Despite some negative reviews, “Hocus Pocus 2” has become a fall phenomenon, scoring a major ratings win for Disney+. But the movie, a sequel to the monumentally popular 1993 film focused on three witches known as the Sanderson Sisters, is sparking concerns among some Christians.
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As Faithwire recently reported, “Hocus Pocus 2,” according to critics and some commentators, differs from the first movie in that a more friendly face is put on witchcraft. Explaining the handling of such sorcery in the sequel, one RNS reporter wrote, “Witchcraft is no longer evil.”
And that’s the sentiment disturbing preachers like Mike Signorelli, pastor of V1 Church in New York City. Signorelli is among those concerned over the rising obsession and prevalence of the occult.
“It seems all too common in today’s culture that we are being bombarded with everything except for Christianity,” he recently told CBN’s Faithwire.
Signorelli pointed to 2 Corinthians 11:14 when reacting to claims “Hocus Pocus 2” puts a more friendly face on witchcraft. The verse reads, in part, “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.”
Watch Signorelli break down “Hocus Pocus” and occultism in culture:
“Satan’s always been taking on a form that we will accept,” Signorelli said. “He’s not going to show up in a form that we would immediately reject, and so, of course, they’re going to put a friendly face to witchcraft because that’s how you normalize it, and that’s how you get it to the masses.”
He continued, “We’ve really gotta discern like never before.”
Signorelli said many in society today believe people are “increasing in knowledge” and wisdom. But, in contrast, he said people seem to be struggling more than ever with discernment.
“What looks like wisdom to man is actually foolishness to God,” he said. “And so we’ve just got to be vigilant.”
Signorelli said we didn’t arrive at this point overnight — a place in which witchcraft and the occult are so ingrained into the culture.
“How did we get to the point where you walk into major grocery stores, major retailers, and you can find occult items and items of the New Age, where people are trying to access spiritual power without Jesus Christ?” he asked. “I think, obviously, we have the world to blame. But, also, I think we have the church to blame partly for that.”
Signorelli said people are looking for answers in churches and some are not finding them. As a result, they bring their curiosities elsewhere, especially “if they can’t come to a local church and receive prayer, if people are not believing for healing, if people are not actually confronting the works of darkness like we’re taught to do in the book of Ephesians.”
The preacher said there is a generation “seeking power” today — and many simply don’t know the strength they can find in Christ. Instead, they’re appealing to evil to try and find it.
“What breaks my heart is that they’re seeking a power,” Signorelli said. “And I will say: witchcraft works, which is why it’s growing, and I know this is controversial, but the demonic does cooperate with your desires, and that’s why it takes off.”
Being in control is at the center of witchcraft, he said.
“Witchcraft is…power without accountability, and it’s power without Christ, and people love the idea of being in control,” Signorelli said. “The Christian narrative is: you can’t find life until you lose your life. You literally surrender everything, and witchcraft is the opposite of surrender; it’s control.”
Watch Signorelli speak on “Hocus Pocus” and the occult here.
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