Pastor Fired For Plagerizing Sermons

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Major B, Sep 7, 2004.

  1. Major B

    Major B
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    Well, what a mess this is! I've never done it, but I know that the practice of either stealing sermons wholesale or buying them from a sermon service "ready to go" is pretty common. I know this, because there are several businesses in the US who make a profit providing this service--I've gotten their junkmail from time to time.

    Alexander MacClaren, the great Scottish contemporary of Spurgeon, was supposedly on holiday in the south of England, and stopped into an evangelical chapel to worship. The pastor did not notice his famous guest, who'd arrived briefly before the service, and told his audience, "because of the press of pastoral business this week, I've not had time to adequately prepare, so I am going to preach one of Dr. MacClaren's sermons."

    On the way out, the very embarrassed young preacher recognized MacClaren, and said, "I hope you don't mind me using your sermon, I did properly attribute it to its penman."

    MacClaren is reported to have said, "Young man, if you're going to preach one of my sermons as poorly as you did that one, please don't attribute it to me."

    What do ya'll say? If this standard were universally applied, there would be a lot of openings in pulpits by next week!

    [ September 07, 2004, 11:23 PM: Message edited by: Major B ]
     
  2. WallyGator

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    Major B,
    I agree, there would be quite a few pulpit openings. Have noticed in recent years that more SBC pastors are using Lifeway sermon outlines; sometimes many the same week. And as far as power point, you can mix and mingle so much that who knows what is going to come out!
    WallyGator
     
  3. Roy

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    It seems that there should be a proper way for a preacher to use another's material. I would think that by correctly attributing borrowed comments to the originator, the pulpiteer could stay out of hot water. On the other hand, if he memorizes another's work, rehearses it, and delivers it as if it were his own, that would be deceitful.

    Roy
     
  4. R. Charles Blair

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    "When better sermons are preached, I'll preach 'em too!" There is nothing original, only at times a new dress for the old stand-by. The problem is not quoting others, or "mix-and-match," but wholesale theft. But is it theft when they are sold or given away to start with?
    Anything not copyright is in the public domain, after all. I recall in the '60's developing a message on Gal. 4:21-31, "Why Abraham had Two Wives" (or, "Who is Responsible for the Middle East Crisis?"). (I'm going to preach it soon at Poplar Grove, "plagarizing myself"!) After I used it, a student handed me Jimmy Morgan's tract (Dallas evangelist) - almost identical. Both of us used the same approach to the same text in the same time frame, many of the same phrases - I'm sure he didn't see mine, because it wasn't in print, and I know I didn't see his until after the fact. On the other hand, I once assigned Dr. Criswell's book, "Did Man Just Happen," for a class to read. A student who was a pastor had me come for a "Mid-Continent Day," speaking briefly before he preached. So help me, he had memorized and quoted a chapter from Criswell verbatim, illustrations and all as if it were his, knowing that I would be there and recognize it! Now that's plagarism! In between, most of us have used ideas; the point is to make them your own by unique changes, which can only happen in the study, by prayer, in the power of the Spirit .

    (At least that's what someone else said!) Best in Him - Charles Blair - Rom. 8:28
     
  5. mioque

    mioque
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    There are churches in my country where they deliberately never use new sermons, they simply reread an old sermon of a great preacher from a couple of centuries ago twice every sunday.
     
  6. JGrubbs

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    This all started when Zondervan started suing Christians for reprinting NIV verses. I knew when they started copyrighting the Bible and asking for payment to use it, that sermons were not too far behind. :(
     
  7. Optamill

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    This reminds me of the old limerick:

    There once was a fellow named Spurgey
    Who did not approve our liturgy
    But his sermons were fine
    So I preached them as mine
    And so did the rest of the clergy

    On a serious note, I am saddened by Pastor Wagner's situation. I pray he finds the rest and restoration he needs.
     
  8. Gershom

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    I truly believe that if more brothers who have been gifted within the body would be given the opportunity to share the pulpit, we wouldn't see things like this happening or pastors resigning, stepping down, etc. on the account of exhaustion, spiritual dryness, or whatever.

    Pastors shouldn't have the responsibility of preaching week after week after week. He should oversee and lead, watching the flock grow, encougaging and allowing them to exercise their spiritual gift. That should include other brothers sharing a message from the pulpit as the Spirit leads.
     
  9. arttal

    arttal
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    What is the problem? Let the Bible Speek.

    Acts 4:20
    20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
    KJV

    Acts 22:15
    15 For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard
    KJV

    1 John 1:3
    3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
    KJV

    John 3:30-32
    30 He must increase, but I must decrease.

    31 He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all.

    32 And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony.
    KJV
     
  10. Dr. Bob

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    I have often read something and gotten an idea for a sermon. Sometimes even noted points in a commentary that were excellent.

    But to preach a message that was 100% someone else's and make it appear to be mine? Oh, my.

    When teaching in Bible college, a pastor gave a chapel message that I recognized. Went to the library and found it - word for word, including the illustrations of a poor little girl in a yellow dress - in a book of Jack Hyles sermons.

    He had simply xeroxed/enlarged the pages of that book and preached it as his own. Not one word of credit.

    I used this as an example (veiled so as not to shame my brother) in my Homiletics class of what NOT to do. Sad.
     
  11. go2church

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    Seen this done, and I feel sympathy for anyone that is so "dry" that they have nothing else to preach but what someone else said. This should be a warning to each of us, proceed with caution, especially with someone elses sermon!
     
  12. LarryN

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    In my home library, I have a book of sermon outlines published in 1967 and a second book published in about 1880, if I remember correctly. One day, when I was looking thru the newer book, I noticed an outline that looked very familiar. It took me just a few minutes to locate the exact same outline (point-for-point, word-for-word, detail-for-detail, same illustrations, etc.) in the older book.

    The author of the newer book had stolen the outline lock, stock, & barrel from the earlier author and presented it as his work- without one iota of credit. No possibility of mere coincidence.

    The author of the newer book obviously thought that the older book was obscure enough that no one would ever notice.
     
  13. HappyG

    HappyG
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    The only thing worse than preaching a "plagarized" sermon is preaching a boring one!!!
     
  14. HappyG

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    Dr. Bob,

    Hopefully your main point in your homiletics class was not that the "guy came and preached a plagarized sermon" and that is bad.

    Hopefully your point was "the guy was so dumb he plagarized a Hyles sermon! Men, if you plagarize at least pick a good sermon!"

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Gayla

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    But, some Pastors don't want to share "their" pulpit. They all have their reasons, some valid and some not.
     
  16. exscentric

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    "Anything not copyright is in the public domain," I think if you read copyright law you will find anything written or created by someone is automatically copyrighted and protected even though there is no registration at the copyright office. The registration makes it easier to prove ownership.

    We had a speaker that did a series and he stopped into the office where my wife was duplicating his messages (as was the norm for seminars) and he asked what she was doing quite nervously. She told him and he turned red and stammered out that he did not want copies of his messages made, that most of his material for the seminars was from others.

    Let's see holiness - a concept that many have lost.
     
  17. arttal

    arttal
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    When I preach a sermon, and another preacher gets a blessing and it fits his gun. Praise the Lord! let him preach it. Modified or not. God gave it to me. Then he gave it to the other preacher through me. Why should I not be proud to help study for my brother. I would never copy write anything I preach or write. We preacher think we are something sometimes.
     
  18. Bro Tony

    Bro Tony
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    I agree with arttal. I send my sermon tapes out all over the country. I put sermon outlines on the church website. If the Lord leads someone else to use what I have learned, praise Him. If I hear or see a message that would fit well within our church, I would adapt it to our church and use it. I would give credit where credit is due. I have done seminars and revival services using topical material that came from someone else. It all comes from the Lord if it is true. If we are honest none of us have any original ideas. I've studied a portion of Scripture, prepared a sermon and thought I had some new insight only to read sermons (some over a hundred years old) where the pastor said virtually the same thing I did.

    Bro Tony
     
  19. Gershom

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    Billy Graham Classics is airing right now on my TV. Fella could preach back in the day. I'm guessing the 70's or early 80's.
     
  20. exscentric

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    "I would never copy write anything I preach or write. We preacher think we are something sometimes."

    The point is that it is automatically copyrighted legally. We can give it freely, but it is copyrighted whether we register it or not.
     

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