By Bill Gordon
Name: The name Wicca is the old English word for wizard.
While in old English the term was a masculine noun, modern witches use the word
to refer to both male and female followers of witchcraft. While some Wiccans
proudly refer to themselves as witches, others do not use the term because of
the negative connotations associated with the term.
Nature: Wicca is an attempt to revive the pre-Christian
nature and fertility religions of western Europe. It is a neo-pagan religion
that believes in supernatural magick (see "Wiccan Practices below), worships a
male and female deity, and practices rituals that revolve around the cycles of
Date of Beginning: While Wiccans often claim a historical
connection with the ancient religions of the pre-Christian pagans, the movement
actually started in the mid-twentieth century.
Headquarters: Since Wicca is both antidogmatic and
antiauthoritarian, it has no central leadership or organization. There is also
no uniformity of doctrine. There is a wide variety of beliefs and practices
found within Wicca, although there are some basic assumptions that are accepted
by most Wiccan groups. There are many different Wiccan groups or denominations.
Some are large with several thousand members, while others may consist of only
a few people.
Adherents: It is unknown how many are involved in Wicca.
Most Wiccan groups do not report their membership numbers. However, evidence
indicates that Wicca is one of the fastest growing occultic movements in North
America. A conservative estimate for the number of Wiccans would be about
250,000. However, some Wiccan groups claim that there are as many as 5,000,000
people practicing their religion in North America. While both males and females
of all ages practice Wicca, many Wiccans are teenage girls.
Assumptions: Many of the beliefs of Wicca are also found in
the New Age Movement. Wicca accepts an occultic understanding of reality.
Wiccans worship a mother goddess and a male horned deity (her consort). Three
major beliefs of Wicca are animism, pantheism, and polytheism.
Animism is the belief that everything, even inanimate objects, have a soul
or spirit. Wiccans believe that not only plants have a soul or spirit, but also
the wind, the rain, and even rocks.
Many witches believe that everything, animate and inanimate, is infused with
and participates in the life force. As a result, the eath is one organism.
In addition to holding to some form of animism, many Wiccans also adhere to
pantheism. Pantheism is the belief that everything is divine. The term is
derived from two Greek words: pan which means "all" and theos
which means "god, God, deity." Pantheism understands deity as one with nature.
Since everything is deity, they believe that humans are also divine.
Some Wiccans adhere to panentheism rather than pantheism. Panentheism is the
idea that deity is in everything. The two concepts are similar to one another.
The difference is that pantheism teaches that everything is deity, while
panentheism maintains that deity is within everything.
Craig Hawkins1 explains Wiccan panentheism as follows:
Panentheists postulate that God—or the Divinity—is in the world similar to the
way a soul or mind is in a body. As the soul is in the body yet still
transcends it, so the Divinity is in (or is manifested in) the world yet
transcends it. Thus, all that exists is imbued with divinity, yet the Divinity
transcends creation. Humans and the earth are viewed as a manifestation of the
Goddess. (Witchcraft, pp. 34-35)
Polytheism is the belief that there is more than one god. Wiccans give
polytheism a very post modern interpretation with relativistic
As defined by many witches, however, polytheism is not merely the belief
in multiple deities—but also the belief that there are a countless number
of levels of meaning and reality. This belief allows not only for a multitude
of gods, goddesses, and religions, but also for views of reality that would
appear to be mutually exclusive. This polytheistic premise is expressed in
beliefs such as, "there is no one way or right religion for all," and "there is
no one truth." (Witchcraft, p. 35)
The beliefs of Wicca and other neo-pagan groups are contrary to the
Christian Scriptures. The biblical doctrine of creation emphasizes the
transcendence of God and His separateness from what He has created. The first
verse in the Bible states "In the beginning God created the heavens and the
earth" (Gen.1:1, NASB). The implication of this passage is that in the
beginning God created that which was not God.
Not only does the Bible proclaim the separateness of God from His creation,
but it also teaches the distinctiveness of God's creations from one another.
Each of God's creations were unique and different from His other creations.
They were made "after their kind."
"Then God said, 'Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their
kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind'; and
it was so. God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle
after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and
God saw that it was good" (Gen. 1:24-25, NASB).
Not only does God transcend the universe that He created, but there is only
one God. There is no plurality of deities as taught by Wicca. The Bible teaches
this truth in many places.
"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one" (Deut. 6:4, NASB)!
"You are my witnesses," declares the Lord, "and my servant whom I have
chosen, So that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He. Before
Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me" (Isa. 43:10,
"This is what the Lord says-Israel's King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: I
am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God" (Isa. 44:6,
"For this is what the Lord says-he who created the heavens, he is God; he
who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be
empty, but formed it to be inhabited-he says: 'I am the Lord, and there is no
other'" (Isa. 45:18, NIV).
Wiccans claim to be able to perform occultic magick. Wiccans and other
neo-pagans often add the letter k to the word magic in order to
differentiate their spell casting from sleight–of hand–magic. Wiccan keep their
spells in what they refer to as a book of shadows. This book is also often
called a Grimoire. It is a collection of Wiccan rituals and magickal
spells and is used as a reference book.
While some occultic groups do sacrifice animals, this is very rare among
groups calling themselves Wiccans. Some Wiccans do, however, practice a form of
channeling where they allow themselves to be possessed by another entity. This
entity may be thought of as the Goddess, the force that permeates the universe,
or something else. Not all Wiccans practice channeling.
Sex is understood by many Wiccans as a source of magickal power. While some
use sex magick in their group rituals, most Wiccans avoid this kind of ritual
sex. Many more Wiccans use nudity in group rituals rather than practice sexual
magick with their coven. This practice is sometimes referred to as skyclad.
Wiccans who worship in the nude sometimes claim that this allows the magickal
energy to function without hindrance. However, the majority of Wiccans prefer
to use robes rather than worship skyclad.
In addition to casting spells, many Wiccans also practice various forms of
divination. Some of the more popular forms of divination they employ are
astrology, numerology, palmistry, runes, and tarot cards.
The Bible warns against all forms of occultic activity. The Scripture
indicates that those who engage in such activities are detestable to God.
"When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to
imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you
who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or
sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a
medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is
detestable to the Lord, and because of these detestable practices the Lord your
God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the
Lord your God. The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice
sorcery or divination. But as for you, the Lord your God has not permitted you
to do so" (Deut. 18:9-14, NIV).
Those who do not turn from the sin of witchcraft and place their faith in
Christ as their Lord and Savior will one day experience the wrath and judgment
"The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and
debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage,
selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the
like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not
inherit the kingdom of God" (Gal. 5:19-21, NIV).
Sharing the Good News of Salvation with Wiccans
Christians should be bold in sharing the good news of salvation through
faith in Christ Jesus with Wiccans. "For God did not give us a spirit of
timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline" (2 Tim. 1:7,
NIV). We are to balance our boldness with a spirit of love and
The general principles for witnessing to Wiccans are found in 1 Peter 3:15:
"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an
answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.
But do this with gentleness and respect" (1 Pet. 3:15, NIV).
Balance boldness in sharing the gospel with gentleness. You can be bold
without being overly aggressive. Also, treat Wiccans with respect. Nothing will
end a witnessing opportunity faster than being disrespectful to a Wiccan.
Finally, when you share the gospel with your Wiccan friends trust the Holy
Spirit to convict them of their need for salvation that comes only through
faith in Jesus Christ.
Bill Gordon is on staff at the North American Mission Board, SBC.
1Craig S. Hawkins, Witchcraft: Exploring the World of
Wicca (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1996), 33.