Pulpit Plagiarism

noplagiarismPlagiarism is a word I hear far more often on the university campus than on the church campus.  It is, however, one that deserves attention in both arenas.

Sarah Pulliam Bailey recently asked the question, “Is pulpit plagiarism on the rise?” in response to several recent incidents in which well-known pastors were caught plagiarizing content for sermons, radio broadcasts, newspaper articles, and/or books.  Some of the pastors attracting attention of their plagiarism include Mark Driscoll, Craig Groeschel, Kyle Idleman, John E. McGinn, Richard Land, Tim Goeglein, and Alvin O. Jackson.

So What?

Plagiarism isn’t acceptable in the pulpit.  I write and publish a manuscript of every sermon I preach.  In addition to giving basic verbal attribution within the spoken message, I include footnotes with more complete details of each source cited.

  • Do you think it is ever okay for a minister to claim someone else’s material as her/his own with no attribution? Explain.
  • What would your response be if you learned your pastor had repeatedly plagiarized large portions of sermons?


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