Looking for sermons in all the wrong places

When does quoting someone in a sermon become theft? One pastor writing for Rick Warren’s pastors.com said,

“…stop all of this nonsense of spending 25 or 30 hours a week preparing to speak on the weekend. The guys I draw encouragement from – the best communicators in the United States – confess they spend a total of about 15 hours preparing for their message. As I have already said, they get 70 percent of their material from someone else. Remember, Solomon wrote that “there is nothing new under the sun …” (you can read the full article here).

Here is a fair response to this article in what one pastor calls “Pastoral Plagiarism.”

9 responses to this post.

  1. Spreading, sharing words that were edifying to you and passing it on while giving credit to the speaker is okay don’t you think?

    Are people preaching other words verbatim?

  2. Quoting someone and giving them credit is one thing but using another’s sermon as your own is not what the Lord has called the pastor-teacher to do.

  3. Of course, all of this ignores the rather important role that study plays in the spiritual formation of the man of God. Instead it assumes that the preaching event is all about the power of one’s communication, which flies in the face of Paul’s defense of his own ministry style in 1 Corinthians 2.

  4. Chris,

    I think you hit the nail on the head! That is just as important (long term) as the communication event (short term).

    Good post.

  5. Right on Chris,

    The problem of this whole approach is that it assumes the pastor-teacher is merely giving a recital not an exposition. In as much as he is called to “preach the word” he is also called to “study to show himself approved unto God.”

  6. The preacher should let the spirit guide, an occassional quote is okay but if you have to copy then there is something wrong.

  7. You can’t teach what you don’t know!

    I am a flight instructor and have watched the videos, come fly with me!!!

    Message brought to you by “©Copyright 2006. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

  8. I have to teach this weekend and I am feeling a little sick. Does anyone have a sermon I can “use.” I am teaching Sunday Night so I don’t need it until Sunday afternoon…

    *cough, cough*

  9. I made the stupid mistake of listening to Rick Warren on this subject, and justifying taking someone else’s work and preaching it verbatim on Sunday. I say “mistake”, but admit it was sin. It almost cost my ministry.

    It is a very serious problem among evangelicals in general.

    But, if you are a Methodist, they print sermons for you to use. D. James Kennedy joked (in the intro to Evangelism Explosion) that when he first started he preached some of the best sermons ever preached. They were by Spurgeon, Edwards, Luther, etc.

    We joke about this kind of thing, but it is clear that if you are not spending the time in preparation and study, then you are trying to give something that you don’t possess.

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