Sin Is Not Sin - When Sin Is Pretend
(Justifying witchcraft and such like for the sake of entertainment)
As of late, I have been hearing rave reviews about such shows as "Harry Potter," and "Lord of the Rings." Many of the enthralled and excited critics are young members of the church, as well as their families. I always hate to date an article by mentioning names of current movies, yet I truly believe that the biblical principles found herein will not only continue to be helpful, but even necessary to the saving of the souls of future readers.
I am no scholar by any means. However, I truly believe that with an open mind and an open Bible, one can quickly see why Christians need have no association with movies and activities which align themselves with the sin of witchcraft, and other such sins.
In defense of these movies, I have been told (even by "Gospel preachers") that these are only fiction or pretend, and therefore are harmless, and sinless. All of those with whom I have spoken concerning this realize that the God through His word condemns witchcraft and such like some 80 times in the scriptures. Some scriptures for your reading would include looking in your strongs concordance for the sins mentioned in Deuteronomy 18:9-14. One can notice the fact that when both Simon and the Ephesians became Christians, they gave up their witchcraft and magic books (Acts 8, 19). Now the movie industry has capitalized on the wonder and awe of the mystical and magical attached to witchcraft, and the members are loving it, and even defending it -- so long as it is in movie form, and only pretend of course. We have virtually dug the remaining fragments of the Ephesian magic books out of the ashes, dusted them off, given them titles, put them in v! ideo form, and put them on our shelves.
Friends, witchcraft, and such like is a sin, Galatians 5:19-21. I would hope that we would not allow our children to view a show which has in it drinking, fornication, cussing, immodesty, etc. What then is so different about a movie glamorizing the sin of witchcraft? My question for those who believe it is right to pretend to be a witch is, "Do you really believe that sin is no longer sin as long as it is a pretend sin?" Can you honestly encourage your friends and relatives to attend for their viewing pleasure, movies which so openly justify and make light of such a sin as that of witchcraft? You might just as well encourage them to enjoy "Cleo (observer of times)," or "John Edwards (necromancer)."
Notice some scriptures which deal with our association with things which are evil: 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22, "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil." Ephesians 5:11-12, "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret." 2 Corinthians 6:14-17, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith! the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you..." Unless it is pretend? Come on folks!
With all of this scripture to the contrary, there are still those who are compelled to satisfy the longings of their little ones, who will yet try to say something is okay just as long as it is pretend or fiction. But what sayeth the scriptures?
The word for "follow" (mimeomai - mimic)carries with it the idea of an imitator, and was used in the Greek as an actor (Thayer) who took on the personality and ways of another to play a role. It is used of Christians in a similar sense. Notice what the Book says about those who are actors, imitators, (strive to resemble - Mounce Analytical Lexicon), or are followers. Paul said of himself in 1 Corinthians 4:16, "be ye followers of me." Again in chapter 11:1 he said, "Be ye followers [imitators, ASV] of me, even as I also am of Christ." Isn't it interesting that Paul said this. We are to follow his example (Phil. 4:9), and he is the one who brought the Ephesians out of their witchcraft, and they burned their magic books. Do you think Paul would have told them they could save out "Harry Potter," reasoning, "You can hang on to this one. After all it is only pretend and you no longer believe in or support witchcraft.?" Something would! have been wrong with that picture wouldn't it.
We are told in 3 John 11, "Beloved, follow [imitate - ASV] not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God." This very verse tells us not to "act out" the role of an evildoer. We see this same thought in 1 Peter 3:10-13, "For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the h! ope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing."
What more do you need? Look up the word "follow" for yourself, and attach it to this present line of reasoning that it is alright to entertain ourselves with the sins of others, so long as we know they are only pretending to sin. If a Christian could not act out the part of a witch, what makes folks think we can applaud while others do so? One preacher got so ridiculous as to say, "If we cannot read a fictional book such as Harry Potter which contains the sin of witchcraft, then we cannot even read the Bible for it too contains accounts of the sin of witchcraft." Even if this ludicrous statement were true, it is much like the old cigarette - coffee argument. Even if it were a sin to drink coffee, and granted the addictive nature may be just so for some, that would not justify cigarette smoking. It would only mean you have two sins to work on now instead of one. There is a grand difference in an historical as well as Divine account of t! he lives of a sinful people, and turning those sins into an acceptable form of family entertainment. Some have even gone so far as to use the, "Well you see immodesty and cussing in the mall, so now I guess we cannot go to the mall." These were preachers kids. I would love to see their father's reaction to members, who after just having heard a sermon on immodest apparel, used this line of reasoning to counteract the preacher's statement that we should not go to public pools or swimming beaches, or watch such immodesty on T.V. Friends, there is a difference in putting ourselves in a position where the established, and sometimes even required dress code is immodesty, and going to the mall where we are in the world, but not of the world, and there is modesty and immodesty as well as cussing and purity, but no expected nor demanded standard of such. There is as well a difference in reading the account and condemnation of a sin such as witchcraft, and! enjoying the making light of this sin for entertainment purposes.
Witchcraft has always been a sin, and always will be. Our very association with and participation in the use or promotion of such sins, even for the sake of entertainment, is still a sin. Since it is condemned in the New Testament as well as the Old Testament, why would we think God's view of encouraging such would be any different now than then? Notice the words of Deuteronomy 18:9- 14, " When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee. Thou shalt ! be perfect with the LORD thy God. For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do." Do these verses only apply if you or the actors believe that witchcraft really works? That is what I am being told by many. My reply is "Prove It!" Prove that all of these demonic dabblers really thought they had special powers, or could work special wonders. You can't do it. The very nature of the things mentioned in the above verses from Deuteronomy carries with it an implied power over nature, time, and death, which none but God can accomplish. A witch or wizard who knew he was a fake, but was in it for the fame and money (as many of the astronomers, and mediums of our day are) was just as much a witch as the one who believed his spells were working. An Idolater who knew the idol was nothing was no less an idolater than the! one who would offer children for sacrifice (Acts 17:29-30). Both would be condemned, just as was the presumptuous false prophet in the remainder of Deuteronomy 18. We have examples of this from the Egyptian charmers of the Exodus, to the witch of Endor, the magicians in Daniel's day, clear down to the conversion of the Ephesians and chastisement of the Galatians. I keep asking someone to tell me the difference in God's condemnation of what many of my brethren are calling a "Real Witch," and a "Pretend Witch," and they cannot. All witches are pretend witches! They have no power; yet God condemns them.
I have had the privilege of converting a young witch, an older witch's daughter, and hopefully now the mother, (an x-witch) who by the way took her witchcraft books off of her shelf and is now talking about being baptized. Folks this is no game. It is not funny, nor for fun. It is serious spiritual business. If you are unfamiliar with Wiccan, then you need to research it and find out just how many witches there are in this great country.
Enjoying such sins for the sake of amusement is nothing less than encouraging our children to take a walk on the dark side. We have over the years seen the sinful results of such "harmless fiction, or pretend," attached to such games as "Dungeons and Dragons," and "Vampire the Masquerade," both of which can be researched on the internet if you do not know what they are. Witchcraft and it's cohort crimes are a part of a realm which exists outside the borders and boundaries of Christianity.
I will end this article by asking a simple question related to the scriptures. Into which of the following Christian characteristics would viewing such sins for entertainment fit? --
"Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest [honorable - ASV], 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, thing on these things." Philippians 4:8
By Fred Seavers
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