Honest Illustrations?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by JonC δοῦλος, Aug 8, 2013.

  1. JonC

    JonC
    Expand Collapse
    Lifelong Disciple
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2001
    Messages:
    6,909
    Likes Received:
    363
    I often hear stories given as fact to support a sermon. But many times they simply are not true (or at least are very suspicious). This is really beginning to bother me and starting to be a distraction.

    For example:

    Billy Graham said that he believes 90% of “Christians” in America are unconverted. (The percentage may actually be true – only God knows – but apparently Graham has denied that comment which started out as 70% years ago and was embellished from there).

    There was the illustration of the SS United States - never carried troops, used as luxury liner (but primary design was not really as military ship).

    I don’t know if pastors just look them up and use them or if they really research them and use them anyway. But the end result is fiction presented as fact to illustrate a truth.

    My question is whether or not you think that illustrations, such as these, should be presented as fact to a congregation to illustrate a point. Or, am I being overly critical?
     
  2. Scarlett O.

    Scarlett O.
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2002
    Messages:
    9,833
    Likes Received:
    114
    Jon, you have hit on one of my pet peeves!! :BangHead:

    I can't STAND it when preachers, SS teachers, Bible study leaders, commentators, or anyone presenting the truths of the Bible uses urban legends and/or tossed about tales to illustrate a point.

    It drives me crazy. First of all, do they KNOW it's not true and don't care or have they not fact-checked it and are telling it in ignorance.

    It gets on my nerves.
     
  3. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2006
    Messages:
    38,273
    Likes Received:
    777
    You seem to be implying that preachers are using these as fact when they know they are not. (correct me if I am wrong)

    How do you know that is what they are doing. Maybe they just honestly believe that is what Graham said.

    By the way I have heard of the statement attributed to Graham and you did not present it correctly.
     
  4. Salty

    Salty
    Expand Collapse
    20,000 Posts Club
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2003
    Messages:
    22,069
    Likes Received:
    216
  5. Herald

    Herald
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2011
    Messages:
    1,600
    Likes Received:
    0
    JonC,

    There are some illustrations that fall into the category of folklore. But when recounting an actual event or a quote attributed to a person it is good practice for a preacher to do his research.
     
  6. blackbird

    blackbird
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2002
    Messages:
    11,898
    Likes Received:
    2
    Usually---when I use a quote from someone(such as Billy Graham)----I check, double check, then check the double check---from 2-3 sources------then I usually ask myself---"Where'd Billy Graham(or whoever) get his information??"

    :thumbs::thumbs:
     
    #6 blackbird, Aug 9, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 9, 2013
  7. Tom Bryant

    Tom Bryant
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2006
    Messages:
    4,439
    Likes Received:
    0
    We joke about people who believe anything if it's on the internet, but we need to be careful like the Joel Osteen site that said he was leaving the Christian faith (not sure he was ever in the Christian faith) or the one a few weeks ago where the new pastor of a 10,000 member church set outside and asked for money.

    Being dishonest and being mistaken are different things. But both can ruin our ministry. So we do need to be diligent in checking out "facts".
     
  8. Gib

    Gib
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2003
    Messages:
    27,256
    Likes Received:
    13
    Mine too Scarlett, but if their source is the internet, then it must be true. You can't put anything on the internet that isn't true.

    http://youtu.be/bufTna0WArc

    :smilewinkgrin:
     
  9. Scarlett O.

    Scarlett O.
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2002
    Messages:
    9,833
    Likes Received:
    114
    I love that commercial. It took me several times of seeing on t.v. before I realized it was advertising State Farm or All State (or whatever). It's funny, but it proves a point about how gullible we are.
     
  10. North Carolina Tentmaker

    North Carolina Tentmaker
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Messages:
    2,355
    Likes Received:
    0
    There is no excuse for passing off something from the pulpit when it is not true.

    Sometimes this is the result of laziness; the preacher did not check their facts. Sometimes it is an honest mistake, the preacher believed it at the time and was simply wrong, but what really upsets me is when they use an illustration that they know is false.

    If it is an urban legend or folklore, that is not a problem, but tell your audience what it is. You can still use the story, but be honest about the source and reliability.

    Too many preachers come across like cheap used car salesmen (no offence intended for car salesmen). We are not selling snake oil or vacuum cleaners, we are supposed to be rightly dividing the word or truth and if we lie while we are doing it we are breaking the 3rd commandment and taking God’s name in vain. There should be a higher standard of truth from the pulpit than anywhere, and we need accountability.

    If the preacher is lying to me about . . . , then what else is he lying about? It brings reproach on God’s word.

    Full confession time, I have been caught up in a message and exaggerated before. My wife has caught me doing that before and will always hold me accountable.

    Isn’t that a sad excuse?

    You are right on JonC. It should bother us all. I don’t think you are being overly critical.
     
  11. padredurand

    padredurand
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2004
    Messages:
    4,384
    Likes Received:
    20
    Luke 6:47-49 Everyone who comes to me, and hears my words, and does them, I will show you who he is like. He is like a man building a house, who dug and went deep, and laid a foundation on the rock. When a flood arose, the stream broke against that house, and could not shake it, because it was founded on the rock. But he who hears, and doesn’t do, is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream broke, and immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great."[SIZE=-1] [/SIZE]

    Was there really two men who built houses? Did one build on rock and the other on sand? Where were these houses? Who were the men?

    I recall an interesting discussion in a seminary class where we discussed Jesus' parables. We they true? I'm not suggesting, in any way, that Jesus was lying. Far from it.

    The question I have is does the story have to be true in order to illustrate truth?

    I understand citing facts and figures that are unsupported to be entirely different.
     
  12. Tom Bryant

    Tom Bryant
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2006
    Messages:
    4,439
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree that we can use illustrations that we make up in making a point. Jesus, obviously, did that often. Sometimes people remember the story long after they have forgotten the point we were making.

    It's the passing them off as real life adventures that cause the problems.
     
  13. JonC

    JonC
    Expand Collapse
    Lifelong Disciple
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2001
    Messages:
    6,909
    Likes Received:
    363

    Hey Rev,

    I don’t mean to be implying that these preachers are using these as facts when they know that they are not. I honestly don’t know – I’d assume that most simply look up illustrations or get them from other pastors - just as I assume that they put more care in the actual study of God’s Word when preparing for their sermons.

    I presented the Graham statement as it was delivered to us as an illustration, which is my point (I didn’t present the statement, just used as an example how it was presented). I don’t know if there was a real comment from Graham – but it appears that there was not. This was just one example I used.
     
  14. Scarlett O.

    Scarlett O.
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2002
    Messages:
    9,833
    Likes Received:
    114
    If some is teaching or preaching the Bible and wants to give an illustration that's not true - but tells everyone in advance that this is just a hypothetical - that's fine. Stories do make an impact on our retaining what we hear.

    I do that a lot in Sunday School, but I always say, "This is just a made-up story, but I think it illustrates the lesson..."

    But passing along urban legend or folklore as if it WERE true - without fact checking or without caring is what gets my goat.
     
  15. JonC

    JonC
    Expand Collapse
    Lifelong Disciple
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2001
    Messages:
    6,909
    Likes Received:
    363
    I recently heard an illustration about the Taj Mahal and the casket of Mumtaz Mahal being thrown out with the rubble. It was a great illustration, and the pastor made it clear that it was only a legend to illustrate the point. I also don’t see any problem using illustrations to explain or highlight a point, as long as they are presented in such a manner.
     
  16. Tom Bryant

    Tom Bryant
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2006
    Messages:
    4,439
    Likes Received:
    0
    I say that when I'm too lazy to research it. :laugh:

    Abraham Lincoln has been rumored to have told people not to believe everything you read on the internet.
     
  17. Baptist Believer

    Baptist Believer
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2002
    Messages:
    6,647
    Likes Received:
    187
    I had the unfortunate experience of hearing Freddie Gage, an evangelist from the SBC world, tell a story in the pulpit about God "killing" a man that had rejected Jesus while Freddie was preaching a revival in Del City, Oklahoma. Two weeks later, I heard his son Rodney use exactly the same illustration (nearly word-for-word with the same intonation and emphasis) while HE was preaching a revival in Del City, Oklahoma. The strangest thing was that I was sitting directly next to Freddie Gage (proud father) while Rodney told the story. It was very discouraging. It called everything they said into question.

    Tony Campolo is guilty of telling stories in the first person that didn't actually happen to him. Occasionally, he was say something like, "permit me to tell this in the first person," but often he does not. It massively undermines his credibility with me.
     
  18. Gina B

    Gina B
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2000
    Messages:
    16,944
    Likes Received:
    1
    There is a difference between a parable and a lie. A parable is known to be a story that uses allegory to make a comparison in order to have the listener/reader relate to the moral of it and be able to make comparisons, while stating false facts as truth in order to make a point is simply lying.

    One is good. The other is wrong.

    If one makes a mistake, that's okay, but how nauseating is it and how trustworthy is someone who repeatedly stands up in front of his/her audience and presents false information as fact? Would you trust them to be diligent when studying scripture and trust them to advise you in your spiritual life if they're regularly unwilling to bother taking ten seconds to google an old wife's tale they're about to use for a side point? At the least, say "I don't know if this is true, but it makes a good point..."
     

Share This Page

Loading...