The Gospel According to Harry Potter: Spirituality in the Stories of the World’s Most Famous Seeker

Westminster John Knox

Connie Neal

Central Theme
Harry Potter presents a teachable moment for understanding and communicating the gospel, much as the icon to an ‘unknown god’ created a teachable moment for the Apostle Paul at Mars Hill.

With the immense popularity of Harry Potter, first the books, then the movie, came a cultural influence the meaning and significance of which has been debated hotly by people of faith and especially parents. In her book, What’s A Christian to Do About Harry Potter, Connie Neal waded into the original debate with a book outlining both the pros and cons of Harry Potter. In this book she shares her own conclusion that the themes and popularity of Harry Potter should be seized upon by Christians to understand and share their faith, much as Paul used the icons at Mars Hill in Athens. Proceeding along those lines she provides an overview of the central themes of the first four books and then identifies what she calls “glimmers of the gospel,” elements of the ZHP story that can be connected to aspects of the gospel.

On the Dick Staub Show Connie shared the story of a neighbor who came to faith in Jesus through gospel insights gleaned from Harry Potter. She also told of using the book with her own kids and in a neighborhood Bible Study.

Beliefs num
–HP is fantasy and not a sinister introduction to the occult.
–Responsible parents will make sure their children know what the Bible teaches about witchcraft, divination and the occult.
–HP provides teachable moments.
–The central theme(s) of Book One are the triumph of good over evil and the power of love.
–The central theme(s) of Book Two are freedom for the captives and rejection of prejudice and hatred.
–The central theme(s) of Book Three is the importance of finding a way to overcome your fear when you are in a ferocious battle.
–The central theme(s) of Book Four is that the aggressive nature of evil must be aggressively resisted.
–Before Harry was born a wizard went bad, just as before humans an Angel went bad.
–Harry was chosen for Gryyfindor, symbolized by the Lion, instead of Slytherin, symbolized by the snake.
–Hagrid was tempted and paid a sever price for giving in.
–Harry, Ron and Hermione are gifted differently and their success depends on using their own gist, including logic not magic.
–The evil on could not touch Harry because he was protected by love.

Questions Worth Discussing num
–Is HP fantasy in the tradition of C.S. Lewis and Tolkien or not?
–What is the worldview of the HP series?
–Is HP an entrée to the occult?
–Can HP be used to understand and share Gospel as Paul did at Mars Hill with the pagan icon to an unknown God?
–Are children at a stage of cognitive development where they can differentiate between fantasy and real against the backdrop of a school for witchcraft?
–How do you explain the outrageous popularity of the HP series?

Provocative Quotes byline
–Fantasy, as Tolkien understood it, is, in its highest and purest form, a place where art, theology, and primal human desire meet and intersect.
==Neal quoting Bruner quoting Tolkien.
–A wonderful rebuttal for those who see something sinister in this children’s classic. Neal helped me enjoy HP all the more!
==Tony Compolo.
–Worried parents may think this book is the answer to a prayer.
==Frederica Mathewes-Green.

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