Pagan Christianity, Pt. 1

Scripture: 1 Timothy 4:1, Revelation 18:23
Paganism and witchcraft are creeping into the Christian church through 'innocent' entertainment. Growing numbers of people are becoming interested in the Wiccan religion. Books and programs on the occult are drawing in especially the young. What does the Bible say about seducing spirits?
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Announcer: It's time now for Bible Talk. Join Gary Gibbs and John Bradshaw as they open the bible to deepen our understanding of God's word.

John Bradshaw: Hi and welcome to Bible Talk where we talk about the Bible and how the Bible affects us today. I'm John Bradshaw.

Gary Gibbs: And I'm Gary Gibbs.

John: I want to tell you as we begin today, Gary, that some years ago, I happened to be in Africa. I was conducting a Bible, a series of Bible meetings. I'll never forget one man in this vast crowd who came down the side of the hill when we got to the end of the presentation that day. He made a decision to accept Jesus Christ as his personal savior. He determined that he was going to be baptized and join the church and give his life over to the control of almighty God. Interestingly enough, before his baptism day, he contacted me and asked me and some of the other church leaders to come to his house because we were going to burn some of his paraphernalia. This young man was a witch doctor. A bona fide witch doctor and he understood in his own heart that before he could truly be a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, the witch doctoring had to end and the witch doctor's stuff. The instrumentation and the potions and stuff that he had to carry out his witch doctoring, he knew that had to go. He got rid of it, had a little bonfire there. It was quite a time and this man was freed from bondage. But what's interesting, something I see today is that people are coming into the church and they are not leaving the paganism behind. This stuff is coming on into the church now. Not necessarily through the back door. I don't want to overstate this or just be sensational. But the truth of the matter is that some of these things rooted in witchcraft are coming into the church through the front door and we are seeing it these days.

Gary: We really are, and it's coming in through entertainment quite a bit. I don't think there are many Christians go out to start dabbling in witchcraft and casting spells, but we see the youth in the Christian church. They've become vulnerable through Hollywood's influence on them. I was recently preaching in the church and I was talking about this very topic of witchcraft. When I came out, a little early teen, let's say. She's about 13 years old. She says, "But the witches in the shows I watch aren't bad. What do you mean? I can't watch Sabrina, the Teenage Witch anymore?"

John: There you go.

Gary: Sabrina, the Teenage Witch -- she is a cute witch, she is a good witch, she does good things. She uses her powers for good. That is just how Hollywood portrays witches today. There is a brand of witchcraft that people who are out of their teens or maybe out of their twenties who aren't aware of. That's called white witchcraft. It's called Wicca witchcraft. It's not the typical wart-faced witch who rides in a broom and dresses in black. This is the witchcraft that seeks to use its powers for good.

John: I understand that adherence to Wicca are growing in number greatly. It has rather an acceptable veneer and I don't want someone to just write this thing off and say, Oh, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. This thing just doesn't do any harm. It's just like that old television show "Bewitched." What it's doing is it's breaking down the wall between right and wrong and saying wrong isn't so wrong and it might be right. You've got other programs like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and these ones that dabble, not dabble but they are immersed in the dark side. The dark side becomes appealing and attractive and no longer wrong. These television programs and movies of the same nature become gateways through which young people become interested and involved in these kinds of activities.

Gary: There's no question about listen, Bewitched that we watched in the 60s, in the early 70s. It doesn't hold a candle to this. The phenomena associated with it, you can't even compare. Listen to this, in 2001, the American Religious Identification survey discovered Wicca Witchcraft grew nearly 1600% between 1990 and 2001. 1600%. That's the highest of any faith group monitored including Christianity. Experts predict that by 2012, Wicca could be the third largest religious group in the USA. Listen, behind Christianity and Judaism. It's growing among the young people. National public radio recently did a All Things Considered report on Wicca. They said Wicca is one of the fastest growing religions among high school and college students. If you just do a word search. Go to something like one of the bookstores online. Amazon, maybe in Wal-Mart. Type in "witch" and you'll get scads, dozens and dozens of books, Confessions of a Teenage Witch is a recent book. "Celebrating the Wiccan Life,""Be a Teen Goddess,""Magical Charms,""Spells and Wiccan Wisdom for the Wild Ride of Life." Sounds like an interesting read, doesn't it?

John: Yes, it doesn't adjust. It sure doesn't sound to me as though these books are encouraging commitment to Jesus Christ, renunciation of sin, repentance and the new birth. It doesn't sound like it at all.

Gary: No.

John: We can't talk about this without mentioning Harry Potter.

Gary: Harry Potter. You have to mention Harry Potter. We are going touch on that right now in just a little while but first I want to remind our listeners that if they'll call our toll free number, email us, write us, we are going to give a free book today. And the book today, John, is called "Hidden Dangers in Harry Potter."

John: This is very interesting, very insightful read, a lot of information. It's a book that every parent ought to have. You can have it. We are offering it to you free. There's no obligation. Just get in touch and we'll send it to you free. "Hidden Dangers in Harry Potter." Now, I wonder if someone wasn't tempted when we mentioned Harry Potter's name. They just roll their eyes and say, "Oh, come on, harmless little story. It's just fantasy and fiction and you're making too much of this. Besides, at least my little Johnny is reading now and hasn't turned Johnny into a devil." This is what a lot of people are saying that Harry Potter... They are saying it's benign and quite OK.

Gary: No. It's candy coated poison. Listen, first Harry Potter novel hit the stands in 1998. Rowling, J.K. Rowling, she went from living on welfare to being the highest earning woman in Britain netting more than 30 million in 2000. This is a book that has swept the world. Now, there are in their sixth book and their movies and all. But, here is what happened with this. With these many people reading, 250 million copies by the way of five Harry Potter's books.

John: That's huge.

Gary: It's huge. In 200 countries, in 60 languages. It is very, very big. All three Potter movies are among the top 20 highest grossing films of all time. And then the most recent movie that came out is going to be included in that.

John: Now, Gary, just because it's popular doesn't mean it's bad. Just because this dear woman has written all these books and made all these money, that is not a mark against her surely.

Gary: It's definitely a doorway to witchcraft. There's no denying. The Potter generation, as we call them now, is embracing Wicca witchcraft in unprecedented number. There's a federation called The Pagan Federation. They had to hire a youth officer, John, to handle the flood of inquiries into witchcraft. Andy Norfolk, their media officer. He was asked how is it that you've grown so much recently? Here is his answer. He says, "It's quite probably linked to things like Harry Potter, Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Every time an article on witchcraft or paganism appears, we have a huge surge in calls mostly from young girls."

John: Young girls.

Gary: Young girls.

John: You see, what we want to do is alert parents and people who think this is benign, harmless stuff to the very dangerous spiritual realties of this... From a Biblical perspective. Listen, the Bible says in First Timothy 4:1, "The Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils." It says in the Bible, that we wrestle not with flesh and blood but with principalities and pals with spiritual wickedness in high places. There is a battle raging between good and evil. The devil doesn't care how he gets your little Suzy away from Jesus. How he turns your feet ever so slightly into his path but as long as he can and he will appeal to her any which way he can.

Gary: That text says some will depart from the faith. You see this is even going to be into the Corinthian church. I was visiting a Christian school. This Christian school has teachers on it who were encouraging the children to go see the Harry Potter movies and read the Harry Potter books. Now, listen, when you look at witchcraft, God has nothing good to say about witchcraft.

John: No. You go back to the Old Testament and God commanded that the people who dabble in this stuff be put to death.

Gary: It doesn't take a rocket scientist to recognize that what the Pagans are saying, what the witches are saying: Every time people read these books and they see another movie, we have a surge of phone calls of people interested in witchcraft. The young people are the ones leading the way here. You know that these Harry Potter books are not harmless children stories. They actually represent real witchcraft. Part of it has real witchcraft practices in it.

John: I've heard that the experts on witchcraft have looked in these books. I've read this and they've said a lot of it is based on the real thing. You just don't want your child lying around all day dreaming about and wanting to be a witch or wizard and possess magical powers and be like Harry Potter. You want your children to grow up wanting to be like Jesus and be compassionate and loving and pure and holy and... Harry Potter is not that. He is hardly a role model for children today.

Gary: Here is why I think this is significant. I believe we live in the last days. If you look at Bible prophecy and you look at the time line that's given for planet earth. It shows that we live in the last days.

John: No question.

Gary: You just read a prophecy in First Timothy 4:1. It says, "In the last days we give heed to seducing spirits." Also, in Revelation 18:23, it says, "Through sorcery, all nations were deceived." The devil is going to use witchcraft and sorcery in the last days to deceive people. Therefore, we need to be aware of anything that comes to us that has to do with witchcraft.

John: I'll put it to you again from the Bible. In Galatians chapter five and verse... Where shall I start? I think I'll start in verse 19, 18. 18 says, "If you be led of the spirit, you are not under the law." Now, parents want their children to be led of the Holy Spirit. Isn't that not right?

Gary: That's right.

John: No question about that. Now, the works of the flesh are manifest which are these. OK, here are the works of the flesh. Adultery. You want your kids to be involved in that? Fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness. These are bad things. Now, look at what the Apostle Paul goes on to say, "Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings and such like." "They which do these things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." Here you are, feeding your children witchcraft and it is witchcraft. And then say, "I think little Mary and Johnny are all going merrily on their way to heaven." When you are doing everything you can to inculcate them into the darkness of Satan. No, there is something not right there.

Gary: No, not every child is going to become a witch though after reading Harry Potter.

John: No way, and thank God for that. The Lord is able to get us through our foolishnesses many times. But it doesn't make it any easier for us to get in heaven. I know that my son might grew up to be healthy and my daughter for that matter even if they eat a ton of junk food. They might grow up to be healthy. I am not going to take that risk and jeopardize their future health. We want them to eat healthfully as they grew up. You want to provide the best future for them you can.

Gary: They might not become witches but they may become more susceptible to believing a witch or believing the miracle working power of Satan. This is why I think we have to be really careful because the Bible says in so many places, in Revelations, Second Thessalonians too, the devil is going to work with all power and signs and lying wonders in the last days. Anything that opens our minds to the possibility that there are these witches out there and they are good people, we ought to follow them. That is setting us up to be deceived in the last days.

John: The Christian wants to close every avenue that the devil might employ to lead us away from our Lord Jesus Christ. We want to encourage you to do that. Let your life and the lives of your children be given completely to Jesus. We'll see you again next time here on Bible Talk. If you like more information on what we've been studying today, we have a comprehensive Bible study guide we'd love to share with you that's absolutely free. This study includes many of the texts we've just discussed. It expands on this subject including information you want to know.

To receive this free informative Bible study guide, simply call, write or email and ask for Hidden Dangers in Harry Potter.

The toll free number is 866-Bible Sayings. That's 866-242-5372. You can write to us at Bible Talk, P.O. Box 1058, Roseville, California, 95678.

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