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How to Use This Book
The Zondervan Guide to Cults and Religious Movements comprises fifteen volumes, treating many of the most important groups and belief systems confronting the Christian church today. This series distills the most important facts about each and presents a well-reasoned, cogent Christian response. The authors in this series are highly qualified, well-respected professional Christian apologists with considerable expertise on their topics.
We have designed the structure and layout to help you find the information you need as quickly as possible. All the volumes are written in outline form, which allows us to pack substantial content into a short book. With some exceptions, each book contains, first, an introduction to the cult, movement, or belief system. The introduction gives a brief history of the group, its organizational structure, and vital statistics such as membership. Second, the theology section is arranged by doctrinal topic, such as God, Christ, sin, and salvation. The movement's position is set forth objectively, primarily from its own official writings. The group's teachings are then refuted point by point, followed by an affirmative presentation of what the Bible says about the doctrine. The third section is a discussion of witnessing tips. While each witnessing encounter must be handled individually and sensitively, this section provides some helpful general guidelines, including both dos and don'ts. The fourth section contains annotated bibliographies, listing works by the groups themselves and books written by Christians in response. Fifth, each book has a parallel comparison chart, with direct quotations from the group's literature in the left column and the biblical refutation on the right. Some of the books conclude with a glossary.
One potential problem with a detailed outline is that it is easy to lose one's place in the overall structure. Therefore, we have provided graphical 'signposts' at the top of the odd-numbered pages. Functioning like a 'you are here' map in a shopping mall, these graphics show your place in the outline, including the sections that come before and after your current position. (Those familiar with modern computer software will note immediately the resemblance to a 'drop-down' menu bar, where the second-level choices vary depending on the currently selected main menu item.) In the theology section we have also used 'icons' in the margins to make clear at a glance whether the material is being presented from the group's viewpoint or the Christian viewpoint. For example, in the Mormonism volume the sections presenting the Mormon position are indicated with a picture resembling the angel Moroni in the margin; the biblical view is shown by a drawing of the Bible.
We hope you will find these books useful as you seek 'to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have' (1 Peter 3:15).
--- Alan W. Gomes, Ph.D. Series Editor
Part I: Introduction
I. What Is Contemporary Whitchcraft?
A. Witchcraft: One Type of Occultism
1. Witchcraft is one specific form of occultism.
2. Witchcraft is a particular religion---a religiomagical viewpoint--- within the broader context of occultism, the kingdom of the occult.
3. Witchcraft is a form of neo-paganism.
a. Most witchcraft today is part of the contemporary neo-pagan movement, which is part of the occult.
b. Neo-paganism is the revival of the old gods and goddesses of pre- Christian polytheistic mythologies, mystery cults, and nature religions, such as Celtic, Greek, Egyptian, Roman, and Sumerian.
c. Prudence Jones and Caitlin Matthews write: ''Pagans' are people who follow the Old Religion, the native religious tradition of Europe which predated more abstract world religions such as Christianity. . . . in a sense the new Pagans are neo-Pagans, since they derive their impetus from a spiritual re-emergence and restatement of ancient Pagan principles.'
d. Neo-paganism also includes existing tribal religions, Native American religions, and shamanism.
e. It also includes new religions inspired by avant-garde science fiction and fantasy works (e.g., the Church of All Worlds) as well as diverse occultic sources and traditions.
4. Related to witchcraft covens are other neo-pagan groups.
a. While Gardnerian witchcraft gave rise to most of the neo-pagan movement, witchcraft is now only one type of neo-paganism.
b. Other neo-pagans primarily differ from witches in their rejection of the designation witch.
c. Some vary in the emphasis they place on the Goddess.
d. Some use terms such as nest or grove rather than coven.