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The excitement mounted daily as we approached the July 21, 2007, countdown-to-midnight. On that Saturday night, at 12:01 a.m., kids and adults worldwide eagerly seized Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the seventh and final installment in J. K. Rowling’s runaway series chronicling the adventures of a teenage sorcerer. As the Pottermania juggernaut rolls relentlessly toward its dual-to-thedeath climax between the diabolical Lord Voldemort and young Harry Potter, so does the raging controversy over whether the Potter novels themselves are healthy or harmful; a gift from heaven or a gateway to hell.

Before I tell you what I think, here’s a question for you: Do you believe what the Bible says about the perils of witchcraft? Be honest. Yes or no? When one boils down the issues—inside either cup or cauldron— this is the pivotal question. If your answer is, “Yes, I believe God’s Book,” then this article should make perfect sense. If your answer is “No, not really,” then you will probably disagree with my conclusions. Whether you believe the Scriptures or not, notice carefully its solemn pronouncements about sorcery:

  • “There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord” (Deuteronomy 18:10–12, NKJV; emphasis added).

  • “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft” (1 Samuel 15:23, NKJV; emphasis added).

  • “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19–21, NKJV; emphasis added).

  • “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8, NKJV; emphasis added).

You’ve just read God’s words, not mine. No matter how you slice it, it’s an incontrovertible fact that the Holy Bible declares that witchcraft is a sin, casting spells is an abomination, sorcery is a work of the flesh, and that all unrepentant occult practitioners are destined for “the lake of fire.” Again, this is what God’s Word says. This is not just my opinion.

Does this sound intolerant? If so, consider this: If I told you that 2 + 2 = 4, and that there is only one right answer to this mathematical equation, would you consider my perspective intolerant? I doubt it. It’s the same with what the Bible says about sorcery. God considers it to be an inherently dangerous practice, and He’s right. It is “impossible for God to lie” (Hebrews 6:18, KJV). He speaks the truth.

The teenage Harry Potter in J. K. Rowling’s novels is a student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He takes classes on divination, spells, history of magic, charms, and potions. If Harry Potter were a real teenager, and if he suddenly decided to follow the Bible, he would have to snap his wand, renounce his spells, and abandon Hogwarts entirely in order to line up with God’s Book. It wouldn’t matter how conscientious his life was as a young magician. Magic and spell-casting would have to go.

Perhaps you haven’t noticed the witchy trend, but real witchcraft (called “Wicca”) is now experiencing explosive growth throughout North America and around the world. “Wicca may, in fact, be the fastest growing religious movement in the United States.”1

“The area I live in is full of Wicca and Paganism,” declared a woman in northern California who wrote to me recently. “Members of my own family are struggling with beguilement from current TV programming, Harry Potter, and occultic influences.”

I receive many letters like this from concerned parents. So now the issue isn’t just Harry Potter, but the growth, doctrines, and influence of real witchcraft. Hollywood movies are promoting sorcery, innumerable Web sites are discussing it, and countless teenagers are wearing pentagrams to school. If you don’t believe me, just ask any teenager who attends public high school if he or she has heard of Wicca. The answer will surprise you.

the real issue

Back to Harry Potter. Here’s the key issue: Are J. K. Rowling’s fantasy-mixed- with-reality novels, and the Hollywood movies that are based on the books, contributing to this seemingly unstoppable Wiccan trend? In other words, even though the Harry Potter books are classified as fiction, could they be whetting kids’ appetite for “the craft”?

“That’s preposterous!” many parents contend adamantly. “Harry Potter is just a story. Lighten up!” This attitude seems to reflect a majority opinion these days, especially among the media and secular educators.

If this is your view, here’s something to consider: “Teens line up at my cash register to purchase Harry Potter books and books about Wicca,” declared a lady who works at a Barnes & Noble bookstore in Nashville, Tennessee. “My daughter read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” declared a mother who called the radio show Live from Seattle while I was being interviewed about the growth of Wicca. “Then she started buying real witchcraft books.” “Did Harry Potter spark your interest [in Wicca]?” wrote another 16-year-old girl I know as she dialogued with a 17-year-old Wiccan boy in an Internet chat room. “Yeah,” the boy replied immediately.

Let me clarify something. I realize that not every boy or girl who reads Harry Potter books is rushing out to join a coven, but the fact is that, as illustrated by the examples I just gave, many kids are becoming interested in witchcraft through reading J. K. Rowling’s works. The Harry Potter books and films, along with TV shows and movies like Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Charmed, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Craft, Practical Magic, and I Married a Witch, are all creating a climate for today’s surging interest in magic. Whether we realize it or not, they are planting occult seeds, and Wicca is reaping the harvest.

As we’ve already seen, the Bible plainly states that “sorcery” is one of “the works of the flesh,” and that those who practice it will “not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19–21, NKJV). Thus this is a life-or-death matter. If you do some research, or talk to any witch, you will discover that Wiccans and pagans don’t believe in the Bible, the Ten Commandments, personal sin, the day of judgment, the lake of fire, or in the need for a Savior. Neither do they believe in a literal Satan. They are bewitched by their own spells.

In these days, the God of heaven is calling us “to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11, KJV, emphasis added), which includes all forms of occult magic and sorcery (see Deuteronomy 18:9–11). Lucifer promotes these things, yet God adamantly opposes them because they are deceptive, dark, and dangerous. Witchcraft connects occult practitioners with “seducing spirits” (1 Timothy 4:1, KJV), yet they don’t know it. Some may chuckle or even mock these words, but God and His angels aren’t laughing. Instead, they are weeping. Notwithstanding Pottermania, witchcraft is no joke to Jesus Christ.

It was a dark day when the Son of God was nailed to a wooden cross outside Jerusalem. “Father, forgive them,” Jesus whispered in tearful agony, “for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34, KJV). It’s no secret that the lure of witchcraft is the promise of magical power. “The promise of power and control drives Wicca to its current popularity.” 2Yet the power of potions and spells is pitiful compared to the far greater power of a heavenly love that led our Savior to sacrifice His life for sinners on a hill called Calvary. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ,” Paul penned to the early Christians in Rome, “for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16, NKJV).

Did you catch that? “The gospel of Christ”—which is the good news of Jesus Christ’s death for our sins, burial, and resurrection from the dead—is “the power of God.” And what makes this “power” so powerful is that it is impregnated with incomprehensible love—a love that can soften the hardest heart, forgive our sins, and deliver us from evil. Devils, demons, and occult magic can’t touch this. No potion can equal it.

In conclusion, I want to stress that Jesus Christ loves J. K. Rowling, every boy or girl who reads Harry Potter books, and real witches. Yet life is not a game to the One who suffered such horror to pay the penalty for our sins, including “the sin of witchcraft” (1 Samuel 15:23, NKJV). Jesus longs to open our eyes so that we may discern the dark underlying forces currently molding society, turn “from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God” (Acts 26:18, KJV), before it’s too late.

My wife and I have a three-year-old son named Seth whom we love with all of our hearts. As Seth grows older, we plan on continuing to teach him about God’s goodness, about Jesus Christ his Savior, and about how important it is to respect the teachings of the Bible.

He won’t be reading any Harry Potter.

1Kimberly Winston “The Witch Next Door,” Beliefnet, November 22, 2004, http://www.
2 William E. Brown, “Season of the Witch: Something Wicca This Way Comes,” Leadership U World, 1999,

Harry Potter and Witchcraft

by Steve Wohlberg
From the August 2007 Signs