My lovely American friend, an EX Witch, Kristine McGuire has spoken on The 700 Club. She wrote a book Escaping The Cauldron, published by Charisma House, Strang, USA. Kristine kindly gave me permission to reproduce an excellent article she wrote for her blog on http://kristinemcguire.com/christians-and-pagans/
”The past few days I’ve been very troubled by a situation brought to my attention. Friends have been asking for my opinion regarding an emotional brouhaha which broke out among some Christian and Pagan women faith bloggers involved in a Top 25 contest.
My initial response was expressed in The Gospel~ Love Which Offends and followed byLoving Others in the Face of Fear. The problem is another issue needs to be addressed before I can move on. I don’t know why I feel invested in a situation I had no part in. Yet the more I learn the greater my desire to respond to how “the feud” got started in the first place. Why?
Because a Christian started it. And it continues to escalate despite efforts to introduce reason into the debate.
I’ve been thinking, praying, and reading scripture in an effort to get a handle on this thing, asking the Holy Spirit for wisdom. What came to mind was a deeper study of Paul’s visit to Athens. Out came my study bibles (ESV and NLT) so I could read Acts 17:16-34 (NLT). I took my time reading both translations and all the study notes as things became clear to me.
What struck me as I read the account of Paul in Athens was his immediate response to the sight of idols throughout the city. The verse makes it clear he was troubled in the sense he was burdened by what he saw. There is no indication of indignation but deep concern to share the good news of Jesus Christ with the Athenians. His response was to go into the marketplace where he reasoned with the Jews and devout people he found there. He conversed with the philosophers and was invited to present his teaching at the Areopagus (Mars Hill).
The bottom line in all of this is attitude. The verses describe how Paul made his case citing the Athenians as a deeply religious people. He pointed out an idol dedicated “To the unknown god” and proceeded to tell them about God.
“He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need. From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries.
“His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ And since this is true, we shouldn’t think of God as an idol designed by craftsmen from gold or silver or stone.
“God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him. For he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed, and he proved to everyone who this is by raising him from the dead.” Acts17:24-31 (NLT)
Paul didn’t waver from addressing the sin of idolatry all the while speaking to his audience with respect. Some of the people scoffed, others were interested and wanted to learn more, and a few became believers in Jesus Christ that day. Paul got his point across without insulting his listeners or belittling their current beliefs. He confidently pointed them to God while paying attention to his surroundings. He persuaded people with the truth. Paul went and did it again in Corinth…and Ephesus…and…well you get the point.
Paul never compromised on sin. Ever. But he knew how to speak to his audience. He understood when to drive home a point and when to leave the debate. We could learn a thing or two from Paul about talking to people of other beliefs and that includes Wiccans, Witches, and Pagans. We must be able to share the truth about sin and God’s grace with an attitude acknowledging their worth as human beings. God is reaching out in love to every single Witch, Wiccan, or Pagan (“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23 NIV). As Christians we should present the gospel with sound reason not vitriol.
Those listening may choose to believe or not but that is their decision.
“Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law.To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (NIV)
I read an article yesterday posted by Tullian Tchividjian, the grandson of Billy and Ruth Bell Graham. In The Pitfall of Perfectionism the point was made that as Christians we are free in Jesus Christ. Paul was such an effective evangelist because he understood this freedom. He was able to discern the needs of the people around him without compromising the truth. Can you imagine the reaction if we stop bludgeoning people with our Bibles and share the gospel? If we start living in the freedom Jesus Christ provides through relationship with Him without fear? I’m sure people will still get offended but it will be on them. There will be others who will listen and want to know more. There will be the few who say “yes” to Jesus.
We live in an era where paganism is making a come-back. Wicca is one of the fastest growing religions in North America. Today’s Wiccans, Witches, and Pagans aren’t all that different from the people Paul was addressing on Mars Hill.
I ask you. How do you think we should respond?”