Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Christian Urban Legends (for Preachers & Hearers)

Have you ever heard a preacher repeat one of these Preacher Urban Legends?  If you are a preacher (full or part time) have you ever told one of these stories without confirmation/
1. The “eye of the needle” refers to a gate outside Jerusalem.
“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God,” says Jesus in Mark 10:25. Maybe you’ve heard of the gate in Jerusalem called the “eye of the needle.” The camel could pass through it only after stooping down and having all its baggage taken off.
The illustration is used in many sermons as an example of coming to God on our knees and without our baggage. The only problem is… there is no evidence for such a gate. The story has been around since the 15th century, but there isn’t a shred of evidence to support it.

2. The high priest tied a rope around his ankle so that others could drag him out of the Holy of Holies in case God struck him dead.
Various versions of this claim have been repeated by pastors, but it is a legend. It started in the Middle Ages and keeps getting repeated. There is no evidence for the claim in the Bible, the Apocrypha, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Josephus, the Pseudepigrapha, the Talmud, Mishna or any other source. Furthermore, the thickness of the veil (three feet) would have precluded the possibility of a priest being dragged out anyway.
There are more "legends" at the link. I must confess that I have used both of these stories, but I will never do so again.  We need to practice integrity in Bible teaching and preaching, so that listeners can trust what is taught. If you hear one of these whoppers being told, please encourage the speaker to check his facts!

Hat Tip: Kingdom People