This article first appeared in the Effective Evangelism column of the Christian Research Journal, volume 45, number 2/3 (2022). For further information or to support the Christian Research Journal please click here.
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Catchy beats, wild camera angles, and hipsters talking about Tarot cards, crystals, and astrology. Just your average day on TikTok’s #witchtok. The hashtag has more than twenty-seven billion views. If you were to scroll through TikTok for a few hours, you’d maybe start to believe that witchcraft is cool. Christians need to know how to respond well to those involved in sorcery because it’s a growing trend that is infiltrating the church.
Tarot, Spells, and Other Witchy Things. Witchcraft is alive and well, even among Christians.1 There are astrology apps where you can access your charts online for free — you no longer need to call the Psychic Friends Network. There are dating apps that check to see if your stars align with potential mates. You can even download personalized Spotify playlists based on your astrological sign.2 So, it’s not that far-fetched that you can find out how to be a witch on TikTok, the most popular social media app among pre-teens and teens.3
Easy accessibility to witchcraft on TikTok and other apps should grieve Christians, especially when we see that #babywitch has 2.7 billion views and #teenagewitch has more than one million views. This is a growing trend. Magic and witchcraft are featured prominently on TikTok. Whether you’re looking at #witchtok or #newage, you’ll find help with crystals, guided meditation, manifesting,4 Tarot cards, and hexing — casting spells on people. I watched more than one video that detailed exactly how to hex an ex using a cucumber, screws, and hot pepper flakes. These videos often come with warnings about karma — that is, the hex potentially coming back on the hexer three-, seven-, or ten-fold. This type of behavior is not benign — it is dangerous. Viewers are also learning how to cast spells, create their own Tarot decks, charge their crystals, and write their own book of shadows and instruction manual for magic rituals. And perhaps the most surprising thing of all? Many profess to be Christians.
Answer Specific Claims about Christianity and Witchcraft. Despite the oxymoron, there are those who call themselves Christian witches — someone who praises Jesus and practices witchcraft. One TikToker, Stephanie (@thecelticsbrew), has almost 650,000 followers. When asked if someone could love Jesus and witchcraft, she said,
Witchcraft is using nature and other tools to manifest your desires by working with a higher power or deity. I personally believe someone that wants to use a higher power, say words, incantations, or prayers to manifest their desires, then that’s okay….The Bible now today says that witchcraft is a sin after hundreds of years of it being translated by man — not by God. So yes, you can love Jesus and witchcraft. If God really did make all the world, I don’t think that He would be against you using nature with metaphysical properties to help manifest or help things in your life. God and Jesus are just deities.5
Her gravely troubling reply is typical of those I found addressing similar questions. Thankfully, Christians have answers.
First, Stephanie argues that witchcraft is communicating with a higher power, and because God is a higher power, witchcraft is fine. She demeans God as being on par with other so-called gods. Witches use God at their own whims through demonic means, and frankly, many could take Him or leave Him, willingly swapping Him for any other deity. But God is not equal to anyone. God is the highest power (1 Chron. 29:11) — the source and standard of goodness, truth, and beauty, and the ground of all being (Exod. 3:14; Acts 17:24–28) — and His Word, the Bible, explicitly condemns witchcraft (see, for example, Deut. 18:9–12; 1 Chron. 10:13; 1 Sam. 15:23; Lev. 19:31; Gal. 5:19–21; Micah 5:10–12).
Second, Stephanie doesn’t trust the Bible — Scripture is a translation of a translation passed down by men over time. She’s not alone in her skepticism. There’s a popular video of comedian David Cross telling his audience how “the Bible was written, and then rewritten, and then edited, and reedited, and then translated from dead languages, and then re-retranslated, and then reedited, and then re-re-reedited, and then retranslated, and then given to kings for them to take their favorite parts out.”6 The punchline is supposed to be that people believe the Bible, a supposedly unreliable text. Funny, right? Except the real punchline (or maybe it is more of a punch to the gut) is that there are those who believe Cross is correct.
Oddly, I found many witches who recommend Bart Ehrman’s book, Misquoting Jesus, as prooftext that the Bible is unreliable. In it, Ehrman claims there are up to 400,000 textual variants in the New Testament.7 What he fails to explain, though, is that those variants are spread across 25,000 different manuscripts, and many of those are the same sections of Scripture.8 As New Testament scholar Craig Blomberg explains, “It cannot be emphasized strongly enough that no orthodox doctrine or ethical practice of Christianity depends solely on any disputed wording” (emphasis in original).9 Indeed, Ehrman himself admits that these variants do not, “for the most part,” affect “essential Christian beliefs.”10 This is because, Hank Hanegraaff explains, “the wealth of biblical manuscripts empowers textual critics to credibly sort out copyist errors” and “authentically recapitulate the words of the original writers.”11
Finally, Stephanie argues that God made everything, so He wouldn’t be against us using witchcraft. By that argument, all evil actions are okay with God, too, so we shouldn’t punish murderers, abusers, or rapists. Yes, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (Gen. 1:31),12 but then evil infiltrated our perfect world via the free choices of culpable creatures. Satan fell from heaven, and he tempted humanity to fall with him. Dabbling with evil spirits is not good, and Scripture says, “the fire will burn them up” (Isa. 47:13–14).
Pray Diligently and Memorize Psalm 91. When I first started studying the New Age and witchcraft, there was a spiritual heaviness that overwhelmed me. Afterall, a real spiritual battle is happening (Eph. 6:12). A wise mentor told me to ask friends to pray for me and memorize Psalm 91. Pray before you talk with a witch, even if it’s simply “God guide me and protect me.” God is our “refuge and our fortress” — we can trust Him (v. 2). The Lord will rescue you, and if they ask, the Lord will rescue those involved with witchcraft.
Ask Good Questions. Not all witches are the same, which means that our interactions won’t all look the same. Learn the basics about witchcraft, but don’t assume that every witch will believe the same thing.13 Instead, ask good questions while you talk. For example, ask them what they find compelling about magic, or if they believe Jesus was a witch, why? Their answers will help you understand their perspective and help you build bridges that will allow you to connect on a deeper level later.
Listen Well. While engaging, seek to listen and understand. Don’t just bide your time in a conversation, preoccupied with how you will point out weaknesses in their worldview. Instead, truly listen with a desire to learn. Unfortunately, Christians (especially Christian apologists) are often viewed as argumentative and confrontational. Christ called us to be peacemakers (Matt. 5:9). This does not mean we get a pass to not participate. We are, after all, called to make disciples (Matt. 28:19–20). But we can do so peacefully. Listening well is one way we can make peace. It’s one way we can be like Christ.
Share Truth with Gentleness and Respect (1 Peter 3:15). Don’t be hostile. If you are rude and tell folks online that they worship Satan or that God hates witches, you will only be confirming in their minds who Christians are — judgmental, hypocritical jerks. Speak truth, but do so with humility, grace, and love.
The truth that needs to be shared is that witchcraft is false. The Bible says that those who practice idolatry and witchcraft, among a long list of other acts, “will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:19–21). Jesus is “the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), not just some deity we put on a pedestal and attempt to use for our own ends. Witchcraft welcomes darkness but Jesus is the light, and where there is light, there cannot be any darkness (John 1:5). When speaking with someone who identifies as a witch, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you. Ultimately, He’s the one who will do the work on their hearts. He will draw them to Himself. —Lindsey Medenwaldt
Lindsey Medenwaldt is director of ministry operations at Mama Bear Apologetics and is a consulting editor for the Christian Research Journal. She has a Master’s in Apologetics and Ethics from Denver Seminary, a JD from St. Mary’s School of Law, and a Master’s in Public Administration from Midwestern State University.
See Claire Gecewicz, “‘New Age’ Beliefs Common Among Both Religious and Nonreligious Americans,” Pew Research Center, October 1, 2018, https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/10/01/new-age-beliefs-common-among-both-religious-and-nonreligiousamericans/.
Lindsey Medenwaldt, “Controversial Guru Teal Swan and Astrologer Chani Nicholas Bring New Age Teachings to the Social Media Generation ,” Christian Research Journal, April 19, 2020, https://www.equip.org/article/controversial-guru-teal-swan-and-astrologer-chaninicholas-bring-new-age-teachings/.
“TikTok Is Now the Most Used App by Teens & Pre-teens in the US,” PNRNewswire, March 23, 2021, https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/tiktok-is-now-the-most-used-app-byteens–pre-teens-in-the-us-301253639.html.
For more about manifesting, see Anne Kennedy, “Trusting Jesus in a Universe That Doesn’t Have Your Back: A Christian Looks at Manifesting,” Christian Research Journal 45, no. 1 (2022): 22–27. https://www.equip.org/christian-research-journal/the-battle-for-the-historical-adam-and-eve-contents-back-issue/
Stephanie @thecelticsbrew, “Pagan. Psychic. Friend. Readings and Witchy Stuff,” TikTok, February 19, 2022, https://www.tiktok.com/t/ZTdvr3UF4/?.
David Cross, “David Cross — The Bible,” punchlinemagazine, April 8, 2010, video, 1:13, https://youtu.be/CWOqHHE4upY.
Bart D. Ehrman, Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 2005), 89.
Craig Blomberg, Can We Still Believe the Bible? An Evangelical Engagement with Contemporary Questions (Grand Rapids, MI: BrazosPress, 2014), 17.
Blomberg, Can We Still Believe the Bible?, 27.
Ehrman, Misquoting Jesus, Appendix. See Timothy Paul Jones, Misquoting Truth: A Guide to the Fallacies of Bart Ehrman’s Misquoting Jesus (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2007) for a thorough response to Ehrman’s Misquoting Jesus.
Hank Hanegraaff, Has God Spoken? Memorable Proofs of the Bible’s Divine Inspiration (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2011), 56.
All Scripture references are from the NIV.
For further analysis of contemporary witchcraft, see Richard G. Howe, “Modern Witchcraft: It May Not Be What You Think,” Christian Research Journal 28, no. 1 (2005): 12–21, https://www.equip.org/article/modern-witchcraft/.