Michael Brown, who runs the well-known Spirit Daily website, wrote as well-balanced a piece as I have ever read on the occult and dangerous mysticism at his site today. It is both concise and comprehensive. I urge you to print it out and save it.
I have been wearied of both extremes Brown writes about. On the one hand are those who see the work of the devil behind every rock. I was at a conference once where the organizers went through three single-spaced pages of things to denounce. The even denounced the ‘Power Rangers’ (kids cartoon) as the work of the devil. Thankfully, Flintstone Vitamins are still okay (though they have probably been denounced somewhere, too). This is a problem for so many reasons. First, it makes us all look silly and banal. Second, it completely obscures that Christianity is NOT a faith that cowers behind bushes trying to hide from satan, but evangelized the world and conquered him. Third, it subtly undermines the solid principle that satan is powerless before Christ. If we take hold of Him and don’t let loose, satan has no power over us. Obsess over what to ‘renounce’ and you may easily delude yourself that it is by your cleverness that satan is thwarted rather than by Christ’s power – thus defeating and upending the purpose of the renunciations in the first place.
But there is the other extreme – trying to baptize what are, actually occult practices. New Age Mysticism, Centering Prayer, Yoga – there is no Christian variety of any of these – and they are always a call to commune with spirits that are not from God.
Years ago, Brown and I agreed to disagree on the Harry Potter series. He gives his take in the article – though with the marvelous balance he shows throughout – candidly explains there is another take on it.
I think the Potter series is one of the greatest epic tales of good versus evil ever penned – and solid Christian allegory in the process. They use the title of witches in the books, but these are not witches in the Biblical definition. Biblical witches call on dark forces as the source of their power. In the Potter series, all the witches are magical creatures – magical by nature rather than by calling on dark forces. They are no different than the magical creatures in other marvelous Christian allegory of the last century.
It is unfortunate that they are called witches. I have no doubt Brown is right in quoting a survey that showed one in eight people reading the series showed an increased interest in Wicca, or witchcraft. I suspect that most well-balanced readers get, instead, a greater resolve to live self-sacrificial love, but all good things can be misused. I regard all the efforts to find ‘secret codes’ in the Bible as a dangerous form of occultism, with no connection to actual exegesis.
But this piece is one of the finest things Michael Brown has ever written – and he has written a lot of good things. Read it, print it out, use it. It will save you a lot of trouble and spare you a lot of grief.