“At the turn of the century Rev. C. Herbert Woolston struggled with the problem of whether he should call his object lessons by their right name–‘magic’. Keeping in mind that he was personally trained and instructed in this art by Howard Thurston…looked upon as one of the greatest of all times…Woolston, because of strong adverse feeling and not wanting his Christian brother to stumble, used an acceptable term ‘Gospel Illustrator’.
“Consequently…when four of us met…we had a lengthy discussion about the word ‘magic’. We were concerned to the extent that we inserted the words ‘white magic’ into the original constitution. To this day, some of our top Christian performers prefer to use some title other than ‘Christian magician’ or ‘Gospel magician’. We respect their wishes.”What a Fellowship, p. 144
Some of the ethical issues surrounding the word ‘magic’ in relation to the church are reflected in this Aug. 5, 1980 article from this Wall Street Journal.
“The June 1988 issue [Christian Conjurer] was given over to a wonderful little booklet written by Robert Hill…At that time I wrote to Bob Hill expressing my pleasure in the article and asking for written permission to reprint his manuscript as a chapter of this book…not only gave permission but he revised the copy so it’s even better now than it was before…”What a Fellowship, p.144
Robert Hill has given us permission to reprint the full article from What a Fellowship. The only restriction is that it may not be changed in any way from how he wrote it.
Below is the original letter of response from Robert Hill and the full article sent to Stan Adair for the What a Fellowship book.