Please kindly refer to the WITCHCRAFT and the CHURCH WITCHCRAFT pieces from the old site for a little background on this. While it is not the “textbook” definition of witchcraft, my working definition of witchcraft is anything that exerts control over an individual whether by coercion, subversion, or deception. Of course, this is not an entity in a position of legitimate authority wielding it appropriately, such as law enforcement preventing criminals from victimizing innocent people or parents causing their minor children to submit to a moral code. Quite the contrary, the Bible makes it clear that God regards the lack of such things abomination. Rather, witchcraft for our purposes is either usurping authority that you are never supposed to have, or abusing your legitimate authority, in order to cause a person to act in a certain manner. For example, let us consider the voodoo magician or similar. Now most people who seek the services of such people are either trying to learn their futures, gain money, or receive healing for a sickness. But there are people who seek such services in order to gain a measure of influence over others that they ought not to have, such as seeking a “spell” that will cause an object of their affection to reciprocate their emotions, or to have a curse cast on someone that will negatively impact their finances. You might think that this is something trivial or even whimsical, but in fact it is outrageous. What right does any person have to assert any measure of unwanted influence over the mind, will, emotions, affairs, etc. of another? Not only is it an utter violation of the God – given rights of the individual, but it is a rebellion against God Himself. Why? Because God alone is sovereign, and He alone is supposed to govern all individuals, and that includes the human rulers that God sets over people. Also, to people of the Arminian persuasion, hindering the ability of a person to make a conscious free choice between good and evil, to obey God or to turn aside from Him, in all matters is also a great sin. (I would suppose that Calvinists would consider this to be an ever greater attack on God’s sovereignty). This is why God took a clear stand regarding this behavior in scripture: “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live (Exodus 22:8).” I have found no equal in the Bible in terms of an explicit condemnation of a sinner, and the reason is obvious: the witch – and the one who seeks the aid of a witch – is defying and opposing God in the most direct way possible. Thus, Christians that perceive Harry Potter to be just fine as well as the MANY Christians that seek the aid of such people for such “harmless” activities as palm readings, horoscopes, lottery numbers (trust me, these folks would go broke were it not for their Christian clientele) ought to think about what they are doing, supporting, and contributing to. You might not be putting a curse on someone’s health when you are calling up your reader to find the number that you should play in your daily drawing, but you had better believe that plenty of other people use this same person to do such a thing! God killed not only Saul but his sons as well the day after consulting the witch of Endor (I Samuel 28:7) for a reason, and you Christians who engage in such behavior had better be glad that you are not Jews living under the Old Covenant like Saul.
But today in our modern world, the most common form of witchcraft is not done by people that (overtly or knowingly) deal in evil spirits. Instead, I allege that the governments of the earth are the biggest witches about. Think about the many ways that the governments use fear, intimidation, and (yes) education to cause people to act a certain way … in manners against their desire, will, interests, or nature! As a matter of fact, a great many of people have taken the opinion that it is precisely the role of government to do such a thing, and even more people have decided that it is an acceptable state of affairs. Other than maintaining general law and order, what makes people think that the government has the right to not only dictate but even so much INFLUENCE how people should live? The choices that they should make? Think about how this affects a person’s ability, likelihood, or mindset regarding living their lives in the way that God intends: their ability to make a free will choice to do righteousness or unrighteousness. About how this can cause not only an individual but a whole nation to set itself in complete continuous rebellion against God and His sovereign Will.
Now please, try to view this at a higher level than public schools teaching kids that homosexuality is acceptable, or urban governments refusing to enforce the law while simultaneously passing gun control measures making it impossible for people to defend themselves, or these other cultural and political issues of the day. Instead, think of your basic mindset concerning your government, what it expects of you, and what you expect of it. Compare yourself hypothetically to a person living in an area where other than things related to basic law and order government is nonexistent. Such a person would have a completely different mindset from you, would they not? It is entirely possible that such a person would live their lives in a completely different way. Also, consider that in the west it is generally accepted that the more government a society has, the more civilized we considered it to be, and also we even use the level of support that a person has for government – and the type of government that the person supports – as a measure of that person’s MORALITY.
Consider how people who seek to minimize the influence of government over their lives by moving to remote areas are viewed by the rest of society. Realize that such people are living no differently than did a significant portion of our own population barely 100 years ago, and from how a significant portion of the global population still live. Yet we consider such people to be anywhere from strange to people with extreme – and possibly dangerous – religious and social views.
To show how entrenched this is: consider Wade Horn, formerly a top policy director in the Bush administration. This fellow tried to enact policy where the government would give single mothers and fathers financial benefits in return for getting married. This idea was wildly popular with not only small government conservatives (under the logic that fewer single parent homes would mean less social spending to correct the problems that result from it) but also the religious right. Small government conservatives failed to consider that this idea was using the power of the state as it never had been before. And religious conservatives in particular should know better that efforts to help the poor ought to be out of compassion and unconditional, not cynical attempts to manipulate them into acting against their will. Yes, having kids out of wedlock (or more accurately procreative behavior out of wedlock) is sinful. But if you think that using the power of the state to exploit these people’s financial pressures to manipulate them to behave according to your wishes is not just as sinful, then you need to go read your Bible! You cannot coerce people into obeying God. Why? Because if you do, such people are not obeying God! Rather, they are obeying YOU. Therefore, any praise and honor that comes from their doing good deeds goes not to God, who alone is deserving it, but you, the person who is acting as an anti – Christ by standing in God’s place. Not only that, your forcing them to obey YOU DEPRIVE THEM OF THEIR ABILITY TO CHOOSE TO LIVE FOR GOD.
Now of course, there are some areas where this issue is subject to debate. A municipality using its tax and zoning policy to address traffic, school overcrowding, and environmental issues, and funding public transportation projects to provide jobs? That may well be an issue of officials using their legitimate authority in a wise, just manner as did Joseph. But using the same simply because you want to dictate how people live, where their children will attend public school, and make sure your political party retains control over a voting district? That is witchcraft.
And though officials do have the ability to act in a moral and responsible fashion, what is the guarantee that they will do so? The only way would be to A) populate our government with moral responsible people and B) ensure that they remain moral and responsible. Now if Old Testament Israel, God’s elect nation that He Himself by His supernatural intervention in history, could not accomplish this, what makes us think that we can? So, the primary agenda of every Christian should be to limit government. That way, we reduce its potential to bewitch us and cause our nation to rebel against God. So many Christians on the right and the left believe that we can use the power of the state to advance the cause of God’s righteousness. Part of this is that we are willing to delude ourselves into believing that our own moral and cultural preferences are God’s righteousness, can lead a person to God’s righteousness, or have some form of instrinsic virtue and value. Instead we need to consider this real fact: a powerful government hinders the work of what truly is used to advance the cause of righteousness, which is the church. Christians need to work to limit the power of government in a society if for no reason other than a limited government will be less able to oppose the church. It is a terrible shame that no Christian leaders with the respect and influence with the masses are speaking of this reality. Remember: we cannot cause anyone to be righteous. We are not to try to do so, and we certainly are not to use the coercive power of the state to achieve those ends. All we are to do is bring people to Christ with our witness and testimony. Not only is that something that the state can never do, but by its very nature the state will always oppose.