Who's Robbing Whom?

Some Thoughts on Pulpit Plagiarism

by Doug Smith

Is it wrong to preach another pastor’s sermon? This issue is certainly not new, but there has been a good bit of discussion in the last few months concerning possible answers to this question, some of which is quite disturbing.
chain.jpgSome prominent pastors, such as Rick Warren and James Merritt, openly encourage other pastors to take their sermons and preach them—even without giving proper credit. However, others disagree. On December 7, 2006, the Albert Mohler Program featured a radio interview between Dr. Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS), and Hershael York, a pastor as well as a professor of preaching at SBTS. They are in agreement about this issue, and the title of the program reveals their perspective: “Plagiarism in the Pulpit: Stealing the Material We Preach.” They believe a pastor should actually take the time to study and prepare messages suited for his own congregation instead of using something prepackaged and pre-processed. Shocking, isn’t it?

I regularly preach in a supply capacity, filling in for pastors or serving churches that do not have a pastor. I also work a full-time job. Study time is a premium amid family and work responsibilities. It could become a temptation to steal others’ sermons.
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Take Time to Stop and Smell the Shark

by Beth Murschell

Until a month or so ago, my in-laws owned a little vacation cottage on the Jersey shore, built by Mick’s great grandfather. I’ve only been acquainted with it for 12 years or so, but each visit marks changes in the scenery—a kind of renovation beach11.jpgsundial. This time, the new owner (a distant cousin) had transformed the attic into a miniature loft, accessible by a spiral staircase, which enchanted the children. The entire house would fit into our own kitchen/living room. Eight people, his parents and us, occupied 400 square feet of space for three days during inclement weather.

The last time we came six years ago, we had only the photograph of our first child, who was awaiting us in Korea. Now six of us flew up from Florida and headed for the shore in a rented van full of car seats. When we arrived, we saw the markers of passing time everywhere: new construction, pilings and dunes that had disappeared during one storm were back, old shore houses that used to be occupied were decaying. The neighbor ladies next door spent one evening cutting down a set of trees and bushes that had been an eyesore for 40 years. “Remove not the old landmark” has been cast aside as house after house either grows taller or is replaced altogether.
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Book Review—Creation and the Courts

by Andy Efting

Geisler, Norman. Creation and the Courts: Eighty Years of Conflict in the Classroom and the Courtroom. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2007. Paperback, 400 pages. $22.00

(Review copy courtesy of Crossway Books)

Purchase: Crossway; CBD; Amazon

Special Features: Bibliographic references and index

ISBNs: 9781581348361 / 1581348363

LCCN: KF4208.5.S34G45 2007

DCN: 344.73’0796

Subjects: Creationism; Evolution; Religion in public schools
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The Role of the Church in Youth Discipleship

by Matthew Hoskinson

Note: See his other articles on youth ministry: The Primacy of Parents in Youth Discipleship and The Centrality of God in Youth Discipleship.

That trampled mass of red, white, and blue underneath King James (the basketball player, not the 1611) is what remains of the Detroit Pistons. As a lifelong fan of the team, I watched in stunned amazement as the Cleveland Cavaliers pulled off a six-game sweep. Nothing left but the crying. And the fingerpointing. Read more about The Role of the Church in Youth Discipleship

The Proper Care and Feeding of Pastors

by Dan Burrell

1 Timothy 5:17—”Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.”
burnout.jpgThis article is not intended to be one filled with whining about the stress of being a pastor. Some may assume that this article is a sort of personal axe-grinding due to the fact that this author has recently resigned his latest pastorate of seven and a half years and will be taking a hiatus of pastoral leadership after more than 17 years as a senior pastor. But they would be mistaken.

For the record, I began this article prior to reaching the decision of changing the focus of my personal ministry. But I believe all pastors—current and former—would agree that those who have been in pastoral ministry can say “amen” to much in this article. Because I have nothing to gain, I do feel freer to address this topic today than I have in the past. Regardless, the proper care of our pastors is a topic that is too often neglected in our churches.

Take a look at the following statistics from the Maranatha Life website: Read more about The Proper Care and Feeding of Pastors

Justice and Mercy

or Why I Am a Christian

by Michael Osborne

On the one hand, we are continually expressing our instinctive desire for justice; on the other, we are expressing our instinctive desire for mercy. Why both? Is this blowing hot and cold with the same breath?
798068_justice.jpgInstincts express themselves early. You’ll find four-year-old prosecuting attorneys expressing in the most rudimentary terms, “That’s not fair. He got to play with the train set longer than I did” and “She scratched me first.” But the same four-year-old will plead, “Don’t spank me! I won’t do it again.”

Adults retain some of these petty concerns (“He cut me off and made me miss the green light”) but also develop stronger, more settled opinions on weightier matters. “We should send all the illegal immigrants back to Mexico.” “I’m sick of standing behind people using welfare money to buy better meat than I do.” “I can’t believe he got only two years for smashing his girlfriend’s face in!” “It’s only fair that the rich should bear the greater tax burden.” But adults, too, want mercy. “I know this assignment is late, but can you give me another 12 hours?” “Don’t send my son to jail. He’s only a kid; he just needs to grow up.” “He stole to feed his family, and it’s hard to blame him.” “I’m so glad I got off with a warning; I was only nine miles over the speed limit.”
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