A group of so-called "Christian witches" is hosting their very first convention in Salem, Massachusetts – a city known for its notorious witch trials in the late 1600s.
Rev. Valerie Love is the woman behind the event and says her "Divine assignment" on earth is to promote witchcraft. Love says she is an ordained minister of spiritual consciousness and recently founded the Covenant of Christian Witches Mystery School.
She says she was born a witch but grew up as a Jehovah's Witness and had to hide her identity.
"For as long as I can remember I've always been 'magickal'... seeing things that people said 'weren't there' or daydreaming in far-away worlds as a child and being constantly 'snapped' back to 'reality' by teachers and other big people," she explains in a post on her website. "The word Witch engenders power in some and fear in others. The determining factor in what comes up for us when we hear the word 'Witch' is consciousness. One person is ecstatic about the possibilities of Magick while another is stricken with terror."
Love says she left behind the Jehovah's Witnesses and found the freedom "to be the Goddess I AM today." It's worth noting that Christian theologians and church leaders do not consider the Jehovah's Witnesses to be a Christian group, labeling it as a cult.
Meanwhile, Love says she wrestled with being a witch and being an alleged Christian. She claims she found inner peace by writing "The Christian Witch's Creed," which says "I am a Christian Witch; I love my cross and my wand. I consult my Tarot deck and my Bible. I adore & am devoted to Christ and the Goddess."
A man named Calvin Witcher, who calls himself a "prophet," will also attend the conference. He claimed during a Facebook live-stream two months ago that the Bible is full of witchcraft.
"The Bible is a huge book of sorcery. You literally can't get around that. You can't get around Jesus being a magician. There's just no way," he said.
"You're talking about the whole of Jesus' adult ministry is all magic, all sorcery. Even if we just say 'Jesus.' Every particular miracle Jesus does defies human law, defies the laws of the universe and the world. So … you can't really talk about being a Jesus follower without doing what he did which is magic," Witcher claims.
Both Love and Witcher offers readings and coaching sessions for upwards of $50,000. Witcher also hosts a cable show that "blends the Mystic, Eastern Traditions, Biblical, Occult, Ancient Truths, Modern Wisdom, and everything in-between; designed for your spiritual evolution."
Meanwhile, the Bible explicitly rejects witchcraft more than a dozen times in both the Old and New Testaments. 1 Chronicles 10:13 states that King Saul died because he consulted a witch or "medium." God commands in Leviticus 19:31, "'Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God.'" And Revelation 21:8 states, "But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."
Jennifer LeClaire, founder of Jennifer LeClaire Ministries, says the idea of Christian witchcraft is dangerous.
"I've seen a rise of Christians practicing witchcraft. Or maybe they aren't Christians at all. I won't judge someone's salvation, but when people in church release word curses, pray against you, and conduct unholy fasts to destroy you, the fruit of the Spirit is clearly lacking," she wrote on her blog in 2017. "Galatians 6 lists both the fruit of the Spirit and the works of the flesh. Witchcraft is among (the works of the flesh). But there is a higher level of witchcraft that some so-called Christians are tapping into and it's dangerous."
The Bible prescribes the death penalty for witchcraft in Exodus 22:18 and Leviticus 20:27. Even though Scripture instructs believers how to pray, worship, and fear the Lord, Love says no one can tell her how to worship.
"Stop thinking you can tell people how to worship. Stop thinking you can tell people how to connect with the divine. I could tell you how many people have told me, 'You can't be a Christian witch' but here I am. See, you can't tell me how to worship. You cannot tell me how to connect with the divine. That's between me and God. You cannot tell me how to pray," Love said in a Facebook post last year.
The early church took the exact opposite approach, fully rejecting witchcraft. In Acts 19:17-20, we learn about a supernatural encounter in which a demonic manifestation convinced some Christians to reject their former occultic activities:
"When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor. Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done. A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power."