Gospel magic is the use of otherwise standard stage magic tricks and illusions to promote Christian messages. Gospel Magic does not claim to invoke spirits or paranormal powers. Gospel Magic is intended to present the Christian good news through "visual parables" the trick or illusion in Gospel Magic is used to present theological points in an entertaining way with the intention that people will remember. Gospel Magic is generally presented as stage magic or platform magic, but it can be adapted to close-up magic or micromagic situations. The Jewish equivalent of Gospel Magic is known as Torah Magic.
The first modern use of Gospel Magic is in the ministry of the Italian Catholic priest Giovanni Melchiorre Bosco (Don Bosco, 1815-1888). His autobiography lists many dozens of magic tricks used for the purpose of offering religious instruction to children and youth. Don Bosco has been seen as the Patron Saint of Catholic Magicians and, specifically, Catholic Gospel Magicians.
In 1910, C. H. Woolston published Seeing Truth: Object Lessons with Magical and Mechanical Effects which aimed to help adults working with children in church. Other texts were soon written that incorporated Gospel messages with magic.
In 1958, the International Fellowship of Christian Magicians began in the USA. This rapidly spread the use of the creative arts to teach the Gospel. Many Gospel Performers, dealers and authors made their first attempts at magic under their tuition. There are now chapters in many US and Canadian cities as well as in the UK, Germany and Hong Kong. An International magazine is published The Voice of the FCM every two months. Annual Conventions are held in USA, UK and Germany.
The word "magic" never appears in the Bible. Daniel is called the "chief of the magicians" or "master of the magicians." Daniel 4:9 The Bible condemns sorcery, astrology, speaking to spirits and witchcraft, but never does it condemn "magic."
The arts have long been used to present Christian teachings. Icons, parables, music, song, dance, poetry, sculpture, painting, stained glass, theater, radio, film, television, the Internet, stage magic and illusion have all been used. Today this often includes story-telling, drama, puppetry, ventriloquism, balloon-modelling and juggling.
American Gospel magicians include Andre Kole, Dennis Regling, Del Wilson, Duane Laflin, Jamie Doyle, Greg Phillips, Matt Adams, Curt Anderson, Bryan Drake, Harris III, Scott Wolf, Brock Gill and Jared Hall. Ice McDonald (former President of the S.A.M. is also an active Gospel Magician).