Phil became a Christian whilst studying Law at Cambridge University in 1996. Since 2002 he has been involved in paid Christian ministry, training in 2006-2009 at Oak Hill Theological College. He has spent a lot of time thinking about how the Gospel can be effectively communicated using the tools of conjuring and hopes to come to some conclusions soon!
Recently he has been using his magic in a variety of church contexts. In addition to the more obvious settings of children’s talks and youth group meetings, he can offer more general talks or performances of magic which are suitable for mixed groups, to which he can add a testimony slot or Gospel message. These have proved popular with groups for older people (sometimes called Cameo groups). Other possibilities would be men’s breakfasts or evangelistic events.
Some Christians have been concerned about whether it is appropriate for Christians to be involved in ‘magic’ since the Bible seems to be negative about magic and magicians. There is not space here for a detailed argument, but put simply there is a very clear distinction between the use of natural means to produce the appearance of magical effects for the sake of entertainment (what we would call ‘conjuring’) – and the use (or claimed use) of occult or supernatural powers (what might be called ‘sorcery’ or ‘divination’ etc.) about which the Bible is negative. A much longer exploration of the issue can be read here. Phil is a member of the Christian Magicians UK.