after the winner has crossed the finish line. God made the evidence of His presence overwhelming. Additionally, he spoke to us in His word and revealed His will to us. He tells us that if we choose (exercise our free will) to live without Him during life and refuse to obey his commands to be saved and live a life worthy of His calling, He will honor that choice both in life and in eternity. We may change our mind when the race is over, but it is too late to change our destination.
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)