ACCURATE DESCRIPTIONS OF WICCA IN CHRISTIAN WEB SITES
An overview of accurate portrayals of Wicca by Christian authors:
When this essay was originally written in 1996, there were many dozens of
essays about Wicca located on Christian web sites. Unfortunately, almost all
shared a number of problems:
||They did not treat Wicca as a valid religious/spiritual path -- a serious
group with a contribution to make to society.
||They viewed Wicca as anti-Christian instead of non-Christian
||They confused Wicca with two Hebrew and Greek words in the Bible which
described evil sorcery or murderers in the original texts, but were often
translated as "witchcraft" in English translations of the Bible.
||Most of the information in the articles were derived from other, often
older, Christian sources, rather than from original Wiccan source material.
In addition, many of the Christian essays treated Wicca as a form of
These were serious deficiencies, for two main reasons:
||By misrepresenting Wicca, the authors inhibited the effectiveness of their fellow believers' promotion of the Great
Commission -- converting the world to Christianity. By presenting an inaccurate
vision of Wicca, Christians were ill prepared to evangelize Wiccans and other
Neopagans. Their outreach was seriously handicapped.
||Also by misrepresenting Wicca, the authors were increasingly viewed
as sources of religious intolerance and inaccurate information. This
lessened their credibility among the general public.
In 1996, shortly after this web site was founded, we were only able to find two essays on the Internet
which described Wicca with reasonable accuracy:
||One was by J.C. Taylor, an
Eastern Orthodox Christian;
||The other was by Philip Johnson, a Christian leader from Australia.
Both condemned their fellow Christians for inaccuracies and hatred in their
treatment of Wiccans.
In recent years, many positive, accurate articles about Wicca have appeared on Christian
web sites. A sampling appears below. Some of these essays may be a very useful
resource which Wiccans can give to Christians in order to counter anti-Wiccan
biases, misinformation and propaganda:
||Conservative Christians may regard these articles as credible
sources of information because they are written by one of their own.
||They are mostly comprehensive and fair in their description of
Taylor, an Eastern Orthodox Christian, wrote an essay: "A Christian speaks of Wicca and Witchcraft." He argues that Wiccans worship a Goddess and God which
are aspects of an unknowable deity. Taylor equates the latter deity
with "the unknown God" who Paul refers to in Acts
17:22-23. Paul, in turn, equates the unknown God with the Christian God.
Thus, Taylor concludes that in worshiping the Goddess and God, Wiccans
are really worshiping the Christian Trinity. He criticizes his fellow
Christians for slandering an persecuting Wiccans. He wrote:
"Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, these people
of Wicca have been terribly slandered by us. They have lost jobs, and
homes, and places of business because we have assured others that they
worship Satan, which they do not. We have persecuted them, and God will
hold us accountable for this, you may be sure, for He has said,
'Assuredly I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of
these My brethren, you did it to Me.' (Matthew 25:40) "
Phillip Johnson of the New Age Mission in Australia
wrote an essay titled: "The Way of Wicca." 2 He wrote that Wiccans do not sacrifice human or
animals. They deny the existence of Satan. They follow many different
traditions; they follow "a very affirming spirituality that
speaks to female sensitivities." Wiccans "draw on earth
magic to facilitate healing from illnesses." He feels that
Wicca challenges Christianity to recognize the feminine content and the
immanence of the Trinity. In studying Wicca, Christians can also be
challenged in their attitudes towards the environment, sexism, celibacy, and
healing. This is a positive and thought-provoking
essay. Johnson writes that "Christians must strive not to bear
false witness about Wiccans." He criticizes the Christian authors of
many of the books about Wicca:
||"...there is often scant attention paid to primary sources. It is a
basic principle of scholarship that one always goes to the original
sources before commencing any interpretation."
||Before writing about Wicca, "Christians need to meet personally with Wiccans to ascertain what
they accept and practice, and then to read Wiccan literature"
Philip Johnson describes a number of theological topics where Wiccans and
Christians differ: their concept of deity, the immanence and transcendence
of deity, creation of the universe, sacred sites, sexuality and spirituality, healing,
community of hope, and Christ as the fulfillment of Wicca.
He concludes with a list of 11 primary Wiccan sources and five sources of "other
Johnson later devoted an entire section of his web site to the topic of "Wiccans
and Christians: some mutual challenges." Unlike so many other Christian
material on Wicca, he treats Wicca as a serious spiritual tradition and
bases his writing on Neopagan source material. 7
Rafael Martinez, a Co-director of Spiritwatch Ministries has written what
is perhaps the most accurate description of Wicca ever composed by a
Christian. He describes its growth, and its establishment as a
generally-recognized major religion. He explodes three of the most common
misconceptions about Wicca:
||Wicca is a form of Satanism; Wiccans worship the Judeo-Christian
||Wiccans are evil.
||Wicca is a mind-control cult.
On the negative side, he does express concern that Wicca will lure "thousands
(if not millions) away from the One True God who created them to exalt false
deities that seek their worship. Wiccans may not have any animosity towards
Christianity or Christians, but their choice in embracing their religion, we
feel, is still essentially serving Satan, even if acknowledgment of his
reality is never given in pagan rituals." 8 These may sound like hars
words. However, Martinez is simply following a common conservative Christian
belief that all faith groups which do not lead people to a saving knowledge
of Jesus Christ as Lord and savior will doom those individuals to eternal
torture in Hell. Thus, all faith groups other
than those in the conservative wing of Protestantism are, in effect, serving
The essay describes many of the components of Wicca: its deity structure,
magick, awareness of the cycles of nature, belief in reincarnation and
karma, celebration of sabbats and esbats, and its rituals. He attributes the
lure of Wicca to three factors: experiential, personal and pragmatic. He
describes both solitary practitioners and covens.
He concludes with an appeal for an appropriate response by
conservative Christians to Wicca: "As with the emergence of any religion
that establishes a rival truth, Christians have many grave concerns with
witchcraft that demand answers and response. We do not refer to the
paranoiac and knee jerk demonization we have carefully qualified earlier in
this article..." 8
The Watchman Fellowship Inc. has a reasonably accurate
description of Wicca on their web site. They are a counter-cult
group whose main function is to expose what they regard to be "cults."
They are not referring here to dangerous,
destructive, doomsday faith groups that have caused loss of life among
their members. That is how the media commonly use the term. Rather, they
generally define "cult" as any Christian group with beliefs different from those of
historical, conservative Christianity. They refer to some older, well established
faith groups, such as The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints (the Mormons), Christian
Science, the Jehovah's Witnesses etc., as cults. When
describing Wicca, they appear to use an alternative definition of "cult"
-- any religion which differs from their own.
Their essay on Wicca is reasonably accurate, at least when compared to
many other attempts by Christians to describe Wicca. 3
However, it has a few deficiencies:
||It does not mention the core, defining behavioral
beliefs of Wiccans, including the Wiccan Rede and the Threefold
||It does not mention that many, perhaps most, Wiccans are solitary
practitioners, not members of covens.
||It over-emphasizes the role of organized traditions within Wicca such as Gardnerian, Alexandrian,
and Dianic traditions; they do not mention that
many, perhaps most, Wiccans are currently eclectic and not align themselves with
||It implies that Wicca and Witchcraft are synonyms. Although the
former has a fairly well defined meaning, the latter has many
different and often mutually exclusive definitions -- mostly
negative. It has been used
to refer to anyone from Satanists, African native healers, homicidal
poisoners, etc. to Wiccans.
||They quote Bible verses to show that Wicca is condemned. Actually,
the Bible passages quoted refer to women using spoken curses to harm
people, and murderers who use poison to commit homicide. These
activities are unrelated to Wicca. In fact, all actions which harm
others are forbidden to Wiccans by the Wiccan Rede.
A detailed assessment of the Watchman Fellowship's
essay on Wicca is available.
He wrote an essay in 1999 on Neopaganism for Christianity Today -- the
leading periodical among Evangelical Christians. The essay forms part of an
upcoming book: Circles and the Cross. As of 2001-JUN, the book has not been
published. He has clearly researched his essay carefully, and consulted primary
sources extensively. Some inaccuracies and biases crept into his essay:
||Wilkinson discussed the origin of the name of the religion. "(Wicca
comes from witch and means one who works with natural forces by shaping or
bending them. Thus, the word is closely related to wicker, not wicked.)"
Actually, there is a debate among Wiccans whether "Wicca"
originates from that source, or whether it originally came from a root
which meant "wise
||He notes that a popular Christian response to Wicca as to "affirm
the sincerity of neopagan spirituality." He calls this "wrong,"
because it is consistent with religious pluralism.
Religious bigotry and intolerance is minimized in a multi-faith culture
such as our own if we can at least affirm the sincerity of other religions
and spiritual paths, even though we cannot accept them as truth.|
||He inserts snide and judgmental comments about Wicca and Wiccans in
his essay. For example:
||"Interest in paganism is not limited to the West Coast, where
some religious flakiness is expected."
||"...neopaganism, like all religions, is a dead end unless it
leads to a knowledge of God through Jesus.
||"Christians need to see how the neopagan thirst for spirituality
and the sacred can be fillednot from the stagnant pools of our own
inwardness, but from the water of life that only Jesus gives."
||Wilkinson is concerned about the Wiccan circle: "...the 'magic
circle' in neopaganism is always for the purpose of using power." He
overlooks the major themes of Wiccan circle work: reaching a state of
harmony with nature, and using whatever power is generated within the
circle by ritual for positive ends, primarily healing.|
||He deals extensively with one Pagan concept which views oneself and
God as one: "...the self, [as] the ultimate divinity..." He implies
that this is the Pagan view of deity. In fact, Neopagans have many
contrasting views of deity. Some are quite close to the Christian belief
of a deity which is both transcendent and immanent.|
Lutheran Theological Journal: 2002-DEC:
This is an excellent article on Neopaganism. Unlike almost all Christian
essays on Neopaganism, Wicca, and related topics, this article is actually based
on primary source material written by Neopagans themselves. The article
advocates serious dialogue, which the author believes requires "that one
exercise a hermeneutic of respect in the attempt to understand another faith. St
Paul obviously spent time with the Athenians, reading their poets and watching
people at worship before daring to address them....Only in this way can
Christians begin to dialogue with pagans....We need to put aside fifteen hundred
years of offhanded dismissal and listen to pagans as having something
intellectually serious and spiritually viable to say. This does not mean
agreeing with them but having enough respect to listen and learn." 6
J.C. Taylor, "A Christian speaks of Wicca and Witchcraft,"
Phillip Johnson, "The Way of Wicca," New Age Mission, at http://www.shootthemessenger.com.au/
- "Witchcraft / Wicca,"
The Watchman Fellowship at:
Loren Wilkinson, "The Bewitching Charms of Neopaganism: The movement
rejects Christianity, but we may discover surprising openings for the gospel,"
The Killing of Witches: A Chronicle of the Burning Times is a list of names of
women and men killed because they were suspected of being witches (12th Century to 1997
CE). They, along with victims whose names are unknown, total over 265,000. See: http://www.primenet.com/
"Neopaganism: Is dialogue possible?," Lutheran Theological Journal,
2002-DEC-01. Online at YellowBrix.com. See:
Philip Johnson, "Wiccans and Christians: some mutual challenges,"
Rafael Martinez, "Out Of The Broom Closet - Witchcraft Today (Part 1 of
2)," Spiritwatch Ministries, at:
Copyright © 1998 to 2004 incl., by Ontario Consultants on
Extracted from chr_int.htm on 2001-JUN-18
Latest update: 2004-JUL-25
Author: B.A. Robinson