Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Youth Ministers Say Kids -- Including Evangelicals -- Are Dabbling in Wicca
These beliefs encourage "sexual chaos, inter-generational conflict and violence."

BP) I recently had the opportunity to meet with several youth ministers from Southern Baptist churches in Missouri.

Each impressed me as having a deep commitment to biblical authority and personal passion for Jesus Christ. As we discussed the challenges facing current youth ministers, a concern all shared was the fact that many youth, including youth in evangelical churches, are dabbling in Wicca.

So, what is Wicca? The word "wicca" was an old English word which meant "shaman." The word was reintroduced into popular usage by Englishman Gerald Gardner (1888-1964), who is widely considered to be the father of the modern religion known as Wicca.

During the late 1940s and early 1950s, Gardner began publicly advocating a revival of ancient pagan ideals. Gardner claimed to have received much of his belief system from a secret coven of witches which had continued a clandestine existence since pre-Christian times, a claim rejected by scholars today. More likely, Gardner simply combined various non-Christian beliefs he gathered from multiple sources into his own neo-pagan system, not the least of which included ideas from the notorious Aleister Crowley.

Wicca is pantheistic in its worldview. This means that it denies the Creator/creature distinction mandated by the Bible. Thus, at the core of Wicca is a form of nature worship. Gardner himself was a polytheist who advocated two gods: a male "horned god" and a female goddess. The number of devotees to Wicca has increased exponentially in the last two decades. As this has happened, more emphasis has been placed on the goddess of Wicca, especially among neo-pagan feminists who believe worshipping a goddess leads to more freedom for women. Some followers of Wicca self-identify as witches. It is not accurate to say that Wiccans are Satanists, though the religion is certainly unholy.

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