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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Fellowship of Christian Magicians! » » Examples of Really Bad Gospel Magic?? (34 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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frankie5aces
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I would say tha bad gospel magic is done where the magician's ego is the focus and not the gospel message. Storytelling should be the destination of the show with magic as the vehicle, not so much the magician.
Danny Kazam
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Bad gospel magic is when you turn water to wine and not have a good grip on the meaning and teaching of it.
Or, when professor's nightmare is performed claiming there are small sins, medium sins, and big sins.

Bad gospel magic is when the performer is still a babe in the Lord, or has not aquired the knowledge and wisdom to correctly represent the teachings in the Bible.
Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.
Russo
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This all remindes me of a GOSPEL Magician??????????????? - my Grandfather(a Pastor) took me to see- the effects he used were actually all the SAME effects I do- the only differance is HE kept exclaming how GREAT HE was as a VEGAS Performer - but couldn't stand the scantly clad Girls so he was now a GOSPEL Magician -ONLY he didn't say any Gospel Verses AND all the effects were JUST AS IF HE TOOK THEM OFF THE SHOP SHELF read the instructions and used ONLY the suggested PATTER(nothing original or Gospel)-what a phony - but I promised my Grandfather I wouldnt say anything to the so called Gospel Magician- boy that was looong ago(1960s). Ralph (russo) Rousseau
Gary Barker
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Some very interesting comments here. Let's be clear, a more palatable way to have this discussion would be as follows; 1) What defines bad magic? What defines good magic? 2) How can we use magic to communicate to our audience? 3) What are some preferred methods when communicating spiritual truths (whether a presentation/explanation of the Gospel, a word of encouragement or testimony, a lesson from Scripture, etc.) 4) Would would be good considerations if one has a desire to perform "gospel magic?"

1. Most of us have seen bad magic. Most of us have seen good magic. In most cases I think we are referring to how they present their craft. Does it seem they have mastered their craft (i.e. did they flash, do they handle the props well, do they understand the flow of the show, do they use all the technology available well, etc.) The patter does not or should not in my opinion dictate good or bad magic. Meaning a poorly presented routine with a stratosphere (talking about the priority of God, ourselves and others during the effect) would for sake of this discussion equate to bad magic. Presenting "truth" with poor skill sets doesn't make you a bad gospel magician, but rather just a bad magician. The flip side to this (alluding to a coin reference earlier) is is your skills are poor (bad magic) you might have lost the opportunity to communicate a great message.

2. Communication can be both verbal and non-verbal and we forget this. Sometimes we can use music, the absence of music, gestures, etc. to communicate with our audience. Specifically with magic, perhaps we need to evaluate the effect and make sure it does not create confusion for our audience as we add the patter/truth to the routine. Meaning if you are doing an effect where something is being produced you wouldn't want to be talking about 'removing sin' as the effect and the truth you are trying to communicate might be working against one another.

3. This is about approach. Andre Kole performs his show often in two parts, the first part he does good magic and does not make reference to spiritual truths in his patter. In the second portion he still does good magic, but he relates the effects in a way that also helps communicate or reinforces his point. I feel here is the accurate way to explain this; Here is Andre Kole, a skilled magician and also a Christian. I wouldn't refer to him as a Christian magician anymore than I would call Penn Jillette an atheist (or agnostic) magician or Harry Allen a Jewish magician. My point is (from the context of the art of magic) we are magicians. It is too easy and perhaps careless to confine one's identity to a label; gospel magician, birthday party magician, etc.

4. Lastly, for thos who think I am not referring to God enough in this post here I go. If you intend on promoting or booking yourself as a 'gospel magician' please consider the following; a) Be a fully devoted follower of Christ b) Be a student of the Word and please don't proof text or take things out of context. If you are weak in this area ask for help. I would gather many pastors or other Christians would be happy to help you study and develop your patter so it remains true to the text. This allows there to be synergy between the effect being presented and the truth being communicated.

At the end of the day, a "gospel magician" has his or her work cut out. Not only do you carry the responsibility to perform good magic (well rehearsed and skillfully presented) but you also have the responsibility to properly present truth. In all cases, you should 'earn the right to be heard' and you should have a strong desire to reach this place. Your magic when presented well 'earns you the right' to be taken seriously and to be respected for caring enough about your audience and your craft to master it. We are ALL on this path, even the "greats" in our craft. We all can learn something new, improved, etc. Sam's point was when you get this out of the way (having gained their respect and attention) you have "earned" the right to now share your faith. Take magic out of his example for the moment. Who has a greater chance to "make a disciple?" One who invests into the relationship with another person, who learns about them and understands them and then can communicate from a place of understanding and respect or one who has little regard for them, spends little effort learning himself/herself and justs forces the issue in spite of bad presentation? I say the former will be more successful. The same is true in presenting good magic while communicating good news.

One final word of encouragement. I dare say any one post on the magic Café can adequately sum up any point of view let alone define us as individuals and/or Christians (within this forum) so perhaps when we read an opion or post that stirs us, maybe reply with grace and kindness as you express a varying viewpoint. It's easy to get all worked up and either miss their point or just take a conversation trail they never intended to walk down. Seek first to understand and then to be understood. Sam is not perfect and nor am I but I know Sam. Based on that, I feel he wanted to encourage others to "work as unto the Lord" with respect to the art of magic. Work hard. Be diligent. Master your craft. He certainly did not intend to minimize those same work ethics as believers. Whatever gifts and talents you possess, give of your BEST to the Master!

"Well done good and faithful servant..." Sobering words we long to hear. I can only hope and pray I would live a life in such a way that this could be said of me.
Terry Holley
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Good gospel magic is what I do. Bad gospel magic is what everybody else does. Smile
Co-author with illusionist Andre' Kole of "Astrology and Psychic Phenomena."
stempleton
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Quote:
On Oct 29, 2014, Gary Barker wrote:

At the end of the day, a "gospel magician" has his or her work cut out. Not only do you carry the responsibility to perform good magic (well rehearsed and skillfully presented) but you also have the responsibility to properly present truth.


AMEN!
Sam Sandler
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Ditto!
sam sandler- America's only full-time DEAF Illusionist
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wwhokie1
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Bad magicians do bad gospel magic.

Bad magic with a gospel message is still bad magic.

A bad presentation of the gospel, or a Biblical truth when mixed with even good magic, is bad gospel magic.

A good presentation of the gospel, or a Biblical truth when mixed with bad magic, is bad gospel magic.

Presenting the gospel or giving any presentation of a Biblical truth is challenging and time consuming. Presenting quality entertaining magic is also challenging and time consuming. Combining the two is twice as challenging. But anything less is bad gospel magic.
jamiedoyle
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Wwhokie1 - that may be the best explanation I've read.
I may quote you... and often!
Jamie Doyle

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wwhokie1
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Glad you liked it. By the way the second line should read "Bad magic with a gospel message is still bad gospel magic". I left out the word "gospel" near the end.
Russo
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Good Gospel Magic is even better with a PERSONAL WITNESS -- something that you did or was done to you - along with the illustrating Effect and Bible Verses. Ralph
Sam Sandler
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Glad to see the last 3 post all agree with my first post at the beginning of this thread.

don't take that the wrong way not tooting my horn. just happy to hear er um read that others understand what I was saying. albeit I did like how it was put with the good and bad gospel and magic analogies.

i just want every one to strive to present the best presentation of magic with a message to the best of their abilities.

we have a lost and dying world out there that is desperately searching for the truth. for Joy. for happiness, for love, for freedom but will never find it unless they commit themselves to the Lord. we as followers of Messiah Jesus and entertainers have an awesome opportunity to Unleash that TRUTH.


praying for you all.

sam
sam sandler- America's only full-time DEAF Illusionist
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Russo
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Speaking about Entertainers -- I wonder how many Pastors that have Entertainment industry (music-TV-Movies-etc) in their congreation- and MOST Subjects are IMORAL SUBJECTS that they work in/on/with- are approched by their Pastor - or is the Tith$$$$$$$$$$more important than the Souls they influence and the Entertainers Soul/.. (we/I'm in the Entertainment Field - but try to keep the LORD in what I /we do!) If you put wiskey in front of a drunkerd - drugs in front of a drugie - SEX /Violance in front of a WEAK person -continually -as in TV-Movies-Music- etc - Whats Happens???? (just the thoughts of a 77 year old nut) Ralph
Crownhart
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I saw a very good magician doing good magic and then like a light switch he started preaching. First a magician then a preacher the audience went to see a magic show and halfway through the person changed completely. I feel it should be interwoven inside and out and advertised as Gospel Magic otherwise you have a lot of unhappy people. I saw a lot of people put off by preaching when they went to a magic show. Probably a hard thing to juggle. I like the comment 25% Gospel magic and 75% regular magic.

That brings me to another problem I am having. If you lead people to Christ with entertaining don't you have to keep them entertained? If you lead the with The Word all you need is The Word.
SinCIRCUSly,

Michael C. Crownhart
wwhokie1
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Even if you look at recent Christian evangelists, none of them tried to impress a crowd with their skills or personalities. D.L. Moody and Billy Sunday were both atrocious speakers, but they were both highly effective. Billy Graham was no great orator, but he didn't try to be. Highly successful. He just believed what he had to say was worth saying, and he said it very simply. -Katyannmarie

I would agree impressing a crowd with your skills or personalities is not what God calls people to do. But we must distinguish between trying to impress people with "me" and trying to get people to "listen to" and "understand" the message. It is the responsibility of the speaker to do the best job they can possibly do to organize, prepare, plan, practice and present the message in a way that people will listen and understand. A pastor friend once commented to me about the tragedy of a speaker taking the Bible and making it boring. That was after we listened to someone do that very thing for several hours throughout a weekend retreat. Yes, you do not want to overshadow the message, but a valuable message deserves the best effort at delivering. "Earning the right to be heard" is not about "look at me", its about convincing an audience that I have something valuable to say and I can present it in a way that will respect your time, not boring you or making a valuable message seem irrelevant. The speaker can get in the way of the message by pointing everyone to himself, but he or she can also get in the way of the message by making people not want to hear it. I don't give my attention to boring people or poorly prepared people. Treat the message with the respect it deserves and do the best you can to present it in the best possible way. Anything less is disrespectful to the message. Can the message overcome a poor presentation? Yes. But that is no excuse. Billy Graham was always concerned with presenting the message in the best possible way and with developing his oratory skills. He never considered those things to be unimportant. Though he never considered that it was his skills that made the message valuable. In fact, I think he was a very skilled speaker, and that did not just happen, it took effort and hard work. But that effort and skill was never what he pointed people to.
drumorgan
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This is a great thread. I would tend to agree with katyannmarie and add that the gospel is offensive. We shouldn't add to the offense, but there is nothing we can add to it to make it more palatable without watering it down. The gospel, not the magician, is the power of salvation. And, while a "personal testimony" is nice, it is NOT the gospel, nor is it evangelism. Making friends with people, and "earning the right to be heard" is NOT the gospel, and it is not evangelism. I saw a magician (very nice guy, don't want to knock him) perform at a church recently and while his show was awesome (very skilled in magic AND entertainment) and full of "positive" messages, it was not evangelism.

Many years ago I heard a message from Ray Comfort (who is now a good friend of mine) that turned my idea of evangelism upside down. http://www.hellsbestkeptsecret.com is definitely worth a listen.

Now, this brings the next question. Does every single performance NEED to be evangelism? Does it need a clear proclamation of the Gospel? I'll leave that up to you to decide. But, I think we should be clear at the outset what evangelism is and find a way to work the Biblical gospel into our presentation.
drumorgan
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And, to agree with wwhokie1, we should take pride in ALL we do, working as if working for the Lord. OF COURSE we should be well dressed, polite, be well rehearsed and spot on with our performance. Treat our performance and our audience with the respect they deserve. Like I said, we shouldn't do anything to ADD to the offense of the gospel.
Sam Sandler
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Drunorgan - not sure I understand your comments
you say the gospel is offensive! how!? why?!

as a full time evangelist I speak in churches all over the country. this is what god called me to do and for the past 18 years I have done this.

sharing my testimony is EXACTLY what we need as Gospel. it is the gospel! it is living proof that God's word is real. sharing my story lets me connect with the audience and then share the scriptures that reinforce what I have learned thru the brokenness God has allowed me to go thru.

now some shows are purely secular such as my school assembly I just did a few hours ago. I have a positive motivational show teaching how and why we should not give up and work hard./

i have another show that is similar but I share my testimony and what God has done in my life and how by having that deep intimate relationship with God - He has brought me thru many dark days. thru this show and my testimony people are both entertained but also enlightened. my hope with this show is that I have inspired them to draw closer to God thru Jesus and the Holy Spirit

my other show is a full gospel presentation towards the end of the show. again a mix of magic and testimony with a clear gospel presentation.

how ever in all these shows I must earn the right to be heard or prepare the audience to listen to me.
this is done thru presenting a professional show. magic, comedy, grand illusions, and more lets me love my audience and have a fun time. then when its time for me to share from my heart about the brokenness I have and still experience the audience is more apt to listen.

again the key is to make sure you are putting god first in your life thus it will be seen with in your show.

polished professional show = an audience much more willing to listen.

sam
sam sandler- America's only full-time DEAF Illusionist
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drumorgan
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Sam, that is why I shared the link above. It clarifies with the Bible just exactly what the gospel is. If your message is simply "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life" that is not offensive. That is because it is not the gospel. The Bible talks about the cross being folly to those who are perishing. Basically, God is holy, perfect, just. And you, are a sinner, under the wrath of God, destined for hell because of your transgression of His Law. That is pretty offensive. But, it is the truth. Only when a person is broken by the realization of their sin in the light of God's holiness, are they ready for the healing salve of the gospel of His grace and mercy. Until then, it is foolishness. God has to break the stony heart before He replaces it with a heart of flesh.

There is a reason that everybody loves men like Joel Osteen, especially atheists. It is because he just tickles their ears with how great they are. They killed Jesus (and most of the disciples) for their gospel message. We should expect no less.
drumorgan
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I am not trying to judge. I am working this out for myself. But, as a street evangelist AND a magician. I feel it is tricky to combine the two completely. I feel that at some level, they are two different things. And, I am here to learn from others some ideas for bringing them closer together. I do realize that you should know your audience, and venue. I wouldn't go into a corporate event smashing people over the head with the Law, driving them out like Jesus clearing the Temple. But, I wouldn't call what I do a gospel presentation without using the Law as the Bible instructs... to drive men to the foot of the cross.

If it is a paid event, I would focus on the magic. If it at a church, I would feel more leeway to really focus on the gospel. And, thinking about it, adding magic to street evangelism, the idea would be to draw the crowd with the magic and THEN, pull out the big guns and proclaim the full gospel to all who had ears to listen.
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