Ask Your Preacher
There is a large interest in vampires and magic in books and movies. It concerns me that they glorify witchcraft, including the Harry Potter books. Young people today can't seem to get enough of this stuff. I have been told they are harmless books and movies, but when I watched a Harry Potter movie, it looked like kids doing black magic and having fun. The Bible tells us black magic is from the devil. When we allow our children to read these books and see these movies, aren't we saying a little magic and vampires are okay when it is totally against God’s teaching?
Dear Not Bewitched,
Harry Potter books, just like Halloween, can be sinful or harmless – it all depends on how we treat them (read “Costumes, Candy, And Controversy” for more on the subject of Halloween). If someone is treating the Harry Potter books as factual, or if they are glorifying Satan worship, occult practices, etc., that is obviously a problem. However, most readers are well-informed that the Harry Potter books are fiction (just like vampires) and aren’t how-to guides for life.
We must remember that the magic and occult practices that the Bible strictly condemned (1 Sam 15:23) were actually performed as a form of worship and a way to gain supernatural power. Harry Potter books are similar to watching a magician – everybody knows it isn’t real. This isn’t anything like the witchcraft condemned by the Bible. Those who practiced magical arts really did believe that they worked, and they really did believe there was supernatural power in their various spells and recipes. Every parent must make their own decisions regarding what is best for their children (and that includes what reading material they can handle), but it is unfair to say that Harry Potter books in and of themselves are a direct correlation to an occult lifestyle.
Hi. My grandmother does hoodoo; I know the name after researching the things she owns. Is she going to hell; is hoodoo a sin? The biggest thing is that she is a christian, a very godly woman; she attends church every Sunday and even gives one hundred dollars every month.
Dear Grandma Grief,
Hoodoo is wrong and is a warping of the Scriptures. Hoodoo is a term used for those who use the Bible like a magic spell book and protective talisman. Instead of treating the Bible like an instruction book for life (which is the right attitude – 2 Pet 1:3, Rom 1:16, Rom 10:17), Hoodoo treats the Bible like a lucky rabbit’s foot. If you open to the right Psalm or the read the proper verse at the proper time, you will be given special protection, health, or powers. This is totally opposite of what the Bible teaches. In fact, during the days of Paul, there were exorcists that tried this tactic. A group of Jewish exorcists saw that Paul had power from God, so they tried to talk and act like Paul in order to receive the same powers Paul had… it didn’t work (Acts 19:13-16). The Bible isn’t a tool to gain magical powers; it is a pattern for living (2 Tim 1:13). No matter how much money your grandmother gives and how regularly she attends services, this practice is sinful.
I sometimes pray with a group of people on a prayer line. The leader calls in from Africa. The man calls himself a prophet. No one has ever seen him.
The prophet is the leader of this prayer line. He seems to be a wonderful man of God with spiritual gifts… always praying in the name of Jesus. I’m very concerned and do not want to be deceived into any magic or anything that is against God.
He often asks the people who are having issues to bring oil, water, white handkerchiefs, stones, garments, shoes, rings, pictures, honey, sugar, salt, shirts, and many other objects. He would pray over them and tell us what to do with them (for example: wear it to bed, put it under your pillow, flush things down the toilet, place it in the Bible, and various directions).
Could it be that, in the background, he is working magic? Is this of God? Should christians be involved in this? Thanks for your honest answer.
On The Party Line
Dear On The Party Line,
This man is definitely not of God. God tells us to test all teachers and compare them to the Scriptures (1 Jhn 4:1) because even false teachers disguise themselves as ministers of the light (2 Cor 11:14-15). This man is a great example of this.
God never teaches that we should do the things that this “prophet” is telling you to do. In fact, the Bible teaches that all behavior like this is occult and should be fled from. When the christians of the first-century converted, they burned their books of magic and fled from such occult practices (Acts 19:19). Paul tells us that all spiritual gifts have ceased (1 Cor 13:8-10). This man isn’t teaching or living by Bible principles; he has warped God’s Word for his own purposes, and that will get him in a lot of eternal trouble (Gal 1:6-8). This man has gone beyond the Scriptures (1 Cor 4:6). Don’t unwittingly become his accomplice by entertaining his false notions (2 Jhn 1:11). You are right to be concerned.
My wife bought a gift for me as a symbol of love only; it is a piece of jewelry called an Italian horn. We both love the Lord with all our heart; we aren’t superstitious in any way. I looked up what this piece of jewelry depicted, which is a moon goddess. This is in no way an idol to me; I serve the Father of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob only! Jesus Christ is my Lord, my Rock, and my Salvation. My question is: am I in sin by wearing the Italian horn around my neck?
Dear Italian Accessorized,
Many people wear jewelry that depicts ancient idolatrous behavior (almost all Native American artwork falls into this category). As Paul said, "we know that an idol is nothing" (1 Cor 8:4). The jewelry has no intrinsic evil to it; it is only if it is perceived as an item of worship that it becomes sinful. If people believed you were wearing the jewelry for religious purposes (or if it offended your conscience), you would have to stop (1 Cor 8:7-9).
According to Isaiah 3:1-3, God was about to take away everything from Judah and Jerusalem, including soothsayers and enchanters. So does this mean all this time there were soothsayers and enchanters among Judah and Jerusalem?
Yes, Judah and Jerusalem had become a very corrupt nation, and God was deeply displeased with them at this time. Isaiah prophesied during a time when idolatry was abundant (Isa 10:11), and wickedness was everywhere (Isa 2:5-8). God was greatly displeased with the nation and was going to send them into captivity for their evil ways and ignorance of God’s laws (Isa 5:13).