Deeper Waters Podcast 10/28/2017: Bill Honsberger

What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I’ve always been a fan of fantasy. The whole genre fascinates me. I also know that it’s fantasy. Unfortunately, I also know that there is real witchcraft out there. The sad thing is, this isn’t what you find in the storybooks. This is actually trying to get in touch with real powers that are out there and trying to get some sort of benefit from them.

One such system is one called Wicca. In a recent interview, I was surprised to hear just how popular the movement of Wicca is. It’s one that we really don’t hear much about. I can’t remember the last time I dialogued with someone in Wicca on Facebook or if I ever have. Despite that, it’s apparently growing among our young people.

Fortunately, there are people who answer this, and it’s a good thing. A brief look on Amazon did not really reveal much aside from people who have already been on my show. Still, when I was told about how bad it is among the young and who to contact, I immediately sought to get him on my show. He’s someone who knows a great deal about Wicca and he’s going to talk about it with us this Saturday. His name is Bill Honsberger.

So who is he?

According to his bio:

Bill Honsberger and his wife Terri live in Aurora, CO and have eight children. Bill has been working with and around cults for over twenty-five years. For the past twenty years he has worked for Haven Ministries (under the auspices of the Conservative Baptist Home Mission Society for the first 9 years), a ministry that focuses on evangelizing people in cults, the New Spirituality and other non-Christian religions. Haven Ministries also works on educating the church as to the issues raised by non-Christian religions. Bill has a Bachelors degree from Western Bible College in Pastoral Theology, a Master of Arts Degree in Systematic Theology from Denver Seminary, numerous hours in graduate study in philosophy and history at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the University of Colorado-Boulder, and was AbD at the University of Denver. He is now in the process of completing his PhD at The Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, KY. He has also taught as an adjunct professor at several Christian schools and for a local community college. He speaks at colleges and churches around the country and has had numerous television, radio and newspaper interviews. He is also on the national board for Evangelical Ministries to New Religions (EMNR), a network of Counter cult/apologetic ministries from around the country.

Join me this Saturday as we talk about Wicca. What is it? Why is it that young people are being drawn into this movement? How is it that we can reach people in this belief system? What does it really teach?

Please be watching your podcast feed for the next episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast. Also, if you haven’t go on ITunes and leave a positive review of the Deeper Waters Podcast. See you next time!

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

 

The Lost Years of Jesus

Is there something being kept from us? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This morning, I heard Allie listening to a video talking about mysteries of the Bible. Fortunately, she knows that the majority of these claims are just dumb. One similar video she stopped watching early because the content was so poorly researched. In this video I speak of, there was talk about the lost years of Jesus as if this was a Bible mystery.

There are a lot of people who think this. After all, this is the Son of God. Should we not have an exhaustive record of every aspect of His life? Why is it that those years aren’t mentioned? As soon as we say that, well here come the conspiracy theories about a cover-up.

We’ve heard them. This is the kind of stuff you see in The Da Vinci Code. These are the ideas that Jesus went to India and studied under the gurus. They’re not too new. Celsus and some Jewish sources both said that Jesus was a sorcerer with Celsus specifically saying that Jesus learned to do magic in Egypt. (Interestingly, they do not deny that He did miracles.)

So what happened? Did Jesus grow up in Egypt and learn how to do sorcery? Did He travel to India and come back after having studied with the religious leaders there?

Or could it be that the answer is a lot simpler?

If we want to speak of Jesus having lost years, we could speak of any other person having lost years that we know of. Most ancient biographers weren’t interested in the childhood of the person. You didn’t see a lot said about what they did when they were growing up.

“Wait a second here! That’s not true! There are many biographies in antiquity where you can see some of what the person was like growing up. The writer will include a scene from their childhood! Luke even does this! Remember Jesus in the temple at the age of twelve?”

Indeed.

Sometimes, the writer shows a brief glimpse of something, but what is he showing? He’s showing someone and saying “Even as a child, he had the character that he had as an adult.” It’s not a way of answering questions about childhood, but an example to exemplify the character of the man, which is what was of great interest.

Of course, if one accepts Luke here, then we have a quote from Luke that really answers the question of Jesus’s lost years. It’s in fact what we would call a throw-away comment. It’s not made to argue a particular point and if it was, it’s not a point that would really want to be argued for. This happens in Luke 4:16.

“He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read,”

Jesus was brought up in Nazareth and it was His custom to go to the synagogue on the Sabbath. This is not something that would be made up. Nazareth was a tiny little village and not a place of honor the Messiah would come from. It would be quite shameful to say the Messiah was from a place like Nazareth.

The point of Jesus being brought up there is not argued for. The passage indicates Jesus didn’t do independent traveling until His own ministry had begun. The people all knew Him. No one said “Is this not Jesus who traveled to India and studied under the gurus?” or “Is this not Jesus who traveled to Egypt and learned from the sorcerers?”

No. This is Jesus. Jesus was a boy who grew up among them and they thought He was an ordinary boy.

Lost years are just another excuse for people to get caught up in conspiracies thinking they’ve uncovered hidden knowledge that others don’t know about. Historians don’t really take these claims seriously. They are wise to do so. They might be popular on the internet where most readers have done little investigation into these claims, but they don’t tend to attract those who have studied.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: How Harry Cast His Spell

What do I think of John Granger’s book published by Tyndale Momentum? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Last August, I went back to my hometown with my wife to visit my parents due to an illness of a friend who was dying. It was a month before my birthday and my parents asked me what I wanted. The first thing I thought of was the new Harry Potter book Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. They got it for me early and I already had it read in a couple of days. I just could not put that one down. Just recently, we have also had the release of the movie based on the series, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them. It’s been years since the last official Harry Potter book and movie, but let’s face it, Pottermania isn’t dead. Not only is it not dead, it’s alive not only among children but adults who love the series.

Why? Why are the adventures of the boy wizard so popular? What is it about them? How did Harry Potter enchant the world?

Enter John Granger to explain this. John Granger is known as Hogwart’s Professor. Rumor has it he’s the third cousin of Hermoine twice removed. He’s an unlikely figure to write on this seeing as being an expert in classics, when his daughter was given a copy of the first book, he read it first so he could explain to his daughter why garbage like that should not be read. Turns out he went and bought the next books that were out the next day and now he’s a leading spokesman on all things Harry Potter.

More than that, Granger is a devout Christian and is convinced that the Potter novels are woven in Christian imagery much like Lewis and Tolkien are. A lot of it comes with the symbolism of alchemy. This isn’t to justify the science of alchemy, but a way of pointing out that alchemy was seen as a way of achieving purification and holiness in the Middle Ages.

The books, Granger argues, answer the questions of our age and answer them in very Christian ways. The books are loaded with Christological imagery and no, the main power in the books is not magic. The main power in the books is love. Love has the power to overcome the darkest of all magics, even the magic of Lord Voldemort. Lord Voldemort is seen as the great tragic character because all his power comes from wanting to avoid death, even if that means murdering his own soul, instead of realizing as Dumbledore points out, that there are worse things in this world than death.

If you’re wanting to know about Christ imagery, consider that the first book was not said to have the Sorcerer’s Stone, but the Philosopher’s Stone. The Philosopher’s stone was an item sought in the past that was said to grant immortality, like Christ. Other Christ imagery includes hippogriffs, stags, unicorns, and phoenixes.

Is Harry a Christ figure? Not usually. More often than not, he represents everyman, which is why we can so often see ourselves in him. It’s also why we can accept the fact that many times Harry screws up. He’s a fallen man like we all are, but something in Harry consistently chooses to believe the right things and want to do the right things. You can see in the novels the way Harry will often mature from the start of the novel to the end of the novel.

Granger starts out the book with an introduction to his main thesis in several chapter. Then, he takes you through the books themselves and points out the symbolism and Christian lessons all throughout. To top it off, he ends it with an FAQ section of the questions he gets asked the most. (Want to know about Dumbledore being gay? Go look here.)

If Granger is right, and I think he is, this is a great time for Christians to be speaking of this imagery. Running from it could have the exact opposite effect. Granger’s book, even if you don’t agree with him, is certainly food for thought and should be considered by the fan and critic of Harry Potter alike.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: From Homer To Harry Potter

What do I think of Matthew Dickerson and David O’Hara’s book on fairy tales? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

One of the authors, Matthew Dickerson, sent me a free copy of this book in PDF format so my thanks to him. A friend recommended I read this book after I spoke at an event he was at. Immediately, I got in touch with the authors thinking this would be a great topic for a podcast. I have been a fantasy fan all my life, though I must admit I don’t get to read as much as I used to, though I used to read books in Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms, and Terry Brooks’s Landover series.

The authors write from a Christian perspective and set the groundwork which is largely indebted to Lewis and Tolkien. These are two authors that do not have their own chapters in the book because nearly everything in it owes some debt to them. I have often told people today that if we enjoy any kind of role-playing game today, we owe that to Tolkien.

The writers start with a look at what is meant by myth. They think the Bible contains mythical elements, but by this they do not mean untrue. That is for the historians to decide. What they mean is a story that is meant to teach us a greater truth than we would find on our own. A person who holds to Biblical inerrancy need not fear this.

They also look at various writers and not just Christian ones. Most noted is the look at Philip Pullman. He is a decidedly non-Christian writer with a war in his series going on against YHWH and the evils of the church. Still, in his work he can’t seem to help but meet the criteria for a fairy tale and some of it in fact undermines his own case.

One of the main ones I was interested in of course was Harry Potter. There is talk on how magic is used in the books. Those interested will obviously need to pick up the books themselves, but the stories belong in the classic tradition of fairy tale. I thoroughly appreciated this part as I am an avid fan of the Harry Potter series having read all the books, including the latest one that has been released which is more of a play.

I also found myself intrigued by other works, such as ordering from the library The Book of the Dun Cow by Walter Wangerin Jr. My copy has not arrived yet, but the writers have a chapter dedicated to this one and the whole premise was intriguing. I left this book with a greater appreciation of the genre of fairy tale. Now that doesn’t mean that I’ll suddenly find the time to read them, but I can easily agree with Lewis that a man need not fear any embarrassment from reading fairy tales. These aren’t just for children. They are a good way of getting past the watchful dragons.

Those interested in fairy tales and fantasy should read this book. Christians concerned about fantasy literature also should read it. I find a lot of criticisms of fairy tales and such come from not appreciating them as fairy tales. This book will help clear up a lot of confusion if it is listened to.

In Christ,
Nick Peters