Illustration: The Big Tragedy

In the realms of apocryphal stories involving death and destruction, there is one that recurs with remarkable frequency from fundamentalist pulpits — almost invariably presented as an actual event.

The story begins with “a man in my church” or perhaps “a man who was a friend of another man who once visited Bobby Roberson’s church a few years back.” It seems that this man had a beautiful wife and two young children and they were all healthy and happy and lived on milk and honey. But then one day the man decided to stop going to church or quit tithing or didn’t surrender to go to Belize on the last night of the missions conference while People Need the Lord was being sung at the invitation. And tragedy struck.

For one young child was bitten by a nest of snakes that had taken residence under the man’s house. And in his haste to take the child to the hospital, the man ran over the second young child while backing out of the driveway. The mother upon seeing this event worthy of a John Cleese movie, has the good sense to drop dead of a heart attack.

The scene ends with the man, having in one fell swoop lost everyone he loves, standing there recalling his folly at not wanting to go to the mission field because it was “too dangerous.”

The moral of the story is: “It’s dangerous backslide in a church where the pastor is always looking for illustrations.”

209 thoughts on “Illustration: The Big Tragedy”

  1. Thanks guys for your comments. I woke up this morning remembering this story from my fundy days. With fear and trepidation I searched to find if it was real. What a relief to find that it’s just another one of the manipulative stories that give God a really bad name. I find that the longer I’m out of fundamentalism and learning about true grace, the more peace I have and the more I can put these stories into perspective.

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