Compelling reasons to use magic: illusions and tricks (objects and actions) as a vehicle for communicating Biblical Truth.

Forward: Not unlike the vast majority of magicians who experience another magician's work and then adapt parts of it in their work, this essay uses many of the ideas expressed by Rev. C.H. Woolston in his book, "Seeing Truth". Woolston has been given recognition as the "Father of Gospel Magic". He published this book in 1910.

I researched this subject and wrote this essay because I felt a need to be prepared to answer anyone who might question using Magic in a main-stream Church setting.


Rev. C.H. Woolston's definition for Gospel Magic was "OBJECT teaching in the Bible". An important question for all Gospel Magicians to ponder: "Is there anything in the Holy Scriptures authorizing object teaching?" There is. The Bible is full of it. Here are just a few examples.

In Ezekiel Chapter 21, Ezekiel was directed by the Lord to go out and set his face towards Jerusalem. And to go through the performance of dropping his sword and to say, "A sword, a sword is sharpened and also polished". This was an OBJECT Lesson to indicate to the people how God had appointed the ruin of the city of Babylon.

In Jeremiah Chapter 19, Jeremiah once preached a startling OBJECT SERMON. He was directed by God to assemble the people of Topheth in front of their city gate. Then he was to stand before them holding a clay jar. He then proclaimed to them their sin of sacrificing their children to the fire of Malech. He broke the jar into many fragments, so that it could not be made whole again. Continuing to follow God's instructions he said in a loud voice, "that after the same fashion God will smash this nation and this city so it can not be restored again."

1st Kings Chapter 11 tells of Abijah, the prophet, acted as another OBJECT teacher. On one occasion he put on a new garment and met Jeroboam in a field. He took off his garment and tore it into twelve pieces and gave Jeroboam ten of them. After getting his attention, he explained that God was going to reduce the number of tribes that King Solomon ruled. God was going to give Jeroboam ten of them to rule over.

It doesn't take a Bible reader very long to discover that the Bible is the best text-book on OBJECT teaching the world has ever known.

The sacrifices of the tabernacle were all OBJECT lessons and yet most stately in character. The drapery of the Holy Place, the colored skins and coverings, the silver sockets and tent poles, etc., sanctify for all time the method of teaching by colors and objects.

The first great object teacher was Moses. And he got his commission to do so from the Lord himself, on the Mount. Happy is the present day teacher who follows in the wake of Moses, for he has God's commission to do so.

Jesus, the "Greatest of Teachers" used OBJECT lessons constantly in his teaching. He did not consider it below his dignity to draw lessons from the most common things of life. He compared Holy Things to a woman sweeping the house, to yeast in the bread, the grain of mustard seed in the field, etc.

In the two church sacraments, the Holy Supper and Holy Baptism, he compares his precious body to broken bread and his Holy Blood to the first fruit of the vine, two of the common OBJECTS of the common people in their common life.

Water and wine are the objects used and so after our Lord's blessed example, no one needs to hesitate to use the common objects of everyday life to teach the highest and most holy lessons of the high life with God.

Throughout the Bible both objects and actions were used to teach us the Holy Truth of our most blessed faith. This was our Lord's example.

Could there be methods of performance that would distract from the message of "Truth" that the Gospel Magician is attempting to delineate. Certainly! And it is for this reason that the Gospel Magician must truly be 'a professional'. S/he must never reveal illusion-secrets and at the same time the performance must emphasis the Object Lesson, not the mystery. (The illusion is the `hook' that teaches the lesson and helps keep it from being forgotten.) The Gospel Magician is teaching object lessons that point the way to the most highest calling, eternal life. So, these magicians must not only be practiced (if the quality of presentation is questioned so might the message) but their own `life style' must not detract from their Object Lessons. A Gospel Magician must not only "talk the talk" but "walk the talk"!

May the humble teaching of persons, using Gospel Magic, both point the way to eternal life for `seekers' and strengthen the faith and servanthood of those who already have it.

copyright June 1997 - Gospel Magician Sam Scherf; Naperville, IL USA

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