AND ACTS 19
Date: Tue, 26 Nov 2001
a seeker, sometimes more seriously than other times, rather than
Christian in the sense that Christians around me seem to be defining
Christianity. I teach world literature, New Testament Greek, and
the Bible at a small private college. I'm wondering how Acts 19,
specifically the part where the Christians (I'm guessing it's
the Christians, although the pronouns aren't specific) or maybe
the newly converted Christian/Jews burn their books on witch craft,
fifty thousand pounds worth of books. Does that seem to indicate
that people who want to follow God and Christ should burn books
like Harry Potter? Or books that are about witchcraft?
to any destruction on knowledge, of course, even really wicked
knowledge. That's my humanist background. The cure for bad books
is good books. But from a Christian perspective, reading Acts
19, is that what the message is?
The burning of the books was a public expression of a changed
life from a magic religion to be followers of Jesus. They burned
their own books (symbols of thier old life stlye) and praised
the name of Jesus (the name of their new Lord) in public. This
passage does not give license to conduct witch hunts as is going
on with Harry Potter, nor is it an encouragement to burn non-Christian
IN THE BROWNIES
Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2001
A mom got into a discussion with her children about attending
a particular movie. They told her that the movie wasn't that bad,
had only a few swear words, a couple of objectionable scenes,
but had some good messages along with the bad messages. Besides,
it was very popular and all the kids were going to see it. The
mom said she would think about it, but she had a treat to make
for them and went into the kitchen. A little while later she came
back into their room with a plate of fresh-baked brownies. "Come
and get em" she told them.
As they approached
the plate, she continued, "by the way, I added a special ingredient
this time. I mixed in a little bit of Harry's (the family dog)
poop with the batch." Each child immediately pulled back, not
even touching the delicious looking treats. "Oh, come on," the
mom continued. "There's only a little bit of poop in it. The rest
is the usual good stuff. I have the best nuts and most expensive
chocolate. I gave the four extra sifting and baked at just the
kids would not touch them. "I don't understand, you're willing
to put a little poop in your eyes through this movie but not put
a little poop in your mouth." Mom made her point. And this is
my point. You railed against "fundamentalists" for pointing out
the poop in entertainment. Phillipians 4:8 tells us to focus not
ONLY on the "positive" but on the righteous. Not ONLY on the "good"
in something, but what IS "good". Now, can "good" be shown even
if something has evil in it?
God can and does show Himself in many areas outside of Scripture,
but He will never negate or contradict the Principals He laid
out in Scripture. Scripture is to be our measure, our first reference.
Just because Paul quoted a portion of a "poem", does not mean
that this whole poem is worthy of quoting. No, he quoted the part
that illustrated the point he was making to make the Scripture
connect with those to whom he was speaking.
I think the
problem here is that most people do not like being told what they
can and cannot do. Hagee, Falwell, Robertson have some legitimate
points to make about the state of our culture. We should be discerning
As a mature
adult, a scene where the couple falls in love only after having
sex is a message I know as false. To my 12 year old son, that
message is not as clear and it may be totally missed by my 3 year
old daughter. We need to be discerning and not embrace everything
that comes down the line.
We are to
be salt and light to the world. We ARE Jesus to the world, and
while He loved all, in that love He also told others things they
did not want to hear. Sometimes we have to do that, sometimes
we have to turn from something that has some good because it has
just too much poop to eat around, but is it necessary to eat it
at all? There are many alternatives and choices we have to make.
Even if something is "popular" does not mean it is good for us.
Just because it is "fun" does not mean it is okay for us to do.
Just because we can do something does not mean we should do it.
And that is the point of the messages of sirs Falwell, Robertson,
we have to deny ourselves a brownie because there is just too
much poop in it and I am glad someone pointed it out before I
took that bite. What is important is our love and growth in God,
not the pleasures we put in our eyes. I use this adage: will what
I am putting in my brain increase my relationship with my Lord
or pull me away from Him. That is something only I can answer,
but I can measure something through Scripture to help me determine
Too bad there are sinful people in the church. Poop in the brownies.
Better not go to church. Your logic has a huge flaw, because there
is poop in everything. Despite all the evil in the world -major
poop in the brownies- Jesus came. Jesus specializes in transforming
poop into fertilizer for growth. Please teach your 12 year old
son how to process poop. He will see films and listen to music.
Teach your son how to process. Please do not be a Thomas Kinkade
isolationist Christian. Go ye into all the world -poop and all-
and take your son with you, teach (disciple) him with the wisdom
of God. -David
THEME OF SACRIFICE
Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2001
From: Phil Clark
film has a strong theme of sacrifice running through it. Harry's
mother gives her life so he can live: Ron Weasley offers his life
during the chess game, so that Harry can continue in his attempts
to thwart Valdemort: Nicholas Flammel permits the Philosopher's
stone to be destroyed for the greater good, though it will inevitably
cost him his life. Theme verse for the film - John 15:13 "Greater
love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends".
If we cannot use all of this to point to Jesus then we have a
Thanks, I appreciate your insight. So many attack Harry Potter
-and yet have not read the books. Oh well. So I appreciate your
Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2001
From: Gloria Lee Young
He who is in you than he who is in the world." I grew up in fear
that the rapture was going to take place and I would be left behind
for some unknow sin Id inadventantly comitted. I am glad I had
a pastor who untaught me so many things by getting down to the
real Greek. I know now without a doubt that God loves me and His
Grace is Sufficent for me. Focucising on Satan gives him the glory
and not our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He our Lord is the
redeemer and those of us who know Him need have no fear, the opposite
of fear (hate) is Love and Our God Is Love..
Gloria Lee Young
You had a great pastor. -David
WHERE DO WE DRAW THE LINE?
Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2001
From: "Don Gollahon"
your points and will take them to heart. I have a 6 and an 11
year old son. I know the kind of garbage that is trying to be
shoved down our youths throats these days and I want to protect
them from it as best I can and help them make wise, Christ-honoring
that bothers me about the church these days besides those you
speak of as being Witch Hunters, etc, are those who want to see
how much like the world they can be and still be "Christian".
Many "Christians" go around with the attitude that "I can still
drink, I can still smoke, I can still cuss, I can still lust,
etc, etc" and God will love me and forgive me. And God will do
that. But then they wonder why people don't listen to them if
they try to tell them about Christ. And they also wonder why things
happen to them like cancer or some other kinds of hardships. We
just hate to accept the fact that this loving God disciplines
His children, even drastically at times. The Bible is full of
examples of this.
must be very careful with statements like "...God's word is not
limited to just the Holy Bible". Many cults are built on this
type of thinking. Yes, God can and has spoken through evil leaders
and even donkeys, but in these days He has spoken to us through
His Son (Hebrews 1:2). All other utterances claiming to come from
God must be verified through His Word and rejected if not in compliance.
one draw the line? I think we, as God's people, should be less
concerned about the "line" and should instead ask the question,
"How much like Christ can I become in this life and still keep
my feet on the earth." It is then that we will have Christ's attitude
and draw people to Him by our reflection of Him. What is Christ's
attitude toward any and all evil? It is that not even a hint of
it be allowed in His people. We should not be entertained by it
nor laugh at it, let alone partake in it.
I know where
you are coming from on many points you make in your reviews. I
appreciate them. We have to be careful though. Francis Schaefer
(excuse the spelling if it is wrong) has a good booklet on "The
Bible and Art" where he tries to help us, as Christians, know
how to admire and appreciate secular art without condoning the
message it may give. I will be digging that one out soon to read
it again. Thank you for your time and for allowing us to give
"What in Eternity does it matter?"
Thank you. In response to some of your questions: I am a Christian
who "drinks beer" and blinks at smoking. Such moral
issues have little concern to me. CS Lewis had wine, Martin Luther
enjoyed beer. Important theologians smoked. I really do not care
about such issues. However, lust is forbidden in the light of
the Ten Commandments. God speaks outside of scripture because
the Bible says so (Romans 1:20). The essence of Christianity is
being a follower of Jesus as Lord of one's life. Christianity
is not what you don't do as much as what you do. That is where
I draw the line. And thanks for your good words and kindness.
I appreciate that. -David
COMMENT ABOUT TOLKIEN
Subject: Newsletter_30 Harry Potter
Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2001
From: "Bill Yates"
Love the newsletter.
I think it may be useful for your readers to know something in
regards to Jen's comments "I am sure that Tolkien's (Lord of the
Rings) work will come under fire as has Harry Potter but I believe
in this case that the story is what you take away from it. I have
read the Hobbit and the Trilogy at least 7 or 8 times now and
every time I have learned more from it. Although Tolkien himself
may not have been a Christian, there are Christian values that
are still presented to readers in his story." Tolkien was most
certainly a Christian and extremely instrumental in leading his
fellow Oxford professor, C.S. Lewis, to the Lord as Dr. Lewis
tells us in his autobiography. Makes any talk about the magic
in Lord of the Rings so ridiculous, I am waiting for that discussion
to take place.
Thanks for the discussion,
You are so very right. Tolkien was a Christian. Thanks. -David
Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2001
From: C.A. Sowards
If you read
the Narnia books without knowing that C.S. Lewis was a devout
Christian and without knowing that they are meant as Christian
allegory, then they too could be deemed to encourage the practice
of magic and wizardry. Animals talk, children walk through pieces
of furniture, magical things happen and tranformations take place.
so many people who use Christianity as an excuse to stop thinking.
We are never, regardless of our religious beliefs, allowed NOT
to think. In examining the lessons that Harry Potter has to teach,
how can you find fault with a series of books that emphasize (in
much the same way that the Narnia books do - Rowling was very
much influenced by Lewis' writing, I'll wager):
Mercy Using one's powers (whether they be natural or supernatural)
for good and not evil
lessons made any less potent because Harry waves a wand or flies
on a broom? Nonsense. Allegory is allegory, nothing more or less.
It is the message in the story that must be sussed out and understood.
It is a little more difficult when the author isn't banging you
over the head with a crowbar and telling you that Harry Potter
is some euphamism for the Devil.
can we just take time to think just ONCE before we go all hysterical
letting me vent, David.
I tis time to think. Yes yes yes. I totally agree with you. Thank
you, Thank you, thank you. I hope others take to heart what you
are trying to say.I so appreciate your contribution. -David
FICTION -WITH POWERFUL LESSONS FOR CHILDREN
Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2001
From: "John H. Pavelko"
I agree with you, Harry Potter is fiction. It does not have the
depth of Tolkein's (would someone please tell Jen, that Tolkein
was a Christian and instrumental in Lewis conversion), Lord
of the Rings or the theological truths of Narnia but it is
enjoyable and contains some valuable insights into human behavior.
For example, Dumbledore shows brilliance in hiding Harry with
the Dursleys. It not only protects him but teaches him humility
in contrast to Malfoy. This can be used as a powerful lesson with
children. It not the toys, the experiences, or the situations
that bring happiness but in how you respond to the circumstances
in which you find yourself.
John H. Pavelko
Walled Lake, MI
You are so very right. Tolkien was a Christian. Thanks for your
insight concerning Dumbledore and powerful lessons. -David
Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2001
IN HARRY POTTER
Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2001
Dave I have
always seen the wizarding world as parrel for the Christians in
our world. We try to hide from the world and preserve our traditions.
Our ways seem weird and mystic to outsiders. I have read all four
novels and love them. I put them in the same boat as The Narnia
books and LOTR trilogy. The magic is not realistic the books.
It is used for Harry as we use technology. They kids are taught
not to use it for evil. That is the over all them of the book.
Not to turn good Christian kids into Satan worshiping wiccans.
Over the summer
I was at the movies with some buddies. before the film, they showed
a trailer for LOTR. I was amazed, I was so excited. After the
film we were talking about the trailers and what looked good.
I brought up LOTR. He replied I don't know it looks not so good.
Insulted I asked how it could not look good. He replied that it
looked bad because of the magic involved. I laughed and snapped
back "Tolkein was a Christian!!!"
I get that
allot. I am a huge fan of Buffy the Vampire slayer. People at
church always used to look at me funny for saying that. I see
a huge correlation between her fight against evil and our walks
as Christians. I see this all the time. God working through TV
shows that seem unlikely. I fact I wrote an essay on for English
compaction this year. I see huge evidence for this in the old
testament. In Jeremiah God used the opposing army to speak to
the Israelites. They would not listen him any other way. I agree
with you Dave that we should use Harry potter for good, not tear
in the struggle,
Thank you. And Yes Church folks can have strange reactions. They
are well intentioned, however. But I am with you. Long live LOTR
and Buffy. -David
Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2001
I am glad
you are welcoming responses. I believe that most Christians as
stated above, do not believe that this is a no-Satanic film, or
just harmless fiction. Satan is the great deciever, and he loves
to twist what looks like innocent fun into something entirely
for his purpose. Judging by the mass hysteria about Harry Potter,
and the huge number of pre-order tickets (so I've heard), Satan
has already decieved many. Wicca is becoming a prominent pre-teen,
teen and adult lifestyle now, and is being thought of as the harmless
alternative to Witchcraft. This is another one of Satan's lies.
I had an EIGTH-GRADE Wiccan tell me that she loses a tiny part
of her soul every time she casts a spell or uses her power. And
Wicca is being presented as harmless??? I am shocked and saddened
by the fact that a supposedly "Christian" website could endorse
such a film as this. Harry Potter is also presented as harmless,
and kid-friendly. What an easy way for Satan to target the youth
audience. Though the battle is already won by God, Satan thinks
he's winning the war, and writing a review like this that Christians
and non-Christians alike will read, is ENCOURAGING him. I would
ask everyone at this website to consider their relationship with
Jesus, and their walk with God, and why they are promoting such
awful movies like Harry Potter as Christian material. That is
what SATAN does. But, I gues that anyone who would work for a
website called "Hollywood Jesus," must be a "Hollywood Christian."
Jesus never once twisted bad things and promoted them as good-
he told it like it was. And I would ask you to do the same, when
reviewing Satan's tools.
Thanks for your sharing views. We have totally different views
and approaches, but I am glad you are a follower of Jesus. -David
HARRY POTTER THING..
Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2001
From: Paul Jacoby
First of all,
I have not read the HP books, but book 3 was released back when
I worked for a major book chain. So I had the chance to talk to
alot of people who have read them, asking key questions as to
the nature of the content, what parts were considered "dark",
and the like. So I made the decision to go to the movie. Hopefully,
nobody will see me there & scream "HYPOCRITE" or something. Maybe
I'll wear an invisible cloak or something :)
Yet, it was
the hype that actually drove me to being more curious about seeing
the movie. But the movie isn't the issue, the evangelical hype
is. It seems to pop-up everytime some entertainment trend makes
the big time. And it goes WAY back. I'm surprised no one else
sees a pattern to the whole thing.
I first encountered
this phenomena as a child when my Grandmother forbade me to watch
the cartoon "Smurfs" based on something she heard from a televangelist.
The smurfs were created by a good wizard, and were chased around
every Satuday by a mean wizard. Not that I wanted to watch the
Smurfs to begin with, but my Mother & Grandmother closely scrutinized
my TV/cartoon/movie habits every time they were informed of any
"suspected satanic" forms of entertainment from their fave preacher.
I don't have the space to list every program or movie I was forbidden
to see, but the fact was that the list was (a.) numerous and (b.)
I could watch the MGM classic The Wizard of Oz every year, but
I couldn't watch Disney's Witch Mountain series. The Hobbit &
LOTR animated movies from the 80's were okay with Mom, but I wasn't
allowed to watch He-Man or Dungeons & Dragons on TV. All of these
programs are works of fiction, contain pretend "wizards & witches"
and have absolutely no basis in real-world occult practice. One
deals with fairy-tale entertainment, the other deals with actual
religious worship. I understood the difference, why didn't Mom
& Gran? Later on, I used their fear and paranoia as one of many
lame excuses to leave the church myself and renounce Christianity.
It took me five years to figure out that Christianity isn't supposed
to run on narrow mindedness & fear. And since then I've returned
But the paranoia
remains. We've just seen the latest kid-entertainment fad make
a transition from Pokemon (remember that?) to Harry Potter & many
evangelicals still don't have it figured out. I have many close
friends feeling very strongly that these forms of entertainment
are like a "gateway drug" of sorts into the occult. They have
gathered quite a bit of evidence that appear to back it up as
well. By the same token, I regrettably found myself behaving like
my mother whenever I was around my friend's daughter, "You can't
watch Sailor Moon!", I hollered, "One of the characters reads
from the Tarot!" So where to draw the line? God isn't the author
of this here confusion, but that's what we are dealing with as
a Christian community. There is a solution though.
the Bible is very clear on this subject. If you are unsaved, if
you were once dead in you trespasses & sins, it doesn't matter
what books you read whether truly "Satanic" or not, you're D E
A D in your sins and already held in the thrall of the Prince
of the Power of the Air. But, if you are saved by Grace through
faith, then the Holy Spirit will guide you through the world which
is passing away with it's lusts (WHOOPS, I meant "fads", silly
me. . .) that is. . .if you are 100% committed to walking with
Christ. That's all that matters isn't it?
straight through us, right into the very motives of our hearts,
and tells us, "What's that of any concern to you? Turn away from
the world & follow me." This may mean having to shelve the Harry
Potter book for awhile if it detracts from prayer, or your daily
devotionals, or serving Christ in any way. Like Paul wrote. .
are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things
are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of
any." -1st Cor. 6:12
- profitable, good or best
Lawful - permitted or possible
If, after some prayer & self examination you are truly convicted
that the entertainment form you enjoy is not an idol or a stumbling
block to yourself, then you have that form of entertainment as
a "freedom in Christ". But it doesn't end there man. If Harry
Potter is a freedom to you, don't hand the book to someone who
is weak in that area. Don't make the freedom you enjoy become
a stumbling block to other Christians. In this light, I might
have to reconsider seeing the film myself and stay away in case
another Christian sees me there. But that's a living sacrifice
of my own personal entertainments and comfort. . .and as a modern
American Christian I couldn't POSSIBLY do that ;D --hehe!
a whole 'nother can of worms. . .
Thanks for sharing your journey. I would challenge you to not
be afraid of the "weaker" Christian. Rather, take the
weaker Christian and help them to understand how to view popular
culture, turning it into opportunity. -David
CHILDREN TO BE GOOD
Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2001
Potter books, especially the latter ones, teach children to be
good, kind, inclusive of all races and genders. They help children
and adults to understand that what is on the inside counts. There
are clear allusions to the KKK in one of the novels, which raises
notions of anti-racism, anti-essentialism, anti-class and feedom
of thought and religion. One would think Christians of all people
would be cherishing these ideas.
The most important
thing that these books teach children however, is that hope for
the future, faith in ourselves and others, and the active imagination
are crucial ingredients for happiness and success. Children are
well able to establish the difference between fantasy and reality,
they are just very good at participating in the former with gusto.
I think it's the adults we should be concerned about - how unhealthy
to be reading those ridiculous criticisms into HP, i'm sure Freud
would have much to say about it!!
Thank you for your insights. You are refreshing. -David
to Main Page