Harry Potter and the Gospel Echoes
I was adamantly and aggressively against the Harry Potter books when they were first released. They were about witchcraft, clearly forbidden in the Bible (Deuteronomy 18:9-12, Galatians 5:20, 2 Chronicles 33:6), thus, trash. I fought tooth and nail with my friends who loved them and assumed you could not be a good Christian if you enjoyed them. Needless to say, God has done a lot of work on my very judgmental heart over the years.
I don’t remember why, but one day I decided to put my money where my mouth was. If I was going to refute the Harry Potter stories, I had to read them. So I did.
I found the story engaging, entertaining, and, to my greatest surprise, rich in gospel echoes. The big argument about Harry Potter glorifying witchcraft did not hold up. The magic and sorcery in Harry’s world are no different than the magic found in The Chronicles of Narnia or The Lord of the Rings. A regular human person (like me or my children) cannot learn how to do spells and do magic. According to the rules of the world you are either born with magic or not, placing the story firmly in the realm of fantasy.
Hopefully, this will not be a spoiler, but if you haven’t read the books or watched the movies, you may want to go do that first. Just in case. We’ll wait.
Harry is an orphan, raised by his despicable aunt and uncle, alongside his disgusting cousin. At the young age of 10, Harry knows he is different and hopes there is something more for him in this life. Right from the very beginning, we can see ourselves as Harry, born and raised in a world we do not belong to.
“For he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in love before him.” Ephesians 1:4
On his 11th birthday, Hagrid tells Harry he is a wizard and suddenly all the weirdness of Harry’s world makes sense. He has a place where he belongs. Of course, accepting that he is a wizard and growing and learning how to be a wizard are two different things. One is immediate (like accepting the free gift of salvation). The other takes the rest of the story (like sanctification, the work of becoming more like Christ, see James 2:14-18)
That’s just one example. When I say the books are rich in gospel echoes, I mean it is absolutely full of themes that illustrate the redemptive message of the Bible! I’d love to know what redemptive themes you see in the Harry Potter books and in other books, movies, and art. Share your thoughts at www.facebook.com/groups/alltheworldastage!