PLAGIARIZING PREACHERS AND THE PEOPLE WHO PUT UP WITH THEM
I read recently where a preacher defended his plagiarizing, word for word and without any credit whatsoever, of another preacher’s published sermon. He wrote: “If you’ve got something that’s a good product, why go out and beat your head against the wall and try to come up with it yourself?” This pastor’s words reveal more about himself than they do anything else. In my opinion, something contemptible and not even in line with common sense thinking is I n play here. But, since since he asked the question he did, I'll offer some answers that he and plagiarizing-and-proud-of-it preachers like him, would do well to consider.
First, he talks about the sermon he has plagiarized as a “good product.” But a “good product” where preaching is concerned is one where the preacher has been led, through his personal labor in the Word and his sensitivity to the Holy Spirit to a consciousness of the message that God has for him to preach. This is what real preaching and ministry is about. It’s not about one man lifting a sermon from another man and then palming it off on a congregation as though God gave it to him for them.
Next, this preacher, who by his own admission purchases sermon manuscripts for $10 each from internet sites, asks in regard to the planarization of a sermon: “Why go out and beat your head against the wall and try to come up with it yourself?” Answer: Preachers aren’t supposed to beat their heads against walls to get messages that God wants communicated to His people. One wonders how it can be that this man has apparently never become acquainted with this concept.
Furthermore, God-called preachers know that they aren’t supposed to “try to come up” with sermons; their burden is to stay in the Word and pray until they can “get them down” from heaven. God-called men do not get their messages by way of Pay-Pal and a $10 payment. They know that the messages they preach must come from somewhere far beyond cyberspace.
Many, perhaps most preachers, have a time, usually early in their ministries, when they are confronted with the temptation to plagiarize, and the need to discern and avoid what constitutes unadulterated plagiarism. This concern is a product of the reverential fear of God that they have in their hearts. I have experienced this myself. But we live in a time now when more and more preachers have no mental, moral or spiritual aversion to being pulpit plagiarists.
The plagiarizing-and-proud-of-it preacher referred to in this article exemplifies the kind of larcenous, ludicrous lunacy that prevails in the minds of many in “ministry” today. Worse yet, preachers like this, and those in congregations who know they are like this, are so spiritually far gone that they have lost the ability to be ashamed of themselves. As it was said of some in Israel during Jeremiah’s day, so it can and will be said of many in pulpits and pews all across America today — “They were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down saith the Lord”(Jer. 6:15).
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”