Some more “real life” funny pulpit errors…

Some more “real life” funny pulpit errors… June 12, 2011

ONE of the following stories is false.  At least, it didn’t happen to me.  And I believe it to be a version of what is called an “evangelegend.”  And evangelegend is a religious urban legend–a story that makes the rounds of a religious subculture without verification and nobody ever seems to know to whom it happened or where.  And yet many people believe it is true.

The first person to correctly identify the evangelegend may receive a free, autographed copy of one of my books (provided he or she is willing to give me his or her mailing address within the U.S.)  It would be good, but not required, to explain why you think it is the evangelegend.  Tomorrow (Monday) I will close the contest and declare the winner.  Then the winner can decide whether or not to give me his or her “snail mail” address (only within the U.S.) so I can provide the promised signed book.

Here are the stories–only one of which is false.  (I attribute some of them to myself–as if they happened to me [i.e., I supposedly said it]–only for variety.   It makes no difference as to whether the story is true or false.)

One attempt per person, please!

The provost of the university was speaking at a church attended by many students and faculty of the university’s divinity school.  During his sermon, while attempting to talk about the importance of seminary training for pastors, he accidently referred to his own university’s divinity school as “cemetery.”  It was clearly accidental as he immediately turned red and stopped and sincerely apologized.

A seminary dean was talking to his faculty shortly after becoming their leader.  Passionately he denied having any intention of making unilateral decisions and said to the faculty “I don’t intend to ever circumcise anyone.”  (Of course, he meant “circumvent” anyone.)  In this case it was so awkward the faculty chose to stifle their guffaws (with great difficulty in my case).

I was lecturing to my first theology class at a well-known Christian university.  I was absolutely new at this not yet even having my Ph.D. in hand.  I went into the classroom determined not to mess up.  Somehow the discussion turned to missionary endeavors and issues.  A student raised her hand and asked “What should a missionary do if they encounter a Christian tribal leader with many wives?”  I said (completely unintentionally and much to my embarrassment) “That’s a horny question.”  Actually, it turned out to be good because the ensuing laughter (including me) broke the ice and from then on my students saw me as merely human.  I fell off my pedestal the very first day of my teaching career!

I was visiting chapel at a Christian college and a freshly minted graduate was guest preaching.  His subject?  “The joys of immorality.”  He meant, of course, the joys of immortality.  He only said it a couple times and tried to cover up as if he hadn’t said it.  But the damage was done and snickering broke out occasionally even when he said it right.

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  • David Rogers

    My guess is the “joys of immorality” as the evangelegend. Its story seems more accessible to a lay audience and seems to have a higher liklihood of circulation.

    My NT professor who was teaching us Research German said that he went to buy sausage at the marketplace and he told them “beschneiden” them rather than “schneiden” them.

    • rogereolson

      You are the winner! “Joys of immorality” as a sermon topic is an old evangelegend. I’ve heard it all my life but never knew who supposedly did it or where it happened. As for the German….That reminds me of a German high school student who stayed with us who loudly repeated several times in front of several people that she “bekam” a dog for Christmas. If you want a free book, send me your mailing address. You can post it here and I won’t post it to the blog.

  • I once heard a Seventh Day Adventist tell an audience that if they ever visited a Christian group that could not laugh his advice was to RUN. I applaud your use of humor.


  • Joel Ellis

    That was my guess as well, but I see I’m a little late to the party. 🙂

  • I was preaching my first sermon on a Sunday Night as a junior in high school and was talking about a part of a song that says “That I may gaze upon your beauty oh Lord.” Instead I said, “That I may gaze upon your booty oh Lord.”

  • nemo

    I was being introduced once as the new Bible teacher in a Christian school. The principle of the school introduced me to everyone and identified me as a graduate of the XYZ Theological Cemetery. She blushed quite a bit and then moved on.

  • This is probably the funniest and most embarrassing pulpit error I’ve ever seen. It’s a pastor discussing Lot pitching his tents too close to Sodom. Unfortunately for him, he doesn’t say pitching his tents. Follow the link to see the hilarity ensue:

    • rogereolson

      Thanks for your contribution, but someone already submitted that youtube video as an example of pulpit error humor. I said then and I will say again that it seems to me (although I could be wrong) the pastor meant to make this mistake. It’s a mistake I’ve heard talked about all my life and is well-known among pastors as a joke about what not to do in the pulpit.