“For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe him. For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:5-26).
When Jesus warned of false Christs appearing here and there to mislead with great signs and wonders, the general consensus was that we should look out for those individuals throughout the physical world that proclaim themselves to be the true savior of man with all the manifest powers of deity, yet are liars. Such a myopic view, however, forgets to take into account that the appearance of false Christs could also come through the written word of man. Surely if the written word of God testifies of Jesus as the true Christ and Son of God (in fact the Word Himself), then ungodly men might similarly use their creative energies to set down in writ a facsimile of Jesus within the framework of a fantastical story with all the signs and wonders that the human mind can imagine.
Indeed such is the case with some of our most beloved fictional literature in Christendom.
Sadly, many professing Christians in recent years have actively promoted inventive but wayward tales concerning Jesus Christ because they, like little children needing a bedtime story, are more interested in amusement and entertainment than the plain Gospel truth which is the preeminent “power of God that brings salvation to those who believe” (Romans 1:16). Following the lead of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and other spiritual children of the Inklings, they clamor for pagan mythology and fantasy fiction as the necessary tool of Christian conversion or to somehow make Christ more “real” to the hearts and minds of believers. To further justify this covert form of idolatry, they wrongly presume that such dangerous devotion to “make-believe” creates better spiritual understanding not just for themselves, but for everybody they meet.
The result is the appearance and propagation of various “false Christs” in a very real sense: allegorical Christ figures in bewitching prose who seem to embody the heroic, salvific character of the biblical Jesus in mesmerizing, wondrous settings and yet in reality, they introduce the whispers of abominable heresies with subtle satanic craftiness.
So why do so many Christians today refuse to heed Christ’s warnings and dive headlong into these deceptive books as if they are inspired revelation of Jesus Himself? Why are these concocted stories publicly cherished and practically treated like sacred text? Let us look at a few examples…
Tolkien And Lord Of The Rings, etc.
Christian fans of Lord Of The Rings and other epic works by Tolkien justify their devotion to these stories by claiming the Gospel is vividly presented in the allegorical narrative and that some of the characters therein are “Christ figures” in their heroic words and deeds. If this is true, then why do countless readers of Tolkien’s works reject Christ and become more emboldened with their pagan sensibilities and use these books as powerful blueprints for Gnostic and occult spirituality?
In a shocking discovery, Markus Davidsen, Carol Cusack and other experts in the study of comparative religions have proven that the popularity of sci-fi and fantasy books like Tolkien’s have been the catalyst for the creation of new modern-day religions, which they have dubbed, “invented religions” or “fiction-based religions.” (For more information, read “The Sad Truth Of Tolkien Spirituality”). Rather than drawing readers to Christ, these rich but spiritually-poisoned mythologies are chasing their impressionable readers into the arms of various pagan and Antichrist communities.
Case in point: Katie Thokar, a rune reader who lives in New York, who says it was the Lord of The Rings books that piqued her interest in the ancient form of rune magic, a system of occult divination based on the ancient Norse alphabet. (“Sometimes Pop Culture Really Is the Gateway to the Occult”, July 2017).
This type of reader reaction should really come as no surprise considering how Tolkien favorably features in his writings such things as Gnostic cosmology, Marian/goddess devotion, shape-shifting, reincarnation, necromancy, divination, and other forms of magic and occult activity.
In light of this disturbing fact, an important question arises. Why are so many nonfiction Christian books in the marketplace today peppered with quotes and references from Tolkien’s works as if they are essential and prerequisite education for the those in the Church? It is as if it is more important for a believer to memorize the characters and story lines of Middle Earth than the acts of Jesus and His apostles. Heaven forbid a Christian be ignorant of who Frodo is or where Mordor is located when a preacher references them from the pulpit! Excuse me, pastor, but where is this in my Bible?
The Middle Earth “Jesus” is a false Christ.
J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter
The same goes for the Harry Potter books. Though initially many Christian parents were wary of these stories (and rightly so) because of their glorification of witchcraft, soon their guard was let down, not only by the building peer pressure of worldlings around them, but by the author herself, J.K. Rowling, who slyly proclaimed the books to be laced with Christian themes.
Sadly, even prominent Christian personalities like singer-songwriter Andrew Peterson backed up that claim and promoted these books as a way to better comprehend the things of Christ. Peterson wrote that his “spirit seemed to tingle when (he) read the books,” and he was hooked on them because of the “interesting themes, archetypes, alchemical nuances…” He continued, “In that moment I was able, because of these books, to worship Christ in a way I never had.”
Funny that journalist Sarah Lyons had an utterly different reaction to the Harry Potter books. Completely unaware of any so-called “Christian themes” within the texts, she read the tales from Hogwarts and was immediately driven to seek out as much information on the occult and witchcraft as she could find. “Harry Potter was definitely my gateway drug to the world of witchcraft,” she confessed in her article for the Broadly website. “Reading stories focused on witchcraft made me so excited and curious that I went out to seek the real thing; I can still remember finding a copy of The Witches’ Almanac in a tiny bookstore when I was 13 and feeling like I had finally gotten my own letter inviting me to a magical world” (“Sometimes Pop Culture Really Is the Gateway to the Occult”, July 2017).
Sarah’s personal story, however, is hardly necessary to prove that Harry Potter is spiritually dangerous and should not be read, promoted or celebrated by Christians. All one has to do is point to God’s clear prohibition of witchcraft in Deuteronomy 18:10-12 or follow the lead of new believers in Ephesus who destroyed their incantation books in humble repentance (Acts 19:19-20). Why, then, is this even up for debate?
The Harry Potter “Jesus” is a false Christ.
C.S. Lewis and The Chronicles of Narnia, etc.
There are dozens of articles, videos and websites devoted to exposing C.S. Lewis and his works for their unorthodox and heretical leanings. If inclined, search them out. Lewis’ writings, both fiction and nonfiction, contain clear examples of his unbiblical viewpoints, among them: a dismissive, often disdainful attitude toward the Bible; a low view of the atonement; sacramental and works salvation, an ill-defined belief in man’s apotheosis, and an apparent acceptance of inclusivism (or proto-universalism) and pantheism. Shockingly, he even speculated that Jesus was in “error” in part of His end-time prophecy to His disciples! Writes Lewis:
“Say what you like,” we shall be told, “the apocalyptic beliefs of the first Christians have been proved to be false. It is clear from the New Testament that they all expected the Second Coming in their own lifetime. And, worse still, they had a reason, and one which you will find very embarrassing. Their Master had told them so. He shared, and indeed created, their delusion. He said in so many words, ‘this generation shall not pass till all these things be done.’ And he was wrong. He clearly knew no more about the end of the world than anyone else.”
It is certainly the most embarrassing verse in the Bible… The one exhibition of error and the one confession of ignorance grow side by side… (“The World’s Last Night”, found in The Essential C.S. Lewis, p. 385).
One of the lesser known, but just as disturbing examples of Lewis’ false portrayal of Christ is found in his Chronicles Of Narnia series—for impressionable children no less.
In Prince Caspian, the two young heroines, Susan and Lucy, actually meet the pagan gods Bacchus and Silenus, and join them and the Maenads for a “romp” where, at one point, one of the nearby schoolgirls begins removing articles of her uncomfortable school uniform, an act shockingly reminiscent of wild orgiastic behavior. Even worse, Aslan, the allegorical Christ, not only participated but led this wild Bacchanal procession with everyone shouting “Euan, euan, eu-oi-oi-oi!” This wicked portrayal is nothing less than a blasphemous attempt by Lewis to “christianize” a pagan ritual; and if Christian readers were aware of the actual idolatrous debauchery he was surreptitiously portraying here, one would be absolutely sickened:
“In Roman legend, Bacchus stepped in for Dionysus, and earned the title of party god. In fact, a drunken orgy is still called a bacchanalia, and for good reason. Devotees of Bacchus whipped themselves into a frenzy of intoxication, and in the spring Roman women attended secret ceremonies in his name. Bacchus was associated with fertility, wine and grapes, as well as sexual free-for-alls… Bacchus has a divine mission, and that is his role of “liberator.” During his drunken frenzies, Bacchus loosens the tongues of those who partake of wine and other beverages, and allows people the freedom to say and do what they wish” (Patti Wigington, “Bacchus, Roman God of Wine and Fertility,” retrieved Oct 10, 2013).
“Following the torches as they dipped and swayed in the darkness, they climbed mountain paths with head thrown back and eyes glazed, dancing to the beat of the drum which stirred their blood’ [or ‘staggered drunkenly with what was known as the Dionysus gait’]. ‘In this state of ekstasis or enthusiasmos, they abandoned themselves, dancing wildly and shouting ‘Euoi!’ [the god’s name] and at that moment of intense rapture became identified with the god himself. They became filled with his spirit and acquired divine powers” (Peter Hoyle, Delphi, London : Cassell, 1967. Cf. p. 76).
This despicable scene of a Bacchanal procession alone is enough to prove Lewis’ Aslan is a fraud. The Jesus of the Bible never promoted or engaged in such wicked pagan rituals, nor implied that His disciples could safely engage in such occult activity. Yet professing Christians still insist on holding up these stories as romantic elucidations of biblical truth concerning our Lord and Savior. Far from it!
The Narnia “Jesus” is a false Christ.
So Why Are Christians Saying, Behold These “Christs”!?
Why are we wasting our time with this kind of nonsense? Is it for a fleeting surge of adrenaline and manipulated human emotion? If so, then we have turned our backs on the Holy Spirit’s perfect ability to flood our hearts and minds with the stunning reality of Jesus Christ through the revelation of holy Scripture.
It is time that the visible Church denounce these creative portrayals of false Christs and cease in idolizing these authors as paragons of biblical truth when they act more like false prophets using the “signs and wonders” of romantic prose and epic mythology to confuse and deceive even those believers who know better. Truly, we have become a weak assembly of pipe-dream addicts, who care more about their next fix from the opium of entertainment than the sometimes difficult Spirit-led work of selfless biblical discipleship.
Why aren’t we using our God-given creative and artistic talents to facilitate a direct proclamation of the Gospel instead of arrogantly thinking we can fashion a better story? All we need are our voices to shout the Good News from our proverbial rooftops! How blessed we would surely be if the Church took seriously their sacred duty to evangelize the world in this powerful ordained way.
Only then would the unsaved be presented with the truth of Jesus Christ, unencumbered by the baggage found in the flawed philosophy of men. Only then would the wiles of the devil, hiding behind the veil of human creativity and thought, be exposed, identified and rejected. And only then would the glory of Jesus Christ be in full magnificent splendor to draw all kinds of men to Himself through the power of the Holy Spirit!
I say, begone with the false Christs arising in man’s dubious imaginations and behold our Lord and Savior in Spirit and Truth! And may God richly bless His people with a renewed, unflinching focus on Him and His glory alone:
Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” – I Peter 1:13-16
For further commentary on this subject, please read the earlier essay, Exchanging The Truth Of God For A Fantasy.