Chattanooga, Tennessee – In the Old Testament, witches and wizards were condemned under the penalty of death (Exodus 22:18, Leviticus 20:6, 27). In the New Testament, witches and wizardry are again reiterated as grievous evils (Galatians 5:20, Revelation 9:21, 18:23, 21:8). In the 21st Century, Christian churches think witchcraft and wizardry are cute Vacation Bible School themes (may consider witchcraft and wizardry to be harmless because the best-selling children’s tale is fiction, one might argue that studio-produced hardcore porn storylines are “fiction,” but God still hates it). East Brainerd Church of Christ, located in Chattanooga, Tennessee, is one such church that is using Harry Potter as the theme for their VBS.
The church boasts the upcoming Harry Potter VBS on their website.
Likewise, the Church of the Holy Comforter is hosting a “Hogwarts Vacation Bible School” (Hogwarts is the magic academy that is the setting for the Harry Potter book series). Two weeks ago, Grace Church in Gainsville, Florida, hosted a VBS named, “Wizards and Wonders: A Hero’s Journey with Harry Potter.” Beginning July 16, the Church of the Ascension will join The Fountains Methodist Church to host a VBS entitled, “Harry Potter and the Light of the World.”
Tosha Williams, of Vanguard Church, created “The Potter Project,” a curriculum designed for children to teach ostensibly Christian themes. She told Christianity Today way back in 2005 that she doesn’t listen to the critics who think fictional witchcraft shouldn’t be used in conjunction with Christian teaching.
Williams said, “We have tried to respond graciously. Although our methods are different than other Christians’, our goal is the same—to see people come to Christ. We were simply doing what we believe God was calling us to do. Obviously the people who burned the books felt they were doing God’s will also. How God reconciles it all I don’t know, but we did not want to be divisive.”
Jared Moore, the previous Second Vice President of the Southern Baptist Convention wrote a Harry Potter Bible Study and lauds the wizard as an avenue to bring people to Christ to this very day.
In spite of the last Harry Potter movie being released way back in 2011, churches continue to use Harry Potter to attract children, even though Kindergarteners and First Graders weren’t even alive when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II was released.
In the meantime, churches should be reminded that using Harry Potter as their VBS theme and representing the character’s or storyline’s likeness without the explicit written consent of Warner Bros is copyright infringement and opens the church to both criminal and civil liability. It is, for lack of a better word, intellectual piracy and grift.
However, the good news is that there is a completely free resource with tons and tons of relatable stories and illustrations that can help convey the Gospel’s truths and are relatable to children. That resource can be downloaded for free in dozens of different formats and in hundreds of different languages.
It’s called the Bible.