By: Mark Tabata (Evangelist)
In our last article, we studied about some of the basic facts regarding the religion known as “Wicca.”
In this article (and possibly in another one devoted to the general topic of helping to provide Christians with some useful insights in trying to reach out to their Wiccan friends), we are going to notice some of the areas in which Christianity and Wicca agree and find common ground.
It will be remembered, of course, that in the New Testament, the Apostles often found and pointed out “common ground” with their religious friends and neighbors when they were sharing the Gospel with them.
Some Christians are unaware of the Biblical approach of evangelism in this regard, and believe that we must simply approach our non-Christian friends and “thump the Bible” at them. However, this was not the approach of the first century church when dealing with people who did not believe in the inspiration of the Bible. Henry Morris has well pointed out:
“When we look at the example of the first Christian evangelists and missionaries, as reported in the Book of Acts in the New Testament, we find that they have shown us the best way. When Paul and the other Apostles preached the gospel to the Jews, they invariably preached from the Old Testament Scriptures…Paul could reason with them from the Scriptures because they, like he, already knew the Scriptures and accepted them as the Word of God. With this common ground, he could use the evidence of fulfilled prophecy —especially as centered in Christ’s resurrection from the dead —and many of his listeners believed as a result. This approach was commonly used by the Apostles when they witnessed to Jews who knew and believed the Bible. When they addressed Gentile followers of other religions, or of no religion, however, their approach was altogether different. Such people neither knew nor believed the Scriptures, so it would have been futile to use them as a basis for their case. Instead the Apostles began on the common ground they shared with these atheists and polytheistic pantheists: the evidence of the Creator in His creation….The first method, reasoning out of the Scriptures, is appropriate for many church audiences in the United States and other Christian communities, since these people for the most part still believe the Bible and know something about its teachings, even though they may not yet have accepted Christ as personal Savior. The second method, however, is more appropriate for people brought up to believe in one or another of the world’s great non-Christian religions. Even in the so-called Christian nations the younger generations have been so indoctrinated with evolutionism and humanism that most of them reject the Bible and know little or nothing about its teachings.” (Henry M. Morris, The God Who Is Real, 121-146 (Kindle Edition); Green Forest, AR; Master Books)
This does not mean that the Bible has no place in discussions of evidence. It certainly does! When I study with skeptics of the Bible, one of the first things I share with them deals with some of the evidences that the Bible is the Word of God.
Yet even before approaching a person with such evidences, it is wise to point out some of the “common ground” that we have with our pagan friends. The Bible certainly teaches this approach to evangelism.
The Apostle Paul pointed out that some of the pagan poets and philosophers had gotten many of their religious teachings correct, as demonstrated from the Divine revelation through nature (Acts 14:17; 17:22, 26-28; 1 Corinthians 15:33).
The Apostle Paul even quoted pagan prophets to establish that some of their teachings were correct (Titus 1:12-13).
The Prophet Jude quoted from non-canonical books as genuine historical records to help and establish his case (Jude 1:9, 14).
Luke records that he researched numerous documents when he was compiling his Gospel of Jesus’ life (Luke 1:1-4).
In all of these examples, we see that the Prophets and Apostles were able to find the common ground between themselves and their readers, even when they were coming from a non-Christian or pagan background, to build their case.
In much the same way, there are many commendable things about Wicca which Christians can applaud and find common ground on.
There Must Be A God
One of the first things that stands out as commendable about Wicca is its’ belief that there must be an original Creator of some kind.
Both the revelation of the Creator through nature and through Scripture (Psalm 14:1; 19:1; 139:14;Matthew 5:44-45; Acts 14:17; Romans 1:18-20; 2:14-16) reveal that there is, indeed, an eternal Creator of the universe.
While many in our day and age would rather believe that the universe has always existed, or that it somehow created itself from nothingness, the findings of science are conclusive that there must be an eternal Person Who brought it into existence.
For example, famous former atheist Antony Flew (after a lifetime defending atheism) published a book in which he documents his “conversion” to the belief that there must be a God. He wrote:
“I now believe that the universe was brought into existence by an infinite Intelligence. I believe that this universe’s intricate laws manifest what scientists have called the Mind of God. I believe that life and reproduction originate in a divine Source. Why do I believe this, given that I expounded and defended atheism for more than a half century? The short answer is this: this is the world picture, as I see it, that has emerged from modern science. Science spotlights three dimensions of nature that point to God. The first is the fact that nature obeys laws. The second is the dimension of life, of intelligently organized and purpose-driven beings, which arose from matter. The third is the very existence of nature. But it is not science alone that has guided me. I have also been helped by a renewed study of the classical philosophical arguments.” (Antony Flew with Roy Abraham Varghese, There is a God How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind, 88 (Kindle Edition): HarperCollins E-Books)
Another researcher, after having studied the science of quantum physics for nearly two decades, has written on the existence of God in these words:
“When I first began laying down the foundation of this thesis twenty five years ago I thought that I had found God in the Physics. However as I began placing the pieces together to form the Mosaic I began to realize that I was wrong. God was not in the Physics God is the Physics. He is the nature of reality and the purpose of existence….I have spent my entire life trying to determine what the nature of reality is, and what is the purpose of existence?…Now I can see all that lies before me clearly and rationally. Everything fits together into a beautiful mosaic of intelligent design. There is no other explanation, the universe is a construct, anyone who denies this is a sim0pleton using theories of a mechanical universe that were debunked 105 years ago, a person who must be pitied and shunned, for they are evil, they choose to embrace the evil that we have created, as such they are useful idiots but must be avoided for the consequences of contamination from the evil that festoons from their soul is the eternal damnation of your soul. They do not know God because they choose not to, and consequently they embrace the hedonism of this universe because they cannot feel the presence of the “singularity” and they are left with only the hedonistic pleasure of this universe.” (Gary Nickolaus, The Physics of God: Quantum Mechanics and All That Is, On Earth As It Is In Heaven, 236-238 (Kindle Edition); Xlibris Corporation)
The True God Manifests As Both Male And Female
Another area in which Christians and Wiccan can agree is in regards to the “gender” of God.
Most Wiccans point out that the God which they believe in has revealed itself to mankind in the form of male and female. While some Wiccans that I have studied with believe that there is an actual male God and female Goddess, many others that I have studied with have pointed out to me that these are simply ways in which their God has revealed itself to mankind.
Interestingly enough, the God of the Bible is in agreement with this teaching of Wicca (at least in some regards). Throughout Scripture, God makes it clear that He is literally neither male nor female, although He communicates through these forms in order to fully relate to humanity.
“With this basic understanding of the nature of gender, it seems apparent that God, having neither a sexed body nor a human culture, cannot have a gender. Yet does the testimony of Scripture support this conclusion? Although the Bible often speaks of God in masculine terms and even figuratively describes Him as having body parts, God is never said to have reproductive organs (as Baal and other gods had). God has no female god as a counterpart, and He does not produce the world through procreation, but through His spoken word. Moreover, John 4:24 testifies, “God is spirit.” An implication of this verse is that God, being holy and transcendent, has no body and exists as a being wholly outside the realm ofcreaturely existence. Because sexuality and gender are characteristics of bodily creatures, God cannot have gender. Moreover, some Bible texts specifically warn against identifying God with human males and females. Numbers 23:19 warns that “God is not a man [ish: male human], that He should lie, nor a son of man [adam: human], that He should repent” (NASB). Hosea 11:9 is similar: “I am God and not man [ish], the Holy One in your midst.” In speaking of the righteous nature of God’s character, both texts prohibit thinking of God as a man. The clearest teaching on this subject is found in Deuteronomy 4:15-16: “So watch yourselves carefully, since you did not see any form on the day the LORD spoke to you at Horeb from the midst of the fire, so that you do not act corruptly and make a graven image for yourselves in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female” (NASB). In this way, imaging God as male or female is considered idolatry, suggesting strongly that the biblical tradition is against attributing gender to God. Despite the fact that Scripture often uses language for God that is suitable for a masculine person, God is not like a human male in His form or character.” (Ed Hindson & Ergun Caner, The Popular Encyclopedia Of Apologetics, 244-245 (Kindle Edition); Eugene, Oregon; Harvest House Publishers)
The Word of God reminds us that both maleness and femaleness are derived from the Nature of God Himself. Male and female mirror and represent different characteristics of the one true God. Erwin Lutzer has well written:
“When God created Eve out of Adam’s flesh, He made a powerful statement about our sexuality. God separated femininity out of masculinity, forming two separate people. With this separation came a powerful implanted desire in the male and the female to be reunited in an intimate oneness….God gave Adam and Eve different characteristics. Men tend to be aggressive and depend upon a rational analysis of life’s problems. Women have a strong sense of intuition, basic trust, and sensitivity. Obviously, these are generalizations and there is overlapping. The point is simply that both genders mirror different aspects of God on earth. Both genders bear the image of God, though they reflect God in different ways….God gave Adam and Eve different characteristics. Men tend to be aggressive and depend upon a rational analysis of life’s problems. Women have a strong sense of intuition, basic trust, and sensitivity. Obviously, these are generalizations and there is overlapping. The point is simply that both genders mirror different aspects of God on earth. Both genders bear the image of God, though they reflect God in different ways. Then comes the account of Adam and Eve’s marriage. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame” (Genesis 2: 24–25). That word one should catch our attention. Marriage brings a unity that is unlike anything else on this earth; indeed, it represents a unity found only in heaven—in God Himself! That Hebrew word for one is found elsewhere in the Old Testament, specifically in the words, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one” (Deuteronomy 6: 4). Yes, the same Hebrew word for one (ehad) is used in the verse quoted above, “and they will become one flesh” (Genesis 2: 24, italics added). In other words, marriage is to represent the plurality and unity of God in the Trinity. Just as it is unthinkable that members of the Trinity would operate as separate entities, so a husband and wife should operate together with diversity within unity. The bond that has been formed involves the total personality of each partner. To quote the words of theologian Walter Brueggemann, “Humanity in community is male and female. And one is the full image of God alone.” 1” (Erwin W. Lutzer, The Truth About Same-Sex Marriage: 6 Things You Must Know About What’s Really At Stake, 668-689 (Kindle Edition); Chicago; Moody Press)
God Does Indeed “Fill All In All”
Our Wiccan friends generally believe that the eternal Spirit emptied itself into the Creation. As a result, some Wiccans are pantheist and some are panentheistic.
Pantheism teaches that the universe itself is God, whereas panentheism advocates the notion that God inhabits the universe in the same way that a spirit inhabits a body.
While these are in some ways different from the teaching of traditional theism (and from Biblical Revelation), there are some areas in which these ideas are similar.
The Bible teaches that God (in ways beyond our full comprehension) somehow fills all places at the same time.
Jeremiah 23:23-24-23 “Am I a God near at hand,” says the LORD, “And not a God afar off?
24 Can anyone hide himself in secret places, So I shall not see him?” says the LORD; “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the LORD.
Psalm 139:7-8-7 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
The God portrayed in the Bible is a God Who not only somehow fills His Creation, but also transcends it (cf. Hebrews 4:12-13; Proverbs 15:3; 1 John 3:20).
Wiccan Devotion To Protecting The Planet
Let me also suggest that another important area of agreement between Christian and Wicca is found in their shared belief that we must care for the planet.
The Wiccan belief that the universe is Divine leads to the adherents of this religion to try and care for planet Earth. While the Bible does not teach that the universe is Divine (cf. Romans 1:18-25), it does teach that God has given the Earth to mankind to care for as responsible stewards.
Several passages of Scripture indicate that God gave the stewardship of the Creation into the keeping of mankind (cf. Genesis 1:26-27; Psalm 8:6). Looking at the Hebrew of this passage is quite insightful:
“In Psalm 8:6, the original Hebrew word used for “rule” is mashal. It indicates that Adam was God’s manager here, God’s steward or governor. Adam was God’s mediator, go-between or representative. Psalm 115:16 confirms this: “The heaven … the Eternal holds himself, the earth He has assigned to men” (Moffatt, emphasis added). God didn’t give away ownership of the earth, but He did assign the responsibility of governing it to humanity….Now, it’s no small task to re-present God. So to help humans carry out this assignment, God made us so much like Himself that it was scary. “And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Gen. 1:27). The Hebrew word for “image” is tselem, which involves the concept of a “shadow,” a “phantom” or an “Illusion. ,4 An illusion is something you think you see, but on closer observation you discover that your eyes have tricked you. When the rest of creation saw Adam, they must’ve done a double ble take: Man, I could’ve sworn I saw God-oh, it’s justAdam. How’s that for re-presentation? We’re also told that Adam was similar to or comparable to God. The Hebrew word demuwth, translated “likeness” in Genesis 1:26, comes from the root word damah, meaning “to compare.”5 Adam was very much like God! Psalm 8:5 actually says human beings were made just “a little tle lower than God” and that we were crowned with God’s very own glory. The definition of the Hebrew word kabowd that’s translated “glory” literally means “heavy or weighty” !6 It’s linked to the concept of authority. We still use the picture today when we refer to someone who “carries a lot of weight.” Adam carried God’s weight on the earth. I don’t know what Adam weighed but he was heavy. He represented God with full authority! He was large and in charge! The Greek word for glory, doxa, is just as loaded. It involves the concept of recognition. More specifically, it’s what causes someone (or something) to be recognized for who he or she (or it) really is.7 When we read in Scripture that humankind is the glory of God (see 1 Cor. 11:7), it’s telling us that God was recognized in humans. Why? So humans could accurately represent Him. When creation looked at Adam, they were supposed to see God. And they did! That is, until Adam sinned and couldn’t carry the weight of God’s glory anymore.” (Dutch Sheets, Getting In God’s Face: How Prayer Really Works, 16-18 (Kindle Edition); Ventura, CA; Regal)
Many Christians are not aware of just how much the Bible speaks of man’s responsibility in caring for the Creation.
“If we abusively exploit God’s creation for the sake of our own self-interest, we will not escape final accountability. Consider John’s warning: “Your wrath has come, and the time for judging the dead, for rewarding Your servants, the prophets and the saints and who fear Your name, both small and great, and for destroying those who destroy the earth” (Rev. 11: 18; emphasis ours). As God rules over us, we expect goodness and fairness and for God to continually do what is in humanity’s best interests. Therefore, if we count upon God’s benevolent rule, why would we ever presume God would approve humanity’s abusive, self-serving reign over creation? Exploitive misuse (Ezek. 34: 18–19) and wastefulness (John 6: 12) are unseemly in God’s eyes. Genesis 9: 12–13 testifies to God’s love and faithfulness toward creation, which God expects humanity to share: “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and the earth” (Gen. 9: 12–13; emphasis ours). God has covenanted with the earth and its life. Consequently, humans, formed in his likeness, must exercise responsible care in ruling what clearly belongs to God….Christians value and love creation because God loves it and intends to redeem it alongside humanity. Those who describe God as only caring about humanity are not describing the God revealed in Scripture. The earth and its resources were created by God and declared valuable (“ very good”) independent of human utility. Deuteronomy 22: 6–7 is one of my favorite biblical texts advocating creation care: If you come on a bird’s nest, in any tree or on the ground, with fledglings or eggs, with the mother sitting on the fledglings or on the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young. Let the mother go, taking only the young for yourself, in order that it may go well with you and you may live long. When I took my first wildlife management class in college, the professor said something astonishing that I had never heard before. This Deuteronomic prescription is the oldest known written law about wildlife conservation. In effect, God charged ancient Israel with game warden responsibilities. And there are other examples. In Exodus it says, “But the seventh year you shall let [the crop field] rest and lie fallow, so that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave the wild animals may eat. You shall do the same with your vineyard, and with your olive orchard” (23: 11). In Leviticus it says, “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest” (19: 9). Conservation practices—mandated in the Torah—benefited land, people, and wildlife. We have similar agricultural programs in the United States, which pay farmers to leave portions of their crop fields unplanted (fallow) or unharvested to increase soil fertility and to provide food and cover for wildlife. In another passage, God expects those who prosecute wars to protect trees: If you besiege a town for a long time, making war against it in order to take it, you must not destroy its trees by wielding an ax against them. Although you may take food from them, you must not cut them down. Are trees in the field human beings that they should come under siege from you? (Deut. 20: 19) If ancient warriors were responsible for executing their plans in a conservationist manner, there is little doubt what God might think about modern technological warfare whose collateral damage often results in widespread despoliation of the land.” (John Mark Hicks, Bobby Valentine, & and Mark Wilson, EMBRACING CREATION God’s Forgotten Mission, 2063-2097 (Kindle Edition); Abilene, TX; Abilene Christian University Press)
In many ways, there are areas in which Christians and Wiccans can find important areas of agreement.
In our third article on this topic, we will carefully consider some of the specific areas of disagreement between Christianity and Wicca, and especially some more advice for members of the Lord’s church to share the Gospel with our Wiccan friends.
Our ultimate goal is that each person will learn of the evidences regarding the inspiration of the Bible and the Divine Identity of Jesus Christ (Isaiah 41:21-24; 42:9; 44:6-8; John 3:2; Matthew 11:1-6; 1 Corinthians 15:1-8).
What every person needs to hear is the saving Message of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Who came and died for the sins of mankind on the cross of Calvary, was buried, and arose from the dead on the third day (Matthew 20:28; 1 Timothy 2:4-6; 2 Corinthians 5:15), and Who promises salvation to everyone who, believing in Jesus because of hearing His Word (Acts 18:8), will repent of sin, confess Jesus Christ as God’s Son, and will be baptized into Christ (Acts 2:37-47; 8:35-38).
When we thus become a Christian, God promises that if we will live faithfully to Him to the point of death we will receive Heaven as our Home (Revelation 2:10). When we fall short and sin as Christians, the Lord promises forgiveness when we repent of that sin and confess it to Him in prayer (1 John 1:8-10).
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.