Just this past week I was teaching a Bible study, addressing various trends in our culture. One of these trends is the prevalence of the occult. We are a society beguiled and fascinated with witchcraft, sorcery, vampires, ghosts, zombies, paranormal powers and psychic phenomena. This is a very perilous trend. The Bible is explicit in its condemnation of all forms of the occult belief and practice. There are scores of verses that address this matter. The most comprehensive is found in Deuteronomy 18:9-14. Here God expressly forbids His people from any involvement in the occult.
After my lesson was over, a lady came up to talk to me. She was very concerned about a friend. Her friend is an elderly woman who is a devout Christian believer, and has served the Lord for many years. However, she has begun experiencing a new kind of spiritual experience. This woman claims that the spirits of dead people have been visiting her, and communicating with her on a regular basis. She talks with them, and they relay all sorts of information to her. Indeed, in this woman’s neighborhood she has become somewhat of a celebrity because of this. Someone loses their keys, they consult her—and she asks some spirit to reveal the keys’ whereabouts. Someone has a problem, the spirits give counsel and advice through their matronly channel. The woman has become the resident local medium for all sorts of help from the spirit world. Continue reading →
Something dangerous and scary is probably occurring right now at a university or college near you. It may be disguised as a seminar on wellness, a class on well-being, or a conference on integrative health. You might find it listed in the college catalog in courses labeled “Mindfulness Training” or “Contemplative Learning.” It could more blatantly be offered as a program for student/faculty that utilizes yoga, Tai Chi, or meditation as an aid to mental and physical health. And usually somewhere in the literature for this seminar, class or program you will find references to the “wealth” of scientific evidence that proves that mindfulness (or yoga, or contemplation, or whatever) is proven to be the panacea for all ills in body and soul. Continue reading →
You don’t have to do an in-depth study of popular culture to see how prevalent the occult is today. From Vampire Diaries and Goosebumps to newspaper horoscopes and Ouija boards, magic and sorcery are all around us. Usually presentations of the occult in TV, movies, comic books, novels and the like are presented as simple, innocent entertainment. The dangers inherent in the genre are dismissed and denied. However, the danger is still there. One of the greatest concerns, often unrecognized, is that when a person views a horror movie or a TV show with a paranormal theme, reads a supernatural thriller, or plays at having a séance, that person exposes himself to an entire worldview. There is an occult paradigm present, whether recognized or not. This is true because the world of the occult does indeed embody a particular belief system, a specific perspective on reality. To give but one example, the worldview of the occult is monistic in its view of ultimate existence. Let us take a moment and examine this. Continue reading →
Question: “Is witchcraft real? And do witches really have power?” B.H. in Charlottesville, VA.
Answer: The Bible is very clear about the actual existence of witches, sorcerers and those who practical the magical arts. Although witchcraft is considered something mythical, even silly, in modern society, from a biblical perspective this is a serious issue. The Scriptures admit the existence of witches, magicians, sorcerers, mediums, etc. in Deuteronomy 18:9-14. And there is no indication here that these individuals do not exhibit genuine powers and supernatural ability. Indeed, in ancient times the presence of such individuals in Israelite society was considered dangerous enough that God mandated the death penalty for anyone practicing witchcraft, sorcery or divination (see Exodus 22:18, Leviticus 20: 6 & 27, cf. Deut. 19:9-11 and Micah 5:12). Continue reading →
As Christians what are we to think of the occult? What should our attitude be concerning witchcraft, magick, and sorcery? Are we to be concerned about ghosts and vampires? What about fortunetelling, seances, astrology and the like? Many people do not realize that the Bible actually has quite a bit to say about the world of the occult. Check out this review of Scriptural teaching on the world of the Occult.