charmedI’m sure most readers of this column don’t watch the TV programme, “Charmed”. Which is as it should be since the heroes of this popular series are three witches. And we all know that witches are practitioners of black magic, in league with the devil.

Or are they?

The witches in this series are three sisters descended from a long line of witches who use their power to fight evil.

I took in a few episodes, purely for ministry purposes, you understand. I can understand why the series is so popular. The three main protagonists are three babes who get into all sorts of romantic/sexual situations with all kinds of hunks. They also have really cool powers with which they fight off warlocks, demons and other assorted evil bad guys. So what is wrong with this series?

I have two problems with the programme.

Firstly, it blurs the distinction between good and evil.

There are no absolutes out there. There is definitely no absolute good and evil. It all depends. Witches can be good. Witches can be bad.

But this is not the world view of the Scriptures. The Scriptures present us with a clear duality. This comes up all over the place in the Bible and especially in books like John. John’s prologue for example makes it clear that there are only two sides, light and darkness:

The light (Jesus) shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1: 5 NRSV)

Good and evil are defined by ones’ relationship with God. If you are on God’s side you are in the light. If you are not you are in the darkness. There are no good witches or any other spiritual oxymorons.

A regular diet of stuff that blurs the boundaries not only desensitizes us to witches, no matter how cute they are. It also undermines our commitment to absolute truth and therefore our commitment to Him who is Absolute.

I have another beef with the programme. And that is with its basic premise that what we need to accomplish significant things in life is power, more specifically power that is independent of the living God.

You don’t need God. You just need power. Sounds familiar? Check out the following:

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, ”Did God say ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden?’ The women said to the serpent, ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.’ ”But the serpent said to the woman, ”You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3: 1-5)

This is the basic temptation. If you only have enough knowledge and power you don’t need God. And if you don’t need God, who cares about ethics? You can fornicate, manipulate, lie etc. but if you have enough power you will make it in the end. (It also helps if you are knock dead gorgeous.) This is the basic lie that Satan has been feeding us since the Garden of Eden.

Instead, God’s word tells us that it is “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord of hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6)

The basic premise of the show is diametrically opposed to God’s way, which is to trust and obey.

At one level then, “Charmed” is just your basic TV fantasy where the good guys are good looking and who defeat the bad guys in the end after going through the requisite number of challenging situations.

At another level, the show is a direct attack on the ways of God.

Life is not predicated on the acquisition of power independent of God. Life is to be built on the foundation of trusting God in loving obedience.

And that there are only two sides out there, God’s side or the wrong side.

On this matter, Bob Dylan was right on when he reminded us that:

“You gotta serve somebody.
It may be the devil or it may be the Lord, but you gotta serve somebody.”

Those are the choices