Jadis. Glinda. Gandalf. Howl. Zedd. Harry. Hermione. With so many witches and wizards running rampant in fiction today, it can be difficult to know just what’s okay and what isn’t. The lines have been so blurred between words and their usages that it can become difficult to discern the difference and the appropriateness between the types. The words ‘witch,’ ‘wizard,’ ‘necromancer,’ ‘warlock,’ ‘sorcerer,’ ‘sage,’ etc. have been used interchangeably when that should never have been allowed to happen. Instead of struggling to untangle all the different terms and their usages, I’ve set up rules for myself concerning them. These are based on my own principles and beliefs as a Christian and a responsible intaker of fiction; they might be of help to you, and they might not.
I do not read/watch things where witches are ‘good.’ This includes The Wizard of Oz, which I saw once when I was younger. I also read the book, but even at that age I didn’t like them. Something about them disturbed me, and now I know what it was. We cannot turn witches into the ‘good guys,’ not even Glinda is exempt from this. The Bible clearly states that witches are evil (Exodus 22:18) and forbids witchcraft (1 Chronicles 10: 13, 1 Samuel 15: 23, 28:7). Witches, even the ones in the Bible, were clearly evil and an abomination to God.
Witches are evil, and should be portrayed as such. Fairy tales knew this, C. S. Lewis knew this, God knew this. Now, I understand that many people have taken ‘witches’ and tried to turn them into something innocent (such as Hermione); but for me, the principle of the thing is still intact. I myself have a ‘dark enchantress’ (sometimes called a witch) in my book “Wolfsguard,” but guess what? She is evil. She is portrayed as such. She has taken the power Ora rightfully inherited to her and twisted it into something dark. She’s a villainess, and, in the end, is not ‘suffered to live.’
Now, the whole ‘wizards,’ ‘sorcerers,’ ‘warlock’ thing has become so muddled it’s rather like looking at a glass where tea, apple juice, and whiskey have been shaken (not stirred) together, and trying to decipher which is which. So my own personal ‘rules’ have become very helpful to me in this area.
The same rule for witches applies to warlocks since warlocks are, in fact, just male witches.
Now, the Bible (KJV version) forbids ‘wizards’ as well, but I’ve done a post on this before. Here, I’ll post the main body of it for you right below:
A wizard is etymologically a ‘wise’ man – indeed originally the word was used for ‘philosopher’ or ‘sage’, without any suggestion of magical practices. It was derived from wise. The distinction between philosophy and magic was sufficiently blurred in the Middle Ages; the word ‘magician’ emerged in the 16th century, and that is the one which has prevailed.
Interesting, no? Tolkien knew this; that’s why his ‘wizards’ such as Gandalf were in fact ‘Istari,’ derived from the word ‘Istar.’ meaning ‘wise one’ in old English. One would actually think he knew what he was talking about!
Let’s see what the Bible says about them.
Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.
Familiar Spirits (from which come the term ‘familiars,’ used by witches and warlocks) would be demonic spirits, of course, but the interesting thing is that the word ‘wizard’ is a relatively modern one. The original Greek/Hebrew texts of the Bible wouldn’t have used the word ‘wizard’ as it still meant ‘wise one’ when the Bible was written.
And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people.
Again, ‘demon spirits’ is used in context with the word ‘wizard’ which would definitely indicate that the original word used would have been ‘Necromancer,’ which is a person who communicates with demonic spirits.
Sorcery, witchcraft, ‘channeling,’ etc. still are not acceptable according to the Bible.
Necromancy (NECK-re-man-see) is the alleged power to communicate with the spirits of dead people (“ghosts”). Other terms for those who claim this power are: “medium,” having a “familiar spirit,” “spiritist,” or “spiritualist.”
Deuteronomy 18:11 — The occult practices that are an abomination to God include mediums, spiritists and those who call up the dead (NKJV; “consulter with a familiar spirit … necromancer” — ASV, KJV).
So really, it depends on what the wizard is doing; what kind of wizard he is. Is he Gandalf? Or is he Harry Potter? Is he Fenworth, or is he Merlin? How is the character written, and is it acceptable within the confines of Biblical principles? I myself have an ‘Enchanter’ in Wolfsguard as well, named Hezekiah, but his power does not come from ‘familiar spirits’ or even from himself. He was gifted by Ora (the allegorical one God) with this power, to be used for Him and Him only, and he has obeyed this command.
Magic is not bad. Oh, it CAN be, of course. Anything can be turned into something dark and innapropriate. But magic is not even mentioned in the Bible. Occult practices, ‘signs and wonders,’ etc. ARE – but magic never is. Magic is a fictional thing created to add an element of mystery and wonder in fiction. Many people think that magic IS in the Bible, because they take the word ‘wizard’ (explained above) and follow it through mentally to mean ‘magic’ even though, in fact, it does not. I myself stay clear of spells in my books, because I believe that spells walk too close to the forbidden Biblical line (again, personal principles and beliefs). Not everyone agrees with me; not everyone has to agree with me. Every person has to think this over for themselves.
And there you have my thoughts. If there is an area I haven’t covered, or if you have a question, please feel free to ask!