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God is no illusion – Magician Andr Kole uses craft for Christian ministry

Jamaica Gleaner, Jamaica
Nov. 25, 2003
Mark Dawes
www.jamaica-gleaner.com

ReligionNewsBlog.com • Tuesday December 2, 2003

Magician Andr Kole insists there’s no such thing as real magic. “A magician is one who uses natural means to create a supernatural effect. There is nothing supernatural in magic – it is only the illusion of the supernatural,” he said.

Andr Kole, a native of Arizona in the United States, was invited to the island by the local chapter of the para-church organisation Campus Crusade For Christ. He arrived in the island last Thursday for a series of shows. He is here not just to perform magic but to promote the Christian Gospel in his shows. It is his practice at some point in his show to use magic and/or simple illustrations to highlight the need for persons to accept Christ as their Saviour.

His shows began last Saturday with two performances at the Ward Theatre in downtown Kingston. Today through to Friday he will be performing at the Assembly Hall of the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies. Showtime is 7:00 p.m. On Saturday, he goes to the Portmore HEART Academy for a show which begins at 7:00 in the evening.

There has long been a view in certain circles that magic is satanic in origin. Kole does not agree. “When I became a Christian I heard about the supposed demonic connection to magic. So I began to investigate magic all over the world. I found that Satan works basically in our minds and our thoughts. Satan does not have the ability to give anyone supernatural powers. A lot of people cite the story of Moses and the magicians in Pharoah’s court. If that really happened, that means Satan has the ability to create life out of an inanimate object by turning it into a snake. Satan does not have those powers. The men in Pharoah’s court were illusionists.

“Every levitation I have investigated anywhere in the world has always been a magic trick. One of my offers is I am willing to pay US$1,000 for every second that a person can levitate up to 10 seconds. There is no such thing as real levitation, but the problem is that a lot Christians and non-Christians don’t have the ability to recognise the trickery and deception,” Mr. Kole said.

EARLY CAREER

Mr. Kole, 67, who is member of the Fellowship of Christian Magicians which has a membership of at least 88 persons, was a magician long before he became a Christian. He got into magic as a seven-year-old when one Christmas his mother gave him a little magic set. A few years later he came in contact with a professional magician who spent winters in Arizona. The professional magicians passed on some of his tricks to the youngster. By the time Mr. Kole was 11, he had earned a name for himself in magic having performed in a dozen states, Canada and Central America.

Since there was no course called magic in college, Mr. Kole opted to major in psychology. While in college his favourite psychology professor committed suicide, so too did a couple of his friends.

These deaths “made me begin asking the serious questions in life why am I here, when I die where will I go, is there any real meaning and purpose in life.”

He then, as a sceptic, was challenged to investigate the miracles of Jesus Christ through the lenses of a magician. Not long after, he found himself concluding that Jesus was no fake, no illusion but the real deal. Mr. Kole said his inquiry into Jesus’ miracles caused him to affirm the words spoken by Nicodemus to Jesus in St. John 3:2, “Rabbi, we know that Thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that Thou doest, except God be with him.”

USING MAGIC FOR CHRIST

After he got saved, he thought he would never do magic again. He gave up magic for three years. Then he began to see how he could use magic as a means to gain an audience to share his faith.

“Jesus 2000 years ago was doing things beyond what we can do today. Jesus said don’t believe my words unless I do miracles that only God can do. The greatest evidence for the existence of God is Jesus Christ. The greatest evidence that He was God are the miracles He performed.

So if Jesus had been a magician you would have to visualise Jesus and his disciples walking through the dusty roads of Galilee with three diesel trucks following behind carrying all the equipment that would be necessary for Him to do what He did by magic,” the visiting magician said.

The famed magician, who was voted ‘Magician of the Decade’ by the International Magicians’ Society, is writing a book entitled Jesus - Magician or God? He has collaborated with other authors to produce six books aimed at exposing trickery and deception among persons who claim supernatural powers.

He has no problem per se with the content of the Harry Potter series as they make for “interesting reading.” He warns, however, that “small children could get the idea that these powers are real and so they could go to the Internet and look up witchcraft. There are stories of people for whom Harry Potter was a stepping stone for some to get involved in the occult. That is the danger. Quite a bit of a danger.”

A lot of different illusions, he said, awaits those who would attend his shows. “I do a lot of different illusions, like removing a girl’s head, taking it away; I get the bravest person in the audience and appear to cut his head off. Then I cause myself to apparently levitate. I make an 11-foot replica of the Statue of Liberty disappear.”

LOTS OF INVENTIONS

To date he has invented more than 1,000 tricks. In the magical profession he is considered to be one of the three leading magical inventors. Several of the best known magicians in the world use his inventions. There are also more than 1,000 evangelists he has taught to use his illustrations to aid them in their attempts to present the gospel. He states: “Any eight-year-old child can do the things I do with 15 years of practice!”

For 20 years he has worked closely with magician David Copperfield, who he regards as his best friend. They have collaborated to create more than 100 different illusions for the stage and television shows. Mr. Kole is here with 5,000 lb of equipment to help create illusions. David Copperfield, he says, travels with 40,000 lb for his tricks.

In an autobiographical pamphlet that he circulates at his shows, he states: “As a magician, I deal with many illusions in my business. But in my own experience, I discovered that God is no illusion; rather, He is a reality, and that Jesus Christ truly is the ‘magic ingredient’ who really makes life worth living!”

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