This does not mean that parents shouldn't talk their children through the books - they should.  As with any fantasy book - or film - you should make sure that your child is old enough to know the difference between fantasy and reality.  Further, the Harry Potter books are not "kiddie" books.  The later books in the series become increasingly mature (in the first book, he is eleven; by the seventh, he is seventeen).  Parents should also make sure they help their children contrast the mechanical, fantasy magic in the books - and the fantasy magic in all fairy tales and children's literature, from Snow White to Cinderella - with the real life witchcraft the Bible condemns, which encourages involvement with supernatural evil.

Yet the larger conversation can be more positive, for the Harry Potter books and films give every parent and child something to think about as Christians, such as the reality of good and evil, the critical importance of choices, and the nature of sacrificial love.

So I, for one, say pick up and read. 

I know I am going to.

Sources

For a "Whitepaper" on Harry Potter, designed for parents, teachers and pastors, download "Harry Potter" at http://www.serioustimes.com/information.asp?TopicID=14.  Beyond an evaluation of Rowling's fantasy world, the paper explores how the books introduce such important discussions as the reality of good and evil, the critical importance of choices, and the nature of sacrificial love.  First offered as a message at Mecklenburg Community Church, this whitepaper will allow parents, educators and pastors the outline and content they need to speak to the entire Harry Potter phenomenon.

On Rick Warren's free "Ministry Toolbox," including how to subscribe.

For the Summer Reading List (Serious Times Update, Vol. 3, No. 11).

See Also

Bridger, Francis.  A Charmed Life: The Spirituality of Harry Potter.

Neal, Connie.  What's a Christian to Do with Harry Potter?

Neal, Connie.  The Gospel According to Harry Potter.  


James Emery White (Ph.D.) is president and professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Prior to becoming president of Gordon-Conwell, Dr. White was the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. Dr. White holds the B.S., M.Div. and Ph.D. degrees, along with additional work at Vanderbilt University and Oxford University. James Emery White is the author of over a dozen books, including such Gold Medallion nominees as Serious Times and A Search for the Spiritual, Christianity Today book-of-the-year award winner Embracing the Mysterious God, as well as The Prayer God Longs For and Rethinking the Church. Dr. White is also the founder of Serious Times, and the website www.serioustimes.com, which offers resources on the intersection of church and culture, and sponsors the annual Serious Times Church and Culture Conference.