How to stop a meme?

A United Methodist megachurch pastor repeated the mistake of quoting (via Twitter) John Wesley saying, “I lit myself on fire and people came to watch me burn.”

Kevin Watson shot this down a while back, but it keeps living on. Thank you, Mr. Internet. Can we add a class at seminary on things John Wesley never said or things that he did say that don’t mean what people think they mean?

I don’t mean to pick on megachurch pastors, but they tend to have more influence than others, so when they repeat a mistake, it sends out larger ripples.

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3 thoughts on “How to stop a meme?

  1. How about the “do all the good you can, to all the people you can,…”? He never said it but well-meaning Methodists will have that listed as their favorite quote on their Facebook profiles.

    I also enjoy the “Wesley said he was a man of one book.” Wesley was a many of MANY books but that doesn’t stop someone from beating their Bibles misusing that quote.

    1. The second one he at least wrote … in Latin anyway. But, yes, he meant that in a different way that it is often used.

  2. Or how about the one where Wesley purportedly said that every seven years he burns all his sermons? The quote is take completely out of context. Wesley was actually quoting another preacher to contrast against his own beliefs. Wesley claimed that he believed that he’d never write a better sermon than the ones he had written, particularly referring to the ones he eventually passed on to the Methodists that became a part of our doctrinal heritage.

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