By: Mark Tabata (Evangelist)
In Part One of this series, we studied about the origin and basic beliefs, teachings, and practices of Wicca.
In Part Two, we learned about some of the commendable traits and qualities of this religion, as well as some of the points of agreement between Christianity and Wicca.
In this article, we will notice some of the areas of disagreement between these two religious systems in regards to God, the Bible, and Jesus Christ.
We will then offer some practical suggestions for Christians who are studying with their Wiccan friends and neighbors.
Looking At God
As we noticed in Part One of our study, most Wiccans are either pantheistic or panentheistic in their worldview.
Pantheism is the belief that the entire creation is God, and that it has always existed in one form or another. As such, pantheism claims that the universe is eternal.
However, by studying the universe itself, we quickly see that it is not eternal and that it had a definite beginning (and will have an end someday).
Investigating how the laws of thermodynamics apply to the the universe, we learn:
“The first law of thermodynamics states that energy cannot be created or destroyed it can be transformed into matter and converted from heat to electricity or to mechanical energy and back again but the total amount of energy always remains constant. The second law of thermodynamics says that, in the absence of any interference, the energy in a system will always tend toward its most probable distribution a hot cup of coffee left to stand will always get colder, it won’t get hotter….The universe is a very non-equilibrium place. The stars are very hot and the rest of the universe is very cold. We live on a warm planet only because we are at a just-right distance from a star much farther out and we would freeze, much farther in and we would fry. We can conclude from this non-equilibrium condition that the universe is therefore not infinitely old. If it were infinitely old then the heat would have become evenly (and randomly) distributed throughout and everything would be cold and dark. Now the second law of thermodynamics says that the tendency of any system is always (on average there may be localized exceptions) toward equilibrium, so we can reasonably ask: “How did our universe get so far away from equilibrium?” This is an important challenge for any naturalistic cosmology, because if we take the present-day universe in its non-equilibrium state, and wind its history back through time, we get a universe that is further and further away from equilibrium. That is, the universe becomes more structured as you go back in time. This is not convenient for atheists because it points to a highly structured universe in the beginning. This is generally acknowledged by big-bang theorists to be an unexplained problem. 18. The biblical model, however, is consistent with the second law. It has the Creator doing the ordering work of creation at the beginning, after which entropy increases according to the second law.” (Alexander Williams and John Hartnett., Dismantling The Big Bang: God’s Universe Rediscovered, 1971-2002 (Kindle Edition); Green Forest, AR; Master Books, Inc).
From this, it is clear that pantheism cannot be a valid worldview.
What of panentheism? Panentheists believe that the universe is the body of God, which He inhabits. Since the universe is always in a state of flux, so God (it is reasoned) is always changing.
However, there are several problems with panentheism. To see some of these problems, simply consider what we learn about the Nature of the Creator from the universe and then compare this with panentheism.
For example, consider the subject of change. We know from the nature of the universe that the Creator must be completely changeless in nature. This is a simple result of His eternal and timeless nature. Since this Being created time, then it exists outside of it. But since change is simply a byproduct of time, then this Being (existing outside of time) is completely changeless in its nature.
This is an inescapable conclusion, and one that clearly shows panentheism cannot be accurate (since the god of panentheism is always changing).
Furthermore, if the god of panentheism is always changing (as panentheists maintain), then how could the changes thereof be identified unless there were not first some ultimate and unchangeable standard of measurement?
Geisler and Brooks have well explained:
“A view that is halfway between pantheism and theism is panentheism, also known as process theology. It says that God is to the world as a soul is to a body. As in theism, the world needs God to exist but, like pantheism, God also needs the world to express Himself. So, while God is beyond the world in one sense, He also is the world in another sense. What is beyond the world actualizes itself (makes itself real) in the world. So God is always changing as the world changes. He is in the process of becoming all that He can be….Also, how can one know that everything is changing if there is not some unchanging standard by which to measure change? Because cause we are moving along with it, we don’t notice that the world is rotating on its axis or revolving around the sun. It feels like we arc standing still. The same thing happens if we toss a ball straight up in the air in an airplane. We don’t realize that the ball is really traveling at 500 miles per hour because we are moving at the same speed. We can only be sure that something is moving when we measure it by something that is not moving. So how can we know that everything is changing unless we can look at something that is not changing? Panentheism has no explanation for this because it holds that even God is constantly changing.” (Norman L. Geisler & Ronald M. Brooks, When Skeptics Ask: A Handbook On Christian Evidences, 47-51 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Books)
The very moment we begin talking about “change,” we are alluding to the fact that there is a perfect and changeless Standard by which all change is measured. This is one of the reasons why panentheism always fails.
Yet a Wiccan may object, “If God is changeless, then how do you explain the existence of Jesus Christ? Didn’t God become flesh and “change” while He was in the world?”
Yes, it is the case that through Jesus, God was manifest in the flesh (1 Timothy 3:16). And yes, while Jesus was here, He changed as He grew and learned obedience by the things which He suffered (Hebrews 5:8-9).
Are Christians, therefore, guilty of violating the same principle of changelessness which we have incited against our Wiccan friends?
Not at all, and here is why.
When the Bible speaks of Jesus as God being manifest in the flesh, it is teaching that Jesus maintains His complete Divine Nature, while also taking on the nature of man. In His Divine Nature, the Son of God did not change!
Colossians 2:9-For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;
Hebrews 13:8-Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
The “emptying” that Christ underwent (Philippians 2:5-9) did not involve the forfeiture of His Divine Nature. Instead, it meant that the Son of God (being 100% God), by virtue His omnipotent power, He (at the same time) took on flesh (and “became” 100% human).
As such, the Bible maintains that Christ (being both fully God and fully man) was able to “become” the perfect High Priest and Mediator between God and man:
Hebrews 2:17-18-17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.
Hebrews 4:15-16-15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
When we carefully examine what nature itself teaches us about the Creator, we see that it matches up PERFECTLY with the God of the Bible:
“This God Who Exists Is Identical to the God Described in the Christian Scriptures. The God described in the Bible is said to be eternal (Col. 1 :16; Heb. 1:2), changeless (Mal. 3:6; Heb. 6:18), infinite (I Kings 8:27; Isa. 66:1), all-loving (John 3:16; I John 4:16), and all-powerful (Heb. 1:3; Matt. 19:26). But there cannot be two infinitely perfect, changeless, eternal beings. First, there can be only one infinite and necessary Being, as was shown above (p. 239f.). Second, there could not be two beings who have all possible perfections attributable to them. For in order to be two beings one would have to differ from the other; where there is no difference in being there is only one being. But there can be no difference unless one being has something the other does not. But if there is something that an infinite being can have but one lacks, then the one lacking it is not absolutely perfect. Hence, there is only one absolutely perfect being. But if there cannot be two such beings, then the God described in the Bible is identical to the God concluded from the above argument. Therefore, the God Described in the Bible Exists. If there is only one God and the God described in the Bible is identical in characteristics to him, then it follows logically that the God described in the Bible exists. For there cannot be two infinitely perfect beings; there cannot be two such ultimates or absolutes, and so forth. Hence, the God portrayed in Scripture does indeed exist.” (Norman Geisler, Christian Apologetics, 249-250 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Books House)
Looking At The Bible
When I study with my Wiccan friends, I always try to move to point out that the Bible claims to be the inspired Word of God. This can be demonstrated through several Scriptures (Jeremiah 1:9-10; 2 Samuel 23:2; Matthew 10:19; John 14:26; 16:13; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 1 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Peter 1:19-21, etc.).
However, I am also quick to establish that I do not believe the Bible is the Word of God merely because it CLAIMS to be. Rather, I know that the Bible is the Word of God because of the irrefutable evidences which demand this conclusion.
In my personal experience, I have found this to be a VERY important point to make. Many Christians seem to expect their pagan friends to accept that the Bible is God’s Word simply because it says that it is.
Some might even proclaim, “I know that the Bible is true because I feel it in my heart!”
But really, this is pretty bad “reasoning.” Think about it! How many people claim that their religion must be true because of a “feeling in the heart?”
My Mormon friends tell me the Book of Mormon is true because of a burning in their bosom.
My Muslim friends tell me that they believe in the Quran because of the sincerity and purity of their “faith.”
My Wiccan friends often tell me that they accept the teachings of their religion because of unique spiritual encounters with otherworldly beings (who I have no doubt exist, by the way) which touches their heart in a unique way.
Timothy Paul Jones really does a great job explaining these things:
“Why, then, is this book necessary? If these reconstructions are readily refutable, why spend so much time responding to them? Why not simply ignore the Christ conspiracies? Here’s why the Christ conspiracies can’t be overlooked: The strongest faith is a faith that knows not only what we believe but also why. In the past five years or so, I’ve spoken with thousands of people—most of them firm believers in the biblical perspective on Jesus—about the historical foundations of their faith. In the process, I’ve heard multitudes of well-meaning Christians provide the same two reasons for their faith in Jesus. The first reason runs something like this: “I just know Jesus is alive because I’ve felt His presence—that’s the only proof I need!” The other one is usually stated in these terms: “The Bible is God’s Word; so, if the Bible says it, I believe it, and that settles it.” I respect these believers’ sincerity; I really do. But may I be blunt for just a moment? These are rotten reasons to believe in Jesus. Just because you’ve felt something that you identified as God’s presence doesn’t mean that what you felt was true. And how do you know that the Bible is God’s Word? Is it simply because the Bible claims to be inspired by God? Unless there’s a firmer foundation for the truth of Scripture than the Bible’s own claims about itself, the fact that “the Bible says it” doesn’t settle anything. Sure, the apostle Paul referred to the Hebrew Scriptures as “God-breathed,” and a letter ascribed to Simon Peter placed New Testament writings in the same inspired category as the Old Testament (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 3:16-17), but the Quran—the holy book of the Islamic faith—claims divine inspiration for itself too.26 So why couldn’t a devout Muslim make a similar statement about the Quran: “The Quran says it, I believe it, and that settles it”?…What about the inward, personal awareness that Jesus is present and alive?28 Doesn’t that prove the truth of the Christian Gospel? What could possibly be wrong with faith of this sort—a faith that’s based on an individual’s personal experience with Jesus? In truth, this foundation for faith is even flimsier than the first one. Why? Think about it this way: based on supposed personal experiences with God, cult leader Jim Jones claimed that he was the reincarnation of both Jesus Christ and the Buddha (as well as Vladimir Ilyich Lenin!),29 Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda declared himself to be the second coming of Christ as well as the Antichrist, and forty-one Heaven’s Gate cult members committed suicide in 1997 so that their souls could catch a ride on an outbound UFO.30 If the foundation for my faith is my own personal experience with the divine, what’s the difference between my claim that Jesus Christ rose from the dead and De Jesus Miranda’s claim that he is both Christ and Antichrist?…In the final analysis, our experiences are inadequate foundations for our faith because even if our experiences are indeed real, we don’t always interpret the meaning of our experiences correctly…In the simplest possible terms, I need a foundation for faith that runs deeper than my own less-than-reliable interpretations of my experiences or the Bible’s own claims about itself.” (Timothy Paul Jones, Conspiracies And The Cross: How To Intelligently Counter The Ten Most Popular Theories That Attack The Gospel Of Jesus, 257-305 (Kindle Edition); Lake Mary Florida; FrontLine: A Strang Company)
Our own hearts are NEVER a perfect standard for establishing truth!
Judges 21:25-In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
Proverbs 28:26-He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But whoever walks wisely will be delivered.
Jeremiah 17:9-The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?
When we study with our friends (whether Wiccan, Muslim, atheist, or whatever the case may be), we need to show them some of the solid and logical reasons why we know that the Bible is the complete and final revelation of God to mankind.
Some of the evidences which may be used for these purposes come from the topics of prophecy and fulfillment, the scientific foreknowledge of the Bible writers, miraculous attestation (as authenticated by establishing the genuineness and credibility of the Books of the Bible), archaeological testimony, the supernatural unity of the Bible, etc.
How strong are these evidences? Well, speaking only from my own personal experience, I have seen several atheists, agnostics, Wiccans, Druids, witches, occultists, and satanists converted to Christ Jesus by a study of these “infallible proofs” (Acts 1:1-3).
By way of contrast, I have asked my pagan friends several times for proof that their gods can (for example) provide examples of prophecy and fulfillment (Isaiah 41:21-24; 42:9; 43:9-12; 45:21; John 13:19). To this day, there have been no takers, while several have quite candidly told me that their god’s CANNOT reveal the future.
The contrast with the Bible is immediate and astonishing!
Now keep in mind that your Wiccan friends will most likely hold to numerous conspiracy theories about the Bible. You will probably need to be prepared to answer questions like the following:
Who made the determination of which books went into the Bible?
Isn’t it true that there are “missing books” of the Bible?
Wasn’t the Bible formed from power-hungry and corrupt politicians?
These questions (and likely many others) will be raised by your pagan friends, and you need to be as prepared as you can be to try and give them a rational defense of what you believe as a Christian, and (just as importantly) WHY you believe what you do (1 Peter 3:15).
(Note: I have several lessons available on ALL of these subjects and am ready and willing to send them to you at no charge via Facebook or email).
While I am on the topic, let me also suggest that you need to have a reliable and EASY TO READ translation of the Bible available when you try and teach your friends.
In using Bible translations with outdated and archaic English, it is possible to unintentionally fuel a common pagan stereotype, I.e.,that Christians want to keep outsiders “in the dark” by controlling the free expression of thought in keeping minds chained to the etymology and wordage of the distant past.
Looking At Jesus
Wiccans typically view Jesus as a powerful Wiccan magician whose disciples intentionally corrupted His teaching for their own personal gain.
When studying with Wiccans about Jesus, I always follow the same basic plan.
First, I carefully listen to what they believe about Jesus. I am quick to point out any similarities between their beliefs and the teaching of the Lord.
Second, I establish the Deity of Jesus by establishing the authority of the Bible.
There are two basic ways to do this: by using what I call “the Cumulative Approach” and/or “the Historical Approach.”
The Cumulative Approach
This method uses the evidences specifically mentioned above (such as prophecy and fulfillment, archaeology, etc.) to demonstrate that the Bible must be the Word of God, and that it teaches that Jesus Christ is Deity. The argument goes like this:
If the Bible contains traits which may only be explained by Divine inspiration, then the Bible is the Word of God.
The Bible does contain traits which may only be explained by Divine inspiration.
Therefore, the Bible is the Word of God.
After the Divine inspiration of the Bible is established, you may use this simple argument to establish the Deity of Jesus:
If the Bible is the Word of God, and if the Bible teaches that Jesus Christ is Divine, then Jesus Christ is Divine.
It is the case that the Bible is the Word of God, and it is the case that the Bible teaches Jesus Christ is Divine.
Therefore, Jesus Christ is Divine.
The Historical Approach
Another approach is to specifically establish the genuineness and credibility of the New Testament Scriptures. The argument looks like this:
If it is the case that the New Testament Scriptures are both genuine and credible, and if it is the case that the New Testament Scriptures teach that Jesus Christ is Divine, then it is the case that Jesus Christ is Divine.
It is the case that the New Testament Scriptures are both genuine and credible, and it is the case that the New Testament Scriptures teach that Jesus Christ is Divine.
Therefore, it is the case that Jesus Christ is Divine.
Genuineness deals with the subject of authorship. For example, how do we know that the New Testament Scriptures were written by their purported authors?
Several lines of evidence attest to the Apostolic authorship of the New Testament Scriptures (the claims of the Books themselves, the testimony of the early church who meticulously studied these matters, the records of the early sects of Christianity, the resentful acknowledgment of the earliest and most vehement enemies of the church, etc.).
After establishing the genuineness of the New Testament Scriptures, it is important to then establish their credibility. Credibility has reference to whether or not these Books are objectively and historically true. Did the Apostles report the truth about Jesus? Could they have “fudged the facts?”
Several lines of evidence may be used to establish the credibility of the New Testament Scriptures (the character of the Apostles, coupled with their subsequent trials and martyrdom, the abundance of witnesses both within the biblical text and outside which agree in overall and minute testimony, the findings of archaeology, the encouragement of the Apostolic eyewitnesses for people to carefully examine the evidences upon which Christianity is founded, the conversion of hostile witnesses, etc.).
Finally, you may then use the New Testament Scriptures to establish the Deity of Jesus Christ (Isaiah 48:16; 53; Daniel 7:13-14; Matthew 16:13-19; John 5:32-47).
Both of these approaches may be used to establish the Identity of Jesus Christ. I have had success with both methods over the years.
When you have successfully established the case for Jesus, you can move on to the greatest evidences of the Divine Nature of Jesus: His atoning death, burial, and resurrection from the dead on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-8).
In our next article on this topic, we will carefully consider some more questions and topics that Wiccans will likely raise, such as:
If Christians believe the Bible is the Word of God, then why don’t you believe in spirits and magic (since the Bible speaks of these things)?
Doesn’t Reincarnation make more sense then Resurrection?
Why should Wiccans believe in Christianity since Christians have killed thousands of witches through the ages, and been responsible for so many other atrocities in the world?
We will also consider more suggestions for how Christians may successfully reach their Wiccan friends with the Gospel (Acts 2:36-47).
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.