Christians and Banned Books - Part 6

Written By: Timothy Fish Published: 10/4/2007

There shall not be found among you any one who maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or who 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. – Deuteronomy 18:10, 11
A man also or woman who hath a familiar spirit, or who is a wizard, shall surely be put to death. They shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them. – Leviticus 20:27

Among the books that many Christians take issue with are those that include such things as witches, wizards and sorcerers. The argument behind this is that since God does not want people involved with these things then it is also wrong to have books that have characters that do these things. The argument in favor of these types of books is that they are works of fiction and are intended for entertainment.

In looking at this issue, we need a few definitions. In particular, we need an understanding of the prohibited activities mentioned in the Bible.

Passing Through Fire
This is likely a reference to activities done in worship to a false god. The true God does not want this as an act of worship, so those who practice this are known to be worshipping false gods.
This is the practice of trying to discover the future through supernatural powers. This is to be contrasted with the prophets of God who spoke of the future after being given a message from God. Divination may involve such things as tea leaves or crystal balls.
Observer of Times
This may be someone who is involved in astrology. Decisions are made based on the positions of planets and stars as well as other things that are dependent on the passage of time rather than direct intervention of God into the natural flow of his creation.
This is a person who closely observes events and signs in hope of discovering the future. This is essentially what people are doing when they attempt to guess when the Lord is coming back based on current world events.
A witch is a person who attempts to control the forces of nature through supernatural means, making the impossible happen.
This person attempts to make the supernatural happen by bringing elements together. This could be in the form of making charm bracelets that are supposed to help the wearer in some supernatural way. It could be in the form of mixing chemicals in the hope of making something happen that is supernatural. The witch’s brew might be and example of this.
Consulter with Familiar Spirits
This involves attempting to speak to or praying to the dead or to demons in the hope that the spirit will provide this person with information that is unattainable by natural means. People who try to serve as mediums to help people communicate with relatives are a modern day example of this. To some degree, denominations that pray to the saints are practicing this as well.
This is a term that has a slightly different meaning now than it had when the King James Version was translated. We now use the term wizard to refer to someone who has knowledge of the natural world that most people do not. We have computer wizards, for example. In the Bible, this term is used to refer to a person with a familiar spirit. In other words, this person is demon possessed. Presumably, this person would have whatever supernatural powers the demon has, so the person may appear to have powers that are not humanly possible.
This is a person that seeks to command an evil spirit to do his bidding. Some people have believed that if a person could name the evil spirit then that person could control it. The term sorcerer might be a better modern term for this.

These things are an abomination to God. As we look at these things, we notice that they all deal with the supernatural. It is more than doing things that we have learned to do through science. These people are seeking to circumvent the will of God by calling upon evil spirits or by doing other things that they hope will help their cause. Anytime we try to run go around God, you can be sure that he will not be pleased and there is no one to help us. It does not matter whether we are praying to Satan, a demon, a relative, Saint Nicholas or Mary, God has more power than them all and he wants us to go to him as our source of help.

All of these types of people, whether they have these names or others, are frequently found in fantasy books. In the last installment of this series, we will look at the issue of the fictional worlds that are created in fantasy their use of things that are clearly prohibited by the Bible.