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André Kole's million-dollar challenge
published: Tuesday | December 2, 2003

By Mark Dawes, Staff Reporter


- Photos By Norman Grindley /Staff Photographer

VISITING MAGICIAN André Kole is offering US$1million to the Rev. Dr. Donald Stewart if he can prove his statement that Satan gives supernatural powers. Such evidence, he said, should be verified by an independent group of people. "If he can't he needs to shut up and quit causing all this problem and superstition about something that is totally unBiblical," said Mr. Kole.

Mr. Kole's offer came in the wake of the Rev. Dr. Stewart's article published last Friday on page D6 of this newspaper under the headline 'Mr Kole, you are so wrong!' The Rev. Dr. Stewart, who is pastor of the Portmore Covenant Community Church said in his article "The Christian Bible clearly warns against involvement in all forms of occultic activity, including magic (regardless of how we redefine it) - If magic and the occult world are not really diabolic then it is obvious that the God who created the heavens and the earth has been misled and needs some guidance (possibly some revised theological education) on this matter. If demons and satanic power are not real, but merely illusionary, then someone should have told Jesus."

MAGICAL TRICKS

The Gleaner has learnt that on Sunday November 23, Mr. Kole was the guest of the Covenant Community Church which meets at the old Priory School in St. Andrew where Senior Pastor for the Covenant Community Churches, the Rev. Dr. Peter Morgan, volunteered for one of Mr. Kole's magical tricks. He placed his head in Mr. Kole's guillotine.

That the Bible warns against involvement in the occult, Mr. Kole agreed. He continued: "As a magician I feel a magician is more qualified to recognise what is involved in occultism - if it is real demonic power or is it just tricks."

Mr. Kole has been performing in Jamaica since Monday November 24. He leaves the island on December 9. His remaining schedule includes shows at Mandeville, Munro College, the Mannings School and MoBay Community College.

Mr. Kole is in the island as the guest of Campus Crusade for Christ, an internationally renowned para-church organisation which seeks to share the Christian gospel primarily in tertiary institutions.

SINCERELY WRONG

"I want to make it clear, I am not attacking the sincerity of Mr. Stewart. He is sincere but sincerely wrong ­ and is causing great confusion. By the things he is saying, he is keeping people from coming to Christ. Satan is using him to prevent people from coming to the programme ­ because they believe that I am the devil, that I am going to Hell and I have demonic powers.

"If I had demonic powers to do what I do, it would be much easier for me to be a magician. I would not have to have 20 persons assisting me and a truck load of thousands of pounds of equipment. I would just tell the demons 'Go do your thing' and ­ zap - all the magic would be done. I would not need all my stuff to do the special effects," Mr. Kole said.

Mr. Kole said Satan and demons do have supernatural powers and as such they do afflict people including causing ill-health. However, he said, Satan and his hosts cannot do magical tricks like levitation.

UNIQUENESS OF GOD

"Demons and Satan do have powers. But to give people the idea that people involved in the occult have these powers ­ that Satan can impart powers to do miracles ­ then one is undermining the entire Bible and the uniqueness of God. Because that is the argument Jesus used more than any other to defend His ministry. Jesus said 'Do not believe my words unless I perform miracles that only God can do.' So by suggesting that people involved in the occult can be demon-possessed, which they can be, to say those demons can give a supernatural power is an insult to God. It is tragic that so many people in Jamaica believe that the obeah man and others have supernatural powers. It is causing a great deal of superstition."

Magician Kole, stressed: "The dictionary gives two meanings to the word magic. The first definition is as follows: 'The pretended art of producing effects or controlling events by charms, spells, and rituals supposedly to govern certain natural or supernatural forces; sorcery; witchcraft.' The practices contained in this definition are all condemned by God and the Bible. Whether these practices are claimed to be used for good or not makes no difference, they are still condemned as an abomination to God."

"The second definition in the dictionary is for theatrical magic: 'The art of producing baffling effects or illusions by sleight of hand, concealed apparatus' etc. This definition describes what I do. I have made a very careful study of every Hebrew and Greek word in the Old and New Testaments that has been translated 'magician', 'divine', 'soothsayer', 'wizard', 'conjurer', 'astrologer', 'sorcerer', etc. Not one of the definitions of the Greek and Hebrew words describes or implies the second definition of the word magic, which is used for entertainment purposes and which has no relationship with occult practices."

He argues "If one engages in a proper study of the Bible and if one has any knowledge of the theatrical art of illusion, one would immediately realise that the practices defined by these Greek and Hebrew words are completely foreign to anything anyone in my profession does today who uses the title 'magician'."

'PHARMAKIA'

Referring to the Rev. Dr. Stewart's argument based on Revelation 22:15 that those who practise the magic arts will not make it into the 'New Jerusalem', Mr. Kole said the Greek word used for magic arts in that passage is 'pharmakia' from which the English 'pharmacy' is derived. 'Pharmakia' is sometimes translated as sorcery or magic. 'Pharmakia', he said, refers to drugs and the misuse of drugs or people in the occult who are involved in charms and potions. "It has nothing to do with the theatrical art of magic," he stressed.

"I have spent nearly 40 years from a Christian point of view examining the occult all over the world and in more than 70 countries of the world. In my investigations, I have never found anybody involved in the occult who had a supernatural power."

In his article last Friday, the Rev. Dr. Stewart said: "The slave girl in Phillippi who predicted the future via a spirit (demon) of divination was certainly not an illusionist. (Acts 16:16-18). Please notice that her powers left instantly as the demonic spirit was cast out by Paul in the name of Jesus Christ. If these occult powers, according to role, did not come from Satan, then where is their origin?"

PREDICATIONS OF PSYCHICS

To this the famed magician said: "Satan does not have the ability to accurately predict the future." Mr. Kole says he has tracked the predictions of psychics, astrologers etc., and in general they miss 89 per cent of any specific prophecy.

Mr. Kole spoke of the 'Barnum-effect' which is to make statements that are true of 80 per cent of all people and people will believe it till they think those statements are true. Then tricks are used to get information from people to make the prediction more specific. "So if these people are demon-possessed then they are possessed by a stupid, dumb set of demons who miss 89 per cent of the prophecies. To say they (psychics, astrologers and demons) can accurately predict the future is an insult to God."

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