The New Face of 21st Century Witchcraft
(written for children by Michael Krigline, November 2001--revised
As the 21st Century begins, maybe you are one of the
many children worldwide who are
showing new interest in a very old source of power: witchcraft. Some say
it is all just harmless make-believe. Some are thrilled that kids are
reading something—anything!—instead of just sitting in front
of a TV or computer screen. Some say witchcraft is both real and
good—contrary to the mistaken ideas of the past. Others say
we are messing with something too dangerous to ignore. Since I have
a son of my own (and because I teach kids too) I felt the need to write
about this subject.
Up front, I should admit that I have never read Goosebumps or the
Harry Potter books. If these books have encouraged you to start
reading--that's a good thing! I have heard that the books are
well-written, and I understand that good wins over evil in these books.
None of that really matters for the moment, for my comments are about the
subject, not the
packaging. I also admit that my thoughts are based on the Bible and
therefore come from a worldview 180 degrees opposite to one that
encourages children to fantasize about witchcraft (for good or evil).
Only you can decide if the Bible's insights are worth listening to, but
remember that this book has certainly proven to be a trustworthy guide
to behavior for a LONG time!
Because I haven't read the newest books or seen the latest
movies, some would say I have no business commenting on the subject. But
if I’m not allowed to write about witches, then a boy could never talk
about things girls believe (since they view things differently), and a
teacher could never talk about rainforests (having never really seen
one). Saying such a thing is pretty silly. And besides, you don’t have
to taste something to know not to step in it! If someone you trust says
"don't step in that!" it should be enough! In this case, the "somebody I
trust" is the Bible, which some people call the Word of God.
Do witches really exist, and can they do
According to the Bible, the answer is yes. Whenever the Bible
talks about witchcraft, it is talking about something real. Actually,
people who use “witchcraft” are called different things, depending
on which translation of the Bible you are reading: witches, diviners,
sorcerers, fortune-tellers, psychics, spiritists, one who consults
ghosts or familiar spirits, one who casts spells, serpent-charmers,
wizards, mediums, soothsayers, and even “priests” for other gods.
But no matter what they are called, the Bible treats them like they are
real and have real power.
For example, 2 Chronicles 33:6 tells about one of Judah’s worst
kings. His name was Manasseh and “he practiced magic and witchcraft
and told the future by explaining signs and dreams.” 1 Samuel 28:11
tells about a witch (or medium) who actually called up the spirit of a
dead prophet. And Pharaoh’s priests were able to turn sticks into
snakes (Exodus 7:11). You can also read about what a sorcerer did in
Acts 8:9. The Bible treats all these events like they really happened.
Throughout history, people have seen “witches” do
supernatural things. Marco Polo told of seeing Buddhists priests bend
metal and move food across the room without using their hands (that is,
by witchcraft). Today, such people can walk on burning-hot rocks or lay
on sharp nails without getting hurt—this too is done by witchcraft.
Some magicians also use witchcraft (though most western “magicians”
do things by tricks or illusions, and not by witchcraft).
The point is that witchcraft is real, and therefore witchcraft is
not just “harmless fantasy”—no matter whether an author (or
reader) believes in it or not!
Is it wrong to practice or fantasize about
Again, according to the Bible, it is wrong. Along
with lots of good advice for how to get the most out of life, the Bible
also tells us some of the rules God gave us so we can avoid serious
trouble (either in this life, or after this life is over). One rule is:
“Do not practice
fortune-telling or witchcraft” (Leviticus 19:26). Likewise,
Deuteronomy 18:10-14 says: “Do
not let your people practice fortune-telling or sorcery, or allow them
to interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft, or cast spells, or function
as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead. Anyone
who does these things is an object of horror and disgust to the Lord…
The people you are about to displace consult with sorcerers and
fortune-tellers, but the Lord
your God forbids you to do such things.” Even the New Testament
(written after Jesus came), includes “doing witchcraft” or
“participation in demonic activities” in a list of sinful things we
should not do (Galatians 5:19-21). So, it is clear that the Bible says
practicing witchcraft is wrong.
As for just fantasizing instead of actually doing it… Well,
Jesus seemed to think they were basically the same thing! (See Matthew
5:28) Similarly, 2 Corinthians 10:5 says we should take “every
thought” captive when our thoughts/fantasies go astray. Furthermore, Ephesians
5:3-9 tells us that we shouldn’t even talk about things that are
sinful or wrong, adding: “Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse
these sins, for the terrible anger of God comes upon all those who
disobey him. Don’t participate in the things these people do.”
WHY is it wrong to embrace or fantasize in
The best reason is that God says not to! He is a lot smarter than
we are, and He knows what is best for us. Remember when your Dad said
not to touch the fire or put your finger in the electric outlet? When
you asked “why,” he probably didn’t explain thermodynamics or the
properties of electricity to you! He probably said: “Because I said
so!” There was a complicated explanation, but the simple truth was
that it would hurt you—and your Dad didn’t want you to get hurt!
Neither does God the Father! He really wants what is best for you.
Of course there are also other reasons. For one thing, God
doesn’t want you to get hooked up with what is evil. According to the
Bible there really is an unseen world of powerful beings who want to
destroy people (Revelation 12:7-9, John 10:10). They hate God, and hate
people because they remind them of God (and the love of God which they
chose to reject). These evil beings are described as “fallen angels”
who can dress up like “angels of light” (Revelation 12:7-9; 2
Corinthians 11:14). That means they attract you by looking beautiful or
harmless, and then once they have you hooked they can jerk you around
like a bull with a ring in its nose. In the end, they drag your soul to
hell—and that is the main thing God has done SO MUCH to keep from
The Bible contains a lot of “good news,” but it is also very clear about
the horrible end in store for the devil, those who reject Jesus as Lord,
and those who “cause little ones to stumble”
(Revelation 20; 2 Peter 2; Matt 18:6-14).
Another reason for not messing around with witchcraft or other
forms of evil is similar to vaccination. Do you remember that
“ouchie” shot that kept you from getting the measles? That nasty
thing actually had a little bit of “measles” in it! That’s right,
the doctor gave you a little measles, and then your body came up with a
way to fight it off—AND thereby could fight off the “real measles”
if they ever came your way. Likewise, when you don’t take antibiotics
for as long as the doctor says, the germs in your body can learn to
fight similar antibiotics off so the same pills can’t help you next
time. This is just the way we are made.
Our spirits can work that way too. When you mess around with
fantasies about witches or other supernatural forces, your “spirit”
can develop a “cure” for this nasty thing. Unfortunately, when God
(who also operates in the supernatural realm) tries to get in to help
you with some problem, your deadened spirit resists Him too. Our spirits
and bodies are similar in many ways!
This “vaccination” effect is a favorite tool of the unseen
enemies of your soul! After all, if they can’t trick you into
believing a lie (like “white magic is good” or “there is no
devil”), then maybe they can at least keep you from believing the
Truth (i.e, that Jesus loves you and wants the best for you!).
The “vaccination” effect is also why “a little religion”
is often a bad thing! You have to jump in with BOTH feet, or as Jesus
put it: “with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all
your strength.” Anything less, and you are just asking for trouble.
(Mark 12:29-31; Acts 19:13-16)
Besides, why would you want to mess around with something God
says to leave alone, when He offers you something better?! Witchcraft
uses the power of a fallen angel, but the Holy Spirit can put the power
of God to work for you! Those who learn how to hear and follow
God’s voice inside their hearts can see miracles happen that would
make a witch green with envy (Acts 8:9-23). The Holy Spirit can answer
your prayers to heal people, provide for someone’s needs, and even
raise the dead! (Acts 3; 2 Kings 4:1-7; Acts 9:36-43) Witchcraft is no
match for the power of the Living God! (1 Kings 18:20-39)
Opps! I’ve already become “hooked” on this
stuff! How do I get free?
The Bible says: “resist the devil and he must flee;” and
“greater is He who is in me than he that is in the world” (James
4:7; 1 John 4:4). In other words, if Jesus is living in me, He is
greater than any devil or evil power. Then, if I just stand up and
remember what God’s Word (the Bible) says, I can beat back the
evil—and it will always go away! Of course, this only works if Jesus
is living inside you!
How do you get Jesus to live inside you? You can think of this as
A-B-C. (see Romans 10:9-10)
A) Admit that you are a sinner. That’s not hard to do,
because sin is simply everything in us and everything we do that is not
Are you perfect? No. Then you are a sinner. God already knows this and
He loves you anyway! Let Him know you know it too, and move on to the
B) Believe that Jesus Christ died and rose again to pay
for your sins. Like the wind, you can’t see Him, but you know He’s
there by the effect He has on others. For 2000 years Jesus has forgiven
others, and then helped them lead thankful lives by doing good things
for others, living in peace when everything around them is crazy, and
showing others how to find the same peace and purpose for living. Easter
is the key. On the cross, Jesus paid for your sins. Then He rose again,
and now He lives on so you can have a day-to-day relationship with Him.
C) Confess Jesus as Lord. “Confess” means to say
something out loud to others. “Lord” means “boss.” So tell a
Christian friend that you have asked Jesus to be your boss (you can tell
a pastor if you don’t have a Christian friend). Jesus is the best boss
you could ever know—and walking with Him will give you the power to
say NO to evil and YES to what is good.
So what CAN I read now?
In general, avoid stuff that makes you think evil things are
good. There are some great books (even fantasy books) that paint evil as
evil. The best-known series is probably “The Chronicles of Narnia”
by C.S. Lewis. Mr. Lewis was a Christian (he is no longer living on
Earth!), and Narnia’s “hero” is a lion who is a lot like Jesus. I
love these books, and I’m sure you will, too. You can also find cool
books from Frank Perretti and other modern authors. Books about
detectives (e.g., Encyclopedia Brown and Sherlock Holmes) who use their brains
instead of “magic” to solve mysteries are also fun to read.
They also say that “truth is stranger than fiction” so why
not read biographies about real people who changed the world? They might
inspire you to become someone great, too! After all, they ate the same
food, breathed the same air, and probably did it without all the modern
advantages you are going to have available! (They also did it without a
Oh, and don’t forget the Bible! It will tell you more about how
God wants you to live. After all, He designed you—He knows what makes
you tick and knows how to make your life all it CAN be! The Bible is
also full of true stories about folks as evil as Satan himself, and as
awesome as Jesus. You can learn from the mistakes of the bad guys, and
learn how to walk in the footsteps of the heroes! The Bible is the
best-loved and most read book in history—find out why!
A final thought (from St. Paul, not me!)
I can’t think of a better way to close this than with the words
of the Apostle Paul. He was one of the greatest men in the Bible, and we
can learn a lot by walking in his footsteps.
I don’t know about you, but I’ll take “the God of
peace” over some witch any day
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, let me say one more thing
as I close this letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable
and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable.
Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting
into practice all you learned from me and heard from me and saw me
doing, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians
© 2001 Michael Krigline, all
rights reserved. Permission granted to print/copy for personal use.
This article was written with young readers in mind. Illustrations were
taken or adapted from software programs on my computer (Macromedia
Freehand and/or MS Word?) or are in the public domain to the best of my