December 29, 2011
There is a professor at Covenant Theological Seminary who says the Harry Potter books are the best thing written in a century. He read the last one six times, and then read it backwards, he says. Wonder what kept him from reading it upside-down, inside-out, and sideways.
These are “some of the most beautiful books ever written,” exults Prof. Jerram Barrs. He insists they are the most profoundly Christian books around. We can’t see it. Maybe “Harry Potter” has a stealth theology. Maybe it doesn’t. But that’s not the point.
What we do see is a man who is paid to be a Christian teacher, in a world that is falling away from Christ and falling into moral meltdown, bending his knee to the popular culture. Maybe he believes in what he’s saying, but so what? To the anti-Christian world, and to the world of those who don’t know any better, his comments sound like “I surrender!”
Would you like to say a controversial thing? Try this:
“In all our dealings with non-believers, we Christians must never forget one thing—they’re wrong.”
When you say that, do you know who’s going to howl the loudest?
Yes—your fellow Christians will be horrified when you say unbelievers are wrong. Professor Barrs might have an apoplexy. “How dare you say that? How dare you even think it?”
For going on 200 years, churchmen have been surrendering ground to unbelief. When Darwin published his Theory of Evolution in 1859, they couldn’t wait to hop on board. When German academics came out with “higher criticism” a few years later—this is a euphemism for denying the divinity of Christ—churchmen lapped it up like chocolate syrup. A high official of the United Methodist Church once said to me, “When I entered seminary, the first thing I learned was that the Bible is not the word of God.” He went on to say that truth is arrived at not by prayerful study of the Scriptures, but by internal politicking and “consensus.” That sounds just like the way science gets “settled” nowadays!
And so we wind up with such aberrations in the Church as goddess worship and “feminist theology,” same-sex pseudomarriage, Buddhist chanting, people dancing around in animal costumes, baby showers for unwed mothers—and a mushy theologian turning cartwheels over Harry Potter.
There are far too many churchmen who will say just about anything to get in good with the pagans. If they can win a grudging, contemptuous tolerance from an atheist, it makes their day. If they can somehow water down their teaching to the point at which Richard Dawkins will say “Good morning” to them, they rejoice because they fit in—the world does not despise them. The world hated their master, Christ Himself; but these churchmen want to be loved.
These are the pastors who proclaim “there are many ways to God,” including non-Christian religions, New Age claptrap, secular science, political activism, sincerely believing any damned silly thing, or just being not that awful a person—any “way” that anyone can think of, except the way of Jesus Christ. After all, we want to be inclusive; so we exclude Jesus. That’s how “love wins.”
If we can’t even bring ourselves to define our own beliefs as true, what does that do to our ministry? Our Lord commands us to make disciples of all nations. How in the world do we do that, if we insist that people who don’t believe in Jesus Christ are just as right as those who do? And what does it do to our own faith, if we entertain the suspicion that atheists, Gaia-worshippers, or UFO cultists really might have something there?
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Would Professor Barrs’ youtube love-letter be all over the Internet if Harry Potter weren’t one of the biggest entertainment franchises ever? Would he not be getting just as much attention if he had lavished praise on Dancing with the Stars, football, or Occupy Wall Street? Was there no overtly Christian cultural phenomenon that he could find to extol? Is he just another theological talking head who seeks “relevance” by prostrating himself to whatever idol currently has the most worshippers?
There are worse things written than the Harry Potter books. I have read some of them—“young readers” novels that openly celebrate demons, murder, sexual anarchy, and every other crime you can imagine.
Let any of those become sufficiently popular, and it’s guaranteed you’ll find some white flag Christians to endorse it.
© 2011 Lee Duigon - All Rights Reserved
Lee Duigon, a contributing editor with the Chalcedon Foundation, is a former newspaper reporter and editor, small businessman, teacher, and horror novelist. He has been married to his wife, Patricia, for 34 years. See his new fantasy/adventure novels, Bell Mountain and The Cellar Beneath the Cellar, available on www.amazon.com