Witnessing to Witches
Witnessing to Witches
Reprinted from the Christian Research Journal, Summer 1990
There are many obstacles that can hinder us in our efforts to effectively communicate the gospel to witches. But there are also some valuable guidelines to aid us. Besides the preeminent need for prayer, I recommend that the following six considerations be kept in mind. First, witches are often offended when Christians attempt to share the gospel with them. Frequently, they perceive this as intolerance or an unwillingness to "live and let live." Furthermore, some witches have had bad experiences with the church. It's no doubt true that this is for many witches a smoke screen to rationalize their choice of ignoring the claims of Christ, their unbelief, and the immoral lifestyle they do not wish to surrender. Regretfully, however, some witches have been let down by the church. Consequently, we must always be careful to point them back to Jesus, not to Christians or the church -- for we are not perfect, nor did we die for their sins. Let us resolve to be sensitive and tactful, then, while presenting the gospel (2 Tim. 2:24-26; 1 Pet 3:15). Second, while one need not be an expert on witchcraft to share the gospel with witches, one must be careful not to misrepresent their views and practices. This only fuels their frustration and sense of being misunderstood and misrepresented, as well as their stereotypical image of Christians as uninformed and ignorant people. Misrepresentation can give witches good reason to ignore your comments because "you obviously don't know what you're talking about." So, for instance, it is important not to refer to witches as "Satanists." Let us make sure we get their views straight; then we have a right to disagree with them. Third, make an effort to know what the Bible teaches in relation to the beliefs of witches and other modern-day pagans (see, e.g., Deut. 18:9-12; Gal. 5:20; Rev. 21:8; 22:15). Use Scripture to clarify any misunderstandings witches may have of Christianity and to offer God's perspective on their practices. Do not assume they already understand Christianity, for many do not. As a case in point, many witches have the misconception that Christians believe that God is only transcendent -- that is, that He is separate from and beyond the earth and universe. They wrongly conclude that the Christian God is not readily accessible to humanity. The biblical teaching, however, is that God is both transcendent and immanent. Though He created all things and is not part of the creation itself (Ps. 90:2; 102:25-27; 113:4-6), He nonetheless is immanent to creation and humanity (see, e.g., Ps. 19:1-4; Acts 14:15-17; 17:23-28). As great and glorious as God is, He is still knowable, personable, and approachable. And, following Paul's example in witnessing to the pagans in Athens, our desire should be to introduce witches and neopagans to "the unknown God"
(cf. Acts 17:23). Many witches also misunderstand the core of Christianity and the function of doctrine within the faith. Christ is Christianity -- the center and circumference! And yes, Christians -- like all people -- have definite beliefs. These beliefs, however, arise not from an obsession with doctrines and dogmas, but from the tangible reality of the living God who entered our world so that we might know Him. Furthermore, one cannot truly claim to be a Christian unless one has experienced regeneration by receiving Christ as personal Lord and Savior. It is also critical for Christians to recognize that besides sharing the message of the gospel with witches, they must "live the life" and "walk the talk." Witches need to see in the believer a living and vital relationship with Jesus Christ and the transforming reality of His presence. Fourth, since most witches will not accept what the Bible teaches regarding their beliefs and practices, Christians can and should utilize other nonbiblical critiques to show the inherent weaknesses of the witches' world view. (Such critiques can be found in "The Modern World of Witchcraft" in this journal.) When presented properly, the Holy Spirit can use these critiques to compel witches to critically reexamine their views and be more willing to consider the claims of Christ and the gospel message. For good insights on how to systematically refute and dismantle an unbiblical world view, consult The God Who is There, by Francis Schaeffer (InterVarsity Press), and Worlds Apart: A Handbook on World Views (Baker Book House), by Norman Geisler and William Watkins. [Out of print. For alternatives, see world view] Fifth, Christians can find fertile evangelistic soil in the fondness many witches have for allegories, myths, and fairy tales. Here we can till the depths of the emotional and spiritual aspirations of the human soul for joy and eternal life. In these furrows of existential longing, lying within every person's heart, we can sow the seed of the Word of God. These deep desires -- which are often implicitly or explicitly expressed in allegories, myths, and fairy tales, and derive from our being made in the image of God -- have been effectively mined by several Christian writers, notably C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien. For treatments of this approach, see Myth, Allegory, and Gospel (Bethany Fellowship), edited by John Montgomery; J. R. R. Tolkien: Myth, Morality, and Religion (Harper & Row) [Out of print], by Richard Purtill; and the essay, "On Fairy-Stories," by J. R. R. Tolkien, in Essays Presented to Charles Williams (Eerdmans), edited by C. S. Lewis. Lewis was quite adept at presenting the reality of the dying god myth's fulfillment in Christ (see, e.g., his "Myth Became Fact" in God in the Dock [Eerdmans], edited by Walter Hooper). This Christian "myth," however, has irrefutable historical evidence to substantiate it. [Sixth] This leads us to our final consideration. In dialoguing with witches, Christians should appeal to the life, death, and resurrection of Christ as living, breathing, historical fact. As opposed to myth, God did -- in fact -- enter the world in Christ. Hence, Christianity not only offers a vital experience and relationship with the divine -- as well as purpose and meaning in life, it does so on objectively verifiable grounds. If witches are going to be honest, they must stop their heel-dragging and attend to the evidence for the claims of Christ. For helpful discussions of these issues, read or refer them to He Walked Among Us, by Josh McDowell and Bill Wilson, or The Verdict of History, by Gary Habermas. [Out of print] There is a common salutation in witchcraft circles: "Blessed be!" To which we respond, Blessed be indeed -- and preferably, for all eternity. May they -- like Lewis and countless millions of others -- be "surprised by joy" and realize all their heartfelt hopes through receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
"Witnessing to Witches" release A, April 25, 1994
R. Poll, CRI.
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