Illustration: The Drawbridge Keeper’s Son

Once upon a time there was a drawbridge by which a train would cross a perilous chasm. And at that drawbridge was a keeper who’s job it was to lower the drawbridge in order that the train might pass unharmed.

Now it just so happened that it was a sunny Tuesday morning when the father got the bright idea to bring his only son to work with him and let the boy wedge himself between the gears of the drawbridge lowering mechanism.

“Gadzooks!” exclaimed the father  suddenly, “I just remembered that it’s time for a train to come through and now I’ve got to lower the drawbridge and crush you to death so that train full of strangers can live.”

So he does exactly that. This certainly doesn’t do the boy a whole lot of good and one can only imagine it doesn’t do the drawbridge gears any favors either.  But the train is saved and goes through completely unaware of what has happened and nobody even bothers to stop and say “thank you” or send a fruit basket.

Somehow or another this is just like Christ dying to save humanity (not to mention providing great discussions for philosophy classes) which  evidently was also a horrible accident.

Please pass out the tissues and turn to #365 in your Hymnals,  Just as I Am.

68 thoughts on “Illustration: The Drawbridge Keeper’s Son”

  1. @exIFB
    But, but ,but it just doesn’t matter. What matters is A) can you tell a tear jerker and create an emotional experience? B) do you have the charisma to capitalize on that emotion and manipulate a decisional response?
    Unfortunately modern Christianity is based on meeting the emotional needs of spiritual experience junkies. Geive them an experience they can hold onto ’till the next meeting. And just like any other addict they come back looking for the ultimate spriitual high, the “Revival.”
    Of course in delivering the spiritual fix, the ends justifies the means… capped of by some calim of: “we had eleventeen saved at tonight’s meeting…” more than likely they had eleventeen emotional experiences brought on by the speaker’s charasmatic manipulation.

  2. @ Don, I’ve seen pastors try to create that emotional experience. So if that’s their goal, then why is it so wrong for us to be emotional during singing? Anyone lifting their hands, closing their eyes, or swaying is considered being too emotional. (It’s also frowned on because we can’t do anything that might make someone else think we’re charasmatic.) But I just don’t get why music has to be so UNmoving while the preaching is supposed to emotionally move us.

  3. Actually, here is the link. The entire sermons series is full of hokey, and the author carefully picks it apart biblically. Benny Beckum (the preacher) gives so many false statistics and emotional appeals. Some of the stuff he says is downright creepy. The commentator transcribes nearly all of his preaching and corrects it (the backstory is Benny Beckum preached at a family camp and caused a massive ruckus in the church, with about half the church getting “re-saved” or something, and this guy thought, something is wrong here – this guy is an idiot, and proceeded to disect his sermons).

    The above quote is from page 80-81 of the pdf. It’s more an expose against the unbiblical methods that IFB’s employ in order to get numbers, rather than “Lordship Salvation”. It’s an interesting read, and is good to see an IFB critique the errors of his own.

    It’s full of preaching like this

    “You say preacher, I am lost but I am up there, just pray for me. Will you raise your hand.
    I will pray for you. I won’t look down on you. But I will pray for you, I promise I will
    pray for you. Anybody like that? Preacher, pray for me. Folks are being dealt with all
    over this congregation, come on now, just be honest. I will pray for you if you raise your
    hand. Oh. Oh God. Your spirit is coming. {Mumbles} We have heard from (?) tonight.
    God the Holy Ghost has walked in, and done some wonderful things, still doing some
    wonderful things, I think what we need to do is be still and listen to the Lord. Lets not try
    to be moving around now. Children don’t be moving around, you have been so good this
    week. Oh My! Oh Bless their heart! (Mumbles) Oh My! You see this is the way God
    works. Just one here and one there. Oh My! This is amazing. This is amazing. All this
    is amazing. Are you doing what you need to do? Are you just trying to live a lie and just
    trying to live a Christian life and it is just not working. Up and down and up and down
    and in and out. Just give it to God. Give to Him. That’s right. {long pause} {Mumbles}
    {very long pause} I want, I want you to listen for a minute. Brother Chris got saved, I
    want you to listen to his Mom. (Crying is heard)”

  4. I actually used this illustration when I was a camp counselor, to emphasize to my campers how a loving father might have to make a choice to sacrifice His child to save others. However, I believed and told my campers that it was a legend, nobody knew if it was actually true or not, it was just to make a point.

    1. If you’re talking about BJU, they actually don’t have it blocked anymore. (yes, I checked a few minutes ago… 😳 )

  5. I always couldn’t stand that one…i grew up in a Fundy School (kindergarten – 12th grade!) I did escape going to a Funday college by choosing a local community college (where i now have a really great job there and have actually been able to witness and grow in the Lord…who’d a thunk it. I did retain my sanity because my home church was non-denominational…hioooo.

    I digress, has anyone heard this story/parable/scared straight talk (and i heard this …in my school/bible conferences…more than once)

    There was a couple dating and they decided to have pre martial relations. So they went on a date, and were in their car…and never came home..and the police found them both dead in the car, in the nude. So Don’t have pre-maritial relations because of the likelihood of being found dead in a car naked with your significant other. Not making that one up!

    Any takers?

  6. @Camille

    From the article: “Asking if it’s (this parable) is true is akin to asking if Goldilocks and the Three Bears was based on a real event.” lol, that made my morning.

  7. Haha! Someone else has heard of the sexist, racist b—— Phil Kidd! You must all check out his Facebook page. Become fans and give him grief! My husband and I have been jerking his chain for a few months now, but feel free to join us–it’s a hoot! 🙂

  8. ^ thanks for informing us. You’ve just enlisted another troll. Be there in a few hours

  9. I think u all should know that this story is extreamly true it really did happen, i find it very rude that your making this story seem like a joke. The boy was 5 years old and loved going to work with his father. When it was time for the bridge to come down he told his son to clean up his toys and he ended up accidently tripping and falling into the gears. The father tried to help his son but the train was almost there and he would have to go down a set of stairs to reach him. There was over a hundred people on the train so he had to make the decision to save his son or the many people. The father had to kill his son and listen to him scream as he let those people live. I can only imaging what that father went through and it sickens me to even think of that story. Your making it a joke and i think uts absolutly sickening.

    1. How do you know it’s true? Do you know the family? Or is this sworn to be “the absolute truth” by your pastor?

      Judging from the extreme level of grammatical errors in your post, you’re either 1) a fundy or 2) a kid. At least with #2 you’d have some excuse.

  10. This illustration was in a book of Sermon Illustrations that I purchased as a young fundamentalist. I was taught as a preacher boy that you needed illustrations for every point in your sermon. I used ones out of that book and probably 10 others. I still have my Sword of the Lord I and II Illustration books. And then there’s John MacArthur who hardly ever uses any illustrations and see where that gets him? What a loser….LOL. Anyway, I am sure I was guilty of repeating untrue stories many times, and probably should have just called them parables or stories and prefaced them with “This is just a story.” Kind of like Jesus telling parables.

  11. I have heard that story my whole life.

    One of the versions I heard was that the Dad was a bus driver and wasn’t able to make the turn because the brakes went out on the bus. The only thing he could do was plow the bus through a gate and his kid just happened to be on the gate, waving a cheerful hello to his dad as he returned from his trip. Kid evidently didn’t have time to jump off and BOOM.


    I rarely hear happy stories in IFB. The only people who get happy seem to be the ones who ghe gloriously saved as adults out of a life so wicked they’ve already got one foot in hell. (Then after they get saved the miraculously and easily drop their smoking and drinking habits and life is hunky dory after that)

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