Sermons

Summary: The Harry Potter story is used to draw paralles with the Gospel. PowerPoint slides available by e-mail. "Not Helpful" if you want Anti-Harry!

Harry Potter and the Living Stone

Or

Don’t Be a Muggle!

William A. Groover Jr., Ph.D.

NOTE: E-mail me at bill@easthill.net and I will e-mail you the PowerPoint slides I prepared to go with this message. You may also download the Harry Potter fonts at http://www.harrypotterdesktop.s5.com and at other sites as well. Just search. This sermon is still in draft form, scheduled for first preaching on Sunday, Dec. 16, for a Youth Worship service (20 teens present, 2 accepted Christ, 2 asked for copies of the sermon, and three parents told me their Youth gave them a point by point synopsis--this sermon is "UN-helpful" if you want to attack Harry Potter.). I am well aware of the criticism of Harry Potter and the biblical condemnation of witchcraft and sorcery. At the time of this writing, there were two well-prepared anti-Harry sermons on Sermon Central (http://www.sermoncentral.com/ search for Harry Potter). I do believe there is an evil reality. While J. K. Rowling does write about witchcraft and children will be fascinated by her story, I believe they will see the clear message about good and evil Rowling laces through her books. There are powerful, evil spirits at work in our world. They can only be defeated by the power of God. In my sermon I try to take advantage of the interest young people have in Harry Potter and use that to turn them toward Jesus Christ. I clearly believe if I stood in the pulpit and denounced Harry Potter, I’d do as much to encourage people to read him as I did to discourage them. You may tell me what you think at bill@easthill.net. Thanks, and God Bless us all.

(1 Peter 2 NIV) {4} As you come to him, the Living Stone--rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him-- {5} you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Harry Potter is one of the most popular figures in our culture today. Yet a few people, among them some preachers, have spoken out against Harry, saying he is evil and he lures children toward witchcraft and the occult. Well, let me ask you: “Have any of you begun practicing witchcraft since reading or seeing Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone?” Okay. Practicing witchcraft is definitely a sin. But reading fiction about it? Remember: it is FICTION. It is my understanding that all of the spells in all of the Harry Potter books have been tried and none have worked. Well, one person did achieve flight one time. I walked into the church one day and Hunter was standing over a broom yelling, “Up!” He didn’t see me, so I goosed him from behind. He flew . . ., what was it, Hunter, about fifteen feet? But his landing had lousy form. Anyway, for my part I find the author, J. K. Rowling, sends out a very clear message: “There are both Good and Evil forces and people in our world. And Good is . . . well, Good! And Evil is . . . dangerous, bad, to be avoided, and even to be conquered by Good.” I can live with that. I hope all young people learn this lesson. I would also like to recommend a couple of other writers to anyone who may enjoy Rowling’s work. Try C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Ring Trilogy, or Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time.

But today I want to draw a deeper lesson. J. K. Rowling has said in interviews she draws from a multitude of sources, historical, literary, mythical, and religious, to find themes and symbols she can bury in her fiction for readers to search for, discover, and hopefully pursue in other readings. I have no knowledge that she intended to describe specific Christian doctrine in Harry’s story. Still, the parallels between Harry Potter and my understanding of a biblical worldview and Christian anthropology are uncanny. Let me begin by looking at Harry’s story--and don’t worry; if you haven’t seen or read the story, I will tell you enough to follow along without giving away the ending.

Harry Potter was born to parents who were wizards. A rival, evil wizard killed both parents and tried to kill Harry. Good wizards took baby Harry to live with his Aunt & Uncle, who were non-magical people, or “muggles.” They mistreat Harry and make him live in a tiny room under the stairs for eleven years until he is old enough to enter Hogwarts School of Wizardry (which is run by the same good wizards--though as with everything in life, some evil does slip in). Each book in the series will tell the story of one year of training at Hogwarts.

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