To the, maybe, 347 people on this earth who don’t know the
difference between Harry Potter and Harry Truman, the publication this summer
of the last of author J. K. Rowling’s seven books about the young wizard will
go by with little notice.
For everyone else, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
will mark the end of an epoch.
You can thank J. K. Rowling for this sermon. Rowling is the author of the enormously
popular Harry Potter series, which centers around an unsuspecting boy who
discovers he's a wizard and attends the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and
Wizardry. These books feature a fantasy
story complete with mythical creatures, fire-breathing dragons, and a
three-headed guard dog. Rowling's
central characters are imperfect kids who aim to do good. They model self-sacrifice, courage, and
kindness, while learning to identify and resist evil. It becomes clearly evident that the primary premise is “the end
justifies the means.”
As Harry gets ready for wizard school, he purchases occult
textbooks, a wand, a cauldron (for mixing potions), a telescope (to study
astrology) and other sorcery-related necessities. Required classes at Hogwarts include: History of Magic, Divination,
Charms, Herbology, Potions, Transfiguration. and Defense Against the Dark
Arts. Within the pages of each
mesmerizing tale, Voldemort tries to kill Harry, yet the wizard boy always
escapes through techniques learned at Hogwarts-by casting spells, through good
luck, or through assistance from his dead parents.
At the end of each school year the young sorcerer
regretfully returns home to spend the summer months with his non-magical
relatives, the Dursley family—an unimaginative and droopy clan symbolizing
perfect boredom. The Dursleys are classified
as Muggles, or non-wizards, folks without a drop of magical blood in their
veins. Throughout the Potter books,
Muggles typically are represented as an unexciting, stick-in-the-mud group
(with few exceptions), whereas witches and wizards who access supernatural
powers are cool. Those things
representing evil and the supernatural are glamorized and made appealing to the
In the seventh and last book just released, Harry Potter
walks willingly to his own death in order to save the world. Soon after, in a chapter entitled “King’s
Cross,” he finds himself in a place with a “great domed glass roof that
glittered high above him in the sunlight” talking to a father figure with “long
silver hair and a beard” whose supernatural powers are accompanied by a
profound message of love.
Then, in a final parallel, the false Christ-likeness,
becomes clear as Harry comes back to life; yes, resurrected from the dead; and
leads his friends to victory over evil.
Who need Jesus when we have Harry Potter?
Friends, Jesus warned in Matthew 24:24-26, there would come
false Christs who are set to deceive the world. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and
shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they
shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I
have told you before. Wherefore if they
shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in
the secret chambers; believe it not.
The centrality of dangerous occult themes, the power of this
phenomenon, can be described only in astronomical numbers: thus far more than
350 million copies of the first six books worldwide; the first printing in the
U.S. alone for the seventh book, Deathly Hallows, is 14 million, with
11.5 million sold in the first 10 days.
Sales of the soundtracks have exceeded 1 million copies.
After grossing more than US$3 billion worldwide, the first
four film adaptations of Rowling’s books are followed up with the release last
July 11 of the fifth: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. More
than a handful of the faithful are expected to show up for the premiere.
This kind of worldwide popularity catches everyone’s
What is it about the sinister and spiritualistic world of
Harry Potter—and, for that matter, other works of science fiction and fantasy
like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings—that so captures the imagination of
countless millions? Are these phenomena
nothing more than the “cunningly devised fables” that Peter wrote about in his
second epistle? (2 Peter 1:16, KJV).
It appears to me that the Harry Potter series has been
"insidiously engineered to open our children to the world of witchcraft
now so cleverly whitewashed by the media." I believe that through the books, and through the movies parents
are inadvertently exposing their children to a tool of the devil? What is this tool? It is the deceptive nature of what is truly evil.
For parents, protecting our children's spiritual well being
is of utmost importance. Unfortunately,
our culture barrages kids with a myriad of occult influences daily. Surf the television networks and you'll find
family-hour offerings such as Sabrina the Teen-age Witch, Buffy, the Vampire
Slayer, Touched by an Angel, Charmed, and The X-Files.
I know you will find it hard to believe, but even the
beloved “I dream of Jeannie,” and “BeWitched” of yesteryear’s TV
were deceptive tools of the devil exposing us, and making us comfortable with
witchcraft. That lovable Jeannie would,
with a nod of her head and a blink of her eyes, whisk you into her magical
world! This mischievously enchanting
genie felt only unabashed exuberance for using her magical powers to grant her
master's every wish -- even when he didn't wish it.
Today, kids openly tell tales of playing with Ouija boards,
"levitating" someone at slumber parties, or making contact with
"spirit guides." Beads,
charms, or crystals that promise to bring the wearer peace, happiness, and
prosperity are the height of fashion.
So, What's a Christian parent to do?
occult influences entirely? It
didn’t work for the ostrich, and probably won’t protect your children from
the deceptions of Satan.
our kids from them as best we can?
Isolation will work successfully as long, and as completely as is
the success of isolating your children from the library, the TV, the news,
the movies, and from any and all the other children in the rest of the
world. I’m not too sure about that
our children to translate what comes through popular culture into Biblical
terms? Parenting, the art of
teaching and as stated in Biblical terms, raising them to be “increased in
wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” takes time and effort. Even though both time and effort are at
a premium for most of us, this still appears to be the most appropriate
course for Christian parents.
Since, as your pastor, I take my job of safeguarding our
children seriously, I want them to grow in their ability to discern good from
evil. They will then, as teens and
young adult Christians, be able to tackle the falsehood, stopping it in it’s
tracks, and challenge misleading culture head-on.
are Ten Suggestions to Challenge Evil Influence:
1. Start with the truth. Teach your kids basic Bible truths:
an intelligent force of evil called Satan, or "the evil one,"
who leads rebellious spirits called demons (Revelation 12:9).
spiritual forces aim to deceive, trap, and destroy humans (1 Timothy 4:1;
1 Peter 5:8). “Seeking whom he may
fought against these "spiritual forces of darkness," and so must
his followers (Mark 1:34; Mark 3:15; Mark 16:17; Luke 13:32).
God is greater than Satan's forces. Therefore, Christians
are guided and protected by using God's Word and prayer in Jesus' name
Connie Neal, the author of several books, including Dancing
in the Arms of God tells how as a new Christian and a teen, she attended a
Renaissance Faire with some other Christians. They sat in a field to eat lunch,
about a stone's throw behind a row of tents used by fortunetellers. Before
eating, they rather routinely prayed God would interrupt any forces of evil at
work in the tents nearby. Before they
could take their first bite, a brightly clad woman burst through the tent
panels, bellowing, "Who disturbed my aura?"
Neal says, “We were stunned to realize our prayer in Jesus'
name had had an immediate effect in the unseen spirit world. The fortuneteller shooed us away, but the
lesson I learned that day has remained. I use it to illustrate spiritual truth
to my kids.”
must check the source of any supernatural power. If it doesn't agree with the Bible, it's not from God
(Galatians 1:8, 9; 1 John 4:1). “To the law and to the testimony: if
they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in
them.” Isaiah 8:20
Witchcraft is on a worldwide march. Children, teenagers, and
adults around the world are fascinated by mysterious energies flowing through
witches. In increasing numbers, young and old are visiting popular witchcraft
web sites, buying spell books, joining covens, mixing potions, and practicing
magic. Wicca Witchcraft-also called the Craft-seems unstoppably on the move.
In the United States, so many teenagers are embracing the
Wiccan Way that National Public Radio's All Things Considered recently
aired a story called, "Teens and Wicca." The report drew
attention to the growing number of teenagers secretly setting up witchcraft
altars in their bedrooms, offering prayers to the goddess, and invoking the aid
of spirits. A similar trend is sweeping
Canada, England, Europe, Australia, Russia, and other countries.
Why this exploding interest-especially among teenagers-in
witchcraft? One reason is clear: Both children and adults are now being exposed
to a vast array of pleasantly designed books and magical movies that
increasingly portray witchcraft as a safe, exciting, and spiritually empowering
religion-especially for young women.
Some of the most popular fiction books include:
series (novels for kids). An internationally popular series that follows the
journeys of “five ordinary girls just going into their teens” who have “super
powers over the Elements.”
of the Moon series by Lynne Ewing (novels for kids). Titles include: Goddess
of the Night, The Sacrifice, and Possession.
series by Cate Tiernan (novels for kids). Titles include: Blood Witch, Dark
Magick, and Spellbound.
When our kids tell us about other children having an intense fascination
with anything dark, don't just tell them what's wrong with their friend's
behavior. Take time to pray with your
children and pray, "God, this child seems to be under the influence of the
evil one. In Jesus' name, we ask you to
break through any such forces. Protect
him from the powerful grip of any evil spiritual forces that hold sway in his
life." After you pray, let your kids take turns praying. This way, they learn while practicing
3. Preview anything questionable. Your kids should know anything with occult
references has to be previewed and okayed by you—whether it's a video game,
cartoon, book, or movie.
If you were given a bottle of super special cough syrup that
was guaranteed to stop your child’s cough, wouldn’t you check it out before
giving it to your child? You would read
the ingredients, do research on the ones you don’t recognize, and be sure the
company making the tonic is legitimate.
You might even taste it yourself to see if it is safe for your child to
ingest. Why not give what your children
take into their minds the same careful evaluation.
Tell your children they should come and ask you for
guidance, and assure them you will never be too busy to listen to their plea
for help. And, when you tell them
they can’t see, watch, or read something, take time to explain why. No parental cope-out, “because I said so!”
4. Cultivate their conscience. Although the Bible
says participating in occult practices is clearly forbidden, it can be
difficult to explain why it's wrong to read literature in which magic is used
as a literary device.
In New Testament times, Christians didn't entertain
themselves with movies or television. They'd never heard of Pokemon or Harry
Potter. Their questionable entertainment involved having dinner with
non-Christians who'd had their meat prepared at the temple of their local idol. Biblical guidance on these issues comes in
the form of guidelines rather than regulations. (1 Corinthians 8:1-13).
Help your children to ask for, and to listen to the Holy Spirit as He
speaks to their conscience about questionable areas. Apply the Biblical principles of what is fit for their minds as
clearly as you would what is fit for their lips.
5. Teach your children the relationship between
"magic" in the fantasy genre of books, movies and TV separating it
from real-life settings involving the super-natural, angels sent from a God who
Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go:
and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Parents, you may not be worried that your children will
imitate Harry Potter's magic, however, they need to be taught the difference
between real and imaginary. When we
focus on the literary and fictional stories as part of the entertainment world
and stories in which witchcraft is used in real-life settings our children
readily associate one with the other.
Imitation here is not a compliment, it is life threatening—threatens
their eternal destiny.
Who of us can’t remember watching the black and white TV
Westerns of our youth and how we couldn’t wait to go to the local five and dime
to buy our own cap guns and holsters to strap on our side like a real
amigo. We imitated what we saw then,
and our children will imitate what they see today.
Kids should not be allowed to play "fantasy" games
in which they participate in reenactments of anything of the occult. Example: Dungeons and Dragons. When the setting's real and supernatural
powers are seemingly used in everyday situations, children are more likely to
try what they've seen. I read of two
junior-high girls who tried spells to get rid of acne. The slippery slope starts with children
copying characters from entertainment, such as “The Transformers”, and books of
6. Weigh the usefulness of the material. Some people
object to anything evil in a story, but the fight between good and evil is what
makes a story useful. Make sure those
on the side of good practice virtues such as courage, perseverance, compassion,
honesty, loyalty, friendship, self-sacrifice, faith, generosity, and love. Characters don't have to get it right from
the start, but they must realize their errors and the need to repent to the
Lord. The end NEVER justifies the
Look for evil that isn't obvious. The Bible says Satan
masquerades as an angel of light, 2 Corinthians 11:14 “For such are false
apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of
Christ. And no marvel; for Satan
himself is transformed into an angel of light.” The most effective evil
characters are those who act friendly but use deception to destroy the good
The Harry Potter books are filled with descriptions of real
occult tools like wands, cauldrons, crystal balls, and tea leaves. The books, one title after the other,
overflow with references to real practices like spell casting, numerology,
fortune telling, divination, astrology, palmistry, charms, crystal gazing,
out-of-body travel and spirit-channeling.
However, here's the catch: Rowling consistently mingles these references
with silly, absurd, and obviously imaginary elements so as to make the entire
brew appear harmless (that's how the books sneak under the radar screen); yet
this sober fact remains: All of these practices are real and are practiced by
real witches everywhere. For proof, a
simple browsing of the occult section of any major secular bookstore will bear
out these claims.
The serpent that tempted Eve looked beautiful and harmless
to her, but his words were full of deception and lies. Our children must be taught to understand
the difference between right and wrong, even in disguised form, so they can
identify a clear picture of how evil works!
The villains in Harry Potter are a great example of this. Whenever evil is shown as scheming,
deceptive, selfish, and ultimately destructive, use it as an opportunity to teach,
making it a lesson for their impressionable minds.
7. Ask God for wisdom and guidance to watch, read, or
play with your children. Children
have no way to put the occult elements into a spiritual context. They need you to sit down with them and explain
it in light of the Bible. 2 Timothy
3:13-15 “evil men and seducers shall
wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast
been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child
thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto
salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
Good parenting never paints a double standard for right and
wrong: one for the children and another for the parents. If you do not intend for them to practice
witchcraft, tell untruths, consume alcoholic beverages or any other practice
defined by God as objectionable, then you as a parent must refrain as well.
8. Let your kids practice discernment. Welcome their observations as they face
difficult moral dilemmas in life, and in the stories they hear or see. How are we to relate to our enemies and our
friends? Do we try to gain power over
them, or do we treat them with respect? "Love your enemies! Pray for those
who persecute you!" (Matthew 5:44).
Should our children be taught to choose revenge or to offer
grace? In Harry Potter and the
Goblet of Fire, school bullies who have immersed themselves in the dark
arts accost Harry and two friends. They
make cruel remarks to Harry and his friends.
In response, Harry and friends simultaneously cast hexes on them,
rendering them unconscious. "Ron, Harry, and George kicked, rolled, and
pushed the unconscious Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle-each of whom looked distinctly
the worse for the jumble of jinxes with which they had been hit-out into the
corridor, then came back into the compartment and rolled the door
shut." Then Harry and his friends
sit down and play games.
This spirit of revenge is diametrically opposed to Jesus'
command to turn the other cheek. Should children take revenge simply because
they have the power to do so? Jesus said, "But I say, don't resist an evil
person! If you are slapped on the right
cheek, turn the other, too" (Matthew 5:39).
We must search for ways to develop our kids' moral reasoning
skills. If they site God's Word to back
up their reasoning, all the better!
Reinforce their discernment with praise and thanksgiving. Use every experience to point their fragile
minds to Jesus.
9. Build bridges to the Bible. Look for ways to link whatever's captured your kids'
attention to the Bible. If you can
connect something already on kids' minds to God's Word, they'll better
understand and remember Biblical truth. That's why Jesus taught in parables! Men abuse power with intimidation and revenge.
Contrast this approach with what Scripture says regarding
enemies and our treatment of them:
shalt not avenge. . . . Love thy neighbor as thyself. (Leviticus 19:18)
to no man evil for evil. . . . If it be possible, as much as lieth in you,
live peaceably with all men. . . . Be not overcome of evil, but overcome
evil with good. (Romans 12:17-18, 21)
your enemies, do good to them which hate you, bless them that curse you,
and pray for them which despitefully use you. (Luke 6:27-28)
10. Pay attention to what your children tell you and what
they want to talk to you about.
Ask your children how they think the occult might be influencing their
friends. Ask about new fads, what kids
are saying, what they believe—and listen.
Keep asking questions that lead your kids to figure out good and evil
for themselves. When you listen to your
kids, you'll be able to lovingly correct their misconceptions.
Help them to understand the concept of “playing with
fire.” Witchcraft is usually associated
with the use of drugs, incantations, spells, potions, charms, and amulets to
experience something supernatural or to ward off evil spirits. Known as Wicca,
modern-day witchcraft is a pagan religion in which nature and goddesses are
worshiped. There is to be no
exception, no engaging in witchcraft (appealing to any supernatural power or
spirit other than God).
Christians today have more in common with those in our
culture who believe in the supernatural than with those who don’t. Scripture says, “We wrestle not against
flesh and blood;” writes the apostle Paul, “but against principalities, against
powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual
wickedness” (Eph. 6:12, KJV).
The Bible and witchcraft—
Is there a real devil?
Wiccans don't believe so. Silver Ravenwolf and other Wiccan authors
think Satan is a figment of misguided Christian imagination. Yet, the Bible
plainly says, "The great dragon was cast out...called the Devil and
Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels
were cast out with him," (Revelation 12:9 NKJV).
Satan not only exists, but he "deceives the whole
In Scripture, sorcery isn't imaginary. Moses warned that anyone "who practices
witchcraft...or a sorcerer...or one who conjures spells” is "an
abomination to the Lord" (Deuteronomy 18:10-12, NKJV).
Paul pinpointed "sorcery" as one of the "works
of the flesh" (Galatians 5:19, 29), and John clearly predicted that
"sorcerers" will meet their final destiny in "the lake which
burns with fire and brimstone; which burns with fire and brimstone, which is
the second death" (Revelation 21:8, NKJV). This is serious stuff.
Because Satan exists, and because real witchcraft and
sorcery come from him, here's a key question:
How likely is it that Lucifer himself has nothing to do with
the most popular series of books ever written, which portray witchcraft,
sorcery, potions, and spells as fun and cool for kids?
Paul wrote, "We are not ignorant of his devices"
(2 Corinthians 2:11, NKJV). Don't be fooled. By portraying
witchcraft and casting spells as fun and exciting, Harry Potter desensitizes
youngsters to the dangers of the occult.
This is the devil's plan; to make evil things seem innocent and
harmless, thus deceiving our children by taking them away from the things of
John wrote, "By your sorcery all the nations were
deceived" (Revelation 18:23, NKJV).
This non-fiction passage warns that real sorcery coming from a real
devil will really deceive real nations in the end-times.
we not take seriously the Lord's warning?
we not flee from witchcraft in any form, including the most modern version
of so called harmless entertainment?
we not lead our children to sit at the feet of Jesus as He calls to them
Deuteronomy 18:9-13 says we shouldn't even "learn"
about wicked occult practices.
When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God
giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those
nations. There shall not be found
among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire,
or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a
witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter
with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD:
and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from
before thee. Thou shalt be perfect with
the LORD thy God. Deuteronomy
What is a necromancer?
One who communicates with the dead.
In book one, Harry Potter discovers a mirror that can show people what
they want most. Harry misses his
parents very much (they were murdered when he was a baby) and wants to know
them, so he can hardly resist spending time with the mirror where he can see
them moving around. In book one, they
smile at him. In the fourth book, Harry
Potter and the Goblet of Fire, young Potter spends time before the mirror
in which he sees and communicates with his dead parents.
Friends, these are not my words, God calls that an
ABOMINATION! Who do you trust, the word
of God or the words of Satan through the mind of Potter?
As a wholesome alternative, Jesus says, "Learn from Me,
for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls"'
(Matthew 11:29, NKJV). He is the alternative to witchcraft! The one who brings true peace and comfort.
Remembering that the conflict between good and evil is
largely a battle for the mind, consider how these books (and various other
media) influence your thinking. Does violence and wizardry desensitize one's
mind? Is Satan real or imaginary? If a book is fun, is it OK? Is there an evil
side to good? Is there a good side to evil? This series indicates that there is
a good side to wizardry.
Then, we must ask ourselves: Does imaginary witchcraft or
wizardry and other types of behavior by literary characters influence the
reader's mind? "It is a law both
of the intellectual and the spiritual nature that by beholding we become
changed. The mind gradually adapts itself to the subjects upon which it is
allowed to dwell" (Ellen White, Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 1,
But above the debate are two broader issues for parents and
teachers: Is it their role to control others' choices? And what responsibility
do parents and educators have to protect children? To the first I say: Teach
children how to make principled decisions.
And to the second: Make principle-based decisions yourself
in order to help children learn to think for themselves.
But whether Harry Potter comes to your home is a decision that
I'll leave to you.
When something goes contrary to the word of God, there is no
real choice! One must walk in the light
of the truth of God’s word. We must
strive to become more like Jesus every day, more like Him than we were the day
No one should think they can walk the line separating evil
and righteousness without eventually falling prey to the wiles of the Devil
whose work is to devour as a roaring lion devours it’s prey.
Whether or not Christian parents engage in the Harry Potter
phenomenon that pervades the popular culture of the moment is a choice only
you, the parent can make. I appeal to
you to walk carefully in the influence you have with your children.
Just as Jesus continually pointed His followers to Heaven,
and He focused their hearts on His Second Coming, we must ever have HOPE in our
hearts. Let’s keep pointing our
families to Jesus. After all . . .
You may be the only Jesus they will ever see!