Should We Use Someone Else's Sermon?: Preaching in a Cut-and-Paste World
With easy access to sermons on the Internet, plus pressure to deliver the next sermon with little time to prepare, no wonder some pastors have resorted to plagiarizing other people's sermons, passing them off as their own. This growing epidemic has received coverage in the Wall Street Journal, on National Public Radio, and elsewhere. Some pastors have been caught in the act and dismissed from their churches. Is this fair? Is this stealing? How can you recognize it? How can it be prevented? This book not only helps explain the problem, but it also explores the ethical implications and gives advice on how to avoid it or deal with it if the problem surfaces in your church. It includes study questions at the end of chapters and a concluding case study.
Learn from other preachers, but don't steal their sermons word for word
By Dr. Marc Axelrod "PM" - December 28, 2008
Scott Gibson is a preaching professor at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He writes this book to encourage pastors to prepare their own sermons, to spend time exegeting and studying God's Word for themselves.
The first chapter is a brief survey of a number of famous people who have been accused of plagiarism or who have been caught in the act of plagiarizing. He mentions poets, preachers, historians, and public speakers.
In the next chapter, Gibson defines plagiarism as stealing other people's material and using it as your own. He says that plagiarizing sermons betrays the trust of the people, who are paying you and dpending on you to study the word and bring fresh insight into issues affecting their lives and their parish.
Gibson goes to say that pastors who plagiarize do it because they are insecure about their own ability to give home run sermons, or because they are lazy, or because they are depressed (hard to see where Gibson was coming from... read more
Plagiarizing Preachers Beware, this book could expose you to yourself
By Scandalous Sanity - November 20, 2008
I picked up Gibson's book while stocking books in the preaching section of our store. Having been the victim of a plagiarizing pastor in college, I was interested to see what he would say, and how he would approach it. Fortunately, I shared the same sentiments as he did, so the book was interesting the whole way through.
In about 100 pages Gibson takes on the ethical dilemma many pastors find themselves in during their preaching lifetimes, should they use someone else's sermons? His answer is a firm, "No" with the exception of citing, in a bulletin, or in the sermon. While it seems rather obvious to a layperson that a pastor should have something original every Sunday, Gibson discusses the intricacies that could go unnoticed.
He handled the subject pretty objectively, noting that many pastors throughout history have suggested that pastors use other's sermons instead of taking the risk of preaching a doctrinally unsound sermon. But he makes sure it is understood... read more
But ... it's SO easy ...
By Michael G. Kelly Th.M., M.B.A. "Mike" - July 24, 2012
The author launches the discussion of the "use" of someone's sermon with a clear definition of plagiarism as, "stealing someone else's words, or thoughts and claiming them as your own." This idea is fundamental to everything that follows in this particular discourse regarding the presentation of information particular to a preacher. Clearly, as products of our environment living in what is commonly referred to as the information age, information related to any topic of any given matter is available, ad nauseum. The availability of information with the added ease of "cut-and-paste" technology readily available is a tempting alternative for anyone tasked with the traditional path of academic research. The local pastor is a life-long student of the Word with cloaked expectations that each week he will dazzle the audience with his intellect and unique insight with the subject matter. The added stress of an amplified audience through the medium of radio, internet, and cable only intensify... read more
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