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HOLLYWOOD JESUS
NEWSLETTER #30
Pop Culture From A Spiritual Point of View
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This page was last updated
January 7, 2002

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Main Topic:
HARRY POTTER

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BULLETIN BOARD
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NO WISDOM OR DISCERNMENT
Subject: Re: Newsletter 30 _Harry_Potter_Is_Dangerous
Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2001
From: Fran

Well, hey if that's the case, how about no more Discernment? How about no more Wisdom from Above? How about no more Understanding of the Holy? How about no more Knowledge of the Truth? How about no more Insight into the Realm of the spirit?!! So what, do you just take a marker and blot out the Holy Scriptures of the LORD that speak on witchcraft, demonism and possession? Do you just blot out what the Holy Spirit reveals in His Word about exactly why Hell was created? Namely for satan, the rebellious angels who followed him and all other CHILDREN OF DISOBEDIENCE! It's amazing. Folks will just nod and smile and say, "Oh its just a fairy tale!" And then you want to justify rebellion against Christ and TWISTING THE SCRIPTURES by saying that "oh well Paul used Zeus, so we can use Harry Potter!" And then on top of it you attack the vessel of the LORD in Pastor Hagee, who is simply WARNING America of the insidious nature of THE DEVIL and his tactics that can indeed cause souls to turn forever against G-D and wind up burning in the ETERNAL LAKE OF FIRE. Sure some movies and books and stories and music can provide inklings of spiritual truth and understanding, but IF you BELIEVE JESUS, then you know what? Somewhere along the Way, you will be accountable to draw the line on the side of HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD, and not the world's wisdom or the world's self justification or penchant for SIN !! So it's all "fairy tale" right? Okay so then go ahead and let your children learn PRAYER through INCANTATION through DEMONIC SPIRITUAL FORCES so that they become immersed and under the dominion of DEMONIC STRONGHOLDS and WICKEDNESS! And then once they have learned this and incorporated it all into their spirits and souls and minds and bodies, tapping into unseen forces for which you will have NO CONTROL OVER, since you have NO FAITH in the WORD OF THE LORD WHO TELLS YOU TO SHUN ALL EVIL AND BE HOLY AS HE IS HOLY, then you can go back and REALLY READ THE BIBLE and LEARN just what the LORD CHRIST has to say about how HE WILL JUDGE all of these things in FIRE. But of course then it will TOO LATE for ALL who allowed themselves to be DECEIVED and BOUND, but you will never be able to stand before the LORD Jesus Christ and say, "I was never told! I never knew!" Oh no! You will never be able to say you were never told. Who knows maybe even tonight someone who's thinking on these things will follow that little nudge in their spirit and actually pick up their Bible and read in Gospels how Jesus cast out demons and even legions of demons and unholy spiritual forces from within human beings, and maybe, just maybe they'll realize, "Wow, if Jesus had to do that, then maybe those things are really real!" Yeah, wow! Maybe someone will really get it, that that's just why He had to die and shed His Holy Blood on the Cross... 'cause of SIN on the earth, and the real Adversary who hates Man (and our children) and wants to see them destroyed with him in the Fire forever. Maybe someone will decide they don't want to be thiefed out of their inheritance in Christ! "The thief does not come except to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."
John 10:10
In Christ in Prayer and Praise,
Fran

Response; Thank you Fran for sharing. Needless to say I am squarely with the Apostle Paul in this matter. I simply do not make the same connections that you make. In fact, it seems to be you are judging me. Oh well, I am glad that you are at least a follower of Jesus. -David

TOLKIEN
Subject: Newsletter_30_Harry_Potter
Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2001
From: Paul Walton

In your latest newsletter, you say, ".Although Tolkien himself may not have been a Christian, there are Christian values that are still presented to readers in his story. " Tolkien WAS a Christian! He and CS Lewis were good friends, and part of the 'Inklings' literary group in Oxford.
Paul Walton

Response: You are so very right. Tolkien was a Christian. Thanks. -David

CAN ENCOURAGE KIDS INTO WITCHCRAFT
Subject: Newsletter_30
Date: Wed, 14 Nov 2001
From: tim

God takes bad stuff (inc. satan) all the time and uses it for something good / constructive. Harry Potter CAN encourage young people into witchcraft etc. I know of 3 teenage girls into it already (one cast a spell on her hampster and healed it). However, we need to be balanced. Shunning the film will do no good... a less extreme approach is needed. We need to educate young people that watching the film can turn one person onto witchcraft, or be a source of harmless entertainment to another person. (personally, i think the film looks naff, give me "the matrix" anyday!). I agree with Jen. As a youthworker this film can be a valuable tool for teaching young people kingdom values etc. However, in the wrong hands it can be used to stir up an unhealthy interest in the occult. "Im right, im right! right?"
- chandler bing (hehe)
Posted by rubberbullets

HARRY POTTER IS SPIRITUALLY DESTRUCTIVE
Subject: Newsletter_30_Harry_Potter
Date: Wed, 14 Nov 2001
From: Bethany Renfrow

Mr. Bruce,
I appreciate a platform from which I may express my thoughts. I do believe that Harry Potter is dangerous, but I am not afraid. The reason I would not go see the movie or read the books (I have read summaries of the books) is because I believe that these things are spiritually destructive. As a Christian, I strive to live according to the guidelines set forth in the Bible. I have not read passages in the bible where it said that practicing witchcraft was ok. The Harry Potter series would lead someone to believe that Witchcraft, sorcery, the occult, are all ok. (I am curious. Do you think the same about Cinderella and Peter Pan? If not, why not? -David) However, I have read passages in the Bible that strongly condemned those practices (Deut. 18:10-12 & Revelation 9:20-21. There are no good witches! That is a deception.

My goal in my response to this Harry Potter phenomena is not to alienate anyone. I simply want to put forward God's truth.it is powerful enough to do the rest. I have every intention on presenting God's truth with love and compassion, not in the manner of a so-called witch hunt. (Good for you -David)

To me, Harry Potter is so clearly against God's word that I find it hard to actually use it for the Glory of God. I am excited for the opportunity to speak God's truth concerning the occult. I have encountered many different people and have been able to converse with them concerning spiritual matters because of Harry Potter. (Great, wonderful. Go girl go)

I must respond to an e-mail you received in which the author emphasized the fact that we are dealing with fiction. I would assume by that statement that the author really is ignorant of the occult. The research I have down concerning J.K. Rowling reveals that she has done her research. Many aspects of the occult and witchcraft portrayed in the books are based upon real practices of the occult. Children, or adults, are deceived to think that the occult practices in the Harry Potter books are fictitious. Those practices are based upon real practices by real "Witches" and real pagans. (Riding brooms, for example?)

Please let me reiterate that I am not afraid nor am I screaming at every child I see with a Harry Potter book. (Good! -David) As a Christian I cannot simply be defensive in this matter, I must also be offensive. I will not simply remove myself from all things Harry Potter. I will take every opportunity to speak God's truth concerning this matter and I will do it, with God's help, in a way that is honoring to God. If my motives were to simply prove people wrong I might use the screaming tactic. Because my motives are to see people living in as much freedom as possible and in a relationship with Jesus Christ I will converse with love and respect with everyone I encounter.
Sincerely,
Bethany Renfrow

Response: I appreciate the manner in which you disagree with me. You seem to be a kind and considerate woman. Thank you. -David

IT IS WRITTEN
Subject: Newsletter_30_Harry_Potter
Date: Wed, 14 Nov 2001
From: joseph

I don't quite know who you are or how I got on your mailing list and I would generally just cancel out of your e-mail but I'm trying to be loving towards a fellow Christian. I don't know if you receive any opposing points of view as loving, but I guess I'll try. On Harry Potter " the positive values".........the bait on the end of a fishhook is edible and good but NOT REALLY. The devil comes as an angel of light or so IT IS WRITTEN in 2:Cor.11:14. IT IS WRITTEN is good enough for me, Jesus used it as a weapon against evil in Matt.4: 4-6. IT IS WRITTEN is a guide throughout scripture, God even wrote it down for Moses. The Word is to be received not as restrictions or rules but as a relationship......The Word is a Person. Jn.1:1. See Ps 40:7,8 This Word or book is written of the Lord and to do God's will he had to have the law in his heart. The people of the Word may seem narrow and restricting but are they really. It is the rebellious people who want to "add" to the word.........LIKE the devil, Eve etc. IT IS WRITTEN in Matt. 7:14 " narrow is the way that leadeth to life". If as in Gal.5:9 " a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump", what good would a little truth be in a whole lot of leaven? {Re. Jen's "positive value"]. Yes, God speaks through ordinary people but it always must line up with IT IS WRITTEN.

Response: I agree with you about the power of the Word of God. And I believe Harry Potter can be used positively. Thank you for the gracious way you write you disagreement. I appreciate that. -David

HARRY POTTER
Subject: Newsletter_30_Harry_Potter_Is_Dangerous
Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2001
From: Janis

The only thing I dislike about Harry Potter is the books have language in them. Do you know if the movie has any language in it?
Thank you,
Janis

Response: Does it matter? The language in the book is mild to say the least. I hear far worse from High School students. Just a note: Both Mark and Paul used interesting language in the Bible that is not carried forward in translation. -David

ABOUT HARRY POTTER...
Subject: Newsletter_30_Harry_Potter_Is_Dangerous
Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2001
From: HEVPLACES

I thought that you had better discernment than to think that Harry Potter could be harmless, fictitious, and in line with the teachings of Jesus. What??????? Does not the Word of God call witchcraft an abomination? Is not witchcraft and it's followers becoming more common and accepted in our society? How could it be harmless for anyone, especially little children to be brainwashed by their agenda? The story may be fictitious, but the things they promote, teach, and portray are very real! This movie, like the books, take advantage of the innate nature within us for the supernatural that can only be fulfilled in the power of the Holy Ghost, and gets kids blinded by the powers of the occult which leads to demonic oppression and possibly possession. I know, some people think this is nonsense to believe these things, but if you read your Bible, there is a lot of evidence to support what I am saying, and for that matter if you read the paper or watch the news, it looks like this is quite true! As far as the teachings of the movie being in line with Jesus, which Jesus are you referring to? Surely not the Christ, the Son of God, who in his own words declared that he came to do the will of the Father, the same one who called witchcraft an abomination. That same Jesus cast out demons (that you probably don't think exist). The Bible warns us in 1 Timothy that in the last days men would give heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, you my friend, are a living example I presume. Whatever happened to discernment? Doesn't anybody read their Bible anymore? If they did, it's not a question of whether or not their kids should see this garbage, it's a question of how can we let anyone from 2 to 102 see this deceptive fairy tale? I feel so strongly about this that I am hereby canceling my subscription to your newsletter. I pray that nobody agrees with your nonsense about this movie and that it bombs at the box office.

JUST LIKE STAR WARS, PETER PAN, AND CS LEWIS
Subject: Newsletter_30_Harry_Potter
Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2001
From: CC

I view Harry Potter, the way I viewed "Star Wars" when it first came out and all its subsequent movies....a work of science fiction...a fairy tale. Like C. S. Lewis' "The Chronicles of Narnia" or Disney's Peter Pan. Just because I enjoyed "Star Wars" it doesn't mean I'll start worshipping R2-D2 or Princess Leia....incidentally, I was only 8 years old when I first saw "Star Wars" and I'm still very much a faithful Christian who is very much active in her church.
Hollywood Jesus, you rock!
C.C.

Remarks: I totally agree with you. Right on! -David

BANNING? HARRY...
Subject: Newsletter_30
Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2001

The way I look at it is this: You Ban Harry Potter...you have to ban all movies and cartoons with witches and ghosts...like "The Wizard of Oz"..."Bedknobs and Broomsticks" Most of the Disney Classic re-tellings of fairy tales...including Snow White and The Seven Dwarves...and or "Cinderella"... This is virtually impossible since we have all grown up with such "dangerous materials" and we're not all serial killers.

Okay, sorry for the sarcasm, but making a witch hunt out of Harry Potter is scapegoating and unfair. I agree with Hollywood Jesus....take the positive and remember....its just a movie....DO NOT GIVE IT MORE POWER THAN IT REALLY DESERVES! Incidentally, Tolkien, the writer of the upcoming "Lord of The Rings" and the Hobbit Trilogy...was actually a great friend and colleague of C.S. Lewis (the great Christian writer) and it is rumored that he was a devout Christian.
C. C.

Remarks: Yes, except a Fundamentalist attack on Lord of the Ring. It is just amazing to me. I totally expect an anti-Disney attack on any future 'Cinderella" movies as well. It is just insane. It is a witch hunt. -David

BALANCE AND TACT
Subject: Harry Potter Newsletter_30
Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2001
From: "Pastor Brendon"

After reading several of the emails you received I felt it was important just to mention a couple of things. I feel badly for the parent who wrote about their child being the victim of "scare tactics" unfortunatly there are many Christians who don't seem to understand the words "balance" and "tact". While I believe there's no need to be yelling in the streets the evil of Harry Potter, I also believe we need to be aware that any supernatural power that doesn't come from the Lord is not to be promoted. If I remember right, Moses did some pretty "cool" stuff in Egypt! Yet his power came from God! Again, I don't believe chasing down Harry Potter T-shirt wearing kids,and telling them they're going to hell is a good thing. I do believe when asked by our children, we should make it clear that it's the Lord we need to rely on for our strength!

Response: Thanks -David

LOVE THE BOOK
Subject: Newsletter_30
Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2001
From: Tracee Steen

Thanks for your article. The only reason I felt slightly bad about reading a Harry Potter book was because I'm 31 years old and I ENJOYED it sooo much! I know that the books are written for children, but I seriously found it to be a very interesting and creative read. I agree that all truth is God's truth. As adults we are able to take what life hands us (stories, movies, the arts, books, etc.) and filter it through a grid that we have developed as we have learned about God's truth from His people, His Word, and His church. Once the truth has been filtered through that grid, we make a judgement for ourselves and for our young children, as to whether or not we allow them to experience that particular truth. That's how I look at Harry Potter, and Amercian Beauty, and the naked statue of David.
Sincerely,
Tracee Steen,
Vernon, B.C.

Buy Creation of Adam (Detail) at AllPosters.comResponse: I so agree with you. It is very sad that the Evangelical community can no longer create great art such as the statue of David or the Sistine Chapel (please note the full frontal male nudity in the art). All we can produce is Thomas Kinkade isolationist art. Our moral codes have become greater than the grace that saves us. I am waiting for the post-modern church to emerge where image is viewed in a new and redeeming light. May the Holy Spirit move in a powerful and mighty way to liberate the Church from the modern era.-David

HYSTERIA OVER WHAT?
Subject: Satanic_Hysteria_Newsletter_30
Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2001
From: "Don Dawson"

I caught the end of A&E's Biography last night, and the subject for the night was Satan. It's interesting to note that the authors of the show claim that for about 250 years no one even paid attention to a person called Satan -- it was enough to consider evil as an idea without personalizing it. Not until the atomic age with its major cultural shifts did that change. Now we have all of the apocalyptic types out there claiming that there's a devil under every rock. I think the most profound piece or recent literature about the subject is the song "Garden of Allah" by Don Henley. He was inspired by a book I can't recall, but the message of the song has "The Devil" coming around to try and stir up some trouble, but instead he finds that humanity is doing enough already and he's out of a job. If we truly keep our focus on Christ, "running for the prize," then these outside distractions are meaningless. If, however, we constantly get turned aside by them, we have lost our direction. Nietzsche once said "He who fights with monsters should see to it that he does not become a monster. When you gaze long into the Abyss the Abyss also gazes into you." Profound words to ponder, indeed.

Response: Ohh! I really like your thoughts. Wow! -David

HARRY POTTER, LORD OF THE RINGS SATANIC
Subject: Newsletter_30_Harry Potter
Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2001
From: Pastor Bob

Dear David,
I appreciate your web site and for someone who's been interested in media I'm thankful for you comments and critiques. But I would like to suggest that you do not react as well. I read comments from articles and letters posted on your sight that tend to label and categorize more conservative Christians in a negative light. Isn't this the same type of tactic your supporters accuse your critics of using. If this is truly a forum for open discussion lets not belittle those who have contrary opinions. (Yes you are right. Curtousy is a good thing. But I speak my mind just as you do. -David)

Concerning the Harry Potter issue I'd like to make a few comments and ask a few questions. I was deeply involved in the counter culture in the sixties. I dabbled in witchcraft and similar types of occult phenomena. I was pulled in by the mystery, beauty and popular promotions of these things on a curiosity level at first. Later I discovered the reality of the demonic and turned to Christ. Had I not been led to Him by Christians who opened my eyes to deception I might still be snared. I believe that many youth are very impressionable and can be influenced by the messages that are conveyed by these excellently produced and crafted movies (Harry Potter, LOTR).

Paul says to reprove the works of darkness. Under his ministry in Ephesus witch craft articles were burned. (You are suggesting that Paul would burn Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. Hmm, I so disagree with your direction -David) Was this not a renunciation of the occult that was radical? I have personally been saddened by the Mike Warnke types but that still does not mean that there are not issues here. That's why I'm concerned when people write expressing what, in my opinion appears to be a belittling attitude towards fellow Christians with a different view. It's like "don't have concerns here, you're just narrow minded. You're uninformed and anti- art, media and movies". (There is real evil out there, but Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings is not it. My point with Mike Warnke and the baby sacrificing hysteria of the 80s is that the certain Christians create a false world of Satanism that just does not exist. They lie and promote hysteria. This is wrong and sinful -and can I say satanic. Remember the Devil is the father of the lie. Can you understand that. Real evil is obvious -David).

So I have a few questions for you. When David says he will set no wicked thing before his eyes does this not suggest that watching or giving agreement to portrayals of things that are clearly forbidden in scripture is a violations of this heart felt commitment. (This has to do with not placing a false god in front of his eyes -following false gods. In Hebrews 12:1-2 Paul admonishes us to keep our focus on Jesus, and yet in Acts 17:16 Paul carefully viewed the idols in the Athens. Point: As a Follower of Jesus we do not become isolationists that do not view culture, rather we see culture through Jesus googles -David).

How can we indorse movies that portray wizards in a positive light when the Bible forbids wizardry? (Reviews are not endorsements -David) I've interviewed a woman who's husband committed suicide through the partial influence of Dungeons and Dragons. The originators of D and D say that they created the game through the influence of Tolkien's literature. (Oh good grief, what are you doing here. Your experience is so untypical. I met a man who claimed to have became suicidal after reading read the book of Leviticus, should I use your logic to dismiss the Bible? -David) Should we not warn people about these things? I personally agree with you concerning the way Christians can get on campaigns that are uninformed (i.e., y2k error and blaming God for the world trade center bombings) but I believe that there are some real issues with Harry Potter and LOTR which need to be exposed. (Oh well, go for it. To me you are spinning your wheels) I greatly appreciate Don Richardson insights and I believe that much of non-Christian literature has elements that can be quoted to open people's understanding to God's word. But the Apostle Paul did not endorse pagan religion (he was not an iconoclast either). Yes he quoted Greek philosophers but did not buy into there worldview when it disagreed with the scriptures. Hollywood contains great story tellers and I believe we can learn much from there approach to this craft but to take up their message I believe is dangerous (Why do you seem to catergorize all Hollywood screenwriters as dangerous here. There are some wonderful people in Hollywood who are truly making a difference -David).
Sincerely,
Bob

Response: For the record, I highly recommend LOTR. -David

HARRY MAY NOT BE A BED OF ROSES, BUT...
Subject: Newsletter_30_
Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2001
From: Brian

David Bruce,
First, thank you for the corrections and apology from the previous newsletter. Second, I may be taking a very middle-of-the-road position, some might even say "riding the fence," but this debate has developed two distinct sides and I believe there is more to it than a black or white, it's either good or bad, issue.

There are occult experts (not the Hagee's, et.al., but actual experts in occultism) who have made repeated notation of references to the presence of witchcraft and occultism and they shouldn't be completely ignored or trashed in some sort of reverse witch hunt. (What occult experts? Can you site some literature and research?) Their opinions are valid and they are trying to give godly information for concerned parents. (Again, who? I would be very cautious about "Christian" experts selling books on the occult. It has been my experience that popular "experts" like David Hunt, Bob Larson, David Wilkerson, Hal Lindsey and Mike Warnke have turned out to be alarmist with less than credible foundation. So again, who are you referring to? -David). Not being an expert, I take what they (?) say and checked it out myself, read all (all?) the books and researched the terms and references. As far as I can see, there are several direct references to occult practices in the books (and most likely will be in the movie), but they are only references.

However, witchcraft is not taught in these books; it's not explained. And unless you know what to look for you'll probably miss all cultic references. I will not go so far as to say kids wont become interested in the occult because of reading these books; I'm sure there will be some that do, but I'm also sure that those same kids would become interested in witchcraft or the occult by reading the Chronicles of Narnia or the Lord of the Rings. (Are you masking a CS Lewis and LOTR bashing with carefully selected words here? Are you using the term "kids" to add a sense of danger to the works of CS Lewis and LOTR? Using words like "kids" and "children" can be manipulative. I am not sure of what you are really saying here. Can you be a little more clear? -David)

It comes down to this. If you are a parent, you will have to check out for yourself what is in the book/movie before you let your kids read/see it. (Good idea. -David) You know your child best and you know how you want him/her raised. You may discover that your 7-year-old shouldn't see the movie, not because of the witchcraft, but because of the scary troll; you may find out that your 10-year-old shouldn't read the book because it is very violent. You may realize your curious 12-year-old will probably seek further explanation of witchcraft. You may even find a good story with time-honored principles easily backed by the Word of God. You may discover that parenting is hard work (true -David) , but the joys of knowing you did all you could do to raise them in the admonition of the Lord is...as they say...priceless!
Thanks, Brian

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