Mention the name “Harry Potter” around Christians and you’re likely to get some interesting and perhaps extremely negative responses. The Harry Potter series which was based on the books which were then turned into movies has become a cultural icon around the world. An entire generation has grown up watching, listening, playing with Harry Potter toys and wearing Harry Potter clothes. It should come as no surprise then that a Christian should want to examine what is good about Harry Potter and reject what is bad from these movies.
Many of the negative reactions come from a segment of Christianity that earnestly believes that Christians should have no participation in culture. The other side in Christianity states that Christians can participate in culture but should reject what is ungodly and redeem what is helpful. In The Harry Potter Bible Study: Enjoying God Through The Final Four Harry Potter Movies, Pastor Jared Moore takes the second view which is that Christians ought to engage the worldview of culture in order to equip believers to have a biblical worldview.
The Harry Potter Bible Study is just that a Bible Study walking through Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- Part 1 and 2. This book does an excellent job examining what is unbiblical about the movies and what can be redeemed from the movies. One of the consequences of rejecting movies entirely and not engaging the message they are sending to children, teenagers and adults is that adults are not given a model of how to discern between what is good and evil. Not only does rejecting movies send a bad message to believers, but also to unbelievers who may be creative that they have no place in the Church. I’m encouraged by men like Jared who boldly stand upon the Word of God and the Gospel of God, and seek to equip the people of God to think through issues like this one from a biblical worldview.
In my opinion one of the reasons why much of Christianity has a hard time dealing with movies like Harry Potter and others like it is that we have lost our desire to impact the culture with the Gospel. In the Book of Acts we see the Church with the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit marching forward with a message of redemption. In the Book of Acts people gather together to hear the Gospel preached and then are converted. After being converted people in the Book of Acts scatter to proclaim the message of the Gospel to transform culture. The Gospel is the power of God to transform people’s lives individually and people groups collectively but only as individuals turn from sin and to the Lord Jesus Christ in faith and repentance.
Engaging worldviews is ultimately a Great Commission concern. The Gospel is the timeless message the Church and believers are to proclaim. The Gospel is never to be compromised but it is to be proclaimed, contended, and defended.
Some people will absolutely reject what I have just said entirely because they believe that Christians should not participate in culture at all. In my experience this argument does not extend to just secular movies but also to Christian movies. The fact is that God is still speaking to and through Nebuchadnezzar’s today those who are cultural makers and shapers. While I do not believe “God is speaking” in terms of giving special revelation the fact is that God often sends these men and women messages that have redemptive analogies and types within them. Furthermore by rejecting the men and women who make these movies is to reject God’s common grace whereby He grants men and women the ability to work, to breathe and to make a living.
To be clear, I thoroughly reject the sorcery, and witchcraft in the Harry Potter movies as does Jared Moore. What I want us to see is that by rejecting not only a particular movie like Harry Potter often times we are also rejecting the people who create the movies, which sends the wrong message that creative types have no place in the Church. As case in point many people rejected the recent Christian movie Courageous because they felt it focused only on becoming a better parent and father and not enough on the Gospel. The fact is the Gospel was clearly proclaimed in Courageous. Movies like Harry Potter make Christians justly uncomfortable but that does not mean that it has no message which believers can inject the Gospel into. Believers should engage non-believers like Paul did at Mars Hill. Believers are taught to be in the world, but not of the world, which means that believers should never compromise the Gospel, but should engage neighbors and friends with the Gospel in ways that they can understand.
The Gospel is good news. Much of what Harry Potter seeks to teach isn’t helpful. Much of what the news proclaims every day is unhelpful as it focuses on the bad news of man’s sin. Christians ought to be intentional about connecting with culture in order impact culture. The Gospel is the timeless message the Church and individual believers are to proclaim in every season of life and at all times. Engaging worldviews is ultimately a Great Commission concern, which means believers ought to be intentional about engaging the message of culture with the message of the Gospel.
I recommend you pick up a copy of The Harry Potter Bible Study Enjoying God Through The Final Four Harry Potter Movies by Jared Moore and learn how to engage culture without compromising the Gospel. Engaging others with the Gospel does not mean accepting what they are teaching, but rather using what they are teaching as a vehicle to impact lives for eternity. Engaging differing worldviews will help Christians to be able to discern truth from error which is what every believer should be doing. I encourage you to pick up a copy of this book, and begin to think through how you can better engage others with the Gospel.
Author: Jared Moore
Publisher: CreateSpace 2011