Once I was able to get Heart’s signature song out of my head long enough to concentrate, I quickly became absorbed in Carl Gallups’ new book, “The Magic Man in the Sky.” In fact, the subject is so important, I am recommending it to friends and associates.
Years ago, I became aware that credible scholars and scientists were teaching that the Bible’s discussions of science and the natural world were accurate, and a proper understanding of them could remove barriers many had to the gospel. The debate between naturalism and creationism continues on; Gallups has contributed an important voice to the discussion with “Magic Man.”
In fact, he rightly observes that rather than really ponder the implications of the Bible being true, the skeptic (or atheist) will try to ignore it and not want to think much about “the Magic Man in the Sky.” It would seem, for example, that in our culture, entertainment and media types cling to this “worldview.”
Gallups, however, proposes that we must present biblical truth. The long-time senior pastor of Hickory Hammock Baptist Church, in Milton, Fla., Gallups is a tremendous teacher of truth. There are many good pastors/teachers left in this country; unfortunately, there are a lot of bad ones, also. Gallups is the antithesis of a bad pastor. He actually presents an intelligent defense of the faith in “Magic Man,” thus making his book a powerful witnessing tool, especially for the so-called Generation Y, now thoroughly indoctrinated in atheism.
Gallups’ book fills an important void in apologetics works, since he not only proposes to show us the three important questions: “Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going?” but he also presents what I call a total biblical worldview, emphasizing doctrine from Genesis to Revelation. This is relatively rare in the American Church today, awash as it is in the selective teachings of folks like Mark Driscoll and Bill Hybels.
For example, Gallups displays a tremendous grasp of eschatology, and the importance of incorporating this hot biblical topic into one’s biblical worldview. Relatively few pastors emphasize this today, evidently believing it to be controversial, or embarrassing, or both.
I won’t spoil it for you – his defense of a right understanding of what Jesus meant in Matthew 16:27-28 is quite brilliant – but he addresses the importance of “end-times” theology: “If these words and ideas they convey are in the Bible – and they are there in copious amounts – then should not the contextual understanding and preaching of these truths be included in our message to the world? Of course they should.”
He uses the fictional example of “Preacher Nate” finding a giant red lever on the side of the road (labeled: pull this lever to end the world). He used it to preach to the masses, until one day a truck driver ran over Nate. He just didn’t want to face the teaching.
Of this common attitude, Gallups writes: “Predictably, the secularist often attempts to merely run over the bearer of the message. He would rather do that than deal with the large red lever in the middle of his path and the possibility that the message may have veracity.”
In any event, Gallups’ use of eschatology as a key pillar of sound biblical teaching, juxtaposed with his views on origins and their importance, makes “The Magic Man in the Sky one of the best apologetics books I’ve read in some time. Well, ever.
His very first sentence, in the Prologue, is this: “Jesus Christ is Lord.”
There, he immediately punctures the view that there is a “Magic Man” somewhere up there in the sky. Instead, Gallups identifies Jesus as the One: Creator and Sustainer. He puts himself out there to present a view that is not popular in our increasingly rotten culture. But it is the vital view.
A minor negative is the absence of an index, which, in my view, would make it nearly a perfect book. The text itself is solid gold, and when one considers that Gallups also addresses (in Chapter 16) the problem of evil in the world – elegantly and intellectually – the reader sees clearly that the author’s all-important worldview is the centerpiece of this book.
I highly recommend this book for Bible teachers of any stripe, including parents and grandparents who want to reach their college or high school or junior high students.
It’s that good.