Hogwarts and Quidditch and Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross Station—all part of the make-believe world of the Harry Potter books—have the enthusiastic support of Christian magician Andrew Thompson, who thinks that such "fantasy magic" opens children's imagination to the wonders of the world.
It is an approach he follows in his own work combining membership of the Fellowship of Christian Magicians and an Anglican parish ministry in Derby, central England. Conjuring tricks, he says, are "an unbeatable way to teach the Gospel" to adults and children alike.
"Conjuring is on the same level as telling a story or showing a movie. There's nothing a Christian could feel tainted by," he says.
In his performances, he makes clear the difference between Gospel miracles and 21st-century conjuring tricks. He refuses to copy some secular magicians who perform such tricks as walking on water or changing water into wine.
Thompson has no time for fellow evangelicals who worry that the Harry Potter books glamorize the occult. The critics are being "silly," he said. "Children aren't daft. They know what is reality and what is fiction."
He has shared some of his magic secrets in Gospel Magic, published by Grove Books, which has also published Philip Plyming's Harry Potter and the Meaning of Life.
Plyming loves Harry too. The evangelical Anglican parish minister takes the hocus-pocus out of Hogwarts witchcraft and wizardry by finding that the stories are really about character, friendship and the choices between good and evil.
"Many Christians have a false understanding of what Harry Potter is about, often through not having read the books," he says. "The same trigger words are used as with astrology and Tarot cards. But go below the surface, ...1