The cover and article concerning Harry Potter (“Harry Potter and the Way of Jesus”) in the January Banner were disturbing. By emphasizing J.K. Rowling’s books in this way, The Banner endorses the series to every reader. This endorsement directly contradicts many spiritual leaders in the churches The Banner represents.
The premise of the article is that Harry Potter’s act of forgiveness in the final book justifies the whole series. But a moralistic act of forgiveness does not now make this a Christian series on par with C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia!
The books present a worldview that confuses the lines between good and evil—good and evil use the same source of power to gain their own power and control. There isn’t an ultimate source of good. There is no God in the series.
For a healthy and helpful perspective on the books, please see www.sunshinechurch.org.
—Rev. David HuizengaSenior Pastor, Sunshine Community ChurchGrand Rapids, Mich.
I’m a Harry Potter fan and have long believed these books parallel Christianity, much like the Chronicles of Narnia and Lord of the Rings. My children attend a Christian school where these books are banned, and I have given a copy of this article to the principal. The people who have criticized and banned these books have never read them. What a joy to read your review, written by someone who has actually read all the books. A million thanks from a grateful reader, mother, and GEMS Club coordinator. I’m excited that I can now recommend these books to children with a copy of your article at hand.
—Elisabeth BarnhillLakeside, Calif.
I am 16 years old, and I have to say when I picked up this Banner issue, I freaked out. Before I committed myself to Christ, I was obsessed with the Harry Potter books until I discovered I was opening up my heart to evil. Now I have the knowledge of how in so many ways the devil tries to weaken our faith and absorb us into worldly things.
After reading the article I realized that the series may have a message, but it’sstill very controversial. It bothers me that Rowling hesitated to reveal she’s aChristian. I believe the series might have Christian morals, but instead of encouraging pursuit of God, it might lead to kids wanting witchcraft (unfortunately, I can personally speak to that).
—Delilah DelgadoEl Paso, Texas
I am saddened by this article. The author is either very naïve or wants to find good in evil. She cannot see spiritual warfare, as she just took part in it—as did The Banner. The statement that the Harry Potter books are an excellent addition to children’s literature is as disturbing as Satan’s goal to desensitize our children to his ways.
—Theresa PeaveyLowell, Mich.
Thank you for printing Sylvia Keesmaat’s article. I, too, am a huge Harry Potter fan. The article was right on point. It was so refreshing to read considering all the bad press J.K. Rowling has received by those who’ve called the books satanic. If people took the time to read them, they would realize that just because the books talk about magic doesn’t mean they are “occultish.” These books have wonderful lessons to teach our children, which Keesmaat takes great care to point out. I hope that one day my daughters will enjoy the series as much as I do.
—Jennie NanassyWoodstock, Ontario
Harry Potter lies, steals, cheats, has a bad temper, and is disobedient to his step-parents. Is this the role model Christian parents desire for their children? He casts spells. Witches do that. Scripture tells us that witchcraft is an abomination to the Lord. There’s no such thing as a “good witch.” The “cute factor” has blinded the eyes of even the most scholarly it seems.
—Nancy SchererCambridge, Minn.
As a member of the church I have felt the joy of welcoming people whom God is saving from sorcery and all that sorcery involves. Harry Potter’s life and learning are consistent with the way of life God calls his people out of. It matters little to the church whether the Harry Potter books contain themes that resemble Christian themes like forgiveness, love, and self-sacrifice. Such themes are a dime a dozen in religions, fairy tales, and even nationalist myths. The trouble with spells and hexes is that sometimes they do work. Magic may be thrilling for a moment, but it can kill. Jesus is greater, and he is our life. This is a very big deal.
—Rev. Jack VanderVeerCobourg, Ontario
Thank you for this pertinent and thoughtful article. I’ve read only the first three books. I did not like the first; I felt it implicitly promoted that the end justifies the means. However, reading the next two made me wonder what all the fuss was about. Keesmaat is right that the books have nothing to do with Wiccan religion.
So now I look forward to reading the remaining books on my next camping trip. That will give me a splendid opportunity to appraise Keesmaat’s main thesis.
In short, the article’s positive impact is that this summer I will be a more careful and perceptive reader while I (re)consider some crucial biblical themes.
—Harro Van BrummelenLangley, British Columbia
I thought I had seen everything. This article absolutely shocked me! To compare a wizard to Jesus’ apostles! Did the writer ever read the Bible and see what GOD has to say about wizards, wizardry, sorcery, and the like? Should Christians have anything to do with these things? The warnings are clear from passages such as Leviticus 19:31, Deuteronomy 18:10, Malachi 3:5, Acts 13:6-8, with a final warning found in Revelation 21:8.
The Banner sure missed this one.
—Art ValenzuelaMoreno Valley, Calif.