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[WARNING: SOME PLOT SPOILERS.]

So there we have it. The most engrossing imaginative world created at the start of the 21st century is essentially pagan. Don't get me wrong—I like the Harry Potter series. I've read all of the books. And I'm sure Jonathan Edwards would have done so, too.

Edwards was acutely aware of the cultural movements of his time. He said in "Some Thoughts Concerning the Revival" that he made it his practice to take light from wherever it came. Of course, reading John Locke and the like is not quite like reading books designed (originally) for children.

It's hard to imagine that Edwards would have remained ignorant about what has become such a powerful phenomenon of our time. He immersed himself in the cutting-edge Enlightenment thinking of his age, and his book list and letters reveal a breadth of reading anything but narrow. No doubt Edwards would have mined the Harry Potter series for insights into the predominant spiritual atmosphere in which we live.

Edwards neither ignored nor capitulated to the Enlightenment's materialistic/mechanistic view of life and the universe. Instead he "re-formed" the Enlightenment on specifically biblical terms and constructed intellectual bridges to cultural attitudes, along which the orthodox gospel could more readily transverse.

Or you could imagine his engagement with Enlightenment thinking as sending Trojan horses full of gospel truths into contemporary minds. He carefully used "sense," "idea" and "light"—Enlightenment buzzwords—in sermons and his more erudite works, and he invested those terms with biblical material and content.

The latest and last of Rowling's Potter series (though she leaves it tantalizingly open to sequels, despite her reported refusal ...

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What Would Jonathan Edwards Say About Harry Potter?
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July 2007

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