Video by Jeremiah P. Mensah

Sarah had always felt a sense of peace at her church. But lately, a disquieting undercurrent had begun to swirl beneath the surface.

Whispers of secret meetings, a focus on material gain over faith, and a charismatic leader who seemed to hold an almost hypnotic sway over the congregation.  

Could it be?  Witchcraft, the very idea seemed outlandish, yet the unease persisted. Sarah wasn’t sure what to believe, but one thing was clear – she needed answers.  

Join me as I delve into 7 signs that might reveal the presence of witchcraft within a church, helping you discern truth from deception and walk firmly in your faith.

1. Manipulative Leadership


One major sign of witchcraft in the church is when leaders become manipulative and controlling over members.

For instance, a pastor may threaten people who want to leave the church or visit another church, saying they’ll be cursed.

But Scripture tells us that true freedom is found in Christ alone:

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”

Galatians 5:1 (ESV)

A godly leader guides through love, not control. They point people to Christ, not themselves.

1 Peter 5:2-3 (ESV) says that leaders are to be “examples to the flock.”

2 Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; 3 not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.

When church leaders claim exclusive access to your breakthrough or miracle, it’s a dangerous sign of witchcraft.

Your help comes from the Lord alone as Psalm 121:2 (ESV) declares:

My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”

The Church belongs to Jesus Christ, not any human leader. Beware of any pastor who tries to control your relationship with God.

2. Division and Gossip


A church filled with gossip, slander, and backbiting reveals the presence of an ungodly influence. It hurts innocent people and can drive them away for good.

Jesus strongly warned against causing division in the church:

“Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls.

Luke 11:17 (ESV)

When the pastor gossips and divides people from the pulpit, it’s especially destructive. John Chrysostom said, “The road to hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.”

Gossip is a work of the flesh that should have no place among believers, as 2 Corinthians 12:20 (NIV) makes clear.

“For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.”

Choose to build up rather than tear down God’s church.

3. False Prophets

False Prophet

False prophets claim to speak for God but are motivated by greed and deception. One way to identify them is if they ask for money in exchange for “powerful” prayers or prophetic words.

The Bible allows financial support for ministers (1 Timothy 5:18 ESV).

For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.”

However, true prophets should not operate like hired fortune tellers. Their goal should be to draw people to Jesus, not to enrich themselves.

The Lord Jesus warned us about false prophets:

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”

Matthew 7:15 (ESV)

We need the Holy Spirit’s discernment to detect pretenders who infiltrate the church.

1 John 4:1 (ESV) teaches:

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

4. Idolatry


An idol is anything you put in the place of God. One form of idolatry in church is the cult of personality around human leaders. It involves praying in the pastor’s name rather than Jesus.

Bowing down to statues or images, worshiping ancestors, and other occult practices also fall under idolatry. So do “Christianized” forms like praying over candles, holy water, or healing oils.

But according to Scripture, idolatry provokes the Lord to jealousy and opens the door to demonic deception.

“They provoked Him to jealousy with foreign gods; with abominations they provoked Him to anger.”

Deuteronomy 32:16 (NKJV)

You must direct all worship to God alone. The Lord commanded clearly in Exodus 20:3-5 (ESV):

3 You shall have no other gods before me. 4 You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me.”

5. Lack of Accountability

Lack Of Accountability

Accountability produces godly order and discipline. But witchcraft hates being exposed and thrives on secrecy and rebellion.

A lack of accountability may allow church members to live in overt sin without being corrected.

Some treat the house of God casually, stealing funds, sleeping around, and doing as they please.

The Bible warns:

“Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft.”

1 Samuel 15:23 (NKJV)

When there’s no repentance after many rebukes, Scripture says to expel unrepentant sinners from fellowship.

15 “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ 17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.

Matthew 18:15-17 (NKJV)

This will maintain the holiness and integrity of the church. Ignoring sin leads to compromise with the world and quenching of the Spirit among believers.

6. Suppression of Spiritual Gifts

Spiritual Gifts

The Holy Spirit distributes spiritual gifts among believers for ministry and edifying of the church (1 Corinthians 12:7-11). But the devil wants to suppress these gifts since they destroy his works.

One way he does this is through jealous leaders who resent when someone else in the church has gifts that attract others. Instead of nurturing the gifts, they try to stifle and attack them.

But Scripture charges us regarding spiritual gifts:

“Do not neglect the gift you have” (1 Timothy 4:14) and “earnestly desire the higher gifts” (1 Corinthians 12:31)

The most effective weapon against the enemy is to allow the gifts and callings of God to flourish in our midst.

This will advance the Kingdom of God and bring glory to Christ.

7. Absence of Genuine Worship


Where witchcraft is present, worship loses its depth and sincerity. It becomes a dry performance rather than a supernatural encounter with God.

Such services may look lively but they lack spiritual substance. There’s no conviction, repentance, or desire for holiness.

Sermons focus on carnal desires like fame, wealth, and power.

But Jesus said true worshipers “worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth” (John 4:23). We must desire to experience the presence of God as we worship, not simply go through the motions.

The Lord warned dead religion without sincere devotion is useless, saying:

“These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”

Matthew 15:8 (NIV)

Key Takeaways

  • Be alert for manipulative leaders who control people instead of guiding believers in love. Avoid churches that curse those who leave.
  • Gossip and slander have no place in the body of Christ. Leave churches that promote disunity.
  • Reject false prophets interested only in enriching themselves. They don’t represent Christ.
  • Flee idolatry and worship God alone. Human leaders should not be idolized.
  • Rampant unrepentant sin without accountability is a sign of witchcraft.
  • Leaders who suppress spiritual gifts are being used by the devil to hinder God’s work.
  • Dry ritualistic worship lacking sincerity is a sign of spiritual decay and deception.

Frequently Asked Questions About Witchcraft in The Church

Q. How can witchcraft enter the church?

A. Witchcraft enters through deception as Satan masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). It creeps in slowly through compromise and tolerating sin.

Church leaders must stay alert and exercise discernment. Members also have a role in testing questionable teachings against Scripture.

Q. Should I leave a church I suspect is tainted by witchcraft?

A. Seek the Lord in prayer for wisdom. In severe cases with overt manipulation and sin, it may be best to leave especially if the leadership seems resistant to correction. But also beware of satan, the accuser, sowing offense.

Try to humbly approach the leadership first and intercede for the church before making a firm decision.

Q. What’s the solution when witchcraft is in the church?

A. Repentance is the starting point. Leaders must be humble, transparent, and accountable rather than defending their positions.

The church should cry out to God to purify His Bride from all contamination. Rely on the wisdom and cleansing of the Holy Spirit to root out deception and restore the fear of the Lord.

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