Using Alchemy to Teach Christianity?


Analysis of Looking for God in Harry Potter

by John Granger

See also Harry Potter and the Postmodern Church





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From Richard Nathan - September 16, 2004

John Granger’s teaching is Gnosticism in a Christian guise. What he is saying is part of a larger movement among Evangelicals that I’ve been studying and now call “Christian or Evangelical Romanticism.” I believe it is opening the door for Christians to enter unknowingly into the occult.

A number of related books foster these ideas. One is Christian Mythmakers by Rolland Hein, Prof. Emeritus at Wheaton College. In it, Hein uses the same arguments to justify all kinds of strange writing, including that of Madeline L’Engle. His book expresses the commonality among such writers as C.S. Lewis, L’Engle, Tolkien, George MacDonald, etc.

Another book is Fantasy and Your Family: Exploring the Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and Modern Magick by Christian cult expert Richard Abanes. He did an excellent job in his book, The Bible and The Road Less Traveled (M. Scott Peck), but in his book on fantasy, although he criticizes Harry Potter, he defends Tolkien, using the same arguments that Granger uses—that Harry Potter’s magic is different from Tolkien’s magic.

This “Christian Romanticism” is really a kind of theological and literary movement that goes far beyond just Harry Potter. It incorporates
Carl Jung's ideas, which are really Neo-Gnostic. It’s an odd term, but I have chosen it because it links what is happening in contemporary Evangelicalism with the Romantic Movement of the 19th and 20th centuries. That movement was typified by a love of symbolism, mythological and occult ideas, a fascination with the bizarre, and a kind of turning back to Roman Catholic symbols. There was also hostility to rational thought and to doctrinal theology, along with an elevation of the artistic, poetic, and mystical elements. George MacDonald was influenced by this movement, and it was at that point that he turned away from Evangelical theology and was rejected by his Reform church for teaching “odd doctrines.”

Today this movement appears to be very strong among the neo-Evangelicals, i.e., Wheaton College, Fuller Seminary, Regent College in Vancouver, B.C., and elements of the Anglican-Episcopal renewal movement. Another source of the movement comes from the Chrysostom Society, some of whose members are Madeline L’Engle, Phillip Yancey, Richard Foster, Karen Mains, and Walter Wangerin, Jr. The book Trojan Horse: How the New Age Movement Infiltrates the Church by Brenda Scott and Samantha Smith (1993) also documents many of these influences.

Richard Nathan, M.A. in Religion in Church History 

Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, Ambridge, PA

Richard has been studying and teaching about church history and its relationship to contemporary movements in the church for nearly 20 years. For more information, visit

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