Preachers and urban legends

I'm still surprised by people who don't know about sites like Snopes and Truth or Fiction.  I have to chuckle to still see such things in my inbox like Microsoft is paying people to forward emails, warnings that the FCC is about to ban Christian programming, or that the aspartame in artificial sweetener is going to kill or maim me.

Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter breathe new life into false rumors while creating new opportunities for misinformation.  How many of you, after hearing about the death of Osama bin Laden, saw this fake quote that was supposedly from Martin Luther King Jr.?

I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy.

It's definitely quotable, but misapplied.

So, what about rumors that preachers unwittingly spread?  Trevin Wax has posted several you may have heard (HT: JT):
  1. The “eye of the needle” refers to a gate outside Jerusalem.
  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.
  3. Scribes took baths, discarded their pens, washed their hands, etc. every time they wrote the name of God.
  4. There was this saying among the sages: “May you be covered in your rabbi’s dust.”
  5. Voltaire’s house is now owned by a Bible-printing publisher.
  6. Gehenna was a burning trash dump outside Jerusalem.
  7. NASA scientists have discovered a “missing day” which corresponds to the Joshua account of the sun standing still.

There are lots more in the comments section of the post.

The morale?  Always fact-check, never allowing the impact of an illustration be the driving force behind your sermon.  The text is the most important to get across anyway, right?

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