8-6-2011 “I’m Glad I Watched Harry Potter” – Pastor Shane Idleman

I was encouraged by Potter fans to watch one in the series before critiquing; I chose Deathly Hallows Part 1. I was fully ready to apologize if the first article misrepresented the series.

Extremely dark and evil, the story begins with a woman levitating, and leads the viewer through scenes of non-stop witchcraft and wizardry. I’m glad I watched…I’m more fully convinced that we should not feed our mind with these types of movies. We fail to demonstrate a deep respect and desire for God when we fill our mind with things that oppose Him. Whether or not we find this innocent entertainment, based on Scripture, God does not.

Sadly, viewers may not recognize the subtle seduction in these “milder” forms of evil when compared to movies such as The Last Exorcism. As one disgruntled reader said, “I just don’t get it. Harry and his friends are the “good guys.” But is there such thing as “good magic” or“good witches”? Pleasant enchantments, nice witchcraft, and good wizards are oxymorons. These things, by their very nature, are evil.

Scripture makes it clear that fascination with the powers of darkness and the occult have no place in the heart or the mind of a Christian. Even more discouraging than the time and money spent on the occult and vampire craze, is the young age at which children are exposed to these spiritual perversions.Why someone would knowingly open a child’s mind to this kind of “entertainment”is beyond me. A former witch stated, “I can speak with authority when I say that I have examined the works of Rowling and that the Harry Potter books are training manuals for the occult.” Whether you agree with this or not, the truth still stands: there is no such thing as good evil—evil is that which God defines as evil, it opposes the character and nature of God—there is nothing good about that. God is not mocked. We only deceive ourselves if we believe that we will not reap what we have sown.

Philippians states that our minds are to be fixed on what is noble, pure, excellent, and good. Psalms 101:3 states, “I will set nothing wicked before my eyes.” There is no middle ground for compromise. Many other Scriptures confirm this as well. As W. Graham Scroggie said, “Light and darkness, right and wrong, good and evil, truth and error are incompatibles…when they compromise it is the light, the right, the good, and the truth that are damaged.”

Jesus never encouraged enthusiasm over things that God forbade—enthusiasm about material forbidden by God is compromise. There are no scriptural grounds in defense of the Potter or Twilight series (or any other ungodly entertainment for that matter). It is more reasonable for Christians who enjoy these movies to simply admit that they enjoy them, rather than try to defend them.

Elijah’s plea is as relevant today as at any other time in history, “How long will you waiver between two opinions? If God is God, follow Him!” (I Kings 18:21) “Where does Christianity destroy itself in a given generation? It destroys itself by not living in the light, by professing a truth it does not obey” (A.W. Tozer).

Enchantments, witchcraft, familiar spirits, and wizards are always condemned as evil practices throughout the Bible. I appreciate what Michael O’Brien said regarding this, “The Harry Potter series is a fantasy-projection of materialist man…imagining himself to have god-like powers without any reference to the source of those powers, nor to any set of moral absolutes against which he can measure the rightness or wrongness of his thoughts and actions. Witchcraft is not so much about love of nature, as it is about love of control over nature. It is about power-god-like power without accountability to objective standards, without obedience to the Creator of nature. It is about our root sin, pride. It is about rebellion against God’s authority.”

Let’s be careful not to make excuses and compromise God’s Word in the name of entertainment. The full-blown moral crisis that we are experiencing today began with small compromises. Times change, but God’s standards do not.

In closing, it’s important to make a distinction between legalism and wisdom. Legalism is of no value against the lust of the flesh; wisdom is. Being selective with what we watch and listen to has nothing to do with legalism; it has everything to do with spiritual integrity, wisdom, and moral purity. Weare to recognize what glorifies Christ and what clearly does not, then choose accordingly. Grace does not relieve us of responsibility. We actually live under a higher standard when grace, not rules, guides our decisions.

The bottom line about entertainment is this: when we repent and believe in Jesus, read and study the Word, and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us, questionable entertainment should no longer amuse us—we have a different Spirit guiding us. Romans 8:5 says that those who live according to their sinful nature set their minds on the things that excite that nature, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on what the Spirit desires. Again, all things considered scripturally, there’s really no debate.

Shane Idleman is the pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship. KTLW (88.9FM in Lancaster) features his radio program at 7am on Saturdays, and Sundays at 6:30pm beginning in February. Westside Christian Fellowship meets Saturdays at 5:30pm at 6015 W Ave. J-8. For more info., visit WCFAV.org, or call (661) 524-6610. Shane’s books, articles, & radio program can be found at ShaneIdleman.com.