Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Ministers



“If the academies turned out faithful women armed with Picture Bibles we would be better off than we are with you lot.”


Once upon a time, not far from here, there was a graphic designer who busted a gut for five years teaching the Bible in a local high school. He was committed to building a biblical worldview through the communication of the exciting, terrifying, comforting narratives of the Old Testament as a foundation for the gospel, to a generation starving for this stuff and filling the gap with movies and novels like Harry Potter and Twilight. After all, postmoderns love narrative.

But then he wrote and self-published a book with some ideas wrongly perceived as “radical” by members of the local ministers association with executive responsibility for the Bible teaching at the high school. These men were not comfortable with literary analysis or typology, although they hardly taught the Bible in their churches, let alone the Old Testament.

One, a godly, gentle, pastorly man with a big heart, allowed a woman to preach about a church where gold dust, gemstones and feathers regularly fall upon the congregation, but he wouldn’t stomach any reference to the Tabernacle or Temple during songleading or preaching. He also allowed a visiting student minister to share a message totally based around the film Gladiator, but discouraged systematic teaching of Bible history. Another, although capable of moments of brilliant perception, favoured signs and wonders, and encouraged congregants to sit around waiting for a word or vision from the Lord while their Bibles, brimming with such words and visions, stayed mostly closed.

So, with a quiet, impersonal letter to the coordinating teacher at the school, the graphic designer was removed from coordinating curriculum without so much as a thank you. They still wanted him to teach, of course, because there’s no one else to fill the gap in the team. Apparently, teaching in public schools is not something ministers can do themselves.

Consequently, the Bible, a book that far surpasses Harry Potter for plot, drama, symbolism, intrigue, history, family saga, “supernatural themes” and with the power to transform not just single lives but entire cultures to boot, is denied to teenagers hungry for it to be taught fully. Instead they are going to be drip fed with lite milk—gnostic-mystic drivel—at a rate that would insult the intelligence of a first grader. Well, why not? This is what they do in their churches and it works just fine.

And we wonder why Harry Potter wins the day. What does Paul say about those who hide the truth in a box and sit on the lid?

My Christian walk is not perfect, and these men have attributes I greatly admire. But I call them and any others who refer to themselves as ministers of the gospel on this fundamental failure. It is the one that brought our culture to where it is today. If we have to qualify any part of the Bible (from outside the Bible) or any part of it embarrasses us, we should not be in the ministry of Bible teaching.

MINISTERS, OPEN YOUR BIBLES, READ THEM, PRAY OVER THEM, WEEP OVER THEM, WRESTLE WITH THE TOUGH BITS UNTIL BIBLE OVERFLOWS IN EVERY CONVERSATION. Then you will find you have lost the taste for Christian mysticism, escapist gnosticism, Christian pop-psychology and compromise with humanism. It is these things which become obsolete, not the Bible. 

If all this is too hard, get a book of illustrated Bible stories and teach from that. Even this has more guts than what gets passed off as preaching. My first grader could tell you that. He loves it when we read these stories and asks for more. If the academies turned out faithful women armed with Picture Bibles we would be better off than we are with you lot. Get it right, or get out of the way.

If you can’t tell, I am deeply grieved. The Bible is a weapon, and Satan hates it. So, it seems, do you.

See also Church For Dummies, The Obsolete Testament, Eagle and Emus.

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6 Responses to “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Ministers”

  • Kelby Carlson Says:

    As alwasy, Mike, good stuff. But I do have a couple of sdisagreements with you, most particularly on Harry Potter. While I would never, ever claim these books could approach the Bible, I do believe there is a lot to be learned from them. (Chekc out John Granger’s book “How Harry Cast His SPell. Granger is a Christian wh digs deep into the harry Potter books for their spiritual meaning.) Also as far as CHristian mysticism goes … well, i’m kind of on the fence about it. i think some of the mystics had valuable things to say, but they don’t override scripture and i would certainly contedn mysticism can (and has) be taken much too far.

  • Kelby Carlson Says:

    Also, Mike, you should come teach at my highs chool. Do you have any audio lectures available like Jordan/

  • Angie Says:

    Now, now….the Bible should be treated like great-grandmother’s heirloom china: placed in a nice, glass case to admire, but never taken out and used in every day life.

  • Walter Robins Says:

    You have NOT been ‘casting pearls’ because most young minds are hungry for knowledge. However the ‘establishment’ is a club and if you join that club you do so on the basis that you accept its man-made rules. You have misinterpreted the rules believing them to include an acceptance of an in-depth study and analysis of patterns or inter-relatedness of what is supposed to be the central platform of their belief – the Bible. From my long observation individuals such as you are given certain enlightenment, talent and understanding firstly as a gift from God to you. When the excitement of the revelation is realised it is a natural human characteristic to believe this must be shared with the world. Sadly this belief will founder on the rock of enthusiastic idealism (although you must not ‘hide your light’). If you have excited one other person (which you have) with the fruit of your hard work and resources, that is a start. “Many are chosen but few are invited”. Getting back to ‘the club – the Romans kept the population happy by plying them with beer and circuses. They did not want the masses to ‘think’ as that would result in a disturbance of the status quo. Nothing has changed. “Fear” reigns today just as it did then. Even if you are endeavouring to teach in schools a further insight into the Bible, the comfort of merely promoting vicarious, popular superficiality will be perceived as being under threat and that fear must be removed. Please stay calm in the face of the behavior of stewards of the ‘club’ and forgive them ‘for they know not what they do’.

  • Dave S Says:

    That is terrible. Although, I’ surprised you can teach the Bible at all in high school. You certainly can’t do that in the US (for the most part).

  • Mike Bull Says:

    I agree, Kelby. If we are discerning, we can learn from the mystics, and even from Harry Potter. But we need to know the Bible before we can be discerning. The Bible should not be in a box – or a glass case. Love it, Angie! Walter, yes, the Bible can be guaranteed to rock the boat. We do have some ministers here who teach the Bible. The Anglican gent just taught through Exodus, and the Brethren assembly we now attend is committed to expository preaching and weekly communion. Dave – yes, it is a great opportunity, but we take it for granted and often waste it.

    Thanks for your comments, guys. Made me feel better!