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C.S. Lewis &  Tolkien


Besides the Harry Potter books, it is very important to note that Focus on the Family, Christianity Today, Chuck Colson, [co-author of Evangelicals and Catholics Together] and many others recommend the writings of Tolkien and C.S. Lewis as a way for children to grow spiritually. 

Chuck Colson suggests, "...they inspire the imagination within a Christian framework -- and prepare the hearts of readers for the real-life story of Christ." In those writings we find mention of the same Merlin mentioned above, equated to Christ. As has been stated in the previous articles, we're to have nothing to do with fables

Update: April 7, 2008.

A reader mentioned that Dr Dobson does not endorse Potter. From the press release, concerning an article in the Washington Post, in the following article:

Dr. Dobson: 'What I Think About Harry Potter'

Focus on the Family's Chairman responds to recent misinformation in the press.

"...In a story about Christians' views on the Harry Potter books and films, reporter Jacqueline Salmon wrote that "Christian parenting guru James Dobson has praised the Potter books."

This is the exact opposite of Dr. Dobson's opinion — in fact, he said a few years ago on his daily radio broadcast that "We have spoken out strongly against all of the Harry Potter products." His rationale for that statement: Magical characters — witches, wizards, ghosts, goblins, werewolves, poltergeists and so on — fill the Harry Potter stories, and given the trend toward witchcraft and New Age ideology in the larger culture, it's difficult to ignore the effects such stories (albeit imaginary) might have on young, impressionable minds. ..."

End Quote

The question would be, why were the reviews not clearly renouncing the Potter books in the Plugged In Magazine, written by Focus staff? That information was not manufactured nor misinterpreted. It is what it is.

end update.

In C.S. Lewis's Space Trilogy, the third book is called, "That Hideous Strength." In a nutshell, the book is about the redemption of Thulcandra (Earth) from the clutches of the Bent One, the Oyarsa of Thulcandra, who is supposedly Lucifer. It’s set in a small town called Edgestow, the home of Bracton College, just after the end of WWII. Certain Fellows of Bracton College engineer the sale of Bragdon Wood, which houses the living body of Merlin, his body preserved from aging by magic, to N.I.C.E., the National Institute for Co-ordinated Experiments. N.I.C.E. is a wicked group of scientists researching use of technology to rule mankind, who think Merlin's magic powers would be helpful.  They obtain the land with the purpose of disinterring and reviving Merlin and using his powers for evil. Jane Suddock's psychic powers are used to help locate Merlin and also provide information about N.I.C.E. Once discovered, Merlin’s ancient wizardry, linked with the power of the Eldil, (angels), defeat the evil N.I.C.E. in a wicked and bloody climax.

The reader is supposed to equate Merlin with Christ, who defeats Lucifer and evil. How blasphemous! That Merlin, who is revered by occultists as a druid, sorcerer, witch, wizard and every abomination thinkable, is viewed as Christ and that witchcraft and psychic powers parallel the saving power of Jesus Christ is wicked at best. For those who say children should just read Lewis' Chronicles of  Narnia books, we have the same menu with witches, elves, Bacchus, false gods, and so on, all being part of the stories.  [Please See: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis]

The Narnia plot revolves around the "White Witch" who has bound the land of Narnia in a perpetual winter which can only be broken by the coming of Aslan, who is supposed to represent Christ. 

However, no rendition of any Scripture is found in these tales except if one compares the practices of paganism and witchcraft which God calls an abomination to Himself. Of the many blasphemous statements he has made in his writings, probably one of the worst is found on page 276 of C.S. Lewis: A Biography, by Roger Lancelyn Green. Lewis stated, "I had some ado to prevent Joy and myself from relapsing into Paganism in Attica!  At Daphni it was hard not to pray to Apollo the Healer.  But somehow one didn't feel it would have been very wrong - would have only been addressing Christ sub specie Apollinis."  

1 Corinthians 10:20 But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. 21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils.
22 Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?

In's weekly updates email, sent out December 26, 2001, the entire issue was devoted to praise and promotion of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. 

Tolkien, a devout Roman Catholic, who wrote The Lord of the Rings, he later said, to give England her own myth. Patrick W. Curles wrote in Tolkien's Impact in Literature and Life, 

Tolkien saw myth as the exact opposite. His great friend C. S. Lewis once objected to Tolkien that, “...myths are lies, though lies breathed through silver.” “No,” said Tolkien, “they are not.”

There are truths, Tolkien said, that are beyond us, transcendent truths, about beauty, truth, honor, etc. There are truths that man knows exist, but they cannot be seen - they are immaterial, but no less real, to us. It is only through the language of myth that we can speak of these truths. We have come from God, Tolkien said, and only through myth, through story telling, can we aspire to the life we were made for with God. To write and/or read myth, Tolkien believed, was to meditate on the most important truths of life.

...It was Tolkien’s view of myth that that most aided C. S. Lewis in his pilgrimage to accept Christianity. All the other myths of the world, Tolkien said, are a mixture of truth and error - truth because they are written by those made by and for God - error because written by those alienated by God. But the Bible is the one true myth. It is a true accounting of truth, while everything else we do is mimicking. This perspective was decisive in Lewis’ conversion to Christianity.

....Tolkien and Lewis ... were together at least three times per week: on Tuesday mornings and Thursday evenings with the other “Inklings” (a literary circle of friends), and at least one other day for lunch. Tolkien wrote, “Friendship with Lewis compensates for much, and besides giving constant pleasure and comfort has done me much good from the contact with a man at once honest, brave, intellectual - a scholar, a poet, and a philosopher - and a lover, at least after a long pilgrimage, of Our Lord.”... "


Mrs. Neal, who recently appeared on Pat Robertson's Television show,  also stated,

 "When C. S. Lewis was asked about elements within a work of fiction, he said, "Within a given story any object, person, or place is neither more nor less, nor other, than what that story effectively shows it to be." If you go with that interpretation, you are saying, "OK, I understand that the author has created a fantasy world, and I am going to get my definitions from within the story." " 

C.S. Lewis also stated the Word of God was full of myths--does that add credibility to anything he might say? One can't pretend something that is real, particularly religious belief, is just a fantasy, just because someone said it was part of a story.

Proverbs 14:22 Do they not err that devise evil? but mercy and truth shall be to them that devise good.

Let's, as Lewis suggested, get a definition or application of the use of Divination from the Potter stories. It is found in the Divination class and various forms of it are part of the classroom study.  Divination is consulting with familiar spirits to foretell the future.

Runes, the letters of witchcraft used for divination, are introduced in The Chamber of Secrets on p. 187, "Arithmancy, Ancient Runes, Divination", p, 188,  Hermione is reading, "Ancient Runes Made Easy." 

In the next book, the Prisoner of Azkaban, Divination begins on p. 78. Trelawney, makes the statement, p. 79"...descending too often into the hustle and bustle of the main school clouds my Inner Eye....If you do not have the Sight, there is very little I will be able to teach you. Books can take you only so far..." p. 80 "Many....are unable to penetrate the veiled mysteries of the future,'...'It is a Gift granted to few...We will be covering the basic methods of Divination this year. The first term will be devoted to reading the tea leaves. Next term we shall progress to palmistry....In the summer term...we shall progress to the crystal ball--if we have finished with fire-omens..." P. 81---'...drink until only the dregs remain. Swill these around the cup three times with the left hand, then turn the cup upside down on its saucer; wait for the last of the tea to drain away,  them give your cup to your partner to read. You will interpret the patterns using...Unfogging the Future..." 

Children have just been taught how to read tea leaves-albeit a few idiosyncrasies which may or may not be used. But tea leaf reading is current witchcraft. My grandmother and mother did tea leaf reading and my grandmother may still, as she has never accepted Jesus Christ. The Inner Eye is witchcraft and is also called the third eye, which is recognized as being necessary to awaken or open. From that comes clairvoyance, levitation and astral projection and so on.  Crystal balls are current witchcraft. It's not a game. If you need proof go to Psychic Realm which presents: Tarot, palmistry, dream interpretation--Harry does have psychic dreams- Runes, Astrology, Numerology and so on.

To continue, we are next presented with divination revealing the superstition of a death omen called a Grim--it supposedly is revealed through the Divination of the leaves. Making a mockery of divination, Rowling then validates it on p. 84, by saying "True Seers are very rare..." 

And later, Trelawney is possessed and has a 'familiar spirit' speak through her. That's also called demon possession and is not only dealt with in the Scriptures, but is a current witchcraft practice. It is promoted through television and all manner of reading material. 

What makes Rowling's rendition any more acceptable than those who invite people to partake of their 'Gift'? Children are given a first hand description of it in action and are also taken into actual TM in order to 'See' into the crystal ball and divine the future. p.218-219. It's real witchcraft and presented in such a way as to open a child's mind to think it acceptable.

Youth pastor Connie Neal >> in the interview article, Harry Potter and the Disputable Matter, view the PotterNarnia, etc., issue as being where cultural and spiritual issues overlap. However, witchcraft is a religion which is diametrically and purposefully opposed to God. Just because the vast majority of people enjoy or accept it, does not mean Christians should. Mrs. Neal stated, 

"....some people will say, "We condemn Harry Potter because the characters on the side of good practice witchcraft, suggesting that witchcraft is acceptable." There’s also the complaint that the Potter books bring in elements of astrology, the use of crystal balls, and spell casting. But all of these elements are also in the Narnia books! In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, one of the good characters, a little girl named Lucy, casts a spell to make invisible creatures visible again. Now, what is the literal interpretation of that? That you can do spells as long as they are the "right" spells, and you cast them under Jesus’ authority? " [Harry Potter and the Disputable Matter,,PTID1000|CHID2|CIID1137600,00.html]

So, the same elements being in the Narnia books is the argument that makes Potter acceptable fare?

... If we apply the same kind of censorship to other pieces of literature as we do with Harry Potter, where does it stop? If you say, "I will not read a story that has any wands or spells," then you have to get rid of over two-thirds of classic children’s literature, including Cinderella, Peter Pan, and Beauty and the Beast."  Harry Potter and the Disputable Matter

What Scripture actually supports the reading of witchcraft and fables to children when they are filled with the same occult imagery and practices? That's the most important question. It is not about opinion. It is about what God says. It is not censorship to not read Potter or other occult focused material, myths and fables. It is being selective and discerning. 

One does not choose all books in a bookstore. Why? Is it due to censorship, choice, or in the case of Christians, Biblical discernment?

Phil. 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

Jeff Robinson of the Baptist Press News Service, wrote in the article 'Lord of the Rings' has ring of Christian Lord, about James Parkers view of the Lord of the Rings movie.

In a lecture on the life of Tolkien, James Parker, professor of worldview and culture at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said the movie will serve as fruitful viewing for Christians.

"He operates out of a thoroughgoing trinitarian worldview and (he) says that very explicitly, plainly and bluntly on several occasions," Parker said Dec. 5. "He has a traditionalist Catholic worldview, which means his doctrine of God, his doctrine of the Trinity and his Christology were totally orthodox.

"I have differences with him because of his positions on soteriology (the doctrine of salvation) and ecclesiology (the doctrine of the church). But in terms of his trinitarian formulation of the doctrine of God, there would be no differences (between Protestants and Catholics) because of his historical orthodox expressions of those doctrines. In fact, he says himself that 'The Lord of the Rings' grows out of this fundamental belief system."

It was Tolkien who, as a professor of Anglo-Saxon language at Oxford University, led a colleague to embrace Christ in 1929. The colleague was C.S. Lewis, who would go on to become a stalwart apologist for the Christian faith. Lewis also wrote a Christian fantasy series, "The Chronicles of Narnia," along with apologetic works such as "Mere Christianity," and "The Problem of Pain."

It was Tolkien's view of myth -- that it is always grounded in the reality of the transcendent God, (even if subtly) -- that ultimately shattered the barriers to Christianity for Lewis.

"Tolkien did not mean by 'myth' that it is defined as 'non-historical,'" Parker said, "but that it exhibits certain characteristics, certain ideas, recurring themes such as the dying and rising God, the sense of the moral universe behind things.

"Lewis said when he read the Gospels, he felt like he was reading a myth because it contained mythical elements. But ultimately, he knew it was fact. This was the 'true myth' that was absolutely true and historical."

But can the Tolkien movie bridge the gap between Christians and non-Christians in a way that will enable believers to proclaim the saving Gospel of God? Parker feels confident that the movie -- with its patently theistic world, albeit a make-believe one -- will do just that.

"The moral universe will do that," he said. "If they are really into Tolkien, you can go back to the 'Silmarilion' and the view of God which comes through there. And you can contrast that with other views in say, 'Star Wars' (with its impersonal, pantheistic 'force'), or even Harry Potter, as far as that goes.

"Also, the sense of providence that goes through it -- there is a sense of providential oversight in 'The Lord of the Rings' that is inexorable. You have all these individual players whose roles are not lessened by the overarching providential drive of the story.",,PTID74088|CHID194343|CIID1109734,00.html

First the Catholic view is not the Biblically sound view. Difference in salvation?? There is only one way to God, through Jesus Christ.  

Second I've been to Tolkien sites--and most --unless Christian already--deny that Tolkien ever intended a Christian meaning. And they quote from his words as well. In the previous articles it has been discussed in-depth why fables and myth are not of God, nor tools for presenting Jesus Christ. Just because someone wrote that it is okay--does not make it okay with God. Every word used by Tolkien to describe promoting his fables is directly against the Word of God. As stated in Harry Potter & Every Imagination of the Heart:

"As discussed in our article Have Nothing to Do With Fables or Old Wives Tales, we are told to have nothing to do with fables, that is, "2. an untrue story; falsehood 3. A legend, Myth."  

The Greek word for 'fables' is found in Strong's Concordance as 3454. muthos, "perhaps from the same as 3453 (through the idea of tuition); a tale, i.e. fiction ("myth"):--fable 

Paul warned in 1 Timothy 1:4 Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do."

We have clear Biblical instruction to not be involved with fables, myths, fiction and so on. It does not say we can read fables and be edified. It does not say we can read or write fables and learn sound doctrine from them or use them as an evangelism tool. It says to have nothing to do with fables. 

This cannot be confused with Christ teaching in parables, which some have tried to say is the same thing. If it was the same thing, we would not have been given these very serious warnings and commands to have nothing to do with fables. A Parable, which Jesus used frequently, is a short story of everyday life used to teach a moral by comparison or by implication. According to Strong's Concordance, it is "an earthly story with a heavenly meaning." Jesus taught the truth with situations that could easily be applied in our own lives. He did not immerse those stories in witchcraft and false gods, nor did he purvey lies of the occult. Those who propagate the idea that a fable is the same as Christ's parables are misinformed and Biblically inaccurate.

Crosswalk, which is the mouth piece of ecumenical evangelicals, presented the following article from Amy Hollingsworth, a Home-schooling mom. She advocates Tolkien, Lewis and Rowling as worthy authors for Christian families.

Escape from the Hobbit Hole, by Amy Hollingsworth; Professor, Author and Home-schooling Mother: Learn life long lessons from Tolkien--and say yes to adventure. HomeSchool Channel

"....Opponents of fantasy say that it creates an unreality that’s not healthy for kids.  I say it gives them an outlet to express very real fears and concerns.  And so it was with The Hobbit.  When I picked it up from the library shelf one day, I thought my kids and I would enjoy it for a few weeks and then be done with it.  But five months later, we were still reading.  Not because it’s an enormous book (my husband read three Tom Swift books to my son and daughter in the time it took me to read The Hobbit to them), but we were savoring it, letting its images linger, unwilling to depart from Tolkien’s great imaginative world any sooner than we had to.

The focal point of the novel is a diminutive creature named Bilbo Baggins.  Bilbo is a hobbit, a creature with hairy feet, a fruity laugh and a preference for safety and routine (adventures, after all, “make you late for dinner”).  That all changes one day when a wizard named Gandalf and thirteen dwarves show up at his hobbit hole.  The Tookish part of Bilbo (a less respectable branch of the family tree, one that actually succumbed to adventure from time to time) is slowly awakened.  Bilbo is hired as a burglar, to steal back the treasures hoarded by the dragon Smaug.  En route, he and the dwarves run into all kinds of obstacles:  trolls, wolves, elves, goblins, giant spiders, a bear-man and an amusing little creature named Gollum (who hisses and refers to himself as “precious”).

Besides giving Jonathan an outlet for his fears, The Hobbit also gave his imagination a jumpstart.  Usually a prolific writer, Jonathan had hit a dry spell for nearly half a year.   But The Hobbit had sparked a revival, and Jonathan was again trusting in his ability to create—although he did borrow freely from Tolkien’s images and style.  He sat at the computer for hours (even forgoing a few football games with friends), composing an epic about a character named Gnome.  Unlike Bilbo, Gnome was a rather tall fellow; like Bilbo, Gnome had a dislike for adventure (“He preferred to work in his office,” Jonathan wrote). 

...When he wasn’t content with the plot he was weaving, Jonathan started on a second story, this time Gnome had an alter ego, a boy named Steven (yes, the name of his friend who questioned our choice to learn at home).  He originally wrote Steven as a sort of bad guy—he grabs the mayor by his shirt collar in one scene—then changed his character to the hero...Jonathan also realized that to become a great writer you have to read great writers.  He noticed that when he began to write again, he borrowed not only from Tolkien, but also from two other favorite authors:  J.K. Rowling and Clyde Robert Bulla.  I was quick to point out (with perhaps more relish than was called for) that none of the novels adapted from the Pokémon movies made it into his mix. ...As I looked back over the last months, I realized what an impact that little guy had had upon my little guy.  Bilbo had encouraged Jonathan to start writing again, to trust his imagination.  Bilbo had broken the Captain Underpants curse, and Jonathan was choosing to read C.S. Lewis’ The Magician’s Nephew instead.  And Bilbo gave Jonathan the courage to confront a dragon of his own, one who twisted words to make him doubt. [crosswalk homeschool >,,PTID74453|CHID194888|CIID1110366,00.htm]

The fact that this mom advocates all the witchcraft, and occult imagery as a positive pursuit has been addressed already. Her statement, "Bilbo had encouraged Jonathan to start writing again, to trust his imagination," takes us back to the imagination and the imagination of the heart. The heart is desperately wicked, and imagination is not to be trusted. Children are just as able to think about and be part of sin as adults. Children are to be 'trained up in the things of the Lord.' This hardly qualifies. 

Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

Rather than trusting the writings of fables, witchcraft, myth  and the occult for sound doctrine and direction, I prefer Jesus' words, 

Matthew 7:18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Next: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis

Copyright . All articles are the sole property of and Vicky Dillen. All Scripture King James Version unless otherwise stated.

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