Using Analogical Metaphors #1 . . . .


The next three articles on “Rhetorical Techniques” all deal with the use of an “analogical metaphor.”

  1. Examples and an explanation of its communicative power
  2. Thinking Backwards:  How to construct analogical metaphors.
  3. A list of events, people, things, which help generate analogical metaphors

Let’s begin by providing examples which exemplify the effectiveness of such “analogical images as used in an actual message.  Then we will lay out the reason for its rhetorical power.


In his message, Mac Arthur uses an “analogical metaphor” three distinct times and uses three different “analogical images.”

(@49:26 — Link – John Mac Arthur – Testing The Spirits)

“Prosperity preachers have made Christianity a laughingstock.

One writer says, “The prosperity gospel is Christianity’s version of professional wrestling.”

That communicates!”

As John Mac Arthur states – “That communicates!”  . . . . and it does  — as witnessed by the audience’s response to it!  They grabbed it immediately and powerfully!

Here is another example . . . .


The main attraction is the carnal desire.

And did you notice how the  – preachers flaunt their worldliness?

Just flaunt it!

They have to.  That’s how you sell the story.

Look at me.  – Look what happened to me. – It could happen to you.

Ponzi scheme – It’s a spiritual version of Bernie Madoff.

Nine out of every ten Pentecostals live in poverty.

Nine out of every ten live in poverty.

Over 90 percent of Pentecostals and charismatics in Nigeria, South Africa, India, and the Philippines — however, believe God will grant material prosperity to all believers who have enough faith.

What a lie!

Finally, the third time  — Mac Arthur now calls up “Las Vegas” and “the Mafia.”

Again . . . (@55:01)

You know, the prosperity gospel is more morally reprehensible than a Las Vegas casino because it masquerades as religion.

They take your money in Las Vegasbut you expect it! — because it’s run by the Mafia.

You don’t expect the people that represent God  – to do the same thing.

These are three examples of driving home a point by  the use of an “analogical metaphor.”  As you can hear, the audience response is clear.  The response reveals how well it drives home the point which is being made!


  • An “Analogical Metaphor” connects two unrelated things.  In this case, elements of the charismatic movement and . . . .
    • Professional Wrestling
    • Ponzi Schemes
    • Bernie Madoff
    • Las Vegas’s Profits
    • The Mafia

These five “analogical metaphorical comparisons”  carry strong visual pictures which are known and understood by the listener.  They are not neutral images, but rather emotional in nature!

In this case, all the comparisons carry negative emotions, but “analogical metaphorical comparisons” could also be positive in their emotional nature.

i.e. — The church is not meant to be a “clubhouse,” but is meant to be “the lighthouse positioned on the shores of a world which is lost in the storm

i.e. The church is not meant to be a “hospital”for infected and sick believers, but a hospital staffed with “doctors” who are not infected, and who believe that they have a sure and certain cure.

Their Strength:

  • Instead of using a lot of words to characterize something, which may take a minute or two, an analogical metaphor does it within seconds.   They are short and efficient ways to create strong images in the mind by connecting the familiar, along with its associated elements with what we are addressing.
  • The audience quickly “get’s it!”  If they understand the analogy being used, they pull over the analogy and its elements to the comparison.  Suddenly, the connection is made and “the light goes on!”
  • The analogical metaphor is usually very memorable.  Because it is a visual image, it sticks far better than a longer fully worded explanation.

2 thoughts on “Using Analogical Metaphors #1 . . . .

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